Use a small/jewelers flat head screw driver to separate the silver cover from the rest of it. the rubber buttons will fall out, thats ok. the black backing will not come loose from the actual circuit boards because the FM transmitter antenna is fixed in place under some melted tabs, and then soldered to the board next to the power button. Its usually easiest to unsolder it to get the back off for doing repairs.
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Did you get it open? remove the two screws. Those are all the screws on the outside. Gently pry the halves apart at the bottom of the unit. Gently try a flat screwdriver. GENTLY! Theres some tabs that hold the rest together. You may break one or two but will be ok in the end. Do the prying at the bottom so you dont break the tabs at the top.
I have this exact same problem and I have solved it by the following method. Open the unit (2 screws), remove the silver box (3 screws and gold pin connectors), and remove the circuit board (2 screws). You will see the screen is connected to the circuit board by a ribbon cable and two poles with metal connectors that actually go through the circuit board. One of the poles moved freely in and out of the circuit board on my unit, the other was still fixed in place and could not be removed easily. I found that when this pole was fully connected, the backlight functioned and did not when the connection was broken. I soldered the pole in place which solved the problem (maintained the connection).
Check your copper pin cylinder on the back of the receiver that goes into the cradle. The metal cylinder surrounding the copper pin can shave off or crack, causing these problems. If you can put your hands on another unit, you can replace this area with the parts unit. Unscrew the two screws holding the unit together and then slowly pry the unit apart, inserting a very thin blade and moving it slowly around the frame. Once inside, you will see screws holding down the area with the copper pins. You can remove this and put it in your receiver.
I got in!!!! i first removed all 4 screws. I then used my pen knife (or the like...i.e. a very thin blade) and inserted it on the right side (rounded end). Insert in an upward direction so that the blade ends up under the gray (top side) plastic. I then very slowly worked it toward the bottom of the unit using a slight prying motion. It popped open a little for me - just enough so that i could more easily work the blade in the other direction and pop more open. eventually i was able to get the whole gray part off. Be carefull because as you begin taking it apart, the rubber buttons may fall out - no big deal because they are just in there via pressure anyway. (for me, very little damage was caused by using the blade - barely noticable)
Once the top is separated from the bottom, be careful...the actual circuit board is no longer attached to the black placstic backing, but it will not come apart due to an internal copper wire (it may be the fm transmitter antenna). It is secured to the black plastic via plastic tabs that appear to be folded over on the wire - and if you pull it out, it looks like you may not get the wire back the way it should be.
anyway, for my purposes, i did not need to remove the copper wire.....i positioned the circiut board far enough away from the black plastic in order to get a soldering iron in there to re-attach one of the "legs" of the 12V plug. I just got a drop of solder on the iron and placed in on the leg. I have not tried it out yet, but it seems to have re-attached securely
I had the same issue with my Sportster Replay SR2. The backlight was usually out, but would flicker on, especially when I would apply pressure to the back.
The unit only has two screws at the bottom, which I removed. I couldn't seem to remove the back cover and was afraid I might break it, so I snugly put the screws back in and decided to give up until I could find some more information on how to remove the back.
Voila! After putting the unit back into its cradle in my car, the back light worked! I believe that the screws had simply loosened over time, and the connections for the backlight simply were not making contact.
I'm not sure how long this fix will last, but so far so good. So before doing any soldering or monkeying with the connections, just try tightening the screws first to see if it fixes the problem as it did for me.
Perhaps getting a new battery will do it. RadioShack has some online. You could take you chances on eBay also. Also, because you have all the accessories for the S50, you could buy a new unit on eBay that is used.
I had a similar type problem where i have a lifetime subscription and my XACT VISOR XTR3 unit had a faulty power connection that was driving me nuts. i decided to try and swap out the internal receiver component with a new unactivated unit i bought on ebay. (all the types are out there and pretty cheap even for new)
in opening the new one up i found the only difference from unit to unit is the receiver brain inside the unit, and it is relatively easy to swap out the brain into the body of a new unactivated unit. just four small screws and carefully pull the brain out of the long multi-pin connector. i put the old brain into the new carcass, screwed it back together and it works like a champ. just have some patience in figuring out exactly how your particular unit comes apart, and you will need small screwdrivers and either a small allen-key set or torx set - my old unit had the allen-key screws on the outer case and the newer one had torx screws.
Sorry I can't help. I'm having the same problem. Seems to be a common problem with these units. I posted the same problem. If you get an answer before me could you please forward it to me and I will do the same for you.
THANKS AND GOOD LUCK