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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 01-14-2005, 04:00 PM   #1
wendtan
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OEM LED retrofit without replacing LCM

Well, since alot of people have been asking about this, here is an
instruction for OEM Led retrofit without replaicing the LCM on E46 Ci manufactured before 2001.09(When the new LCM was introduced)

I bought all of my components from http://www.elfa.se/en/
It should be no problem to order from this company from the US if
you have problems locating the components needed at your local electronics store.

First of all here are the components required for the task:
6 x 25W Power resistors 33 Ohms. http://www.elfa.se/elfa-bin/setpage....ok=2012530.htm
2 x 25Vdc 470uF Capacitors http://www.elfa.se/elfa-bin/setpage....htm?_67_787_65
2 x 3W Power resistors 10 Ohms http://www.elfa.se/elfa-bin/setpage....0&dok=6939.htm

The Tools required for the task are:

Solding equipment
Wire cutters
Electrical tape
Cable Ties http://www.elfa.se/elfa-bin/setpage....0&dok=3999.htm
A standard multimeter

The multimeter is just to make sure that you are using the correct cables in the adaptor cable.

If you do the calculation acording to Ohms Law on a 21W bulb you will end up with 6.8 Ohms. I tried these resistors at first, but they got way to hot to use in a car. The higher the resistance the less heat. I found out that 33 Ohms was a god compromise.

Step 1 is to take the adaptor cables provided in the retrofit kit and
start up by cutting the cable that is blue and green. This is the cable for the blinker leds. A 3-4 Volt pulse is sent out every 60 sec to check the bulbs function. This pulse will not light up a normal bulb, but will light up your LED blinker. We need to filter out this pulse with the capacitor and the 3W 10 ohm power resistor(in a series circuit). The picture below shows how this is done:

The Capacitor is marked out with an arrow poiting to ground.
At this end you sold a cable that connects to ground( the cars chassi)
I found a good grounding point at one of the bolts holding the rear fender from the inside of the trunk.

When you are done with both right and left adaptor cabels you are half way done. The instruction above describes how you create a lowpass filter to get id of the 60 sec pulse.

Now we are ready to get started with the 25W 33 Ohms resistors to get rid of the lights out warning in the dash.
As you can see in the picture above there are 3 cabels that have exposed the copper to be able to sold on the cables that lead to the resistors.

Green/Black= Braking light
light purple/dark purple = parking light
Green/Blue = Blinker light

These 3 cables need 1 resistor each. 6 in total with both right and left side.

I chose to mount all 6 resistors in one place as shown in the picture below:
I mounted them on a stainless steel plate because of the small amount of heat.


So when you have all 6 cables running from both left and right side of the taillights connected to the resistors, the other side of the resistor is connected with cabels to to cars chassi (parallel circuit) I chose to use the same connecting point tho the cars rear fender to get proper grounding.

Use plenty of electrical tape to get a clean installation with no visible soldings. I will try go take some more pictures (grounding point and so on)

The electrical components are around 35$ and the function is 100%.

If you are running the car with no lights on at all you will experience a 60 sec pulse on the parking light/brake light. You can build a filter on these circuits to (same as the blinker) to get rid of this. I didnt bother to do this since this light configuration is not legal in Sweden.

All you do to your cars electrical system is done at your own risk.

More of the result can be viewed in this thread: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=221511
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Last edited by wendtan; 01-14-2005 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 01-14-2005, 06:26 PM   #2
wendtan
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This is a simplified electrical scheme of the the blinker circuit.
The other ones are the same but without the capacitor and and the small 10 ohm resistor.

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Last edited by wendtan; 01-14-2005 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:23 AM   #3
russ330
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That's a very, very impressive DIY.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russ330
That's a very, very impressive DIY.
Thanks Russ!

I thought it might be fun to try to figure out how the LCM works instead of just replacing it.
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Old 01-22-2005, 04:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendtan
Thanks Russ!

I thought it might be fun to try to figure out how the LCM works instead of just replacing it.
So this is what both simplified wiring diagrams would look like?
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettF
So this is what both simplified wiring diagrams would look like?

Yes that would be correct.
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Old 05-06-2005, 12:39 PM   #7
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Smile

Hi Wendtan,

First of all, thanks for the great work you have done. Really appreciate for your work.

I am an E46 325Ci Cabrio owner in Hong Kong and have just bought a pair of OEM taillight without the knowledge about changing the LCM and the renewal the codes.

My car is a pre face lift model and manufactured in June 2000 (I think it is the first batch of E46 325 Ci Cabrio) and made in Germany (I think it is the UK or Euro Spec).

The Part number for the OEM LED retrofit is 63 21 0154 474

After seeing your instruction, I have a few question regarding to the installation of the resistors. [I have copied your picture and added 2 arrows for indication - hope u don't mind)

Area A: This regards to the location of those 25W 33ohm power resistor.
- May I know where exactly are those resisitor located?
- May I have more picture such that I could recognise the exact location?
- I was noticed that there are 2 screws installed with each power resistor, does that mean I have to drill some holes for screws?


Area B: This regards to the extra wire connected between those breaking light/blinker/parking light wires and 25W 33ohm resistors.
- Is there any preferred parameter for the wire (in terms of resistance, thickness?)

Thank you very much ^o^
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:26 PM   #8
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you can buy the led tail lights from one of the vendors here that does not require any reprograming of the LCM...
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Old 05-06-2005, 02:33 PM   #9
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Great DIY but I don't have enough knowledge to take something like this on. Wendtan, have you got a degree in engineering or something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonTon2003
you can buy the led tail lights from one of the vendors here that does not require any reprograming of the LCM...
Yup, plenty of lights with built in resistors are available for around $300 ( i think the best ones are made by DEPO). I have just seen one today and I would say that the only downside is that the back of the lights are somewhat exposed and looked kinds unfinished.
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Old 05-07-2005, 01:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stock323iSaloon
Great DIY but I don't have enough knowledge to take something like this on. Wendtan, have you got a degree in engineering or something?



Yup, plenty of lights with built in resistors are available for around $300 ( i think the best ones are made by DEPO). I have just seen one today and I would say that the only downside is that the back of the lights are somewhat exposed and looked kinds unfinished.
Yes sir, you assumption is correct
Automation Engineer to be more specific.

Sorry about the DIY being a little high tech, but i tried to break it down as much as i could. There are a couple of people on this board who has done this DIY succesfully.

The only problem with the aftermarket led tails is that they really dont look as good as OEM. Well, according to me anyway
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Old 05-07-2005, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aowaowb
Hi Wendtan,

First of all, thanks for the great work you have done. Really appreciate for your work.

I am an E46 325Ci Cabrio owner in Hong Kong and have just bought a pair of OEM taillight without the knowledge about changing the LCM and the renewal the codes.

My car is a pre face lift model and manufactured in June 2000 (I think it is the first batch of E46 325 Ci Cabrio) and made in Germany (I think it is the UK or Euro Spec).

The Part number for the OEM LED retrofit is 63 21 0154 474

After seeing your instruction, I have a few question regarding to the installation of the resistors. [I have copied your picture and added 2 arrows for indication - hope u don't mind)

Area A: This regards to the location of those 25W 33ohm power resistor.
- May I know where exactly are those resisitor located?
- May I have more picture such that I could recognise the exact location?
- I was noticed that there are 2 screws installed with each power resistor, does that mean I have to drill some holes for screws?


Area B: This regards to the extra wire connected between those breaking light/blinker/parking light wires and 25W 33ohm resistors.
- Is there any preferred parameter for the wire (in terms of resistance, thickness?)

Thank you very much ^o^
Well, the location is in the trunk, the black thing is the cover over the spare tire. The powerresistors are mounted on a stainless steel plate because of the heat issue. These specific powerresistors with aluminum casing need to be mounted on a steel plate, if not there lifespann will be shortened severly.
Use the ceramic ones if you dont want to do this.
There are bolts towards the back of the car and, i used one of them to mount the stainless steel bracket with the power resistors.
So yes, you need to drill holes in the stainless stell bracket, but not in your car.

The cables i used are normally used in swedish electrical systems for 220 Volts.

To answer your email questions:

1. I couldn't manage to get the 3W 10ohm resistor for the braking light wire, what I can get is 5W 10ohm, would that give a better heat dissipation than the 3W one?
5W 10ohm should work fine.


2. Can I know what's the value of Voltage passing through from the LCM to each of the (Braking, blinker, parking) wire?

12 Volts are passing through on each of the 3 wires.

3. About the mounting area of those 6pieces of the 25W 33ohm resisitor, where exactly are those resistor mounted? Do you have more pics showing the location for those power resistors? Did you drill the holes for screwing up those 25W power resistor?
Well, open the trunk, and lift the plate thing and look down and you will se the black plastic covering the spare tire. That is what the pictures above show.
4. Is there any thickness requirement on those extra cable? I have bought the wire of which can stand up to 450Vdc. Hope it is ok.
Se answer above
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:02 PM   #12
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Just about to start this but mine seems a little "werid" i put the OEM tail lights in and i get the fast pulse when the car is first turned on then that is it!

I dont get no pulses every 60seconds? or if i do it dont light up the rear light (only put in the passenger side to test not both)

I get the bulb out warning on the dash to but the lights all seem fine, no fast indicators or nothing

my car is the 2002 model and i get the new style LCM with autolights option

Any ideas?
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:05 PM   #13
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50 ohms worked on the blinker for me. however I used 50s on all 3 and I have bulb out warnings on my rears. Only comes up when I have my headlights on.

I get flashing on my tail lights, when I have my headlights on and i'm at idle they will blink off for a second. The brake lights don't seem to do this. Any ideas?
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Old 11-27-2006, 05:50 PM   #14
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finally got my lazy a$$ to do this mod. looks soooo much better!!

just wanted to confirm that this works to those who are wondering, except i didnt do the capacitor. soldered 3 resistors to each side and pulled fuse 32 per Alex's instructions in this post:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...5&postcount=75

be careful with those damn trunk clips...they snap easy! 2 fatalities for me...
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Old 12-01-2006, 05:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CantonKnees View Post
finally got my lazy a$$ to do this mod. looks soooo much better!!

just wanted to confirm that this works to those who are wondering, except i didnt do the capacitor. soldered 3 resistors to each side and pulled fuse 32 per Alex's instructions in this post:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...5&postcount=75

be careful with those damn trunk clips...they snap easy! 2 fatalities for me...
Good to see another member "hooked" up.
Sorry to hear about those trunk clips.
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Old 12-02-2006, 09:52 AM   #16
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My version (thanks to the original authors who provided the usefull data):

This DIY applies to Pre 09/2001 production coupe BMWs. It is possible to do it on later cars but there's no need since the LCM can be reprogrammed to accommodate LEDs. There are a couple of things to have in mind:

1. OEM Leds are used for this mod, not aftermarket ones. LEDs from M3 will fit the Coupe and vice versa.

2. This mod requires cutting and soldering wires, if you are not familiar with soldering and capacitor/resistor values, take the schematics to somebody who knows how to and relief yourself from smoke/electric shock etc. I did the mod with a friend of mine who is an electronics engineer just to be on the safe side.

3. In addition to the OEM led clusters, you will need to obtain the corresponding adapters from BMW or eBay. These adapters convert the car's plugs for use on LED clusters. Beware as the adapters are specific for LEFT side and RIGHT side clusters. If you put the adaptor in the wrong side, nothing will work. They are clearly marked with left and right anyway.

4. The LCM or Light Control Module checks if a bulb is burnt by sending a 3-volt pulse every minute to the front and rear lights. This pulse, is not strong enough to light the standard filament bulbs that you have, but it's enough to briefly light the LEDs. Therefore, every minute you will see them flashing. To remove this flashing, I had to create a filter that would route the pulse to the car's chassis (ground). You need 6 filtering systems.

a. Left Blinker (Green/Blue)
b. Left parking light (Green/Black)
c. Left Brake light (Light Purple/Dark Purple)
d. Right Blinker (Green/Blue)
e. Right parking light (Green/Black)
f. Right Brake light (Light Purple/Dark Purple)

5. Additionally, load resistors must be used to trick the LCM that you have normal bulbs behind you, or else you will get the "bulb out" error on the instrument cluster.

6. I used resistors with integrated heatsinks safely secured on a large aluminum block with CPU heatpaste between them for optimal heat dissipation. Heatsinks provide a good way to remove the heat generated when lights are in operation. The values have been calculated by measuring current and original bulb resistance. Less wattage resistors can be used but they will get hotter, so I suggest using the ones I did. For wiring, I used thick ribbon wires with good insulation.

Parts List:
a. 6 x 50w / 33 Ohm; Resistors with Heatsinks
b. 6 x 10w / 10 Ohm; Resistors with Heatisinks
c. 6 x 470 uF / 25v Capacitors
d. CPU Heatpaste (Optional but recommended)
e. Aluminum Block (25cm x 15cm) with fins
f. Couple of screws
g. Ribbon wires
h. OEM LED adaptors

Cut the 3 wires from each side, and route connect them as the schematics below.

3 wires on each side to be cut:


OEM LED Adaptors:


Left/Right side adaptors


LCM:


General Schematics:


Schematics:


Wires from Left Side:


Wires from Right Side:


Aluminum block:


System in the spare wheel space:


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Old 12-02-2006, 10:23 AM   #17
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....your capacitor schematic symbols need to be flipped around, the curved end is neg (-). Wouldnt want to confuse anybody. Putting electrolytics in backwards can be an explosive mistake.
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:58 AM   #18
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Sorry about that.. Will correct it!
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Old 02-01-2007, 06:02 PM   #19
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Instead of tying the resistors to a separate ground, can't they just be tied into the return line (i.e. the brown wire)? This would create a circuit that has the resistors and tail lights in parallel creating an equivalent resistance that should be high enough to trick the LCM.

With this setup, all the wiring can be done directly on the harness; wires won't be running all over the trunk. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:12 PM   #20
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bump for "ygplayer"
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