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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Question Re: LED License Plate Bulbs



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      05-26-2006, 04:12 PM   #1
LarryK1000
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Question Re: LED License Plate Bulbs

I know that when you put an LED bulb in most BMW or MBZ cars, the computer thinks there is a burnt out bulb because the low power draw.

However, does anyone know if every bulb in the BMW will trigger a FAULT on the computer?

I researched the License Plate bulbs (I love the white look of the new Lexus GS License Plate Bulbs):

BMW uses a 6418 5 watt bulb. It's called a FESTOON type bulb. It looks like a narrow glass tube with metal at each end that fits in the socket. Looks like a bullet.

SuperBright LED's, Inc. sells an LED version of this bulb (3910-W6).

I'd buy them if the license plate bulb housing will NOT send a fault with the LED bulbs.

By the way, for any electrical engineers out there: This LED bulb draws 32 mA's of current. I know NOTHING about amps, so I wonder if this would trigger a fault on the car computer.

If we can figure this out, I'm sure there will be a lot of you who will want to change this bulb, especially since it is not expensive and access to change it is really easy.

Thanks for all your help.

Larry in Los Angeles

P.S. I called the bulb company, but they're closed for the holiday. I'll call them on Tuesday.
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      05-26-2006, 09:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
I know that when you put an LED bulb in most BMW or MBZ cars, the computer thinks there is a burnt out bulb because the low power draw.

However, does anyone know if every bulb in the BMW will trigger a FAULT on the computer?

I researched the License Plate bulbs (I love the white look of the new Lexus GS License Plate Bulbs):

BMW uses a 6418 5 watt bulb. It's called a FESTOON type bulb. It looks like a narrow glass tube with metal at each end that fits in the socket. Looks like a bullet.

SuperBright LED's, Inc. sells an LED version of this bulb (3910-W6).

I'd buy them if the license plate bulb housing will NOT send a fault with the LED bulbs.

By the way, for any electrical engineers out there: This LED bulb draws 32 mA's of current. I know NOTHING about amps, so I wonder if this would trigger a fault on the car computer.

If we can figure this out, I'm sure there will be a lot of you who will want to change this bulb, especially since it is not expensive and access to change it is really easy.

Thanks for all your help.

Larry in Los Angeles

P.S. I called the bulb company, but they're closed for the holiday. I'll call them on Tuesday.
If you're interested in noting the different ampere draw of the bulb vs. the LED try this: Take a multimeter set for VDC and check the voltage drop across the bulb, i.e., put one lead on one end and one lead on the other end with the lights on. If the reading is less than zero, reverse the leads. Then turn the lights off and remove the bulb. Check the resistance of the bulb by setting the multimeter to Ohms and attach the leads as before. The bulb MUST be removed before doing this. The current that the bulb draws can be computed by dividing the voltage drop by the resistance giving amperes. 1 mA = .001 Amps. Don't forget to reinstall the bulb.

How much of a current increase/decrease is needed to detect a failed bulb I don't know.
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      05-27-2006, 12:09 AM   #3
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I have ordered LED bulbs from Bimmian.com.
Yes, the fault code came out right away.
If u really want a "Lexus" look licenese plate light, you can choose Xenon look light bulb, just like lots of ppl do on this forum.
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      05-27-2006, 12:26 AM   #4
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you can get the outside bulb at import shops that make ur car have the lexus style plate lights.


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      05-27-2006, 12:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iczz
If u really want a "Lexus" look licenese plate light, you can choose Xenon look light bulb, just like lots of ppl do on this forum.
Or you can just buy a Lexus. I didn't buy a BMW to make little things on it look like a Lexus.
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      05-27-2006, 12:41 AM   #6
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Thanks for the detailed testing info.

After I wrote this thread, I discovered the regular xenon super white bulbs. I think I'll get those for fun. They cost $2 a piece. How can you go wrong at that price.

And, by the way, it's not that I want a Lexus (I've had an SC400), I just like the superwhite look of the license plate lights. It goes GREAT with my titanium silver car color. Very cool.


Thanks all.


I've called my dealer and moved up my delivery date for my new 330 to June 6th.

L
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      05-27-2006, 12:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
I just like the superwhite look of the license plate lights. It goes GREAT with my titanium silver car color. Very cool.
That's what i think:rocks:
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      05-27-2006, 02:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
I know that when you put an LED bulb in most BMW or MBZ cars, the computer thinks there is a burnt out bulb because the low power draw.

However, does anyone know if every bulb in the BMW will trigger a FAULT on the computer?

I researched the License Plate bulbs (I love the white look of the new Lexus GS License Plate Bulbs):

BMW uses a 6418 5 watt bulb. It's called a FESTOON type bulb. It looks like a narrow glass tube with metal at each end that fits in the socket. Looks like a bullet.

SuperBright LED's, Inc. sells an LED version of this bulb (3910-W6).

I'd buy them if the license plate bulb housing will NOT send a fault with the LED bulbs.

By the way, for any electrical engineers out there: This LED bulb draws 32 mA's of current. I know NOTHING about amps, so I wonder if this would trigger a fault on the car computer.

If we can figure this out, I'm sure there will be a lot of you who will want to change this bulb, especially since it is not expensive and access to change it is really easy.

Thanks for all your help.

Larry in Los Angeles

P.S. I called the bulb company, but they're closed for the holiday. I'll call them on Tuesday.
Hi Larry,

I got the same LED light for my licence plate and the fault code does come out. I'm not an electrician or anything, but I read somewhere saying to put a 30 Ohm, 5 Watt resistor (I don't know how they came up with this resistor... I'm guessing maybe since the stock bulb is 5 Watts? I don't know ). But I did it anyway, using splice taps (so no wires were cut), and the fault code went away.

The only concern I have now is that the resistor gets really hot, just like the stock or xenon-like filament bulbs. Maybe this is now a good time for someone else to verify if the resistor I used is correct But this doesn't really bother me and I just make sure that the resistors are not touching anything.

I actually have LEDs for all my interior lights and sidemarker as well, and the license lights are the only one that gave me the fault code. I originally bought the Bimmian Xenon-like Interior Bulb Kit (16 Bulbs that replaces all Interior Lights, including license plates). They're whiter than the stock bulbs, but I was disappointed with their brightness (dimmer than the stock IMO). So I tried white LEDs, and man, they're way better than the stock and much brighter than the Bimmian bulbs. The white LEDs in the licence plate really compliments my Alpine White Just keep in mind that if you're going this route, you'll either encounter fault codes or hot resistors

I can post pics if anyone is interested (or if I find my camera ), but I can't compare the LEDs to the Bimmian since I've already sold the latter. I got the Bimmian for $60, but you can get them for about $40 I think. The LEDs however, can be bought for less than $2 each
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      05-27-2006, 10:38 AM   #9
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TO IMoY:

From reading the LED bulb websites, I recall that the heat in the resistor is normal. It is dissipating the extra heat it draws to fool the car into thinking that a full 5 watt bulb is installed.

I also remember that they said you have to be VERY careful where you place the resistor: You are supposed to mount it on METAL on a flat surface so that the metal surface acts as a heat sink and that you are NOT supposed to put the resistor near anything that can melt.

So, just check your location. You might have to move it slightly.

Confirmation Question:

So, you did NOT get any fault codes from the SIDE marker lights or the footwell, domelight, etc., lights on the inside.

That is GREAT, because getting a YELLOW or ORANGE side market light in the LED's would look cool. Since these things are $2 a piece, for $10 with shipping, you can throw them out if you don't like them.

My Mercedes has the marker lights in the side mirrors (they are LED), and they really catch people's attention when you are turninig so they don't turn in front of you. This is especially true when they are on the side of your car.

The sites I went to were:

superlumination.com (both LED and super white regular bulbs)

and

superbrightleds.com


So, please confirm side marker lights don't give a fault.

Thanks.

Larry
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      05-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #10
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Oh, I forgot:

Attached is a WORD file that lists the type of every bulb in the 3 series.

I thought people could use this information.

Larry
Attached Files
File Type: doc BulbList.doc (20.5 KB, 375 views)
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      05-27-2006, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryK1000
Confirmation Question:

So, you did NOT get any clights on the inside.
No fault codes from the SIDE marker lights or the footwell, domelight, etc., when I replaced mine I just got the fault code for the license plate lights.
Good luck!
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      05-27-2006, 01:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im0y
No fault codes from the SIDE marker lights or the footwell, domelight, etc., when I replaced mine I just got the fault code for the license plate lights.
Good luck!
Guys I put the bimmian plate lights in and didn't get any kind of fault codes...i also swapped the side marker lights to led's with no fault codes...i don't understand...where do you see these codes???...glen
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      05-27-2006, 02:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katsbimmer
Guys I put the bimmian plate lights in and didn't get any kind of fault codes...i also swapped the side marker lights to led's with no fault codes...i don't understand...where do you see these codes???...glen
If you use the Bimmian Xenon-like filament bulb (just like the stock but whiter) for your license plate, you won't see the fault code. However, if you use LED bulbs, the fault code will show up.
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      05-27-2006, 02:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by matsarge
Or you can just buy a Lexus. I didn't buy a BMW to make little things on it look like a Lexus.
I was thinking the exact same thing.
 
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      05-27-2006, 05:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by im0y
Hi Larry,

I'm not an electrician or anything, but I read somewhere saying to put a 30 Ohm, 5 Watt resistor (I don't know how they came up with this resistor... I'm guessing maybe since the stock bulb is 5 Watts? I don't know. But I did it anyway, using splice taps (so no wires were cut), and the fault code went away.

The only concern I have now is that the resistor gets really hot, just like the stock or xenon-like filament bulbs. Maybe this is now a good time for someone else to verify if the resistor I used is correct. But this doesn't really bother me and I just make sure that the resistors are not touching anything.
At 30 ohms the resistor is disipating around 5 Watts, the design maximum for the resistor. It will not last for any length of time. A 20 Watt resistor with mounting tabs (see website http://www.milwaukeeresistor.com/metalcase.html) would be a better choice. Mounting it to the car body would disipate the heat.
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      09-10-2006, 11:31 PM   #16
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i guess ill use all the interior bulbs led and the license plate xenon. but anyone know what bulb is the one that shoots down oem amber when nothin is turned on. the twin lite that shoots down
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      09-11-2006, 12:12 AM   #17
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what is the # for the reading laps bulbs 194? I want to change my for LED's , adn what is the side of the dome lights ? and one last question does the intirior LED Dim
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      09-12-2006, 01:44 AM   #18
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maybe we should try unplug the battery to the car then install the bulb. mite not throw us any codes
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      09-12-2006, 02:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine330
maybe we should try unplug the battery to the car then install the bulb. mite not throw us any codes
Once you reconnect the battery, the car will still be capable of reading an abnormal power draw.
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      10-05-2006, 09:58 AM   #20
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anyone have diy pics of how to remove the license plate lights? i have trouble taking the cover out.

also caught a $115 ticket for parkin at bus stop trying to buy these bulbs at import shop. freakin could of brought the whole kit from bimmian
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      10-05-2006, 01:16 PM   #21
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Where are you buying LED interior bulbs?

I'll take your advices, I'm buying:

Led interior bulb kit.

and

For E90 Sedan 2 Bulb Kit Xenon Colored Filament Bulbs (License Plate Only) $12 IXB90AFLY

Where can i buy LED interior Kit?
How much are they?

Thanks!

CG
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      10-05-2006, 06:36 PM   #22
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type in the bulb number on ebay. you should find some
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