Genuine Xenon headlight retrofit - Help required! Scraggles?

18539 Views 21 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  scoubt
Hi Guys

First post so please be nice :D

I've got a 06 Cooper (R50) but I have a small dilema. I've bought a set of genuine and complete Mini xenon headlights (The facelift ones with projectors):

I've followed the instructions given by "Scraggles" in this the below thread but my xenon low beam lights still dont work properly. I've spliced the 1800uf capacitor into the yellow and brown wires of the input power in the lights access cover at the back (luckily i havent potted them yet as he did) All the other lights work fine but the xenon low beam is the issue :(

When the engine isnt running you can switch them on and they work perfectly. If you turn them on and then start the car they go out (as on the cars with xenons as standard) and come back on again which is as they should do ...however....

If you start the car and then want to switch them on they strobe like mad. They only work properly when the engine is off or if you start them before you start the car up. So if you want to put them on whilst your moving they will just strobe and wont stablise. :scared:

I cant' see whats gone wrong, does anybody else have the same issue? Do i require a bigger capcitor like 2700uf? Scraggles said this one would be fine?

Any help would be greatly appreciated


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Hi GRant, sorry they're not working for you. Are you confident you wired the correctly and got the polarity right? A larger capacitor would be worth trying, perhaps you could test it by using two wired in parallel.
Thanks for the reply scraggles, hmmmm yes i think im going to get another couple of capcitors 2200uf and 3000uf to start and see if that works, only thing is i think the 3000uf is to big to fit in the access cap looking at its dimensions :(

Which capacitor did you use? also where did you get it from? RS components near me only seem to advertise 1800/2200/3000uf and Maplins have nothing of the sort

Hey Grant, did you eventually get your xenons working mate? I've just obtained a pair n about to attempt installation! :-/
Andy, suggest you plug them in first and see whether they flicker or not. Seems to be dependent on the version of firmware in the BCU. Let us know how you come on. Would also be good to hear from Grant on his progress.
I'd be interested to head too as I'm yet to wire mine in properly - the flickering is starting to get annoying!
Cheers for your reply scraggles, much appreciated! Getting them in in the next few weeks as I'm taking them out my mates 06 cooper s before she sells it! Do u think I could even take anything else from her car to potentially eliminate the risk of flickering completely? And do u know if it's even possible to have the firmware backdated by BMW before installation?

And minionesam, when you say your lights are flickering, I guess this only happens when you switch them on whilst the engine is running, as in grants problem above? Do yours still function ok when the engine is off or if the lights are already switched on whilst you start the car?

And to everyone, does the manual adjustment level switch for the halogens always work when xenons are retrofitted?

Cheers guys! :D
You need a Body Control Unit that has the Xenon function or it will strobe all the time. We had same on one of our Mini One's, changed the BCU and they worked fine with no mods. Simple as that. Not all BCU's are Xenon compatible so you need to find one that is!
^^ this
or you can fit a capacitor as I did per the link in the original post, which smooths out the unused canbus signal
or you can have them coded with GT1/Progman
You guys are ace man, cheers for all the help here!

Seen as I am taking the xenons from my friends mini, her car will obviously have her BCU programmed for the xenons as hers came with them as standard, so do you know if it is possible to simply swap her BCU for mine? A professional bodyshop will be doing the work so what do you guys think? What does a BCU look like also, and where is it located?

Many thanks again guys, esp [email protected] and, as always, famous mr Scraggles! ;)
And also Scraggles, when you say coded with GT1/Progman, can you elaborate on this please as I have no idea what that means, soz! :( is that something easily done?

cheers again!
[email protected]: apologies for more questions here! lol done a bit of research on BCU's n they seem pretty complicated parts as they apparently control ALL the cars electrics etc. I have a 2006 GP with the heated recaros etc, and the MINI i am getting the xenons from doesnt have the heated seats as an option for example, so does this mean, were I to swap the units, I would lose the heating fucnctionality? Or am I completely misinterpreting what the unit is and how it works here? :-/ I have a few good contacts as BMW, so could they maybe even reprogramme my BCU or supply a new one, with my current configuration PLUS the configuration for the xenons?

Cheers for any help you can give me here! :D
The BCU / BC1 is located in the drivers footwell, behind the bonnet release lever. It is essentially the central part of all the cars electronics systems, controlling every aspect of the car. There are dozens of wires coming from it. It is programmed to know what options your car is fitted with so they can be operated. Eg fitting a BCU from no sunroof car into a car which does have a sunroof would stop all the controls for that sunroof working. etc. etc. It also contains the chassis number of your car, so its not a simple job to swap them between cars.

Progman/SSS is one of the computer tools which a dealer uses for programming the features in the cars electronic modules such as the BC1. If you've got a contact at a dealer they may program your car to work with the headlights, but normally they refuse unless you have the rest of the associated washers and levelers. It can be done though.

Your best thing to do first is to simply try one of your friends lights fitted to your car. If it works without flicker then you've nothing to worry about. Otherwise you'd need to explore the options above.
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Again, cheers for all the info Scraggles, really is much appreciated! And at least now I have a much better understanding of the whole process so I can pass this info onto the workshop that will be doing the work!

It is also reassuring to know that there is a backup by using the trick you mastered, so hopefully, one way or another, the car will be running full xenons soon enough!

One last quick question for now if u dont mind lol is it only actual BMW / MINI dealerships that can programme your BCU, or do you think large bodyshop repairers will have that facility as well?

Cheers again :)
Not just dealers. The software can be obtained off the internet. And can be made to work by anyone who dares to risk it and can work it out - its pretty complex.
Hmmm think if BMW aren't up for remapping my unit then it's defo down the route you went for me! Any chance you could mail me very brief steps and / or pics as to how to ensure success that I can give to the bodyshop to help them get it right first time?

Any info would be massively appreciated! :D
This worked for me today, I tried a 2200uf 40v Capacitor on each light and it flickered still but did so in a controlled manor so I put 2x 2200uf 40v capacitors on each light and it worked lovely. The output of the Xenon the over the standard Halogen is so much better and well worth the cost of the upgrade.
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update for future reference.

i just did the conversion on my 06 R50 w/ halogen. used 05 Xenon. i used 4700uf 25V radial capacitors. it works awesome. found these at my local electronics store at 2.50$ each. (so damn cheap!, bought the set of lights for 40$...ahahha lol i freaking robbed that guy)

25V is smaller in size, radial so that both leads are on 1 side. this way it is much easier to attach them.

i stripped the stock rubber shedding, soldered on the capacitor, then used shrink tubing to insulate/waterproof the wires again.
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Found a set of '06 Xenons at a local pick and pull, likely going to grab them this weekend since they should be less than $90 for the pair. Before I do, I did have someone warn me that this swap wasn't quite as simple as I thought it might be from reading a few of these threads. I have a '05 R53 with halogens, is there anything else I should look out for before doing this besides wiring in the capacitor?

Thanks in advance!
Aren’t the MOT people starting to get much stricter about xenons fitted without washers or an electronic levelling system?
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