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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 11-26-2006, 11:01 AM   #1
chickenbutt
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Sedan LED Mod

Hi folks.

This mod was done quite some time back but I didn't post it cos I had no pictures of unmodified E46 sedan tail lights for comparison. Today, I finally had the chance to snap a friend's stock sedan LED's, so I can finally post this up.

Ok, here's what it's about.

Some of us who have fitted aftermarket sedan LED tail lights might have noticed a few things that can be improved. A few things that drove me crazy were:

1) When the lights are on (no brakes applied), the light output of the LED's are somewhat dim. The is a big difference in brightness between the LED's and the trunk lights.

2) When the brakes are applied, the outer rings do not light up. Although, the original coupe ones also behave this way, I wanted them to light up as well so that it's really bright when the brakes are applied

So I approached a friend who's an electronic engineer to help me out.

Here are some steps of the process:




Dismantling the LED panels







Hooking the panel up to some fancy machine for testing






When brakes are applied, the outer rings do not light up, we're about to change that






Removing the resistor that regulates the voltage to the LED's when lights are on but no brakes applied






A bunch of resistors to choose from






Soldering one with a lower value to allow more juice to pass through






Letting it cool down 1st






Soldering a jumper to enable the outer ring of LED's to light up when braking






Testing that it works. Voila! All lit when under braking.






Putting it back onto the car and testing




Lights on only






Brakes depressed and all lit!






Comparison between aftermarket sedan and OEM coupe LED tail lights






Here are some pics of my car with the modified LED's and my friend's unmodified ones.




My friend's unmodified LED's with no brakes applied. Notice the trunk lights are much brighter






My modified LED's with no brakes applied. Much brighter by comparison. There's not much difference between the brightness of the trunk lights and the LED's






Both cars side by side with lights on and no brakes applied.







I took some pics of both cars with the brakes on but unfortunately, they were too bright and appeared distorted, so there;'s no point posting them.

Some people might have concerns that when you make the driving lights brighter, there is not enough contrast in brightness between the times when you brake and the times when you don't. Well, we did tests with quite a few resistor values and came up with one that strikes the right balance.

To summarise, this mod:

1) Makes the LED's brighter when the driving lights (no brakes) are on, but not irritatingly so

2) Enables the outer row of LED's to light up during braking, as opposed to them staying unlit (when lights are not on), or lit in a dimmer intensity (when lights are switched on)

3) Maintains an obvious contrast in brightness between times when brakes are applied and when brakes are not applied.


Thanks for reading.
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Last edited by chickenbutt; 11-26-2006 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 11-26-2006, 11:05 AM   #2
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nice writeup...
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Old 11-26-2006, 11:19 AM   #3
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pics with brakes applied??? those are BRIGHT!!
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Old 11-26-2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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All the pics with brakes applied appeared distorted. It's just a whole bunch of red. In real life, they are very bright.

I need to get a camera. These are all from a phone camera. The night shots are really poor.
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:47 PM   #5
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u know that u could just tap the brake wire that energizes when you apply brakes, and run that to an empty pin on the harness (forgot which pin it is) to get the outer rings to light up....
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:24 PM   #6
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yes you can and I did!!! it's pin 4 and I used bmw factory wire pin connectors- anyway he's done a totally different mod here with aftermarket led tails
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:39 PM   #7
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i thought that bmw made it so that under normal braking not all LEDs light up. and under hard/emergency braking all the LEDs light up. so making the brake lights glow brighter the harder you press the brake?
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:42 PM   #8
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yes you can and I did!!! it's pin 4 and I used bmw factory wire pin connectors- anyway he's done a totally different mod here with aftermarket led tails
HELP me please !!....

been searching on realoem.com because no one can tell me if my LCM can support bi-xenons. i looked on that site and tried to find the p/n for my particular lcm but it's not listed. part numbers that are similar show up under switch with fog light.

all the others have different part numbers.

if i go spend the money on the reflash and it don't work then i'll have to go with resistors. just want to avoid the hassle and expense.

my lcm part number is 61316919840.

my car came with halogens from the factory.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:42 PM   #9
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yes you can and I did!!! it's pin 4 and I used bmw factory wire pin connectors- anyway he's done a totally different mod here with aftermarket led tails
also, which wire did u tap to use for pin 4 ?
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:51 PM   #10
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nevermind, my car is production year 9/2001, the lcm is not capable of reflash. this web site says so.....

i will call them up tomorrow to see if they can hook me up with a new lcm.

i noticed that when i disconnected the lcm, the mileage still appeared on the dash. so i take it that what they say about the mileage being stored in the lcm is bs ?
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:59 PM   #11
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wow thats cool, i did the same mod with my tail lights (making the outer LEDs come on with the brakes) but i did it in like 2 minutes with a couple wires and wire taps
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:33 PM   #12
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wow thats cool, i did the same mod with my tail lights (making the outer LEDs come on with the brakes) but i did it in like 2 minutes with a couple wires and wire taps
do your angel eyes stay put or do they move a little (pothole, vibration, etc) ?
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Old 11-28-2006, 01:50 AM   #13
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wow thats bright.
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakman74 View Post
HELP me please !!....

been searching on realoem.com because no one can tell me if my LCM can support bi-xenons. i looked on that site and tried to find the p/n for my particular lcm but it's not listed. part numbers that are similar show up under switch with fog light.

all the others have different part numbers.

if i go spend the money on the reflash and it don't work then i'll have to go with resistors. just want to avoid the hassle and expense.

my lcm part number is 61316919840.

my car came with halogens from the factory.
honestly I don't know- try searching on here for "bi-xenon reflash" or something similar- I would think it could be reflashed since the 02+ LCMs are supposed to be re-flash-able but I don't know for sure
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:02 AM   #15
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honestly I don't know- try searching on here for "bi-xenon reflash" or something similar- I would think it could be reflashed since the 02+ LCMs are supposed to be re-flash-able but I don't know for sure
i think that it goes by production date, not model year.

my car was manufac. on 9/2001. according to KOperformace, the LCM in my car is not capable of bi-xenon/auto-leveling.

trying to get in touch with them because they have some good prices on LCMs....
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:16 AM   #16
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I know it does, the 02 year models for post march production are flash-able- but I guess not in your case
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:18 AM   #17
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Did you put one resistor for each led or one for all?Which measure of resistor did you use?
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:22 AM   #18
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I know it does, the 02 year models for post march production are flash-able- but I guess not in your case
so please tell, which wire on the LED lights harness did u tap to run it into pin 4 for the outer LEDs ?

i want to do the same as i am installing them. i also need to find out what part number contact/lead i need to get to insert into pin 4. if it's generic throught the car, then i can use the same leads i got from the stealer for the LCM pin 2 connection or the bixenon shutter leads. they had the same contact at the ends of the wires.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:33 AM   #19
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wow awesome mod!!!!
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakman74 View Post
so please tell, which wire on the LED lights harness did u tap to run it into pin 4 for the outer LEDs ?

i want to do the same as i am installing them. i also need to find out what part number contact/lead i need to get to insert into pin 4. if it's generic throught the car, then i can use the same leads i got from the stealer for the LCM pin 2 connection or the bixenon shutter leads. they had the same contact at the ends of the wires.

I don't remember but http://www.tigerdave.com/led_mod/ there's the site for it! the bmw part number for the little wires was found on here so I'm going to have to give you the dreaded
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