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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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  #26  
Old 02-08-2013, 09:33 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I have broken so many plastic tabs on stuff on my 540, that I do not even hesitate to push the connectors or whatever part (headlight lens, whatever) the tab held back together as tight as I can (have even used vice grips to just hold parts together snug) and use a healthy dab of silicon sealer on the split. It allows for a snug hold, yet will come off easily with a finger nail if you have to disconnect again later. Sounds like maybe your FSU was loose in the connector? You can use the dab of silicon sealer and then wrap the connection with electrical tape for a day to allow silicon to dry and do it's job and then tape will come off without pulling silicon off.
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  #27  
Old 02-09-2013, 06:59 PM
vatoman vatoman is offline
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Lets see if im doing this right.

1. Car goes to sleep, then unhook neg.
2. Hook positive lead from DMM to neg terminal.
3. Hook negative end to battery post (I have no clamps so I use jumper cable to attach neg to post and - lead to the jaw its tight)
4. make sure positive DMM plugged into dc 10a
5. make sure to set DMM to dc10a mode

Active period wait time 16m I got various numbers but nav is on etc. I want to say .627 though I may be wrong. I forgot to note
quiescent period .176 latches for trunk on door button pressed in no lights

So I unplugged fsu same, unplugged various fuses for nav radio phone etc still same
it will bump up to .183 but seems to stay around .176

Is that within spec? Im not sure you seem to get different numbers then I. However you got a nice fluke. Mine is a Equus 3320.

I have not unplugged the whopper 40a behind glove box. Car is unhooked now. Oddly enough after I jumped it I went for a drive about 30 miles in total. I measured from battery and get about 14.0 with car on. Charging system obviously ok. Now after nearly 30 miles I go and test it again 12.2. So reading a bit, that roughly means 50% charged. Whats really odd is that previously I unhooked battery it was at 2.25v before I hooked it back up and jumped it measured in at 6.25 volts or so. I thought that was strange, but I could be wrong it was much colder that day etc.

Tomorrow im going to warranty the battery as I think its bad. As I have said its unhooked right now. I will measure in the morning. Right now its reading around 12.15.

So my theory is the fsu was the culprit, replacing it worked. However the battery is bad from going dead im sure. Even with the new fsu in place it still measured in at .176. I could be wrong by reading your numbers. Please let me know, thanks!
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  #28  
Old 02-10-2013, 07:43 AM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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From all of what I have seen, read, etc., you are on the upper end of current draw, but should be "ok". I also agree your battery is toast from being deep-cycled too many times. Every time you deep-cycle a conventional battery (even once) , you lose a little bit of reserve that a battery has. This is why I choose to use a red top Optima deep-cycle marine-type battery. I do not even worry about not having a battery gas vent, but that is my personal risk that I believe is within my "balance zone" of risk/reward. I am NOT going to push it or suggest it to anyone. I have also used the big 1000 amp battery that autozone sells-think it was a duralast. I have used a Red top Optima in my M5 as well as my current 540 with no problems thus far. Maybe if I were in a rear corner collision and built-up gases exploded, I would be telling a different story from a wheel chair, but the Optima is a sealed-type battery to begin with and emits very little gas.

I believe that with a .176 amp draw you would not have a problem starting with a good battery, no deep-cycles to "zero", and leaving your car at an airport for a week- it should start right-up. Now, going on a couple weeks or three weeks, it might be a tad soft. It would be interesting to see which fuse would take the sleep (I know, why use a simple word like "sleep" when you can use "quiescent" and send people who don't do crossword puzzles to the dictionary..um, Bee!) draw down near zero. I would only try pulling fuse 56 and repeating just for sake of seeing what the quiescent stuff is all about.

Oh, you had all the test steps correct. Good job and your meter is likely very close. Even cheapo meters are well within +/- 10% which would only be .017 mils one way or the other. You're right on track.

Hope I made sense as I just woke-up from a great night's quiescent period and still gaining mobility of my cells.

Last edited by 540iman; 02-10-2013 at 07:45 AM.
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  #29  
Old 02-10-2013, 10:38 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
1. Car goes to sleep, then unhook neg
I don't wait for the car to go to sleep because the act of disconnecting and connecting my battery, with the trunk open, makes "my" car wake up. So, the first step I do is set up the ammeter in series with the battery.
Then I give it about 30 seconds to a minute and then I snap a photo of the "awake" current (with all doors closed and I also set the alarm which activates the little yellow light on the shift lever console).
I come back about 16 minutes later, and the first thing I do is check that the little yellow light is out - and then I snap a picture of the current while the car is sleeping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
Active period wait time 16m I got various numbers but nav is on etc. I want to say .627 though I may be wrong.
You don't say your units again, but I'm assuming you're talking amps, so 627 milliamps seems LOW as compared to mine for the period when the computers are still running (mine are in the 2 amp range, but my trunk light is lit). A lot depends on how many lights you have on in your interior. I set the alarm so as to shut them off sooner. The only light I know of burning is the trunk light when I check my "awake" current.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
I unplugged fsu same, unplugged various fuses for nav radio phone etc still same it will bump up to .183 but seems to stay around .176
That's double what mine is, and I thought mine was about double or even triple what other people said it should be, but, as Bill said, it's only 200 milliamps which the battery can source overnight without discharging (we'd have to do the math to see how long the battery can source that - but for you - it would be half as long as for me, with half the current draw).

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
Is that within spec?
That is a good question. I don't have the spec in front of me. I will have to search my Bentleys to see what the spec is. If anyone has a TIS with the spec, it would be nice to look at it to see how we differ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
you seem to get different numbers then I. However you got a nice fluke. Mine is a Equus 3320.
I doubt it's the meter, as current isn't difficult to measure - so I suspect it's either the vehicle differences or the setup differences (for example, I measure with nothing overtly running and the alarm set and only the trunk light lit).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
your battery is toast from being deep-cycled too many times.
I'm told the plates buckle from the heat and bits of the lead mixture crumble off and fall to the bottom of the cell, which can short out plates - and insoluble mixtures of lead form which don't go back into solution. So I agree, deep cycling a car battery isn't generally a good thing for the battery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vatoman View Post
(I know, why use a simple word like "sleep" when you can use "quiescent"
Point taken. I simply mean there are two periods, the first one is where everything is off and the alarm is set and the only item overtly running is the trunk bulb - and the second period is 16 minutes later when the little yellow light on the shift console goes out.

What I'd like to have (which I don't at the moment) are two specs:
a) The actual spec for the BMW E39 for sleep current (I was originally told it was 30ma, and mine is three times that, although, as you said and I agree, even three times that shouldn't deplete a battery overnight).
b) Some way of testing the FSU in vitro (I can check resistance, but we don't have a resistance spec to check against).

PS: In vitro means "out of the car".
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-10-2013 at 10:41 AM.
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  #30  
Old 02-10-2013, 01:15 PM
vatoman vatoman is offline
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So lucky me is back at it today. We are talking ma with my readings above. The .627 is in active mode but after some stuff shuts down like the nav which takes a couple minutes. No lights on glove box open, with the switch pushed in so no light. This includes trunk and door button pushed in. I want this most accurate read possible. Just for the hell of it as im waiting on "quiescent" im going to pop on the old fsu and see if it goes nuts.

I really want to say battery looks fine. It measured in at just 12.10, now the battery never got to zero. I know 12.6 is norm, however its not losing charge on its own. It got to around 2-6volts which I disconnected at that point. Does that qualify for a deep cycle. It may just need a long run at highway speed. I am just thinking here though. Always possible to go to AZ and replace it on warranty. They replaced the last one too.

Ill be back with further updates.
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  #31  
Old 02-10-2013, 02:39 PM
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I'd like to add to this thread to make sure your ground cable is attached securely to the car in the trunk.

I mention it because for whatever reason, mine had become loose and all the batteries I replaced after the original died after ~1 year. I went through 4 batteries in 4 years before discovering the loose ground cable. I tightened it back down (it was very hard to tighten it, too...for whatever reason) and now my current battery is 2 years old and all is well.
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  #32  
Old 02-10-2013, 04:52 PM
vatoman vatoman is offline
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So while in the process of troubleshooting my car decided she wanted to help me. How sweet of her.

It was my damn MK3! Not really a surprise as it was on the short list. However it acts really strange. I first went down there after active mode and thought I must of hit the key to wake it up. Reason for this as I opened trunk and latch was engaged so I couldn't close it. The damn mk3 was spinning up and then down. The parking indicator light comes on too. Drawing up to 3 and down to 1.9.

It then goes off, it does no eject disks like others have encountered. So it powers on then off. This also cycles the parking indicator, when the mk3 kicks on indicator lights up, when mk3 powers off so does indicator. Car then drops back down to .172 back in sleep mode. I have now pulled the mk3 and left the car connected to battery.

So this things spinning up and down is draining the battery. Why it comes on randomly I cant answer... yet. I really dont think its the gm module. As I would have other symptoms.

I still think its a little high even with mk3 disconnected still draws .172ma. Old fsu in place the same. The only thing I could get to drop draw by about .10ma was shifting gate illumination. It would be nice to get the .172 down a bit more.
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  #33  
Old 02-10-2013, 05:40 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I thought "invitro" meant outside the womb...! Whatever. Don't take my jabs as anything but that Bee. Just playing with you and your linguistic ways~ I just think if one has to explain what a word means, pick a more common one

Btw, after a drive, my battery will easily read over 13V with car off.

Last edited by 540iman; 02-10-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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  #34  
Old 02-13-2013, 05:22 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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The following measurements were made on my original GKR/BMW/Valeo FSR and the replacement acm Germany FSR way back on 2/2/2009:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post

Here is what I think each pin does:
#1 = ground
#2 = 12V power, 40 amp fused
#3 = input to fsu from heat/ac module
#4 = output power to the blower motor? (speed 1?)
#5 = output power to the blower motor (speed 2?)

And, here is what I measured between each pin and ground (the FSU body):
#1: Old FSU = 600Kohms, new FSU = 11.2 ohms
#2: Old FSU = 3.02Mohms, new FSU = 1.22Mohms
#3: Old FSU = 2.22Mohms, new FSU = 608Kohms
#4: Old FSU = 2.14Mohms, new FSU = 602Kohms
#5: Old FSU = 3.05Mohms, new FSU = 1.28Mohms
Here are the new measurements on the SAME FSRs today:
Note 1: On the GKR FSU, the black lead of the DMM went on the fins.
Note 2: On the acm FSU, the fins were floating so the black lead of the DMM went to pin #1.
#1: Old GKR FSU = 625 Kohms, new acm FSU = OL (0 ohms to terminal 1)
#2: Old GKR FSU = 3.20 Mohms, new acm FSU = OL (1.21 Mohms to terminal 1)
#3: Old GKR FSU = 2.36 Mohms, new acm FSU = OL (605 Kohms to terminal 1)
#4: Old GKR FSU = 2.15 Mohms, new acm FSU = OL (599 Kohms to terminal 1)
#5: Old GKR FSU = 3.15 Mohms, new acm FSU = OL (1.21 Mohms to terminal 1)

That's weird that the aluminum fins on the acm (plastic) FSU were not connected to any of the pins as my prior tests never mentioned that. So I assume that's a before/after diagnostic test of sorts.

Anyway, for consistency, I measured the resistance to pin 1 on the GKR FSU:
Note: The black DMM lead was clipped to pin #1 for this test.
#1: Old GKR FSU = 0 ohms to terminal 1
#2: Old GKR FSU = 3.65 Mohms to terminal 1
#3: Old GKR FSU = 2.98 Mohms to terminal 1
#4: Old GKR FSU = 2.85 Mohms to terminal 1
#5: Old GKR FSU = 3.66 Mohms to terminal 1

It's hard to conclude much, other than there was a total loss of continuity between the aluminum heating fins of the plastic acm FSU and ALL five pins.
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  #35  
Old 02-14-2013, 12:38 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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Ok and great work Bee. Here is the "problem" with doing it the way you did it. Whether the fins are at ground potential or not is irrelavent. The fins are just there for heat dissapation and nothing else. Electrically they serve no relavent purpose.

*If* pin #1 or any pin for that matter is the pin that will be grounded when plugged in to the receiver socket, it needs to be grounded to get any meaningful readings from it. I know you just wanted to have two FSUs in front of you and to look for differences between the two, you need to have at least one pin of the FSUs hooked to ground. As discrete components just sitting on say a table before you, without being hooked to a real ground, the readings don't mean a whole lot. Because you don't want to plug the FSUs in and measure (I agree with your logic) you want to at least ground a pin and then you can hook your meter between that ground and any pin you want. The FSU has the ability to control what...9 speeds? I don't even know how many speeds our fans have, but let's just say nine for the hell of it. That would mean that if the FSU has four or five pins that each speed uses a combination of one FSU pin or more that one FSU pin. lets just say speed one, two, and three on your heat display involve pins 3,4, and 5 on the FSU. Speeds in the car 4,5,and 6 might use pins 3+4, 3+5, and 3+6 in series to get the additional speeds. Likely the other way around as less resistance would mean faster fan speed unless the resistors inside the FSU are put in parallel rather than series which would result in less resistance that either resistor individually. For example, a 10 ohm resistor in series with a 100 ohm resistor would net 110 ohms. A 10 in parallel with a 100 will be less than the lowest value of either or 10+100/10*100 or 110/1000 or .110 ohms. FSU can act in either way. Resistors in parallel offer greater current handling capability than two in series.

So, what do all these mean re: your test? I dunno, I'm too lazy to think about it! Hook the pin on the fsu that you believe is ground (can be determined using resistance scale back-probing socket pins for FSU to ground). Use a jumper cable between this pin and ground and then compare the other pins to the same common ground.

You are a ground-breaker with absolutely boundless energy, inquisitiveness, and desire to furnish reference information that all can use going forward. Not knowing what circuitry that exists inside the FSU, it would not surprise me that the resistance between ground and the resistive pins or the positive and the resistance pins reads nothing. I wonder if when the FSU fails, people notice the fan quits or runs full speed? You can control fan speed by adding resistance between the fan coil and ground or by adding resistance between the fan coil positive and the positive feed. It matters not whether you add resistance on the positive DC leg or the negative DC leg. You just should have one pin of the FSU at a common connection on the car and then measure between there and the other pins. Better yet is doing on the bench with DC applied to the appropriate pins (both pos. & neg.) and then measuring between pos. and the empty pins and then negative to the empty pins. Also check between empty pins to each other and switch lead polarity as well to see if any diode action is going on in that damn thing!

If someone is willing to send me a good fsu and a bad FSU, I can definitively tell you what failed in the one. Can cut open (with permission) and explain the whole damn thing if given the OK. Remember, our FSUs are simply replacing three resistors IIRC.

Last edited by 540iman; 02-14-2013 at 12:45 PM.
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  #36  
Old 02-25-2013, 12:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Remember, our FSUs are simply replacing three resistors IIRC.
UPDATE:
I haven't done anything yet - so my bimmer has been my daily drive sans the final stage resistor - and there have been zero battery problems since I removed that final stage unit (aka FSR/FSU).

But, I HATE replacing things without TESTING them first! It really bugs me big time.

The first step in testing is always UNDERSTANDING how the thing is supposed to work.

Hence my inaction ...

For some reason, I have trouble 'seeing' how the five-pin FSU diagram can be depicted as a three resistor diagram - but if that's the case - then we should be able to build a test jig that tests the FSU. Right?

a. POWER (12volt, 40amp, DC)
b. GROUND
c. Resistor 1 (high current ?)
d. Resistor 2 (medium current ?)
e. Resistor 3 (low current ?)

Moving in that direction, here is my first-pass guess (perhaps wrong) as to what a test jig would look like. Any ideas on how to correct this diagram and how to build that FSU test jig?

UPDATE:
According to "post #148 here" and "post 21 here", I've updated the diagram below.
QUESTION: What do the dotted lines indicate?
And what do the numbers (4.0, 0.35) next to the wiring colors mean?

Double Update:
I opened a test-jig thread today specifically to formulate an FSU testing jig.
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Do we have a DIY for how to build a test jig testing FSU/FSR operation on the bench?
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-25-2013 at 05:09 PM.
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  #37  
Old 02-25-2013, 01:18 PM
mbell666 mbell666 is offline
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[Note, I've never done more that unplugged my FSU, so the following is just an educated guess as what might/should be going on and could be very wrong ]

I thinking looking at the diagram pin 1 is the feed from the ignition switch not another ground. They probably share a single ground.

The FSU is likely to work by putting a resistance in line with the fan, the higher the resistance the lower the fan speed. So I would expect the resistance between the 12v input (Pin 2) and the Fan output (pin 5) to vary based on the input control signal (pin 3). I'd expect that they will be an arrangement of transistors and high power resisters that are activated by different input voltages on pin 3. So the resistance of the FSU and the fan speed are varied by the input on pin 3.

The only way to test such a setup would be to measure the resistance between pin 2 and 5, as different voltages are applied to pin 3. Checking that for each input voltage level the resistance is correct.

If the fan is on constantly I'd check the resistance between pin 2 and 5, on a good FSU I'd expect an open circuit with no voltage on pin 3 and 1. Some level of resistance on a failed FSU. Missing fan speeds are probably transistor or resistors that have failed in open circuit.
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Last edited by mbell666; 02-25-2013 at 01:25 PM.
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  #38  
Old 02-25-2013, 03:04 PM
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540iman 540iman is offline
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I started to attemp to explain and before I could hit "send" there were two posts that were not there when I started! I lost the entire post, so i will try one more time. Remember E=I/R and that Power = E squared divided by R. The fan pulls a lot of currect. I show it fused at 30 amps so remember that between + and minus terminals, you should have like 1.7 ohms if fan pulls 20 amps at 12 VDC at full speed. Forget any mega ohm readings. The FSU seems to fail because they get hotter that the porcupine quills can deal with the heat of the power which would be like 144 divided by 1.7 ohms or roughly ..what is that like 80 watts. Your hair dryer seems high by comparison but it has air flow constantly. That little percupine deals with over 80 watts of heat. if running at slow speed. Slow the fan down and the FSU must take up that extra power in the form of heat.

The problem Bee is that the Final stage unit is such that it may only fail under a heavy current load so you may not be able to test an FSU side by side on the bench, but you can check resistance between pin#1 and pin #5 which lead to the motor. You may test resistance between Pin #2 and pin#5 for a direct short. Remember, inside the FSU may only be the equivalent of 3 resistors, but yiou have one leg of each resistor at the 12VDC input and then the output can be each resistor individually or a combination of 2 or more resistors in parallel and remember with two resistors in parallel, the total resistance is less that the smallest resistor. IE. two 100 ohm resistors in parallel would be (100 X 100)/(100 + 100) or 50 ohms. You can have two 100 Ohm resistors on parallel and you get 200 ohms total resistance and the wattage rating of the smallest wattage resistor. When you have two 10 watt resistors in parallel yeilding 5 ohms at a 5 watt capacity. So, the FSU may fail when two rasistors are put in parallel to speed up the fan and thereby allowing it to pull more current and possibly more that the resistors can handle in parallel. It ain't that easy, but you can check the obvious of the two FSUs side by side on the bench. Remember with just three resistors you have three speeds using each resistor in series one at a time or a combination of 1+2 in parallel, or 2 +3 in parallel, or 1 and 3 in parallel, or 1,2,and 3 in parallel gives you another speed. So just three resistors can yield 7 speeds or eight if you allow for no resistor at all in the string. All coming out of one 12 VDC in lead and two output leads unless the motor is grounded elsewhere like at its mounting point. Now, give me some actual numbers out of the circuit between the 5pins and we will see if anything sticks out. slowing down blower equals more heat to disappate by the FSU. Slowest speed is the most, and fastest speed is the least. Not all transistorized circuits fail when no voltage or current is applied. A test bench would be more complex as you would need the heating and air conditioning controller module and a load similar to the fan. How many differnt speeds are available at the fan? Also remember that a fan motor developes a counter EMF which can add resistance drastically depnding on if the motor starts spinning right away or lags, whatever. I suggest you buy from Autozone and take back the FSUs when they fail. It may not be worth doing a proper analysis. A motor with changing fields, counter EMF, and many other variables make this exercise not so simple as I started thinking about it. You have more thatn one resistance drop to deal with Bee.
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  #39  
Old 02-26-2013, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
The fan pulls a lot of currect. I show it fused at 30 amps so remember that between + and minus terminals, you should have like 1.7 ohms if fan pulls 20 amps at 12 VDC at full speed.
I measured 0.4 to 0.6 ohms at the FSU connector fan terminals, so clearly the fan is a large current load, as you implied. The resistance readings started high, and then dropped very slowly over the course of a few minutes - so the blower motor load isn't purely resistive, at least with the FSU removed and the key out of the ignition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Forget any mega ohm readings.
I'll say!
I'll stick with 0.5 ohms as the average reading for the blower fan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
The FSU seems to fail because ...That little percupine deals with over 80 watts of heat. if running at slow speed. Slow the fan down and the FSU must take up that extra power in the form of heat.
This is a good explanation of 'why' they fail, at the macro level.
Now we have to figure out 'how' they fail at the micro level (probably bad solder joints based on the input from users above).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
the Final stage unit is such that it may only fail under a heavy current load so you may not be able to test an FSU side by side on the bench, but you can check resistance between pin#1 and pin #5 which lead to the motor.
I see now we have a test for a bad blower motor too, in that the resistance of the blower motor should be small, but non zero.

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
you can check the obvious of the two FSUs side by side on the bench.
For an active component, such as the FSU, I'm beginning to realize that resistance readings are too primitive. We need an active testbench, so I'm looking for one here:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > Do we have a DIY for how to build a test jig testing FSU/FSR operation on the bench?

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
A test bench would be more complex as you would need the heating and air conditioning controller module and a load similar to the fan.
I'm thinking of the following for the testbench:
1. Variable DC voltage (2V to 7.8V) to take the place of the HVAC controller module
2. High wattage 0.5 ohm resistor to take the place of the blower motor
3. Car battery to take the place of the current source

If I can't find a high-wattage half-ohm (or so) resistor, then I might be able to hook up a junk DC motor of some type, to simulate the blower motor. Maybe the window regulator motor could suffice?

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  #40  
Old 02-26-2013, 11:16 AM
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There are too many failure modes and just resistance does not tell the whole story as the motor generates some EMF current and draw that is kinda seperate from the purely resistive load between FSU and motor. Your fan could be just a tad flakey and be pulling a little more current than normal. You could have an intermittent ground. Since this one is so easy to test by just pulling to see if drain goes away, I don't know that we need a definitive test. FSU is what $50?? I don't know as mine only replaced once and I don't recall the cost, but $50 every other year is like changing cabin filters! Why not leave it as just part of the parasitic drain loss procedure and if pulling it stops the key off drain, just get another?!
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Since this one is so easy to test by just pulling to see if drain goes away, I don't know that we need a definitive test.
Agreed. For me, for example, pulling the FSU made the overnight battery drain go away.
But I'm more curious than most people ... hence a bit more needy as to what is going on.

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
FSU is what $50?? ... $50 every other year is like changing cabin filters!
Funny you should mention that because in another thread someone said the same thing and I had replied:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
What irks me to no end is the fact we have to periodically buy a $50 part every few years just because BMW and their suppliers couldn't design a device to control a simple blower motor to save their lives.

The sad part (and the part that irks me most), is that they actually profit from their lousy design - in that millions of us are shelling out that $50 every few years. In effect, we're REWARDING them for their lousy design.

So, it behooves us to UNDERSTAND what is going wrong in these FSUs, rather than simply play dumb and fork over the money, time and time and time and time again.
So, it's not about fixing the problem.
It's about UNDERSTANDING it - and - coming up with a test to test the FSU.

The problem, of course, is that the FSU is an active component, which is known to be intermittent - which makes our lives miserable for testing intent.

So far, the best I can come up with by way of a test is of the FSU is:
a) Put a variable 2 volts to 7.8 DC volts across the HVAC pin and ground of the FSU
b) Put a half ohm load (able to handle high wattage) across the blower pins of the FSU
c) Put a 30 amp 12 volt source across the power & ground pins of the FSU

When we sweep the DC voltage from 2 volts to 7.8 volts, we should see a variable current source of 6 amps or so across the blower motor pins of the FSU.

That's the best I can come up with. Unfortunately, the load and the variable voltage supply are things I don't have easily in my garage.
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-26-2013 at 06:12 PM.
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  #42  
Old 02-27-2013, 04:44 AM
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Bee, Don't use your partial test. It will not work. First question is does your blower run all the time at full speed no matter what you or the HVAC module would likely be telling the fan speed to be OR does your fan not run at all? The .5 ohm resitor you describe would need to be at least 20 watts which is a big resistor and that by itself will not do anything. If .5 ohms (your observed number) is good for everyones unit, then .5 x 14 VDC=7 watts. If my "calculated" value of say 1.8 ohms is close, then you have 1.8 x 14 vdc=25 watts and either resistor will be too hot to touch and expensive. If input to fan is shorted which would result in a no run condition, then .5 in parallel with zero is still zero (a short). If you remove the FSU and just want to replicate it being in the circuit, you would need to jumper a lot of wires to see if fan will run and it will so what do you prove? Remember, your fan is over 10 years old as well and may actually be starting to exhibit some unusual values to the FSU. If you pull the FSU and get proper results, then what more can you do as you can not repair the fsu nor is it worth it. Curiosity killed a cat somewhere...

Don't get me started as I know for a fact that BMW has designed obsolescence into our cars all over the place. Design is to sell parts and service, but to generally survive the first owner. They do not want leasees or original owners to have terrible maintenance issues, but if at say 80,000 miles they start to have problems, if they were wealthy enough to buy the first one, they will likely buy another. Let's face it, basic marketing says BMW does not want to see 16-30 year olds driving these cars in general. This is not their target market or kids in tee shirts, etc. No offense intended, just the truth.. It just is not the image they do want of the 40 year old businessman or woman all gussied-up in these cars. They wish we would just "go away" or at least buy a ton of parts/service. Read on the "forum" about the guy who thinks the stealer busted all his injectors doing a valley pan job. Why I do not know. I did not even need to remove the fuel rail let alone the injectors doing the job on two different cars. The TIS calls for removing the entire manifold with injectors still attached to do a job where the injectors have no need to be removed! The guys 10 cent fuel injector pintle caps ,which are phenolic and get brittle, all broke when the stealer mechanic removed, and the gaskets were all laying on top of the valves and pistons in the cylinders when the ape was done and then they demanded $1200 to replace all the injectors. Car had NO driveability issues whatsoever when he drove it in! Then he paid the huge bill and got a mile away and coolant sprayed everywhere and they said it must have been a brittle hose. 100 miles from home, he had no choice and they knew that. This all after changing water pump, radiator, coolant reservoir, et al chasing elusive leak which dealer said was valley pan, but also replaced his radiator and all his injectors. Would I rather have a root canal than go to a stealer..you bet. Plastics made to fail, fan blades that can go through a hood, SAP system, and on and on. Just done in the name of the almighty buck. They still do so today. Unless you are the original owner, you will never enjoy the full experience.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
First question is does your blower run all the time at full speed no matter what you or the HVAC module would likely be telling the fan speed to be OR does your fan not run at all?

I love diagnostic test sequences
, so, let's take this from the standpoint of someone else (since I already know my blower is fine because my HVAC system was working properly; the only problem I have is, when the key is out of the ignition, I have intermittent clicking sounds where 'something' is causing intermittent, hard to reproduce, parasitic spikes of 14 amps or more (draining the battery in the process).

How does this look based on your input above as a general test sequence?

TEST #1: BLOWER OPERATION
  • If the blower motor is not responding to HVAC control, then test the FSU on the bench.
  • If the blower motor not run at all, then it could be other things than the FSU.
    • Note: My blower & HVAC is working normally when the vehicle is running (my parasitic spikes of 14 amps are only when the key is out of the ignition) so this test is for others to follow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
If you remove the FSU and just want to replicate it being in the circuit, you would need to jumper a lot of wires to see if fan will run and it will so what do you prove?

The goal is to 'prove' whether or not the basic operation of the FSU is occurring.
This seems, to me, to be a basic test sequence for go/nogo tests of the FSU:

TEST #2: FSU OPERATION
  • Remove the FSU and hook 12VDC (30 amp) battery to terminals 2 & 4.
  • Connect ammeter in series with any 0.5 ohm to 2ohm 20 watt resistor across terminals 5 & 1
  • Vary the DC voltage from 2 volts to 7.8 volts across terminals 3 & 4.
  • Observe the current in the ammeter as you vary terminal 3 voltage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
If you pull the FSU and get proper results, then what more can you do
I love diagnostic tests because, I think, I, myself, am not an intuitive person.
I like to TEST things before determining whether or not they are broken.
I believe the goal of coming up with a bench test sequence for the FSU is possible.

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
BMW has designed obsolescence into our cars all over the place.
I understand. I attribute it to lousy engineering that 'barely' survives the first owner - but that is an aside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
I'd rather have a root canal than go to a stealer..
Me too.

As for the FSU test, I'm going to try to see if I can rustle up a variable voltage power supply and a very big resistor!
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  #44  
Old 02-27-2013, 08:09 AM
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Bill,
I just realized I am confused about one thing.

Q: What physical thing determines blower motor speed?

Is it current or voltage that is varied by the FSU which varies the blower motor speed?
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  #45  
Old 02-27-2013, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
[*]Remove the FSU and hook 12VDC (30 amp) battery to terminals 2 & 4.[*]Connect ammeter in series with any 0.5 ohm to 2ohm 20 watt resistor across terminals 5 & 1[*]Vary the DC voltage from 2 volts to 7.8 volts across terminals 3 & 4.[*]Observe the current in the ammeter as you vary terminal 3 voltage.[/LIST]
I love diagnostic tests because, I think, I, myself, am not an intuitive person.
I like to TEST things before determining whether or not they are broken.
I believe the goal of coming up with a bench test sequence for the FSU is possible.
FEW DVMs CAN HANDLE MORE THAN 10 AMPS CURRENT. DO NOT HOOK YOU DVM UP IN THIS CIRCUIT!!! IF YOU PUT POWER TO TERMS 2 & 4, YOU DON'T NEED THE RESISTOR TO SIMULATE THE DRAW OF THE MOTOR. YOU WILL HAVE THE REAL THING BY HOOKING TO THE FAN. Fan is seldom the cause. Do you run heat from the floor board area a lot Bee? This will keep the heat sink under a lot of pressure to stay cool in light of heat blowing from lower registers. I use heat up top mostly. I can't vouch for any of this testing-I'm sorry. Get your FSUs from Autozone and you can get a new one whenever you need it for life. I have no comments about the speed reference signal from the HVAC module whatsoever. I'm missing what you gain if your make-shift power to the fan works.

Best, Bill P.S. I understand how you are! No problems, just this seems quite different to me than testing an ABS which we do not even do. Knock yourself out!

Last edited by 540iman; 02-27-2013 at 11:13 AM.
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  #46  
Old 02-27-2013, 02:50 PM
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FEW DVMs CAN HANDLE MORE THAN 10 AMPS
Oh, I know. I've had to replace the fuse on my Fluke 75. It's literally a copper tube, about an inch long. And it melts.

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
YOU WILL HAVE THE REAL THING BY HOOKING TO THE FAN.
That's an interesting point. I can jumper two wires from the FSU to the FSU connector for the fan operation. I'm not sure if we need to measure the voltage across those wires, or the current in series with those wires - as I'm still not sure what quantity (voltage or current) is what changes the fan speed.

I suspect the FSU acts as a current source to the fan motor, but, it could just as easily be acting as a voltage source to the fan motor.

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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
Fan is seldom the cause. Do you run heat from the floor board area a lot Bee?
I generally keep the thing in auto and it does what it wants to do. It's California, so, we don't use all that much heat. Nor AC, as the weather is just about perfect most of the time.

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just this seems quite different to me than testing an ABS which we do not even do.
Well, to me, it's the same quest. When I had my trifecta, I tried to test the sensors and without your test, I would have spent more than the year it took me to figure out what to do. You guys figure stuff out muuuuuuch sooner than I do. I have no confidence in my car skills. I'd rather trust a measurement than a guess. That's why I never throw parts at a job. I wouldn't know off hand which parts to throw and even if I did, I'm never sure they're really bad.

In the case of the ABS control module, I only learned after I had it repaired (from your autopsy thread) that I could have opened it up and lifted the 7th aluminum wire with a toothpick to see if it was loose. I would have done that had I known that diagnostic test at that time.

The FSU is vastly simpler than the ABS control module, at least judging from the 5 pins versus up to 40 pins (yes, I know they're all not used).

The FSU seems so simple to test. At the moment, with the blower motor jumpered, I don't need the resistor - so all I need is a variable DC voltage power supply.

Googling, I see the voltage is easy to get at a low price but the current is harder.
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  #47  
Old 02-27-2013, 04:16 PM
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Blue, this is how I imagine the circuit works. The FSU is an active device as you stated. It is now way more complex than when there was just a 3-resistor set-up. The FSU controls BOTH the voltage and the current to the fan motor. If you just lowered the voltage a tad, the fan would try to pull more current to maintain a similar speed. So, to answer your question, the resistor is limiting the voltage as well as the current. Power or how it is manifested as heat is a combination of voltage and current. If you used a resistor and it only reduced the votage, but had no effect on the current drain, the resistor would not get hot and, in theory, could be the smallest (1/8 watt) resistor. But because it is limiting both current and voltage, you have heat.

The part that gets me Blue is that you can not repair a FSU. We both agree on that. The "test" is to remove it from the car or to put is back and see which symptom is affected. Either you have control of the fan speed or you don't. Either you have a crazy parasitic drain or you don't. The FSU is easy enough to troubleshoot and since you can't repair it, the mode of failure is just academic and nothing more. If you took a poll and asked "how did your heater motor behave when your FSU went bad"? whether it ran full speed only, quit running completely, or did something else, we can surmise what part of the FSU is suspect.

If I had to guess, the HVAC module varies the voltage to transistor which acts like a variable gate. I know it is not that simple, but a transistor functions basically as a switch or as an amplifier. The transistor can act as an amplifier by taking a small amount of base to emitter voltage and cause a much greater amount of current to flow between the collector and the emitter. In this scenario, the HVAC module could use its current to "tickle" the transistor to pass a much greater amount of current to flow-collector to emitter. This is a gain-type transistor. Or, a transistor can act as an on-off switch (very fast) by varying the input voltage to the transistor such that the transistor saturates and causes a lot more current to flow in the output side of the transistor to where the input voltage is enough to turn the transistor on or is too small and causes the transistor to "shut off". This type of circuit in its simplest form is often used in a high power circuit like the fan motor. Add different types of transistors or SCRs, especially in stages, and a minute amount of voltage change can trigger a huge exponentially larger change in current at the circuit's output. You just completed your freshman year at Rose-Hulman. :-) But, how does it help a Diy'er? Not a damn bit!

I got Guibo trouble I believe that started just today coming back from a job interview. So seldom do I really listen to my car as the raduio is always on. When vibration comes, it does not enhance the music! Here we go again. Center support bearing, Guibo or both. Could be CV joint too, so my mind is on steel and rubber parts that BMW designs to fail about now...

Last edited by 540iman; 02-27-2013 at 04:21 PM.
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  #48  
Old 03-01-2013, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
The FSU controls BOTH the voltage and the current to the fan motor.
Thanks Bill for your infinite patience with me. I'm different, I think, than most, in that I don't have the confidence you guys have to just replace a part upon first suspicion.
I like to KNOW that it's bad before I replace it; so I will follow your advice and just put it back and see what happens.

As for what is regulated by the FSU, it makes sense that POWER (the product of I x V) makes the motor run faster or slower.
BTW, I found a diagram over here which better shows the blower motor and the HVAC module in the FSU circuit:



Quote:
Originally Posted by 540iman View Post
The part that gets me Blue is that you can not repair a FSU.
I'm still in the diagnostic stage. For example, given the video above of the clearly audible clicking sounds, how would I know that it's not the K4 blower motor relay under the glove box that is causing the parasitic spikes of up to 14 amperes?
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  #49  
Old 03-01-2013, 04:50 AM
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Just FYI, you need NEVER defend yourself or explain yourself. That is how I learned how to fix stuff. My father died when I was almost 9 and I had to take everything apart as a child whether it was broken or not! Usually, I took stuff apart because I recognized my Mother just did not have the money for a new "anything" and so I never quit on something until I at least knew how it worked, what was wrong, and whether it was reasonable to find a new part. There used to be a lot of "fix-it" type shops around so these guys would see a little kid come in with a timer assembly from a washing machine and often give me the part I needed being astonished I had done trouble-shooting to where I new the timer motor was shot and be in second grade! However, time is money....especially the older you get. You know you can fix something, but since the curiosity factor is gone, you may opt to have someone else do. I thought you had two FSUs that are bad and did not want to buy a third until you knew #2 was definitely bad. I assumed you got battery drain from both or fan speed issues with both so why need to know what part of FSU is bad? You had anecdotal information that they were both bad. No? If you have a bad FSU and will send it to me, I will attempt to get the epoxy off without destroying the components and tell you what is wrong with it. If I can not get inside, I will rig up a test set-up to replicate and at least be able to tell you that FSU is passing max. current with zero bias or what. This is just one you can not fix and you have ability to test for improper behavior.

Never an issue. I like you doggedness and constant quest for knowledge. You are great at research as well.

The picture you posted is same as in Bentley BTW.

Bill
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:04 AM
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Quick advice needed on center support bearing/Guibo

I am replacing the guibo and bolts as well as trans mounts on my 2002 540ia and the center support bearing. Basically, very quickly I had an onset of horrible vibration at first only accelerating on freeway like from 70-80mph. It was definitely not like a tire threw its balance weights or something wheel related. As soon as I let off gas, vibration and humming noise ceased. By the time I got home, it was doing it at slow speeds accelerating from a stop sign. Again, only under load. I drive very easy, so was surprised how bad it was and how quickly it came on. Put car up on blocks and center driveshaft support bearing is real bad. How hard is it coming off which will tell me how hard new one will be to go on? I could just cut the old one off, but want to take it off correctly so I know how hard new one will be to press on. Can you tap all around carefully with a 2 x 4 and a smallish hammer to get on? Do I need to cut a round piece of wood sized to push the bearing, remove the u-joint and drive the shaft into the new bearing? I would think it would go on snug, but not very hard. Curious for those who have done laying on their backs mostly as I will be, if there is anything I should know just about center support bearing. CV joint is good and have all new bolts and hardware for the guibo. Please no "guesses", as I can guess. Want to know from someone who has done this job themselves.

Thanks very much in advance.
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