iDrive faulty; CIC head unit replacement.

Discussion in 'Technical Troubles' started by Dean80, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Dean80
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    Dean80

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    Hi All,

    I have a F30 320d efficient dynamics 2012, 127k miles.
    The car was bought second hand and is out of warranty.
    Recently the iDrive system has been problematic.

    The iDrive is continuously rebooting: on startup it loads, works for 1 - 2 minutes then screen goes black and iDrive reboots (to BMW splash logo), this behavior is continuous when driving the car.
    This is very aggravating as when the system reboots i loose the radio, Bluetooth calls/connection, reversing camera and all access to vehicle setting etc.
    It seems to me that the CIC head unit computer is faulty and is stuck in a boot loop - if it was accessible like a standard computer then I would seek to flash the operating system and reinstall it all but this is not an option due to the proprietary hardware and not having access to an operating system image/disc.

    I think my best course of action is to change the CIC head unit and code the new one to the car.
    I am not really too interested in changing to the newer NBT system due to the cost (my budget is not much) and the limited value I would get from the additional functions.
    I have seen a number of CIC units available on eBay - some are manufactured by Harman Becker and other by Alpine, the sellers all say that either will fit my car. Will it make any difference which manufacturer device I purchase (I think the only difference may be the coding to the car?)

    My current CIC iDrive has no sat nav, the units I am looking at have business sat nav. Is it the case that I would simply need to get a GPS antenna and the correct coding to have the sat nav function in my car?

    Is there any recommended source where it comes to coding the car? for the CIC replacement and one or two other things I wish to change (fit LED DRL, change default engine mode on start to comfort).

    I would like to have a better understanding of the process to change out the CIC.
    As I see it it should flow:
    -disconnect battery (leave boot open)
    -remove interior trims
    -disconnect cabling
    -remove faulty CIC unit
    -insert replacement CIC unit
    -reconnect cabling
    -connect and place GPS antenna (where to place in the car?)
    -fit trims
    -reconnect battery
    -code car

    Any advice or assistance would be a great help.
     
  2. JasonH
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    JasonH

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    I've recently replaced the CCC in my car because it failed in a boot loop (mostly when the car was hot). I had previously paid for the CCC to be repaired (I don't know what they did) and the repair lasted about 12 months. For the CCC, as far as I can tell the Flash chips actually wear out. A full fix is to replace the chips and reprogram. I suspect my temporary repair was just a reflash that moved the bad block somewhere harmless for a while.

    Replacing the flash chips is complex, 4 BGA devices with something like 100 pins each and similar devices nearby and on the other side of the PCB.

    In your case there probably is a hardware fault but first get some diagnostics on the car, the CIC and CCC will reboot if something else on the canbus is faulty, like a Bluetooth module.

    As for replacement, whilst you should disconnect the car battery it will reset the clock and until the idrive is working again you won't be able to set it. Unplugging the CCC with just the ignition off doesn't seem to be a problem.

    My advice would be to buy as similar unit to the original as possible. It may then work out of the box. However it almost definitely will need coding to match the features available on the idrive to those present in the car. ISTA-P does this job really nicely, I think it extracts the spec of the car (the VO) from the CAS then programs the modules in the CCC. Note that the CCC actually has 5 separate modules in it that each need to be configured but ISTA-P offers to do all 5 for you.

    I would not advise re-flashing the CIC unless you like risks. You can brick it, or the whole car. If you just code the module that's usually recoverable if something goes wrong.
     
  3. Dean80
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    Dean80

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    Thanks for the info Jason.
    I will get some diagnostics on the car first to see if any errors show up.
    Don't think I will attempt to repair the HU as second hand units are readily available and probably of similar cost to what a repair would run to (and I would not be confident of repair lasting as you pointed out).
    Most of the second had units I see around have sat nav so I may still need to get that working with a GPS antenna and coding.
     
  4. JasonH
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    JasonH

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    If you add GPS you can just hide the new antenna inside the dash (pointing up to the windscreen). Ideally the antenna would be on the roof with a huge metal groundplane but as you probably know your phone GPS works just fine inside the car. The GPS is signal is not blocked significantly by plastic or glass.
     
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