ZeldaTheSwordsman

[Mindstorms] Need help reparing or replacing MicroScout silicone buttons

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The silicone buttons piece on my MicroScout from 9478 Droid Developer Kit has suffered tearing on two of the buttons, making it so pushing them takes poking a toothpick or similar inside. Does anyone have advice on repairing the piece, or where I might get a replacement? I tried calling Lego, no luck there.

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4 minutes ago, ZeldaTheSwordsman said:

The silicone buttons piece on my MicroScout from 9478 Droid Developer Kit has suffered tearing on two of the buttons, making it so pushing them takes poking a toothpick or similar inside. Does anyone have advice on repairing the piece, or where I might get a replacement? I tried calling Lego, no luck there.

Considering the 9748 kit it is 23 years old (1999), and that Lego can't help you beyond two or three years past release, you're best bet is Bricklink. (The link leads to the part in question.)

Edited by Murdoch17

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I did not open a MicroScout (yet) but on the RCX and SCOUT, which will probably feature the same button type, careful cleaning of the button inner surface (some sort of carbon material attached to the rubber), as well as the printed circuit board (the two copper pads "closed" by the carbon) always worked, without need of replacement parts.

Cleaning = removing "dust" with a cloth first, then use contact cleaning spray - but surely NOT WD40 or the like.

I am using this: https://www.reichelt.de/us/en/contact-60-100-ml-oxide-removing-contact-cleaner-kontakt-2010-p9462.html?CCOUNTRY=550&LANGUAGE=de&GROUPID=4070&START=0&OFFSET=16&SID=93864a34b28fc8084dd88cc0deedf68bff49fe84015d4da016504&LANGUAGE=EN&&r=1

Best,
Thorsten 

Edited by Toastie

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Just now, Toastie said:

I did not open a MicroScout (yet) but on the RCX and SCOUT, which will probably feature the same button type, careful cleaning of the button inner surface (some sort of carbon material attached to the rubber), as well as the printed circuit board (the two copper pads "closed" by the carbon) always worked, without need of replacement parts.

Cleaning = removing "dust" with a cloth first, then use contact cleaning spray - but surely NOT WD40 or the like.

Best,
Thorsten 

Excuse me, but you seem to have skimmed my post without properly reading. I specifically stated that the silicone piece had suffered tearing. Cleaning won't help with that. To be more specific, two of the upper buttons are partly torn off and no longer protrude past the top shell.

You're also wrong about the MicroScout's buttons. The visible buttons aren't actually part of the circuit at all - they're just a silicone piece used to actuate the real switches, which stand on the PCB as complete assemblies with hard plastic buttons.

10 minutes ago, Murdoch17 said:

Considering the 9748 kit it is 23 years old (1999), and that Lego can't help you beyond two or three years past release, you're best bet is Bricklink. (The link leads to the part in question.)

I appreciate your trying to help, but strictly speaking, that link does not lead to the part in question. It leads to the MicroScout as a whole. I would rather not buy an entire new MicroScout if I don't have to. I would rather just repair or replace the silicone piece if at all possible.

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You can try making a mold of the old silicone buttons and then casting new silicone buttons with it.  The tricky part will getting the conductive carbon embedded into it. 

-Model the buttons in a CAD program and 3D print them in soft flexible TPU plastic. 

-Find a dead Microscout on eBay for cheap and salvage the buttons.  People leave batteries in them and the batteries leaked and ate the traces off the circuit board. 

-Grab an old TV remote and cut out the silicone buttons to fit the microscout

 

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6 hours ago, ZeldaTheSwordsman said:

Excuse me, but you seem to have skimmed my post without properly reading. I specifically stated that the silicone piece had suffered tearing. Cleaning won't help with that. To be more specific, two of the upper buttons are partly torn off and no longer protrude past the top shell.

You're also wrong about the MicroScout's buttons. The visible buttons aren't actually part of the circuit at all - they're just a silicone piece used to actuate the real switches, which stand on the PCB as complete assemblies with hard plastic buttons.

I appreciate your trying to help, but strictly speaking, that link does not lead to the part in question. It leads to the MicroScout as a whole. I would rather not buy an entire new MicroScout if I don't have to. I would rather just repair or replace the silicone piece if at all possible.

I think you'd be best off getting a new one, or a dead one. There is a dead one on Bricklink right now for a whole dollar, and functioning ones are about 5 dollars. That would probably be the cheapest solution. Unless you have something to fix the buttons with on hand, any solution might be pricier than getting a whole new MicroScout.

Also, I checked one of my MicroScouts, and the visible buttons are part of the circuit, with carbon pads on the bottoms. They are also one unitary piece. The odds of you finding a good replacement for this are slim to none, so you have only the option above, or maybe taking apart the unit, and figuring out how to make the button protrude above the shell again. But, given how the buttons work, I think the best solution is just to replace the unit.

feather_microscout-disassembled-all-hire

You can see what I mean with the buttons. Not my picture, but it gets the point across.

Edited by Saberwing40k

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8 minutes ago, Gray Gear said:

Does this use the same buttons? I got it in a bag of old LEGO and it is dead

https://bricksafe.com/files/Gray_Gear/stuff/IMG_20220304_204756.jpg/800x450.jpg

If it is what you need I'd give it away, so you'd only have to cover shipping :wink:

That's exactly what the OP needs, a Microscout. It's even the right colors. Shipping from Germany to wherever might be a pain, though. Hope you guys can work something out.

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47 minutes ago, Saberwing40k said:

I think you'd be best off getting a new one, or a dead one. There is a dead one on Bricklink right now for a whole dollar, and functioning ones are about 5 dollars. That would probably be the cheapest solution. Unless you have something to fix the buttons with on hand, any solution might be pricier than getting a whole new MicroScout.

Also, I checked one of my MicroScouts, and the visible buttons are part of the circuit, with carbon pads on the bottoms. They are also one unitary piece. The odds of you finding a good replacement for this are slim to none, so you have only the option above, or maybe taking apart the unit, and figuring out how to make the button protrude above the shell again. But, given how the buttons work, I think the best solution is just to replace the unit.

feather_microscout-disassembled-all-hire

You can see what I mean with the buttons. Not my picture, but it gets the point across.

Seems my memory was playing tricks on me.... :blush: :facepalm: I just double-checked my MicroScout (which I popped the white top off of months ago to see if I could do anything about the buttons - I am aware that the silicone ones are a singular piece, by the way, and if you'll look closely have referred to them as such) and found the same thing. I could have sworn it had had microbuttons, but I guess my brain was mixing it up with Armada Optimus Prime's PCB. Oops. Looking at my buttons piece it's worse than I was remembering - two are torn completely off.

FWzi1RzVEAEVv3G?format=jpg&name=large

I had been hoping I could glue bits of other silicone (and, now that I know I need them, carbon pads) to what's left to act as replacements for what tore off. Or that enough other people would have run into this that somebody made reproduction ones.

Btw, the desire to fix over replacing isn't only motivated by cost - it's also motivated by a desire to avoid waste.

1 hour ago, Saberwing40k said:

That's exactly what the OP needs, a Microscout. It's even the right colors. Shipping from Germany to wherever might be a pain, though. Hope you guys can work something out.

Yeah, the shipping to California would probably be a killer. If I do get another I might have to settle for that "dead" one (that probably just needs the contacts cleaned).

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10 hours ago, ZeldaTheSwordsman said:

You're also wrong about the MicroScout's buttons. The visible buttons aren't actually part of the circuit at all - they're just a silicone piece used to actuate the real switches, which stand on the PCB as complete assemblies with hard plastic buttons.

Ahh - that's good to know! As I said, never opened one. Strange that these switches seem to degrade in a way which is resulting in almost similar behavior for RCX/Scout buttons: You have to press the rubber harder and harder.

Oops - just read your last post - it now makes sense (my need to press harder and harder on all of my 10+ MicroScouts.

Thanks for sharing the pictures - now I know what to do next :pir-huzzah2:

Best,
Thorsten

 

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If someone in Germany would like to take the dead "Mircoscout" off my hands I won't have to Bin it. I don't know what's wrong with it, it looks fine, but I dont really care either :pir-huzzah2:

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I take it and then send it to @ZeldaTheSwordsman with free shipping :pir-huzzah2: - PM me for address etc. You would need to pay postage to send it to me, though.

Best,
Thorsten

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2022 at 6:14 PM, Toastie said:

I did not open a MicroScout (yet) but on the RCX and SCOUT, which will probably feature the same button type, careful cleaning of the button inner surface (some sort of carbon material attached to the rubber), as well as the printed circuit board (the two copper pads "closed" by the carbon) always worked, without need of replacement parts.

Cleaning = removing "dust" with a cloth first, then use contact cleaning spray - but surely NOT WD40 or the like.

I am using this: https://www.reichelt.de/us/en/contact-60-100-ml-oxide-removing-contact-cleaner-kontakt-2010-p9462.html?CCOUNTRY=550&LANGUAGE=de&GROUPID=4070&START=0&OFFSET=16&SID=93864a34b28fc8084dd88cc0deedf68bff49fe84015d4da016504&LANGUAGE=EN&&r=1

Best,
Thorsten 

 

On 7/4/2022 at 5:03 AM, Toastie said:

Ahh - that's good to know! As I said, never opened one. Strange that these switches seem to degrade in a way which is resulting in almost similar behavior for RCX/Scout buttons: You have to press the rubber harder and harder.

Oops - just read your last post - it now makes sense (my need to press harder and harder on all of my 10+ MicroScouts.

Thanks for sharing the pictures - now I know what to do next :pir-huzzah2:

Best,
Thorsten

 

Bit of a necropost, but since this thread is one of the top Google results for searches on how to fix Microscout buttons, I wanted to chime in that I'd found a bit of a faster/easier solution to clean the graphite contacts. Probably don't want to do this too many times overall, but for those who have confirmed the graphite contacts are the problem and just to want to get up and running again quickly:

 

 

Edited by elfprince13

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