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      12-20-2019, 05:36 AM   #1
R.G.
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Ambient lighting

Some quick info regarding ambient lighting and a general outline on how I changed mine

Pre LCI ambient is terrible. Almost impossible to see with dark interior. LCI had a revision for the PCB that the LED is soldered on to. You can find the part number on realoem.com

Picture #1 is what the PCB is housed in. It connects to an optical cable that I believe was also updated in LCI models. There are two styles. Forward facing and L shape. Each door has two forward facing and one L.

I updated the optical cable but the pre LCI PCB was rubbish so it did little. I also soldered better LED's on and it still didn't do much.


Ultimately I decided to buy the pre made LED strips that are advertised on ebay but installed my own way. Rather then running their included harness throughout the car I simply tapped one of the three ambient power sources in each door using posi taps (picture #2 and 3). You can get these online as they make things a bit easier.



The optical cable is routed under the trim using black clips. The black clips created gaps in the lighting so I snipped the center ones and supplemented using 3m double sided tape.
Pic #4 and 5

The pocket lights had a nice groove and kept the LED's hidden so I didn't bother trying to come up with something to run new optical cable
#6


I was getting some light bleed thru the top of the door trim after reinstalling so I simply ran a piece of electrical tape across the inside and rolled it towards door before snapping trim in.

Finished pics 7-11
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      12-23-2019, 05:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.G. View Post
Some quick info regarding ambient lighting and a general outline on how I changed mine

Pre LCI ambient is terrible. Almost impossible to see with dark interior. LCI had a revision for the PCB that the LED is soldered on to. You can find the part number on realoem.com

Picture #1 is what the PCB is housed in. It connects to an optical cable that I believe was also updated in LCI models. There are two styles. Forward facing and L shape. Each door has two forward facing and one L.

I updated the optical cable but the pre LCI PCB was rubbish so it did little. I also soldered better LED's on and it still didn't do much.


Ultimately I decided to buy the pre made LED strips that are advertised on ebay but installed my own way. Rather then running their included harness throughout the car I simply tapped one of the three ambient power sources in each door using posi taps (picture #2 and 3). You can get these online as they make things a bit easier.



The optical cable is routed under the trim using black clips. The black clips created gaps in the lighting so I snipped the center ones and supplemented using 3m double sided tape.
Pic #4 and 5

The pocket lights had a nice groove and kept the LED's hidden so I didn't bother trying to come up with something to run new optical cable
#6


I was getting some light bleed thru the top of the door trim after reinstalling so I simply ran a piece of electrical tape across the inside and rolled it towards door before snapping trim in.

Finished pics 7-11
Thanks, this is a great write up. Do you mind sharing links where you purchased the led lights and any additional parts that were required for this install?

Also, can you dim the lights through iDrive? How do you change the colors?
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      12-23-2019, 09:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
Do you mind sharing links where you purchased the led lights and any additional parts that were required for this install?
Here are the ebay lights. Several sellers sell the same kit.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Color-...72.m2749.l2649

Here is where I bought the 3mm optical cable. The led's are bright. You can probably do without it and keep existing optical piece.
https://www.wiedamark.com/fiberoptic...esideglow.aspx

Positaps
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post

Also, can you dim the lights through iDrive?
My version of idrive doesn't have an option to dim ambient lighting. I can turn on lighting to the B an O speakers is all. Factory control is from the rotary by the headlight switch and that is maintained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
How do you change the colors?
Each door has a small hidden switch right above pull lever that switches from OEM orange to blue. So you can have the front two oem looking and rears blue if that floats your boat.
Fun fact, that orange color is used by BMW based on their research for distraction / eye strain.

Ultimately having an X3 loaner with the control for color in the navi is what inspired the mod but researching a full retrofit led me to a dead end. There is a separate module needed and would need to upgrade the head unit as well. Wasn't worth the $ trying to be the first to do it.


Some quick tips if you do try to tackle this

1. The most difficult part is removing door panels. Watch the videos that are available online. Keep in mind, the first time a panel is removed is going to be harder then they make it seem.

2. Rear door panel will not come off without removing the vertically mounted side curtains if you have that option. Was fun figuring that out. It just clips off with a trim tool.
2a. Get a trim tool kit. They're $10 and worth not damaging your trim/leather

3. You only need to tap one pre existing ambient power and ground per door. Not one for each led strip. They all connect to each other.

4. Some of the PCB housings are on there tight. I used a plier to wiggle it off the existing optical piece.

5. Have a small eyeglass tool mini flathead to unclip the connectors and a small stool to set the panel on once removed so you can unclip everything without too much trouble.

A few more pics attached as well.
Good luck. If you do run in to trouble feel free to ask away


Edit:* Final note. The ebay lights took 1.5 months to get to me. Something I should disclose.
The first door took over an hour. The next 3 about 20 min each
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Last edited by R.G.; 12-23-2019 at 09:34 PM..
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      12-23-2019, 11:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.G. View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
Do you mind sharing links where you purchased the led lights and any additional parts that were required for this install?
Here are the ebay lights. Several sellers sell the same kit.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Color-...72.m2749.l2649

Here is where I bought the 3mm optical cable. The led's are bright. You can probably do without it and keep existing optical piece.
https://www.wiedamark.com/fiberoptic...esideglow.aspx

Positaps
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...UTF8&psc=1

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post

Also, can you dim the lights through iDrive?
My version of idrive doesn't have an option to dim ambient lighting. I can turn on lighting to the B an O speakers is all. Factory control is from the rotary by the headlight switch and that is maintained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
How do you change the colors?
Each door has a small hidden switch right above pull lever that switches from OEM orange to blue. So you can have the front two oem looking and rears blue if that floats your boat.
Fun fact, that orange color is used by BMW based on their research for distraction / eye strain.

Ultimately having an X3 loaner with the control for color in the navi is what inspired the mod but researching a full retrofit led me to a dead end. There is a separate module needed and would need to upgrade the head unit as well. Wasn't worth the $ trying to be the first to do it.


Some quick tips if you do try to tackle this

1. The most difficult part is removing door panels. Watch the videos that are available online. Keep in mind, the first time a panel is removed is going to be harder then they make it seem.

2. Rear door panel will not come off without removing the vertically mounted side curtains if you have that option. Was fun figuring that out. It just clips off with a trim tool.
2a. Get a trim tool kit. They're $10 and worth not damaging your trim/leather

3. You only need to tap one pre existing ambient power and ground per door. Not one for each led strip. They all connect to each other.

4. Some of the PCB housings are on there tight. I used a plier to wiggle it off the existing optical piece.

5. Have a small eyeglass tool mini flathead to unclip the connectors and a small stool to set the panel on once removed so you can unclip everything without too much trouble.

A few more pics attached as well.
Good luck. If you do run in to trouble feel free to ask away


Edit:* Final note. The ebay lights took 1.5 months to get to me. Something I should disclose.
The first door took over an hour. The next 3 about 20 min each
Thanks for your quick reply and providing all the details. I'm going to try and tackle this one down soon but first I'll need to find a set of LED's that won't take 1.5 months otherwise it's a waiting game. I'll keep you posted once I get to work on it.

One question I do have is how much did you end up finding about doing the OEM retrofit? I've already upgraded my head unit so I'm wondering if getting the modules is an easier route.
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      12-24-2019, 12:14 AM   #5
R.G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by R.G. View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
Do you mind sharing links where you purchased the led lights and any additional parts that were required for this install?
Here are the ebay lights. Several sellers sell the same kit.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Color-...72.m2749.l2649

Here is where I bought the 3mm optical cable. The led's are bright. You can probably do without it and keep existing optical piece.
https://www.wiedamark.com/fiberoptic...esideglow.aspx

Positaps
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...UTF8&psc=1

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post

Also, can you dim the lights through iDrive?
My version of idrive doesn't have an option to dim ambient lighting. I can turn on lighting to the B an O speakers is all. Factory control is from the rotary by the headlight switch and that is maintained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmatias03 View Post
How do you change the colors?
Each door has a small hidden switch right above pull lever that switches from OEM orange to blue. So you can have the front two oem looking and rears blue if that floats your boat.
Fun fact, that orange color is used by BMW based on their research for distraction / eye strain.

Ultimately having an X3 loaner with the control for color in the navi is what inspired the mod but researching a full retrofit led me to a dead end. There is a separate module needed and would need to upgrade the head unit as well. Wasn't worth the $ trying to be the first to do it.


Some quick tips if you do try to tackle this

1. The most difficult part is removing door panels. Watch the videos that are available online. Keep in mind, the first time a panel is removed is going to be harder then they make it seem.

2. Rear door panel will not come off without removing the vertically mounted side curtains if you have that option. Was fun figuring that out. It just clips off with a trim tool.
2a. Get a trim tool kit. They're $10 and worth not damaging your trim/leather

3. You only need to tap one pre existing ambient power and ground per door. Not one for each led strip. They all connect to each other.

4. Some of the PCB housings are on there tight. I used a plier to wiggle it off the existing optical piece.

5. Have a small eyeglass tool mini flathead to unclip the connectors and a small stool to set the panel on once removed so you can unclip everything without too much trouble.

A few more pics attached as well.
Good luck. If you do run in to trouble feel free to ask away


Edit:* Final note. The ebay lights took 1.5 months to get to me. Something I should disclose.
The first door took over an hour. The next 3 about 20 min each
Thanks for your quick reply and providing all the details. I'm going to try and tackle this one down soon but first I'll need to find a set of LED's that won't take 1.5 months otherwise it's a waiting game. I'll keep you posted once I get to work on it.

One question I do have is how much did you end up finding about doing the OEM retrofit? I've already upgraded my head unit so I'm wondering if getting the modules is an easier route.
Coding was the wall I hit

I've done the basic coding on all my cars but this would be new territory for me.
Without grabbing the new head unit first I wouldn't be able to tell if it were possible and if I could comfortably do it.

I reached out to a couple retrofit places and all said they didn't offer anything in that ballpark.

I do know that the OEM system has two PCB mounted LEDs. One on each side of each optical cable and the hues are controlled by manipulating both RGB leds. That's about all I remember as it was a couple months ago.
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