Thursday, February 4, 2021

Dead Instrument Cluster, part: The Second

 See my previous article and then know that 4 days later it died again. 

I was lucky in that I never cancelled the appointment to get it fixed so when that day rolled around I drive it in without any instrument display. The only danger was that I didn’t know how fast I was going which was easily solved by running Wayz on my iPhone and that I didn’t know how much gas it had in it but my wife assured me it was nearly full when it went dark again ;) 

They took over 2 hours to decide that it was actually broken again and that they would need to order a new instrument cluster. I told them that in moment one, but OK whatever. Since the last one failed only 4 months ago they are going to replace it under warranty. 

They really didn’t want me to take it back home without a speedometer, so I had to sign a hand written phrase on the receipt to the effect that I had been counseled about the dangers of driving it without a speedometer. I signed it, I have one. At least approximate on my phone. I tried to explain that too.

Sadly the part is back ordered so they don’t know how long it will take to get a replacement.

Luckily I decided to take it apart yet again and do some lower level debugging of the connections to the board. This time I was going to take it apart, actually de-solder a component, and then re-solder it with leaded solder and put it together enough to do a quick test. That way I can be sure what I touched and didn’t unlike the first time when I just randomly reflowed anything that was large enough for me to safely handle without a lot of prep work.

Step one was just the connector to the board itself. I used a combination of a solder sucker and solder wick to remove maybe 80% of the solder holding the connector in place from the back. And then generously fluxed it and resoldered it with standard leaded solder. Put the device together enough to test it with both displays connected again. and the screws holding them in installed so that the very weak little connectors for them wouldn’t get broken or torn and it lit right up.

So the problem is definitely in the connection of the connector and not in the other power supply components that I resoldered in the first entry of this saga.

If you think you can do this I would encourage you not to. See my first entry that has more info on the very delicate connectors for the screens and other parts. But since it’s dead anyway and they were going to replace it anyway I decided it couldn’t get any more dead than it was so I took a chance.

If it is still working when I finally get the call from them in the future that the real part is back in stock and to bring it in for replacement it’s going to be a tough decision what to do. Do I keep the one I’ve been fixing and hope it keeps working? Do I let them replace it with another one that is definitely going to have the same problem but now I know how to fix it? Do I let them even notice that I fixed it? Or just claim that it spontaneously started working again and has been on and off for all that time? I like that last one but I don’t want to lie to them. I’d really like to keep this one as a spare and let them replace it with a new one. Thats the offer I’ll make them I think. I’ll be sure to update with more information if the backordered replacement ever arrives ;) When we got this first replacement we had to tell them what the odometer reading was so that they could get it burned into the new one. They didn’t ask me this time so either they will call back when it is ready to go and then spend more time getting that burned in or it will just come with it set to 0. Since the car only has 40k miles on it it would be hilarious to reset it to 0. I’m pretty sure that they will call to ask me. The temptation is to tell them less than the last time just for fun ;) We keep our cars until they are ready to be junked so I won’t be using that to sell it to someone else fraudulently, but just curious what they would say...