URGENT HELP REQ'D - Side Lights Coming On By Themselves, Old Spot Light Wiring Prob? - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 14th, 2017, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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URGENT HELP REQ'D - Side Lights Coming On By Themselves, Old Spot Light Wiring Prob?

Hey all,

So I posted a couple of weeks ago about the side lights occasionally coming on by themselves ~10 mins after the car has been turned off and locked. This had drained my battery a couple of times but mostly an inconvenience. I've just fitted some spot lights to the car and it seems to have made the problem 10x worse!

I wired in the spotlights completely isolated from any of the cars lights... however... I'd noticed a previous owner had fitted spot lights to the car at some point (I've only owned for a couple of months), and there was still wiring from the front of the bonnet to a relay below the steering wheel. My first thought was perhaps this is all hooked up and I could make use of it, so I tested this first, but at no point was there power at the cables on the bonnet end (tried headlights, fog lights, didn't try full beams come to think of it). So I decided to use the relay etc. which had come with the new spot lights BUT I thought it would make sense to hijack this redundant wiring to use as a switch. So I cut the two pairs of cables from the 'old relay' which went to the old spot lights. Anyway, spot lights fitted, work perfectly, but since packing the tools away and locking the car the side lights have mysteriously come on 3 or 4 times, same problem as before but more frequent (also occasionally going off then coming back on again). I tried cutting the 5th cable that was in the bunch, a mystery cable, as I thought this could have been the cause all along for the side light fault but no change.

So the inconvenience has now become an actual problem! Firstly, is this 'old spot light' wiring factory fitted by Mini, or is it aftermarket? I've attached a picture of the relay which is located behind the plastic panel directly to the right of the accelerator, accessible from the drop down tray under the steering wheel (RHD), as well as the cables which were cut. Secondly, does anyone know where this may have been connected to turn the lights on? There's no evidence of any other switches ever being fitted, so presumably using the existing side light or fog light switch / control?

Thinking out loud: Prior to this, I had thought the issue could have been caused by aftermarket LED sidelights which the previous owner had fitted. But now I'm starting to think that there must be a cable from the sidelight switch which was used to activate the old spot lights, which is now 'floating' and un-terminated, causing this occasional random switch on (although it only seems to happen within 10 mins of switching the car off, after the side lights / head lights have actually been on - never otherwise, and if they haven't come on after ~10 mins they probs never will - again, odd).

Has anyone got any ideas? Perhaps a method to debug? Any ideas would really be much appreciated!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 14th, 2017, 06:49 PM
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Hey all,

So I posted a couple of weeks ago about the side lights occasionally coming on by themselves ~10 mins after the car has been turned off and locked. This had drained my battery a couple of times but mostly an inconvenience. I've just fitted some spot lights to the car and it seems to have made the problem 10x worse!

I wired in the spotlights completely isolated from any of the cars lights... however... I'd noticed a previous owner had fitted spot lights to the car at some point (I've only owned for a couple of months), and there was still wiring from the front of the bonnet to a relay below the steering wheel. My first thought was perhaps this is all hooked up and I could make use of it, so I tested this first, but at no point was there power at the cables on the bonnet end (tried headlights, fog lights, didn't try full beams come to think of it). So I decided to use the relay etc. which had come with the new spot lights BUT I thought it would make sense to hijack this redundant wiring to use as a switch. So I cut the two pairs of cables from the 'old relay' which went to the old spot lights. Anyway, spot lights fitted, work perfectly, but since packing the tools away and locking the car the side lights have mysteriously come on 3 or 4 times, same problem as before but more frequent (also occasionally going off then coming back on again). I tried cutting the 5th cable that was in the bunch, a mystery cable, as I thought this could have been the cause all along for the side light fault but no change.

So the inconvenience has now become an actual problem! Firstly, is this 'old spot light' wiring factory fitted by Mini, or is it aftermarket? I've attached a picture of the relay which is located behind the plastic panel directly to the right of the accelerator, accessible from the drop down tray under the steering wheel (RHD), as well as the cables which were cut. Secondly, does anyone know where this may have been connected to turn the lights on? There's no evidence of any other switches ever being fitted, so presumably using the existing side light or fog light switch / control?

Thinking out loud: Prior to this, I had thought the issue could have been caused by aftermarket LED sidelights which the previous owner had fitted. But now I'm starting to think that there must be a cable from the sidelight switch which was used to activate the old spot lights, which is now 'floating' and un-terminated, causing this occasional random switch on (although it only seems to happen within 10 mins of switching the car off, after the side lights / head lights have actually been on - never otherwise, and if they haven't come on after ~10 mins they probs never will - again, odd).

Has anyone got any ideas? Perhaps a method to debug? Any ideas would really be much appreciated!
all the function within a car this is things like, lights. horn. indicators. door locks brake lights high beam low beam etc etc so all these functions are controlled run and checked by the body control module, Peugeot call it a bsi other makers call it all kinds of names.. so you cant just add to it without knowing how.. a bit like fitting a towbar electrics same thing you must either use a factory wiring and control module,,, or get someone or learn how to use a special relay box that has sensor low voltage and amps wires to sense the control, that then the relay manages the extra load from lights,, because body control module as a few tricks, one is when you switch off car and dont lock doors or there is a fault with locking body control module stays on and keeps using battery and drains it.. if something is added to it that shares a live this live will wake it up again and uses battery again for 3 minutes then it trys to sleep again,, for sure there will be a special wiring and control box that links in to mini module and will prob need to be switch on at the module with software,, ie b cable inpa,, you can how ever trick the system buy running and main high amp feed s to bulbs via relays that get their control voltage from the main beam headlights,, ie find which live at the head light for high beam and splice in to it just for low amp signal wire,, also you must use a independent fuse for the high amp circuit ie the bulb circuit,,

DONT BE ADDING VOLTAGE OR RUNNING WIRES YOU HAVE NO IDEA TO WHAT THEY ARE,, SOME CIRCUITS RUNS A VERY LOW VOLTAGE OR PULSE VOLTAGES THE BODY CONTROL UNIT VERY EXPENSIVE AND WILL NEED ENCODING TO CAR

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 14th, 2017, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Yes exactly, this is why I'm thinking the previous owner's spot light wiring is is somehow feeding back and waking up the car's ECU.

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Originally Posted by mike1967 View Post
you can how ever trick the system buy running and main high amp feed s to bulbs via relays that get their control voltage from the main beam headlights,, ie find which live at the head light for high beam and splice in to it just for low amp signal wire
This is what's recommended when wiring in the spot lights (I didn't want to do this cause I wanted to completely isolate them and have a separate switch which works fine). Now, if the old wiring had adopted this strategy, could it be possible that a 'floating' un-terminated cable (from where they had fitted a cable to the relay of the spot lights which was then partially removed, but clearly not completely) is essentially causing some kind of unexpected 'feedback' through the control cable (between the ECU and the car's sidelights say), causing the ECU to wake up and turn on the lights?? If so, based on where that relay has been fitted, where could that control signal have been 'spliced' from so it could be properly removed?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 2017, 07:54 AM
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Yes exactly, this is why I'm thinking the previous owner's spot light wiring is is somehow feeding back and waking up the car's ECU.



This is what's recommended when wiring in the spot lights (I didn't want to do this cause I wanted to completely isolate them and have a separate switch which works fine). Now, if the old wiring had adopted this strategy, could it be possible that a 'floating' un-terminated cable (from where they had fitted a cable to the relay of the spot lights which was then partially removed, but clearly not completely) is essentially causing some kind of unexpected 'feedback' through the control cable (between the ECU and the car's sidelights say), causing the ECU to wake up and turn on the lights?? If so, based on where that relay has been fitted, where could that control signal have been 'spliced' from so it could be properly removed?
of course you may well have a faulty bcu body control module, which is very likely as they are very well known for doing all kinds of unwanted on and off faults. on peugeot citroen bsi there is a master reset that i have found to fix most issues on them, but dont think mini have one if if do there techs keep it private.. i know autocom cdp+ and b-cables inpa has options for bcu,, you might find that the car was meant to have these spot lights and the bcu is trying to find them but cant so cant complete a shut down a bit like a pc does,, without proper diagnostic its very hard to fix a fault like that as its all part of can bus integrated systems. also its very hard to diagnose something when its not infront of me,, and the very first thing i would do is scan it read it with diagnostics..
one other point the bcu box controls everything so all kinds of different faults can be had from it so no two cars might be the same,, maybe your wiring is correct and the bcu is your issue,, thats where i would be heading with it.. maybe last owner had this issue and removed spots so when you bought it it did not seem to have a issue, might find put wiring back to factory and fix the real fault.. bcu maybe
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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So I've been doing some reading...

I don't believe that spot light loom was factory fitted, but apparently you can buy an official BMW spot light wiring loom which connects up to the BC1 (body control unit - also conveniently located in the drivers passenger footwell). This then has to be encoded by a BMW mechanic such that the spotlights would function correctly.

SO it seems that installed wiring does connect to the BC1, and from here's there's two possibilities. Either the previous owner removed the spotlights (for whatever reason), didn't have the BC1 re-encoded, and has caused this issue... OR this issue has arisen for some other reason, and the previous owner removed the spotlights in attempt to solve / minimise the problem.

Sounds like I'm edging in a direction which will require the BC1 to be recoded... does anyone have any contacts who could do this / cross check the theory before I'm forced to take it to a BMW dealer and part with my life savings? Hahaaa
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2017, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by AlecMK View Post
So I've been doing some reading...

I don't believe that spot light loom was factory fitted, but apparently you can buy an official BMW spot light wiring loom which connects up to the BC1 (body control unit - also conveniently located in the drivers passenger footwell). This then has to be encoded by a BMW mechanic such that the spotlights would function correctly.

SO it seems that installed wiring does connect to the BC1, and from here's there's two possibilities. Either the previous owner removed the spotlights (for whatever reason), didn't have the BC1 re-encoded, and has caused this issue... OR this issue has arisen for some other reason, and the previous owner removed the spotlights in attempt to solve / minimise the problem.

Sounds like I'm edging in a direction which will require the BC1 to be recoded... does anyone have any contacts who could do this / cross check the theory before I'm forced to take it to a BMW dealer and part with my life savings? Hahaaa
BMW Diagnostic Software and Cable allows full Coding and Diagnostics for your car inpa software diagnostics and encoding tools, other than main stealer or specialist garage the electrics on these cars are nightmare at the best of times,, German engineering with french engines and sensors from god knows were.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2017, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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BMW Diagnostic Software and Cable allows full Coding and Diagnostics for your car[/url] inpa software diagnostics and encoding tools, other than main stealer or specialist garage the electrics on these cars are nightmare at the best of times,, German engineering with french engines and sensors from god knows were.
Oh that's interesting! I've got an ODB / USB cable about, however I was under the impression (from some reading a couple of months back) that software wasn't readily available to access the Mini's diagnostics etc. for short of 2000. It may be that their software only works with their cables, but still 23 is far less than the 2000 that I'd seen previously! Will look into this, looks like it has the capability of enabling / disabling features such as the spotlights... thanks Mike!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 2017, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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So a quick update / renewed call for help!

I got the BMCables tool and software (fantastic value, plenty of software), however not been able to work out how to disable the peripheral spot lights etc. with it.

The problem I've noticed has started to get worse, the lights have started coming on after shutdown even when I haven't been running with the lights on (i.e. during the day). They've also come on a few times while I've been driving. This is becoming a massive inconvenience which if not resolved could result in a very unfortunate forced sale!

A summary of the couple of idea's I have:
- The 'floating' external spot lights wire loom into the BCU indicates the function has been enabled on the BCU, but spot lights removed without disabling. Perhaps this 'floating' loom is tricking / waking up the BCU and turning the lights on.
- The aftermarket LED sidelights are in some way feeding back to the BCU and tripping the lights to come on.

When I'm back home in a couple of weeks I'll try disconnecting the front side lights to see if that makes a difference (ruling out no. 2), and possibly reconnecting the old peripheral spot lights loom to see if that makes a difference (no. 2). If not, I'm dreading the thought of having to speak to a mini dealer for what I anticipate is a 80 'plugging into the computer and not finding any faults'.

If anyone's got any ideas / inclinations would be much appreciated! Or if anyone knows an 'unofficial mini specialist' who's knowledgeable with the car electronics, that could be useful!
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