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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 08-07-2005, 04:06 PM
frydaddy frydaddy is offline
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2001 E39 Key Battery Replacement

Greetings,

One of the keys for my 2001 530 has gradually stopped working. The Bentley manual shows how to replace the battery in pre-2001 models, but says that from 2001 on the battery recharges while the key is in the ignition. I think that this one is dead since all batteries (this one's probably lithium) have charge-cycle limits. I hesitate to start trying to pop the key apart. Any advice on this?

Thanks ...
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2005, 11:40 PM
DanT DanT is offline
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Its not a battery but rather a charge capacitor that is recharged by being in the ignition. They do sometimes go bad and I dont know a way of bringing them back to life other than replacement. Maybe somebody else here does.

DT
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2005, 12:26 AM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Try using this key a lot. It might charge it back to full charge.
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  #4  
Old 08-08-2005, 11:21 AM
NFS NFS is offline
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Use the bad key on the next long trip. I have heard of people bringing their key back to life after an hour or so of charging. Worth a try!
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  #5  
Old 08-08-2005, 06:39 PM
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chivas chivas is offline
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it rumored to take 30 continuous hours of use to fully charge it but a 4 or 5 hour trip should be good and make that a daily key for the next 6 months.
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2005, 11:45 AM
frydaddy frydaddy is offline
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Thanks for all of the responses ...

Thanks to everyone for your input. I'll try to charge it back up. I haven't driven for even an hour in a couple of months due to an injury. Funny thing is, the key that I almost never use still works fine. Sure hope this works; I just called a BMW dealer and they want $125. for a new one.

DanF

P.S. To DanT : you learn something new every day. I just embarrased myself by insisting to the service rep that the key held a battery .... Didn't know about the use charge capacitors.
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2005, 11:50 AM
frydaddy frydaddy is offline
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Follow-up question

Does anyone know what positions the key would charge in? I was wondering If I could just leave it in the ignition for awhile, but I doubt it ...

Dan F
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2005, 12:52 PM
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chivas chivas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frydaddy
Does anyone know what positions the key would charge in? I was wondering If I could just leave it in the ignition for awhile, but I doubt it ...

Dan F
acc
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2005, 05:30 PM
frydaddy frydaddy is offline
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The fix

I re-initialized the key and it works now. Should've tried that it the first place. I still can only get one or the other to work though. I do the two keys one after the other but only the one most recently done is working. Not really a big deal, but ...

Dan F
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  #10  
Old 08-13-2005, 08:03 PM
franzdom franzdom is offline
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We going to say that but you said "gradually"
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2005, 09:37 PM
jbollier jbollier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frydaddy
I re-initialized the key and it works now. Should've tried that it the first place. I still can only get one or the other to work though. I do the two keys one after the other but only the one most recently done is working. Not really a big deal, but ...

Dan F
How do you re-initialize the key? I have one that will lock but not unlock or when you lock the doors with the button on the key you will have heXX unlocking it with the other key
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  #12  
Old 03-26-2007, 07:30 AM
Kev6eel Kev6eel is offline
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Smile E39 Remote Key Not Working (battery dead?)

Both my keys have eventually given up working the remote locking/alarm. Mine are the rechargeable type that are no longer holding their charge. Yes, the later key types are not normal battery but use a rechargeable cell.

Boldly, I took one apart and found the following:

The key's cell is a Panasonic VL2020 (it looks like UL but is VL) which is a rechargeable 20mAh Lithium one with BMW specific solder tags. It is possible to purchase a VL2020-1HF from good battery outlets, but this will need to be slightly modified to solder onto the key PCB. Over here (UK) I got one off eBay for ***163;6 and fitted it myself. A lot cheaper than the ***163;100 my BMW dealer wanted for a whole new key.

Job Done!

BTW, to reinitialise key with new battery do the following (and do same with other remote keys in quick succession to gain same new wireless lock code)

(from http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/arc...p/t-80489.html)

I watched the tech perform this sequence:


Key in ignition
On and off five times - quickly
Removed key - held at shifter level
Pressed Unlock button and held while pushing lock buttons 3 times
Doors signalled confirmation
REPEATED ENTIRE SEQUENCE
Turned ignition on to finalize


This process voided the key that I didn't have me, so if you have two keys, as mentioned above, you may need to repeat for each key within required time to keep code between keys.

Last edited by Kev6eel; 03-26-2007 at 07:38 AM. Reason: Updated with key initialise lnk
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2007, 11:10 AM
Mattrix Mattrix is offline
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2003 325xi key is doing this as well. I am almost certain the cap is going out because it will work a few times after a long trip but dies within a day or 2. I have popped the cover and found that it is def a VL2020 with a "special" BMW tab configuration. I am looking to buy a replacement but cant find that tab configuration anywhere.

Kev6eel: Is the VL2020-1HF the "H" tab abd if not, what tab configuration worked for you?
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  #14  
Old 10-16-2007, 03:12 PM
jpar jpar is offline
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Key Battery diagrams

I found some details on this battery from Panasonic. They offer it in several different tab configurations and it is likely that one of them will be a close match for the key battery. As I have not taken mine apart yet, I would appreciate it if you could look at the diagrams and tell all of us which configuration best fits this application.

http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/..._TabConfig.pdf
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  #15  
Old 10-16-2007, 03:50 PM
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doru doru is offline
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A few days ago, a thread touched on the subject:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=236759
Post#5 in same thread has the DIY to change the rechargeable battery & the link to buy the battery.
Hope this helps
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  #16  
Old 10-16-2007, 04:10 PM
jburnham jburnham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frydaddy View Post
I re-initialized the key and it works now. Should've tried that it the first place. I still can only get one or the other to work though. I do the two keys one after the other but only the one most recently done is working. Not really a big deal, but ...

Dan F
Make sure you aren't sticking the second key in the ignition - I did that the first couple of times I tried it. I also tried using my Sonicare toothbrush recharger (charges by induction like the keys) to charge up my keys. They are both working great, but I'm not sure whether it was the re-initializing or the charging that fixed them.
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2008, 03:16 PM
ilian007 ilian007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frydaddy View Post
Greetings,

One of the keys for my 2001 530 has gradually stopped working. The Bentley manual shows how to replace the battery in pre-2001 models, but says that from 2001 on the battery recharges while the key is in the ignition. I think that this one is dead since all batteries (this one's probably lithium) have charge-cycle limits. I hesitate to start trying to pop the key apart. Any advice on this?

Thanks ...
Ok here is what happened with my keys. When I bought the car the previous owner told me one of the key never worked Key1, but the other one works great Key 2.

Key1 actually worked time to time ..
Key2 stoped working or worked only 30 minutes after I drove the car with it

My resolution of the problem:
Key1: After I opened the key (cut it with sharp knife) and meassured the battery 3.3v-which is totaly ok- I saw the original metal holder of the panasonic battery is broken. There are 2 dots that suppose to keep the metal holder in touch with the battery. First i tried to solder it in many different ways, but none was as successfull as I wanted (the battery surface is not soldarable). Finaly I changed it with one 3.3v battery which I had. To find apropriate battery you use the other posts. it is something panasonic 2020 .. first digits are for the battery capacity 20mAh in that case and second digits for how wide it is. for our case it is 20 which is 2mm. basicly you can put any batter 3.3v 20mAh and 2mm wide I've put 3.2mm 2032.. and was still ok to close the key1 normally.

Key2: the battery was 2volts so i just changed it with another one. has to be minimum 2.9-3v. New one is 3.3v no matter it says 3v on the package.


feel free to contact me if you have any questions. about the battery replacement it is pretty easy if you have basic soldering skills
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  #18  
Old 09-11-2008, 02:40 AM
nigel_1981 nigel_1981 is offline
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Slightly off topic

Excuse my ignorance but.. can we reinitialise a key from any E39? Like from a wrecked car? If so, can we also use a car from other models? eg. E36? I realise the key itself wont fit but don't care about that.
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  #19  
Old 09-11-2008, 09:54 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel_1981 View Post
Excuse my ignorance but.. can we reinitialise a key from any E39? Like from a wrecked car? If so, can we also use a car from other models? eg. E36? I realise the key itself wont fit but don't care about that.
Yes...the DWA feature (remote lock/unlock) of our keys is not car or VIN specific like the EWS (immobilization feature) of the key.

As long as the orphan key uses the same radio frequency (i.e. in the USA our keys are 315 MHz...in Europe they are 433 MHz) it can be programmed to lock/unlock your car (remember it will never start your car without having the embedded chip programmed with your car's VIN specific ISN (individual serial number)...which ONLY comes from BMW.

Another thing to remember is...the newer style "diamond-shaped" key does NOT have a replacable battery and is kept charged when it is inserted into the ignition and turned to position 1, 2, or 3. If your car was built BEFORE 9/99...it DOES NOT have the capability to keep that key charged...and if your car was built AFTER 9/99...the key probably won't be able to be inserted into the ignition past POSITION 0...which means even though your ignition has the ability to recharge the key...the key isn't cut for your car so the ignition won't turn.

That leaves you with using an orphaned old style rubber headed key from an e36/e39/e38 built before 9/99.

Hope this makes sense...see instructions below on how to program one of these keys to your car...REMEMBER to bring ALL of your master remote keys with you to program them ALL in the same session. Any remote key that you don't do in the same session...will no longer lock/unlock your car.

Stick ONLY the 1st key into the ignition...any other remote key that is to be programmed...start on STEP #3

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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 09-11-2008 at 09:57 AM.
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  #20  
Old 10-31-2008, 02:07 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Yes...the DWA feature (remote lock/unlock) of our keys is not car or VIN specific like the EWS (immobilization feature) of the key.

As long as the orphan key uses the same radio frequency (i.e. in the USA our keys are 315 MHz...in Europe they are 433 MHz) it can be programmed to lock/unlock your car (remember it will never start your car without having the embedded chip programmed with your car's VIN specific ISN (individual serial number)...which ONLY comes from BMW.

Another thing to remember is...the newer style "diamond-shaped" key does NOT have a replacable battery and is kept charged when it is inserted into the ignition and turned to position 1, 2, or 3. If your car was built BEFORE 9/99...it DOES NOT have the capability to keep that key charged...and if your car was built AFTER 9/99...the key probably won't be able to be inserted into the ignition past POSITION 0...which means even though your ignition has the ability to recharge the key...the key isn't cut for your car so the ignition won't turn.

That leaves you with using an orphaned old style rubber headed key from an e36/e39/e38 built before 9/99.

Hope this makes sense...see instructions below on how to program one of these keys to your car...REMEMBER to bring ALL of your master remote keys with you to program them ALL in the same session. Any remote key that you don't do in the same session...will no longer lock/unlock your car.

Stick ONLY the 1st key into the ignition...any other remote key that is to be programmed...start on STEP #3 or STEP #4 depending on which type of key you have.

(Instructions to reinitialize old style key)



(Instructions to reinitialize new style key)

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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #21  
Old 09-11-2010, 07:20 PM
gilbuzz gilbuzz is offline
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Battery or buttons?

Open the case, but before you replacing the battery check the voltage.( 3v and 2.75v with any button depressed.) If the voltage is within this range the button switches maybe the problem. Use a contact cleaner on each switch while pressing on and off until they begin to functional properly. As an added measure, spray entire PC board to clean components. This worked for me on two completely non functioning remotes.
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  #22  
Old 09-11-2010, 07:31 PM
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borderchris borderchris is offline
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Uhhhhhh... very nice and all, but you're responding to a 5 year old post...
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  #23  
Old 10-15-2010, 10:22 AM
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energizedmortal energizedmortal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borderchris View Post
Uhhhhhh... very nice and all, but you're responding to a 5 year old post...
it can be ten years later they'll always be a newbie that can use this information to make life easier like me... contact cleaner worked thanks
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  #24  
Old 10-15-2010, 01:01 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gilbuzz View Post
Open the case, but before you replacing the battery check the voltage.( 3v and 2.75v with any button depressed.) If the voltage is within this range the button switches maybe the problem. Use a contact cleaner on each switch while pressing on and off until they begin to functional properly. As an added measure, spray entire PC board to clean components. This worked for me on two completely non functioning remotes.
Great idea! I have one older remote (much used) and it started being unreliable at unlocking or opening the trunk. Works fine for locking...and it only acted up a couple times. I swapped to my unused (but several years old) remote for now. But will try cleaning the contacts on the heavily used one. If "no go" then I will try replacing the rechargeable battery as outlined above.
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  #25  
Old 10-28-2010, 02:03 PM
Lucwarm Lucwarm is offline
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I tried this but it seem as the unlock butoon doesnt work. the lock and truck works fine. the unluck button doesnt fseem damage. It work fine prior to the batter going dead. any questions.
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