Breathing New Life into Your Legacy Respironics REMstar CPAP Machine
By Andrew Senske, President CPAP-Supply.com
Last Updated 10/24/2007 08:23:00 PM
When you go to sleep at night and turn on your CPAP machine, do you have to press the buttons really hard to make it work? Does it take a few tries before your CPAP machine will turn on? If so, the problem may simply be a bad keypad that needs to be replaced. Before shelling out big bucks on a new CPAP machine, read on to see if you may be able to fix your CPAP machine and make it like new again - in under 10 minutes. This article will explain how to replace the keypad on a legacy Respironics REMstar CPAP machine. Whether your CPAP machine has 6,000 hours or 20,000 hours, you may be a few simple steps away from breathing new life into your existing CPAP machine.
If your Respironics REMstar CPAP machine behaves like I described above - specifically, if it has relatively unresponsive or slow-to-work buttons - then a quick fix may be in order. To fix your machine all you need to do is purchase a new keypad and replace the old one. Here are links to where you can purchase your new keypad:
Legacy (pre-M Series) REMstar Plus Keypad
Legacy (pre-M Series) REMstar Plus C-Flex, Pro C-Flex and Auto C-Flex Keypad
Note that we sell all sorts of sleep apnea equipment, so if you need a hard-to-find part for your mask, or a new sleep apnea machine, CPAP-Supply.com is the place for you!
The fix requires that you open your CPAP machine. Technically, doing this voids the manufacturer's two-year warranty, but chances are that if you need to replace your keypad your machine is already out of its warranty period. Consider yourself warned.
Besides the new keypad, the only tool you'll need is a medium sized philips head screw driver to remove the top of the case from the bottom and to remove the circuit board from the inside of the top of the case. Obviously (or maybe not so obviously since I feel the need to actually write this), you'll need to make sure your CPAP machine is unplugged. If you touch the circuit board with the machine plugged in, you could damage the circuit board and you'll almost certainly get shocked. At that point, sleep apnea and your sluggish CPAP machine buttons would be the least of your concerns.
So, with your philips head screwdriver unscrew the three screws which hold the top of the CPAP machine case to the bottom of the machine case. These three screws are deeply recessed and it might be slightly difficult for you to see them. You can just drop your screwdriver into the holes and let the screwdriver finds its place on the screw head.
Bottom of REMstar Plus CPAP Machine
After you remove the top of the CPAP machine case, you'll see that the circuit board is connected to the top of the case by four screws. Unscrew these four screws to remove the circuit board.
Bottom of REMstar Plus Circuit Board
When you turn the circuit board over you'll see the keypad. Pull the keypad loose and set it aside. Then install your new keypad. You'll have to push the little rubber connecting prongs firmly to get them to push through the little holes in the circuit board. Once these prongs are pushed through the board and the keypad feels secure, you're pretty much done.
REMstar Plus with Old Keypad
REMstar Plus with New Keypad
Take a close look at the differences between the old and new keypads. The most obvious difference is the color. The old keypad will be a lot yellower than the new one due to oxidation and material degradation over time. The connectors or switches on the back of the old keypad are quite a bit smaller than the switches on the back of the new keypad. Perhaps this will allow the new keypad to last even longer than the old one. In the following photos the old keypad is on top.
Front of REMstar Plus Keypads
Back of REMstar Plus Keypads
Now you have a choice to make. You can reassemble the CPAP machine and try it out, or you can see if your fix worked before assembling the CPAP machine. I recommend reassembling the machine before trying out the new keypad so that you avoid electrocuting yourself. Of course, the choice is yours.
To reassemble the CPAP machine just reverse your steps. First, connect the circuit board to the top of the CPAP machine case with the four screws. Make sure the keypad buttons fit through their holes in the case. Then place the top of the CPAP machine case on the bottom of the case. Turn the CPAP machine upside down and install the three screws to connect the top and bottom of the CPAP machine. There's no need to overtighten any of the screws, so take it easy.
Now, turn your CPAP machine right side up, plug it in, and press the On/Off button.
Like magic (or at least like a brand new CPAP machine) the CPAP machine will turn on with one gentle push of the button. If it doesn't turn on, then make sure your power cord connections are secure. If it still doesn't turn on, then your problem likely isn't the keypad. If this is the case, I recommend buying a new CPAP machine since you can get an awfully good one for just $240. Replacing a circuit board takes too long and costs too much - it just doesn't make sense to do it.
If this fix works for you, you'll undoubtedly feel the satisfaction of completing a successful do-it-yourself project and you'll feel good knowing that you've extended the life of your trusty CPAP machine.
CPAP-Supply.com is a leading online retailer of CPAP equipment. Located in Spokane, WA CPAP-Supply.com has been serving thousands of customers around the world since 2001. Founded on a belief that patients are their own best primary care providers, CPAP-Supply.com understands the importance of educating patients and customers on both the effects of and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For more information visit CPAP-Supply.com or call toll free 1-888-955-2727.