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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have successfully replaced my passenger door button switch with a good quality switch which I expect to last. It's a simple diy job, but you do this ENTIRELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. The dangerous part is removing the Cover from the black Handle moulding. My dismantling tool applies pressure to the handle cover, and so there's a possibility it might snap. I am not prepared to be held responsible if yours snaps. Replacement covers are available, I believe.

You do not need to remove the interior door panel. You do not need to disconnect any wires.Time taken should be appx 1/2 an hour. You will need the following tools:

Very small flat blade screwdriver with slim blade appx 2 mm wide.
Torx T25 key, resembles a hex key but knobblier. Toolstation etc sell these.
Pair of pliers, ideally thick nose. Or mole grips/similar.
Pair of side cutters, smaller is better, e.g. as used for trimming electronic circuit boards. At a pinch use nail scissors/ clippers/ kitchen scissors.
Andy's Special Door Handle Dismantling tool. Consists of a piece of strip steel 9x11x1.6mm , an M6 bolt, and an M6 square nut.
5mm Hex key to operate Dismantling bolt. Or use pliers.
Andy's Replacement Door Switch.

Pictures follow. I propose to charge:
£7 One switch plus 2 splicers
£1 Dismantling tool.
£24 Set of 4 switches plus splicers
£25 Set of 4 switches plus splicers plus Dismantler.

Postage & packing extra. I expect this to be £1 inside UK as these each fit in a 2nd class Large Letter.

Switches are 3D printed, hand assembled, so no volume orders please!
UK purchasers will be given priority.
Use the "Conversations" link hiding in your circular Icon in top-right of this thread to contact me for payment details, your address, qty needed, and whether you want the Dismantler tool as well. Details of the dismantler tool are in another append lower down, as it's easy to make your own.

The replacement switch.
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Front Passenger door grommet. Remove carefully to reveal...
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Torx screw inside. T25 size.
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While holding the door handle fully open, unscrew the Torx screw several turns until you feel it hit the limit. Door is now held in unlock position.
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Pull out the dummy cylinder moulding.
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Slide the handle from front position (shown here) to rear position.
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Handle at Rear position. Wiggle it & detach from door.
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Removed. Don't strain the wires.
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Using small screwdriver, or pointy thing, reelase clip clamping the wires.
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Released. Work it completely away from the black moulding to make space.
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I'm limited to 10 inserted pics. Continued in my next append.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Continued...
Insert the Plate (9x11mm thin strip) into the slot. Insert the square Nut on top of it. Screw the Bolt into the nut, making sure the end of the Bolt lands on the middle of the Plate. It's a bit of a fiddly job!
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Tighten the Bolt until the black plastic of the mechanism is bending nicely & trying to pop out of the red cover.
YOU DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK! CAREFUL USE OF THE PLATE IS ESSENTIAL TO AVOID DAMAGE!
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Using thin screwdriver, lever the end of the cover away from the black mechanism.
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As the cover pops off, be careful NOT to lose the lose shiny plate where you press the door button!
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Notice where the Dismantling Plate sat. I slightly damaged the metal foil while positioning it, but it all still works!
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Front handles have minimal space for wire splicers, so had to trim them. Before & After pics; rear doors may have enough space to use un-trimmed. I shall check later. You may instead prefer to solder the new switch wires in and use some heat-shrink tubing to seal the joins. But this method is easy!
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Poke blue original wire (blue) right into the splicer, then a new wire (grey) alongside. Crimp tight with pliers.
The orange wire hiding behind is the other new wire, not yet spliced in. Notice the shiny metal crimp, this MUST GO AGAINST THE BLACK MOULDING when it's all clipped back together. If it stays this way up, there's every chance of these splicers shorting together on the aluminium foil inside the clip-on cover.
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Splice the other wire (orange) into the original switch wire (orange). Polarity of switch is irrelevant and wire colours will vary. Snip off the original switch wires to leave new one in its place. Notice I've twisted the splicers over so the INSULATED side will rest on or near the aluminium foil.
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Clip new wires onto radio-unit where old ones were. Take care not to strain wires into new switch when inserting into the black mechanism moulding, as there's a bit of a curve! Took me a couple of tries to get it to sit easily in place.
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Continued in next append...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
...continued.
Position the splicers so they sit flat in the plastic handle. You may have to push the Radio-unit wire to one side.
Reseat the flexy seal, and clamp the wires coming out of the car door.
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Clip the cover back on, making sure the tiny shiny plate is sitting on top of the new switch as you do so. Notice I haven't yet reseated the flexy seal! Oops, quickly fixed when I realised it wouldn't fit properly! When it's in, push the cylinder-moulding in, and screw the Torx bolt clockwise until it's tight. The door lock mechanism will release itself, and the door should be operating perfectly. Replace the grommet & have a cup of coffee & a biscuit! :)
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Finally, details of the Dismantler tool. You might get away with using a thinner piece of steel strip; 1.5mm thick should be fine. But maybe anything thinner might start to bend, and so apply pressure only under the tip of the Bolt, which would be a bad thing. My plate didn't bend.

I ended up tightening my bolt fully into the Nut. You can see I used 18.9 mm of thread to get my black Mechanism moulding bending nicely. Maybe you don't need to bend it as much as I did! I suggest apply a little pressure to begin with, and see if you can ping the cover off with the screwdriver. Before making up this tool, I tried using 2 thin screwdrivers, without success. I was probably in great danger of stabbing myself accidentally, as the cover is very hard to remove! It's a lot easier with the moulding being flexed a bit, as that shortens it!
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Brilliant Andy!
And, if anyone does break their door handle I now have a few spares but the covers are only available in Crystal Red.
 

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It was all going so well and then the evil scotchlocks came out ;-) I personally hate them and have the potential for green crusties to corrode the cable if in a damp environment. Something I've only found out about recently via youtube have been Heat Shrink Self-Solder Butt Splices which contains a blob of solder in the middle of some clear heat shrink tubing and then glue/sealant at either end. You just heat it all up, the solder melts on the splice and the glue seals it all. Seems ideal for people who don't like soldering.


Quite cheap as well

I haven't used them myself and as seen in the video the larger cable probably needs a more targeted heat source.

It would be good to splice in a connector for the handle could easily be disconnected without taking the trim panel off. However it doesn't look as if you've got much slack in the cable and there is a question as to what connectors to use and whether the keyless antenna could be affected by that.

Please don't take the above as criticism Andy as you've clearly put a lot of effort into this and your other posts and the Ampera community would be worse off with out you.
 

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Great pictures Andy, is "pointy thing" a technical term? ;)
Mine are being fixed under warranty, but very useful info for later.

I would tend to agree with @welshbob - use adhesive heatshrink - I source this from 12voltplanet for my boat - marine use needs to be 100% waterproof! Also use tinned copper wire to avoid the copper corroding at the joins.

Antony.
 

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Soldered joints for connecting cables together are regarded as 'old technology' and also corrode or become 'dry' in low voltage applications. This is why thay are no longer used in modern safety critical situations. A crimped joint is much less likely to fail. I appreciate that these door buttons are not safety critical but the joint will not corrode if sealed against the elements - a smear of silicon grease and/or a length of shrink wrap should suffice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do like the look of the Heat Shrink Self-Solder Butt Splices, and I'm using 22 AWG tinned copper wire with PTFE sleeve. In general I've always soldered wires together & put heatshrink over the top, never had any problem with that. But as I'm supplying this as an easy-to-use kit, I do wonder if it's right/fair to expect general users to have access to soldering iron or hot air gun. Afaik you can't control the temperature of a hot air gun precisely, and by the time you're waving it around in the open air & v close to the car, with all that plastic moulding & paintwork nearby, I think hot air guns should be avoided here, at least for soldering purposes.

GJO suggests a crimp connector plus a smear of grease/heatchrink tubing - that sounds ok to me. Personally I think I'd be happy with using a hot glue gun to gunge-up the ends of the Multicomp splices I'm providing. Or what about a smear of silicone grease on these splicers?

Antony N suggests, I think, these crimpable heatshrink connectors.
https://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/insulated-butt-crimp-heatshrink-connector-red-blue-yellow.html
which look excellent to me (assuming they'd fit in, could maybe trim a little off the ends? but ideally they need an expensive, quality crimping tool which few people are going to have. What happens if somone uses ordinary thin-nose pliers? I'm not convinced the tubing would survive & guarantee waterproofness is maintained.

Hmmm...

Re the idea about splicing in a connector to allow complete removal of the handle - others can do that if they wish, but I'm against it.
1) extra connections to take up space; this might make the cable flex heavily in one spot as the door handle gets used, and lead to early fatigue.
2) what if the disconnected car end slips back inside the door & falls down? Panels off job to retrieve!
3) more cost, and time fitting it.
4) removal of handle might be nice, but isn't actually needed imho. I didn't remove mine.
 

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Personally, I will use the heat shrink butt crimp connectors, similar to the ones developed for the aeronautical industry - I already have the crimping tool and the resultant crimps are so tight, they are as good as welded.
 

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I tend to agree with you Andy, no point using a crimp unless you also have that profesional ~£80 crimping tool. For a crimp to perform better than a solder joint you have to use the proper tool to achieve the cold weld - not one of those cheap tools you can buy from Halfords.

WRT to the heatshrink I was thinking of plain adhesive heatshrink tubing to cover the solder joint - not the crimp ones. But as you point out, again the requirement for tools is an issue.

Sigh! So you already have the best solution for most, and then people who have the tools can make a better connection.
 

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I tend to agree with you Andy, no point using a crimp unless you also have that profesional ~£80 crimping tool. For a crimp to perform better than a solder joint you have to use the proper tool to achieve the cold weld - not one of those cheap tools you can buy from Halfords.

WRT to the heatshrink I was thinking of plain adhesive heatshrink tubing to cover the solder joint - not the crimp ones. But as you point out, again the requirement for tools is an issue.

Sigh! So you already have the best solution for most, and then people who have the tools can make a better connection.
I think you have to assume that the people who are going to tackle this job themselves will have some tooling necessary or ask a mate who does. I don't think it needs to be an £80 crimping tool and its not as if you are going to use it everyday. Also reminds me of a previous job where I had to calibrate/test crimp tools annually ..... arrrr fun memories!
Looks as though screwfix have a ratchet crimper for about £12 : https://www.screwfix.com/p/crimping-tool-9/3137v
Toolstation has a Silverline one for about £18 (anyone notice that toolstation is getting more expensive these days?)

I think the most important thing here are Andy's proven instructions, his 3d printed part and tool which he is willing to provide for an incredibly low price. Anything else is gravy ... although maybe give people a choice of which gravy.
 

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For what it’s worth, I have handled most of my repair jobs on cars during my 55 years of motoring but the door trims on the Ampera and it’s bretheren are challenging because the clips are tough to release and the trim is made from lightweight plastic. I have remove three of my Ampera’s door trims so far in order to replace the door handles and even though I was especially careful (which added a hour or so to the task) I still managed to break part of the door trim on two of them. Fortunately these were internal parts and a bodged repair was possible but the real benefit of Andy’s ingenious solution is that the door trim does not need to be disturbed. The other benefit is that the tricky little connector inside the door does not need to be disturbed - the one on my driver’s took me an hour of fiddling before I gave up and wrenched it free!
For all of this I think we should declare Andy to be a genius for producing a simple solution to an issue that clearly affects all Amperas and Volts. I know some will say that they can manage without the buttons and this is true but on such a thoroughly modern car, it is nice to have everything working as it should . . .
 

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I would add that even if the basic crimped joints were to fail (in the lifetime of the car!) it would still be easier to clean redo the connection than remove the door panel. Worst case the door panel would have to come off so the entire handle could be disconnected and an entire replacement handle fitted. This kit won't make that job any harder - but there is a good chance this will solve the issue once and for all so I'm in!
 

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So I've used @HandyAndy kit, and I now have a working drivers button! My only complication was in removing the dodgy metal grommet to access the torx screw to release the handle. This has to be pulled out with some force and 'wiggling' so have your touch up paint ready as it will scratch the sharp painted edges of the hole. This issue is only for the drivers door.

Other than that, I found it helped to secure the new switch in place with it's wires threaded through the radio antennae before making the connections. I used blue-tack to keep it in place whilst I placed the handle in situ to make things easier. Rather than twist the crimps over, I stuck a double layer of insulating tape over the metal edges to avoid fouling the metallic tape inside the painted handle cover. I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with the precision of Andys fabricated switch. I was worried the resistance or the 'feel' would be way off (too hard or too soft) but it's actually perfect. All in all it's a great kit - and you've got nothing to loose - if anything goes wrong you simply disable the buttons in the car menu, and order an entire new handle and take your door card off (no worse than upgrading the speakers in Vx Corsa!). Highly recommended and restores some faith in humanity as this entire fabrication of Andys is simply to help others. So many thanks from me!

Please excuse the grime around the usually concealed handle area. Ahem, I think the white paint shows it up a bit more...
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Like @modo I've also used Andy's kit and am just as impressed with it.

I spent Saturday doing all 4 handles and they've all worked out great.

I had the same challenge with the weird grommet on the driver's door which must have added almost 30 minutes. It really doesn't feel like something that should come out, but it does.

Andy's handle dismantling "tool" is a godsend. I'd never have got the handles open without damaging them (and/or myself) without it. It needs to be used with care, however.

Rather than the vampire clamps that Andy kindly provided, I used the self-soldering heat shrink butt connectors mentioned earlier in this thread and they were pretty successful, if a little fiddly.

I've some photos and additional comments/tips/observations from my experience which I'll endeavour to get up soon.

Thanks again @HandyAndy!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the pic, Modo. I especially like your idea of blue-tacking in the switch in place first, then clipping the wires in, before crimping. I really want to edit my earlier post to add this, but cannot!!! Am now going to beat up the admins to let us edit our own posts at any time.

I'm a bit concerned that you haven't crimped the wires hard enough; the contact will be fine, but I think the metal edge is protruding ever-so-slightly above the red plastic, and that over time it's going to wear through your PVC tape & short itself. If your car unlocks itself as you approach, you'll know what's happened! :oops:

Those splicers really need a good squeeze to make sure the metal bit goes down flush, even a whisker below the plastic surface. And I'd recommend turning them over to get the metal bits against the black plastic body. But if there's space in there for your tape as well, then you'll be fine!
 

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I recently was given the job by my inlaw of fixing his GTech vacuum cleaner.
It turned out to be the on/off switch at fault which uses an identical PCB button switch to these in the door handle. Stupidly it is actuated by a plastic foot switch that impacts directly on it, nothing to reduce the pressure so I guess there will be many needing this repair.
I sourced an exact replacement from Ebay for £4 but could probably have done cheaper and better quality if I could have been bothered.
A micro switch would have been a far better option during the design stage but then I remember repairing both doors of my old BMW M3 central locking where the sub miny micro switch had failed. You can't win.

Anyway, I will be buying two from @HandyAndy but soldering them with a sleeve shrunk by the soldering iron. Never seen one of my soldered joints fail yet! 😂
What a stupid number of smileys to choose from!
 

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uated by a plastic foot switch that impacts directly on it, nothing to reduce the pressure so I guess there will be many needing this repair.
I sourced an exact replacement from Ebay for £4 but could probably have done cheaper and better quality if I could have been bothered.
A micro switch would have been a far better option during the design stage but then I remember repairing both doors of my old BMW M3 cent
Off topic, but was it the airram mk2 or just a sweeper? I've had to replace the power switch in the airram mk1 which is half way up the handle and although I didn't think it was right type of switch to use it should have lasted for longer than it did. Also I see metal cogs are now available for the mk1, the plastic one was always its Achilles heel along with long hair.
 

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I'm a bit concerned that you haven't crimped the wires hard enough; the contact will be fine, but I think the metal edge is protruding ever-so-slightly above the red plastic, and that over time it's going to wear through your PVC tape & short itself. If your car unlocks itself as you approach, you'll know what's happened! :oops:

Those splicers really need a good squeeze to make sure the metal bit goes down flush, even a whisker below the plastic surface. And I'd recommend turning them over to get the metal bits against the black plastic body. But if there's space in there for your tape as well, then you'll be fine!
You have a point - I was worried the wires would move as I compressed the crimp and that it would slice the wire in half so I didn't squeeze it as much as I should have. I've done a better job on the 2nd switch replacement this evening (and faced them inwards). That said I don't think the handle cover will press on them - so very low chance of it ever wearing through the double layer of tape. Any worst case it'll only open the door with key in close proximity - and even then it's just a 30 min job to sort. I think I'm going to make an order for another two switches (none of mine were working). I think you need to arrange mass production of these!
 
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