Thought I'd post the fix for my CC issues here.
Had some time on the w/e to sort it. When I first got the car, the cooling and heating worked real well! only the driver side heater control would automatically escalate from a setting cold and creep all the way to BOILING hot.
So, there was always an issue, but the CC totally stopped doing anything other than blow ambient air when switched on... The driver side temp control also ceased to work at all..
1) disconnect battery
2) begin extracting CC unit from console.
pull out gear gaiter surround to reveal two screws holding lower console piece:
3) remove the two small screws below the drop-down bin/cig lighter and remove bin disconnecting the cig lighter and withdraw - find the lower console piece extensively broken... as below.... hmm.... four more screws to remove...
4) and.. pull out alien device...wtf is this doing here??:
5) remove stereo and remove molex connectors and antenna connector... stereo comes out w/ remover tool or in a pinch 4 pop rivets in the 4 holes and pull out.. now you have the 6 screws holding in the CC unit exposed... remove these and pull unit out.
6) back of it looks like this... remove disconnected - warning these are hinged type secure connections, depress catch and pull back black lever - do not pull on wires... remove several tiny t10 screws to remove back cover.
7) reveal pcb, pull out the pcb floating behind the face of the CC unit and spot the black diode marking on the photosensors... by gently depressing on the side of the units i was able to spot that all 3 contacts on one side of the surface mount device were cracked and i could move the SMD sideways almost impreceptably due to the structural break in the solder.... obviously resolder the part... very little was used by the OEM, so i resoldered the SMD pins... Warning: consult a person well familar with soldering SMD devices. It is VERY easy to bridge the pins with SMD devices and access is limited. in a pinch, simply apply heat and reform the solder bridger rather than add solder if you are not experienced.
8) reassemble! reconnect battery - put key in MAR and allow all the actuators behind the CC unit recalibrate their range... and....
I can imagine a lot of people jumping to the conclusion that they need a regas or there being some other large issue with the a/c if their unit stops working. most of the CC systems are actually all actuator controlled including the heater air mixer flap, so a reset is hopefully all that is needed...