Article by: Jon Evans
Article applies to: most BMW models through the 1990s.
I modified my glove box flashlight, adding a more powerful battery and converting the light source to three ultra-bright white LEDs.
At the moment this is just a proof-of-concept. The torch at the moment is controlled by a momentary switch (so you have to leave your finger on the switch for the light to stay on).
I will either fit a standard rocker switch into the side, or build a flip-flop circuit so that the current switch causes the LEDs to latch on or off.
With three LEDs, the flashlight is very bright! It dumps all over the standard bulb.
The three LEDs draw 20mA each, and I’ve fitted the torch with a 200mAh NiMH battery, so a fully charged battery should on paper last over 3 hours.
Here’s some pictures:
First, you need to crack the glue around the edge of the light to separate the two sides. Pull the front lens off first.
Now you need to remove all of the original components so you are just left with the two sides.
Take a mini drill and a suitable burr bit, and grind away the plastic which used to support the battery.
Lay out your components and work out how they are going to fit.
I mounted three LEDs on a piece of strip-board (PCB) cut to fit in the same place as the piece of metal which the original bulb screwed into.
I had to enlarge the slots with the drill first.
Now you just snap the two sides back together and fix them – I will need to take mine apart again when I decide which switch I’m going to use.
So for now I’ve sealed it with white electrical tape.