Thursday, 8 March 2012

Kawasaki Concours 14 Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor Battery Change

My 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14 started displaying a warning recently: "Tire Pressure Sensor Battery Low". It usually only happened for a few minutes in the mornings, when tire was cold. After a few miles it went away and the reading was normal.

Anyway, I thought I would change it. The problem was the price of a new OEM sensor from Kawasaki ~$350. So I looked on the forums and I found a mod to change the sensor battery. There is one catch with this mod - on my bike model, the battery is glued to the contact pads. So I had to resort to actually forcing the old battery out and put the new one in.

The following describes the steps I took for this mod:

1. Take out the Tire Pressure Monitor Sensor from the wheel (I cannot do this at home, so I did it at my local bike shop when I replaced the tire). Also buy the new batteries, type CR2032 (approx $5).


2. Unscrew the back of the sensor. The screw is normally placed under a label, so first remove the label.


You need to use some weird screw driver head (TX-5) is the one I have in this image:


3. Once the lid is off, take out the electronics from the casing.


I used a sharp tweezers to take it out.


4. Now the delicate part: unglue the battery from the pads. I used a sharp pointed knife for this. Careful not to cut the pad contacts or yourself. Also remember which pad is which (+ vs -).


5.  Put in the new battery. I did't have a battery holder, so I kind of made one myself. First I taped about 1/4 of the battery side to prevent a short-circuit from the - (negative) pad on the positive pole of the battery.


6. Insert the battery in between the two contacts.


7. Put one more layer of tape around and pads and battery. Just enough to hold it in place while you insert it into the casing.


8. Insert the electronics back into the casing. The battery will fit really tightly in its corner. Press it down to make sure it's all the way in.


9. Put the lid back on and make sure you have the yellow plastic protrusion actually pressing on the contact pad. This is what will keep the pads in contact with the battery. Screw the lid back in place.


Notice that this method is not using any soldering or special battery holder. Rather the contact is kept in place by pressure from the lid or centrifugal force.

I'm going to update how this mod works out for me. If all is good, I'll make the same for my other wheel.

Update (26-Sep-2012): The setup above worked, but it did not last. 2 weeks after I did the procedure above, the sensor went dead. Therefore, I resorted to soldering the contact pads onto the new battery. It was a simple procedure (not more than 10 mins), but you have to have the wheel off and tire, which is a major PITA. I also had to buy the soldering gun, but at least now I'm set for the other wheel.

The soldered pads look like this:


Let's see how this setup holds up...

Update 2 (3-Nov-2012): The soldered battery holds up nicely so far (6 weeks later). In the meantime I fixed the other wheel too. This time I used a battery (still CR2032) but this one had 2 wires attached of it from factory, so no more soldering necessary.


I bought it off eBay for about $5 and it shipped straight from China (full name of battery is Panasonic CR2032 CMOS RTC 2wire Lithium Battery w/plug CR2032-2E31R+). I cut off the little white connector and soldered the wires directly onto the circuit board (sorry, forgot to take pics). The only thing to be careful with is how to insert the circuit and battery back into the casing. I had to bend the positive (red) metal tab a bit towards the negative (black) tab to make everything fit, but all went in just nicely. I made sure all was good and did one final check with a voltmeter and it showed a nice 3.12V. I had it installed about 2 weeks ago and so far it also works nicely.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for the photos, this looks easy, but did it work?

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  2. It worked, but unfortunately, it didn't last. After about 2 weeks the sensor went dead. I don't know what happened because I didn't take off the tire since then. I'll check it next time I change the tire. I think I'll have to do some soldering :(

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  3. Nice writeup. Facing the same problem, I researched and you can find the same battery with pins that can be soldered. Those would be the right replacement batteries such as the CR2032-PCN2. Do not solder to the battery, get these with pins and solder to the pins. Wish me luck on mine.

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  4. Thanks for the tip, Paul! I "burned" a battery when I tried to solder it for the other wheel. Acid came out hissing... not pretty :).
    I'm ordering the battery you suggested right away.
    Good luck with your mod!

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  5. Reviewing the sizes and capacities, it looks like the CR2032 is the biggest that will fit in the sensor according to your photos. I think I will double them up when I try. That means stacking two together, + side to + side. The positive connection goes to that sandwiched pin, the two negatives are joined to the other wire. That will double the capacity and hopefully give a few more years over the 3 that we're seeing with a single battery. From your pictures, it looks like we can fit that thicker assembly in perhaps with some modification of the case. It will be important to prevent shorts, maybe putting the whole thing in shrink wrap will help if there's enough room.

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  6. Added Update 2... So far a success story.

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    Replies
    1. Did anyone try using the compound called
      JB weld as a way to make the connections on the batteries? No heat but should be a solid connection .

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    2. I heard of such thing. Don't remember the name of the product, but supposedly it had a good review. Didn't try it myself.

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  7. Is it possible to disarm the sensor to stop flashing a warning on the screen, and just manually check tire pressures?

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  8. You can always check the pressure manually :) The sensor can be disabled if you remove it completely or remove the battery in it. Then there won't be any reading from it on the screen and no warnings either.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your response! When the battery goes completely dead, will it stop transmitting a warning, so I won't have to disassemble the tire/wheel assembly? Thanks for your input!

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    2. Yes, that's indeed the case. Although it might be quite a while until your battery goes completely dead.

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  9. Thank you very much!

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  10. If I could ask one more question? Can you get highway pegs for the C14, so I can rest my knees and hip?

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    Replies
    1. I saw some pegs at Murphs, but they might not be what you are looking for. This is the link http://www.murphskits.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=130_133&products_id=401

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    2. Larry Buck...Buck Sport Touring..Extremely well-engineered highway bars
      954-415-1828

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  11. I am getting this same message on my 2012 C14 that I have had less than a year. $350 is ridiculous for this $10 sensor and a $3 battery. I'm going to try to make Kawasaki replace it under warranty.

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  12. I had my rear senser removed frome mt 2008 concours and all it does is there is no reading for my rear tire and I still have the reading for the front tire..There is no more low sensor code reading..
    It is another option

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  13. be sure to tell any shop doing tire changenot to break bead at valve stem...shop broke my tps changing tire

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  14. Got a 2012 that the rear sensor battery has quit completely and the front is warning now. My info center is scrambling most of the time.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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