Coding Basics — The Five Best Codings for BMW Models!

We’ve already written several articles about OBD2 adapters, as well as the diagnostic devices that can be used for the purpose. We’ve also noted that you can use such devices to enter the exciting world of coding, where you can personalize certain aspects of your car to your liking. Today, we present a collection of the top five best codings for BMW models.

So, what are the 5 best codings for BMW models? The five best codings for your Bimmer are the ‘Coming Home’ function, coding of the indicators, changing the behavior of the Corona Rings, behavior of the Mirrors, and some settings under the warning system. Of course, there are several sub-settings under these categories which we explain in detail in the following sections.

To help you with these, we present a detailed explanation of the 5 best codings for your Bimmer. Have fun reading and trying it out.

Coding of the ‘Coming Home’ Function

The ‘Coming Home’ function is a very useful thing. After you have removed the key or switched off the car with the headlamps activated, they will continue to illuminate for a set period of time, assisting you with the task of ‘coming home’, by illuminating the path for you. There are many time intervals that you can set, and these are the possibilities:

  • Wert_01: Coming Home function is deactivated / can be deactivated.
  • Wert_02: Light shines for 40 seconds.
  • Wert_03: Light shines for 90 seconds.
  • Wert_04: Light shines for 150 seconds.
  • Wert_05: Light shines for 240 seconds.

In addition to the light illumination time, you can also set which of the lights can be activated by the ‘coming home’ function of your BMW.

  • HEIMLEUCHTEN_AL (= low beam): active, not active
  • HEIMLEUCHTEN_KZL (= license plate light): active, not active
  • HEIMLEUCHTEN_NSW (= fog lights): active, not active
  • HEIMLEUCHTEN_FL (= high beam): active, not active
  • HEIMLEUCHTEN_BL (= blinker): active, not_active

Please note that not every BMW model has the ‘coming home’ function, and it cannot be activated on models that do not already have it.

How to Activate the ‘Coming Home’ Function

To activate ‘Coming Home’ on your BMW, you need a diagnostic device or a corresponding app for your mobile phone. With a diagnostic device, this must be connected to the OBD2 diagnostic connector of your BMW.

Then the device or the app can be started on your mobile phone. After selecting the respective vehicle type and year of manufacture, the ignition should be turned or switched to level 2. If the ‘coming home’ function is available for your selected model, the ‘coming home’ or home lighting function can be selected in the corresponding app or device.

To do this, the duration of the lighting time must be activated in the first step. The representation here is different depending on the diagnostic device or app. For example, “Home light duration” is displayed in the Carly app. Once you have selected this function, you will be prompted for your preferred lighting time. Here, you may choose a suitable duration. The coding must then be carried out. For example, if you use the Carly app for coding, “Coding” will be displayed after selecting the function in the lower right-hand corner of the screen of the mobile phone. Coding is as simple as tapping the relevant button and the device does it for you.

Once the coding of your preferred duration has been completed, the lights that should light up for the ‘coming home’ function still have to be coded. Occasionally, depending on the model, the check mark for the lights may already be set to “activated”. To be on the safe side, you should deactivate it briefly and activate it again. The respective lights will briefly flash.

Then, you may switch off the ignition of your BMW. The coding is activated when the car is restarted. From then on you never have to walk from the garage to the front door in the dark again, or be left with insufficient time to get to your front door before the lights go out.

The Coding of the Turn Signals

When coding the turn signal, the scope of coding differs between models. On some models, the turn signals or indicators cannot be coded at all. On other models, you can find numerous options for their coding. Some options include:

  • Flashes when unlocking and locking (among other things possible with the 3-series E46).
  • Flashing twice when unlocking (among other things possible with the 5-Series E39).
  • Flashing once when locking (among other things possible with the 5-Series E39).
  • Flashing three times when tapping the indicator stalk once (among other things possible with the 7-series E65 and E66)

The easiest way to code the turn signals is with the use of a mobile app. This allows you to clearly see which functions have already been activated, and which ones are available for customization. As with the ‘coming home’ function, you must connect the diagnostic device or corresponding adapter for the diagnostic app to the OBD2 connector of your BMW and turn or switch the ignition to level two.

Coding Flashes When Locking and Unlocking

The coding of flashing when unlocking is a special feature that only works if the anti-theft alarm system has been activated. The following points are displayed for this particular coding set.

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Anti-theft alarm system:

  • When performing lock/unlock action
  • After performing lock/unlock action

Optical confirmation when unlocking:

  • When performing unlock action
  • After performing unlock action

Special feature: Note that the Panic Alarm must be set to “deactivated” if there is no alarm system installed, in order to avoid an error being generated in the error or fault memory.

Optical confirmation when locking:

  • When performing lock action
  • After performing lock action

Special feature: Panic alarm must be set to “deactivated” if there is no alarm system in order to avoid entries in the error memory.

You can also set an alarm tone. Setting or activating a tone has no influence on the coding of the indicators.

code indicators bmw

As soon as you have performed your adjustments to the settings, confirm these with the “encode” function. As a reminder, note that the flashing when unlocking only works when the anti-theft alarm system is activated. Depending on whether you are using a diagnostic device or smartphone app, you may see some warnings. For example, with Carly you will be informed that coding should only be carried out when the car’s battery is at a certain voltage. This is done to protect the battery. If you are not sure if the battery can withstand this, or if the voltage is appropriate, you can perform the following steps.

  • Start the engine, and if necessary, also activate the air conditioning which will further increase the voltage.
  • Drive the car a few meters, stop in a safe place and immediately perform the coding. Never code whilst driving.

Switch off the ignition of the vehicle again after successful coding. The coding changes will take effect at the next start.

Further BMW Coding Options for the Indicator

Another useful coding option is to make the indicator lights flash three times if the indicator stalk is tapped once in the requisite direction, such as when changing lanes on the road. This function is also called comfort indicator or tip indicator. In most models, the comfort indicator or tip indicator can be set without any problems with the aid of a diagnostic device or app. Please note that not all device or app manufacturers offers the same range of functions across their solutions. Selecting something like Carly which offers a large selection of coding settings, including things such as the convenience or tip indicator is your best bet.

In general, newer BMW models have the tip indicator installed as standard, flashing three times. By coding, you can increase this to five flashes, which enhances your safety on the road and makes you more visible to the traffic around you when changing lanes.

Corona Rings

BMW’s iconic parking light rings that were introduced on the E39 5-Series have shaped the streetscape ever since. These are an essential design feature on all BMW models today easily enhanced by coding. These rings are known as Angel Eyes or Corona Rings. You can adjust their brightness as required, but did you know that increasing their brightness can also reduce their service life?

The values for adjusting the attributes of the Corona Rings are different depending on the control unit version / software version. Here are the examples for FRM3_E89.C31 and FRM3_E89.C32

FRM3_E89.C31

  • Wert_01 – 0b, 8d – 13.0 V
  • Wert_02 – 0b, 8d – 13.0 V
  • Wert_03 – 0a, d7 – 12.2 V
  • Wert_04 – 0b, 05 – 12.4 V
  • Wert_05 – 10.00 – 0 V
  • value_06 – 0a, 38 – 11.5 V.
  • Wert_07 – 0a, 94 – 11.9 V
  • value_08 – 1f, ff – max
  • Wert_09 – 0a, d7 – 12.2 V

FRM3_E89.C32

  • Wert_01 – 0b, 8d – 13.0V
  • Wert_02 – 0b, 8d – 13.0V
  • Wert_03 – 0a, d7 – 12.2V
  • Wert_04 – 0b, 05 – 12.4 VV
  • Wert_05 – 10.00 – 0 V
  • Wert_06 – 0a, d7 – 12.2 V
  • Wert_07 – 0a, 94 – 11.9V
  • value_08 – 1f, ff – max
  • Wert_09 – 0a, d7 – 12.2 V
  • value_10 – 0c, 2D – 13.7 V

The settings for the FRM2 control unit are as follows:

  • Daytime running lights (rings) Original is set to Wert_03 (12.2 V) or Wert_01 (13 V).
  • Parking light / ring lighting with AL (low beam) and FL (high beam) Original is set to Wert_07 (11.9) or Wert_01 = 11.2 V.
  • Parking light (rings) Original is set to Wert_07 (11.9 V) or Wert_01 (11.2 V).

You can set the brightness accordingly by the voltage setting, depending on how bright you’d like your Bimmer’s Corona Rings to shine.

Corona Rings as Daytime Running Lights

Corona Lights are cool and can be easily programmed thanks to BMW coding! If you wish to use the Corona Rings as daytime running lights, you have to code this in the FRM. In order to be able to activate this function, the daytime running lights must also be activated. Furthermore, the “daytime running lights individualization” must be set to “only additional lights”. Note that this coding is only possible for models with FRM2 or FRM3. These FRM versions were installed in the 1 Series (E8x) from mid-2007.

Mirror Coding

Foldable mirrors are immensely practical, especially if you live in a city with narrow, busy streets and small parking spaces. You can relate to this, especially if you’ve had an open mirror dinged by passing traffic. What if your BMW doesn’t automatically fold the mirrors when you switch it off? You can apply coding to your BMW with the “Comfort Close” function. Note that this can only be done on models equipped with electrically folding mirrors. The following options may be available, depending on the diagnostic device or coding app used.

Mirror tilt function ½ (can be coded in FRM)

• When selected

• After selection

Mirror tilt function 2/2 (can be coded in FRM)

• When selected

• After selection

Mirror tilt in reverse gear (can be coded in FRM)

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• When engaging reverse gear

• After engaging reverse gear

The ‘mirror tilt in reverse gear’ coding only works if a LIN bus is installed in your BMW model. In most cases this is only the case with heated exterior mirrors. Then the passenger mirror is tilted when the reverse gear is engaged when the mirror switch is in the driver’s position. To activate this setting, the “mirror tilt function” must also be activated in the vehicle’s control unit.

Convenient folding in for side mirrors (can be coded in FRM)

• when selected

• after selection

This coding only works if a LIN bus is installed in your BMW model. In most cases, this is only the case with heated exterior mirrors. When the locking button is held down, the side mirrors fold in and when unlocked, they fold out. Additional coding of the “CAS” module may be required.

Mirror dimming function electrochromic (can be coded in FRM)

• when selected

• after selection

This coding only works if a LIN bus is installed in your BMW model. In most cases, this is only the case with heated exterior mirrors. If this is the case, it can be coded in the FRM that the side mirrors are dimmed electrochromatically.

Coding of the Warning System

Here you can change the acoustic signal that your warning or alarm system emits. In Europe, a beep is the default tone. Depending on the coding options, you could choose the ‘howling’ style tone common among US-market vehicles, or the ‘signal’ style tone that United Kingdom vehicles emit. Using an app for your smartphone such as the Carly app for coding BMW models is the best way to view the largest range of functions for coding the warning system. Some of the options include:

  • Theft alarm with remote control or lock and remote control
  • Acoustic confirmation when locking
  • Acoustic confirmation when unlocking
  • Alarm system with flashing high beam.
  • Alarm system with flashing low beam.
  • Alarm system with flashing hazard lights.

Arm / Disarm Anti-theft Alarm System

The anti-theft alarm system can be set to be armed or disarmed when the vehicle is locked or unlocked with the remote control key fob, as well as with the lock or unlock button on the driver’s side door handle.

Acoustic Confirmation When Locking

Most vehicles briefly flash their lights when unlocking or locking, but do not emit an acoustic signal. Whilst this may be quieter, the acoustic signal can also be helpful, for example when the sun is blinding and you cannot see the car’s lights, or when you have moved away from the car and are unsure if you had locked it or not. If the car is in a parking lot surrounded by others, you may find you need to run back to it to see the visual signal. With an acoustic confirmation, you are spared this indignity. You can generally set the acoustic signal to be on or off. This acoustic confirmation can be coded in the DWA (anti-theft alarm system) and it can only be coded if such a system is installed. This is because the acoustic signal is generated by the warning system’s sound device and not the vehicle’s horn. If you are not sure if a warning system or just a rudimentary anti-theft protection system is installed, you should carry out a diagnosis of the relevant control unit to find out.

the best codings bmw

Acoustic Confirmation When Unlocking

Depending on the model and year of manufacture of your BMW, you could also activate an acoustic signal when unlocking as well. This is typically left deactivated and can be activated through the DWA (anti-theft alarm system). As with the previous function, this can only be coded if an anti-theft alarm system is installed, and if you are not sure if a warning system or just a rudimentary anti-theft protection system is installed, you should carry out a diagnosis of the relevant control unit to find out.

Alarm with Light Signal

An anti-theft alarm system is a great way to prevent car theft, but did you know it’s also a good way to find a car that’s being broken into quickly, especially when it’s lost in a large parking lot. To do this, you can activate additional flashing lights, as well as the ‘howling’ sound in the control system via all done thanks to your BMW coding options. Therefore, you could have the low or high beams lighting up, as well as the indicator lights and alarm sound, making your car as visible as possible if it’s being broken into. Please bear in mind that as with all changes and coding, they are activated only once the ignition has been switched off and on again after performing the coding.

The Coding of the BMW Models Leaves Nothing to Be Desired

As you have seen, there are a myriad of interesting and useful ways to code the control systems of your BMW to make your life easier. Depending on the model and year of manufacture, functions differ and not all can be fully implemented. With this in mind, it’s best to use a smartphone app in conjunction with an OBD2 scanner for coding. Apart from your smartphone and scanner, nothing else is required for coding. In most apps, the available options will be clearly shown, although codings that can be set vary depending on the provider.

The Carly app, which works with the Carly Universal OBD Scanner offers the largest range of functions in terms of BMW coding. Just give it a try and make your BMW truly unique. Please note that not all codings are permitted by road traffic laws and regulations so it’s best to do some research, lest you end up with an unpleasant surprise.