W(c)203 – Cheap central locking RF fix

It is common that the rear antenna amplifier fails on the C203. Its a window out job, and I am trying cheap fixes on this car.

The IR door locking works now, (see other post), but it is still a pain. On to plan b.

I purchased a cheap car remote control lock from ebay China (£7.99!!!) Link, Its basically a remote control relay with “rolling code functionality”. Its likely very easy to bypass etc, but I do not leave anything of value inside the car.

Its wiring diagram looks like this:


Its basically 2 SPDT relays connected actuated by a remote control (with some other wires that flash lights and put windows up, if required).

Early Mercedes have an odd quirk in that their interior unlock buttons work all the time (key off, car locked or unlocked). The idea here is to wire the output of this unit to the interior lock/unlock button so that the car can be locked/unlocked remotely.

To start, we must remove the upper control panel:

Then remove the silver screws:

Then remove the buttons (the unclip as one unit) and remove the circuit board:

After some nice probing with a mutltimeter it was decided that the buttons shared a negative ground, and had separate switched outputs.

The idea then, is to tie together the COM outputs on the RF module, and connect them to this shared ground, and then the lock/unlock wires to the other side of each of the switches.

To do this, we solder some wires to the relevant pads:


And hot glue them in place:

Note down which wire is which, then re-assemble:

Off to the CAR!!!

The control box requires constant 12V and Ground, easily obtained on the radio loom:



The other cables connect to the cables we soldered to the buttons, COM to Blue cable, then lock/unlock to the red/black cables.

The shove the whole lot behind the radio in the foam:

Put all the fascia panels back in etc, and you now have a functioning remote control for £7.99.



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Ir Door sensor repair – Mercedes W203 C class.

I have a W203 Coupe that had dodgy central locking. The central locking operates in 2 ways on this Mercedes. Infrared on the drivers door handle and radio frequency through the antenna amplifier.

Its common for the antenna amplifiers to fail, and on the coupe W203, requires removal of the rear window to replace. Its also common for the IR receivers to be absolute rubbish and barely work.

When your in that situation, you are stuck with a car that has very intermittent central locking. Here is a cheap fix for the IR side at least.

First thing to do is remove the door lock. One Torx bolt through from the inside of the door and it comes off.

You will then have to snip the metal tabs to get the sensor removed:

Once removed, you will have to remove the silicon conformal coating. Its best to start in the opposite corner that I did, and try and pull it off in one piece. IF you do as I did, you will have to pick bits out with a sharp knife, without damaging the PCB.

Once I had it off, it was obvious that there where 2 dry solder joints on the sensor pins:

Re-solder the 2 pins with some nice LEADED solder (Lead free solder is the reason there are cold solder joints):

Once done, cover with some more conformal coating (or something equivalent):

Once dry, I used a bit of metallic epoxy to secure it in place:

I can now use the IR locking from afar without any issues, even in direct sunlight!

Happy days.

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Switchable Dashcam powerbank circuit

So I wanted my dashcams to run for 12+ hours whilst parked, and I did not want them running down the main car battery whilst doing so.

There are a few commercial solutions available. Namely the Cell link B, which is basically a UPS for your dashcams. You connect the dash cams to it, and it powers them whilst your ignition is off. When the ignition is on, it charges the pack, and also powers the cameras.


Problem is, that its £180, which is too much.

So, I built a relay solution that does the same things with Ravpower USB power banks.

Here is the diagram:


It looks complicated, but it isnt. All it does, is use 2 relays to switch the USB connection from the vehicle to the powerbank, when the ignition is turned off. Keep in mind you could use a DPDT relay to do the same thing, but with one relay instead of 2.

This is what the end device looks like :


The 2 USB feeds are at the top. The output is on the right, and the two wires on the bottom left go to switched 12v. (there is a 1 amp inline fuse in these).

Keep in mind some devices support “chargethrough”. They say they support charging a device, whilst itself is charged. I find this dangerous unless it bypasses the battery circuit inside, and as we cannot be 100% sure, this is much safer solution.

I get roughly 16 hours on a “20,000mah” ravpower battery pack. I also use quick charge 2.0 chargers to replenish the packs, as short journeys will not put much into them.

Time will tell how long the Memory cards in the cameras last too.


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