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      09-27-2020, 03:24 AM   #1
hugo_nz
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F12 Ambient Lighting Upgrade - Using OEM Optics

A couple of weeks ago there was a post about ambient lighting updates available to the F12/F13/F06. Long story short, without significant wiring and software updates there is no way to get multi-colour ambient lighting in our cars. This got me thinking about what options we had other than sticking aftermarket LED strips over the existing optics.

I found THESE on amazon. The thing that stuck out was that you could use the existing optics with the new light units.

This is the result:







Obviously the photos from my phone are enhanced so I did some manual adjustments to more closely simulate what it looks like in real life, and this is the result:



The result is not crazy bright or garish at all. I attached the supplied LED drivers to the factory optic strips. Running the connecting wires into the car was a wee bit of a challenge since there is no wire tunnel through the door harness. I overcame this by running them out the bottom of the door, under the rocker panel covers, illuminate sill plate and up into the car under the weather seal. Pretty clean, invisible install.

I added footwell lighting front and back using the supplied fibre optic cables. The optics are hidden under the trim panels and the rear seat bench so they are not directly visible.

Pretty happy with the result. Took a fair few hours to do but I did remove the seats to properly hide the fibre optic cables for the the footwell lighting. The cables are all routed to the armrest storage. The setup for the app used to change the colours was seamless and works as expected.

Last edited by hugo_nz; 09-29-2020 at 12:26 PM..
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      09-28-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo_nz View Post
A couple of weeks ago there was a post about ambient lighting updates available to the F12/F13/F06. Long story short, without significant wiring and software updates there is no way to get multi-colour ambient lighting in our cars. This got me thinking about what options we had other than sticking aftermarket LED strips over the existing optics.

I found THESE on amazon. The thing that stuck out was that you could use the existing optics with the new light units.

This is the result:







Obviously the photos from my phone are enhanced so I did some manual adjustments to more closely simulate what it looks like in real life, and this is the result:



The result is not crazy bright or garish at all. I attached the supplied LED drivers to the factory optic strips. Running the connecting wires into the car was a wee bit of a challenge since there is no wire tunnel through eh door harness. I overcame this by running them out the bottom of the door, under the rocker panel covers, illuminate sill plate and up into the car under the weather seal. Pretty clean, invisible install.

I added footwell lighting front and back using the supplied fibre optic cables. The optics are hidden under the trim panels and the rear seat bench so they are not directly visible.

Pretty happy with the result. Took a fair few hours to do but I did remove the seats to properly hide the fibre optic cables for the the footwell lighting. The cables are all routed to the armrest storage. The setup for the app was seamless and works as expected.
Wow well done. I love the look of it, I just don't think I can take on that project myself
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      09-29-2020, 03:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mennaf06 View Post
Wow well done. I love the look of it, I just don't think I can take on that project myself
Not going to lie, it's a doozy. The front seats came out to properly tuck the aftermarket optics under the trim panels, the cable routing from the doors is a major PITA, and you have to make some modifications to the original optics and door cards to fit the aftermarket light modules. BUT, none of it is too destructive and I could easily revert it back to stock if I wanted.

I was not convinced about ambient lighting until we got the X5. It left me wanting more every time I got into the 6. You could, conceivably use different controllers to power the upper and lower LEDs to give you a two-tone look as well.
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      09-29-2020, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo_nz View Post
Not going to lie, it's a doozy. The front seats came out to properly tuck the aftermarket optics under the trim panels, the cable routing from the doors is a major PITA, and you have to make some modifications to the original optics and door cards to fit the aftermarket light modules. BUT, none of it is too destructive and I could easily revert it back to stock if I wanted.

I was not convinced about ambient lighting until we got the X5. It left me wanting more every time I got into the 6. You could, conceivably use different controllers to power the upper and lower LEDs to give you a two-tone look as well.
Results look great, I may have to do it on my 6! I know exactly how you feel...the ambient lighting is such a nice touch in our X6.
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      09-30-2020, 07:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo_nz View Post
A couple of weeks ago there was a post about ambient lighting updates available to the F12/F13/F06. Long story short, without significant wiring and software updates there is no way to get multi-colour ambient lighting in our cars. This got me thinking about what options we had other than sticking aftermarket LED strips over the existing optics.

I found THESE on amazon. The thing that stuck out was that you could use the existing optics with the new light units.

This is the result:







Obviously the photos from my phone are enhanced so I did some manual adjustments to more closely simulate what it looks like in real life, and this is the result:



The result is not crazy bright or garish at all. I attached the supplied LED drivers to the factory optic strips. Running the connecting wires into the car was a wee bit of a challenge since there is no wire tunnel through the door harness. I overcame this by running them out the bottom of the door, under the rocker panel covers, illuminate sill plate and up into the car under the weather seal. Pretty clean, invisible install.

I added footwell lighting front and back using the supplied fibre optic cables. The optics are hidden under the trim panels and the rear seat bench so they are not directly visible.

Pretty happy with the result. Took a fair few hours to do but I did remove the seats to properly hide the fibre optic cables for the the footwell lighting. The cables are all routed to the armrest storage. The setup for the app used to change the colours was seamless and works as expected.
Do you have the link ?
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      09-30-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichNa View Post
Do you have the link ?
Yep, link is in the start* of my post.

Last edited by hugo_nz; 10-04-2020 at 10:52 PM..
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      10-04-2020, 09:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo_nz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichNa View Post
Do you have the link ?
Yep, link is in the star of my post.
Hey bro, I didn't quite understand what u mean by star, can you paste it to your reply 😅 thank you
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      10-04-2020, 10:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichNa View Post
Hey bro, I didn't quite understand what u mean by star, can you paste it to your reply 😅 thank you
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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      10-31-2020, 05:14 AM   #9
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“I attached the supplied LED drivers to the factory optic strips.“

“make some modifications to the original optics and door cards to fit the aftermarket light modules”

What kind of modifications and how u manage connect to the original fiber?
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      11-01-2020, 03:03 PM   #10
hugo_nz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbmw2018 View Post
“I attached the supplied LED drivers to the factory optic strips.“

“make some modifications to the original optics and door cards to fit the aftermarket light modules”

What kind of modifications and how u manage connect to the original fiber?
Hey there. The original LEDs that light the strips clip into the door card. The fibre optics in turn have a little notch on them that clip into those LED emitters.

The modifications include cutting away the tab that holds the existing LED emitter to the door card, and then cutting off the notch from the existing optics to allow them to slot into the new LED emitters supplied with the kit. The factory optics are exactly the same diameter as the ones supplied with the kit so they fit perfectly once the little notch is cut off.

And yes, this can be reverted. The original wiring is left intact since it's not used in this retrofit. The factory LED emitters can be stuck down with some glue if you want to reinstall them. The factory optics can still slide into the factory LED emitter so no harm done there.
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      11-01-2020, 06:59 PM   #11
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Thanks for the explanation.
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      04-18-2021, 02:37 AM   #12
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Update (18/04/21):

I decided to take a 2nd stab at the ambient lighting upgrade I did a while back. The first iteration was good, but the location of the fiber light guide meant that the light was inconsistent in both light output and also from a visual appeal perspective from the driver seat. Today I moved the driver side light guide up a notch from below the carpet strip where it was originally to below the leather strip. The results look much better!

I used an internet sourced image below to show the original (pink line) vs new placement (blue line) and then took some photos tonight to show the results on the driver side vs the current placement on the passenger side.
Attached Images
     
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      04-19-2021, 12:49 PM   #13
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This looks unbelievably good 👍

I HAVE to do this to my 2012 640. Been looking for something like this for a LONG time!

So the plastic clear strip that's in the door now that lights with a very dim orangey red comes away?
Replace whatever it is that's plugged into that with the drivers from the amazon thing and then plug the new light strip into that and run it in the space where the clear plastic strip was?
Sorry for the basic questions! I'm actually an electrical engineer believe it or not 🤣
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      04-19-2021, 12:59 PM   #14
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Sorry, also is this the correct package?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6M-RGB-LE....m46890.l49286
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      04-20-2021, 08:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locasio View Post
This looks unbelievably good 👍

I HAVE to do this to my 2012 640. Been looking for something like this for a LONG time!

So the plastic clear strip that's in the door now that lights with a very dim orangey red comes away?
Replace whatever it is that's plugged into that with the drivers from the amazon thing and then plug the new light strip into that and run it in the space where the clear plastic strip was?
Sorry for the basic questions! I'm actually an electrical engineer believe it or not 🤣
The optic strip (light guide) in the doors remain and are modified just a little to work with the RGB led lights (tiny little nub/catch needs to be cut off). This makes it easier to go back to the factory setup if required.
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      04-20-2021, 08:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Locasio View Post
Sorry, also is this the correct package?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6M-RGB-LE....m46890.l49286
I would recommend these instead: Threadless RGB Lighting

This is a new threadless kit. This means that you wire the power directly in the doors, and the light modules connect wirelessly to the master control. This removes the need to thread wires from the doors into the cabin (which is not an easy task). I will be replacing my setup with these too soon.
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      05-06-2021, 09:20 AM   #17
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these would be a great upgrade if we are able to switch the radio ac control panel lighting from orange to white.
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      05-19-2021, 10:41 PM   #18
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Wish we had red for sport mode. Blue economy...orange/white comfort?

Last edited by ex46fanatic; 05-22-2021 at 07:45 PM..
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      05-19-2021, 11:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex46fanatic View Post
Wish we had red for sport mode. Blue economy...
It's not out of the realm of what's possible tactually. Without being too technical, when you change the drive modes the car sends CAN signals to several components so technically it should be possible to create an intercept module that can take that information and communicate directly with the LED control box to change the LED colours.
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      05-22-2021, 07:44 PM   #20
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I hope its only a matter of time before someone goes ahead with it and figures it out If you know more I'd love to hear it - any direction would help.

But just imagine how cool and fitting it would be too - how on earth did BMW not do this. Why did they do what they did ?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo_nz View Post
It's not out of the realm of what's possible tactually. Without being too technical, when you change the drive modes the car sends CAN signals to several components so technically it should be possible to create an intercept module that can take that information and communicate directly with the LED control box to change the LED colours.
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      05-23-2021, 11:12 AM   #21
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I don't even know why they bothered fitting lighting in the first place. It is so dim you can't even see it unless you put your hand directly underneath the lights.
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      05-24-2021, 02:19 PM   #22
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Just finished this up over the weekend, a bit more difficult in an f06 but worth the work. Not sure if anyone is going to attempt this but I would be happy to guide, I did use the threadless kit and definitely much easier. I also used wire taps so no cutting/splicing.
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