The buttons on the Casio G-Shock Mudman series are notoriously stiff to depress, mine appear to be no exception. Several people online have said that by boiling the bezel for 20-30 minutes you can soften them up. Well I have some spare time and a digital camera handy so I'm going to see if this crazy idea works.
Note: If you do not have the correct tools for doing this I suggest you stop right here. The screws on the Mudman are very small (little buggers) and without the correct screwdrivers you stand the chance of badly stripping the heads. Also, I take *no* responsibility for you doing this at home and ruining your watch.
Step 1: Getting Started
Getting started: This is optional. I am going to remove the straps on my Mudman to make things a little easier. I'm also going to throw them into the boiling water to see if the straps get softer after boiling.
Once the straps have been removed it makes it a little easier to handle the main body of the watch.
Step 2: Removing the Caseback
The next step is to remove the four screws holding the back on. These are very small Phillips head screws so as I mentioned before make sure you have the right sized screwdriver to avoid burring the heads up. Edit: It's been pointed out that I did *NOT* have to remove the caseback in order to get the bezel off. If you do not want to remove it, keep reading through until you get to the point where I remove the two tiny screws on the side of the bezel at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions - Step #3
Remove all four screws carefully and put them somewhere safe. The back cover will not come off yet, there are two even smaller screws on either side-edge of the case that need to be taken out.
Remove the two tiny screws that are on opposite sides of the case body. These can be found at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions. Keep these two screw separate from the others as they are a different size.
Once the final two screws have been removed you can start dismantling the case. The first thing to do is to remove the back case cover. This should already be loose and will lift right off.
Next, lift off the metal case back. Be sure to keep the watch body in the upside down position as shown otherwise the module could easily fall out. Sounds obvious but trust me.
You should now be able to see the full internal workings of the watch. The module is slightly hidden by a soft rubber protective cover - there is no need to remove this.
Step 3: Removing the Bezel and Inner Module
Next up, removing the outer bezel from the internal workings. I found this to be more tricky than I had expected. Take your time and slowly pry open the outer bezel. I found that by opening up the bezel on the square button side and then quickly opening up the bezel on the opposite large button side I was able to slip the workings out from the bezel.
Once you get that first edge out the whole inner module should pop right out. Be very careful not to disturb the small spring sticking out of the back of the module at the top (11 o'clock position in the picture below).
Here is the shot that many Mudman owners, myself included, have been waiting to see. A "naked" Mudman! It's funny, during this entire process I began to really appreciate the quality and craftsmanship (albeit it fully automated) of this watch. No blemishes or flaws even on the pieces you would never normally see.
Step 4: Get the Water Boiling!
Ok, so the Mudman is now full disassembled and ready for the real science experiment. Begin boiling the water.
As I mentioned earlier, I am going to boil both pieces of the strap at the same time as I boil the outer bezel. I've got the water up to a rolling boil and I'm ready to take the plunge. In they go.
I've heard varying times provided for doing this, so I opted for somewhere in the middle - 20 minutes ought to be long enough to discern a difference. What better way to time this than with my atomic, solar Mudman!
While I'm waiting I go back to take a closer look at the "naked" Mudman. It looks pretty cool with its clothes off, but it's a little too vulnerable to be messing around with it. Interestingly I had it set to beep on the hourly intervals and one came and went while it was out of the case - there was no sound because that tiny little spring sticking out of the back of the module was not making contact with the metal case back.
Step 5: Reassembly and Testing
Here is the boiled and reassembled Mudman. The burning questions is: "Are the buttons softer after boiling the bezel?" The answer: "You bet they are!" I'd guess that they are anywhere between 40 - 50% softer than before being boiled. I noticed that the strap was much softer too and incredibly comfortable, not that it was bad to start with.
I'd say this was a great success. I had my doubts but it looks like this really works - I feel just like the Mythbusters. I will definitely being doing this for my atomic solar Muddy.
Well I hope you find this useful and somewhat entertaining. I enjoyed doing this and can attest that the difference is so noticeable that you won't regret taking the time to go through these steps.