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E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:36 am
by lgeller
The backlight on my E120 has gone bad. THis is the second unit to have this problem (My neighbor gave me his old E120 when my first one failed). I read that this CAN be repaired but that it is not worth spending the $$ on an old unit.

So, the question is, what is the recommended upgrade? I still have the smaller unit (E80?) at the lower helm - should I try to find a compatible raymarine unit that will work with the lower unit, radar, depth sounder and autopilot?

Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated?

Larry Geller
PDQ 34

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:35 pm
by deising
Very timely post. I just found the backlight on my flybridge E120 is also way too dim and I have not had time to figure out what the repair is. From what you post, it is not good news for me, either.

Sorry I cannot answer your question. Good luck.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:03 am
by James Power
Hey all,

I was told Steve at Electronics Technical Center in Bradenton Fl. repairs the Raymarine plotter backlighting at a price of $625 that includes a software upgrade. His number is 941-748-1941.

Hope this helps

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:55 pm
by deising
Thanks for the post, James. I will have to see what we decide to do.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:18 pm
by SecondWind
Electronics reach an age where they aren't worth repairing, especially in today's market where the improvements are a quantum leap above 5-10 year old products. ETC has done board level work for us, and they do a fine job. That said, a new E125 is around $2500 (I'm sure some searching can find a much better price). If it's only 5 years old I think I would have it fixed, but at 10- I would -replace it. You have to remember that these thing are in a wet, salty environment constantly, and that component failure as they age is imminent no matter how well they are sealed.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:18 am
by deising
Finally some time to research it, I see an expert electronics repair shop has detailed the problem as the FETs that produce the high voltage needed to power the cold cathode fluorescent bulbs that form the backlight. If one fails and the voltage drops, the backlight will stay dim. If both fail then you have no backlight.

Supposedly the circuit is very compact and tricky to repair. This tech says only someone with the right equipment and excellent skills has a good chance. Of course, these are his words.

I see a handful of used ones on eBay for about $1,000. Someone has a pair for half that, but says one of the displays is dim and he doesn't know why. Well, we do now.

My dilemma is that this happened after we started a 7 month cruise (now on day 10). I am OK with dim, but it the flybridge display fails completely, I will have only the inside helm station, which is not quite as safe for close maneuvering.

BTW, I agree with Terry that our 10-year old units are generally not worth repairing.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:15 am
by lgeller
I spoke with Steve at ETC yesterday and it seems like he really knows what he is doing with this fix - he has 4 E120's on his bench now and will have mine there by tomorrow. He said he will send me a photo of my unit powered up before I pay (showing the serial number so that I know its mine) and should have the unit back to me in a few days. He warranties his work for one year.

From my perspective this is worth the $625.

Deising - where are you in your travels now? If you can get to a UPS store you could have the unit back from him before you hit your next port.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:57 am
by deising
That is tempting, lgeller, but from NY to FL and back will probably cost a fortune in expedited shipping, and we will be in Canada in about 10 days or so. Since we have one unit working fine, I will take the chance that the upper unit will hold out until we get back to the USA or return home to FL.

I always have the handheld navigation device with full charts, if needed.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:56 pm
by John&Ria
Hi Larry,

We had the same loss of brightness occur at our lower helm E120 unit in March 2015 (about the same time we visited with you). It was repaired by a Raymarine technician located in the Miami area, and to date it continues to work perfectly. Our cost was about $950, however this involved a visit to remove it from our vessel in No Name Harbour and a longer trip to Key Largo trip to reinstall it. Given the comparative costs for a new unit and how the repair has performed, this approach has worked fine for us. I think you'll be happy with your decision.

Hope all goes well....



Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:35 pm
by teamwork
My E- 80 back light failed, sent back to Raymarine. fixed, working fine. don't remember how much, but nowhere near $ 600.00 range. Call Raymarine tech service, don't remember the #. Sent auto pilot back a few years ago, very happy. Roger on Teamwork

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:58 am
by lgeller
It is rare to find someone so thorough, so I wanted to say another good word about steve at ETF. He got my unit yesterday, fixed it, sent me a photo and Ill have it back today. All for $695 including shipping.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:23 am
by jimchell
Repairing the backlight on any of the Raymarine Classic series MFDs is done by Electronic Technical Center, 2635 Manatee Ave East, Bradenton, FL 34208. Call Steve at 941-748-1941. Just UPS the MFD to Steve and he will turn it around very quickly. Cost is around $695.

Re: E120 Backlight - Time to Upgrade

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:10 pm
by deising
With us being on the Great Loop, I decided it a better solution to have my flybridge unit repaired rather than try to upgrade at this time. Steve at ETC turned around my unit in one business day and I just re-installed it. The backlight problem is solved for now.

I was glad to get the info from this forum. Thanks!