Sunday, April 17, 2016

Acura MDX DVD broken...and the internets save me 2 grand!

We sadly realized during our roadtrip to Florida last year that the built-in DVD player to our 2006 Acura MDX wasn't working - screen was dead but the control unit still had the digital display.  At the time I thought (hoped) it was just a fuse but replacing that didn't help.  Fast forward to last month - during some routine maintenance, I also asked the shop to check out the DVD unit - they diag it and say it's an electrical problem, basically would cost around 2K to order a new replacement and install.

Well, I know my kids like watching movies on road trips but I'm not dropping 2K to be able to play some movies on an infrequent basis, especially on a ten year old car!  So, I turn to my attention to scouring the interwebs for solutions.  I've had success with pick and pulls before - basically pulling/buying parts you need from "junkyards".  They've modernized and you can find stuff all over the web.  Still, that will run around $600-$800 dollars for a used unit and there are all sorts of software security hoops to go through, plus the plastic may not even match your car (fading, etc).

More searching and I find a thread on MDXers [1] with others experiencing same problem.  Turns out some curious owner (aka HockeyDog) removed the embedded unit, took it apart, and found that the ribbon cable between the control unit and screen is highly susceptible to partial ripping if the screen is opened/closed to frequently and roughly (and yes, my kids and nephews loved opening and closing that screen for whatever reason, probably the big button).  He tracked down a third party cable parts supplier direct from Thailand (because neither Acura nor Panasonic, who actually makes it, will sell you just the ribbon) that sold a replacement ribbon.  He also posted how he opened and repaired the unit (yay).  While somewhat dubious, I was able to track this supplier on Ebay and order the ribbon for a whopping $12.99 including shipping.  I figured, worst case, I'm out a lunch (in Palo Alto haha) and 1-2 hours of my time.

Anyway, part comes in, I take apart my DVD unit following HockeyDog's instructions and yeah, I see the design flaw.  I really love my MDX but the DVD design for this ribbon is poor and near guaranteed to break over time. Anyway, I install the new ribbon - put the unit back together and reinstall, pop in Pacific Rim...and voila, I'm seeing Jaegers taking down Kaijus!  Kids and wife are happy, high fives all around.  Thanks HockeyDog, whoever your are, you just saved me (and a ton of other MDXers I imagine) a nice chunk of change.  The internets come through again!


No comments:

Post a Comment