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My cycling computers "down" sidebutton has worn through due to my bad habit of only skipping through data pages using the lower of the two buttons. Rubber has perforated and it fell off during a ride, so I don't have anything to glue back in...

enter image description here

It still works but it is a near to a safety risk trying to press the inner mechanics during a ride. I'm aware that in most scenarios I could still scroll the other way or even re-arrange screens to accommodate for it, but is there a way to fix this, has anybody a good idea how or has even done a similar repair? It's also not ideal that the IP protection is voided and the next wet ride could end my beloved Edge after over 4 years of partnership. Yeah, I'm a keeper.

Garmin doesn't officially sell replacement parts, only cases (which wouldn't help to actuate the button internals), I've only seen one or two used parts on Ebay, but located in the US and I'm in the EU, so shipping costs would probably be higher than the part's price.

(I'm aware that this is only remotely cycling-related but perhaps somebody had the same issue since the buttons inherently wear on use on any kind of similar device).

Update

After getting some useful responses on parts on the internet, I shied away from dirty glue jobs. The whole back of the device can be found (with and without battery) on various internet portals, mostly shipping from the East but a defect or used full Edge 520 unit might also be suitable, considering that a new 540 costs over 300€.

In my case, 25€ (which is less than 1/10 of a new 540), so it was worth the money because I'm still fine with battery life and features of the 2016 model and that probably keeps it alive for another two or three years, hopefully.

Temporary fix

Here's what I came up with

  • From inside the case, I covered the hole with tape
  • The new button is the tailpiece of a zip-tie, glued onto the tape
  • The ugly part: As protection and to give everything a more rubberish feel, I just covered the hole with Pattex glue which never full hardens out

enter image description here

It kind of works, probably not forever but at least temporary until the replacement case arrives from China, probably not until August.

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    I have the same issue with the power button on Edge Explore. It just works like this (about a year now). But sometimes is fiddly to press when wearing winter gloves. Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 19:23
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    It's against the rules to link products here. Especially counterfeit products... But I'll give you a hint. You can buy an edge 520 case with all buttons and a new battery from China for about €20. It won't be original or manufactured by garmin. But for what you need it will do just fine Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 20:09
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    The keyword here is "shell" not "case" Do look out for confusion when searching listings like aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-garmin-edge-520-shell.html sometimes the sellers are using a translator and words may not be right. Photos are more reliable.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 1:13
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    I’m unfamiliar with these devices, but if you only ever need one of the two up/down buttons, you could just fill the hole with silicone caulk/sealant or something. Actually, come to think of it, if you carefully apply the sealant, you might even be able to preserve the button’s functionality.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 1:27
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    Had the same kind of issue with a hiking GPS unit (also from Garmin). The rubbery compound seems to not withstand time very well, so what seem to be the best solution is a case replacement, but I couldn't find one. The issue being: if the compound is degraded, a localized fix is only good as a temporary fix to wait for a more durable solution, as it may appear later somewhere else.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 13:32

3 Answers 3

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I wanted to follow up on this topic and how it went for me...

After two weeks, I got a replacement case from overseas for reasonable money.

There is no spare part from Garmin since replacement isn't just swapping a case, you definitely have to disassemble your device, which includes peeling off the display glued to the case and removing cables/connectors between display, PCB and battery.

I can't post any links but there are two ways to get a replacement

  • Just look out for an Edge sold as 'defect' on the market platform of your choice - it shouldn't matter if the screen is broken, battery's dead or the PCB failed as long as you can strip it apart and re-use the rear body/shell
  • Various e-commerce platforms (located in China) offer replacement parts - searching for Garmin Edge 520 shell gives you good results. It is up to your judgement whether an offering is counterfeit, most of them look like refurbished original parts, so just somebody doing an extra step over buying a defect unit.

At least on my order, I got a clearly used shell (with dirt under the USB port cover) that was equally bad as mine. When test-pressing the buttons, all five of them immediately ruptured because of the old rubber, which is no surprise because the Edge *20 series was phased out years ago and while some may be used more gently, you can't cheat age in that regard when it comes to exposed rubber. It might be that it would have held up better if I installed it and it had pressed against the PCBs actuators but sure not for long.

New case buttons failed immediately

If you get a decent one that stood the test of time, I'd suggest to look for one including battery because otherwise, you will have to do some re-wiring against the new cases' speaker. You have to pull out cables and and push the new ones (1A) in the back of the connector to the PCB (1B). Admittedly, I'm not good at microelectronics and soldering but it seems like try and error and in best case, you get sound on the new device, or you just skip this step.

Also, pushing back the connector (1B) into the PCB (1C) is quite fiddly, I pretty much ruined it on my numerous attempts. It still worked when I finally put everything together but it didn't lock in, so you have to be extra careful that it doesn't disconnect already when you put the screen module back in, or on a bump on the street. Use a strip of duct tape or glue to be on the safe side.

enter image description here

Also, the small metal frames holding the buttons/actuators on the PCB in place are very fragile, one just fell off including the button just when I took the 520 apart for the first time. Then, the button doesn't stay in place and you have to be creative, again.

I finally went with buying a new Edge 540 because all of the above is a good sign that you had your device for way too long and it won't get back to how was in a pristine state after attempting such repairs.

Sorry that this is more of a rant than useful instructions but that's my main learning: these devices are not meant to be refurbished, at least by amateurs like me.

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    I have similar issue, mine was the enter button, on top right. Yeah i bought the new 840 but i still would like to fix it. I guess it’s gonna be tough. Thanks for the details and photos.
    – Ken
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 16:57
  • @Ken It is definitely doable if you take your time and don't rush things. Most of it is doable without special tools, even though it might be fiddly, like the speaker cables - with special tools, it would have been easier to expose the wire and press it back into the connector. Also, you need to glue the screen back on, it'll stick on the original case after cutting it but my replacement had it totally stripped, that probably depend on where you get it from - I think, there are no spares, just parts from defective head units being sold.
    – DoNuT
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 7:57
  • It is a pity that it fails.just because of rubber buttons. My very old handheld Garmin etrex GPS still works well, although affected by the week counter overflow, just the rubber around the device has been very slightly loose for a long time, but the buttons in it work well. I used to use it extensively in the 2000s and early 2010s. My Edge Explore 2 does not seem to have rubber buttons. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 19:40
  • @VladimirFГероямслава Classic constructive weak point. My 520 would have done another 4-5 years, all working fine and battery life still excellent. But Garmin know their mistake, the 540 doesn't have these rubberized buttons but some hard-shell plastic ones - for a reason, I suppose...^^
    – DoNuT
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 21:22
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Fix for Power Button Cover Fail on Garmin 520

Here's a potential fix for the power button cover on the garmin 520 failing. I took some 0.125" dia. brake cable sheathing (Tubing that is used to cover exposed cable on a bike so it doesn't scratch the paint.) and after several tries I was able to cut a piece of the tubing that fit snugly in the opening for the power button. Then I added electrical tape wrapped twice around the center of the piece to make the diameter wider so the little button gets pushed. I have only used it on one ride - need to do some further field testing but so far so good. I also need to put some silicon around the edges so it is waterproof.

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    Nice hack! You're right this needs some silicon RTV or Sugru to have a chance of surviving the rain. Or stick a plastic bag over the whole head unit and tape it shut.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 4 at 9:50
  • That's smart and something fitting you can easily recycle. Silicone should sort the job but I didn't have any around so I went for a the ugly Pattex (tm) hack. Definitely needs something that stays flexible, so no superglue etc. Good luck, my 520 didn't really survive the procedure.
    – DoNuT
    Commented Jan 4 at 15:53
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I did a similar fix for the failed rubber cover on the power button of my aging Garmin Edge 510. I clipped a short (about 3/8 in.) piece of coated wire (actually, a phone line with three thin lines inside the outer cover), dropped it in the hole over the switch and taped it down with electrical tape. Seems to work fine, and should be pretty weather safe. Tim

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  • Nice and easy. I think most solutions other than trying to replace the back of the computer will turn out to be some kind of rigid object put into the hole and fixated using tape/glue. I could imagine it is waterproof enough as long as the tape sticks but I assume with repeated usage/flex, dirt ingress and being exposed to the elements, it'll require renewal from time to time. The worst that could happen is that the "button" falls off and you need a new one. If I had it around when trying my temporary fix above, I would have tried hot glue (with care) or sanitary silicone.
    – DoNuT
    Commented Feb 29 at 6:53

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