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      01-19-2015, 01:32 PM   #1
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Taking Control Of Your Range Extender - Mike Mas

Taking Control Of Your Range Extender - Mike Mas

I know there’s a number of posts on the forum that deal with a software fix that remedies the problem with the I3 Range Extender however I wanted to just put it all in one thread for other users. As most of you already know, BMW made a terrible decision regarding the operational use of the range extender engine with regard to starting techniques on the I3.



Range Extender - For novice forum users I’ll explain; the I3 Range Extender option is comprised of a small 2-cylinder water-cooled engine, which is coupled to a generator. Software in the I3 monitors the high voltage battery levels and when they reach a 6% state of charge (SOC) the software fires up the engine; runs it for a short warm up period (very quiet) then increases the speed of the engine to compensate for needed current to both power the vehicle as well as run any accessories such as lights heater AC etc. The operator has absolutely no control of this operation, which is the problem.

Reasoning - For reasons of obtaining certain certificates in some states for electric car use, electric vehicles must travel further on electric than on the gas. In order to accomplish this in the US models, BMW did two things; they increased the electric range by running the car all the way down until the battery only has 6% charge and they reduced the gas distance by reducing the fuel tank size from around 2.5 gallons to only 1.9 gallons.

Disadvantages - The problem arises when the vehicle is running on the Extender and only 6% battery the car now has limited performance, depending on load, speed and aux electrical use, an operator might find themselves in a situation when passing or climbing a hill the car actually slows down which could create a dangerous situation.

For myself, just the mere fact I could not start the engine was troublesome for me. If the battery went down and the RX does not start you could easily find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Preferable, with the option of starting it myself, I would rather start the generator while the battery retained 20-25 miles, this way in the event of and engine failure, or should I run out of gas, I could get off the highway and hopefully to a safe location. Another benefit is performance-wise, my car would then have sufficient battery power for passing and hill climbing when the generator was running.

With these problems in mind, I began my search for a “Fix”. After a few days on Google I found a company called; DVDinMotion (http://www.dvdinmotion.com) who provides a range extender software “patch” for the I3.




The fix provides another menu item in the “Setting” page on the I3’s computer display. After the mod is loaded via the USB port in the center console, you’ll see a beautiful thing which simply says: “Range Extender”, one push on the selector knob brings you to another menu which says “Hold State Of Charge”, another push results in adding a check in the check box and if your high-voltage battery charge is less than 75%, you’ll hear the lovely sound of your little generator fire up, which would put a smile on any I3’s owners face.

Installation – The folks at DVDinMotion have their act together on this range extender software, in addition they are pleasant and very responsive to any questions. The price for the fix is $150, I sent a Paypal payment with my I3 Vin number and in just minutes I received an email with a link to the software (bin.file). You just download it to your desktop then transfer it to a USB flash drive and you now have possession of the file and you’re ready to proceed to install it.

Installation is straightforward – you start the car up – stick the flash drive in the USB connector in the center console and in a second or two, it will start flashing and the I3 downloads the file to the system. Leave it connected for another 30 seconds to be safe, then remove the flash drive shut the car off and lock the doors and walk away for 5 minutes or so. When you re-start the car you’ll see the I3 reboot and you’re all set – presto you now have Range Extender control. Go “Menu” then “Settings” then “Range Extender” then check the box and your Range Extender will start up and maintain the battery as long as your battery is below 75% SOC. You can now run the generator any time you desire providing you are under 75% charge. Also keep in mind, the generator will stop anytime the cars slows to 5 mph or stops. Also, if you forget to start the generator, the original auto-start feature is still enabled and the generator will start anytime the battery reach’s 6% SOC.









Should you need to visit your dealer for service, you can un-install the patch by simply going through the install procedure again.

For drivers who are interested in this patch I have included their email & web site – while there is some information on their site its not specific to the I3 and therefore recommend following the procedures of this post.

Best Regards - Mike Mas

Contact: Lucie Vernerova
Email: info@dvdinmotion.com
Web site: http://www.dvdinmotion.com
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      01-19-2015, 03:17 PM   #2
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Humm , sounds like a great idea.... But 'jail breaking' your car... Not sure...

Ps thanks for the post though
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      01-20-2015, 11:30 AM   #3
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That sounds awesome.
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      01-21-2015, 07:06 PM   #4
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If this works I see an i3 in my future. I've long said with the flexability they have across the pond I would get (lease) an i3. If there are a few success stories posted that will make it a sure thing. Thanks!
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      01-21-2015, 08:10 PM   #5
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With the vehicle connected to the BMW server via the cellular network, BMW could, I'm not saying they have or will, check the status of many things in a vehicle at will. It could get ugly. There are lots of federal dollars at stake.

While not in the same category, there are some fines defined making it a $10K hiccup if a mechanic disables any emissions equipment, but that was not extended to an individual owner. Those have been on the books for decades as when the catalytic converters were first deployed, they created a big hit on economy, and a lot of people wanted them out of there. I have not investigated the actual wording on the CARB rules, but there may be some compliance rules in there as well, putting people at risk.

While the DVDINMOTION technique doesn't use the OSB II port, BMW does say that it is only for use by qualified service technicians, those that make the changes themselves via that port are putting their warranty at risk as well. Maybe much todo about nothing, but something to consider.
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      01-22-2015, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh View Post
With the vehicle connected to the BMW server via the cellular network, BMW could, I'm not saying they have or will, check the status of many things in a vehicle at will. It could get ugly. There are lots of federal dollars at stake.

While not in the same category, there are some fines defined making it a $10K hiccup if a mechanic disables any emissions equipment, but that was not extended to an individual owner. Those have been on the books for decades as when the catalytic converters were first deployed, they created a big hit on economy, and a lot of people wanted them out of there. I have not investigated the actual wording on the CARB rules, but there may be some compliance rules in there as well, putting people at risk.

While the DVDINMOTION technique doesn't use the OSB II port, BMW does say that it is only for use by qualified service technicians, those that make the changes themselves via that port are putting their warranty at risk as well. Maybe much todo about nothing, but something to consider.

While this raises a concern it does not seem in BMW's interest to act as the watchdog for CARB or other agencies. Certainly many turbo BMW's have been hacked, tuned, modified, or otherwise molested (mine included) and I have not heard of BMW blowing the whistle on them.
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      01-26-2015, 11:52 AM   #7
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Guys, this is simple coding, done in a different method. You can code this on using anyone who knows how to code the car, or DVD in Motion can do this for you.

Either way, it's not a big deal at all.
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      01-27-2015, 11:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for the post. I was waiting for something like this to come up. I'm currently on a fiat 500e and the only reason I didn't get the i3 was for the reason that the rx didn't work like I wanted too. But this software, I'm sure getting one next year when my 2yr lease ends.

Quick question, is their a way to reduce that start up of the RX? I know it mentions it will start up once the battery reaches below 75%. But of I want it to start up around, maybe let's say 55%-below, could that be possible?
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      01-27-2015, 12:38 PM   #9
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If yours has the range hold function enabled, you can manually turn it on any time the SOC is less than or equal to 75%. It does NOT come on automatically until the SOC gets to about 6% otherwise. There is no way to preset a higher turn-on SOC that I'm aware of.
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      02-01-2015, 09:39 AM   #10
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Having the recode on a flashdrive is an excellent way to easily reinstall the patch after a BMW service resets the firmware after practically any service. I'll buy this as soon as the patch to open up the full Rex tank capacity is included on the patch along with Rex control.
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      02-04-2015, 12:16 AM   #11
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Hey I just bought this so I could actually watch movies while driving. But it's not working. Is this because I had the new KLE update? I thought I heard that the new update broke the ability to do some coding. Not sure if this is related or not.
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      02-04-2015, 04:03 PM   #12
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The first police officer that notices a movie playing on your display while moving and you're going to get a big surprise. THat's illegal in every state of the USA. The only company that has a legal solution is MB where they use optical filters so the driver can see his 'normal' display while the passenger can watch a movie while in motion. Not sure what that option costs, but the display monitor has to be expensive.

The driver watching a movie has got to be far worse than texting while driving, and that is illegal in many places for good reason.
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      02-04-2015, 05:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadnashuanh
The first police officer that notices a movie playing on your display while moving and you're going to get a big surprise. THat's illegal in every state of the USA. The only company that has a legal solution is MB where they use optical filters so the driver can see his 'normal' display while the passenger can watch a movie while in motion. Not sure what that option costs, but the display monitor has to be expensive.

The driver watching a movie has got to be far worse than texting while driving, and that is illegal in many places for good reason.
Yea not smart lol!

But I can't even get a movie to play while waiting for my wife when she's shopping for clothes and stuff! Sucks!

Anybody know how to get a movie to play while parked ?
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      02-04-2015, 08:39 PM   #14
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Watching a movie while parked, fine by me. I haven't tried it, but then, I am rarely waiting in the car for it to be useful.
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      04-02-2015, 05:32 PM   #15
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So, 3 days ago, I purchased BOTH the range extender control (HSOC -hold state of charge) and the unlocked video for $199.00. The BIN files are both named the same thing. So, do I have to use 2 flash drives to install the 2 files? The (incomplete) instructions stated not to rename the files when you download them, but of course, Windows doesn't like identically named files, so it will append a (1) to the end of a file to prevent duplicate file. This, of course, renames the file.
I have installed the HSOC file, which works beautifully. Do I need to erase this file off the flash drive and download the second identically named file so I can install the video in motion fix?
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Last edited by drhardee; 04-03-2015 at 09:30 AM..
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      04-02-2015, 09:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drhardee
So, 3 days ago, I purchased BOTH the range extender control (HSOC -hold state of charge) and the unlocked video for $199.00. The BIN files are both named the same thing. So, do I have to use 2 flash drives to install the 2 files? The (poorly written) instructions stated not to rename the files when you download them, but of course, Windows doesn't like identically named files, so it will append a (1) to the end of a file to prevent duplicate file. This, of course, renames the file.
I have installed the HSOC file, which works beautifully. Do I need to erase this file off the flash drive and download the second identically named file so I can install the video in motion fix?
Hey how do you get video to play ? I've tried everything and it doesn't work.

Parked , ebrake just doesn't turn on. What do you do to play it?

Thanks !!!
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      04-03-2015, 09:27 AM   #17
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Haven't yet installed the "Video in Motion" part of the software. It appears to be straightforward enough to do. I believe your video file has to be on a flash drive in order to work; I don't know if you can save it to the 20GB media storage unit or not. When I get it up and running, I'll let folks know.

To answer my question, Lucie (with DVD in Motion) replied that I had to use two flash drives; one for each of the two files, or erase the first file and install the second BIN file. I suppose as long as I keep the files (even renamed for storage purposes) on an HDD, they'll be safe.

I also have to give full props to Lucie and the rest of the crew at DVD in Motion. They promptly and professionally answered my questions and cleared up my confusion. They seem like a good company with which to do business.
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      04-03-2015, 11:49 AM   #18
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somehow i have the feeling that this "hold state of charge" feature will be enabled by bmw na in the future to address user concerns.
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      04-03-2015, 12:57 PM   #19
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In a way, but not completely, the (next?) software update for the i3 in the USA will address it. IF you put in a route, it will evaluate the terrain information in the navigation system's maps, and turn it on earlier if it detects it would be needed to maintain performance. Personally, I do not see the i3 as a total replacement for an ICE, even with the REx. Certainly, some try to use it that way, but the limitations, to me anyways, are just not worth it. With that in mind, and since the car was designed as a city vehicle, I do not see the big pressure to change things.

Unless CARB changes their rules, or BMW choses not to take the credits, they have to walk a fine line to maintain them. Otherwise, many of the ICE vehicles they sell will need to have raised prices, or, they'd have to raise the price on the i3 by a lot to compensate that loss. Given that the sales volume of the i3 isn't huge compared to other ICE models, that would IMHO, push the i3 out of the budget for many.

The car, as being sold in the USA, performs as is being advertised. The initial press, prior to final release in the USA, implied otherwise, but since actual official release, it is what they said it was and people are getting what was advertised. Wanting more may not make it happen.
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      04-20-2015, 08:29 PM   #20
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I have it installed but now I have found that my iPhone app is not working. It is either the update for the iPhone or the Rex Hold software. Any way the DVD software works and works well. I find it gives me more flexibility.
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      05-01-2015, 11:18 AM   #21
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BMW NA is working on a "hill mode" patch right now. It was supposed to be out in March along with the SOC display, but only the SOC display made it in the March update. The hold feature should be out some time this year. Or you know, you could just code it yourself. It's not that hard.
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      02-17-2016, 09:23 AM   #22
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Has anyone that has done this modification still have it working and have you had your car serviced or had warranty repair work done since installing it? My main concern is that this will void my warranty, as I am sure a good deal of you also worry. I know that when a fault happens it records all settings at the time in the software, sort of a snapshot, and even though you change your setting back before taking it to the dealer, your change is still recorded in the fault snapshot.


Anyone? Thoughts?

Thanks for reviving this thread for me.
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