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Old 04-13-2006, 12:29 PM   #1
j0nblayz
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Building my own DRL

Hey guys, need your input. I currently have a canadian 94 325i, meaning that all lights stay on all the time, meaning headlights, parking lights and internal instrument lights and brake lights. 94's can't just swap out the drl module since its pretty much hard wired. Currently i took out the fuse for lights (not sure which fuse it was, i think it was #15 or #16), and put a switch there so i can turn all them off during day and turn them back on at night, and yes the brake, signal lights still works fine when the switch is turned off, all those lights are dual filaments. Anyways, my new idea for DRL is this. By using a negative switch relay, i'm gonna set it up so when the lights are switched off, by using a resistor i can have my high beam light up at a lower wattage giving the drl look. This is where i need help, would using a resistor work? i guess i'm not dropping voltage, but i want to lower the wattage from 55w to like 30 or so watts i think, or am i trying to lower the voltage?. Anyone know what drl lights wattage is? I currently have it set so my ellipsoid city lights turns on when i turn off all the lights to give the illusion of a day time running lights, but as you know city lights are way to dim with those 5w bulbs. Let me know what you guys think or have a better idea.
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Old 04-13-2006, 03:42 PM   #2
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It's not a lower wattage or voltage for the high-beams. I believe what it actually happeneing is that the power is swiched rapidly on and off to get an apparently lower output. Not sure on this, but the resoning is that the bulbs were designed to work at as certain voltage (ie, 12) and you don't want to change that.
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Old 04-13-2006, 10:42 PM   #3
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Yes it would work just fine. This is how the US spec late model e36 drl's work.. the high beam bulbs are at half-voltage which are used as DRL's. In europe they have candle light / city lights (separate bulbs) in the high beam housing which is used instead.

Anyway, it would work fine.. use a resistor and life will be good. Or just swap in someone else's DRL module, which will make life a whole lot easier.
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:45 AM   #4
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thanx justin, now the tricky part, what ohm resistor should i use?? i found this formula for using resistors with led's: Ohms = ( V.bat - V.led ) / Amp.led. where V.bat = voltage of battery, V.led = voltage of LED, Amp.led = Amp of LED

i just finished installing new white led's into my angel eyes, man the white looks sooo much better then the prior blue led's. The way i have the angel eyes set up is i sliced in the remote lead on the relay to the fog lights, both of my fogs are burnt out so i just disconnected, and now its perfect for angel eyes, since the switch inside my car for fog now controls the angel eyes.now the tricky part, how would i got about wiring it up so the high beams go on with half voltage when i turn off my lights?i need some way of hookin up the relay so when low beams are off, high beam comes on half volatge, but when high beams are on, i dont have half voltage current going to the high beams at all. Kinda confusing, justin give me some ideas!!!
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:58 PM   #5
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okay, let me get this straight.

you want your highbeam bulbs on at 50% wattage by default (using a PWM, not resistors.). When you turn your lowbeams on, the PWM should be disabled using a relay? Or do you want to keep them on, unless you switch to highbeam in which case it will then change to full wattage?
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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Thats correct, i want want my highbeams on at 50%, then when i switch on the lowbeams, the circuit should be cut to highbeams, but when i turn on my highbeams with lows off, then circuit to highbeam at 50% should be turned off, and 100% to highbeams. I got a wiring diagram for a toyota drl, from what i can see i can just buy any drl relay, and use that. I'm working with this electrian guy, and we both are having some problems. Any ideas? also what do you mean pwm? a pulse width modulation?
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:11 PM   #7
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whats the point of using a pwm instead of using a regulator or a resistor? cuz i would have to build my own pwm, and it looks like a pretty nasty circuit to build. Any other ideas?

Last edited by j0nblayz; 04-19-2006 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:03 PM   #8
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Yes, pulse width modulation. A resistor large enough for your highbeam circuit would probably be as big as the headlamps itself. Very big. When resistors are used, your circuit is turned on 100%, 50% of the energy is lost in the resistor as heat energy. With a PWM, the circuit is rapidly turned on and off so only an average of 50% electricity ends up going to the bulbs. It's a much more efficient design, as it only uses a 50% duty cycle. You will need a PWM, and a relay.

Wiring up the relay won't be tough. You just want the DRL circuit to get electricity when the lowbeam circuit is not on. So it will work like this:

Lowbeams off = DRL ON
Lowbeams on = DRL OFF
Highbeams on (since lowbeams remain on when you put highbeams on) = DRL OFF

Another thing to rememeber is the left and right highbeams, and lowbeams, all operate on separate circuits, so whatever you build.. you will need two of them. Alternately, an 'easy' workaround would be to wire up both highbeams in series on the same circuit.. this would effectively have them both operate at 50% wattage each.

The easier route would be to simply buy an e36 Canadian-spec DRL from a late-model e36 and plug 'er in. There are a lot of people on this forum who remove theirs so their angel eyes can turn on unobstructed... I'm sure someone will sell you one for a few bucks. (or even for free.)

The more expensive alternate would be to buy euro headlamps (ZKW, DEPO, etc.) which have 'city lights' or 'candle lights' in the highbeam housing.. it's a separate 5W peanut bulb used as a DRL. (so you have low beam bulbs, high beam bulbs, AND city light bulbs.) Of course you are also get glass headlamps, with projector housings, and they look a whole lot better than our usual plastic headlamps.

Here's some more info on the City Lights: http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69316
In the 2nd half of this video, you can see what it looks like to have the city lights on. It looks like he wires his up to turn on with the foglights: http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=69538
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:22 PM   #9
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thats the reason why i'm doing this, i got some ellipsoids, and planning to put in some HID's, but dont want them on all the time. DRL module swap doesn't work with cars 94 or lower. Has been tried on the bimmerforums. 95+ does however work with the drl swap. Since mine is a 94, i need to do the nasty way. I tried the city lights, that was my first option, when its kinda darker outside, city lights looks fine, but in the bright daylight, city lights dont show at all, you think putting in those xenon bulbs in the city lights would look better? i was thinkin of using the xenon bulbs in the city lights, but i dont want my headlight housing reflecting the blue color from the bulb, and also the hotter heat from the bulb would start melthing the chrome reflectors inside. I know this for a fact, since i used the xenon bulbs in my rear license plate lights, and it melted the plastic.

I actually got a better idea today, since i disconnected my parking lights from being on when the lights are on, i can use that as my drl, so when lights are off, parking lights turn on, and lights are on parking light turns off, signals will still work. By doing this i dont have to build a pwm, and dont need to use any resistors. I'm gonna take apart the light switch tonight and see if any of those lines are hot when on/off, and use them as my switch for my relays.

My small project now turned into this full out project!!.. just wanted to get it done before i lower my car tomorrow.

Also justin, i know you got good knowledge about suspension, i'm buying a set of 99 m3 full suspension (shocks/struts) with h&r springs, the guy whos gonna install says it would fit no problem since one of his friends used it prior on a 95 320i. You think theres gonna be any problems? i wanna buy any extra parts i need before tommorrow, i'm getting some GC Rear shock mounts, but you think rest would be ok? also he says the shocks/struts are in perfect condition, but you think its ok to run the h&r springs on the factory m3 shocks? i think its about a 1.5 inch drop. He;s giving me a good deal, and my current shocks are blown, and rear passenger spring is broken, so i need to replace right away. Let me know what you think, thanx
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j0nblayz
thats the reason why i'm doing this, i got some ellipsoids, and planning to put in some HID's, but dont want them on all the time. DRL module swap doesn't work with cars 94 or lower. Has been tried on the bimmerforums. 95+ does however work with the drl swap. Since mine is a 94, i need to do the nasty way. I tried the city lights, that was my first option, when its kinda darker outside, city lights looks fine, but in the bright daylight, city lights dont show at all, you think putting in those xenon bulbs in the city lights would look better? i was thinkin of using the xenon bulbs in the city lights, but i dont want my headlight housing reflecting the blue color from the bulb, and also the hotter heat from the bulb would start melthing the chrome reflectors inside. I know this for a fact, since i used the xenon bulbs in my rear license plate lights, and it melted the plastic.

I'm not sure what the law is in Alberta, but in Ontario you legally can't use your parking lights as DRL's.

I actually got a better idea today, since i disconnected my parking lights from being on when the lights are on, i can use that as my drl, so when lights are off, parking lights turn on, and lights are on parking light turns off, signals will still work. By doing this i dont have to build a pwm, and dont need to use any resistors. I'm gonna take apart the light switch tonight and see if any of those lines are hot when on/off, and use them as my switch for my relays.

My small project now turned into this full out project!!.. just wanted to get it done before i lower my car tomorrow.

Also justin, i know you got good knowledge about suspension, i'm buying a set of 99 m3 full suspension (shocks/struts) with h&r springs, the guy whos gonna install says it would fit no problem since one of his friends used it prior on a 95 320i. You think theres gonna be any problems? i wanna buy any extra parts i need before tommorrow, i'm getting some GC Rear shock mounts, but you think rest would be ok? also he says the shocks/struts are in perfect condition, but you think its ok to run the h&r springs on the factory m3 shocks? i think its about a 1.5 inch drop. He;s giving me a good deal, and my current shocks are blown, and rear passenger spring is broken, so i need to replace right away. Let me know what you think, thanx
There's a lot to be said here, since you're basically following everything I did 4 years ago. You can retrofit an e36 DRL into a pre-94 car, it just needs a bit of wire splicing. (I have a 92, I've done this.) Also xenon bulbs as city lights, or even regular H1 lights will work fine in the eurospec headlight housing, even though they are much hotter. I have ricer xenon city lights, low beams, and high beams on my car, and it all works fine. In the stock US-spec housing though, it'll melt. I've also put the blue xenon bulbs for my license plate lights.. they will melt the housing, unless you drill some holes along the back to vent it. I put 5 tiny holes on a new set of license plate light housings, and there are no more issues with melting. The housing won't reflect the blue color from the bulb really... unless you stare into the housing, you won't even see the bulb to be honest. You can always go with Silverstars instead anyway.

Also, I'm running M3 shocks/struts in my car, with Eibach lowering springs, and some heavy duty rear shock mounts too. M3 shocks/struts are gas pressured, same as Bilsteins. They can take a lot of beating, and will work fine wIith lowering springs. If you plan on tracking your car, then I'd say go with Bilsteins instead.. but for city driving.. the M3 shocks/struts are fine. It's a bolt on replacement from your current shocks/struts, no modifications necessary. The other benefit is now you can upgrade to M3 sway bars, since they bolt onto the M3 shocks & struts.
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:37 PM   #11
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nice!!!.. k i'm gonna just try out the rice blue xenons for city lights and see how bright they are in the daytime. Also thanx again for the info, i got a set of gc rsm's, and i talked to the guy and he said he can install today. The car is going to be only used for city casual driving. Its an automatic, dont plan to be going fast anyways.. heh.. its a luxury car for me, no race car.

If you dont mind, do you remember how you sliced up the wiring to retrofit the drl? i'm good at wiring, so it should be easy work for me, just dont have the schematics.. thanx
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:44 PM   #12
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this is my car with the rice blue xenons.. they light up okay in the daytime.


I can't remember how I retrofitted the DRL's.. I'll have to look into it again. It wasn't too tough though...
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:17 PM   #13
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Just wire a switch to fuse 25, problem solved.unless you really want the low volt. high beams
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:28 PM   #14
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thats what i have done already, want drl's though
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Old 04-21-2006, 05:18 PM   #15
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ok guys i finally finished my project. I opened up the light switch and found one of the wires that i could use as a switch for my dual relay. So now when my actual switch is turned off, it turns on my 2nd relay which turns on my parking lights as my drl's. and when i turn on switch to position 2 or 3, the parking lights turns off, and all the rest of the lights turns on. And also wired up my dde's to my fogs since i dont use fogs, and i control my dde's using the fog light button. If anyone wants to do this mod to a 94 or lower bmw, let me know and i can help. I actually like using my parking lights are drl's much better, i noticed alot of newer cars now use parking lights(signal lights) as their drl's so i think the car looks little more updated. if you want help i can draw out a quick schemtics for you. thanx
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