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Old 12-06-2003, 03:05 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Xenon install - Bulb Inoperative Warning

Just installed aftermarket Xenon lights on a 99 E320 (W210). Lights are fine but am getting the 'Bulb Inoperative' warning message in the instrument cluster. Looked through thread and found the dealer can make adjustment in computer for xenon bulbs. 3 different dealers and no go because that functionality was not put in until 2000 and mine is a 99. Installed a 12volt 1 watt bulb on either side of the original headlight connectors hoping to trick the computer and that did not work either. Anyone have other ideas on how to resolve this issue?
Benjamin Jarrett

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Old 12-06-2003, 11:16 PM
mike690003's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Miami,FL
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To break you the bad news:

The "Bulb out" light will most likely stay on because the Xenon light use 35 watts , while your old lights used 55 watts. The car thinks that a bulb is out because the Xenon lights use LESS power than the old lights.
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Old 12-07-2003, 05:40 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 150
i assume that the system is wired so that the original wire for the light is used to power the xenon?

if so, you need to add a resistor in parallel with the current system, to lower the resistance to the 'right' level.

Power = Volts x Amps
old power = 55 = 12 x amps => 55/12 = 4.58 amps
new power = 35 watts = 12 x amps => 35/12 = 2.92 amps

so you need to loose 4.58 - 2.92 amps = 1.66 amps

1.66 x 12 = (roughly) 20 watts 12/1.66 = resistance = 7 ohms

so - you need a 7 ohm, 20 watt resistor (BIG!!!!) - or a 20 watt bulb across the power to bulb to ground connection.

IF the power to bulb is used just to power the 'black box' and the main power is taken from the battery, then you need to stick a bulb in between there and ground - try a 20 watt to start withj (im not sure quite how smart the syetm is)...


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Old 12-07-2003, 05:41 AM
afmcorp's Avatar
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Location: NW Indiana LaPorte
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well if that is the case then by going to a 100/80 bulb (jc whitney, ebay etc xenon headlight that should have just about the right draw wouldn't it? about 51 watts. for about 15 bucks you could try it out and if it worked you'd be using 80 watts and wouldn't need hi beam very often.

just a 2 cent thought
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Old 12-07-2003, 12:24 PM
benzfan's Avatar
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Location: Toronto
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Hop over to and check the threads there. This issue has been solved by the young enthusiasts with more free time than us old folks.

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