SMinnTech, Inc. Flasher Circuit for Pioneer AVIC-Z1
Best Pioneer Avic - Z1 Bypass Circuit

Tech Support
(Z1 Flasher Circuit)

Z1-FC Troubleshooting Guide


Hey that circuit you sold me doesn't work! What gives?

Well, I have heard this a couple times and I believe I have talked everyone through getting them to work. There has been a couple of failed parts in these, but I wouldn't bet on that right away, each failed (really failed) unit worked for at least a week or so before it failed. So letís take these 1 step at a time.

It doesn't work.

By far the most common problem (I would say 95% of the people who contact me) was that it was wired improperly. Either to the wrong wires or that there was an attempt to wire to the correct wires and the method used didn't really create a good connection. I would always recommend soldering the connections. Are you absolutely sure that it was wired correctly? Are those connections making contact? Please check the installation instructions here:

Installation Instructions

There are 2 features with this unit:
1: it will bypass the lockouts
2. it will allow the head unit to dim the lights and put the nav screen into night mode when you turn on the headlights.

Which of these doesn't work? Look below to the section which has the problems you describe.

If #1 doesn't work but #2 does, then it's easy.
If the orange ILL wire from the Z1 is connected to my circuit and only to my circuit, then my circuit has to be working. There is no way for the radio to dim and go into night mode unless the circuit is working.

But you say there are things that are grayed out that shouldn't be or it won't play DVD's. Well there are 2 possible things. If you have the orange ILL wire from the Z1 connected to my circuit and only my circuit and turning the lights on will put it into night mode then you have only 2 options:

a: The red wire from my circuit is not connected to the red wire coming out of the back of the Z1. This wire is supposed to turn on and off with the ignition. You might have it connected to the "12V all the time" instead of the "12V switched". So it flashed your headlights the first time you installed it and since power is never turned off (to my circuit) it never flashes your lights again. It only flashes when it first receives power which should be the same time the Z1 receives power from the red wire. But most likely your problem is b or c.

b: Your parking brake is on or is grounded all the time. If you have the parking brake wire connected and the parking brake is on or if that wire is grounded it will stop anything that the flashing of the lights (either manually or with my circuit) will do. Make sure the parking brake wire is not connected to anything. If it's not, do you get a "hey your parking brake is not connected properly" message, and you have to hit the ok box when you start your car? If so then you need to read c:

c: Your Z1 needs to be reset. I have seen a couple other cases where the unit was wired correctly and turning on the lights would dim the radio and put it into night mode but everything was still locked out. They still had the "your parking brake is wired improperly" message though. If you have that message then this is most likely your problem. I believe the reset it needed was pressing the button on the front panel of the Z1. If that doesn't work go through the menu and reset to factory defaults. If anyone every has this and resetting the unit works, please let me know which "reset" you used which worked. Most likely you will only have this problem if you tried to "drive around with the parking brake wire grounded" and it "catches you" doing it.

If #1 works but #2 does not.
Most likely that means that they didn't hook up my white input wire to the "illumination" wire in your car. Or the wire they hooked it to doesn't work with my circuit. I tried to make this circuit adapt to all the "illumination" wires I knew of in different cars. Does this mean I got it to work with all of them? No. But I think I got it working with most. If your wire from your car is labeled "ILLUMINATION" try that. If that doesn't work, try a "DIMMER" wire. If that doesn't work, you need to connect my white wire to a wire that goes to 12v when the lights are turned on and off when the lights are turned off.

To test this, you can take my white wire and put it through a toggle switch to 12V and turn on and off the toggle switch. You will see it works. It's not the best solution, but you will see it working. Now you need to find a wire in your particular vehicle which does this. You might find one in your radio harness but not brought out in the after market harness or maybe from your light switch or your fuse block. Each car is different.

If #1 doesn't work AND #2 doesn't work.
Are you sure it's wired correctly? If so, take the white wire from my circuit and disconnect it from what ever you have it connected to and connect it permanatly to the same point you connected the red wire of my circuit to (hopefully the red wire "12V switched" that comes out the back of the Z1). Turn the car (and radio) on. Go to a nav screen. Is it in night mode? Is the radio dim? If you hit "menu - settings - hardware - connection" what is the state of the "ILLUMINATION" line? If it's high and the nav is in night mode then the circuit is working. Go back to the top "#1 doesn't work but #2 does" section and start there. Then work on the "getting the z1 to dim when the lights go on".

If the nav is not in night mode and the "ILLUMINATION" section in the hardware connections screen is low then either the unit is not wired correctly or it's faulty. If you have the ability to get to a volt meter you can test the functioing of my circuit. Set the volt meter to measure DC volts. If you have a range, let it measure 12-15 volt range. Connect the red wire of the volt meter to orange. Connect the black wire of the volt meter to black. Do NOT connect the white wire to anything. Connect the black wire to ground and the red wire to 12V (you can do this across the battery of your car if you don't have a power supply or whatever). When you do this, the voltage on the orange wire should be 12V (or whatever the exact voltage you have on the red wire) for 5-6 seconds and then it should go to ground and stay there. If you want to get fancy testing, take the white wire and connect it to the red wire (+12V) and the output will go to +12v. If this happens the circuit is working and your connections were not correct.

I hope this will help people walk though testing these if they have problems. Please email me at with any other situations they have so I can make this as complete as possible. Thanks!