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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-05-2012, 03:59 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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Interior Lighting Headache

Just purchased LED lights for the interior of my car. I did alot of research and was really excited about them coming. Should have known better. First of all I was under the impression that all the festoon bulbs were the same size. That is not the case. The puddle lights on each door, the 2 trunk lights and the glove box are all 36mm. The 4 mirror lights (two for each side), the front dome light, and the 2 rear (non-map) lights are 42mm.
So that's 7x36mm and 7x42mm festoons. Now for the map lights.
I posted a thread earlier asking about the map lights and didn't get any helpful responses. I was able to figure out that they are BA9S sockets, so I bought 4 4x3528 bulbs. Well when I went to install these lights I started up front. Replaced one map light, it didn't work. Tried it on the other side. Nothing. Tried all 4 bulbs in each socket up front. Nothing. Put the halogen lights back in and voila, light. So I moved on to the map lights in the back seat which work perfectly (same bulbs). Since I didn't have the right size festoon bulbs, I put the halogens back in the back seat as well.

So I went back today and installed all the bulbs that I could, the 4 doors and the trunk (we'll get to that too). I decided to try the front map lights again. Still nothing there, except for the fact that when I replaced them with the halogen lights, they stopped working too. So now I have to figure out why that happened. In addition, something similar happened in the trunk. For some reason, the light that goes in the actual trunk lid has no wires. I took the carpeted molding off and found the connection in the harness, but no wires from the harness to the light. After noticing that one of the door lights wasn't working, I popped it out and took it to the trunk to test (easiest to access). I realized I had the bulb in the wrong way, so I turned it around, plugged it back in and it worked. I took that one back to the door and when I reconnected the trunk light it wouldn't work. I tried opening and closing the trunk, locking and unlocking the doors, but nothing worked. I tried a new bulb, nothing. So now I have no front map lights and no trunk light.

Wow. That's alot. Let's summarize.

-If you're replacing your interior lights, you need 7x36mm festoons, 7x42mm festoons, 4xBA9S bulbs.

-Why do the BA9S bulbs work in the back seat but not in the front? Do i need resistors or something? And if I need resistors for the map lights will I need them for the dome lights?

-What are some possible causes for a light socket to stop working in between changing bulbs? This happened to me with the front map lights and the trunk light. I've read that most of the lights are one the same wire to the GM, so I'm not really sure why one would stop working but the others wouldn't if the bulbs are all brand new.


Any help is appreciated.


EDIT:
Went back outside on a hunch and checked the lights again. The trunk light and the map lights work now. I have no idea why, but if it's one less thing to deal with I'm not complaining. So now my only question is why don't the BA9S bulbs work in the front?
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Last edited by dbaze540; 09-05-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2012, 05:06 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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I'll cross reference this thread to the canonical thread on interior bulbs:

- How to cross reference all light bulbs for any BMW E39 including for the headlights, stoplights, backup, blinkers, dome, vanity, side markers, licplate, parking, fog, trunk/boot, glovebox, etc. (1)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2012, 08:50 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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I got so excited when I saw that bluebee had replied to my thread. I was sure all my problems were solved. Oh well. I was a good boy and added my information to your thread. Now I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping someone comes along who knows.
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  #4  
Old 09-06-2012, 01:29 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Originally Posted by dbaze540 View Post
I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping someone comes along who knows.
Me too! Sorry I couldn't help - but - at least you're helping others. Good luck!
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #5  
Old 09-06-2012, 08:41 AM
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sainda210 sainda210 is offline
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I know with LED Festoon bulbs you have to worry about polarity of the bulb install..would the LED BA9S bulb have the same problem? Try rotating the bulb install 180 degree and check the lights. Also, I remember reading a lighting thread I think it had something to do with flipping the visor down and sliding the vanity light cover open to activate the light to reset something..sorry if this not even closely related, but of the fixes for our cars are kind of goofy where as some are pretty straight forward.
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  #6  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:51 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sainda210 View Post
I know with LED Festoon bulbs you have to worry about polarity of the bulb install..would the LED BA9S bulb have the same problem? Try rotating the bulb install 180 degree and check the lights. Also, I remember reading a lighting thread I think it had something to do with flipping the visor down and sliding the vanity light cover open to activate the light to reset something..sorry if this not even closely related, but of the fixes for our cars are kind of goofy where as some are pretty straight forward.
The BA9S bulb is pretty much like any other bulb just smaller.



the outside edge is + and the bottom is - (that may be backwards). No amount of rotating will change the polarity, but I appreciate the effort. As for the visor thing, I've never heard of it.
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  #7  
Old 09-06-2012, 08:32 PM
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Well, I found a pretty good deal on a better version of the bulb on ebay. Purchased today, should get here next week, so I'll update when they arrive.

On another note, I was on the phone with DDM today and the guy said I might need to put a resistor on them to get them to work. He recommended a 6ohm50w, because he said it was fairly universal so it's the best place to start. If I can find a store in Boone that sells them, I'll give it a go, but I'm not really interested in paying more for shipping than the part itself. I don't really understand how a resistor would make a difference as to whether or not the light comes on...I could see it preventing a check lights message but then again I don't really remember that much about ohms and watts and amps from high school physics.

Does anyone have any knowledge of someone else having this problem in the past? any help is still very appreciated.
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2012, 06:36 AM
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supradupe supradupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbaze540 View Post
Well, I found a pretty good deal on a better version of the bulb on ebay. Purchased today, should get here next week, so I'll update when they arrive.

On another note, I was on the phone with DDM today and the guy said I might need to put a resistor on them to get them to work. He recommended a 6ohm50w, because he said it was fairly universal so it's the best place to start. If I can find a store in Boone that sells them, I'll give it a go, but I'm not really interested in paying more for shipping than the part itself. I don't really understand how a resistor would make a difference as to whether or not the light comes on...I could see it preventing a check lights message but then again I don't really remember that much about ohms and watts and amps from high school physics.

Does anyone have any knowledge of someone else having this problem in the past? any help is still very appreciated.

You don't need resistor for the interior leds to work. That's a load of BS from DDM. I replaced all my interior light with LED (except the map lights which require a bit more disassembling so I stopped). You are correct that you need various sizes of festoon bulbs. I just bought the leds from ebay. They are all the same and cost was like 10 bucks for 10 pieces from China. All worked fine. The only thing you need resistor is the exterior lights such as the license plate light. But you can buy the SMD lights that has built in resistors. also dirt cheap from ebay.

Forget about the map lights, how often did you actually use it? If that's once in a very long while, then why bother.

Don't forget the visors and the glove compartment.
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2012, 02:23 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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I think it's interesting that you say you don't need a resistor but you didn't try to replace them. Anyway I got all the bulbs finally, but the new BA9S bulbs didn't work any better. I stopped by radio shack and picked up a 6 pack of resistors for like $1.50 so I'll play around with that when I get bored. Anyway, the 42mm festoons from ddm were a little small but with a little coaxing from some needle nose pliers I was able to make the contacts snug.
When it was all said and done i spent about $25 and I'm very happy with the results. Photos don't really do the interior lights justice, they're a soft white at night. I was worried it was going to be an obnoxious blue hue but it was exactly what I wanted. I think the average person wouldn't even notice.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:17 PM
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supradupe supradupe is offline
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I said interior lights dont need resistor. I replaced all mine including the vanity. The only lights not being replaced are the two map lights.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:32 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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Originally Posted by supradupe View Post
I said interior lights dont need resistor. I replaced all mine including the vanity. The only lights not being replaced are the two map lights.
Exactly. You didn't replace the map lights, so you don't know if they need a resistor. I tried 3 different bulbs and none of them worked, so that's the only explanation I have.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:40 PM
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supradupe supradupe is offline
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The check control does not run through the interior lights that's what I know. Did you at least run a 12V directly to the bulbs you received to check if they are good? Could save you some hassle of taking the overhead thing out and disassemble it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:36 PM
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dbaze540 dbaze540 is offline
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Originally Posted by supradupe View Post
The check control does not run through the interior lights that's what I know. Did you at least run a 12V directly to the bulbs you received to check if they are good? Could save you some hassle of taking the overhead thing out and disassemble it.
Are we talking about the same thing? It doesn't take any effort to take that light out. And if you're replacing the festoon bulb you have to take it out anyway. It literally took me 30 seconds to get it out and apart without even looking for instructions. And yes, I tested them. If you read the original post, you would see that the same bulbs that worked in the back seat map lights didn't work in the front.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:57 PM
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supradupe supradupe is offline
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Originally Posted by dbaze540 View Post
Are we talking about the same thing? It doesn't take any effort to take that light out. And if you're replacing the festoon bulb you have to take it out anyway. It literally took me 30 seconds to get it out and apart without even looking for instructions. And yes, I tested them. If you read the original post, you would see that the same bulbs that worked in the back seat map lights didn't work in the front.
Obviously we are not talking about the same thing. In the 03, the rear passengers reading lights are festoon bulbs. The front dome light (the one in the middle, directly above the rearview mirror) use festoon bulb. This one is easy to take off. The two map lights on the two ends of the dome light require more work. And i dont know if they use festoon or the bayonet bulbs. Maybe 97 has different design.
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2013, 11:04 AM
blastled blastled is offline
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I know it's an old thread but you might need non-polarity BA9S to make it work for the Front Map. BA9S polarized got + base and - Metal. You car might have - Base and + Metal.
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