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BMW pre-installed system - TFT ?

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  • BMW pre-installed system - TFT ?

    Hi out there,

    I was reading on this board for some time, and this is my first post now... after being "infected" from all you guys ;-))

    I have a 2001 5 series BMW, and it contains the "big" Nav system with the 16:9 screen and a lot of other stuff (TV, CD-Changer, ...).

    After getting some information via some german BMW boards, I have a setup with a portable MP3 player, running via the tape deck input (long story...), but this is not really nice - I would like to use the installed screen to connect a real pc to it.

    Now me and some guys over here figured out some more details about the system:

    There's a video module in the back which controls the screen. Fortunately, we found that there are two separate inputs for video signals. One is for the NTSC standard, one for PAL.
    On the weekend I finally got things running, so I was able to connect a notebook to the inputs and get a Windows screen on the LCD.
    Unfortunately the PAL input is blanked when the car is moving faster than a few km/h (for safety reasons), but the NTSC input still works when you're in motion. But the quality is very bad, so I'm searching for a better solution now.
    The TFT is connected via RGB cables to the video module, so now here are my questions:

    Does anybody know what kind of screen that is? Somebody told me it's a NEC OEM, but I couldn't find anything more about it.

    Does anybody know the resolution of the screen?

    And finally the most important: how can I hook a PC to the RGB cables? The quality should be very good then, but I don't know if that is possible without extra hardware. Can I try it with an ordinary VGA - RGB cable? I don't want to kill the screen cause it's VERY expensive.

    Thank you for your help.


  • #2
    a guy in #mp3car in efnet inputs video to his e46 3series nav system. His name is cyborg-, he'll probably be able to help you out.

    I dont have the bmw nav in my Ci... but here's a site you might find interesting.

    2001 PT Cruiser "BLK ICE"


    • #3

      thanks for the reply.

      As I wrote, I have figured out how to connect the video signal via the composite input to the screen. That's the way all the other guys do it, too (including NAV-TV which charge you MUCH too much for the littel reverse camera), to get their DVD's on the screen, and the quality is okay for this purpose.

      Anyway, I would prefer hooking the computer directly to the RGB signals, as I expect the quality to be much better and I could use the installed screen for the desktop. Just an old board, a keyboard - that's it!

      Now, I searched the net again, and I found this:

      Did anybody try this out?
      I remember a guy (from this board!) who tried it and was satisfied with it, but I can't remember his name.

      Cause this would be the real deal, the interface is very cheap, and I would get rid of that double conversion of the signal.



      • #4
        Is there any chance this could help?


        • #5


          that can be one way to try it... thanks!

          Anyway, I started a new thread because I found some more information on that screen.



          • #6
            There is a site somewhere I seen where this guy wiht a bmw 3 series, who's some electrical engineer got the stock LCD to accept input from any composite source...not only that he built some device so he could output the song info to the built in stock LCD which usually displays time, gas mileage etc... damm if i could only find that site again....

            does anyone know who im talking about here??
            04 Acura TL w/ core2duo 2ghz laptop w/ 1gb RAM on a docking station.

            Fast car, fast PC. ;)


            My TL CarPC ver2

            FSR Flash Skin w/ moving weather maps


            • #7
              Hi moahdib,

              please, please, please, please, please, ... try to find it... that is exactly what I'm searching for!



              • #8
                he is Cyborg- and he hangs in #mp3car on efnet.
                2001 PT Cruiser "BLK ICE"


                • #9

                  my fiance just got a 325Ci that came with that factory installed screen system. Before I start dismantling (and possibly destroying) the dash could you tell me where and how these PAL/NTSC inputs are to see if it worths the effort to try doing it myself?
                  Are they at the back of the screen/headunit? Are there any female RCA connectors present or I have to open the headunit's case in order to find solder pads and solder wires? Are these inputs marked on the PCB? Is there picture quality desent compared with other composite TFTs of the same size?



                  • #10

                    The composite inputs are on the video module. There are two connectors, a blue one and a white one, where all the signals run through. They are not like RCA, you have to apply some spare contacts to the connectors, but that's easy.
                    The whole thing is prepared to work with external signals, you don't need to solder anything.

                    I don't know where the video module is in a 325 (since I have a 5 series), but normally it is somewhere in the back of the car (under the rear seats, in the side of the boot, ...).
                    Check some BMW forums, and you will find the answer.

                    In the back of the head unit there are also inputs which come from that video module, but these are as I said RGB signals with sync-on-green.

                    I have opened the whole unit and disassembled it completely, and I also disassembled the whole TFT unit. The controller is in the back of the screen. Therefore I can tell you that I didn't find anything on the PCB to hook directly on.

                    The quality of the screen is quite good, comparable with others in the same dimensions and resolutions. It's a Sharp TFT, and the resolution is 400xRGBx240(234) dots for the 16:9 widescreen. If you supply a proper signal to the composite Video-in you can watch movies without problems, but a computer screen (640x480) is unreadable unless you set the fonts to a big size.

                    It is very hard to get information about the whole stuff; BMW is not helping in any way, so we have to figure out everything by ourselves.
                    I have a lot of knowledge now about my system, so if you need some more help...



                    • #11
                      BMW OEM LCD

                      I have followed with great interest the discussions about BMW's navigation system and its TFT screen and would like to hear more about installations and specific information regarding the BMW OEM TV module (You've got me wondering if you're screen blanks out when driving with PAL, but not NTSC, can you is it country specific as NTSC blanks out on pre-2001 USA TV modules. Is this the trick that Nav-TV uses to provide "TV in motion" for $400? Anyway, later for that...)

                      Anyway, the screen is a Sharp LCD screen model LQ065T9BR52, although it seems to also be known as LQ065T9BR51 (last digit is different) and I have a PDF datasheet on the display. I don't have any way to host the file, but I will email it to someone who can or wishes to see it.

                      If you are a Yahoo BMW Nav Group member, you can get the file directly at:


                      Composite input is generated by a Philips TDA8376H PAL/NTSC TV Processor. This IC is contained within the display unit. Information regarding this IC can be found here:


                      IC's for providing input to the display/TDA8376H IC per Sharp's LCD datasheet include:
                      IC3Y29BM - analogue composite video
                      IC3Y26A - RGB input

                      These seem to be readily available IC's - from Radio Shack repair parts even, if you can believe that, and fairly cheap as well.

                      If you care to experiment with the display without tearing apart your car TOO much, the following are some re-phrased comments from "Moni" at Nav-TV (I believe) the provide some ideas for "experimenting" with the LCD screen through the navigation system wiring harness WITHOUT the video module.

                      "...The video module does not do anything sophisticated with the video. In a setup where the video module is used, the navigation RGB signal passes thru the video module (and it's video buffers) without any type of video genlock.

                      If you want to experiment, heres what to do:

                      (Do this procedure at your own risk. don't blame me if something goes wrong. I'm describing a procedure I have done many times in the past year.)

                      1. Remove the blue connector fron the navigation computer.
                      2. Remove the blue shell by inserting a small pick into the latch on the side, then slide the black insert out.
                      3. Note the three black coax cables and mark them as A,B,C.
                      4. You will have to figure out which cable is used for each color: red, green, blue. Make some notes on paper and mark the pin position of each cable. The connector is marked by pin numbers 1 thru 18 (1,9,10,18).
                      5. Video signal (coax internal wire) is the clear in color. The coax video ground (shield) is black.
                      6. Remove each video cable by pressing against the metal latch thru the side of the connector with a pick and pulling the wire out slightly, then repeating again on the second stop, until the wire comes out completely.
                      Repeat for all six wires (three video and three shields).
                      7. You'll end up with three loose coax cables. You'll have to insert the blue shell back in place now and reconnect the blue connector to the navigation computer. The screen needs a ground coming from the navigation computer in order for it to operate (It's the same reason why when you press "monitor off" the screen shuts down completely).

                      *** The above procedure is only given in order to avoid cutting the coax cables. ***

                      8. Turn the key on and make sure the screen powers up - the screen would turn white.

                      9. If you'll connect a standard NTSC video signal source to the green video cable, you would then see a steady, green picture (maybe a little dim, but that's OK). On the other two cables, the picture would be rolling blue or rolling red.

                      10. You'll need an NTSC composite to NTSC component RGB decoder. Today, all decoder are I2C or other bus-based chips that require the used of an external microcontroller to control them (just like the philips TDA's you've mentioned) - that means that a complete microcontroller is needed to be programmed to the right decoder, BUT:

                      11. You can buy on Ebay (I could not find them now on ebay but once in a while they are there) a commercial or studio NTSC decoder. Some work internally on 12 to 15 volts... They are rather big ( 1U rack size) but they perform superbly. Most have sync on green as well as seperate sync. You would want to get the "sync on green" type.

                      //See my comments regarding IC's IC3Y29BM (analogue composite video) and IC3Y26A (RGB input)//

                      12. VGA RGB does NOT work! It's non-interlaced video with double the scan rate. You can try, but you'll get two pictures, wrong colors, and bad sync on one monitor.

                      13. When you're done experimenting, slide the pins back into the connector. They should latch back in place and everything would work again as usual.


                      NAV-TV Team..."

                      Taking this information a little farther, consider...

                      Creating a little "BMW Magic Box" primarily consisting of the IC3Y29BM (analogue composite video) IC with a few dip switches to select PAL/NTSC and some other LCD specific options, a (remote controlled?) switching relay to select between navigation and external video sources and video input connectors. To make the "box" even easier to install and more convenient, consider power output sources for 12V DC on the "box" with "always on," "on with ignition on" and "lights on" dedicated power outputs.

                      Overall, the "box" should be fairly simple and, fitted with the right BMW specific connectors, should install in less than 30 minutues.

                      To install, you'd need a small screw driver and a few other basic tools for removing connectors and panels, your camcorder or a video camera (i.e., reverse/back-up camera) and a TV-tuner/AV controller with diversity antenna system (optional) that you can get on eBay for about $175.00 or less.

                      Starting in the trunk, carefully open the panels to the navigation system and remove the blue connector from the computer and plug it into the "box," then connect the blue connector from the "box" into the navigation computer.

                      After affixing the "box" to the trunk panel with its velcro strips, connect the small wiring harness from the "box" to the power inputs for the computer using the wiring harness provided, then connect the separate harness from the "box" to the backup light cable as illustrated on the instructions.

                      Connect the TV-tuner/AV controller into "Input 2" of the "box" with standard RCA cables and the power cord from the TV-tuner/AV controller into one of two 12V power outputs on the "box." Loosely connect the diversity antenna's to the TV-tuner/AV controller for now; you can more professionally afix them later.

                      Connect your camcorder (or the back-up rear view camera if you purchased it from Nav-TV) to "Input 1" on the "box," turn it on and point it to something in the garage. Start your BMW and put it in reverse (pressing the brake of course) and you should see what your camcorder sees on the navigation screen in reverse. Slide the gear shift back to park and the navigation screen should return to its normal display.

                      Now, tune the car's radio to one of the FM frequencies specified on the TV-tuner/AV controller instructions and turn on the TV-tuner/AV controller with its remote control. Using the remote, seek a local TV station. The navigation screen should change to TV and the sound should come through your FM radio. Put the car in reverse again, and the screen should display the (reversed) camcorder image again (and you can hear outside sounds as well if you want); put the car out of reverse and the navigation display should return to TV.

                      You now need to run the provided combined wiring harness from the "box" and the TV-tuner/AV switcher to the back seat area (up to 2 video outputs are available) and install a discrete switch under the armrest that switches the navigation display from its normal mode to video. Running this harness is probably the most labor intensive part of the installation.

                      Reverse view is automatically controlled for the navigation screen so no additional controls are needed for that and the 2 rear seat video outputs always display the video input, but not the navigation system screen data (unless you want to do some very creative wiring).

                      A small video camera can be installed near the license plate and connected to "Input 1" of the "box" where the camcorder was connected for testing. If you do not install the backup camera, no switching of the screen will take place.

                      Next you can connect up to two 7" wide screens (optional) to the terminated cable harness for the back seat passengers and plug in a DVD and/or MP4 player into the TV-tuner/AV controller in the trunk.

                      For the technical, the "box" is a microprocessor (powered by an interconnecting cable to the navigation computer power input cable) that converts composite NTCS video into RGB outputs for the navigation screen. It also contains a relay that switches the navigation display from its normal mode to "Input 1" when a video signal is present (i.e., power is provided to the backup camera for reverse viewing) and reverses the screen image. When a signal is present from "Input 2" (i.e., the TV-tuner/AV controller) and the "discrete" switch is on, the navigation screen displays whatever is on that source; when the "discrete" switch is off, the normal navigation display is seen.

                      And you can fairly quickly disconnect the "box" and all its attachments and reconnect the original wiring just as it came from BMW if you need to.

                      You'd think we could find SOME smart electrical engineer who we could push a reasonable amount of cash at to create the "box," wouldn't you??
                      2001 740Il - Jet Black with MkIII and more...


                      • #12
                        Re: BMW OEM LCD


                        sorry, I wanted to quote and answer, but the message got too long then (limited to 10000 characters. So, hopefully you find what you need ;-))

                        If you want to watch TV while driving, there's some different solutions now which offer you this.
                        The best one in my eyes is this:
                        because this is a little black box which can be installed in minutes, can be reversed without any problems, and is fairly cheap.
                        $ 400 for such a simple thing... well, the guys at NavTV all drive big cars, I bet ;-))

                        The Video module is the same part for all over the world; it's capable of receiving PAL and NTSC signals, and this is switched regarding the country the car is sold to.
                        If you are (as me) in Europe, the module is connected to the PAL input, and the NTSC input is left blank. If you are in the US, it's vice versa.
                        Now, the used input is controlled by the speed signal which means that the screen is blanked when you are driving.
                        Surprisingly, the other composite input can be used without any problems while driving. There's a pin in the white plug that needs to be connected to ground, and then the module switches permantly to this input. Permanently means that the screen shows the signal of the second input as long as the "switch" is connected to ground, it doesn't show anything from the system.

                        This is the easy way to hook a computer via TV out to the screen, but the quality of the picture is of course not very good; it's okay for movies and this stuff, but the windows desktop e. g. is unreadable until you use VERY big letters.

                        Now, the information of NavTV seems a little bit irritating to me:

                        The video module sends a standard RGB signal to the headunit, except that it doesn't use separate sync signals like a standard VGA card(screen combination (H-sync and V-sync), it uses sync-on-green instead.
                        The resolution of the Sharp TFT is 400x240(234), 60Hz; so if you build a mini circuit (less than two dollars!) which combines the V-sync and the H-sync signal to the green signal and you also have a VGA card capable of the needed res and frequency , you're there. No need of special (and expensive) signal switchers.

                        This allows you to connect a computer directly to the RGB signals which give you a much better picture quality than connecting the TV out to the composite inputs.

                        Further questions? No problem ;-))