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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 02-01-2012, 07:13 AM   #1
TheNOs330i
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E46 HID Ballast Issues, Fixing A Ballast?

Hey guys,

It seems every year, give or take one or two months, my passenger side Ballast goes out. Usually it's around the winter months, not that I think it has to do with whether, but every detail help I suppose?

It started, AGAIN, a few days ago with my light turning off then re-igniting multiple times. Eventually, the light fails to ignite and the error is displayed on my dash. I can turn off the lights and return them on, to restart the whole process. Last night I tried to move the ballast and harnass to see if it might be a loose wire, but that didn't help. I haven't tried yet, but last year I switch my driver/passenger side ballasts and that solved the issue. I try this one tonight.

MY QUESTION IS:
In three years, I have purchased 3 ballast. This is beginning to get a bit expensive. I have open the ballast to look at what might have failed, but I can see no corrosion on the board, nor scorch marks of anything burning. The only thing I really did was reapply a layer of Thermalcote to the Chips in case the unit is over-heating.

Why do ballasts go bad? If anything, they've gone up on price on Ebay. Has anyone ever been able to fix one?

Thanks for any help,

-Brad
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #2
Solidjake
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Seems rather strange to be changing ballasts so much. If you can find someone with an aftermarket 35 watt ballast see if that stops the problem.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
infinite012
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Have you done any other diagnostics? It could be bulbs or ignitors. Or hell, it could be the LCM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:17 PM   #4
TheNOs330i
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My ballast include the Bi-Xenon feature, which in New Orleans is used quite often, so I was hoping to stay with an OEM product. I believe it could be the bulbs or the ignitors as well, but need more troubleshooting to find out.

Yesterday I opened one of the old ballast and tried to look for any damage or corrosion. Found nothing, but while tinkering and checking some meter values, I noticed the biggest capacitor, labeled 6600uF, was reading nothing(or Open Line). I know the capacitor is in a circuit, hence changing its value, but shouldn't it read something? Then after thinking about it, I remembered that the light kept trying to ingnite and stay on, like the capacitor is having trouble charging/discharging. Any ideas?

Finally, all yesterday it didn't happen once and niether this morning. Man this is frustrating.

-Brad
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:35 PM   #5
tdott
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Did you ever figure this out? I am having similar problems and opened my ballast and found nothing that stood out.

Last edited by tdott; 01-12-2015 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:56 PM   #6
nallman
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This is too weird. I have owned a 2003 325xi for the past year/20,000 miles and the passenger ballast on mine went out as well. I just bought a 2004 330xi, and the passenger light on this one is flickering too!

I don't want to keep replacing ballasts! Now that you mention it, I notice it more in the cold months as well (WI). Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:37 PM   #7
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I have a similar situation with passenger side bi-xenon bulb not working. Replacing bulb did not work. So it could be igniter or ballast. I searched for ballast/igniter replacement DIY, but did not find any.
Can someone point me to the DIY ? Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2015, 01:37 PM   #8
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I have a similar situation with passenger side bi-xenon bulb not working. Replacing bulb did not work. So it could be igniter or ballast. I searched for ballast/igniter replacement DIY, but did not find any.
Can someone point me to the DIY ? Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2015, 12:52 PM   #9
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Apparently you're going to have to help yourself on this issue. I've been having the same problems for the last 30 days and have found no absolute solution. If the bulb lights up at all, the problem is not the igniter, nor is it a burned out bulb. The ballast is usually the problem, but after replacing 3 times, it's obvious the real issue is elsewhere. I've heard the LKM (Lighting Control Module) could be the culprit, which is behind the light switch on the dash. I've also read that the bulb could be the wrong type, the wires could be cut or crimped somewhere, there could be a loose ground or corrosion somewhere, and the list goes on. Good luck. If I find time to fix mine, I'll post a DIY. I'd appreciate it if you could let us know how you fixed yours if you can. Thanks.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:12 PM   #10
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Update: My issue is fixed by replacing the ballast. I bought used OEM ballast and igniter from ebay. I had a fix-it ticket for this and the deadline was approaching - so I took it to a mechanic. Replacing the ballast fixed the problem. Mechanic says mostly it is the ballast after the bulb - igniter hardly goes bad. So now I have a spare igniter. In my case, it was both the bulb and the ballast.

Seeing what mechanic did, I could have done it myself - but because I worried what if igniter is bad and replacing that is more pain and my ticket deadline - I thought to go to the mechanic.
You will need to remove the headlight from the car and then remove the ballast. You can find DIY videos on youtube. Hope it helps.
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Old 04-16-2015, 11:50 AM   #11
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Unfortunately last night, passenger side headlight stopped working. I had replaced with a used ballast and a new bulb to fix it. It worked for 7 days. Back to square one.
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Old 04-17-2015, 02:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chetak_sawaar View Post
Unfortunately last night, passenger side headlight stopped working. I had replaced with a used ballast and a new bulb to fix it. It worked for 7 days. Back to square one.

This is why there is no definitive answer anywhere I can find. People throw parts at it, and end up with the same issue or a new issue. I'm thinking more along the lines of loose ground or corrosion somewhere in the electrical system. What ticks me off, is how the damned light will work when I turn the car on, and after 10-20 minutes of driving, it flashes a few times and goes out.
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 325CiBrett View Post
This is why there is no definitive answer anywhere I can find. People throw parts at it, and end up with the same issue or a new issue. I'm thinking more along the lines of loose ground or corrosion somewhere in the electrical system. What ticks me off, is how the damned light will work when I turn the car on, and after 10-20 minutes of driving, it flashes a few times and goes out.
After 20 minutes = heat builds up

Perhaps it is an overheating problem affecting the IC inside the ballast. Are the contacts on the plug/ballast clean & in good condition?
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Old 04-17-2015, 02:05 PM   #14
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ill sell you this trs morimoto 35w ballast thats sitting next to me if you want it.
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Old 04-18-2015, 01:42 PM   #15
chetak_sawaar
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I am thinking of possible options for my situation (passenger side headlight not working) :

1. Can I program the H7 bulbs (temp high beam) to work as normal headlight ? How to program it ?
2. Can I replace with aftermarket HID sets which are more reliable ? Is it going to be easy DIY and plug and play ?
3. Can I replace bi-xenon bulbs with H7 or non-HID bulbs and get rid of ballast/igniter components ? This will take care of most future problems.

One extra question: On topic of headlights I hear about components - bulbs, igniter, ballast, LCM. What is LCM and where is it located ? Each side has one LCM ?

Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:11 PM   #16
325CiBrett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chetak_sawaar View Post
I am thinking of possible options for my situation (passenger side headlight not working) :

1. Can I program the H7 bulbs (temp high beam) to work as normal headlight ? How to program it ?
2. Can I replace with aftermarket HID sets which are more reliable ? Is it going to be easy DIY and plug and play ?
3. Can I replace bi-xenon bulbs with H7 or non-HID bulbs and get rid of ballast/igniter components ? This will take care of most future problems.

One extra question: On topic of headlights I hear about components - bulbs, igniter, ballast, LCM. What is LCM and where is it located ? Each side has one LCM ?

Thanks.

The LCM is the Light Kontrol Module. It's located behind the light switch in the dash. There's only one per vehicle.
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