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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 08-01-2004, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anybody know how to replace the light(s) that iluminate the display on the stereo? I took mine apart and found a couple orange lights (LED) that appear to be plugged into the system, but I'm not sure if they are socketed for removal or soldered into the board.

Anybody know? I can't see my digital readout without them.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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B) I have a similar question. One part of my Alpine head unit's display is not very bright and was wondering if there is a bulb or LED that can be replaced. BTW, if I lightly tap the display with my finger, it gets brighter.
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Old 08-02-2004, 11:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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well since whenyou tap it gets brighter it mmight be a short somewhere i know with my lighting behind my climate controls it can be tapped and then turned off and then be tapped again and itll turn back on theres a short somewhere! as for bulbs im not completly sure for stereos!

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Old 08-02-2004, 02:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It looks like there are two bulbs that provide light to the led and other non-button items on the stereo, so if one is out or shorted, that could be causing the problem. The panel uses one of those luminescent spreaders (my non technical term) that takes light from the source and spreads it around to the components via clear plastic (you see these on instrument clusters too). All the buttons have their own LEDs which are soldiered to the board, but ther are two bigger LEDs that appear to be in sockets mounted on the board. These are the ones I'm wondering about-can they be removed by me, or are they soldiered in?
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Old 08-02-2004, 03:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Get the Heck out of here!!!

OK-Just got off the phone with the dealer who informed me the lights cannot be replaced and the whole stereo has to be replaced to fix the light problem ($694.75+tax).

Wow-The stereo works great-I just can't see what station I'm on. There's got to be another way to skin this cat!!

Stay tuned.
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Old 08-09-2004, 07:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bull shit it has to be replaced(the dealer just wants our money). I'm having the same problem, and I have this web site (http://www.boston-bmwcca.org/bimmer/2002/10/radio.asp) and they guy said he just went to radio shack and replaced it with bubls from there. Im having the same problem and havent been able to fix it for a few weeks. On the 4th picture down, it shows the display seperate from the unit, but i mine is soldered onto the entire board infront. I need to replace the bulbs behind that. So I'm stuck.
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Old 08-09-2004, 07:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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just buy a good hu
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Old 08-09-2004, 07:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Huh... I would, but i just used the last of my money wiping my ass, then i flushed it down the toilet.
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Old 08-11-2004, 09:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Replacing the head unit would be simple, but I've heard that BMW has amps and most stereo systems don't deliver a line level signal-they're amplified. I'm doubtful, but would like confirmation from anyone who knows.

Also, I took my stereo apart as suggested in the article and replaced the bulbs. Now it works. I'm not as entheusiastic about the solution because I only replaced one bulb and both worked after that. Whearas before both were out. I'm thinking there was a short somewhere that I must have cured in the process of taking things apart and putting them back together. We'll see what the long term tells. I still beat the dealer cost by $696. I'm not making $300/hour (yet) so the 2 hours to accomplish the fix was worth it. It's not for the meak though-you'll need your soldering iron and the balls to dig into some very small electronics. I was ready to write the stereo off and replace it if it didn't work. Made it easier to tear into some of the parts-fortunately it worked and I didn't break anything.

I have photos of the process if you need.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, definately post em. Might make a good FAQ.
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