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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-11-2004, 08:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So today I woke up and I was bored. I'm really spontaneous so I drove to Radio Shack and picked up some LEDs so I could finally have all my window switches light up. At like 45 bucks a pop 6 switches was not at option (yes that's right, 1 of them is new, go me.) LEDs in hand I returned home to fun.

I removed the old LEDs (which apeared to be LEDs atleast) and put in my new ones. Hop in the car, hoping it will light. No such luck. Hmm interesting. Oh crap, a diode only lets current flow one way through it... eureka! Not quite.

Flipped it around no luck. Hmm what's going on. Grabbed one that I had put it and popped it into the socket just for old times sake. Light.... brighter light..... brighter.... dimmer..... (oh shit) pop, spark, "owe my arm!" Ok, so I got it in there right..... now what happened. The switch that came out didn't have a resistor in it......

Upon further inspection I was completely wrong. Two of my switches had been replaced with newer ones. Ones with an LED and a resistor.... Those weren't the ones that I opened first. The original ones used a tiny lightbulb with an actual filament. Weird. So I keep plugging and figure out the current to each socket in the car is 12.24-12.28 volts. Well that's way to much for those poor little LEDs, hence the resistor.

Measure the resistance on the resistor.... 750 ohms, ok good I'll head back to radio shack. 6:30 on sunday afternoon.... They're closed. Well tomorrow is another day and I'll finish it up.

For those of you thinking about doing this here's what you'll need.

Small little LEDs that look like the ones burnt out in your window switches.
750 ohm resistors for each LED (assuming you have all mini lightbulbs, if you already have a resistor just reuse it)
Soldering iron
PATIENCE (and a steady hand)

Here's also some more of what I learned about the window system. I have no idea what everyone on the driver's express down switch is or how I'll do it. Figure that out later.

The switches in the rear (4 door model) are wired to the ones in the center counsol by the driver. Meaning that in order for the rear switch to work, the corresponding switch must be in place in the center counsol.

LEDs smells terrible when they pop/ burn out

I'll post some pictures and more info. Probably a DIY for others wanting to try this. Sorry for the ramble

Kevin
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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RS also sells 12V LEDs. not sure what the mcd rating is on them though.

that reminds me thoug. I need to make some sort of shield for my alarm led. its so bright it casts a light on the dash.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Link to the 12v LEDs, please . I'm dreading having to soder in the little resistor.

Well I'll probably end up wanting to complete it tomorrow, so I'll just do both.

Kevin
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just look for them in the little bin at radio shack. They don't have many, but they have a few.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Curses, I have to drive 20 mins away for a good radioshack. The one by me only has 2 of the 4 drawers for LEDs. I will look and see what I find, and report back. I don't know if they'll have any that small, we shall see. Driving 20 mins, windows up, no A/C in 85 degree weather with 90% humidity ain't fun. (yes my A/C works, I don't use it because I'm trying to save money on gas, but if I get up on the highway I might flip er on)

Won't those be rediculously bright though?

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Old 07-11-2004, 11:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I looked on their site, but didn't see any listed there. If I recall, there were three 12V LEDs they carry: a large red one, a small clear one, and a small red one.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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as for the brightness, its all about the mcd rating. lower is dimmer. you can always wire in a resistor anyway if need be. I might do that for mine instead of building a shield around it. However, mine is something like 3 CD. Most LEDs are rated in MCD.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Maybe the reason it was so crazy when I plugged it in was cause it's a 3v LED on a 12v circuit
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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yeah, it could be. When I attempted my ghetto DIY angel eyes, I decided since I didn't have a use for the LEDs anymore, I plugged them onto the 9V I was working with without a resistor. A 9V lit the thing up and burned it. Im sure 12 was insane bright.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was overjoyed that it was working then I'm like "OH SCHNOOKERS"
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Old 07-12-2004, 04:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin325i@Jul 12 2004, 12:20 AM
(yes my A/C works, I don't use it because I'm trying to save money on gas, but if I get up on the highway I might flip er on)

I don't really think you waste much gas on using the A/C. I use A/C crazy and haven't seen any difference in the Gas mileage since the summer started. Even if you did, it is not worth sweating over 20cents saved.
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Old 07-12-2004, 10:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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i dont use the AC unless the temp is over 90 and the humidity is too high for the windows to make a difference or I will be going less than 45 mph.

On my car, AC robs too much power. And Gas.
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