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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-15-2005, 11:58 PM
Red51 Red51 is offline
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328i stereo & onboard computer

Fist off, hello all! this is a great site I hope you guys can help me out.
the lights on the function buttons of my stock stereo are all off including the display panel I can't even tell what station I'm on, is there a simple repair option other than replecing the unit?

Second the letters on my onboard computer are fadding out and do not appear compleatly, again is ther a simple repair method other than replacing the unit?

Thanks guys!
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2005, 12:55 PM
Bmwcat Bmwcat is offline
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Re: Stereo

The back-lights on your Alpine stereo are a chronic BMW problem. There's a problem with cold-solder joints in the circuitry that's very hard to fix. It's easier to buy another stock unit here or on Ebay. Good luck! (there's a classified section of Bimmerfest.com)
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2005, 08:03 PM
328isfamily 328isfamily is offline
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If I was u, I would get rid of the stock radio and go with a DVD compatable system...maybe Kenwood or Pioneer Premier and then get rid of the OBC and get a screen 6 1/2 inch or so and have a DVD/TV system in ur ride, screw the stock radio and OBC...its garbage..Andres Daddy.
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2005, 09:42 PM
Red51 Red51 is offline
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Thanks for your advise guys...Im currently looking to get a new stock stereo & a onboard comp. on ebay I like to keep everything looking stock in my car, thanks tho.
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2005, 04:02 PM
momo328is momo328is is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 328is
It is actually quite easy to fix the backlight problem. The are some guides on the web that can help you do this. I've done it myself and got the backlights working again. Search the web for a guide.

The lights on my radio buttons don't work, and I haven't found any thing on the web that tries to help fix this problem. But, it is easy to live without lighted buttons.

I can't seem to find the link right now, I'll try to dig it up a work. If not I know the problem area on the main circuit board, so I could just show you on a picture of the board.

Last edited by momo328is; 11-20-2005 at 04:15 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2005, 09:15 AM
momo328is momo328is is offline
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Found the write-up for fixing dim backlight. Don't be afraid, it is easier than it sounds:

There are actually a couple things possibly wrong. The bulbs under your LCD might be burnt out, kinda unlikey, or they might not be getting power at all.

What you'll need:
A soldering iron, preferably with a fine tip.
Thin solder
A smallish philips head screw driver
A flat blade screw driver
Needle nose pliers
A multimeter
The security code for your radio

I took pictures, yes. But unfortunatly I didn't take one of what you really need todo and I don't feel like disassembling my headunit again.However, its not really needed, as it is totally possible to descibe how to do it.

First of all you need to pull your radio from the car. There are little hinged tabs on each side of the radio. Pop them open. The screw in here has 5 sides, but you can make a hex wrench work fine. Unscrew as far they'll go and jimmy the head unit out. For those with an M3 you can substitute a hard 1-2 shift at the redline for the jimmying, the radio will slide right out. Ask me how i know. Disconnect the big black connector by following the disgram on the top of it. You'll have use some force with the screw driver when prying it up, it will make a real ugly sound when it pops off, but everything is fine.

Bring it inside and take the plastic cover off. There are 2 screws, one on each side, near the top, towards the front of the unit. Then there are tabs near the bottom that need to be pushed in as well as one on the top that also needs to be pushed. Everything else is kind of a prying exercise

Now we need to take the top cover off of the unit. Two screws in the back, toward the top need to come out. Then it just pulls off.

Next stop is pulling the display circuit board out. There are 2 screws attaching it to the tape player assembly. Then there are 2 metal tabs on the side of the unit that need to be pushed in. Make sure you disconnect the little socketed wires for the volume knob on the left side of the unit. There's a black piece of wire holding it in place that serves no other purpose and is safe to bend. Now you should be able to pull the displayboard clean out. Set it aside.

The tape player now needs to be removed, there is one screw on the left side near that beige plastic thing and one on the right side down a square hole. Then just pull the entire assembly up, set aside.

You have now arrived at the main board, the source of all your problems. Time to head back your car with the unit, the front display circuit board and your multimeter. Plug that wired volume button back into the main board, and plug the unit back into the car. Put your keys in and turn on the electrics in the car. Now push the volume button in to turn on the stereo. You need to figure out if those bulbs under the display are even getting any power,Toward the front of the unit you will see 2 red connectors. Looking at unit head on, the socket on the left and the last pin hole all the way to the left is the one that powers the bulbs under the LCD. You should get just under 12v on your multimeter from it. I pull up the ciggarette lighter connector and use the ground under it for my ground.


IF YOU DON'T GET POWER FROM THAT PIN (scroll down for instructions if you do)
Head back inside with your radio. Disconnect the volume dial again. Take a look between those 2 red connectors again. In between them you will find a couple surface mount resistors. They are litte black rectanges with the number "180" on them. These have cracks in the solder on each side of them too small for the human eye to see. What you'll need todo is just touch up these joints (4 joints total) with alittle solder.

Now repeat the above paragraph and make sure you're getting 12V now. Turn off the radio, reattach the display board, including plugging the pins back into those red connectors. Turn radio back on. Does your display light up nice and bright now? Good! You're done! ......if it doesn't proceed to the next section.


IF YOU DO GET POWER FROM THAT PIN
This means those bulbs under the display are likely burnt out.

Extra stuff you'll need:
Copper desoldering braid
2 8v microlamps available at partsexpress.com

You'll need to remove the metal backing from the display circuit board. There are 2 metal tabs holding it by way of holes in the circuit board, desolder these tabs from the board and bend the tabs back. The display board should come off fine now.

Now removed the actual LCD display, again, more tabs to desolder, 3 along the top of the LCD, one of which is through the circuit board. Then 3 more along the bottom, but these may not be soldered, you probably just have to bend them back, Removed the display and you'll see the bulbs. Desolder them and resolder in the new ones. Go out to your car and make sure they work. If they don't, I don't know what to tell you, this all worked for me, Very sorry.

If it did work, congrats, reassemble your radio and enjoy!

Hope this helps a few people!
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2005, 06:40 PM
Red51 Red51 is offline
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Thanks for the tip momo328is! this is great I won't have to fork out $$ for a replacement unit.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2005, 01:32 AM
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johnf johnf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momo328is
Found the write-up for fixing dim backlight. Don't be afraid, it is easier than it sounds
Can you point us to where you took the original? It apparently has pictures.
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2005, 04:10 AM
obd2guru obd2guru is offline
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yeah

the original unit is boring ,a new mp3 headunit or a avic-n2 would bring the bimmer back to life.
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2005, 04:17 AM
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johnf johnf is offline
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Do you know any that tell you how many more miles/kilometers you have in the tank?
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  #11  
Old 11-22-2005, 07:21 AM
momo328is momo328is is offline
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Original link is dead.
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  #12  
Old 09-07-2009, 02:37 PM
jgr10001 jgr10001 is offline
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Success...sort-of

I just did this fix on my Business Radio. Instructions were very well organized and accurate even without pictures. My compliments to the author. One note of advise. YEP..use sodder iron with a slendor needle llike head.

My attempts to use the multi-meter against position 1 on the left most plug failed miserably. I never managed to get a reading...so I just assumed that the resister connections were bad and proceeded to apply the fix as described.

First resister went well... but the 2nd... ooops. I managed to Sodder it off the board completely. I figured it was a bust and made a quick effort to recover by soddering it back on, rinstalled the cassette unit, screws and reinstalled the head unit it into the car.

To my surprise, the display lit up and whoaaa..I was groven to the music of my favorite local channel.

One casualty.. the cassette player doesn't want to work ..work well anyway. something is too tight or misaligned. Tapes don't want to eject and they play slowly. I'll fix that next week/month.. To be honest..I can do without my 1980'2 cassettes.
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  #13  
Old 09-07-2009, 04:29 PM
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merlin310 merlin310 is offline
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+1 on the fix it link. I used that write-up a couple months back, and my stock radio shines brightly again. It actually went out again this weekend, but a quick ten minute fix. Just be careful with the soldering. It is a very small space, and easy to burn the resistors off.
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2009, 08:38 AM
happypanda happypanda is offline
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I just replace my stock unit with an aftermarket one and am much happier, I would switch out to one when you get the chance.
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  #15  
Old 09-21-2010, 12:56 AM
jjmedrano jjmedrano is offline
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Does anyone know if this fix will work for my 2006 330i? I am having the same problem.

Thanks in advanced,
Jonnathan
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  #16  
Old 09-21-2010, 08:44 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Not sure about that one. It could be caused by the same problem as the older units, but I can't say with any certainty. I'd search on the E46 boards.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:18 PM
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veteran011 veteran011 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin310 View Post
It is a very small space, and easy to burn the resistors off.
Does anyone know what type of resistor it is should this happen? I'm gonna attempt the fix this weekend but i want to have a new resistor handy should i f%#@ up. i seem to remember reading a DIY somewhere that called out the specific resistor but now no matter how many times i search i cant find that one DIY...
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2012, 12:56 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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They're absolutely tiny. I'm sure you can find a DIY that will specify the resistor specs by searching online. I did mine without having any spares, but I could see wanting to have some available. Just be certain to get the smallest, finest, possible soldering iron tip you can possibly find.
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