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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a '64 plate F55 1.5d which has mostly been very good, however, we have an intermittent issue with the LED ring and I am wondering how many other cars it affects.

We always have the LED ring in the central dash set to reflect the colour of the ambient lighting in the doors and footwells as the 'speed changing' setting was a little annoying.

For clarification, the idea is, if you have your interior lights set to 'blue', then the central LED ring also glows blue.

At first this was fine, but at night we noticed it was too bright. However, we found a menu function which allowed you to change the brightness of the central LED ring (well thought out by Mini, well done........... for now...).

So, we have the LED ring set to copy the ambient lighting and at a low brightness setting to prevent being distracted during night driving.

Perfect, working fine for a good week or so.

But then...... !

We noticed that the LED ring would intermittently go from really dull to really bright when we are driving, which was quite dangerous at night as it goes as bright as it can, which is very distracting, to the point where you have to turn the feature off completely and have no central LED ring on.

So, to try and fix the issue I went back through the menus to adjust the brightness setting again, however, when the vehicle is having this issue, the brightness controls have no impact on the LED ring brightness at all.

Here is a video of it (apologies for the aspect ratio and quality):

http://vidmg.photobucket.com/albums/v282/v8_nate/BMW Mini/MOV_0561_1.mp4

It is intermittent as I said. Some times you can drive the car and it operates perfectly, other times it is just doing it's own thing and you have no control over it apart from turning it off.

I went through all of the menus, tuning on and off different 'triggers' for the central LED ring such as Bluetooth, speed etc, but nothing made any difference.

So, we booked it into our local Mini dealership (Wollaston BMW, UK) where they had the car for an entire day. When my partner went to pick the car up (as it is her car), they said that they couldn't find any codes and it seemed fine. This was typically on one of the days where the LED ring WAS functioning correctly, despite me stating that it was an intermittent fault. I imagine someone sat in it for a couple of minutes and did no more with it apart from play with the menus.

Wollaston then said to my partner to bring it back in immediately if it does it again for them to check at that moment in time - great I thought, that is very proactive of them.

So two days later, I get a message from the wifey saying it is happening again. I ask her to go in her lunch break to Wollaston so that their technicians can observe the issue. She did exactly that, but no one was interested in looking at the vehicle, instead they just asked her to book it back in!!! :|

I am now thinking, the next time it is booked in, I bet it is working fine again. Fortunately, the next time it is booked in, the LED ring is showing it's fault!! :) I am now thinking, good, they can see there is an issue and solve it.

But no.

After a few confused phone calls from Wollaston, the main result of another two days of extensive 'testing' is that they also tested another 3 cars they had and all of them do exactly the same thing, so "that must be just how it is".......

Even more disappointing, their 'Product Genius' stated that 'you cannot control the brightness of the LED ring, you can only change the ambient lighting brightness.'

I explained that it was a shame that their Own Product Genius did not extensively know the menu system and that there was in fact 3 main brightness settings:

  • Ambient Lighting Brightness
  • Central Display Brightness (the screen)
  • Central LED Ring brightness

I am fairly sure their might be a fourth brightness control for the dash brightness as well, but I do not have the car here to check.

I also explained that it is intermittent, some days it is perfect and does exactly as we want it to, other times you have no control over it.

Finally, I explained that it cannot be 'just how it is' as that brightness menu function (the one in the video I have posted) would not be in the system for it not to do anything!! Why would a software engineer place that in the menu for it achieve nothing?

Wollaston conceded and said they would have another 'look'. It ended that they could do no more with it and I had to suggest that they contact Mini directly to raise the fault with them in order to find a solution.

I am convinced that it is a software fault as the LED ring 'works', so it is not hardware, instead it is the system telling it the wrong brightness setting and not always responding to user input - that is a software fault!

So, sorry for the long post, but it brings everyone up to date with the situation.

As Wollaston believes that other cars act the same way, I would be interested to know if yours also has this bug in the software. As I say if everyone's car does it, it does not mean that is how it is supposed to be, instead it shows that everyone's car has the same software issue that needs a patch!
 

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not noticed this on mine - '14 plate Cooper S with 6000 miles on. the LED ring does switch to a reduced brightness when the light sensors decide it's dark enough to switch the instrument displays from white to orange - does yours do this ok? also do you have headlights set to automatic or do you manually switch them on/off? does it only do this at night or during the day as well? when it goes bright is it brighter than the normal daytime setting? have you tried switching the LED display from ambient to active or another setting & observed the problem?

i'm wondering if there's a defective light sensor somewhere in the car which is telling the system that it's daylight rather than night

have you shown the dealer your video? seems like thats the best option to show them what you are experiencing. its very difficult for them if they cant replicate the fault & the car is showing no fault codes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
not noticed this on mine - '14 plate Cooper S with 6000 miles on. the LED ring does switch to a reduced brightness when the light sensors decide it's dark enough to switch the instrument displays from white to orange - does yours do this ok?
The reduced brightness isn't so much the problem, it's the raised brightness. We can set the maximum brightness to a certain level, which the LED ring should not go above, which works intermittently on occasions. Most of the time it ignores the maximum setting and goes as bright as it wants then all the way to dull again, almost on a timer.

Does yours respond to the brightness setting in the menu?

also do you have headlights set to automatic or do you manually switch them on/off?
We have tried both settings, same result when fault is present.

does it only do this at night or during the day as well?
Both day and night when the fault is present.

when it goes bright is it brighter than the normal daytime setting?
Yes, it goes way above the maximum we have set for it.

have you tried switching the LED display from ambient to active or another setting & observed the problem?
If you set it to active, it seems OK and responds as it should. It is just the ambient setting.

i'm wondering if there's a defective light sensor somewhere in the car which is telling the system that it's daylight rather than night
Possibly, all the more reason that they should take it more seriously than 'that's just how it should be'. As I say, they insisted that they had tried other cars in the dealership and none of them responded to user input, which makes me think it is more of a software bug than hardware.


have you shown the dealer your video? seems like thats the best option to show them what you are experiencing. its very difficult for them if they cant replicate the fault & the car is showing no fault codes.
Yes they have seen the video and the second time it went to them where they had the vehicle for two days, the LED ring had the fault, the service department confirmed that they could also not get it to respond to user input, so they have seen the issue for two days.
 

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just had a play with mine & the brightness adjuster does not affect the LED brightness in daylight. This is what the manual says in relation to this; "the brightness can be adjusted when night lighting is active in the instrument cluster".

This tallys with what i said earlier about the brightness dimming when the instruments are showing in orange. So basically in daylight the LED ring sets it's own brightness which cannot be adjusted. In darkness you get to choose how bright it displays by adjusting the setting.

This is how it's supposed to work but it doesn't explain your problem with intermittent changes and 'over-brightness' That still says faulty sensor or potentially a software glitch to me
 

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Yes v strange and very frustrating but there are other threads with an out of sync led ring so there must be the potential fora fault-they fixed that one, but of course it deps on the dealer and yours sound a bit dopey-could you try a different dealer?

Have you checked the instrument rheostat next to the light switch? or is that my other car-will check later. Bet you are fed up with visiting the dealer to no avail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
just had a play with mine & the brightness adjuster does not affect the LED brightness in daylight. This is what the manual says in relation to this; "the brightness can be adjusted when night lighting is active in the instrument cluster".

This tallys with what i said earlier about the brightness dimming when the instruments are showing in orange. So basically in daylight the LED ring sets it's own brightness which cannot be adjusted. In darkness you get to choose how bright it displays by adjusting the setting.

This is how it's supposed to work but it doesn't explain your problem with intermittent changes and 'over-brightness' That still says faulty sensor or potentially a software glitch to me
Thank you for looking Hat, that is very useful information, more than the Wollaston dealer were able to provide!! You should be a 'Product Genius' :)

When I am next at home with the car, I will have a play with covering the light sensor and the the light switch in different positions. I still feel that I should not have to be fault-finding, this is why we purchased a new vehicle so that any problems were sorted by the dealer. I have an old VW to be rolling around under...

Whatever it is causing the issue, it is certianly not designed to be like that. You can be driving along with it very dim, then within a minute it is brighter than the sun (maybe a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea :laugh:).

Yes v strange and very frustrating but there are other threads with an out of sync led ring so there must be the potential fora fault-they fixed that one,
That is exactly what I posted this thread to find out, if there are other instances and if it was resolved! So, thank you, I'll have a search for that thread.


Have you checked the instrument rheostat next to the light switch? or is that my other car-will check later.
MMm, I don't think it has one, although I cannot be certain without looking.

but of course it deps on the dealer and yours sound a bit dopey-could you try a different dealer? Bet you are fed up with visiting the dealer to no avail.
They have been... Bearable (polite, provides updates etc), but what I really wanted to hear was "Yes you're right Mr Zapp, that brightness adjustment is not working correctly, let us fix that". Sadly, I haven't. :|
 

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Exactly and then a flurry of action to rectify the fault-that is my experience of sytner nottingham but they're not all the same i suppose. yes checked-if you look at the lighting switch by your knee low down-crazy place -why on earth they thought that was a good idea, there is a knurled knob on the right of it-it is for the dash brightness but not sure if it affects the led or not!
J
 

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I have read on another thread that someone was having this issue and it was put down to the ambient light sensor or something along those lines. Essentially it was picking up oncoming traffic's headlights or overhead lights and thinking it was okay to brighten up again, only to dim 30 seconds later when it saw it was dark still.

If I can find the post I'll link it.
 

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I have read on another thread that someone was having this issue and it was put down to the ambient light sensor or something along those lines. Essentially it was picking up oncoming traffic's headlights or overhead lights and thinking it was okay to brighten up again, only to dim 30 seconds later when it saw it was dark still.

If I can find the post I'll link it.
That sounds very feasible... Worryingly so.. I remember being impressed that I could dim the interior lights at all (in a mk3 cavalier!), I hadn't appreciated what things would become...
 

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That sounds very feasible... Worryingly so.. I remember being impressed that I could dim the interior lights at all (in a mk3 cavalier!), I hadn't appreciated what things would become...
It would be cool if you could manually dim the lights, maybe the interior overhead lights? I know the ambient RGB lights can't be set to display white, which is a shame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Appreciated, I'll add it to the check and test list.
Checked, but it just dims the dash controls / screen etc, it does not affect the LED ring.


They have been... Bearable (polite, provides updates etc), but what I really wanted to hear was "Yes you're right Mr Zapp, that brightness adjustment is not working correctly, let us fix that". Sadly, I haven't. :|
So, Friday afternoon and I still have not heard back from Wollaston Mini who were supposed to be raising the issue directly with Mini. I called to chase for an update and the answer was that their technician did not think anything was wrong and it was operating as it should, therefore they have nothing to speak to Mini about! They also suggested that the dealer we had purchased the car from (Kings Lynn Listers - who were amazing, brilliant service and pricing) did not explain the function correctly, but this is rubbish, it felt like they were saying 'take the car back to where you bought it from'.

I never got to speak to Wollaston's technician, but if I did, I would have asked why the software engineers would make a menu function that sometimes does nothing and other times works! I did however state this to the service coordinator lady and said that logically, it must be a fault? She would not say yes and just repeated what she had said.

Right, so, totally lost confidence in the technical knowledge of Wollaston Mini (note that the service has been acceptable, polite etc), the plan is now to speak to Listers in Kings Lynn as they were fantastic when we purchased the car, hopefully their service department will also be good. The problem is they are around 80 miles away from us, but they gave us a stunning deal with the car and we really liked their service, we chose to buy from them, but I digress from the main point.

If I cannot get anywhere with Listers, the next step is direct with Mini!

Also, this morning, the LED ring was operating correctly, here is another video:

http://vidmg.photobucket.com/albums/v282/v8_nate/BMW Mini/MOV_0691_2.mp4

I have tried different settings such as headlights on / off, cover sensor etc, but nothing seems to make a difference. So in the mode above, it will stay at the brightness we set it to. However, when it stops responding to user input, it then glows from dull to bright.
 

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Weird sounds like a software fault. Very annoying that you have to travel so far. Am in the same boat bought in Nottingham with a good deal but not from t he local dealer.tricky one but th eye get the money for the work. Just hoping out stays reliable!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Totally agree that it is a software fault. Neither me or you is an engineer, yet it seems quite obvious that is what it is! :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'll let everyone know how it goes with Kings Lynn.
 

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This seems like a very strange problem, as a software engineer I do understand that bugs/querks can appear under certain circumstances that are not supposed to exist.

I would try to replicate the problem, go somewhere very dark, park up with the engine running etc to simulate the normal conditions, then have someone stand away from the car with a powerful torch and shine it at different positions on the car to try to replicate the issue, this will highlight if a sensor is detecting something it shouldn't.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This seems like a very strange problem, as a software engineer I do understand that bugs/querks can appear under certain circumstances that are not supposed to exist.

I would try to replicate the problem, go somewhere very dark, park up with the engine running etc to simulate the normal conditions, then have someone stand away from the car with a powerful torch and shine it at different positions on the car to try to replicate the issue, this will highlight if a sensor is detecting something it shouldn't.
But be careful you might get some funny looks! Good luck.
Hehe :D

We tried this yesterday, but it did not seem to make a difference.

To be honest though, Wollaston should have been testing the vehicle properly like this to identify the problem.

I appreciate the ideas though!

If anyone else is reading this, it would be interesting if you could look at your LED ring and try adjusting the brightness, then post back here the result along with the lighting conditions. ;):nerd:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update for those who are interested:

Spoke to Listers yesterday who were very helpful as always. I explained the issue and sent the videos. The initial reaction is that the LED Ring has a fault and should not be operating in that way.

They said if we can go to the dealership, they will make sure they have a technician ready to reset the software and the system in an attempt to solve the problem. I am really not sure why Wollaston did not at least try this, instead of just playing with the buttons????!

Anyway, we have arranged to go there on Saturday morning. They have a new Mini showroom there which will be nice to look around anyway.
 

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that's more like it, good stuff. be interested to hear if this fixes this issue. i managed to have a play with mine in the semi-dark this morning, ie with the instruments glowing orange.

- The wheel to the right of the fog light buttons, by my right knee adjusts the brightness of the instrument cluster, the central screen and the LED ring all in one go.

-Using the settings menu for the central display i can adjust the LED ring on its own by adjusting the brightness setting. The LED ring brightness reacts instantly whilst making the adjustment (note in daylight mode this does not affect the brightness at all)
 
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