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  #1  
Old 05-22-2007, 07:52 AM
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Angry Instrument Cluster!

My temperature display has become completely blank and time display is garbled and unreadable as well as the PRND and the gear number is also garbled and unreadable. Have bulbs went out and is this the main problem behind these failures?

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  #2  
Old 05-22-2007, 10:54 AM
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probably time for a new instrument cluster
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2007, 04:46 PM
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Ouch,
i'll deal with not having the gear selector and temp show up for now. I bet this is going to be lots of $$$$$$$
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:29 PM
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There are some seller's on ebay that claim they can fix these. You send them your cluster and they mail it back good as new. I don't have any experience with them, so use at your own risk - I would be tempted to try it though since the dealer would be replacing the thing anyway.
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2007, 05:46 AM
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Designo,

I've been able to trace down the exact reason this happens on the 2000+ 210's but haven't been able to figure out a way to correct it. If you're interested I can attach or send you some pics of mine dismantled and show you why this happens.
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2007, 07:38 AM
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetTech View Post
Designo,

I've been able to trace down the exact reason this happens on the 2000+ 210's but haven't been able to figure out a way to correct it. If you're interested I can attach or send you some pics of mine dismantled and show you why this happens.
JetTech, Please send me anything you got on these and I would really appreciate this. My e-mail is Hot_E320@yahoo.com. (that's written as (Hot_E320)THANKS!!!!!!!! Lets see if we both can put our brains together and come up with something
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  #7  
Old 05-23-2007, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetTech View Post
Designo,

I've been able to trace down the exact reason this happens on the 2000+ 210's but haven't been able to figure out a way to correct it. If you're interested I can attach or send you some pics of mine dismantled and show you why this happens.
PM me as well! My CLK display (specifically outside temp display) is doing the same thing!
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  #8  
Old 05-23-2007, 10:59 PM
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My 2000 CLK 430 had the usual problem with the time and temp and gear indicator. I do electronics repair so I looked into it. There are three ribbon cables in it. One has copper in it and it is the center one that doesn't seem to cause problems. Also has a connector on the end of it. All three are liquid crystal displays and have back lights. The two outer ones have what looks like aluminum in them. It is a very thin strip between two pieces of flexible plastic. There are a couple of small rubber pieces that keep them pressed up against some copper foil pads on the circuit boards. I took mine off and cleaned up the copper and used a conductive pen to redo the aluminum traces with silver conductive paint. I used thin clear tape to mask each trace out and then a small brush to repaint the traces. It works fine now with all of them nice and sharp. WARNING this is not an easy job and I used a binocular microscope to work under. Also be carefull not to pull the ribbon cable loose from the glass plate of the liquid crystal display. Jerry
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Old 05-24-2007, 07:49 AM
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Jerry did an excellent job of describing the problem associated with these clusters. Here are a couple of pics that may help you visualize exactly what he's talking about. My idea is to replace the conductor strips with computer ribbon. It will take some tedious soldering and a large magnifying glass but that's the best idea I can come up with. Where the conductor strips were glued to the circuit board on my cluster, the actual conductor wires were worn through so there is nothing there. Anyhow take a look and see if you can get an idea of what Jerry and I are talking about.


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  #10  
Old 05-24-2007, 01:27 PM
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Question

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Originally Posted by Jerry View Post
The two outer ones have what looks like aluminum in them. It is a very thin strip between two pieces of flexible plastic. There are a couple of small rubber pieces that keep them pressed up against some copper foil pads on the circuit boards.
Hi Jerry,
Can these 2 strips be purchased along with the two pieces of flexible plastic from a Mercedes dealer? If so, do you know the MB part numbers for these strips? I was wondering if this job would be easier to just replace these and wait another 70K miles and then replace those again. I would be willing to do that.

Another thought.....Would it be possible to get a couple of the middle Copper strips instead and replace the two aluminum ones with it? Would ordering the middle strip for the 2 outer strip work?

Could someone/anyone see if Radio Shack or a computer store, etc would have these outer 2 wires that would fit the instrument cluster and please post the site here? THANKS!!!!

Last edited by Designo_E320; 05-24-2007 at 01:33 PM.
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2007, 06:27 PM
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JetTech, so the outer ribbons are just stuck to the circuit board? That seems nuts. I wonder if they use a kind of dielectric conductive cement.

Thanks for the pics and diagnosis, something else to look forward to, I suppose.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2007, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
JetTech, so the outer ribbons are just stuck to the circuit board? That seems nuts. I wonder if they use a kind of dielectric conductive cement.

Thanks for the pics and diagnosis, something else to look forward to, I suppose.
On my cluster one side was glued on and the other was just floating. I suspect whoever designed the cluster had in mind that the glue and pressure, from the pink colored pads in the photos I attached, would keep the ribbons secure. This is obviously absurd because the center ribbon that powers the center display is positively secured to the circuit board with a connector. And I don't hear anyone complaining that this one doesn't work. When I first tried to clean the contacts on the circuit board and reassemble the cluster, I plugged the 2 connectors in the back of the cluster before I installed it into the dash. As the cluster flexed, the digits would appear and disappear due to the flex. This is a obviously a crappy design that needs secure connectors to be reliable.

I've showed this to several people, who work in an avionics shop, and they think that with a lighted magnifying glass and a pin point soldering iron that a simple computer ribbon soldered to the contacts would eliminate the problem. Problem is none of them volunteered to do it...

They suggested I go to Radio Shack and buy a propane lit soldering iron with a needle tip and go for it. Easier said then done....I think it will be a few weeks before I tackle this job but I also think it's doable with a lot of tedious soldering and time.
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2007, 08:43 PM
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So let me make sure that I understand correctly:

The flex connector just rests against the circuit board (see my attached photo) and is held there by the pink piece of glue/adhesive/bonding agent?

It seems to me that they should have used a ZIF (zero insertion force) connector on the circuit board rather than relying on the glue/deal. What does the other side of the board look like? Would it be possible to add any sort of connector to the board?

It looks and sounds like soldering flex computer cable is the best option so far. Based on your picture I'd say with the correct soldering iron its very doable.

Good luck!
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Instrument Cluster!-cluster.jpg  
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  #14  
Old 05-24-2007, 11:22 PM
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Out of state for a couple of days so I didn't see the questions. A couple of things I can answer. One is that VDO makes the speedo and from what I have found isn't interested in selling any parts for them . As to soldering those ribbon cables have aluminum in them that can't be soldered and that would also melt the plastic. Getting any thing else to stick to the glass plates might be real tricky. I repainted the ends with a silver paint form a conductive pen. That more or less restored the ends. One of the cables has about 16 connectors and the other one has about 8. Jerry
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  #15  
Old 05-24-2007, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
I wonder if they use a kind of dielectric conductive cement.
Look for one or the other. Dielectric means non-conductive.

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