R55/R56 Key Fob rechargeable battery FIX - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Hong Kong R55/R56 Key Fob rechargeable battery FIX

Hi hi, just want to share my successful replacement of rechargeable battery of my R55 Key Fob. I have been using my car for more than 5 years and one of my key was out of juice few months ago. Though i put it back at the ignition key inserting place and drive for recharging the key fob, it was still malfunction.
I asked the BMW shop in HK and they said the key could not be repaired and it costs about HK$3500 for a new one including coding and engraving the key.

I tried to source the internet and strangely that no topic talking about how to repair the key fob (perhaps some for BMW which is more or less the same). Luckily I saw a topic "R56 Keyfob disassembled" which is somehow relevant and then I tried to fix it by myself.

Special Thanks to Millski who gave my the guidance on how to remove the casing.

Materials/Equipment required
1. Cutter
2. key fob ring (cuz the original plastic one must be damaged when taken down) (I had replaced a new metal ring for few years.
3. solder gun (no need soldering tin cuz the original one could be reused)
4. Panasonxx VL-2020 3V (180degree) rechargeable battery (can be bought from ebay or taobao) It costs not more than HK$50 for 1 pc.
5. glue (for reassembling)

Method:
1. remove the existing ring and the mechanical key
2. use a sharp cutter and insert it into the gap of the key fob and cut off the original glue carefully. as it is unavoidably making scratches on the key fob, so it is suggested to cut off the glue at the hidden part by the key fob ring (not at the engraved key side which is exposed)

3. after a while, the key fob will be separated like this.

4. bought a new battery from web or market. be sure it is 180degree (market has 90 degree).

5. Use a solder gun and carefully heat up the soldering tin of the footings of the existing battery and the battery will be dropped off. Remember don't heat up other parts of the electronic board.

6. use again the solder gun and carefully heat up the remained soldering tin on the terminal of the electronic board and insert the new battery into it.


7. Now, reassembling the key fob in reverse procedure. be careful that there are some small loosen parts, like the chrome button which is for releasing the mechanical key, the rubber for this chrome button.

8. glue the key fob. and reassemble the new key fob ring and mechanical key.

9. DONE

I tried the key with new battery for few days already and i can remote operate it in a further distance than my another 5-year key.

Cheers.
Vanon
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 4th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Well done Vanon - good work on the battery specs!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:42 PM
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Good to know this... It is ridiculous they did not place a replaceable battery in there from the beginning. One question though: Are there any contact points for the battery to recharge when it is in the key or is it purely wireless/magnetic?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 11th, 2014, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexcannas View Post
Good to know this... It is ridiculous they did not place a replaceable battery in there from the beginning. One question though: Are there any contact points for the battery to recharge when it is in the key or is it purely wireless/magnetic?

i think it's purely recharged by the coils in magnetic field when being inserted in the ignition key hole. (I am lack of electronic knowledge, hehe)
The battery was just soldered at +ve and -ve points of the electronic board.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2014, 10:29 AM
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Yeah you right about it purely rechargeable by the magnetic field around it.Its an magnetic phenomenon.I studied deeply about that.But now i am experienced about it.However its a good achievement that you fix it well.Good job...
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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I failed at my attempt at this, and thought I'd post some photos to potentially help the next person. I used a box-cutter razor blade. I managed to not slice my fingers--DON'T BE DUMB as you work through this project.

I found I had the easiest time by starting on the fob's end, because the seam between the two halves is visible and exposed. Here, I am using toothpicks to hold the gap open as I cut and pried.

Once I got started, I kept cutting around the circumference. (Read about the disaster at the end of this post before you do like I did.)

As I was finishing the circumference, some components (and halves of components) started falling out--oops! My cutting went too deep and I had shaved at least six electronic components off of the circuit board.

HINDSIGHT
While I was able to pry apart the seam between the two clamshell halves at the end of the fob assembly, I was actually cutting the plastic around the circumference. In the circumference (in my fob at least), I don't think it would have been possible to pry the seam apart.

SITUATION that led me to this:
I had hardly used this fob in the past 1.5 years, while the wife was away at school. My 2008 MCS would run with the fob inserted into the slot, but the fob buttons could not open the doors remotely. I suspected that the battery was dead. I had read in other threads that an electric toothbrush charger can have more power than the Mini ignition slot, and I had tried that but it didn't charge the fob.

As I started the cutting project, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. In retrospect, we might have considered keeping a fob that runs the car but can't open the doors. Now the fob won't run the car, either, and I will be buying a new one.

Cheers!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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Postscript: After I got it back together, despite the missing and damaged electronic components, it still starts the car.

I'm also seeing a replacement fob (not including the emergency key) is $140 on the Kennesaw, GA dealer's website, which is less than I feared it would be.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jul 16th, 2015, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sving View Post
I failed at my attempt at this, and thought I'd post some photos to potentially help the next person. I used a box-cutter razor blade. I managed to not slice my fingers--DON'T BE DUMB as you work through this project.

I found I had the easiest time by starting on the fob's end, because the seam between the two halves is visible and exposed. Here, I am using toothpicks to hold the gap open as I cut and pried.

Once I got started, I kept cutting around the circumference. (Read about the disaster at the end of this post before you do like I did.)

As I was finishing the circumference, some components (and halves of components) started falling out--oops! My cutting went too deep and I had shaved at least six electronic components off of the circuit board.

HINDSIGHT
While I was able to pry apart the seam between the two clamshell halves at the end of the fob assembly, I was actually cutting the plastic around the circumference. In the circumference (in my fob at least), I don't think it would have been possible to pry the seam apart.

SITUATION that led me to this:
I had hardly used this fob in the past 1.5 years, while the wife was away at school. My 2008 MCS would run with the fob inserted into the slot, but the fob buttons could not open the doors remotely. I suspected that the battery was dead. I had read in other threads that an electric toothbrush charger can have more power than the Mini ignition slot, and I had tried that but it didn't charge the fob.

As I started the cutting project, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. In retrospect, we might have considered keeping a fob that runs the car but can't open the doors. Now the fob won't run the car, either, and I will be buying a new one.

Cheers!
All might not be lost here. Your pictures are somewhat low resolution (forum's fault, not yours) but the only components I see that are damaged are two of the switches, and the button that holds the blade key in. I have had plenty of experience repairing the first generation keys (see threads below) and have shells and batteries in stock for the round, "Hockey Puck" keys like yours. The first generation keys use a different microswitch so I don't have those but they are easily found. If you'd like me to have a look at it I'd be eager to do so as I haven't worked on one yet. Even though I won't have access to your car, I can tell if it is operating properly by looking at a spectrum analyzer to see if it is putting out the correct radio frequency when the buttons are pushed. If the board is too damaged or I can't bring it back to life with a new battery and switches I will not charge you anything but return postage if you want it back.

PM me here or e-mail me at "valvashon (at) earthlink (dot) net".

Dr. Bruce Hart
MINI Key Hospital

Electrical: First Generation Key Refurbishment - North American Motoring

First Generation Key Refurib - Puget Sound MINI Motoring Club Forums

http://www.mini2.com/forum/first-gen...air-guide.html

Last edited by Valvashon; Jul 16th, 2015 at 10:39 PM. Reason: double quoted text
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