Headlight reassemblies

Headlight reassemblies

I already mentioned in my photoshoot entry that I’ve gotten an idea about further developing the green-theme.

I decided to give it a shot to change the eyebrow’s color. The eyebrows consist of 6 LEDs which basically just need to be changed. I described the process on bimmerforums.com and I’ll just copy that and make a few adjustments here and there if neccessary.

Unfortunately I had no nerve for taking many pictures (actually planned on making a video but dear god.. no). I’m trying to describe everything even more detailed.
I advise anyone to first read this as some hints might come too late if you just follow step-by-step.

Things you’ll need:

  • (optional) extra set of eyebrows (I bought two cheap headlights off eBay)
  • 12 4-pin LEDs – 6 for each side – in the color you want (I used OVFSxxC8, red does not work due do too low voltage – white and green work fine)
  • soldering iron + accessories
  • heat gun
  • Silicon to reseal the headlights (I used ordinary silicon for outdoor usage)

Now this is what you’ll need to do:

1. Get to the eyebrows
To get to the eyebrows you do not neccessarily have to remove the headlights (I did not).
Simply remove the cover which sits right on top and use the heat gun (mine claimed to do 300°C/570°F) to soften the silicon around the eyebrow-panel (the one where the cable goes in – should be obvious).
Be very careful to not apply too much heat since some plastic parts in the area also easily melt at that temperature. Also don’t wait too long as it gets harder every second.
I used a screwdrive to remove the silicon in the area completely, whereas other tutorials suggest to just cut out the panel.
After having removed all silicon which covers the panel it should be removeable with little force.

In your hands you’ll have a part like this:
Apparently there are minor differences in the panels since one I got from eBay was a little different from a second one from eBay.
This shouldn’t harm the project.

2. Remove the old LEDs
To remove the LEDs there may be some force needed first: The circuit board might be held by some kind of plastic spike (you’ll know if it is) which I forcibly removed with a screwdriver.
I did not see a different way of removing the board.
Once having the board in your hands you may start to desolder the LEDs. This is very tricky and time-consuming because of the four pins. Also note that half of the pins have solder on both sides of the board.
I spent most of my time with this. A desoldering pump most definitely helps a lot and I encourage you to use one. If you don’t have it, go buy it. It saves time!
While removing, you might notice that plus and minus are marked on the LED by small holes within the conductor. Save that info for the next step.

3. Place the new LEDs
This task should be comparatively easy. Just do step 2 in reverse but be careful to put in the LEDs the right way round! Testing before soldering might not be possible due to too little contact. Also you do not want to desolder again – you really don’t, so just check it beforehand!
If you have some kind of 12V-power supply you can test the eyebrows now. You can also measure that the power consumption will be the same as before so errors are unlikely. That’s how mine looked:20161109_195646
At this point, testing it directly on your headlight is possible and advised.

4. Replace the eyebrows
During soldering on three of the four eyebrows I had the isolation of the two cables was so porous that it just fell off. Be sure to use some tape or similar to fix this. In my case there most definetly would’ve been a short circuit!
If everything looks well clip in the circuit board so it sits tight and place the panel where it was before.
Use the silicon to seal the area where you removed the old silicon.
Ideally you’d have something to apply pressure with for at least a few hours. I did not and I’m not completely happy with the result.
Also be careful to not do this during cold and/or rainy weather. I had both and again – I’m not completely happy with the result.
The silicon needs warm and dry surroundings to dry perfectly. The exact time for drying varies and usually is printed onto the silicon (including ideal temperature and so on).

The following gallery contains all pictures I took.

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