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      05-17-2006, 09:30 AM   #1
nostrum09
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Automatic Headlamp Operation

Does anyone know how exactly the automatic headlamps work (i.e. how they determine when to turn on or turn off)? It seems to me that however it is they work, some improvements need to be made...

The past few days it has been rather cloudy in NJ (not today though, yay!), and some of the roads I drive to work have pretty good spots of tree cover, so on this one stretch of road, my lights will go on, then off, then on again, then off, maybe a total of 3-4 times in this one spot. It happens again later on down the road, too.

At that time I normally just turn them off so the person in front of me doesn't think I'm an idiot.

Anyway, it makes sense that the car uses the ambient light outside to determine when to turn on/off the lights, but it seems like BMW picked a point and said, 'Any brighter than this and the lights go off, any darker and they come on.' Which leads to that weird behavior.

I think it would have been better if there were a delay, like once the lights go on, they can't switch off for a minute, or even better, once it's "dark" enough for them to come on, it has to be some level brighter than the original cutoff point before they'll go out.

Sorry, just had to vent! :mad:
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      05-17-2006, 09:37 AM   #2
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I am not sure how they are programmed internally. But I have no problem with them. I don't really cares what other think if my lights were behaving the way you described. I am so preoccupied with the ultimate driving experience to notice what the lights is doing.
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      05-17-2006, 09:40 AM   #3
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I'm normally sitting in traffic when it happens, so no ultimate driving experience for me on the way to work
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      05-17-2006, 09:42 AM   #4
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I am sure whether mine has problem or it is normal. If I switch the light to Automatic in a covered parking lot, the lights will turn on immediately. Then after I drove out of the parking lot, the lights will stay on even it is sunny outside. If I turn the switch to automatic in daylight, it works normally.
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      05-17-2006, 09:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RikuE90
I am sure whether mine has problem or it is normal. If I switch the light to Automatic in a covered parking lot, the lights will turn on immediately. Then after I drove out of the parking lot, the lights will stay on even it is sunny outside. If I turn the switch to automatic in daylight, it works normally.
Interesting. Here is another thing I discovered. My light is switch to auto (I never switch it to anything else). When I start the car in the garage, the lights turn on as expected. After I back out of the garage, the lights goes off (seems normal to me). Try this, if I start the car in the garage, the lights turn on, before backing out of the dark garage, turn on the fog lamps, back out of the garage with the fog lamps and all the lights will remain as is until you turn off the engine. Just thought I share this.
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      05-17-2006, 09:58 AM   #6
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I am no expert, but I'm going to impart what I know.

The light sensor senser infrared light, not ambient light. Hence why the lights shouldn't turn on when you are in the shade. It does have a delay. It turns on when it's x dark, and turns off when it's y bright (x and y being differnt). The sensitivity can be set.

I took my car into the dealer, and he hooked it up to the BIG BMW Computer in the workshop and set them to least sensitive. They turn on at sunset, and turn off a little after sunset. They don't usually turn on and off while driving.
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      05-17-2006, 10:02 AM   #7
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I Have similar problems and posted a thread on this site before.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19798

Apparrently, the sensitivity can be adjusted using the i-Drive which I don't have. I guess I have to take it to the dealer for the adjustment. If you find a way to adjust the sensitivity yourself (without i-Drive), please le me know.
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      05-17-2006, 10:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difush
I Have similar problems and posted a thread on this site before.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19798

Apparrently, the sensitivity can be adjusted using the i-Drive which I don't have. I guess I have to take it to the dealer for the adjustment. If you find a way to adjust the sensitivity yourself (without i-Drive), please le me know.
Yes, with iDrive you can change the settings yourself from "Normal," "Sensitive" & "Slower." If you find your lights staying on during the daylight hours, you want to set it to "Slower." If they don't come on early enough as it gets darker, then set it to "Sensitive." It should come from your dealer set at "Normal."
 
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      05-17-2006, 10:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broken1
I am no expert, but I'm going to impart what I know.

The light sensor senser infrared light, not ambient light. Hence why the lights shouldn't turn on when you are in the shade. It does have a delay. It turns on when it's x dark, and turns off when it's y bright (x and y being differnt). The sensitivity can be set.

I took my car into the dealer, and he hooked it up to the BIG BMW Computer in the workshop and set them to least sensitive. They turn on at sunset, and turn off a little after sunset. They don't usually turn on and off while driving.
I had a similar thing going on and got better information from this site (ie they work on infra red) than from the dealer - they like to dumb down explanations I think... anyway I am not entirely happy with them, but have now resolved that they just don't work on blue sky days (apparently lack of could cover makes infra red readings go haywire). Unfortunately I live in a blue-sky kinda country

Having an SG car I don't want to use the least sensitive option due to visibility concerns, so I put up with it. At the end of the day it isn't really a problem to turn the lights off and on manually if they don't do so by themselves.... problem is that the adaptive feature of the Xenons is only active in the "auto mode" - I am sure someone in BMW had a perfectly logical reason for that (??)
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      05-17-2006, 10:17 AM   #10
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As mentioned before, they use Infra red light and there are 3 Sensitivity settings.
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      05-17-2006, 10:29 AM   #11
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I had no idea I could use iDrive to do this! Hooray, I shall fix it when I go home from work today!

Thanks all!
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