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Old 08-18-2014, 12:59 PM   #1
kubomon17
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Question Radio head unit brightness

Yesterday I upgraded to a newer head unit so that I can run an aux port. I noticed today that the display brightness is dimmer than my old head unit and dimmer than the climate control display. I'm wondering if this is a setting that I can adjust or if it's just and old tired display. I did some searching and couldn't really find an answer.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:45 AM   #2
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Perhaps the wiring is different on the car harness or radio side. The brightness may be a different wire
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:46 AM   #3
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Actually if you don't turn your headlights on they should be at max brightness
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:42 AM   #4
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Headlights on or off make no impact, the new unit is just always dimmer, about half as bright as the old one. Can't figure it out but I guess the display brightness is a sacrifice I can deal with in order to have my iPod hooked up. Still annoying tho!
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:52 AM   #5
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Check your radio's connections. The lighting is supposed to be on par with the climate control and there is a light sensor by the LCM (your headlight switch) that determines the interior lighting brightness.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:07 AM   #6
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Will do, not too excited about having to pull the trim panels off again since my clips are beyond tired but it's possible something got messed up when I was putting everything in...
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:49 AM   #7
markusmarkus
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Is the new (to the car) head unit from a BMW?


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Old 08-20-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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Yes from an 04 e46. Mine as an 01.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kubomon17 View Post
Yes from an 04 e46. Mine as an 01.
I hate to burst your bubble, but all you had to do was purchase a Quidzel unit for $40 to get an auxillary input. Its an easy 30-45 minute install and I've done the upgrade myself.

Check out this thread I created when I bought the unit. It has pics on how to do it if you decide to return the new head unit and go back to the old one.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1043683

http://quidzel.com

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Old 08-20-2014, 01:25 PM   #10
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Well god dammit I really wish unwound have known about this like 2 weeks ago.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:30 PM   #11
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Gonna go ahead and put the old one back in and use this option. The brightness is bothering me, as is the crappy radio reception (even though I hardly ever use the radio)
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:04 PM   #12
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Well god dammit I really wish unwound have known about this like 2 weeks ago.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #13
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Oh believe me I did search, but this never came up anywhere. Ugh!
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:28 AM   #14
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Maybe I might be wrong but didn't the HU 01 and older possess round pins as the method of connecting HU to car harness? While the newer ones used the flat blade type? Or maybe I got it wrong.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:01 AM   #15
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so after some research, i did some digging on bmw planet through the car's wiring diagram. I believe this is what's going on, and if you need proof, I can cite my sources. up until 03/2001, I don't think bmw offered the HU that was compatible with the ON Bordmonitor system, which I believe indicates the OE navigation HU. After 03/2001, that was when BMW wired it up to have the option of having a Navi installed. Well, what do you know, they changed up the pins, as well as the pinouts on the wiring. 2 that stood out to me was the dimming and brightness of the HU. On the older units, it was on wire 13. on the newer ones, well, there isn't one. Perhaps it was controlled by the Kbus or something, but there is no single designated wire specifically for brightness and dimming.

Another difference is that the older HU had 2 wires for the antenna (static radio), where one was for the frequency, the other was to send a signal to switch on the antenna amplifier. Of course, with the new one, it was built all into 1. What will seal the deal on this post is that wire number 13, which used to be the dimming and brightness wire for the old HU, well, that happens to be the wire the newer HU uses as the antenna amplifier switching signal wire. No wonder local radio sounded like crap. Your antenna amplifier was not receiving the 12 volt power it needed to power on. that's why you got horrible reception.

Case solved.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:03 AM   #16
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I apologize, corrections, the on board monitor option was offered after 03/2001, however, the changing of the pinouts and wiring, specifically wire number 13 did not occur until 09/2001
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:08 AM   #17
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so in theory, the only compatible radio for 2001 and older models are HU made prior to September of 2001 for direct plug and play. Otherwise, you lose brightness control as well as local radio reception.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:07 AM   #18
kubomon17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NumbaOneNewb View Post
so after some research, i did some digging on bmw planet through the car's wiring diagram. I believe this is what's going on, and if you need proof, I can cite my sources. up until 03/2001, I don't think bmw offered the HU that was compatible with the ON Bordmonitor system, which I believe indicates the OE navigation HU. After 03/2001, that was when BMW wired it up to have the option of having a Navi installed. Well, what do you know, they changed up the pins, as well as the pinouts on the wiring. 2 that stood out to me was the dimming and brightness of the HU. On the older units, it was on wire 13. on the newer ones, well, there isn't one. Perhaps it was controlled by the Kbus or something, but there is no single designated wire specifically for brightness and dimming.

Another difference is that the older HU had 2 wires for the antenna (static radio), where one was for the frequency, the other was to send a signal to switch on the antenna amplifier. Of course, with the new one, it was built all into 1. What will seal the deal on this post is that wire number 13, which used to be the dimming and brightness wire for the old HU, well, that happens to be the wire the newer HU uses as the antenna amplifier switching signal wire. No wonder local radio sounded like crap. Your antenna amplifier was not receiving the 12 volt power it needed to power on. that's why you got horrible reception.

Case solved.
Great info man! I was aware of the radio issues before doing the swap, didn't really care but had no idea the brightness would be an issue. It's odd too cause my car doesn't dim the interior brightness, ever (maybe my light sensor is bad?) but you can definitely adjust it with the little wheel next to the light switch as you would expect. It adjusts the brightness for the radio along with everything else just fine, it's just that the radio display (not the backlighting for the radio buttons) never gets as bright as the old one or as the climate control LCD. Like I said before it's not a huge deal but it is noticeable in the day and, well, little things like that just tick me off!
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:58 AM   #19
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so in theory, the only compatible radio for 2001 and older models are HU made prior to September of 2001 for direct plug and play. Otherwise, you lose brightness control as well as local radio reception.
Good find!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kubomon17 View Post
Great info man! I was aware of the radio issues before doing the swap, didn't really care but had no idea the brightness would be an issue. It's odd too cause my car doesn't dim the interior brightness, ever (maybe my light sensor is bad?) but you can definitely adjust it with the little wheel next to the light switch as you would expect. It adjusts the brightness for the radio along with everything else just fine, it's just that the radio display (not the backlighting for the radio buttons) never gets as bright as the old one or as the climate control LCD. Like I said before it's not a huge deal but it is noticeable in the day and, well, little things like that just tick me off!
What did you end up doing? Are you going to keep in the new HU or replace it with the old one and buy the Quidzel mod?
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:43 AM   #20
kubomon17
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Placed an order for the quidzel mod and gonna put the old one back in. Gonna be a bitch cause I have to resplice my antenna cables (spliced them in order to avoid getting an adapter) but at least I'll have my brightness back and good reception as well (not that I care). Only benefit to the new unit for me that I can see is the speed dependent volume, which I don't think even works in my car and is kind of annoying anyways.
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