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BMW Navigator repair

602 Views 15 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  trogdor1138
I don't think I've seen this service mentioned or discussed so I want to give a shout out to GPS Station.

A lot of people report problems with "ghosting" on their Nav VI units, and I experienced this myself. Garmin is pretty good about replacing the units without charge, but some people are on their third or fourth units after the replacements developed the same problem. Before repair my GPS was unusable; the screen was constantly registering touches and essentially soft-locked the unit.

Rather than get a new unit I decided to try a repair service for a permanent fix. After a lot of research I found and decided on GPS Station. It's a German business, so there's overseas shipping and wait times, but it seemed like the most comprehensive offering. Here's what my unit looks like after repair:

Netbook Rectangle Bumper Communication Device Gadget
Automotive lighting Hood Communication Device Gesture Bumper
Automotive lighting Gadget Electric blue Metal Font
Car alarm Bumper Finger Gadget Motor vehicle

The following repairs were performed:
  • Replacement of the touch screen
  • Sealing of the seam between the display and the case
  • Polishing and re-sealing of the contacts on the back of the unit
  • Replacement of the USB port with a USB Micro port, and additional reinforcement of the port
  • General cleaning and polishing
I originally only requested the screen and cleaning, but when Adrian (it appears to be a one-man shop) took it apart he let me know the USB port was looking sketchy.

The unit worked perfectly on receipt, but I wanted to wait a bit to see how it gets on. It's been about 4 months now and my Nav VI continues to function without issue. I know it can take a while before ghosting recurs, but I do ride daily and it's always on my bike.

Adrian thinks there are two issues leading to ghosting. First, the screen edge is not sealed from the factory. This makes it possible for dust and other things to work their way into the screen. Second, like almost any material, the screen is sensitive to UV radiation. This is obviously a device that's intended to be used outdoors, but avoiding direct sunlight is preferrable to the extent possible. My bike is garaged at home, but I have no idea how it was stored by the previous owner. I'm also working on a 3D-printed cover made from TPS to use when parked.

Adrian also packs in a few goodies:

Font Service Rectangle Plastic Box

The USB cable is nice and sturdy, is braided, and has an illuminated tip to confirm that it has power. The Tic-Tacs and business cards are just nice throw-ins that lend a more professional image. My turn-around time, including shipping from the USA to Germany and vice-versa, was about a month.

I'm very happy with the results and consider this a positive review; I would recommend this to anyone looking for a permanent solution to the issues plaguing the Nav VI units. I'm not associated with the business in any way, no promo codes, affiliate links, etc., just throwing something out there for consideration that I haven't seen mentioned.
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What did the Nav VI have before?
My Nav V has a Micro
Truth be told, I’m not sure. I was under the same impression, but the site suggests the original is a USB mini connector. I know the port was replaced, but I honestly didn’t plug it in much other than the annual reminder to update maps.
I think I may have misunderstood; there is the occasional slight language barrier.

It appears that the original is micro USB, but he’ll optionally replace it with a mini USB port if desired. I’m not sure of the advantage there; I feel like the mini connector didn’t hang around long and I certainly have more micro cables lying around. Maybe it’s more structurally sound due to the slightly larger size?

I see from your web link they do a lot more than replace the screen.
Yep, it seems to be pretty comprehensive. I just cared about the screen and that's most noticeable, but it's at least described as a thorough refurb.

I'm interested in the longevity of this. It seems a bit too easy- like all that needs to happen is to seal the edges of the touch screen to fix the ghosting issue. Or, look at it this way, if it's this easy why can't Garmin do this?
I hear what you're saying. Let me preface the rest by saying I like Garmin as a company and have used their products for a long time. My first dedicated GPS device was the original eTrex and I've gravitated towards their stuff ever since.

I currently wear a Garmin Fenix watch. After a while of regular use my wrist started to break out where the watch sits. If you Google "garmin watch rash" you'll find wide reports of the issue. Contacting Garmin about it will get a response that you should use a toothbrush or similar to scrub the back of the watch case daily in the shower. Oddly specific... Yet there's no mention of this in the manual, no notice sent to owners, etc. I've also had a reproducible issue with their running chest strap causing my Fenix watch to reset; no action or update taken there either.

These examples admittedly don't cost Garmin anything, but the cynical part of me suspects that the Motorrad Navigator units are repaired under warranty with similar terms to BMW's cars and bikes. When your bike or 3 Series go in for warranty service, it's technically BMW corporate paying the local independent dealer for the repair. Does Garmin get to charge the roundel for each unit replaced? I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me. I also know from experience that Garmin will replace the battery (technically orderable through BMW) for free, but other parts (those without BMW part numbers) come at a cost. 🤷‍♂️

TLDR; There are exceptions, but Garmin is generally known as a company with excellent customer service, but also with products having known flaws. I think it's possible that the issues can be resolved by this service. I'm likewise keen to see how long my repaired navi lasts.
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Also scraped out a lot of white stuff from between the male pins (?!), rebooted the unit two or three times cos it was still ghosting when off the cradle, put it back on and it’s been working perfectly for three or four days fairly continuous use, on and off the bike.
I never did anything with the cradle, but in my case I would thoroughly clean the screen with Plexus plastic cleaner, after which it would be okay for a while. Eventually, this no longer made a difference. It would be fascinating to have an EE tear these down and provide a thorough failure analysis…
Right, but that's tantalizingly brief. What exactly is leaking, the actual LCD element? Or is it a leak between the capacitive digitizer and the display? Or is this an only semi-accurate description translated from the original German? Why did my screen respond better after cleaning, but Splodge's worked after cleaning pins on the back?

Like mentioned above, the screen edges are supposedly a concern, and that would make sense if any contamination could then make its way into the "sandwich" of the display.

In the end, I guess it doesn't make much difference, but I hate not having a solid root cause analysis. I'm a software development/cloud computing engineer by day and I don't like problems that fix themselves :p
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