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      12-02-2019, 07:28 PM   #1
2020g20
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Device to eliminate daytime dimming issues due to tinting

To combat the issue of the instrument cluster and control screen constantly dimming out (due to window tint, shade, etc.), I made a prototype 'undimming' device to take on my holiday road trip last week. It worked beautifully to manually control the brightness of both screens during the day, and keep it constant regardless of sun/shade condition. It's wireless, runs on a small LiPo pack and charges via USB-C.

My next step will be refining the case design. I want to mount it further down, to the right of the actual dimming wheel. Then run the IR emitter up to the proper place in front of the sensor on a thin bendable lead. Also going to switch to softer buttons to eliminate the 'click' sound. Last will be optimizing power consumption to maximize the number of days/weeks you can go without plugging it in for a charge (been running for almost a week already without charging).

Here's a video of me quickly ramping the daytime brightness to maximum, then stepping it back down slowly (notice the delayed response, the car takes time to react to an IR change)...

https://youtu.be/RZpuUU5eFPM

Last edited by 2020g20; 12-08-2019 at 09:52 PM..
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      12-22-2019, 10:03 AM   #2
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Have you looked into coding? I believe you could have someone adjust the auto dimming settings via Esys
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      12-22-2019, 10:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siegester View Post
Have you looked into coding? I believe you could have someone adjust the auto dimming settings via Esys
It's been discussed in another thread by others who are far more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to coding, and no one seems to have a solution yet for this car. I've also been told by two different dealers' service departments that BMW is aware of the issue, but has not provided them with a coding solution for this problem on the G20 yet. So hopefully it turns out to be possible, but I've seen nothing promising yet.
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      12-22-2019, 10:31 AM   #4
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Completed my final version of this. Sized it to tuck into the gap between the steering column and instrument panel. Added a motion sensor so it goes to sleep when the car hasn't moved in a while so that it's not burning battery when you're not driving. So far it's working like a charm.




Last edited by 2020g20; 01-22-2020 at 04:29 PM..
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      12-22-2019, 10:31 AM   #5
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Videos of ramping brightness up and down...



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      01-03-2020, 06:06 PM   #6
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First post here... I'm also having the dimming issues post a tint (Suntek 20 rear/35 front)

Car looks sick but def annoying- I sent a note to BimmerCode - perhaps they can figure out the coding and add it. I'm sure it would be good for sales.
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      01-03-2020, 06:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnkir View Post
First post here... I'm also having the dimming issues post a tint (Suntek 20 rear/35 front)

Car looks sick but def annoying- I sent a note to BimmerCode - perhaps they can figure out the coding and add it. I'm sure it would be good for sales.
Welcome to the club! Lol it's definitely annoying. What line of Suntek did you get? I got Suntek CXP.
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      01-03-2020, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnkir View Post
First post here... I'm also having the dimming issues post a tint (Suntek 20 rear/35 front)

Car looks sick but def annoying- I sent a note to BimmerCode - perhaps they can figure out the coding and add it. I'm sure it would be good for sales.
Welcome to the club! Lol it's definitely annoying. What line of Suntek did you get? I got Suntek CXP.
[QUOTE=Burrcold;25640218]

Oops... I was reading the sign in the shop and Suntek got into my head and I misquoted. I have SolarFX Carbon
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      01-03-2020, 11:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnkir View Post
Car looks sick but def annoying- I sent a note to BimmerCode - perhaps they can figure out the coding and add it. I'm sure it would be good for sales.
Here's hoping they can figure it out. The ideal solution would be BMW implementing a daytime manual brightness option within iDrive, maybe one day if we're lucky. But I'll defintely welcome any coding solution in the mean time!
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      01-06-2020, 07:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2020g20 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnkir View Post
Car looks sick but def annoying- I sent a note to BimmerCode - perhaps they can figure out the coding and add it. I'm sure it would be good for sales.
Here's hoping they can figure it out. The ideal solution would be BMW implementing a daytime manual brightness option within iDrive, maybe one day if we're lucky. But I'll defintely welcome any coding solution in the mean time!
The folks at BimmerCode wrote back saying they will look into a coding option. Fingers crossed.
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      01-06-2020, 07:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2020g20 View Post
To combat the issue of the instrument cluster and control screen constantly dimming out (due to window tint, shade, etc.), I made a prototype 'undimming' device to take on my holiday road trip last week. It worked beautifully to manually control the brightness of both screens during the day, and keep it constant regardless of sun/shade condition. It's wireless, runs on a small LiPo pack and charges via USB-C.

My next step will be refining the case design. I want to mount it further down, to the right of the actual dimming wheel. Then run the IR emitter up to the proper place in front of the sensor on a thin bendable lead. Also going to switch to softer buttons to eliminate the 'click' sound. Last will be optimizing power consumption to maximize the number of days/weeks you can go without plugging it in for a charge (been running for almost a week already without charging).

Here's a video of me quickly ramping the daytime brightness to maximum, then stepping it back down slowly (notice the delayed response, the car takes time to react to an IR change)...

https://youtu.be/RZpuUU5eFPM
Fantastic and innovative - while coding option seems the path of least resistance, this is a an awesome example of working toward a solid solution.

Kudos
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      01-06-2020, 11:12 AM   #12
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Thanks. Certainly not the most elegant solution, but it's less obtrusive than I'd originally hoped and it keeps my display brightness from constantly cycling up and down, so mission accomplished. And with the power optimization and motion-sensing sleep mode, I haven't had to charge it over 3 weeks now, so that's a win too.
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      01-14-2020, 07:46 PM   #13
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Just FYI. Today I got my M340 back from the dealer after a software update to the November build. They told me that there was a TSB on the dimming issue, and this was supposed to fix it. Nope, no improvement. I have dealer installed Nano Ceramic Film (35%). Pretty ridiculous that BMW can't solve this issue.
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      01-14-2020, 08:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MontanaTom View Post
Just FYI. Today I got my M340 back from the dealer after a software update to the November build. They told me that there was a TSB on the dimming issue, and this was supposed to fix it. Nope, no improvement. I have dealer installed Nano Ceramic Film (35%). Pretty ridiculous that BMW can't solve this issue.
I was so excited when I saw "TSB"!...that sucks that it didn't work. I'm scheduling a dealer visit next week to see what they have to say. I did my tint through an independent shop, but if they blame it on my tint and can show me another tinted car that's not doing it, I'll gladly get the tint redone through them.
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      01-14-2020, 09:00 PM   #15
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Hey Tom. Wow you have dealer installed tint, and they still haven't provided you a solution? Sorry to hear it. Man, if I had dealer tint and was experiencing the issue I'd be on the phone with BMWNA every single week, pounding on them non-stop until they fixed it. You're the only one I've heard from that has dealer tint. The rest of us have aftermarket tint so we have zero leverage to demand a fix.

I don't know if what I saw is a TSB, but it was a screen in BMW's service system that acknowledges the problem. I posted a screenshot in another thread. It blames the issue on aftermarket tint and offers no solution. Your post is the first I've heard of any supposed fix. I feel like they may have been giving you some BS to pacify you and send you on your way. Either way, I agree it's ridiculous. This is not a hard problem to solve.
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      01-14-2020, 09:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2020g20 View Post
Wow you have dealer installed tint, and they still haven't provided you a solution? Man, if I had dealer tint and was experiencing the issue I'd be on the phone with BMWNA every single week, pounding on them non-stop until they fixed it. You're the only one I've heard from that has dealer tint. The rest of us have aftermarket tint so we have zero leverage to demand a fix.

And yeah, there is a TSB on the issue, I've seen it myself. It blames the issue on aftermarket tint and offers no solution. Your post is the first I've heard of any supposed fix. I feel like they may have been giving you some BS to pacify you and send you on your way. Either way, I agree it's ridiculous. This is not a hard problem to solve.
Isn't all "dealer installed tint" really just aftermarket tint anyways. They all outsource to the closest tint shop usually.
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      01-14-2020, 09:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
I was so excited when I saw "TSB"!...that sucks that it didn't work. I'm scheduling a dealer visit next week to see what they have to say. I did my tint through an independent shop, but if they blame it on my tint and can show me another tinted car that's not doing it, I'll gladly get the tint redone through them.
Do a quick demo for them. Turn the flash light on your phone on, and shine it directly below the Hi-beam indicator on the left side of your instrument cluster. Your dash will likely get 2-3 times brighter. Then take it away and show them how dim it gets again. It's really easy to say there is no problem when you have nothing to compare it to, because even when these screens are dim they look pretty decent. It's not until you see how much brighter they should be that you realize they are operating in the bottom 20-30% of their capacity (if you're having the tint issue). I also get that not everyone wants them or needs them to be that bright, but that's exactly why we should have manual brightness control in the daytime, just like we do at night. Makes no sense.

Last edited by 2020g20; 01-14-2020 at 09:17 PM..
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      01-14-2020, 09:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Isn't all "dealer installed tint" really just aftermarket tint anyways. They all outsource to the closest tint shop usually.
Oh absolutely. I used to take my Infinitis to the same tint shop that my dealer used (and saved money going direct). The only difference is that if they do it themselves, you have them on the hook to fix any problems. You'd better believe I'd be using that to my advantage and causing some ruckus.
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      01-14-2020, 09:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2020g20 View Post
Oh absolutely. I used to take my Infinitis to the same tint shop that my dealer used (and saved money going direct). The only difference is that if they do it themselves, you have them on the hook to fix any problems. You'd better believe I'd be using that to my advantage and causing some ruckus.
So would I...but at this point if they could prove to me that a tint they use (or have farmed out) will rectify the issue, I'll pay to have the tint redone. I'm not one to throw away money but this issue is beyond annoying and like you said most people may not notice because it's a clear nice display, but I definitely do. It takes away from the enjoyment of being in the cabin (as first world problem sounding that is lol).
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      01-14-2020, 09:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2020g20 View Post
Oh absolutely. I used to take my Infinitis to the same tint shop that my dealer used (and saved money going direct). The only difference is that if they do it themselves, you have them on the hook to fix any problems. You'd better believe I'd be using that to my advantage and causing some ruckus.
So would I...but at this point if they could prove to me that a tint they use (or have farmed out) will rectify the issue, I'll pay to have the tint redone.
Unfortunately I think that might be giving the dealers too much credit. They would not only have to know there is a problem with some tints, but know exactly the type to use to avoid said problem. MontanaTom's clearly didn't.

My dealer didn't even know the problem existed until I brought it up and they searched the service database to find the article I mentioned. There has clearly not been adequate communication from BMW on the issue.
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      01-14-2020, 09:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrcold View Post
It takes away from the enjoyment of being in the cabin (as first world problem sounding that is lol).
And you don't have to convince me...I'm the dork driving around with a homemade Arduino IR blaster tucked into my steering column so that I can enjoy the nice bright screens I paid for.
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      01-15-2020, 11:09 AM   #22
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I bought a $7 book reading light off amazon, Clipped it onto my heat vent and pointed it at the internal light sensor... works fine until a fix is put in place...
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