Wednesday, June 14, 2017

mini love - part 16

The T/D-CAN cable arrived.

I tried install the BMW NCS Expert suite but only to result in non-sensible error messages. There were other problems including the program froze. My first installation was using the CD that came with the cable. I should have known better.

I then decided to try the one on the NAM forum. That was much easier but still there were some hiccups with missing files. Spent more time searching the forum and looking for the missing last file I thought I have the problem slicked.

No so. I launched INPA but it reports Battery: Off and Ignition: Off. I close the program, turned off and then on the ignition and relaunch INPA and it just froze. I had the wit to reboot the computer and see what happen. Sure enough no INPA behaving normally but I am still seeing Battery: Off and Ignition: Off.

Regarding the two K-line pins (7 and 8) on the ODB II connector of the cable. I first looked to see if pin-8 on the receptacle on the Min is populated. Pin-7 should as it is a defined pin for K-line. Pin-8 is OE optional and is the second K-line on BMW depends on the build year range. Oddly in my R53 both pins are populated. Still it does not tell you much except the increase possibility my Mini happen to use pin-8, or both.

pin-7 and pin-8 of the OBD II receptacle in the Mini are populated

I also open up the connector of the cable and verified that pin-8 is not connected. While it has a breakout PCB obscuring the connector and I cannot see the traces on the other side, I managed to verify it.

By now I am willing to go ahead and short pin-7 and pin-8 of the ODB II connector of the cable.

Sure enough once that is done, INPA reports Battery: On and Ignition: On. This is good sign so I went and try NCS Expert. Selected the R50 chassis and it came back with this screen:

This is good sign so I went and try NCS Expert. I was able to read the BC1 module.

this is the retrieved module trace file

I sloughed through the German in the trace file.

A few hours later. I uploaded the few changes into the BC1 module of the Mini. The front fog lights and the rear fog light are all working! I also set the emergency flasher to European, which has a periodic double flashes.

the rear fog light (the single red light above the center mount exhaust) is now functional

the front fog lights (the two lowest lights) are also functional (independent of the rear fog light)

Next I will try to program the one touch window auto up on both driver and passenger side, as well as to enable the factory alarm that I retrofitted.

To continue from above. By the afternoon I successfully enable the factory alarm using NCS Expert. There are, if memory serves, three entries related to the alarm. They are the setting the retrofit alarm to active. The second is the ultrasonic motion sensor for the alarm which is already set to active. I forgot what was the third. In any even I was so thrilled to see the alarm finally is enabled without the need to go pay a Mini dealer to do it.

I installed the alarm retrofit in 2005. It was so long ago that I could not remember all that involved, especially if in orientated the ultrasonic motion sensor correctly. Also I cannot remember what other sensor and trigger capability of the alarm system has. Without getting the car to the dealer to have them enable the installation (via the dealer servicing computer tool) the red indicator on the steering column would flash when the car is locked but that was all it would do - just as a fake alarm indicator but will not sound if the car is broken into.

After writing the modified file into the base control module BC1 the alarm was enabled. I immediately tested the functionality of the ultrasonic motion sensor, and it works like a charm. This was the first time the alarm siren ever sound and it has a high pitch sound. In addition to the siren the parking lights as well as the headlight high beams also flash. The latter are programmable options. I could not find the hard copy operation manual but the operation is relatively intuitive. What I was unsure if there is a shock sensor or a tilt sensor. I would find out the next day.

The Wilwood big brake kit arrived so I open it to do some dimensional checking was well as collected the weight measurements of all the piece parts.

I wanted to check the hub opening diameter of the rotor hat against that of hub of the car to make sure the rotor is properly center. To do this I jack up the front of the Mini and prepare to remove the front wheel. As the car begins to rise on one side the alarm went off. This tells me there is a built in tilt sensor in the alarm main unit, which includes the siren. Like all car alarms the system also are designed to be triggered by opening of any doors and the boot, and likely the bonnet too.

I accomplished what I set out to do with the NCS Expert BMW software tool:

  • enable the factory alarm retrofit
  • enable the factory front fog light retrofit
  • enable the factory rear fog light retrofit
I had other challenges while doing using the NCS Expert tool. The Lenovo Thinkpad has a very old battery and can hold very little charge. It should not post much of a problem as long as I keep it plugged into AC power while connected to the Mini reading or writing to the car's modules. The problem is the AC power supply has developed an intermittent problem in which the DC supplying to the Thinkpad sees disruptions. Something this can go unnoticed and disaster can strike.

As long as I kept a watchful eye this had not been a problem. However taking the Thinkpad in and out of the car and back into the house caused a lot more stress onto the failing connectivity (where it actually is still elusive so far). Just after I got the alarm working the Thinkpad battery was completely discharged overnight, because the intermittent connection cause the DC not supplying the computer. The notebook went into automatic hibernation. However I could no longer resume to Windows for I could not get pass the BIOS user password prompt. I was in effect locked out of the computer. I was sure the password I supply was correct (there is a BIOS POST password, in addition to the Windows one).

Very often when encounter a problem without solution, I let the matter rest and try to reflect on it later. That was what I did so not to risk running out of 5-times-you-are-out attempt counts. That night cause the BIOS password entry refusal? I then think of the possibility the CMOS memory where the BIOS stores the password may have lost the data. How? While there is a lithium batter dedicated to the RTC and CMOS memory it may have become completely discharged. As long as the notebook's (Lithium Ion) battery is not totally discharge the CMOS memory is supplied by it and the memory is not lost.

I tried out this conjecture and let the notebook battery charge (to its very poor capacity). I then power it up and sure enough this time all I have to do was swipe my finger with the fingerprint sensor. It no longer prompt me to enter the password at the BIOS POST screen. I am no longer locked out of the PC.

jacking up one side of the Mini set the alarm off due to the tilt sensor

And yes. I have maintained the Mini from the first day it arrived. It has never been touched by any auto mechanic but me and I don't see that changing any time soon.

I have not begin the installation of the Wilwood brake kit as of yet.

the 4-piston caliper is aluminum

When I swap in the Wilwood brake kit I would find out the weight of the stock floating caliper to determine the total weight difference of the each front brake.

About two and a month ago I set out to make the Mini more fun to drive. At the time I compiled a comprehensive list of items to be installed.

  • Swift springs
  • Koni yellow dampers
  • IE fix camber plates
  • rear sway bar
  • adjustable rear lower control arms
  • 15% pulley and belt
  • colder plugs
  • Quaife LSD
  • clutch with single mass flywheel
  • cold air intake (likely homebrewed)
  • boost and oil pressure gauges
  • enable factory alarm
  • install and enable factory fog lights (front and back)
Today, with the exception of cold air intake all has been completed. In the process I have leant so much about the Mini and gained much more appreciation how good this little car is. The best part is I avoided the need to go to the MINI dealer to switch on the two last items. I also modified the stock exhaust system to mildly increase the sound.

The reason the cold air intake has not been done is I have yet to use up two stock air filter elements. The main reason for the cold air intake is more pronounce supercharger noise when you accelerate hard. Even the best of cold air intake provides negligible power gain. So it is one modification that can wait. Originally I didn't not identify the big brake kit. I ended up purchasing the Wilwood front brake kit because I found very attractive price, and ended up getting an additional discount. With it the Mini would have the brakes to go with the increase in power and much improved handling.

Update 17 Jun 16:
I succeeded in accessing the Mini's control modules to make a number of programmable functional features that I previously did not know about. I found most of these in using BMW's NCS Expert coding tool. The features that I successfully enabled are:

  • One touch driver side window up.
  • Key in door lock comfort windows open. (Key in door lock comfort windows close has always work.)
  • Press and hold remote comfort windows open.
  • Press and hold remote comfort windows close.
  • Enabled fuel tank reserve gong.
  • Customize anti-thief alarm.

The only feature that I was unsuccessful is the passenger side window one touch auto up. This is likely due to the firmware that is hard coded to disallow this feature - for liability reasons.

One thing that I might try to do is to calibrate the speedometer which in most vehicles are significantly overstated for liability reasons.

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