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DIY: Do It Yourself
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:51 PM   #1
miatard
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E46 DIY Retrofit - Standard to Auto-Dimming/HomeLink/Compass Rearview Mirror

A nice little upgrade that I've found very useful & should take <1 hour to do.

Everything I've written here pertains specifically to my own mirror & car configuration. Use this as only one part of your research & do your due diligence to ensure that this will work for your application. I don't believe that wire color/meanings are consistent across models/years or even in the same car so be careful making that assumption. The best approach is to find & understand the wiring diagram(s) for your project. Many thanks to all who created DIYs for this - no way I would've found the confidence to undertake this without those contributions.

FWIW, tons of different OEM BMW Auto-Dimming/HomeLink/Compass mirrors exist on the market - WAY more than I expected. They may look the exact same, but the part numbers frequently differ. From what I've read on the forums, it *appears* that it's safe to make the assumption that the windshield attachment point & pin connectors are fairly universal from the early 2000 all the way up until the E9Xs. Not sure about the F3Xs, but they seem to differ.

One final caveat - prior to this project, all I knew about electrical work is that electricity flows from (+) to (-). I took this as a learning opportunity so feel free to correct me if I post incorrect terminology or misleading/unsafe information.

And disconnect the battery before you do this.




Tools needed:

- Tiny flathead screwdriver

- Wiring harness for reverse switch (optional & unnecessary IMO)




Step 1: Remove your rearview mirror

Place your fingers behind the plastic covering/housing that conceals the mirror's arm & push inwards towards the rear of the car. If done correctly, both halves should unclip. This seems to be harder on some cars than others. After it unclips, turn the mirror to its left/right extreme for the housing near the ball joint to come out. These plastic covers are more universal than you might think, but try to ensure your current one will fit your retrofit mirror. I believe the rain sensor housings are larger to accommodate the rain sensor (which is not integral to the mirror), but the mirror arms are all similar in size.








Rotate the entire mirror assembly roughly 45-degrees either clockwise or counterclockwise. Take a moment to take a close look at the mating surfaces on both the mirror and the attachment point on the windshield - it'll help with reassembly if you understand how it's put together.





Squeeze the pin connector's locking tabs to disconnect the car's harness from the mirror's:





Here are also the official instructions from BMW:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...sk5m9cQrBlFh_w




Step 2: Understand your mirror

Below you'll see the two mirrors & their pin connectors. Weighed just because.


Original mirror (part # 51168257276)

This is your standard, non-auto-dimming, rotating "clown nose" mirror with nothing fancy and no brains inside. The only thing it has is the LED in the clown nose that blinks if the car's equipped with an OEM alarm. Pins used in this mirror are #8 (power) & #9 (ground). If you're new to this, these connectors are generally numbered with tiny numbers indicating assignment as you can see in the photos.








Retrofit mirror (part # 5116915185201)

As mentioned, a huge variety of these mirrors exists out there. I couldn't find my particular mirror on RealOEM, but an internet search revealed it came off of non-convertible E9X. I mention this because convertibles have an additional radio receiver in the mirror for remote unlock, unlike sedans & coupes for which this is located in one of the C-pillars. So if you have a convertible, your options are much more limited in terms of buying used.








Here's what the pin connector coming out of the car looks like:





I needed to find out as much as possible on the pin assignments on the retrofit mirror. Internets citizens generally pointed to the following facts:


Pin #1: Reversing signal/power

Pin #3: Switched +12V

Pin #10: Ground (-)


This is the critical info you need to make the mirror function, #1 being optional & unnecessary in my opinion. Some info on how the mirror works (from Land Rover - same mirrors, but the pin assignments differ):


https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16530379293/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16528124714/

[credit goes to E46F member glhx for posting these]


From these documents, it sounds like Pin #1 in our case provides current and turns "off" the mirror's auto-dimming function when shifting into reverse. I don't use the rearview mirror to back up & neither should you for safety reasons. So I didn't see a point in going through the complexity of hooking up the reversing switch to Pin #1 and left that out entirely. If you want to do this, see the instructions I've posted below. It involves routing & tapping a wire into a reverse signal wire above the fuse panel in the glove box.


http://etk.bmwsar.ru/eba_docs/85en.pdf

http://etk.bmwsar.ru/eba_docs/5649en.pdf


No idea why these docs are so different for the same task.

I wanted to confirm the pin assignments above so I also found a couple of official instructions on the E9X retrofit. The latter link was more useful since I could correlate Pin #3 as KL 15/Terminal 15 (also happened to be the same color wire - GN/SW). For my own standard of proof this confirmed that Pin #3 was power on my retrofit mirror:


http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...1XTgaiXxoWol4Q

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...-UtjVxWnDU2jIw


I also referenced the commonly-referred-to-as "A22" (Electrochromic interior rear view mirror) pin assignment on bmw-planet:


http://www.bmw-planet.com/diagrams/r.../E46_PA22A.htm


All this confirmed that I needed to provide Pin #3 w/ +12V & Pin #10 with ground (-).




Step 3: Understand your car's mirror pin connector

The only thing I can confirm on my existing car-side mirror harness is that Pin #8 provides constant +12V (constant meaning even when the car is off) and Pin #9 *seems* to act as a ground according to the car's GM 5 module to make the LED blink if you're equipped with an OEM alarm (I've heard the dealer can code this to blink for you regardless but I can't confirm).

Pins #4 - #7 are also occupied on my car. After all this research, I still have no clue what these are for - maybe pre-wired for SOS? You have to be careful because there are stories on the internet of people just doing a "plug & play" type of thing and burning out their auto-dimming feature, leaving the mirror in the permanently "dimmed" state. Specifically, I came across a lot of threads regarding SOS-equipped cars where the Pins #4 - #7 provide some sort of current or optical sensor signal for the SOS. The same pins on auto-dim mirrors on newer cars are related to controlling side view auto-dim functionality. I'm not saying it's not possible to do a plug & play, just do your homework. I also saw claims that Pins #4 - #7 control the "variable" dimming and without them the mirror can only dim "on" or "off," but all of the instructions I've read and another OEM install I did on a Mazda have absolutely no mention of this anywhere, so it's speculative bullshit. Since I don't know what #4 - #7 are on my car, I'm simply gonna pull them out and wrap them with electrical tape.

In summary, I'm *reasonably confident* that these are the pin assignments on my retrofit mirror & others:


#1: Reversing light switch (not going to be used on my car)

#2: Signal, data line ZV remote control (guessing this is for convertibles only - my mirror has nothing here)

#3: Switched +12V voltage supply

#4: SOS / exterior auto-dim control for newer cars (not going to be used on my car)

#5: SOS / exterior auto-dim control for newer cars (not going to be used on my car)

#6: SOS / exterior auto-dim control for newer cars (not going to be used on my car)

#7: SOS / exterior auto-dim control for newer cars (not going to be used on my car)

#8: Constant +12V for the alarm LED

#9: Ground (or something similar) for alarm LED (controlled by GM 5?)

#10: Ground (-)




Step 4: Find a source of +12V (switched) and ground (-)

Ok once you understand what's what you can actually start the retrofit. What I've done is specific to cars pre-wired for BMW's Universal Garage Door Opener (UGDO). You can find out if your car is pre-wired for a UGDO by the little black button on the trunk liner:





What this means is that you have a white 3-pin connector that's (probably) unused, taped up & tucked in behind the little roof panel between the sun visors. Locate it - it's probably wrapped in cloth tape somewhere above the passenger sun visor:











The three wires in order are the following (not labeled with Pin #s). You can confirm with a multimeter:


1. Brown wire: Ground (-)

2. Gray/red wire: For interior lighting on presumably the UGDO buttons

3. Green/blue wire: Switched +12V


What you'll need from here is the (1) ground wire & (3) the switched +12V.




Step 5: Re-wire your car's mirror pin connector

To remove the ground (-) & switched +12V source, you'll need a tiny flathead screwdriver to open the secondary catch on the pin connector & pull the pins:

















Now you have a source of switched power and ground, ready to be reinserted into the car-side mirror harness.

Moving on to the car's existing mirror connector. I pulled all the pins so I'd have more room to work - note what goes where on your car.











































Step 6: Hook up your mirror & reinstall

See my notes on removal & follow in reverse.







Step 7: Calibrate the compass

Follow the instructions here:

http://etk.bmwsar.ru/eba_docs/4323en.pdf




Step 8: Program the mirror's remote

YouTube video on how to do this below.





Except, in my case... I learned (the hard way) that there's a new standard that came out about mid-2000 (not sure of the exact date due to contradictory "official" articles) called Security+ 2.0. Long story short, plenty of newer garage door openers use this standard (should say it on the side), and your mirror needs to have HomeLink 4.0 or greater to be compatible. I couldn't find a way to check the HomeLink version on US BMW mirrors and the people at HomeLink didn't know of one, either. Mine isn't 4.0+, and according to HomeLink, BMW didn't begin widely using 4.0 until 2011. I did, however, came across complaints from people with 2012 E9Xs as well. So I guess if you have a 2011+ mirror, you *might* have a shot at compatibility, otherwise, you'll need a ~$20 repeater from HomeLink that plugs into an outlet near your opener. Annoying outcome.

I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to program my remote to my mirror and after MUCH trial & error, I finally got ONE of the three mirror buttons to "learn" the remote... but after that, I couldn't get it to synchronize with the door opener itself after plenty of trials. With the repeater, it took <2 minutes to program everything 100%.


FAQ on this stupid problem: https://www.facebook.com/notes/liftm...1439917914472/


References I used to get started:

http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...etrofit-to-E46

http://www.bigpatsfans.com/mirror/compass.htm



Hope you enjoy your new mirror and not having to rotate the knob 500 times while driving at night anymore.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:33 AM   #2
generalvp
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So that explains why my homelink isn't working after i bought a new chamberlain garage opener. Great DIY! A lot better than of other ones I've seen.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
orb
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That's unfortunate you had to go through all that, and props to getting it figured out. Luckily for me mine was totally plug and play. 03/02 production

Edit: can you cite what you found about the mirror being stuck in dimmed mode when doing plug and play? Couldn't find anything about this.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:44 PM   #4
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excellent my mirror went to good home..
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:49 PM   #5
miatard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by generalvp View Post
So that explains why my homelink isn't working after i bought a new chamberlain garage opener. Great DIY! A lot better than of other ones I've seen.
Thanks!

Yeah the HomeLink thing is a little irritating... Apparently American cars adopted the standard way earlier than German & Japanese brands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orb View Post
That's unfortunate you had to go through all that, and props to getting it figured out. Luckily for me mine was totally plug and play. 03/02 production

Edit: can you cite what you found about the mirror being stuck in dimmed mode when doing plug and play? Couldn't find anything about this.
Here is one in the section where he covers SOS, although I did come across others here & there during my research who said they burned it out:

https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1075078

What are you trying to show in your pic? Your mirror looks normal to me. To test it, you can simply cover the rear photo sensor on the back of the mirror when it's light outside. This will fool it into thinking that there's "glare" coming from behind & dim the mirror.

And believe me I got a lot out of this project so I'm glad I did it. Writing this DIY took up most of my time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeetastic View Post
excellent my mirror went to good home..
Yup!
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:13 PM   #6
orb
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I looked into it also and like you said only seems to happen if the car had SOS I guess. Pic was what I just installed a few weeks ago, nothing wrong with it.
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:00 PM   #7
TrentW
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So my mirror has rain sensor and SOS. Not clear from what I'm reading, but is there an issue with the SOS mirror?
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:53 PM   #8
miatard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentW View Post
So my mirror has rain sensor and SOS. Not clear from what I'm reading, but is there an issue with the SOS mirror?
Quote:
Originally Posted by miatard
You have to be careful because there are stories on the internet of people just doing a "plug & play" type of thing and burning out their auto-dimming feature, leaving the mirror in the permanently "dimmed" state. Specifically, I came across a lot of threads regarding SOS-equipped cars where the Pins #4 - #7 provide some sort of current or optical sensor signal for the SOS.
???
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Old 07-01-2017, 02:12 PM   #9
ziazhp
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I went through all these steps and the mirror doesn't seem to be getting power. Any ideas? I put a #5 fuse in 24 and 67 and nothing...
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Old 07-01-2017, 02:31 PM   #10
miatard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziazhp View Post
I went through all these steps and the mirror doesn't seem to be getting power. Any ideas? I put a #5 fuse in 24 and 67 and nothing...
Did you test the voltage with a multimeter? First confirm that your source is actually providing power.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:09 AM   #11
325iE46Canada
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Did this swap today! Thanks for the DIY this is the best one I've found

I had the same dumb mirror as OP before swap, just pulled in the two pins for switched + and ground and the mirror fired right up, calibrated, and homelink works!

The only problem I'm having is that the auto-dim doesn't seem to work and the mirror gets really HOT near the homelink side at the top... is that normal? haha

Otherwise, seems good so far

Edit: I had a loose pin! All is well now, cool as a cucumber haha ... also ran the wire to Pin 1 for the reverse-cancel.


Last edited by 325iE46Canada; 08-29-2017 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:04 PM   #12
dreamstate
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This was a very descriptive DIY, thank you.

I have an SOS/auto dimming mirror, will a non-SOS, auto dimming, home link plug right up. my car has all the pins in.

Thanks
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:15 PM   #13
miatard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamstate View Post
This was a very descriptive DIY, thank you.

I have an SOS/auto dimming mirror, will a non-SOS, auto dimming, home link plug right up. my car has all the pins in.

Thanks
Hard to say without looking at the wiring diagrams. I would *guess* it should be fine, since those pins would simply remained unused but that's just a guess. I'd risk it, but it's ultimately your call.
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Old 01-14-2018, 05:08 PM   #14
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Just saw your post. Because you have sos and prob don't use it, you can just disconnect the bmw assist module in the trunk and then it's just plug and play, easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamstate View Post
This was a very descriptive DIY, thank you.

I have an SOS/auto dimming mirror, will a non-SOS, auto dimming, home link plug right up. my car has all the pins in.

Thanks
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Old 03-22-2018, 02:48 PM   #15
dreamstate
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Does the homelink not work with the car powered off even with the constant 12v? Or is this for that
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:08 AM   #16
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"Does the homelink not work with the car powered off even with the constant 12v?"
Correct - the Homelink circuit does not work with ignition "Off." Key must be in position 2 ("On" and not just "ACC") for Homelink to work.

It would be possible to rewire for
"always on." You'd have to get into the wiring inside the console in the headliner.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:18 PM   #17
frank15p
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about the wiring

Is there a way i can contact you, because i tried this method, but i think im doing something wrong when it comes to the white plug, in my car that plug is black, and the colors of the wires are different, and i checked all three wires, and theres no 12 volts there. if you can help me with this I can pay you to trouble shoot.
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:37 PM   #18
325iE46Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank15p View Post
Is there a way i can contact you, because i tried this method, but i think im doing something wrong when it comes to the white plug, in my car that plug is black, and the colors of the wires are different, and i checked all three wires, and theres no 12 volts there. if you can help me with this I can pay you to trouble shoot.
You'll need to have the key on to get 12v from any of the wires if you're testing with a voltmeter.

What year and how exact model is your car? Someone might be able to get you wiring schematics/colours with that info.

Also what part number is the mirror you are trying to retrofit?

Also check to make sure you didn't fry a fuse...

Last edited by 325iE46Canada; 06-05-2018 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Added more questions and detail
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:14 PM   #19
PdZHP
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You need to dig deeper towards the passenger side to find the correct connection and wires. They're normally wrapped with black cloth tape.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:20 AM   #20
frank15p
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thanks guys i got it done, I just ran 12 volt at ACC to pin 3 and grounded pin 10, I grabbed ACC(red and yellow wire with stripes) in the fuse box in the engine bay, also ran it with an inline fuse for safety, so dimmer work, clown nose works, and compass works ( I calibrated it with zone 9). great upgrade I love it.
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