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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 08-19-2014, 04:34 PM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Cool yay, another headlight thread...

So, to start with, I have the regular old E90 LCI Halogen lights.


1) fishcake pretty much the only 'reliable' aftermarket vendor that supplies a headlight that's an upgrade from the halogen? (I'm under the impression, most aftermarkets are inferior to even the oem halogens)

2) I've seen mention here and there, a german OEMish sourced Xenon headlight that fits the pre-LCI E90s. I realize they're a bit pricier, but does anything prevent them from being installed in an LCI?


Basically, I'd like to have a higher quality of light since I do a lot of night time driving. In my mind, (from reading other people's experiences here) I'd rather something that would have the FX-R projector as they're supposedly the better projector. Personally, I could care less if they're Xenon or not. So long as I get better light. Frankly, Halogen would be fine for me if they truly put out a better usable light.

(I'm sure someone will mention Umnitza, but unfortunately, I've read enough bad experiences, that I'm not sure I want to flip a coin and maybe get a good experience, and/or maybe get a bad experience there)

I'd like to try to keep things as plug and play as possible, so outside of that, are there any other options I might have missed?
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2014, 06:38 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Don't bother with a so-called Xenon filled halogen bulb...if it ain't 'HID', it is not worth bothering with.
Don't try to put an HID in a non-projector housing...it is not street legal.
If you switch to a projector housing, it needs to have 'self leveling' feature for it to be street legal.
You need high voltage ballasts to drive xenon HID bulbs; that also causes need for electrical wiring upgrade to handle higher current demand.

If you use a 'brighter' halogen, it will run hotter and is likely going to overstress your wiring, if the halogen bulb >65W
If you use a 'bluer' halogen, if it is 5000K or higher color temperature, it will have less light output, and cause more backscatter glare during fog/rainy weather.


Pesonally I have upgraded halogen to Phillips CrystalVision bulbs...whiter light (similar to factory xenon HID light).

Last edited by wilt; 08-19-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-19-2014, 06:48 PM
surf_ surf_ is offline
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I'm kind of in the same boat. I have the LCI halogen. I've decided that the only way I'll upgrade to xenons is from the dealer. From what I've heard..... will set you back $1,500-$2,000. If I ever feel like spending $.... I'll do it. Until now, the halogens seem pretty bright at night.
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  #4  
Old 08-19-2014, 11:41 PM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
Don't bother with a so-called Xenon filled halogen bulb...if it ain't 'HID', it is not worth bothering with.
Don't try to put an HID in a non-projector housing...it is not street legal.
If you switch to a projector housing, it needs to have 'self leveling' feature for it to be street legal.
You need high voltage ballasts to drive xenon HID bulbs; that also causes need for electrical wiring upgrade to handle higher current demand.

If you use a 'brighter' halogen, it will run hotter and is likely going to overstress your wiring, if the halogen bulb >65W
If you use a 'bluer' halogen, if it is 5000K or higher color temperature, it will have less light output, and cause more backscatter glare during fog/rainy weather.


Pesonally I have upgraded halogen to Phillips CrystalVision bulbs...whiter light (similar to factory xenon HID light).
Yeah, about the only 'safe' upgrade I've seen might be the Osram 65w H7's. I haven't tried those yet. Not sure if it's worth it.

Heck, I'd be willing to stick with Halogens in an aftermarket projector lens, so long as it's a better light on the road. Only question remains is:
Are the aftermarket Depo V2's that fishcake sells better than OEM Halogens?
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2014, 06:14 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
Don't bother with a so-called Xenon filled halogen bulb...if it ain't 'HID', it is not worth bothering with.
Don't try to put an HID in a non-projector housing...it is not street legal.
If you switch to a projector housing, it needs to have 'self leveling' feature for it to be street legal.
You need high voltage ballasts to drive xenon HID bulbs; that also causes need for electrical wiring upgrade to handle higher current demand.

If you use a 'brighter' halogen, it will run hotter and is likely going to overstress your wiring, if the halogen bulb >65W
If you use a 'bluer' halogen, if it is 5000K or higher color temperature, it will have less light output, and cause more backscatter glare during fog/rainy weather.


Pesonally I have upgraded halogen to Phillips CrystalVision bulbs...whiter light (similar to factory xenon HID light).
Voltage doesn't dictate wire gauge size, current does.

The OEM wiring is fine for use with xenon/hid ballasts.

OP just go with fish cakes depos. It's a improvement over stock halogen but won't break your wallet. Most of the time, no coding is needed. Though I recommend coding the car for xenon anyway.
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Last edited by fdriller9; 08-20-2014 at 06:17 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2014, 09:02 AM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
...Though I recommend coding the car for xenon anyway.
Are you saying to code the car for Xenon if the fishcake depos are using a Xenon bulb?

Because by default, I don't believe they come with Xenons. From what I see, they come with Halogen bulbs in a projector lens. If they come with Halogens, I'm assuming there's no need to code for Xenon?
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2014, 09:05 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
Are you saying to code the car for Xenon if the fishcake depos are using a Xenon bulb?

Because by default, I don't believe they come with Xenons. From what I see, they come with Halogen bulbs in a projector lens. If they come with Halogens, I'm assuming there's no need to code for Xenon?
Yes correct.

You should only code if you opt for the HID kit.

The PWM on the halogen circuit can shorten xenon ballast lifespan expectancy. It can also cause issues with start up.
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2014, 09:17 AM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
The PWM on the halogen circuit can shorten xenon ballast lifespan expectancy. It can also cause issues with start up.
Ahhh, gotcha!

You don't happen to know if non-LCI headlights have any fitment issues in an LCI do you?

I noticed there's a German or Euro spec OEM non-LCI headlight out there. From the looks of it they're non adaptive.
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E90-328...lights/ES9941/
Was curious to know if non-LCI lights are interchangeable.
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2014, 09:32 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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They are interchangeable. Pinout is the same but to have cornering lights on the LCI headlights, you need a FRM2 or 3 module.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2014, 10:26 AM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
They are interchangeable. Pinout is the same but to have cornering lights on the LCI headlights, you need a FRM2 or 3 module.
um, not sure if I understand this correctly. (Since I am LCI at the moment...)

1) If I were non-LCI changing to LCI lights, your statement would apply?

2) If I were LCI already, changing to non-LCI lights, I would already have the FRM2/3 module?

Or do I have something backwards?


edit:
eh, the more I look into those OEM bi-xenons, the more of a headache it looks. Seems I probably would need to get some other wire loom or switch to activate the inboard halogens for flashing high beams as well since the shutter doesn't exactly activate on the main projector to flash high beams.

For simplicity's sake, I might be just better off hoping the fishcake depo's projector, produce a better light than halogen and stick with the halogen bulbs.

Last edited by Wongway; 08-20-2014 at 10:39 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2014, 11:18 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Yea you have it correct. Sorry, I thought your were going from pre-LCI to LCI.

The high beam thing can be coded. The early build E90s had flash to pass halogen high beams for the inner lights. The newer models have those inner lights as cornering lights. It's just coding.
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2014, 02:54 PM
krahooligan krahooligan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surf_ View Post
I'm kind of in the same boat. I have the LCI halogen. I've decided that the only way I'll upgrade to xenons is from the dealer. From what I've heard..... will set you back $1,500-$2,000. If I ever feel like spending $.... I'll do it. Until now, the halogens seem pretty bright at night.
is that your car? where did you get your rims? and it looks like your in southern california? do you know any reputable mechanics that work on BMW?
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  #13  
Old 08-20-2014, 03:02 PM
surf_ surf_ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krahooligan View Post
is that your car? where did you get your rims? and it looks like your in southern california? do you know any reputable mechanics that work on BMW?
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2014, 03:22 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
Voltage doesn't dictate wire gauge size, current does.

The OEM wiring is fine for use with xenon/hid ballasts..


Was just looking at one aftermarket conversion kit, and the FAQs list:

"HID turns on few seconds then both sides go out.

"There is a possibility that the fuses are blown. Please check your fuses box according to your vehicle's user manual and upgrade the stock 15 Amp or 20 Amp headlight fuse to 25 Amp or up. The 25 Amp fuses are 100% safe for your vehicle and will not cause damage to your vehicle's electrical system. "
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  #15  
Old 08-20-2014, 03:32 PM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
So, to start with, I have the regular old E90 LCI Halogen lights.

1) fishcake pretty much the only 'reliable' aftermarket vendor that supplies a headlight that's an upgrade from the halogen? (I'm under the impression, most aftermarkets are inferior to even the oem halogens)

2) I've seen mention here and there, a german OEMish sourced Xenon headlight that fits the pre-LCI E90s. I realize they're a bit pricier, but does anything prevent them from being installed in an LCI?

Basically, I'd like to have a higher quality of light since I do a lot of night time driving. In my mind, (from reading other people's experiences here) I'd rather something that would have the FX-R projector as they're supposedly the better projector. Personally, I could care less if they're Xenon or not. So long as I get better light. Frankly, Halogen would be fine for me if they truly put out a better usable light.

(I'm sure someone will mention Umnitza, but unfortunately, I've read enough bad experiences, that I'm not sure I want to flip a coin and maybe get a good experience, and/or maybe get a bad experience there)

I'd like to try to keep things as plug and play as possible, so outside of that, are there any other options I might have missed?
I'd like to chime in here.

1) "Fishcake" or any other vendor on eBay sells the exact same DEPO that we do. There are no differences there between the vendors.

2) We are however the only ones that are willing to install different levels of projectors - be it H1 Mini, FXR 2.5", FXR RHD, etc. That means we're the only ones that are willing to do a very custom build.

3) We also are the only ones that provide products with the Orion v4 angel eyes. All the other DEPO lights you see on the market are either built with a knock off of our Orion v2 (but not as reliable) or no angel eyes.

4) Our prices are the same as anyone else for standard level products with our Orion V2 (not V4) however, because we're not an eBay vendor, people have higher expectations of our product.

As an aside:
In some cases those higher expectations are warranted (build quality, after install or during install support) and in other cases they aren't...you are still working with a DEPO that has the same inherent issues, you are still purchasing a $500 product versus $800 per unit for OEM. Also, depending on the kind of car you have, you either will or won't get errors that you have to program, that is something completely outside the control of any one vendor.

5) We are the only vendor that can custom build your product and show you photos for your approval prior to shipping.

6) You do a lot of driving at night, you should not get anything less than FXR with a Xenon D2S system of higher than average reliability - this is what the P90 with Canbus Pro2 ballasts will do for you.

7) Pre-LCI or LCI fitment is exactly the same for these lights. 2008+ cars rarely if ever cause issues with the canbus ballasts or the canbus pro 2 ballasts, but earlier cars - especially the 2007 are disasters and the issues are often blamed on the headlight but they are more to do with the car.

In closing, I hope you give us a call. Please remember that people rarely post how happy they are, but almost always post when they are dissatisfied with something. Just doing the raw numbers, we ship about 15-20 of these per month, almost every month. If we have 5 people unhappy for valid or invalid reasons, we're still doing pretty well.

PS: not headlight related but: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...hlight=umnitza
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:06 PM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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To be honest, umnitza, I actually would like/prefer something along the lines of FXRs or Morimoto lights for night driving.

The problem isn't that I think fishcake's lights are better. It's that I find a distinctly drastically lower number of complaints about fishcake and his 'service' so to speak.

Which is why in my original post, I'm not sure if I'm willing to pay the money for a 50/50 chance of getting good/bad service. I do believe you are putting out a better product. It's the service and support I'm somewhat leery about at the moment.

Who knows? I might decide it's worth it to take that chance? But the rather large amount of complaints is probably the only reason why I haven't decided to call you guys first.
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Old 08-20-2014, 04:20 PM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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It's hardly a 50/50 chance but then, you don't work here You only see what you can see. Which is understandable. On eBay you can only sell X headlight.

Let me further illustrate something:
If you were to go to a BMW dealer and the only car they sell is the 328i, then you'd say, hmmm, that car has no service issues, no major problems, BMW sells great cars, no complaints.
But if then you realize the 335i has some turbo issues and BMW doesn't always cover the warranty and not every dealer replaces the correct parts. Or the 335d has some other issues. Etc. You'd walk away with the idea that perhaps you shouldn't ever buy a BMW.

The truth of the matter is, if you purchase the same basic cookie cutter headlight from us as you would from fishy, you'd have the same level of complaints (few) but if you purchase a more customized product, then you simply run a higher risk of having an issue because more components and more complex builds require different levels of expectations. The fact is, the FXR retrofit on those lights is not at all easy and we're one of the only ones that consistently do it...moreover, we now use a totally different sealing technique than we have in the past with Koito sealant in many cases.
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:40 PM
Wongway Wongway is offline
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To be frank, (and I mentioned this in that reply...) I don't believe that most people generally would have negative things to say about your product.

You're putting good product in something and making that something (depo lights) better.

I think most people would be leery of the customer service they may or may not get.
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:00 PM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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We've never let a customer walk away without trying everything available to us. Some people simply can't be pleased and these days, they have a platform to voice their displeasure, but our local business continues to grow, which is a testament that we continue to do the right thing and improve. To be quite blunt about it, it's upsetting that there is a legacy we have to overcome (justified or not) but we never stop trying.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:14 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
Was just looking at one aftermarket conversion kit, and the FAQs list:

"HID turns on few seconds then both sides go out.

"There is a possibility that the fuses are blown. Please check your fuses box according to your vehicle's user manual and upgrade the stock 15 Amp or 20 Amp headlight fuse to 25 Amp or up. The 25 Amp fuses are 100% safe for your vehicle and will not cause damage to your vehicle's electrical system. "
If you code the car as I suggested, this will not be an issue.
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  #21  
Old 08-21-2014, 11:19 AM
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umnitza umnitza is offline
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