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Repairing buttons on ARRX18G
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:51 pm    Post subject: Repairing buttons on ARRX18G Reply with quote

I've read the threads here about the difficulty in fixing the buttons on the XSight touch remote. It's a shame the buttons can't be fixed.

I have four of these remotes and the "UP" button doesn't work on two of them unless I press it REALLY hard.

This is my favorite remote of all time. I bought the first one when they were available at Best Buy... probably almost 10 years ago.

I found a used one on eBay for $25. It's "as is" because the seller doesn't have the battery and cannot test the remote. I'm hoping it works.

Until they all die or someone comes out with a comparable remote, I'm just going to keep using them.

If someone here ever figures out a good way to repair the hard buttons, please let me know.
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chileboy



Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 75
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been considering opening up one of mine that has that issue, to see if I can figure it out, but haven't worked up the courage yet.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started taking one apart, but after removing the screws, I was really trying hard to separate the halves with a flat screw driver. I was worried that I was going to break it.

I'll try again when I find a better tool to use instead of the flat screw driver I was using.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a new remote at Amazon (SofaBaton U1 Universal Remote with OLED Display). I was hoping it would be comparable to the XSight. It programs from an app on a smart phone. The programming was super easy. But I didn't realize until I started programming it that the remote lacks skip forward/back buttons and it isn't back lit.

The lack of the skip buttons is a deal killer for me. I use the 10 second skip-back in Tivo and Roku, and I use the 30 second skip-forward in Tivo all the time. If it had those, it would be a great remote for the price.

Recently, I helped a friend to simplify his home theater setup. He was using four different remotes. I bought this one (Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote) for him because I am not willing to give away any of my XSight remotes. The Inteset remote is very good and it can be programmed with RemoteMaster. I liked it so much that I bought two of them for my bedroom TVs. I stopped using the XSight remotes in the bedrooms because of the "UP" button not working.

I found an ebay listing where someone is selling a new, unopened XSight Touch for $150. It's tempting, but I would hate to pay that much for it.


Last edited by barnabas1969 on Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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chileboy



Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 75
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty new to the XSight (and JP1), and I bought a new-in-box on eBay that has the sticking buttons. Not sure what that means - it was definitely brand new. I'm thinking there's some kind of compound maybe between membranes or under the buttons that dries out over time? I don't know, but it's obviously not from wear-and-tear. It's an age thing, which maybe means they will all eventually do it.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you certain that it was an unopened box? The listing I found has photos showing that the seals on the box are still intact.
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chileboy



Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 75
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

barnabas1969 wrote:
Are you certain that it was an unopened box? The listing I found has photos showing that the seals on the box are still intact.

Yeah, 99.9% sure. The seals were intact, and inside obviously untouched.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's concerning. I never abused my XSight remotes. Nothing was ever spilled on them, never dropped them. Two of my four remotes have the exact same problem... the UP button requires exorbitant pressure to make it work.

The buttons in the xSight are metal domes which when depressed create a connection between landings on the PCB.

If a remote exhibits this problem even when it is brand new, in a never-opened box... then I support your hypothesis.

I am considering soaking one of my remotes (ones with the button problem) in 99% isopropyl alcohol and then allowing it to dry.

Has anyone attempted this?
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chileboy wrote:
I'm pretty new to the XSight (and JP1), and I bought a new-in-box on eBay that has the sticking buttons. Not sure what that means - it was definitely brand new. I'm thinking there's some kind of compound maybe between membranes or under the buttons that dries out over time? I don't know, but it's obviously not from wear-and-tear. It's an age thing, which maybe means they will all eventually do it.


I'm a long-time "lurker" on this site. I was intrigued by the JP1 project back in 2013, but I only posted recently.

I don't think there is a mysterious "compound" in the metal dome contacts. However, it is possible that oxidation causes problems over time.

User "mdavej" has written that he has heard that it is related to "lead free components"... meaning that the lack of lead (the metal) in the "metal dome" makes it prone to early failure due to lack of flexibility. Hmmm... I don't know about that. If the failure is related to lead, then I suspect that it is related to oxidation. Lead is very resistant to oxidation.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am interested to know if soaking the remote in a bath of 99% isopropyl (or "denatured") alcohol will solve the problem.

"Denatured" alcohol is ethanol alcohol (the kind you can drink), mixed with isopropyl alcohol (the kind you cannot drink).

The isopropyl alcohol is added to discourage people from drinking it.... similar to E85 fuel (85% ethanol alcohol and 15% gasoline).

If they sold 100% ethanol at the fuel pump, you would have cheap "white lightning"! And we definitely can't have that!
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I am thinking of soaking the entire remote control in 99% alcohol as a first step (no disassembly required) and then allowing it to dry completely.

If this fixes the UP button... then I won't need to disassemble it.

This shouldn't hurt the electronics inside the remote, as long as I allow it to completely dry before inserting the battery.

I could occasionally agitate the remote/alcohol solution while it is soaking. And, I could use an external heat source such as a space heater to dry it.

What do you think? Comments/suggestions? Well... aside from the obvious "99% alcohol is flammable" and similar warnings. Obviously, I will be careful. I don't intend to light these remotes on fire!
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mdavej
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Joined: 08 Oct 2003
Posts: 4210

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've opened up a couple of Xsights. Seems like I posted pics at some point, maybe not. I concluded the domes are unfixable short of replacing them.

I think the alcohol thing is a bad idea. Either the dome is still sealed, in which case the alcohol won't get in, or it's cracked, in which case, it will get in but not do anything. Alcohol will for sure destroy the LCD and won't be kind to the rubber parts, screen cover or the printing. Besides, electronics are typically cleaned with stuff that dries much, much faster than alcohol and is hydrophobic.

Regarding the lead thing, which I read in a calculator forum many years ago, my understanding is it could take more cycles without cracking or losing its ability to pop back up. I tend to believe this since I've had "modern" devices with dome contacts that wear out in a couple of years, whereas some of my older devices are still going strong.

Regarding new old stock remotes having bad buttons out of the box, I don't understand enough about the materials to explain that. Could just be a bad batch of boards or could be some sort of degradation going on. But I can't think of anything in the remote that's prone to oxidation.

In any case, if you end up doing the alcohol bath, let us know how it turns out.
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chileboy



Joined: 26 Aug 2020
Posts: 75
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also think that soaking in alcohol is a bad idea. If nothing else, I'm pretty sure it would destroy the screen, as Dave said.

I was thinking some more about this, and I'm wondering if maybe they're pretty sensitive to environment. Maybe my NIB remote, for instance, was stored at length in an attic or something where it was exposed to extreme heat for extended periods. Heat kills electronics. I dunno.
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
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Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdavej wrote:
I've opened up a couple of Xsights. Seems like I posted pics at some point, maybe not. I concluded the domes are unfixable short of replacing them.

I think the alcohol thing is a bad idea. Either the dome is still sealed, in which case the alcohol won't get in, or it's cracked, in which case, it will get in but not do anything. Alcohol will for sure destroy the LCD and won't be kind to the rubber parts, screen cover or the printing. Besides, electronics are typically cleaned with stuff that dries much, much faster than alcohol and is hydrophobic.

Regarding the lead thing, which I read in a calculator forum many years ago, my understanding is it could take more cycles without cracking or losing its ability to pop back up. I tend to believe this since I've had "modern" devices with dome contacts that wear out in a couple of years, whereas some of my older devices are still going strong.

Regarding new old stock remotes having bad buttons out of the box, I don't understand enough about the materials to explain that. Could just be a bad batch of boards or could be some sort of degradation going on. But I can't think of anything in the remote that's prone to oxidation.

In any case, if you end up doing the alcohol bath, let us know how it turns out.


I have seen your posts of a disassembled xSight remote. Unfortunately, the photo of the "keyboard side" is not detailed enough. I wish you posted a photo with the white plastic material removed so that we can see the actual metal dome contacts.

In my experience, the domes usually have holes which would allow penetration of the alcohol (and the dirt which causes them to stop working properly). Most metal dome contacts look like this: https://www.snaptron.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/domes-f-series-2.jpg

In my former life, I was an electronics technician. I had lots of experience with metal dome contacts.

I agree that alcohol may destroy the LCD. After posting my last message in this thread, I thought that it would be better to only soak the lower two thirds of the remote (keeping the touch screen completely dry).

It is absolutely true that alcohol will degrade the rubber parts. But the degradation depends on the length of exposure of the rubber parts to alcohol. I don't know how alcohol will react with the "printing" on the remote (the symbols which are etched on the buttons).

So... I will try to only expose the lower two thirds of the remote to de-natured alcohol, with a lot of agitation, for a small length of time... in order to minimize damage to the rubber parts.

You wrote, "Besides, electronics are typically cleaned with stuff that dries much, much faster than alcohol and is hydrophobic."

This is not true. I worked for a semiconductor manufacturer for several years back in the 1990's. My job was to repair robotic equipment, mainframe computers, and other equipment which was used in the production and testing of everything from logic chips to full PCB's... so I was not directly involved in the production of PCB's, microprocessors, and other logic chips... but I can tell you first-hand that the ONLY cleaning solvent used in production processes was de-natured alcohol. I can't say much else because it was all classified Secret and Top Secret.

In the workshop, we also had a machine that used R-500 Freon to clean PCB's. R-500 has been banned by the EPA since then. But, the R-500 machine was amazing. There was one "vat" of liquid R-500 and another similarly-sized "vat" with vaporized R-500. Each "vat" was approximately 15 inches cubed (15x15x15 inches). I could literally "soak" a PCB in the liquid R-500. The machine provided ultrasonic agitation to this "vat". Then, I could place the PCB in a "vapor cloud" in the other "vat". It cleaned PCB's so well... it was amazing. If you stuck your hand into either the liquid side OR the vapor side... for only a few seconds... you would pull your hand out... and your skin would have NO oil... completely dry skin.

If I still had access to that machine, I am certain that I could clean the xSight remote's internals without any fear of damaging the LCD. But... R-500 has been banned, and it was a very expensive machine.

But... I digress.


Last edited by barnabas1969 on Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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barnabas1969



Joined: 22 Feb 2013
Posts: 13
Location: USA - MD

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

barnabas1969 wrote:
In my experience, the domes usually have holes which would allow penetration of the alcohol (and the dirt which causes them to stop working properly). Most metal dome contacts look like this: https://www.snaptron.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/domes-f-series-2.jpg


Taking this a step further, please reference this photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ec22eBu3rcDZGz8E6

The areas circled by red lines are open to infiltration by dirt (and also by solvents). The areas circled by green lines are connected to the PCB by either solder or other means.

Again, I wish that mdavej had posted better photos of the "keyboard side" of this remote.


Last edited by barnabas1969 on Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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