E39 Am Radio - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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#1 (permalink) Old 10-22-2004, 11:46 PM
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I have the standard radio on a 2002 530i. FM reception and clarity is fine. When I listen to AM (mostly talk radio) the voices are somewhat distorted. Signal strength seems fine - just very annoying to listen to. Is this due to the "in the window" antenna instead of an outside mast antenna? Any ideas??
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 01:01 AM
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Docsid

This may sound like out of Mars to you and others as well: BMWs Reception is good; distortion is bad.

There is nothing wrong with BMW antennas except it picks up different signals from different components (many of these electronic components if I may add) especially the RF signal.

One would think BMWs with their price tag will be equipped with some sort of shielding devices to listen/minimize interference. Currently I am searching/testing my own hypothesis and I was planning on posting when ready. But for now I will be glad to share with you the following because I was able to eliminate one and working on the second.

So you and/or anyone on this forum especially BEEL Z; your input is greatly appreciated:

1. Let me start by asking what is AM ? Text books say it is a signal with a frequency ranging from about 520 to 1710 Khz. Thus a good signal MUST be shielded (Coax cabling) and/or amplified (the box in your trunk)

2. As crazy as it may sound the third light is guilty of distortion. Yes the one on the back windows (about 5 watts )does interfer with your thousands of thousand watts of distant AM reception. I suspected the third light because every time I depress the brake I hear the LOCAL noise on my LOCAL AM station saying 1010 wins:you give us 20 minutes we give the world)!!
3. Similarly sometimes when I hear the engine revs on my AM.oops I start thinking firing spark plugs by coils/RF signals/rubber engine mounts. Possible grounding problem? etc but Will let you know.
4. Also I am working on some sensors especially the ABS sensors. Can not say for sure yet and once I have the results will let you know.

But for sure I have tried this and I did eliminate the third light from the list of interference. Rap it up. Yes rap the cable that runs close to the third light with foils.

As I said I have a long list and will let you know in due time.
regards
billb
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 03:30 PM
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Billb,

Actually that doesn't sound that far out at all. Now that you mention it, it does sound like some sort of interference. I'll give the 3rd light a try. Any more help would be appreciated.
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#4 (permalink) Old 10-23-2004, 03:50 PM
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Dear Docsid

Since I am still working on figuring this thing out I recommend the following first:
The amplifier is located in the trunk in my car 97/528i. Is it in the same place on your car? If so try to unplug the lead, clean it, and reconnect. AT LEAST FOR NOW!

Good luck
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#5 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 12:37 AM
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Billb,

Yes, the amp is in the trunk - left side. I had a subwoofer and an amp placed in the trunk, but the problem was there before this was done. The 2nd amp was placed in the same compartment as the main amp, but as I said, it didn't get any better or worse after it was installed. I'll try cleaning the lead. Thanks.
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 09:25 AM
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Hi bill

Sorry I don't have a problem at all with my radio but the following may come in helpful. You probably already know more than this but check it out anyway..

http://www.installdr.com/TechDocs/999801.pdf
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#7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BeelZibub@Oct 24 2004, 07:25 AM
Hi bill

Sorry I don't have a problem at all with my radio but the following may come in helpful. You probably already know more than this but check it out anyway..

http://www.installdr.com/TechDocs/999801.pdf
[snapback]217285[/snapback]

wow ! Beezlebib, Kudos....you actually help people on this forum!
good for you...

My Dad also has this problem with his 2003 E39 and I was telling him about XM radio since he listens to all that talk stuff...is there a recommended aftermarket package that you can install on the E39?

Also I've seen the Sirius external sets but are they internal ones or ones specifically designed for E39s (I know some Volvos have custom XM kits)?

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#8 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 11:44 AM
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Delmarco

My experience with BeelZ has been very great in fact:
1.He did help me and many other members on this forum.
2. When my car got flooded in Jersey City; it was BeelZ who stood next to me all the way from England to see it through.
3.He helped me in updating/advicing me on installing the new engine on my E39
4. More recent other problems came up with fluids (water in tranny and axle fluids) it was BeelZ who helped me through this post; PMs; and E mails and made sure I get the right stuff in my car.
5. I have read so many posts where BeelZ helped as much as he could many many members on this forum.

Needless to say he is the best at what he knows especially in computers and network in addition to the wealth of knowledge in metal casting/wheels/rims. I don't have enough words to describe how great of a guy he is. I don't know him personaly (he is in England) but I have a lot of respect for a guy who takes his time in addressing other people's problems. AREN'T WE ALL OUGHT TO DO WHAT HE DOES? We ought to help and respect each others because we have choosen to belong to the same forum.

P.S.
Delmarco I appreciate your input in this post and we may get to know each other "in person" one of these days. In fact I just won a large bid from Brooklyn and next week along with my team I will be doing some computer updates/windows 2000 migration to XP, T1 lines, and network installations at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn at The corner of Pennsylvania ave and Linden Blvd in Brooklyn. If we meet your lunch is on me.

Best regards
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 06:09 PM
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Sorry I didn't get back as soon as I'd liked bill and docsid. Did my previous link help at all??? Knowing you bill you're probably far more advanced than that anyway, but hey I though it was worth a try.

The ridiculous thing about getting a bad reception on an e39 is that they have 3 arials - as far as the manual says they are all constantly searching for a signal and the one receiving the strongest signal is used - wouldn't you have thought there would be a way to combine the strength of ALL 3 at the same???

Your previous post interests me though Bill, You mention shielding and amplification, I am really no expert in this matter but is it possible that bmw use a very simple amplifier which would amplify everything it receives not just the signal of the station you wish to listen to BUT all of the noise it is receiving too, instead of like a more sophisticated one which would use filtering??? Is filtering the answer - can you but 3rd party filters which remove all but the strongest signal on a particular frequency??? or would it be a amplifier swap out? Not being a radio buff Iam not sure but SPORKY seems to know his stuff on ICE, though He's not around a lot at the minute.
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 08:24 PM
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Unfortunately XM or Sirius won't help the problem on local AM stations. I checked out the link to Install Doctor and will see if this changes anything. But the problem really isn't reception. The stations come in loud and clear. I live in Milwaukee and can receive Chicago AM stations (about 100 miles away). As I stated, there's distortion in the voices on AM. I have no problems at all with FM - either with distortion or reception. Thanks for the suggestions.
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#11 (permalink) Old 10-24-2004, 08:43 PM
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BEELZ AND DOCSID

Regardless of how you boost your antenna in your car, you will be sucking in signals from reasonably far away i.e. Docsid is in Milaukee and receives Chicago AM station (Hey Docsid what is this all about? Did Howard stern switch his talk show to the AM station in Chicago)?

But I think BMW threw the towel on the AM reception and ignored the fact that their electronic equipment spreads out some RF signals on the AM broadcasting frequencies. When I lived in Europe they had MW and SW on some Radios
MW= Medium Wave
SW= Short wave
AM =Amplitude Modulation. Though a bit different; in the past we had to press the M buttom for several seconds to go for AM in the US. May be this explain why BEELZ has no problem with his AM stations in Europe.
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#12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by billB@Oct 25 2004, 01:43 AM
BEELZ AND DOCSID

Regardless of how you boost your antenna in your car, you will be sucking in signals from reasonably far away i.e. Docsid is in Milaukee and receives Chicago AM station (Hey Docsid what is this all about? Did Howard stern switch his talk show to the AM station in Chicago)?

But I think BMW threw the towel on the AM reception and ignored the fact that their electronic equipment spreads out some RF signals on the AM broadcasting frequencies. When I lived in Europe they had MW and SW on some Radios
MW= Medium Wave
SW= Short wave
AM =Amplitude Modulation. Though a bit different; in the past we had to press the M buttom for several seconds to go for AM in the US. May be this explain why BEELZ has no problem with his AM stations in Europe.
[snapback]217703[/snapback]
When I press the AM button on my radio it cycles through SW LW & MW

Shortwave
Longwave
Mediumwave

I presumed all of these were AM is this different in the states?
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#13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 06:29 PM
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BEEL Z

You got it..this is it..AM in the US of A
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#14 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 07:04 PM
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This is going to sound weird but.... we have been having some solar flares lately...
it has affected transmissions on airplanes and some radio stations A.M to be more precise. It just a wild guess and not joking!


So I have a couple of questions, how long has this been going on? Do you have another car and can you listen to the same radio station?

And as for BeelZ, he has helped lots of people. So, yes DelMarco, Beelz is one of our best technical people on this 5 series forum. He has a broad knowledge on cars.

LOS
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#15 (permalink) Old 10-25-2004, 07:13 PM
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BEEL Z

Interesting finding confirmed at last:

While I was changing my front bearing hub on the left side I pushed down on the nuckle so hard to free the left strut out somehow I was too lazy to free the ABS sensor by taken two hexes out so I stripped the wire rendering the sensor caput. I did drive on it for 3 days waiting for the part.

In the interim my AM radio had a sound like CLICK CLICK CLICK. 1st thought of injectors/coils interference and to reinfornce my disappointment with "BMWs AM" I tried to coast on nuetral to eliminate the engine factor when I started to hear the clicking loud and louder as I go faster and faster. Now when I installed the new ABS the clicking disappeared altogether.

I told the story to a friend at the a local dealer he KIND OF agreed on the possiblity by saying (while joking though) we ought to add this AM station as a troubleshooting procedure for the BMW ABS sensors. To borrow LOS's term GO FIGURE!
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