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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2008, 11:33 PM
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la528it la528it is offline
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Diamond key replacement batteyr DIY (NO 56K)

Yeah, my range for the key remote has been bad lately. So I ordered two new batteries from mouser.com I ordered two if these: VL2020-1HF since that's what I read elsewhere. These do not fit, you have to mess with them to make them fit. But shoot, this is a diy, that's why you are reading this. Please accept the stadard disclaimer that this is at your risk, I am not responsible for your problems, etc. Ok, here is what the stock cell looks like:

Two pins, about 90 degrees off:



Here is what the mouser cell looks like:



People always say: "I had to bend it a little" man this is a LOT of bending.

Ok, forst things first: the tools



Standard fare, BUT the knives:



The flat exacto is PERFECT for cutting the key open, which is where I start:

Start from the rear, behind the key ring:



Then push to the meaty part of the key:



You will have to do SOME of this around the perimeter to open the key. This resulted in NO marks to the key intself, only to the stuff between the two layers

Removed the back and you get here



GENTLY pry board from face of key to get here:



Ok, look above. See Where the needle is pointing? Year that and the one on the other side, closest to the camera, need to be heated up., If you heat it, you can pop out the solder tabs of the existing battery.

CAREFUL!!! Do not heat them up too much, on one key, I put too much heat, details later!

Ok, once the solder lets go, the old cell will fall right out. What I ended up doing was, tearing the old thin tab from the old cell, and then soldering it to the new cell. Remember, the arms are TOTALLY off on the new cell, so you can;t get it to go in the correct holes. I take the old skinny:



Put some flux on the top, and tin it with solder. Then solder the tab into the circuit board. Now take the new cell, cut off the old skinny tab, not all, just the thick part, and then solder the thick tab in. Both tabs are now in, but the cell is not connected to the lower tab. Looks like this:



Now, heat the solder on the skinny tab, and when hot, fold the new cell on it. The solder tabs sill be soldered together. Even if this does not work, the pressure on the cell when the key s closed will keep it working. OK, all done. Use the Goop, that stuff is an awesome adhesive: (I build remote controlled planes, I have every adhesive at my disposal, and this is the best for this job, and can be purchased at any hardware store). Take the goop on the tip of your finger, and then apply generously to the edge of the key. Close it up, and now, with the key closed, rum in all the excess goop that flowed out when you closed the key. Kind of message it back in. This will make a total mess. BUT, you know wrap the key in a rubber band, or clamp it shut. 1 hour later, return to the key, remove the clamps or bands, and rub the edge of the key with your finger. You rub for 2 minutes, ALL EXCESS GOOP will be gone. Thing is water tight now,

enjoy the fact that you spent $5 per cell, plus $5 for ground delivery (mandatory by law for lithium batteries) and saved $600 from dealer. Remember to go down and re initiate both keys


Horror story: On one key, I overheated a joint. Long story short, when I put the new one in there, the old solder would not stick to the circuit board. No matter what (maybe too much flux was applied? I would not use any again on there). So, I solder a lot, and keep testing. Nothing. Finally, I decide to solder a wire from the tab, to where I thikn the old leads go. Nothing. Open the working key, and find only two places the big solder tab goes to. Solder mini jumpers from the new tab to the spots, and bingo! It works. Still need to see if it will charge, but I think it is ok. BE CAREFUL!

Last edited by la528it; 09-28-2008 at 11:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2009, 09:21 PM
scottshaw scottshaw is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 525i, 2001 330CI
Key Battery Replacement

Thanks for posting the DIY. I opened my case up and found that the battery was at 3.23 volts! Pretty good for a 7 year old key. It appears that one of the buttons was bad, which I was able to fix.

One thing everyone needs to know, you DO need to reinitialize all the keys at the same time, otherwise some of them won't work!

Scott
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2009, 04:28 AM
anderduong anderduong is offline
2000 323ci blue bmw
Location: San Jose
 
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BMW Diamond Key Battery replacement

I did all this before i came to this ad, but this is pretty much the same of what i did. so all you guys that new to just follow this ad.

1. I pop the remote open using a knife (must start from the back like in the picture
included here)

2. I use a razor blade to cut only the batter off of the metal thats soldered to both sides of the battery, then remove the battery (notice, i didn't remove the metal, just the battery only)

3. I install a regular 3 volt cell batter that i bought from Longs Drugs(CVS)
(energizer 2025) <--- thats the batter i bought. you don't need to order any battery online because they are all the same. any 3volt same size will work.

4. I re-align the metal piece that holds the battery, then i put the battery back. ( i did not solder it, i just put it back in. it will stay in place when you put the shell back anyways.

5. i use a "clear silicon adhesive" to seal the ring all around the key, then i use regular paper tape and tape it down so it hold together until the silicons are try.

6. you're done, now follow the re-initiate (re-program the remote)


HOW PROGRAM THE REMOTE ( RE-INITIATE)









(MY STORY OF WHAT IT TAKES TO FIX MY REMOTE)
AND HOW HARD OR EASY OR DOES IT REALLY WORK??
READ BEYOND THEN YOU'LL GET YOUR ANSWER!!!

I drove my car with a dead fob remote key for about 2 year, today for some reason the door lock broke on me, i cannot unlock or lock the car with the key anymore, so i had to get in the car by the trunk, ( i had to open the trunk, pulled the release for the rear seats, push the seats down then get in and unlock my car to get in) to this point i know i couldn't lock my car anymore, i though i had to spend a few hundreds going to the dealer to get a new key or to fix the freaking door lock. I then remembered that i read something on the bimmerfest, and someone mentioned something about the Diamond key they said " you're not suppose to open it though some people had try" so I had to take my risk, open it fix the problem cheap or go spend a few hundreds and have the Dealers do it. Knowingless of what I'm doing, I took a knife and pop the freaking key total open, I wasn't suprise of what i see inside. I had to use a razar blade to cut the soldering off both side of the battery cell. (i only cut to remove the battery, not the cell that was soldered to hold the battery. so I only removed the battery). I read the batter it says 3volt, In the mean time, i had an extra batter that i bought for my Home Garage romote, it was also 3 volts but this one a little bit thicker. i put that battery in and follow the instructions of How To Program my remote from others on bimmerfest. I did what they said to do, did it so many times then i gave up because it didn't work. I went back, took everything out again, i try to re align everything specially the battery to be in proper position. i went back to my car: 1. key in ignition, switch it on then off quickly 2. take it out right away then press and hold down unlock button while pressing the lock button exactly 3 times, then let go the unlock button, my doors signaled, 4. i put the key back in the ignition switch it on then off to finalize. it work, and i was so freaking happy, it was one of the best moment for me. you don't know how much it meant to me to fix my key. I'm now happy bacause i can use my remote to lock and unlock, i don't have to worry about my stupidd broken lock, I saved myself from the Dealers atleast a few hundreds.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2009, 04:36 AM
anderduong anderduong is offline
2000 323ci blue bmw
Location: San Jose
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 323ci
BMW Diamond Key Battery replacement

I did all this before i came to this ad, but this is pretty much the same of what i did. so all you guys that new to just follow this ad.

1. I pop the remote open using a knife (must start from the back like in the picture
included here)

2. I use a razor blade to cut only the batter off of the metal thats soldered to both sides of the battery, then remove the battery (notice, i didn't remove the metal, just the battery only)

3. I install a regular 3 volt cell batter that i bought from Longs Drugs(CVS)
(energizer 2025) <--- thats the batter i bought. you don't need to order any battery online because they are all the same. any 3volt same size will work.

4. I re-align the metal piece that holds the battery, then i put the battery back. ( i did not solder it, i just put it back in. it will stay in place when you put the shell back anyways.

5. i use a "clear silicon adhesive" to seal the ring all around the key, then i use regular paper tape and tape it down so it hold together until the silicons are try.

6. you're done, now follow the re-initiate (re-program the remote)


HOW PROGRAM THE REMOTE ( RE-INITIATE)
-you must follow and do all the following steps quickly but do it right.


1. Put the key in ignition switch it ON then OFF and quickly remove it.

2. Hold DOWN the UN-LOCK Button, then Press the LOCK Button 3 times.

3. Release the UN-Lock button, your door now should signal

4. Put the key back in the ignition switch it ON then OFF to finalize.


WARNING !!!!!!

It took me almost hundreds of try before i successfully complete it.

the first time, I didn't install the battery properly so it didn't work, so i had to take it out and install it back it properly then. i try it and it work.

just don't give up then you win. and save money i hope. i help you!


any further questions email me ANDERDUON***ahoo.com



(MY STORY OF WHAT IT TAKES TO FIX MY REMOTE)
AND HOW HARD OR EASY OR DOES IT REALLY WORK??
READ BEYOND THEN YOU'LL GET YOUR ANSWER!!!

I drove my car with a dead fob remote key for about 2 year, today for some reason the door lock broke on me, i cannot unlock or lock the car with the key anymore, so i had to get in the car by the trunk, ( i had to open the trunk, pulled the release for the rear seats, push the seats down then get in and unlock my car to get in) to this point i know i couldn't lock my car anymore, i though i had to spend a few hundreds going to the dealer to get a new key or to fix the freaking door lock. I then remembered that i read something on the bimmerfest, and someone mentioned something about the Diamond key they said " you're not suppose to open it though some people had try" so I had to take my risk, open it fix the problem cheap or go spend a few hundreds and have the Dealers do it. Knowingless of what I'm doing, I took a knife and pop the freaking key total open, I wasn't suprise of what i see inside. I had to use a razar blade to cut the soldering off both side of the battery cell. (i only cut to remove the battery, not the cell that was soldered to hold the battery. so I only removed the battery). I read the batter it says 3volt, In the mean time, i had an extra batter that i bought for my Home Garage romote, it was also 3 volts but this one a little bit thicker. i put that battery in and follow the instructions of How To Program my remote from others on bimmerfest. I did what they said to do, did it so many times then i gave up because it didn't work. I went back, took everything out again, i try to re align everything specially the battery to be in proper position. i went back to my car: 1. key in ignition, switch it on then off quickly 2. take it out right away then press and hold down unlock button while pressing the lock button exactly 3 times, then let go the unlock button, my doors signaled, 4. i put the key back in the ignition switch it on then off to finalize. it work, and i was so freaking happy, it was one of the best moment for me. you don't know how much it meant to me to fix my key. I'm now happy bacause i can use my remote to lock and unlock, i don't have to worry about my stupidd broken lock, I saved myself from the Dealers atleast a few hundreds.
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2011, 08:48 AM
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G-Moussa G-Moussa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottshaw View Post
Thanks for posting the DIY. I opened my case up and found that the battery was at 3.23 volts! Pretty good for a 7 year old key. It appears that one of the buttons was bad, which I was able to fix.

One thing everyone needs to know, you DO need to reinitialize all the keys at the same time, otherwise some of them won't work!

Scott
Yes that's what I was wondering as well. I have 2 remotes, my current remote is not working right now, I tried resetting it and it still won't work, so I have to put it in the door manually. I wonder if I get the other key and try resetting both at the same time.
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2009, 02:57 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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Great write up LA528---you helped me save one of my keys--got both of them working again----guess
now that means I'll loose one of the damn things too
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2009, 03:12 PM
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nyclad nyclad is offline
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Doesn't the battery charge when it's in the ignition? Does anybody know if that affects the replacement battery? Otherwise, I'm all over this! No more $200+ replacement keys!
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2009, 10:39 PM
anderduong anderduong is offline
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if your battery should charged itself when in the ignition then you shouldn't run out of battery.

secondly, as you can see in the pictures above of the inside of the diamond key. the remote unit doesn't connect to the key, the key is only held by the back plastic cover. so i don't know how that's gonna re-charge your remote unit for you. i think what that rumor was that these people are talking about the newer BMW's key. but i had a diamond key, i change the battery myself, i bought my battery from CVS's pharmacy (longs drug) its not even the same size but it still works.

so good luck to you, and if you have the diamond key i think this is the right process for you too!
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2010, 08:20 PM
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abanjableu abanjableu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anderduong View Post
if your battery should charged itself when in the ignition then you shouldn't run out of battery.

secondly, as you can see in the pictures above of the inside of the diamond key. the remote unit doesn't connect to the key, the key is only held by the back plastic cover. so i don't know how that's gonna re-charge your remote unit for you. i think what that rumor was that these people are talking about the newer BMW's key. but i had a diamond key, i change the battery myself, i bought my battery from CVS's pharmacy (longs drug) its not even the same size but it still works.

so good luck to you, and if you have the diamond key i think this is the right process for you too!
I think your fix is plausible, but not oem. A recharging battery is in there from the factory.
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  #10  
Old 01-02-2010, 02:21 PM
misel misel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anderduong View Post
if your battery should charged itself when in the ignition then you shouldn't run out of battery.

secondly, as you can see in the pictures above of the inside of the diamond key. the remote unit doesn't connect to the key, the key is only held by the back plastic cover. so i don't know how that's gonna re-charge your remote unit for you. i think what that rumor was that these people are talking about the newer BMW's key. but i had a diamond key, i change the battery myself, i bought my battery from CVS's pharmacy (longs drug) its not even the same size but it still works.

so good luck to you, and if you have the diamond key i think this is the right process for you too!
The diamond key uses rechargeable VL type battery (VL=vanadium pentoxide lithium).
This VL battery is a rechargeable type and will be recharged when key is inserted to the car. Recharging is done by some kind of electromagnetic radiation, not by contact of electricity, so there is no need of direct contact from key's electronic to the car.

Rechargeable battery has limited lifespan too, if I remembered correctly it has 2000 recharging cycle. I did a search long time ago and found facts about this VL battery in Panasonic website.

If you change the orignal battery with other non rechargeable battery, the battery will die sooner than the original battery because it doesn't top up it's capacity while driving.
The non-rechargeable battery will be also charged while you're driving, then you will also risk having a battery leak in the key fob. A battery leak can leak liquid in your key fob and can damage the key's electronic circuit around it.
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  #11  
Old 01-02-2010, 02:36 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misel View Post
The non-rechargeable battery will be also charged while you're driving, then you will also risk having a battery leak in the key fob. A battery leak can leak liquid in your key fob and can damage the key's electronic circuit around it.
Exactly. The key charges by electrical induction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging

Good write-up. I pulled my flashlight apart, it seems to need new batteries too, and it's a similar process, though different batteries.
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Last edited by bmw_n00b13; 01-02-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-02-2010, 06:09 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Excellent info! Thanks
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  #13  
Old 01-05-2010, 05:45 PM
anderduong anderduong is offline
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well.... i guess you guys proof our points of the re-chargeable battery. but mind didn't work, it was dead for the past few years. and i've now fix that problem, not sure how long it's gonna last me but so far so good. Besides, i had no choice, what am I suppose to do with my dead remote, so i gave it a try and it work and i saved around $200 from the dealer! =) good luck you guys.

P.S. does anyone know what type of speakers and where to get them for a replace of my OEM ones? (i have a 2 door coupe E46) i don't like my speakers. i pop open the speaker's cover to see what side and shape they are, the rears are also rounded. i didn't want to install a different fitment one cause they it won't look so good!

thanks.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:00 AM
yaofeng yaofeng is offline
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Just want to say thank you for posting the info. Found this googling. The biggest hurdle for me is actually finding out how to crack open the key case for my '03 325i remote key.

After that I repaired the center click switch on the circuit board, that provides the lock function. For reason not known to me the two tiny rectangular plate springs inside the switch ended up loose in the key case. I put them back in. Now the click switch is functioning although still lack the distinct pop for the normal ones adjacent to it.

After removing the original 2020 battery by unlodging the tack welds on both side from the holder I simply placed a new 2025 in the holder. Although I had to resolder the bottom part of the holder to the circuit board.

I read the charging part only after sealing the key case before successfully realigning the key. Oh, well. Will see how long this battery lasts.
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2010, 07:57 AM
anderduong anderduong is offline
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But, as long as you had a good fix right? i'm assuming that the battery should atleast last for a year or more, its okay now since i have plenty of spare battery now. hehehe. my key works great so far, i love it, it not just work but i can also use the alarm on my car since i can lock with the remote. =)

good luck everybody!
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  #16  
Old 01-16-2010, 02:49 PM
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gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
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Thought I found a source... guess not
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Ever wonder why 5 series electrical issues are common and complicated.. Spend time here and you will understand why. http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/r...9new/index.htm

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  #17  
Old 03-09-2010, 11:19 PM
Meka Meka is offline
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I see this is an old post. How are your batteries and keys doing over time? How long are your fixes lasting?
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  #18  
Old 09-24-2010, 06:51 PM
tek0011 tek0011 is offline
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Talking

thank you!!

Just bought a 2001 530i and its amazing. Except for having to use the key in the door to lock and unlock.

Just used the above method along with

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=451510

Follow it to the T and you will have no problem.

Pointers: Be careful and have patience opening the key. Start near the key ring holder. Once you get that going put a flathead screwdriver in there and as you move it towards the actual key itself, keep using an Exacto to get the adhesive off.

The battery holder for mine looked different then both of these. Better actually. Anyone that understands how to put a battery in something and solder can do this with ease. Just make sure you line up pos with pos and neg with neg when resoldering new battery.

I used all purpose GOOP and it worked wonders.

DONT FORGET TO CLEAN YOUR KEY! NOW IS A GREAT TIME. USE SOME Q-TIPS AND RUBBING ALCOHOL AND GET ALL THAT DUST AND DIRT OUT.

I also used a light abrasive (dremel with the softest abrasive fabric tool and polished the key up.

Worked immediately. Thank you again!

Cost for new key quoted from dealer: $225.00
Total cost of battery and parts to fix: $28.32
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  #19  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:28 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Old post resurrected! Guy looking for speakers, rule about not hijacking posts applies then and now- start your own thread. Anyone using a non-rechargeable battery is really wasting their time and if they glued back together will really have fun when that battery dies (from CVS) in a year or less.

One tip I offer for all. If you are going to transfer a tab from an old battery to a new battery that does not have the correct tab needed or none at all....these batteries are coated with a very shiny and very conductive metal which often does not have an affinity for accepting solder. Use a dremel with a wire wheel, scratch with a small screw driver, or otherwise "scuff" the new battery to remove the shiny, conductive coating and the solder will stick much more readily. Otherwise, you may have to hold your soldering iron to the new battery a lot longer than what is good for the new battery. You want to get the solder to stick and use as little heat as possible. Good idea to keep a wet washcloth or rag handy. Scuff new battery, use low wattage 30W/40W max. iron and flow the solder onto new battery as quickly as possible and then cool with wet wash cloth so that heat does not damage the internals of the new battery.

Great write up. Had not seen before.
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  #20  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:43 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Great write up. Had not seen before.
Since it's sometimes difficult to find thread with common search features (battery & key, for example), I've tried to collect the better key-related threads into the bestlinks (and I shrank & copied pictures so that they won't disappear).

Here's what we have so far ... (let me know if something should be added):
- BMW diamond key opening, charging, recoding, battery replacement & recoding (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:25 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For cross reference, a DIY thread opened up today which shows how to convert the old (1996 to 2000) square key to a diamond key.
- DIY - easy way to make a brand new diamond key work in your older car (96-00)

In that DIY, you remove the rechargeable battery and replace it with a standard coin battery:
  • 3 volt Panasonic VL 2020 lithium coin cell battery (rechargeable)
  • 3 volt Walmart CR2016 (non rechargeable)
You also remove the charging coil (and reputedly a hidden transponder underneath all those wraps of wire).

If anyone has an old key they can do an autopsy on, it sure would be nice to figure out if there really is a hidden transponder underneath all those coils of copper wire!
- Is there a "transponder" underneath the copper wire in the diamond key inductive coil

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  #22  
Old 04-11-2011, 05:24 PM
EuroTrash540i EuroTrash540i is offline
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Awesome write up, recently purchased an e39 540i and thought I was out of luck because the fob was dead and read that the battery can't be replaced, then found this little gem! Any of you who did this have any issues after a while with the non rechargable battery?
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:17 AM
tek0011 tek0011 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW530i
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Originally Posted by EuroTrash540i View Post
Awesome write up, recently purchased an e39 540i and thought I was out of luck because the fob was dead and read that the battery can't be replaced, then found this little gem! Any of you who did this have any issues after a while with the non rechargable battery?
Its been 3-4 months and Ive had no problems.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:45 AM
EuroTrash540i EuroTrash540i is offline
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Location: KansASS
 
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Mein Auto: 00' 540i
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Originally Posted by tek0011 View Post
Its been 3-4 months and Ive had no problems.
Sweet! Thanks. I tried it yesterday, and apparently I bought the wrong batteries But I have to do some running around this afternoon and will try again.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:23 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
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Originally Posted by EuroTrash540i View Post
Sweet! Thanks. I tried it yesterday, and apparently I bought the wrong batteries But I have to do some running around this afternoon and will try again.
Just curious...but what type of key do you have? The old style or the new style? Or what is your car's build date? If it is BEFORE 9/99...and you have the old style key...then this thread doesn't apply to your situation.
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
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99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
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