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Old 09-17-2014, 10:43 PM
JayDee4711's Avatar
JayDee4711 JayDee4711 is offline
Benz S211 Convert
Location: SF Bay Area
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 485
Mein Auto: 535 Xi Wagon, MB CLK430
Post CCC iDrive Preset Button Repair

This was originally written based on my 2009 E61, but it is likely to apply to other models, too:

My post-LCI, DVD-based CCC iDrive (note the strategic arrangement of TLAs*) would occasionally behave oddly: It would either tell me it saved [Something Random] to preset button #1, or it would tell me that saving [Something Else Random] to button #1 is not possible. Just like I had pressed button #1 for shorter or longer, all the while I had both hands on the wheel. Well, nowhere near button #1 , that is.

So while I had the head unit on the bench for replacement of the DVD drive, I decided to check whether button #1 had anything going on that might cause false presses. [OT Alert]Swapping that DVD drive went quite well and is described in great enough detail in quite a few threads here and elsewhere. Without my button #1 excursion, it would have taken me less than an hour; no programming required.[/OT Alert]

The assembly that makes up the front of the CD and DVD drives and includes all buttons in that area is only clipped into the head unit and should pop off without the head unit even removed from the center stack. I have not verified this though, since I did have the head unit out anyway. Input welcome. The flat-ribbon cable between the assembly and the head unit is straightforward to disconnect. There are two circuit boards in this assembly, one closer to the head unit, and the other one, parallel to it, closer to the face plate with the buttons. Since you have to turn the assembly face down, these will be referred to as upper and lower board, respectively. You will have to remove them both to get access to the actual buttons.

Unscrew the numerous torx screws that hold the upper board and pop the bracket of the flat ribbon connector out, so you can carefully remove that ribbon cable. Now watch out: There is a 10-post connector between the two boards on the passenger side. These posts fit pretty tightly in the receptacles on the upper board. When I pried the upper board up, all 10 posts cleanly broke off the lower board. Can you spell cold solder joint? Since SMD joints tend to have a much lower mechanical load capacity than through-hole joints, I will put this ingenious design in the same category with idiotic placement of certain electronics modules. What the heck were they thinking?

The take-home message is: Only try this repair if you are comfortable having to re-solder this connector on an SMD board and have a small enough tip on your solder iron. I did not and had to pay a visit to the local electronics store. Here my fairly clumsy solder experiment:

The black rectangular plate that connects the post needs to be pushed down as far as possible before replacing the upper board. In the picture it is still too high to fit.

Once this is sorted (and knowing what expects you, you might not have to do it, I would hope), you can remove the lower circuit board. The actual buttons remain attached to the black plastic part. They are rubber buttons with conductive coating that closes contacts on the board - cell phone style. In contrast to those older cell phones, though, the buttons are not held up by their own elasticity, but by metal parts that act as springs:

And these springs are of unequal length. Since the buttons follow the curved face plate, the spring for #1 is shortest, and everybody else is slightly longer. And apparently, that does not give spring #1 enough force to reliably prevent the conductive coating from making contact. I carefully bent the spring outward a little to increase the force (see picture; #1 is closest to the camera). And that did the trick: After careful reassembly and a couple hundred miles, I have not seen a single false press of button #1. Now I only hope the solder joints on the posts do not shear off by vibration over time...

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