BMW E36 Blog

BMW E36 with blue interior LED lights . . . Wow!

8th December 2007

BMW E36 with blue interior LED lights . . . Wow!

posted in Videos |

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Hello, I’ve found this video for a BMW E36 couple days ago with a problem in its OBC (On Board Computer). As I recall, the owner said that he just finished doing an upgrade from 11-button to 18-button OBC and that the car keeps beeping and that is driving him crazy. When I saw the video, I forgot about the problem he was asking about because another thing has grabbed my attention. The owner has made some great deal of modifications to the interior lights of his BMW E36. The idea was to convert all the interior lights in the car from amber (original) into blue. I know that many of you here will not like the idea because it needs too much work. Others may say that I don’t like to mess with the original setup of the car, but after you see this video, I think you’re going to change your minds.

When you watch the  video, pay attention to the blue gauges, m3 logo, red needles (veery cool) and the OBC. I know it seem like unfinished job, but it’s really cool and the lights on the dashboard are very bright not like the standard amber. In the next few days, I will keep on searching about how this job was done and I hope I will be able to find a DIY for that. I expect that DIY to be very long, but I believe it really deserves the effort. Check it out below and please feel free to drop me some lines telling me if you like this setup or not.

Check it out!


I hope you liked the video . . . if not, come on let’s see your videos 😉

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There are currently 35 responses to “BMW E36 with blue interior LED lights . . . Wow!”

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  1. 1 On December 20th, 2007, Matt Rowe said:

    Wow, looks fantastic, i am in the process of doing exacly the same to my E36, have changed the lights in the window switch’s and the 7 or 9 button can’t remember which OBC, can’t figure out how he did the dashboard, am struggling to get it appart without feeling like i’m going to snap it in half!

  2. 2 On December 21st, 2007, Tony Sticks said:

    I would love to hear more about this. I’ve been looking for more information about this process, but I couldn’t find any procedure that was performed on E36. I’ve found other videos on youtube but not for BMW E36.

    I guess the dashboard is the most tricky part. Please keep us posted.

  3. 3 On December 22nd, 2007, Matt Rowe said:

    Will pull the bits i’ve played with apart again and take a couple photo’s for you soon.

  4. 4 On December 23rd, 2007, Tony Sticks said:

    Matt, We will be waiting for that thanks.

  5. 5 On December 23rd, 2007, Matt Rowe said:

    First image is of the 7 button OBC with the LCD displays converted to blue text and the buttons below also converted to blue.
    Second image is the back of the OBC unit, with the 2 blue LED’s in the holes where the original filament lamps were.
    Third image is the from of the PCB also showing the LED’s, they have black permanent marker on the front in an attempt to remove the “hotspot” created by the LED.
    Fourth image shows the 2 LED’s that light up the light pipe to illuminate the buttons, should be 3mm LED’s but i only had 5mm at the time so chopped the front of them off.
    Fifth image is the rear of the LCD displays themselves with the orange diffuser removed and a piece of paper inserted instead to diffuse the light.
    Images 6,7 and 8 show the LED in one of the 6 window switch’s to illuminate them blue.
    Image 9 shows one illuminated in the rear of the car, daytime pics, sorry will take some more when it gets dark here.

  6. 6 On December 23rd, 2007, Matt Rowe said:

    Night time photo’s

  7. 7 On December 24th, 2007, Tony Sticks said:

    Matt, did you send me any images?

  8. 8 On December 24th, 2007, Matt Rowe said:

    :S embed didn’t seem to work.
    if it doesn’t work this time the images are

  9. 9 On April 7th, 2008, Eldon said:

    Hey… I just bought a 2004 325i and ive been searching about how to change the amber diplays to blue… i really think it looks awesome! how do you do it?

  10. 10 On April 7th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    Hi Eldon,

    Please read this BMW E36 With Blue Interior LED Lights . . . Revisited!.

  11. 11 On May 18th, 2008, BMW E36 With Plasma Gauges | BMW E36 Blog said:

    […] but it looks nice though. Please let me know what do you think? BTW, check my previous posts BMW E36 with blue interior LED lights and BMW E36 With Blue Interior LED Lights . . . Revisited to read more about these […]

  12. 12 On July 2nd, 2008, Isaac said:

    I checked out that German ebay link out, but I got nothing. Is there any other way to find those blue LED gauges?

  13. 13 On July 2nd, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Isaac: I will look for another link. I will post it here when I find it.

  14. 14 On November 4th, 2008, Angelo said:

    ey matt need your help badly, am trying to do the same but all the switches got like a plastic amber film right before of the image that you see when its ensambled, how do you remove that cause even if you change the bulb or amber led to a blue one that film make it look amber anyway, please post more pictures

  15. 15 On November 4th, 2008, Matt Rowe said:

    Hi Angelo,

    When i did this to my car i did not have the orange film inside the switch’s, i did however in the dashboard and have not done anything with that except put some blue electroluminescent dials infront of the original dials.

    I have since done the aircon module which took alot of time and effort, i did forget to take photo’s of this but may take some if you require, again the switches in mine did not have the film inside so it was a straight swap of LED’s.

    I also found someone on Ebay that hand made me a new gear know that lights up, like the M model gearstick but a 5 speed without the M emblem, if you want i can look through e-mails to find their user ID.


  16. 16 On November 5th, 2008, Angelo said:

    Thanks for responding so fast matt, you were lucky i got that amber film and dont know how to proceed, maybe i will try to sand it, if you can post some pictures that can help me in the process i will really apreciate it.

  17. 17 On November 5th, 2008, Matt Rowe said:

    Hi again,

    I took some pictures of what i’ve done in the night, will take some of the internals of the aircon module tomorrow, i am also struggling with the headlight switch and the ASC button as these have white lights with orange film on the back of the clear section you can see, i am also unsure on how to do anything about this.


  18. 18 On November 5th, 2008, Angelo said:

    Thanks a lot, i like your car looks awesome,

  19. 19 On November 5th, 2008, Matt Rowe said:


    Sorry been very busy at work today and not managed to take my car apart, i have however come across the address of a company that sell blue EL dials, i prefer them to the ones i got but mine were a fifth of the price of these when i found them on ebay and with my slr camera habbit cant afford them, they also do other E36 styling parts.


  20. 20 On February 25th, 2009, Cookie said:

    Hi guys,

    Don’t know if anyone is still watching these comments…but i’m liking what i’ve seen so far. Particularly Matt Rowe’s E36 interior. That’s exactly what i’m trying to do with mine. I love the blue LCD panels aswell. How did you manage that? And you said that your switches were just a straight LED swap? No resistor needed?

    I would like the user ID of the eBay member who made you that gearknob aswell if you have it…


  21. 21 On March 4th, 2009, Matt Rowe said:


    Sorry for the delay, The Ebay user ID is: bimmer325ia

    Doesn’t seem to have that much anymore, when i got mine he had a leather M sytle yellow illuminated knob and had in the description “Any questions please ask” so i emailed and asked for a 5 speed, non-M, leather style with blue LED illuminated gear knob, they replied by emailing me a picture of what i got, they put it on Ebay for me to buy.

    The window switches were a straight swap, orange LED for blue LED, the resisor was on the PCB so i didn’t have to touch that, just make sure you put them in the right way or they wont work.

    For the LCD panels, i took out each filament lamp and replaced them with either 2 or 3 wide angle LED’s, also behind the LCD itself is an orange light diffuser, i removed this and replaced it with a piece of A4 paper cut to fit.

    The display on the Air-con unit has several surface mount LED’s in it so i just replaced them and same trick with the diffuser.


  22. 22 On March 4th, 2009, Cookie said:

    Thanks for the reply.
    I’ve checked out what bimmer325ia has for sale, and your not wrong. He doesn’t have much. I have found another ebay member though who has what i’m looking for. A 5-speed, non-M, Aluminium finish gear knob with illuminaion. Hopefully it’s blue, not red.

    As for the switches, that’s a huge help. I’m getting them done 2morow, now that i know how to do the LCDs aswell, i’ll get the guy to change them over.

    Again, thanks for the reply,

  23. 23 On May 1st, 2009, Cookie said:

    Hi all…particularly Matt Rowe.

    I’ve changed my switches over to Blue LEDs and they look awesome. I just wanted to know one thing…you’ve changed the LCD panels on your Climate control to blue, but what about the Odometer LCD? can that be changed to blue the same way???


  24. 24 On May 2nd, 2009, Matt Rowe said:

    Hi Cookie,

    I would imagine so, i’ve not been daring enought to open my dashboard up again since i put the Plasma panels in.

    As i remember it did look the same as the climate control LCD, the only thing that puts me off this is the bottom section of the same LCD used for service info. Which obviously has to display red, yellow and green, and with a blue LED behind it will not be able to.

    I know there is seperate lamps behind the LCD for the top and bottom halves, it depends on the diffuser mostly, i would image that the top half is orange the same as the climate control LCD and then the bottom half is coloured to give the different colour sections on the bottom half.

    Splitting this to allow blue in the top half may not be too easy.


  25. 25 On May 24th, 2013, Cookie said:

    I don’t know if this is still monitored at all, but I need some help, especially from Matt. I am in the process of changing the LEDs in my Digital AC module and I would like to know how you changed them…did you change the LED (how did you do this) or did you get new tactile switches with blue LEDs already inside?

  26. 26 On May 24th, 2013, Matt Rowe said:

    Hi Cookie,

    Seems like you’ve been at this a while, ive since sold me e36.

    As i recall it was a standard 3mm LED inside the middle of a push button and looked like it was braised onto some copper strip on the back of the switch, i’m sure i had to drill the LED connections from the back of the switch allowing the LED to be pulled out from the front then replaced with a blue LED which was then soldered back in.

  27. 27 On May 29th, 2013, Cookie said:

    Would it be easier if I purchased the tactile push button without the LED and soldered them in after? What size LED are we looking at here? I’ve noticed some of the buttons have taller LEDs then others…

  28. 28 On May 29th, 2013, Matt Rowe said:

    Possibly, i didn’t look into whether they are purchasable, i used 3mm flat top LED’s to mimic the original LED’s.

  29. 29 On May 30th, 2013, Cookie said:

    I have managed to find the blank tactile buttons is why I asked. I’m pretty sure that I still have some 5mm blue LEDs somewhere…I think they would fit, but maybe I should try and find some 3mm flat ones just in case

  30. 30 On June 3rd, 2013, Cookie said:

    So, the tactile push buttons arrived today (blank, no LED) and I have the 3mm flat top blue LEDs on their way. Can you remember how you soldered them on Matt? It would be a huge help. Cheers

  31. 31 On June 4th, 2013, Matt Rowe said:

    The buttons in mine had the LED encompassed in the button, the buttons were about 15mm wide and 10mm tall with the LED central top to bottom and biased to one side, if i recall correctly they had a black casing with white actuators. I think they were 4 pin, i un-soldered them and underneath it exposed and area on the back of the button with two copper looking area’s that the LED was braised to.

  32. 32 On June 6th, 2013, Cookie said:

    How did you get the LED off? I have exactly the buttons that are on the board, just without the LED and I don’t want to drill anything. How did you solder the LEDs back on to the button in the end?

  33. 33 On June 6th, 2013, Cookie said:

    I really should’ve just asked how you soldered the LED back on to the button. I don’t need to remove anything except the current button on the board, then replace it with the ones I have bought with the new LED in them.

  34. 34 On July 1st, 2013, Cookie said:


    I have the LEDs and the tactile buttons now. How did you solder the LEDs to the button?

  35. 35 On July 1st, 2013, Matt said:


    The buttons on mine had two copper strips running down the back of the casings attached to two of the pins securing it to the PCB, the other two pins were connected to the button itself, i just soldered them to these copper strips that already had holes in for the LED’s, just make sure to get them the correct way round for polarity.