Q: What models do you repair?

A: We currently repair all model years of Toyota Tacoma compass / temperature displays.  Our repair record is 100% for displays that haven’t had previous repair attempts.

Toyota and Ford resistors

Q: What if I already tried to repair it myself?

A: About 50% of the time it isn’t a problem.  However, when DIY repairs are incorrectly performed, an electrical short can result which destroys non-replaceable components on the board.  If we are unable to repair your board, we won’t charge you for the work, but you must pay for return shipping if you want your display back.  If you performed a DIY repair and it worked for a while…. then quit (and you haven’t touched it since) we have a very good chance of full repair.

Q: What causes the display to fail?

A: Multiple factors: oxidation of the metal surfaces, over-heated components (primarily the resistors marked 510, but there are occasionally other component failures), and RoHS solder.   We overcome all of these issues with our repair system.

Q: What is HJ Services and Siliconmethod.com?

A: HJ Services LLC is our parent company, and if you pay via Credit Card / Paypal, that is what your card will be charged to.  Siliconmethod is the name of our electronics repair site.

Q: Won’t the problem just happen again?

A: Our repair of your Toyota Tacoma overhead console display is better than new. We use a lead wire underlayment which acts to lift the 510 resistors off the board by about a millimeter, allowing air to flow all around.  The wire also acts as a heatsink and solder wick. As the SMT resistors are mounted on top, better quality non-RoHS solder flows in and around, adding to the heatsink effectiveness. The resulting heat dissipation advantage is dramatic; the repair should last for many years.

Image of typical repair

Q: I am missing a 510 resistor…can you replace it?

A: Yes, in fact we replace all of your old oxidized display power resistors with new SMT components (fresh from the package) during the course of the repair, so the current condition of your board is irrelevant.

Q: I am missing a metal mounting clip (Toyota Tacoma)…can you replace it?

A: Sure.  Unfortunately, we can’t give them away.  As of Jan 2015 the dealership charges slightly over $1.00 per clip. If you want to purchase them yourself, the part number is 90084-46017. If you need one or more clips, you don’t need to let us know ahead of time… just include an envelope with one dollar ($1.00) per clip that you need and we will supply you.  If you are paying by check, just add the extra amount on to the repair cost; please make sure to include a note so we notice 🙂

Toyota overhead console mounting clips

Q: Do you do this as warranty repair on Toyotas?

A: No!  If your truck is still under warranty, take it to the dealership and have it serviced there.  Don’t attempt to repair it yourself…you could void your warranty.

Q: What about us Canucks;  Will you repair ours?

Canadian flag

A: Yes, we certainly do ship to Canada…but it will cost a bit more for shipping (please see purchase page for details).  Please note that return shipping can take two weeks or more due to customs. Please no Canadian money orders or checks. Thank you!

Q: What is compass calibration? Do I need to recalibrate after the repair? Does the temp function require calibration?

A: I recommend that you recalibrate the compass after the repair; the unit may have ‘lost’ it’s memory. Compass calibration is necessary because the Earth’s magnetic fields vary, depending on where you are in the world. Calibration allows for a more accurate compass heading. The calibration process should also be done if you are traveling across the US or have moved. Please download this file for Toyota Tacoma calibration instructions (PDF).

Regarding the outside ambient temperature function, these units often require a week or more to adjust.  A range of temps helps speed the process; so a cold morning and hot afternoon seems to do the trick.  Don’t be surprised if temps are off for a few days after re-installation….just give it some time.

Q: Do you test the repaired units?

A: We do.  We don’t test the ambient temperature function because we don’t install it in a vehicle as the test, we power it up on the bench.  There we can test the display and compass.

Q: What payment options do I have?

A: Lots of options. Prepay using our online system, or include a check/money order…or you can wait until it is repaired to pay. (we will email you; online payment only…no credit card payments over the phone) We completely understand your hesitation in pre-paying, let alone sending your expensive part. That’s why we are so flexible with our payment terms. We understand!

Q: Do you repair my unit or send a refurbished one?

A: We always repair yours, and send your original back.  We take great care to make sure there are no mix ups.  Feel free to mark yours in some way if you are paranoid about receiving a different unit; lots of our clients do this.  We won’t be offended.

Q: The glass of my display has a dark spot in the corner…

A: Normal and expected for a vacuum fluorescent display.  This is where the oxygen removal took place during the manufacturing process….it doesn’t affect operation. (in fact, without the oxidized spot it would quickly fail)

Image of Tacoma display, showing the gas charge location.

Q: Following your repair, is there anything I can do to make my display last longer?

A: Great question.  Unfortunately, clicking the grey button doesn’t extend the life of a Tacoma display, but only because Toyota has a flaw in the design of the board (I suppose it is a flaw; I can’t see why it would be intentional).

When you supply power to the board (as it is when the ignition is on) the display is actually ‘lit’ at all times, even when you click the button to turn it off.  You can’t tell in-vehicle because none of the digital segments are lit, but in a dark environment and when the board is removed and powered on a workbench the display glows faintly.

It’s a bit like putting a dark cloth over your flashlight to block the light instead of just clicking the switch.  Bad analogy, but you get the idea.

Anyway, having said that…the displays are actually pretty tough and should last for many more years. There is a reason why NASA commonly used this type of display in Shuttles.  Still want to make it last longer?  The only real way would be to physically remove the display from the truck on the really hot summer days.  There are electrolytic capacitors onboard that are slowly getting fried.  They are a chemical mix that slowly wears out, just like a battery.  Note that I have yet to have to change one out, so Toyota didn’t skimp on the quality of those components.
Of course, we don’t want to scare you with all of these doomsday scenarios for your display.  The reality is,  your truck will most likely wear out before a properly repaired display does.

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