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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 07-02-2014, 07:44 PM
Wybo04 Wybo04 is offline
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Key FOB question

Hey guys,
I know this question has been addressed many many MANY times but I cannot seem to find an answer. My key battery is shot. I have to constantly hit the remote for the battery to engage and I need to replace the battery. I understand how to open the key up but I don't want to get a rechargable battery because there seems to be some modification regardless of if I get the Vl-202 or not.

So to the question:

I've seen on Youtube that people replace it with a CR2016 and a CR2025. Which battery should I use? And will everything be okay as far as functions in the remote (unlocking/locking/trunk)?

Thanks so much!

BTW, I've used this thread as a reference.
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...&highlight=key
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2014, 08:21 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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That thread does not address your issue. You can try to replace the cell with a non-rechargeable Lithium cell. I'd opt for the rechargeable type, since it can probably last as long as you own the car.

I've not seen a post where the cell was replaced as you intend. You could end up creating a fire hazard, since the key electronics will try to charge the battery.

Why not just buy a new key, and use your existing one as a backup?
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  #3  
Old 07-02-2014, 08:26 PM
Wybo04 Wybo04 is offline
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So then if I opt to a rechargeable one, am I going to have to customize it at all?
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  #4  
Old 07-02-2014, 08:35 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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Look at the Best of E39 Links at the top of the page. There are many posts there that describe the replacement procedure. I don't know what you mean by "customize."
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  #5  
Old 07-02-2014, 09:27 PM
Wybo04 Wybo04 is offline
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There's supposedly a BMW special customized tab configuration that the new exact same battery replacement will not come with. Even with looking at the pictures and reading every post on this, I can't seem understand how to solder the new one on.

First I heat up the solder joints on the board which should release the battery (one post said the battery should fall out).

Second, no clue.

Haha, any help is appreciated. A more of a in-depth explanation is what I am looking for.
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  #6  
Old 07-02-2014, 09:56 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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I've already helped you by suggesting you search the Best Links.
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  #7  
Old 07-03-2014, 03:59 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Key Battery

OK here's what I ended up with. First things first. I have the diamond key, 2001 525i BMW.
OK I read most of the posts and decided, being my key doesn't work, why not cut it open and give it a run for the money. The Stealer wanted $180. What did I have to loose the key didn't function as designed, right?

The worst case scenario would be getting pinched for $180. I went for the VL2020 rechargeable off ebay for $7. Put it in the key (didn't solder) took it to the car and click walla shazam it worked. That was good for about 2 days and would you believe I was right back at square one! Rats! Unfortunately the "charging unit" in the column obviously doesn't CHARGE the battery, so my real problem was NOT the battery but the charging unit in the steering column itself. So.... I replaced the "rechargeable" with a 2025 (non-rechargeable)

Walla Shazam it WORKS, been using it for about 2 months, unfortunately the 2025 is a little thick for the key fob, but it does work. If you want to replace your battery I recommend the 2016. It's a slimmer battery and I believe fits perfect. I DID NOT have to solder the battery in the key.

FYI... The 2020, 2025, 2026 are all the same diameter the difference is the THICKNESS.

Give it a shot what ya got to lose. .2 worth
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2014, 04:06 PM
Wybo04 Wybo04 is offline
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I ended up using the CR2016 energizer battery. Works perfect!!! I went and bought the 2025 but as the previous post mentioned, it was too big. So I returned it for the 2016. I ended up having to solder the pin back into the chip because it kept falling out and not making a connection when I would put the unit back together but overall, I am happy. I used just normal superglue and put it on the front/back and the sides.
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  #9  
Old 07-03-2014, 07:00 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Wow...wish you guys would have taken some pics of this DIY so that others could gain from your experience. This is the first time I've read of owners substituting a CR2016 in place of the rechargeable battery in the new style (diamond) key. Who knew? Obviously not me.
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2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 2013 F06 650ix Gran Coupe` (Black Sapphire) 1/13 mfg date
(SOLD)
97 740iL (Arctic Silver) <<~>> 99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=637911&d=1538398374&thumb=1&stc=1

Last edited by QSilver7; 07-03-2014 at 07:02 PM.
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  #10  
Old 07-03-2014, 10:08 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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key fob

It's really easy. The difficult part is taking the plunge and cutting into the key. Hey... if it doesn't work what you got to lose? It's either Take A Chance or fork out the steeler prices.

Go to Youtube and type in BMW key replacement. There are about a dozen videos, some good some not so good but you'll get the gist. Get back with me if you have any questions.
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  #11  
Old 07-04-2014, 01:12 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Once Q has weighed in, there's not much I can add other than to simply point to Q's documents in the bestlinks, found by typing /key f3 ...
- How to replace the old-style BMW square key battery (1) (2) & what battery to use in the new style 2000+ BMW E39, E46, E53, E85, etc. diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

see also:
- How to replace the old-style BMW square key battery (1) (2) & how to replace the rubber key pads in the square keys (1) (2) & what the red LED indicates on the old square key (1) & what can go wrong with a key and where to send it for repair (1) (2) (3) (4) & what battery to use in the new style 2000+ BMW E39, E46, E53, E85, etc. diamond key (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) & a square key to diamond key retrofit and transponder swap (1) (2) (3) (4) & diamond key to square key retrofit questions (1) & how to recharge your key out of your BMW and how long that key will last in the drawer before it needs that off-the-car recharging (1) & the details on swapping the BMW diamond key transponder (1) & the proper diamond key initializing or programming sequence (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) & what to do if your only key is locked inside your bimmer (1) & a description of the various types of BMW Remote, Illuminated, Spare/Wallet, & Valet/Service keys (1) (2) & a list of diamond key EWS, FZV, & DWA functions (1) (2) & all about the 10-key limit to programming your own keys at home (1) & a description of the ignition key ISN (individual serial number) ten-second rule (1) & what to do if you lost your only diamond key (1) or what to do if your BMW key was stolen (1)
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Last edited by bluebee; 07-04-2014 at 01:15 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-04-2014, 02:08 PM
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pudl pudl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bem-ster View Post
FYI... The 2020, 2025, 2026 are all the same diameter the difference is the THICKNESS.
What does CR2016 mean:
C - Lithium battery
R - shape
20 - diameter in millimeters
16 - thickness in millimeters/10

Any power supply that has 3 Volts nominal will be fine for the key. However, in the three cases of key repair I have done, the problem was always the battery prongs losing contact with the board. The battery is heavy and eventually breaks free. I resoldered them and put a bit of padding on top. If you need to change the battery, reuse the prongs. Ask the battery shop to spot weld them on to the new battery for you.

Last edited by pudl; 07-05-2014 at 04:14 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-04-2014, 02:24 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bem-ster View Post
It's really easy. The difficult part is taking the plunge and cutting into the key. Hey... if it doesn't work what you got to lose? It's either Take A Chance or fork out the steeler prices.

Go to Youtube and type in BMW key replacement. There are about a dozen videos, some good some not so good but you'll get the gist. Get back with me if you have any questions.
Don't get me wrong...I do appreciate what you wrote & described and the knowledge that you dropped in to the collective consciousness of the forum.

But over the decades of the BMW forum's existence, visual documentation has been the most prized and helpful DIYs due to the varied abilities of forum members & internet searchers. Some people are very good with their hands and/or electronics and can take a simple text driven instruction and go-to-town with it. Whereas some people are not that good at interpreting text alone and may need to be walked through every step...and require visual stimuli...for instance...if they don't remember or know that there's a positive & negative (+/-) side of the 2016 battery...and may insert the replaceable 2016 battery incorrectly on the circuit board...or not grasp that their still needs to be some type of contact from the battery to the traces on the circuit board that allows the FZV/DWA data to be transmitted per the antenna built into the key's circuit board.

As you've stated...instructions for carefully opening the diamond shaped key (images & videos + warnings about not damaging the circuit board as you pry open the key) has been around for a long time. But having an image of how the soldered rechargeable battery was removed and replaced with the replaceable battery AND NOT soldered to the circuit board...and just set into the battery case then resealed...IS THE NEW REVELATION that I'm sure blew not just my mind..but a few others that you usually see responding in these "key" threads.

Again...good info...that could have really benefited with pics...as a blazing trail through the beaten path of new style (diamond) remote key battery replacement issues.
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Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 2013 F06 650ix Gran Coupe` (Black Sapphire) 1/13 mfg date
(SOLD)
97 740iL (Arctic Silver) <<~>> 99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=637911&d=1538398374&thumb=1&stc=1

Last edited by QSilver7; 07-05-2014 at 12:15 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-04-2014, 02:58 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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You are absolutely right QSilver7. I should have taken pics of the procedure. And most of the information I received came from Bluebee so I'm forever grateful to Bluebee for his exhaustive content on just about anything BMW. Thank you for the heads up. I'll try to get the ole Nikon out and take pics. Thanks QSilver7
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2014, 02:28 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
What does CR2016 mean:
C - Lithium battery
R - shape
20 - diameter in millimeters
16 - thickness in millimeters/10
This is such a nice explicit summary that I'm going to add it to the links provided for the bestlinks (generally the #1 canonical link) so that others benefit from your table above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
However, in the three cases of key repair I have done, the problem was always the battery prongs losing contact with the board.
Anecdotally, it seems the battery gets blamed for more key ills than it deserves. People also slice components off the board, when opening, and, components might fall off.

The one thing I've learned is never THROW the key to someone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
I resoldered them and put a bit of padding on top.
Every time I try to solder a battery, I cook it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
Some people are very good with their hands and/or electronics and can take a simple text driven instruction and go-to-town with it.
Not me. Nope. I need EVERY single step with a picture of it. Every single screw and bolt. Luckily, folks like you and cn90 exist to give it to me!

But, I do very much agree.

EVERY single person who comes here asking a question, should expect that there is a payback, which is to answer a question by snapping a photo of what they did, so that others benefit.

I can't count the number of times I've done that, for example, and people show me where I did things wrongly, when I hadn't even noticed that I had done the wrong thing. People are that good with noticing details in a photo!

The OP should be cognizant that we like photos, and, we like people who snap and post photos. Personally, I sometimes don't even believe some folks who didn't show a photo. That's the genesis of the express "pictures or it didn't happen", which is what I think often, but rarely say (out of courtesy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
But having an image of how the soldered rechargeable battery was removed and replaced with the replaceable battery AND NOT soldered to the circuit board...and just set into the battery case then resealed...IS THE NEW REVELATION that I'm sure blew not just my mind..but a few others that you usually see responding in these "key" threads.
I'd like to see it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bem-ster View Post
You are absolutely right QSilver7. I should have taken pics of the procedure.
We really like pics, and we like people who post pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bem-ster View Post
And most of the information I received came from Bluebee
Actually, I am just the self-appointed head librarian here. Personally, I've never had a need to open up my key, so, any picture you see from me is culled mostly from QSilver7's posts, and the threads by people who post pictures as they open their keys.

So, credit goes to QSilver7, and in this case, also to anncam, la528it, & wolf888, who are, just like you, people who found that they needed to open up their keys, and they snapped the pictures for us all to benefit.
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2014, 04:43 AM
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pudl pudl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Every time I try to solder a battery, I cook it.
I agree. Batteries should not be soldered. I used the wrong term in the previous post. The battery shop should 'spot weld' prongs to the battery, not 'point solder'. Like this:


Image stolen from http://nusolar.org/newblog/?attachment_id=913

Too bad you copied my horrendous error to all those other threads.
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2014, 03:03 PM
Mfan225 Mfan225 is offline
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Originally Posted by Wybo04 View Post
My key battery is shot.
90% of the time it’s NOT the battery that is shot, its the contacts inside of the key or something else. I sent my key (one of two) to Scott at BMWGM5 , and he fixed it perfectly for $50. I would recommend doing this over replacing the battery and certainly over buying a new key.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:46 PM
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They sell the batteries with the prongs on EBAY. You shouldn't need to weld anything. $20 gets you 5 of them from china or you can by individual for $7. Why people are cutting off the prongs is beyond me.

EBAY Link
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:10 PM
bem-ster bem-ster is offline
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Key FOB Battery Diamond Key

Wow! I cut mine off because that's what we were instructed to do. I tried the Soldering, that was a joke. So let me get this straight, "use the prongs on the 2020 and it's ok?
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:31 PM
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AJR1982 AJR1982 is offline
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It says the cr and vl are both rechargeable. I believe they are both compatible but I don't know which is better for this application. Can the battery geeks weigh in on this subject?

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Old 07-07-2014, 05:43 PM
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Lithium batteries are not classified as rechargeable while vanadium pentoxide are. However, all batteries are rechargeable to a certain extent.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:14 PM
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AJR1982 AJR1982 is offline
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Lithium ion batteries are the ones in cell phones. They are pretty rechargeable.

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Old 07-07-2014, 08:54 PM
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people have gotten so use to not having to put the key in the door?
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJR1982 View Post
Lithium ion batteries are the ones in cell phones. They are pretty rechargeable.
CR2020 is a lithium - manganese dioxide battery. VL2020 is a lithium - aluminium vanadium pentoxide battery. Neither of them are lithium - ion batteries.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
all batteries are rechargeable to a certain extent.
I'd be careful saying that to some of the people here, since they might not have the experience to know what you meant by that subtlety.
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