Got a dead screen on your awesome Cowon C2?

The Cowon C2 is perhaps the greatest MP3 player ever made.  At some point, it may die on you.  The problem that many encounter is that the screen goes dead to the touch, or otherwise behaves incorrectly to touch input.

You will frantically search for a C2 on the internet and find they are unavailable for purchase, unless you are willing to pay over $900 from some scalper who is lucky enough to have a working one.   Then, you begin to search for solutions and you find nothing other than perhaps this link (http://iaudiophile.net/forums/showthread.php?t=41594)

After researching screen failures like this I was able to repair mine.  It is not an elegant repair, but it worked for me.  Many people have found my post at this youtube video(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me4cxMQJbh0) and contacted me for help.  About 2/3 of the people who have contacted me were able to get their Cowon working again.   Below is a copy-paste of what I have been instructing.  It describes my efforts, with the final solution near the end.

———–

Mine would power on, but not respond in any way to touching the screen.

My googling revealed that on the C2, the screen is a resistive touch screen.  I don’t know exactly how they work, but you have the LCD and a thin plastic sheet covering it.  Along the edges​ of the screen, underneath the plastic cover, there are thin strips of conductive material between the screen and the plastic sheet.  Somehow, touching the sheet and pressing it to the LCD gets registered in these conductive strips. 

The glue that holds all that together can apparently release over time, which is what had happened to mine. That releasing is a byproduct of heat generated by the Cowon, your body heat, and any other heat sources that may have been near the Cowon.  It is not an obvious problem.  That is, if you looking at it you are probably not going to see anywhere where it looks like something is coming loose.

To fix it, I had to take the Cowon apart (not very difficult).  Remove two tiny screws under the flap where you plug in your USB cable.  Then pry that end up and it will separate into two parts.  The chrome part will hold your battery, the black/colored part holds your LCD and circuit board.

Disconnect the battery.  It’s a bit hard to pry the connector loose, but carefully pry the battery connector loose from the circuit board.

Remove the circuit board and LCD from the housing.  You do not need to remove the circuit board from the LCD, so look carefully where your screws are going. I believe there are only three screws you need to remove.

Once the LCD is out of the housing, you will see the strips I am talking about above.

Then, I used a hairdryer to re-heat the glue by heating the whole LCD panel.  Next, I pressed everything back together tightly with my fingers and held it while it cooled. Doing that, I was able to restore some functionality. The success didn’t last very long, it stopped working in a few minutes, but it indicated that I was on the right track. 

Before I started, my screen was completely dead,  touching it produced no sound, and nothing moved which suggested that the conductive strips were not making a connection where they converged.  All strips were affected, otherwise it would register some movement.  Where the strips converge, they enter a plastic strip that carries their signals to the electronics.  You will see this connecting strip at the lower left of the screen when it is out of the black housing.   I could re-connect the battery while it was apart, squeeze that area with my thumb and forefinger and the screen would function, suggesting that was the failure point.

I tried heating it directly (and briefly) with a cigarette lighter and letting it cool under pressure.  That worked, but in about 10 minutes it quit again.

Final solution: I ended up cutting a small piece of foam rubber and gluing it inside the plastic cover, directly over where the conductive strips converged, so that when it was re-assembled the foam placed enough pressure on the convergence point that the connections were made, and it has worked fine ever since (about 2 years so far).


Taking the Cowon apart is not as intimidating as it might seem.  I had no idea what I was doing when I started, but knew that other things that used resistive touch screens (old tablets etc) often have suffered the same problem and were cured with a hairdryer & pressure while it cooled.  Since my cowon was otherwise useless, there
was nothing to lose in trying. 

Below is a picture of a repair that a fellow performed using these instructions. He was so excited that his worked again that he sent me a picture of his repair.  His problem was along the bottom edge of the screen.  If these instructions help, please leave a comment & let me know.  Good luck!

CowonFixed

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