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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Conspiracy Theory: Adaptive Headlight Error



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      01-15-2020, 12:12 PM   #1
MadisonOne
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Conspiracy Theory: Adaptive Headlight Error

Question up front: Is it possible to change settings with OBD cable and coding software to generate an adaptive headlight error or to make them not work appropriately?

Background: Brought my n54 into dealer service for unrelated throttle body concern. When I picked up my car, the adaptive headlight error was on the dash. Went back in to talk with SA and they said "Yah, your left headlight throwing a stepper motor error. Because of corrosion we can't fix and new light is $2200 with $600 labor"

Now I never had this error before this service visit. My car had not seen any water in 3 weeks.

My headlights are still working fine and pointed in the correct direction. So they want $2800 to essentially clear a code.

I know about the adaptive delete and not asking about that here.

I should be defaulting to trust, but this seems too coincidental (and expensive).

I have the OBD cable coming in the mail today and coding software is ready to go. Just wondering if where I should look that would say the code has been altered to generate this error.
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      01-15-2020, 09:46 PM   #2
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There are a bunch of threads here about replacing the stepper motors at far more reasonable costs.

If your lights move properly you may have a poor connection or AHL module.

This is not something that they likely did with coding, but it may have been done while working on the car.

Strange that they knew the cause so quickly.

You would think they would have told you if the code came up while they were working on the car.

If not how would they know it was corroded?

If it is corrosion on the contacts, that can be sometimes fixed with rust removal liquids for contacts.
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      01-17-2020, 12:07 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response. I'm not sure how they knew it was corroded either since they didn't remove the ballast. And they didn't close up the cover on the light, they just left it with a gap.

I understand about all the how-to's, just wondering if coding could be done to throw this code (hence my conspiracy theory).
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      01-17-2020, 02:09 PM   #4
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I don't think it can be done via coding since the error condition appears as a result of an input, not via coding.

You could reset the errors to see if they reappear, which is likely they would.
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      01-17-2020, 03:43 PM   #5
intel1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Thank you for the response. I'm not sure how they knew it was corroded either since they didn't remove the ballast. And they didn't close up the cover on the light, they just left it with a gap.

I understand about all the how-to's, just wondering if coding could be done to throw this code (hence my conspiracy theory).
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
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      01-17-2020, 06:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
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      01-17-2020, 07:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
It seems it is, but if u look at the unit it will say SMC on it, are u able to access the location of it.
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      01-17-2020, 07:19 PM   #8
intel1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
It seems it is, but if u look at the unit it will say SMC on it, are u able to access the location of it.
Do u know which side is bad right or left. Just take a picture of the serial number and search on eBay. What year is ur car.
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      01-17-2020, 07:21 PM   #9
MadisonOne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
It seems it is, but if u look at the unit it will say SMC on it, are u able to access the location of it.
Do u know which side is bad right or left. Just take a picture of the serial number and search on eBay. What year is ur car.
i have a 2008 135i. that schematic is for my car. the confusing thing about these lights is people interchange the terms SMC, ballast and xenon control unit. i'm not sure if they're all the same.
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      01-17-2020, 07:24 PM   #10
intel1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
It seems it is, but if u look at the unit it will say SMC on it, are u able to access the location of it.
Do u know which side is bad right or left. Just take a picture of the serial number and search on eBay. What year is ur car.
i have a 2008 135i. that schematic is for my car. the confusing thing about these lights is people interchange the terms SMC, ballast and xenon control unit. i'm not sure if they're all the same.
Ballast and SMC r different
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      01-17-2020, 07:25 PM   #11
intel1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonOne View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by intel1 View Post
I don't think you can code out the error. If scan shows issue is with stepper motor. Most likely your SMC got water into it. If that's the case you can buy used one off of eBay and default code it to ur car.
I recent had issue with my adaptive lights, so I ran scan and it showed code 9CBE communication with step motor controller on right side disrupted. I got one on eBay cheap and installed it, then I default it with NCSExpert was done in 20mins and no error on dash anymore.
Is the SMC you ordered the same as the red circled item in the picture?
It seems it is, but if u look at the unit it will say SMC on it, are u able to access the location of it.
Do u know which side is bad right or left. Just take a picture of the serial number and search on eBay. What year is ur car.
i have a 2008 135i. that schematic is for my car. the confusing thing about these lights is people interchange the terms SMC, ballast and xenon control unit. i'm not sure if they're all the same.
Ballast and SMC r different
Here is the picture of SMC
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      01-17-2020, 07:42 PM   #12
MadisonOne
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Thank you, that's helpful. Seems like SMC is synonymous with ALC (#17 in that pic)
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      01-17-2020, 09:22 PM   #13
intel1
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Quote:
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Thank you, that's helpful. Seems like SMC is synonymous with ALC (#17 in that pic)
Take it out and check it, you should be able to see if it is water damaged.
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