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Quieting or disabling the beep (2003-06)

5901 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  retox
I finally figured out how to remove the beeper unit from the circuit board inside the instrument cluster on the early model Elements!

Like many other E owners, I found that beeper to be annoyingly loud. For months I would check in to the forum looking for clues as to how to tame it... and I never found what I was looking for. I got very excited when I first saw the post at until I realized that the newer instrument clusters ('07&up)(not sure about '06) were designed in such a way as to be easily opened, but mine (an '04) was much harder to 'crack.' So, finally, my curiousity got the best of me and I went after it myself.

Once I took out my cluster, I figured that a beeper so powerful would probably have a significant magnetic field and if it was mounted on the back of the board with very few components around it, it should be easy to locate though magnetic means. I grabbed a cheap key-chain compass and passed it across the back of the cluster until I found some high attraction in the upper right region. I cautiously dug out my dremel tool, attached the spiral cut bit, and went in for some exploratory surgery.

My ultimate goal was to detach the beeper from the board, solder in a pair of wires, run those wires outside of the cluster, and hook up the beeper again... in this way, I could choose to tame the beeper though physical and/or electronic means and gain the most control over it. The beeper's fortunate proximity to the outer edges of the board allowed me enough access from the front to (once removing the clear and black covers from the gauge side) do just that.

And now it's time for the warning.... if you're brave enough to cut into the back of the cluster housing, but you don't have soldering/desoldering experience, a steady hand, and the right equipment... just slap some foam tape or electrical tape over the beeper's central hole and leave it at that. I really don't want to be blamed if you end up burning or melting the plastics on the front of the cluster or even the ciruit board itself. It is a delicate operation that you should undertake at your own risk.

That having been said, let's commence with the visual references...

<please pm me if you can't view the pictures>


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In the last two pictures of the previous post, you'll notice an out-of-focus black object to the right... this is a sharpie pen that I used to lift the translucent blue plastic layer away from the front of the cluster housing while I performed the desoldering with a wand-type low wattage iron. I was in no way interested in removing the gauge needles to make this access easier. I was very afraid that I'd destroy the cluster's proper operation if I messed with those gauge needles.

I got the beeper out by alternately heating it's two contacts from the front side and "rocking" it out. I soldered in the wires that I eventually routed under the dash near the fusebox. The simplest method to add an adjustable volume control at this point was to use a potentiometer. I started with a 5K, but found a 50K pot worked a little better. With this level of resistance, I didn't have to ground the third contact on the pot (although if you want a control that goes from full-on to dead-silent, grounding is advisable - unless you know some other way) and I didn't have to worry about polarity. (though I believe that the contact closest to the speedometer was the +.) I ran one of the leads to the first contact on the potentiometer, connected the second contact to one side of the beeper, and hooked up the other beeper contact to the return lead. A simple series circuit. I insulated or covered any exposed contacts and zip-tied the potentiometer/beeper combo under the dash.

Now that the 'cat is out of the bag,' maybe some of you tried and true tweakers out there can build off this. Once the signal is off the board, it can be manipulated in any number of different ways if you know your electronics. Switches, gates, relays circuits, etc. all become possibilities. Though a simple volume control is probably the most effective way to "take the edge off" of that piercing little demon.

Just remember: if you, at any time, completely quiet the beeper to a point where you don't notice it... then you have only yourself to blame when you lock the car with the keys in the ignition, or leave the headlights on, drain the battery, etc.


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where's my soldering iron...
very impressive, nice work.
wow, you really disliked that beeper, didn't you.

and where's the audio track of the "controlled beeper"?
wow, you really disliked that beeper, didn't you.

and where's the audio track of the "controlled beeper"?

Audio track?
Shove some cotton in your ears. That should approximate.
Maybe I should run the signal through the input of the sound system.
Someone out there might want a couple hundred watts of BEE-BEE-BEEP when they open that door. :roll:
Air bag light stays on after disconnect! :-/

Great write up! I took my dash apart and did a lil bit of silencing myself. It went smoothly with two exceptions.

1. a bulb burnt out, no biggie.

2. The airbag light SRS( drivers side) stays on now. I'm hoping after so many miles it will reset itself. I've tried disconnecting the battery and that failed.

Any suggestions ?
thanks EOC

Did my homework like a good boy and found my answer ! still love me some EOC forum time though :)
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