The full story is I bought a lense direct from Alpine for £40 and carefully fitted it myself, but gutted as it just came up with read errors.
The Latest price for 'refurb' from Alpine is ~£180= due to vat / inflation increases. So I've already outlaid £40 and know I have a NEW lense...but still facing a £180 bill if I send it in.
There are vendors on ebay selling aftermarket integrated DVD player NAV units for just over £300 and these appear to have compatible A/C controls.
The old DVD based non-3D nav units are not that brilliant and I see the lense will pack up again because its permanently on. Whereas the newer aftermarket units have solid state memory ( micro SD ) nav and the DVD player is only on when the player is spinning an MP3 or DIVX movie disc.
So the dialema is... chuck another £180 at old tech plan-view nav and hope the lense doesn't fail for a 3rd time...or maybe consider the £180 as downpayment towards a hong-kong aftermarket installation and get 3d nav , mp3/divx player.
But if I can get the new lense working in my Alpine DVD for a fraction of the price, then I stick with that. Hence the query about whether anybody has dabbled with their DVD unit without involving Alpine