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Overhead console display fix

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Thallarsen, May 30, 2007.

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    1. Thallarsen

      Thallarsen Active Member

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      I've seen a few posts relating to the overhead console display going out over time.
      I had the same problem, and found the culprit.
      Let me start out by describing my specific overhead display:
      Mine is in a ’99 Explorer Limited with sunroof. The display provides digital compass bearings and temp. The housing also has the two ‘spot’ lights for driver and passenger.
      Picture below.
      If yours isn’t exactly the same, but similar, I’ll bet that the problem is identical to mine.
      This problem is related to solder failure, similar to the Mach radio display problem.
      It's a resistor (or capacitor) that due to considerable heat, eventually loses its soldered contact at the board. You can confirm that this is the culprit before removing the console, by firmly pressing the "Mode" button, thus putting slight pressure on the board housed inside the display housing. If the display fades in slightly then goes out – or stays on for a few hours/days, then goes back out, you have likely tweaked the board slightly and brought temporary contact to the problematic resistor. Keep in mind that the Mode button switches from Farenheit to Celcius, then turns the display off, so you want to make sure that you haven't turned the display off with the Mode button (i.e. press it a few times).

      =============================


      Let me start out by describing my specific overhead display: Mine is in a '99 Explorer Limited with sunroof. The display provides digital compass bearings and temp. The housing also has the two 'spot' lights for driver and passenger.
      [​IMG]
      If yours isn't exactly the same, but similar, I'll bet that the problem is identical to mine. This problem is related to solder failure, similar to the Mach radio display problem.

      It's a resistor (or capacitor) that due to considerable heat, eventually loses its soldered contact at the board. You can confirm that this is the culprit by firmly pressing the button, thus putting slight pressure on the board housed inside the display housing. If the display fades in slightly then goes out - or stays on for a few hours/days, then goes back out, you have likely tweaked the board slightly and brought temporary contact to the problematic resistor.

      The fix will take less than an hour if you're comfortable with soldering. If you've never soldered before, this may not be a good fix to learn on, because it is such a small component. I suggest finding an electronics guy to resolder the component. It's such a minor job that it shouldn't be much at all.

      Anyway, what you'll need:
      1. Torx T-10 and driver.
      2. Soldering iron capable of small soldering repairs
      3. Desoldering braid (I didn't really need it, but for the perfectionist...)
      4. Good solder for small electronic work (silver based?) Radio Shack is a good resource.
      5. Magnifying glass. Preferably the kind with the 'helping hands' alligator clips, in which you can position the glass over the work. You'll need two hands for the solder.
      Here are the steps:
      1. Remove the overhead console. This is done by pulling back the trim around the sunroof (if equipped) just enough to expose the black tab
      [​IMG]
      This tab holds the rear portion of the console in place when tucked behind the sunroof trim (since I don't know the non-sunroof application, you're on your own here). Mine had some sticky adhesive that keeps the trim in place. The console should drop down slightly at this point.
      2. Gently pull on both sides at about the middle of the console. It's held in by two pressure clips. It should pop out of the roof fixture without too much force.
      [​IMG]
      3. Disconnect the two harness connectors (possibly only one if not equipped with a sunroof).
      [​IMG]
      4. Working on a flat surface, remove the Torx screws (11 total for sunroof models). There's no need to remove the two rearmost screws on the black plastic bracket, or the two screws holding the harness plug receptacle (Connector 1 - sunroof models).
      [​IMG]
      5. Lift the black plastic insert housing the light bezel and buttons from the console surround.
      [​IMG]
      The spotlights and temp/compass display board come out as one unit, as they are attached with connectors.
      [​IMG]
      6. Unplug the connector from the white display housing
      [​IMG]
      7. Using a small screwdriver, pry around each of the four retainers that hold the white plastic cover in place over the black bottom housing.
      [​IMG]
      8. After lifting the white plastic cover from the black bottom housing, you'll be able to remove the circuit board with the display glass. Take care not to bend the display glass.
      [​IMG]
      9. Now that you have the board removed, you can identify the failed component. With a magnifying glass, carefully check the integrity and the solders at each end of the resistors labeled "510". This is where I found the failure. Yours is likely at one or both of these. This photo is a closeup. Note that these resistors are only about 1/4" end to end.
      [​IMG]
      10. As you can see, I'm not a master solderer, but it worked. There was one resistor that was clearly broken from it's original solder, but the one next to it wasn't looking too stable, so I resoldered both. These little suckers get pretty hot when the display is operating normally, so make sure that your solder is good. This is where you take your time, and make sure that you have a stable solder at all resoldered points. If it's not such a good solder, it will fail before too long. You can test your repair by plugging in the connector to the board, then plugging that directly to the harness in the car. If you get a display, you've fixed the problem!

      11. Reassemble in reverse order. One thing to note, is that the small spotlights' housing have two small tabs that fit into the black 'center' housing that has the buttons, light cover, etc. You'll need to fit the spotlights into the housing first and foremost before reassembling the console.

      12. Good Luck!

      Although this worked for me and all others who tried it and got back to me, I can't guarantee that it will work for you. So attempt this at your own risk. Please post to the thread to let others know whether this worked for you.

      Overhead console 001.jpg
       
      Last edited by a moderator: July 14, 2013
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    3. rootdaddy

      rootdaddy New Member

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      The fix that Thallersen has works like a champ. The problem is the two items on top of the board marked with the number "501". I hit each end of the "501" components with a spot of solder and all is well.
       
    4. zbeach

      zbeach New Member

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      I'm going to try and tackle this problem this week. If you have any way to either post or send those detailed photos of the repair, I'd really appreciate the guidance!
       
    5. Lockdown_70

      Lockdown_70 New Member

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    6. Thallarsen

      Thallarsen Active Member

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      Email sent, Lockdown_70. For all of those who have had display problems, tried this fix and responded back to me, all have had success (so far).
      I've been getting a bunch of requests for this lately, as if more people's consoles are crapping out (kind of like the display on the Mach head units).
      Initially I tried to get the writeup with pictures in this thread, but I recall it being too large, and couldn't get it all in for some reason. I might try to get the whole thing in a new thread if I can.
       
    7. zbeach

      zbeach New Member

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      An excellent diagnosis, but I'm not so good with the solder. When I got to the circuit board, one of the 501 resisters was loose on one end just as you described. However, my soldering didn't go so well - it still doesn't work. I have a friend who's good with electronics - maybe he can still fix the resister. Excellent call on the problem though!
       
    8. Thallarsen

      Thallarsen Active Member

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      Getting a good solder is critical in making the repair and ensuring that it will last. Since you've gone to the trouble of getting to the resistor, it's worth your while to have a proficient solderer hit it with a good solder. If you found that the '501' had a broken solder, I'll bet that getting a good solder at that point will fix your display.
      If it's in the hands of a good solderer, I'd have the other side hit - and both sides of the other '501' touched up as well. That would take all of 5 minutes for an experienced solderer.
       
    9. Thallarsen

      Thallarsen Active Member

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      Here are the steps with pics!

      ...
       
      Last edited by a moderator: July 14, 2013
    10. sunchaser

      sunchaser New Member

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      Thanks so much for the step-by-step instructions. Just got thru working on my compass/temp and it seems to work fine. Really appreciate you taking the time to show it!
       
    11. fhussar

      fhussar New Member

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      overhead console fix


      This really works@ Thank you ! Trust me, if you have this problem, and you follow these instructions, this will help you repair the display issue! Thank again
       
    12. sk8shot19

      sk8shot19 New Member

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      Thanks for the instructions on the fix, it was actually pretty easy and not my compass works great. Thanks again!!
       
    13. lzavalet

      lzavalet New Member

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      it really works, just follow the instructions and you can finish in 20 minutes
       
    14. Allcruisen

      Allcruisen New Member

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      Thallarsen, I was looking at mine {a '95 Bronco Eddie Bauer} And it all looks the same, the only difference is mine has two 512 resistors. Could this be the problem?

      I had to use the magnifying glass to see the number...

      Any help would be greatly appreciated,

      Allcruisen

      allcruisenauto@yahoo.com
       
    15. ThePhoenix

      ThePhoenix Guest

      so far so good even in the miami heat for my console. great write up though
       
    16. Tbirdsims

      Tbirdsims New Member

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    17. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      Its all in the thread if you scroll up :)
       
    18. idgaf52

      idgaf52 New Member

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      Thanks, this repair worked perfectly. Been without this feature for over 7 months.
       
    19. GJarrett

      GJarrett Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Nice fix :thumbsup:

      Mine hasn't worked for three years but I only just noticed this thread today. I removed and opened mine up but my old eyes could not see anything wrong with the solders on those two items. (Actually I could barely even see them LOL)

      I figured what the heck it won't hurt to solder them anyway. By golly it really does work!

      Thanks for sharing a really easy fix for a common problem. :)

      PS ~ BTW, it's 93 degrees and I'm pointing southwest :D
       
    20. jpacetti

      jpacetti New Member

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      I have a 95 XLT and as far as I can tell we have two different circuit boards. I pulled it apart and found a big difference between the board you pictured an the one I have. However mine takes a few minutes to turn on after I start the car. Any ideas on how to fix it or maybe someone else with a similar problem?
       
    21. ArtJ

      ArtJ New Member

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      Thallarsen,
      Thank you for this fix. I have a '99 XLT AWD 5.0 with this problem. I pulled the circut board and immediately noticed that I only had 1-510 resistor. Although it does look as if there may be evidence that the solder failed on both ends of the missing resistor, I can't really be sure. I looked to see if it dropped off when I pulled the board out and couldn't find it.

      Since your explorer, which has 2-510 resistors, has a sunroof and a 2nd connecting harness, where my non-sunroof model only has 1 connector, I was wondering if all non-sunroof models only had 1-510 resistor, rather than the 2.

      If you, or anyone else, can give me an answer, I'd really appreciate it. BYW, I'm having a tough time trying to find a replacement 510 resistor...any ideas?
       
    22. daffy

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    23. ArtJ

      ArtJ New Member

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      Replacement 510 resistor

      Daffy,
      If there were two 510 resistors side by side, then the heat must have melted the solder on both ends of one of them allowing the resistor to fall off the circut board. If that is the case, I probably lost it when removing the board from the console. Does that make any sense?
       
    24. daffy

      daffy Active Member

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      Does it look like something was soldered there? if it got hot, or cracked, you'd see evidence that it was there. If the pads are there, and fresh looking, there was never a part there (different production run, different parts added/removed?)

      Can you post a picture of your board?
       
    25. ArtJ

      ArtJ New Member

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      Thanks for the input, Daffy. No need for a photo. I used a magnifying glass and rubbed my finger over the pad and, yes, there definately was something soldered there before. I was "hands and knees" with a spotlight in all the areas I thought the missing resistor could have fallen out but, no luck. Those little suckers are not that easy to find on gravel or deep pile carpeting and I'm still having a problem locating a single replacement 510 resistor locally. I still have a couple of other sources to check in the area so we'll see what happens.

      Incidentally, thanks for the link to Jamco but if I ordered from there, I don't know what I'd do with the other 4999 resistors.
       
    26. ArtJ

      ArtJ New Member

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      It worked!

      Although I couldn't find a replacement 510 resistor that was the same type as the origional (I believe that one is "film"?), I was able to use a 510 ceramic instead. I knew I would not be able to solder it myself...and have it come out right, that is...so I had a friend do it for me. The ceramic resistors have wire on both ends so the difficult part was trying to hold it in place while applying the solder. He finally was able to get it, and it works just fine so far. Another difficult part was reassembly and figuring out how the connector to the circut board fits when reinstalling the map lights.

      Anyway, thanks much to Thallarsen and Daffy whose knowledge and input made this success possible.
       

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