Converting to a 12 Hour Clock on R11’s – and Restoring a Blank LCD in the RID
by Joe Senner
I’ve done some research into the Rider’s Information Display (RID) on the R11’s, specifically to figure out if the clock can be converted to American time 🙂
In a word, no.
The RID uses a (now discontinued) 75328 NEC microcontroller. This chip is basically nothing more than a specialized CPU burned for BMW by NEC. It has an 8k on chip ROM that BMW supplies the code for and NEC masks that code into the chips as they make them. As near as I (and the NEC tech) can tell the chip is set up to send itself one second interrupts and implements the time display manually. In short, changing the display to 12 hour mode would most likely require changing the ROM code and remasking a new chip. There is a chance that the code may look at one of the data lines and display 12 hour based on that, but it would have to be specifically programmed into the ROM code. Not very likely. The cost of remasking a new chip would easily exceed the cost of the bike for anything less than hundreds of chips.
On a potentially positive note, if your RID goes blank there may be a very simple fix. The LCD display is driven by the chip/board via pressure contact patches. If you’ve ever had an old calculator apart you’ve seen how the buttons push a black conductive dot down onto two black pads, shorting them together to perform the button function.
The LCD in the RID works exactly the same way. The LCD display portion is not wired to the electronics board. There are two rows of black pads on the board. The LCD is pressed onto the board and held in place with bent metal tangs. There are two rows of conductive foam, one along each edge of the display. This conductive foam is pressed onto the board to make contact. I don’t doubt that with time, vibration, etc., the connection between the two becomes less than ideal. Remember the old TI calculators? After a few months the buttons stopped working unless you mashed them really hard. Same deal here.
Anyway, if your RID goes blank and is in warranty, don’t mess with it, have the dealer replace it. If it’s out of warranty and your dealer won’t warranty it, do take the time to pull the unit apart. Just lifting the display off, shooting it with some electronics cleaner and putting it back together will most likely fix it.
Disassembly tips: with the RID out, the plug that holds the wire in should be pried out from the end *opposite* the wire. It’s in there snug, so you’ll have to pry at it. Once the plug is out, the black plastic cover will snap off. Use care when prying. The screws that hold the electronics to the clear front cover are very small torx screws. < T10. I was able to use a small jewelers screwdriver to get them out. They’re tight as well.