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Fixing the Heads up display light sensor?


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2011-09-13 03:00:35
2011-09-13 03:00:35

Courtesy of

Replacing the HUD Photodiode

by Bill Whitmer

Tools Needed:

Medium to Large Philips screwdriver

Very Small Flat Head screwdriver

T-15 Torx Bit or Driver

25w or less (not more!) Soldering Iron, with fine tip

Vacuum Desoldering Tool

Drill with 15/32" Bit

Small needle nose pliers

Parts Needed:

Very small amount of 1/8" diameter head shrink tubing.


Replacement Photodiode

2x PDB-C142-ND from wired in series works well (these look like LED's but they aren't). They are $1.50 each. PDB-V106-ND appears to be almost identical to the original, but it is

a $7 non-stock item with a minimum order quantity of 8.

This write up is for cars where the HUD photodiode is bad and the

resoldering technique doesn't work.

Step 1: Remove HUD Pod from Dash

This can be done by raising the front of the HUD pod by about 1" then

pulling forward to release the quick clips. The quick clips can be tricky

to remove without losing them in the dash. The security LED and auto

headlight sensor simply twist out of their holder.

Step 2: Remove HUD from Dash

First unplug the blue connector from the left side of the HUD module.

Next remove the two Philips screws on the HUD module on the side closest

to the engine bay. The HUD should come out by pulling up on the side

closest to the steering wheel, it still has two quick clips holding it

down. Be careful not to scratch the dashboard when removing the HUD.

Step 3: Disassemble the HUD Module

Remove the four Torx T-15 Screws from the Top of the HUD Module. Remove

the ribbon Cable from the PCB, and the maroon two wire connector also.

Remove the PCB by pushing up on the two clips.

Step 4: Remove the Photodiode

Make sure the soldering iron is at full temperature. Desolder the joints

on the photodiode by heating them up with the soldering iron until they

melt, and using the vacuum desoldering tool while the joint is liquid.

Place the small flathead screwdriver between the photodiode and the PCB.

Again heat up each joint on the photodiode, and use the screwdriver to pry

the photodiode loose. Pry only a small amount on one joint at a time

until the photodiode comes loose, in order not to damage the PCB.

Step 5: Join the new photodiodes (only if using 2 PDB-C142-ND's in series)

The reason to use two photodiodes in series is that these only output .5v,

and the original photodiode outputs 1.00v, the original part number is

BPW21 from Vishay Semiconductor or Infineon, but I have been unable to

find a supplier for this part. Cut the positive (long) leg on one of the

new photodiodes, and cut the negative (short) leg on the other. Cut both

to about 1/4" long. Bend both cut legs 90 degrees. Solder the two cut

legs together. Cover the solder joint with a small amount of 1/8"

diameter heat shrink tubing. Cut the remaining two legs on the

photodiodes to about 1/4". It is very important to remember which one is

positive (originally long) and which one is negative (originally short.

Bend the remaining legs to match up with the photodiode holes on the PCB.

Step 6: Attach the new photodiodes to the PCB

You will need to remove the coating on the PCB where you will be

soldering, it cam be easily scraped off. Melt a small amount of solder in

the holes where the original photodiode was soldered, on the bottom (no

components) side of the PCB. The hole that is closest to the edge of the

PCB is negative, the innermost hole is positive. Attach the photodiodes

by placing the correct leg of the new photodiodes against the correct

hole on the top side of the PCB, and applying heat to the bottom side of

the PCB to melt the solder. Make sure the joint is good.

Step 7: Modify the top HUD module cover (only if using 2 PDB-C142-ND's in series)

The new photodiodes won't fit through the hole on the top cover for the

HUD module. Simply drill out the hole, I used a 15/32" drill bit.

Step 8: Reassemble everything

Put the PCB back in the HUD module, reconnect the two connectors, and

screw it back together. Put the HUD module back in the dash, reconnect

the connector, and put the two Philips screws back in. Now is a good time

to see if the HUD works properly. Replace the HUD pod, first reattach the

auto headlight sensor and security LED, the HUD pod simply presses into


Enjoy having a working HUD again!

Thanks goes out to the people who discovered the photodiode resoldering technique.


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