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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 10-26-2012, 01:20 PM
manuelwindows manuelwindows is offline
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Location: Eugene, Oregon
 
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Mein Auto: 1994 530i, 1977 320i
The Glove Box Flashlight

I have a write-up I'd like to do on how I fixed my glove box flashlight in my '94 530i by using parts from a newer and easily obtainable BMW glove box flashlight. First I wanted to see if this picture I am attaching is attaching and displaying correctly before I get into this.

But the bottom line is that I had just fixed my glove box and there staring at me was the glove box flash light. Now I know that this flash light has actually negative utilitarian value as I also suspect it was draining my battery and just had it in a bag, off of the charger, because it has never worked.

But I got curious after I fixed my glove box about this flashlight and how I could fix it.

I looked for one on eBay. The e34 glove box flashlight is hard to find. Most of the BMW glovebox flash lights you can find are the newer ones. They are black and a little narrower and I pulled one from a BMW in a junk yard.

So I had a new one and I pried it open.

Then I pried my old one open. There's two rechargeable batteries in there. The ones in my old one were dead and all corroded.

But the parts in the new flashlight were fairly interchangeable. More importantly, the batteries in the old one looked good and looked interchangeable. It turns out that they are interchangeable even though the batteries have different numbers. The Varta V250H battery (about $4 at battery store or online) is the battery that comes in the newer model. The Varta V170R is the battery that comes in the '94 flashlight. But here's the thing. They are interchangeable because the Varta V250H is actually just the newer version of the Varta V170R. By the way, these are nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries, two stacked on one another and they usually go bad and won't hold their charge after a few years.

Anyway, I basically took the batteries and most of the internal copper components from the newer flashlight and installed them in my '94 flashlight to where it looked right. There's more to add about how I did this but all I used was some a Gerber multitool and used some electrical tape in place of the solder.

Then I plugged it into my car for a few minutes and let it charge and turned it on and presto, I almost had a heart attack when it worked. It lost its charge after about 2 seconds so it does need two new batteries but that wasn't the point. I'm also still keeping the fuse for the charger pulled (although I put it back in for the test) and I'm never actually going to use this flashlight, because of the above-described suspicion that it was needlessly draining the battery, but that's not the point. I think you know what I mean.

These pictures better attach ... Good they attached. I'm trying to put up some other pictures showing the old flashlight (which is black) and how it was cannibalized but the site is not cooperating at the moment.
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Last edited by manuelwindows; 10-26-2012 at 01:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:06 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Attachment is usually the source of all misery, but clearly not in this case. . Didn't know we had a logoed flashlight ! Next on my list. ;-)
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:47 PM
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jfs356 jfs356 is offline
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Location: Dayton, Ohio
 
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Mein Auto: 1994 530i
My car did not have one when I purchased it, found one in a salvage yard car. Now I want to try to get it to work, thanks for post.
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2012, 02:57 PM
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supertech777 supertech777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manuelwindows View Post
I have a write-up I'd like to do on how I fixed my glove box flashlight in my '94 530i by using parts from a newer and easily obtainable BMW glove box flashlight. First I wanted to see if this picture I am attaching is attaching and displaying correctly before I get into this.

But the bottom line is that I had just fixed my glove box and there staring at me was the glove box flash light. Now I know that this flash light has actually negative utilitarian value as I also suspect it was draining my battery and just had it in a bag, off of the charger, because it has never worked.

But I got curious after I fixed my glove box about this flashlight and how I could fix it.

I looked for one on eBay. The e34 glove box flashlight is hard to find. Most of the BMW glovebox flash lights you can find are the newer ones. They are black and a little narrower and I pulled one from a BMW in a junk yard.

So I had a new one and I pried it open.

Then I pried my old one open. There's two rechargeable batteries in there. The ones in my old one were dead and all corroded.

But the parts in the new flashlight were fairly interchangeable. More importantly, the batteries in the old one looked good and looked interchangeable. It turns out that they are interchangeable even though the batteries have different numbers. The Varta V250H battery (about $4 at battery store or online) is the battery that comes in the newer model. The Varta V170R is the battery that comes in the '94 flashlight. But here's the thing. They are interchangeable because the Varta V250H is actually just the newer version of the Varta V170R. By the way, these are nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries, two stacked on one another and they usually go bad and won't hold their charge after a few years.

Anyway, I basically took the batteries and most of the internal copper components from the newer flashlight and installed them in my '94 flashlight to where it looked right. There's more to add about how I did this but all I used was some a Gerber multitool and used some electrical tape in place of the solder.

Then I plugged it into my car for a few minutes and let it charge and turned it on and presto, I almost had a heart attack when it worked. It lost its charge after about 2 seconds so it does need two new batteries but that wasn't the point. I'm also still keeping the fuse for the charger pulled (although I put it back in for the test) and I'm never actually going to use this flashlight, because of the above-described suspicion that it was needlessly draining the battery, but that's not the point. I think you know what I mean.

These pictures better attach ... Good they attached. I'm trying to put up some other pictures showing the old flashlight (which is black) and how it was cannibalized but the site is not cooperating at the moment.
Nice right up , I shall do this

Sent from my Desire HD using Bimmer App
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  #5  
Old 10-27-2012, 03:12 AM
manuelwindows manuelwindows is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 530i, 1977 320i
I'm glad if it was helpful to anybody. If you're bored on a Thursday night, it can be a good time.

Now after I said you can't find them on eBay I see this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-OEM-E30-...cb6b4f&vxp=mtr

But I'm noticing it already has a bunch of bids and is already at $17 and has more than a few days to go which is an indicator to me that it's going to go to maybe like $30, just a guess from using eBay, I have no interest or attachment in that listing. I actually think that it is not working perfectly as claimed in the listing and although I'm not gonna make it a big issue, I would bet anything that it needs those two new batteries that will actually hold the charge. But I think the desirable part is simply the housing because you can take the internals from the one that's easier to get and/or the batteries and make this thing work again.

I should and include a better and more complete write-up of what I did. One big thing I should mention quickly at least is why I used the batteries and internals from the '99 flashlight when it would appear or at least seem logical that I could have just taken out the two old corroded batteries and replaced them with new batteries. And you would be correct except, easier said than done, because this thing was designed by some mentally ill chain-smoking, caffeine freak German engineer and the old housing requires the battery be physically attached by a very strong adhesive so it's basically impossible to remove the old batteries from the original copper component in the housing. But you can remove the old batteries (they are stuck together on top of each other in a stack) Think of like two thick quarters glued to each other or two extra-large hearing aid batteries glued together. Really glued together. Anyway, there is soldering of internal components and wires to the batteries in the old batteries. It makes changing the battery more difficult and I suspect why you can never find one working.

Optimally, for this you would want to have something like flat wire cutters to cut the soldered wire off the top of the battery and a soldering gun for just a little drop of solder to affix that little electrical wire (seen on top in the pictures, I used electrical tape which was just a compromise because I was eager to see if it would work and do not have a soldering gun and also this battery can explode if it gets too hot. You should be aware of that.

I was driving in Montana today, where there is no speed limit and was doing 90 mph at about a 12 degree incline in fourth gear and the tach was at about 3700. In order to maintain safe driving conditions, I was not able to take that further but she had room to run in fourth and would not have required shifting into 5th, not until 100 at least, maybe shift into 5th around 110 and run it to 140 under on a track with proper road conditions and safety gear. That's how I imagine it might be. One can dream.

Last edited by manuelwindows; 10-27-2012 at 03:13 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-27-2012, 10:43 AM
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jfs356 jfs356 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 530i
"I was driving in Montana today, where there is no speed limit and was doing 90 mph at about a 12 degree incline in fourth gear and the tach was at about 3700. In order to maintain safe driving conditions, I was not able to take that further but she had room to run in fourth and would not have required shifting into 5th, not until 100 at least, maybe shift into 5th around 110 and run it to 140 under on a track with proper road conditions and safety gear. That's how I imagine it might be. One can dream. "

That is a dream in most places
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2014, 06:11 PM
trickstar trickstar is offline
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Location: Prescott Valley
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 51
Mein Auto: 2002 525i
My upgrade was to put an led in the place of the bulb, use a 3v battery in place of the stack of the 1.2v pair, and de-activate the charging in the flashlight itself by removing the charging system's contacts to the batteries. Still going through the same switch.

I just made it into a regular LED non-rechargeable flashlight. Since I have a flashlight on my phone, I would almost never use the BMW one. But it's there and it lights, in case a future buyer or one of my passengers would like to see it working. Little will they know that it doesn't charge when plugging it in. I just didn't want to pay the 17 bucks for the original NiMh batteries, and I wanted something that wouldn't need too much attention.

Jimmy
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