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Car almost caught fire yesterday...

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  • Car almost caught fire yesterday...

    I have my BMW interfaced with an I-BUS controller so that I could send steering wheel commands through my computer.....

    I'm driving home from work and I realize that my steering wheel controls aren't working for my carputer. After messing around with the control panel, I realize that the computer isn't detecting it, which means that it was probably unplugged. So, I stop for gas and check out the connecter in the trunk....surely, its unplugged. I plug it back in real fast and jump back in my car.

    After a few seconds smoke starts filling my car. It starts off with just the smell of burnt metal and rubber, and within a minute there is a thick cloud of smoke surrounding me. I roll down the windows and look in between my seat and the center console and I can see an orange flickering glow...FIRE! I pull over and pull the computer out from under my seat (thank god I didn't end up bolting it down) and I could see that the flame is on one of the prongs of the serial plug that connects to the computer from the i-bus controller.

    I blow out the flame (which is only the size of a candle flame...nothing else got damaged), disconnect the serial cable, and slide the computer back in. I open my trunk and there is a similar burnt smell. I check the connector on the i-bus and the entire serial cable is fried. I check the pins on the cd changer harness, and it turns out that I connected the cable wrong....I was sending 12V through the ground lead everytime I pressed a steering wheel button.

    It turns out that every button press was sending a spark through the serial cable and I remember pressing the buttons repeatedly in frustration while trying to get it to work....its good that nothing else happened, but just a warning to anybody who is using the i-bus.....make sure you connect the pins correctly...
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  • #2
    NO! Make sure you fuse any and all power leads. This would not have happened if you had protected your equipment by using fuses.
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    • #3
      Wow power without fuses, man u were taking a risk.
      (All done)
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      • #4
        I have fuses on all power lines comming out of my battery. What happened is the serial cable caught fire. There is a factory cd changer harness that plugs directly into BMW stock cd changers. This plug, plugs into a chip called the i-bus as well. On one end of the i-bus there are four prongs for the cd changer harness, and on the other end there is a serial connector for the serial cable. There is really no place to put a fuse if you think about the way things fit together. What happened, is I plugged the cd changer molex connector backwards....
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        - SrCsTc's Bezel
        - Alpine W200/H701
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        - OZ Matrix Elites
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        • #5
          interesting... i thought BMW's are better than that... I took my car apart several times, and all the connections are like you can only connect them one way... That sux...

          Anyways. Glad nothing else happened... Oh, and remember to buy a fire extinguisher for your car. I bought one fr home/office use ($20 @ homedepot) and always keep it with me... You never know what could happen. Or you may be able to help someone out...

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          • #6
            Seriously, lucky for me it was just a candle sized flame that I was able to blow out....i can't imagine what would have happended if it was bigger. Luckily, nothing happened to my computer or regulator (which were both right there by the flame)...

            ...BMW parts are better than that, but the i-bus chip isn't made by bmw...I bought it online so that it could interface my car with my computer. It's actually my own stupid fault for not paying attention while plugging it in. I never knew that a serial cable could catch fire like that...
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            - SrCsTc's Bezel
            - Alpine W200/H701
            - ED Nine.2X
            - OZ Matrix Elites
            - ED Nine.1
            - Idmax 12's

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 3onDubs
              I have fuses on all power lines comming out of my battery. What happened is the serial cable caught fire. There is a factory cd changer harness that plugs directly into BMW stock cd changers. This plug, plugs into a chip called the i-bus as well. On one end of the i-bus there are four prongs for the cd changer harness, and on the other end there is a serial connector for the serial cable. There is really no place to put a fuse if you think about the way things fit together. What happened, is I plugged the cd changer molex connector backwards....
              Huh? All molex connectors that I've seen (and i've seen a lot!) are "polarized". You can't connect them backwards.

              Anyway, i'm happy you're OK dude.

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              • #8
                u can put a fuse on any wire. Shoulda fused ur serial cable
                haha (jk) kinda, might not be a bad idea for you
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                • #9
                  I had the same thing happen to my jeep, but it was really weird, one of my power wires grounded out and my fuse didn't blow... Needless to say I am very lucky as one of my fuel lines had burn marks on the outside.
                  Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HHdesign
                    I had the same thing happen to my jeep, but it was really weird, one of my power wires grounded out and my fuse didn't blow... Needless to say I am very lucky as one of my fuel lines had burn marks on the outside.
                    So, I guess now you know that you shouldn't run power lines close to fuel lines...

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