UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

E28 technical advice asked and given! Troubleshooting, modifications and more.
e28Sean
Posts: 917
Joined: Nov 23, 2007 3:07 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
Contact:

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by e28Sean »

My Octopus arrived in the mail today. WOO!

I'll get it installed this weekend. Photos & Video to follow.
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by MisterFixit »

MisterFixit wrote:
Crazy_Canuck wrote:Yes mine is a Euro car with factory rear fog, but I have no check panel to worry about.
OK, send me an email when you are ready to discuss options, which for you include:
Dual tail lights
Dual brake lights
Working rear fogs
Project Octopus wiring enhancement
High Output lamps in any or all positions
Hey 'Crazy' -
Have you any interest in the options described above?
I am about to finish up your Octopus, and would need to know to wire it correctly.

Andy
e28Sean
Posts: 917
Joined: Nov 23, 2007 3:07 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
Contact:

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by e28Sean »

So, I test-installed Project Octopus today. I need to do some tweaking, but, I'll be permanently installing it later this week.

Full overview, first impressions, and results can be found in this video!
Burnze
Posts: 467
Joined: Jul 17, 2014 5:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by Burnze »

e28Sean wrote:So, I test-installed Project Octopus today. I need to do some tweaking, but, I'll be permanently installing it later this week.

Full overview, first impressions, and results can be found in this video!
Wow, what a difference. Thanks for taking the time to record this.
e28Sean
Posts: 917
Joined: Nov 23, 2007 3:07 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
Contact:

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by e28Sean »

Burnze wrote:Wow, what a difference. Thanks for taking the time to record this.
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
I'm just starting out w/ the whole YouTube thing. Trying to do one car related video a month and I wanted to do this anyway, so I figured I may as well record it.
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by MisterFixit »

e28Sean wrote:So, I test-installed Project Octopus today. I need to do some tweaking, but, I'll be permanently installing it later this week.

Full overview, first impressions, and results can be found in this video!
Good job with the video Sean!

I noted a couple of things-
1) the Octopus wires are color matched to the car wiring, so installing is a snap; that wasn't clear in the video.
2) bulb failure is addressed in the intructions on page two, change a failed lamp in a minute or less using original socket and bulb.
3) replacement 'Octopus lamps' (high output) are readily available from me, or you can DIY using any lamp if you like to solder.

I am continuing to develop the kit to make it easier to change lamps if they fail away from home, and to integrate other upgrades like the dual tail + dual brake light kit, relays for even brighter brakes, and for Euros, a dual purpose rear fog light + dual brake light + dual tail light option.

The work continues... and your suggestions are welcome!

Happy Friday, everyone!
e28Sean
Posts: 917
Joined: Nov 23, 2007 3:07 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
Contact:

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by e28Sean »

MisterFixit wrote:Good job with the video Sean!

I noted a couple of things-
1) the Octopus wires are color matched to the car wiring, so installing is a snap; that wasn't clear in the video.
2) bulb failure is addressed in the intructions on page two, change a failed lamp in a minute or less using original socket and bulb.
3) replacement 'Octopus lamps' (high output) are readily available from me, or you can DIY using any lamp if you like to solder.
I thought I had addressed these points in the video; If it did not make the final cut, I do apologize. The 12 minute video I posted to YouTube is the result of editing down about 90 minutes of footage. It is entirely possible I accidentally trimmed out that bit. I will be sure to addresses this in my follow-up video of the final install. :)

To be clear, I am 110% happy with Project Octopus and wholly recommend it.
boogie
Posts: 51
Joined: Dec 23, 2015 2:28 AM
Location: florida

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by boogie »

inspired by this thread i decided to take a crack at it but try to make the bulbs replaceable. i made this prototype using my reverse light. one of my brake lights has a really corroded contact so that's next but i wanted to use a clean unit. i'm doing one side for now so i can compare. also gonna purchase a 6 pin connector and i'm gonna play with the lights since i'll be able to add fogs or a second brake light just by messing with the wiring...i'm calling this project spaghetti. not trying to steal anyone's thunder i just have a lot of time on my hands. wires are/will all be color coded. i pulled them from a donor 318is, & sorry about the big pics


Image

Image

Image
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by MisterFixit »

boogie wrote:inspired by this thread i decided to take a crack at it but try to make the bulbs replaceable.
Hmm, I would have used a different phrase :lol: but we understand! Octopus bulbs are replaceable, jut not using 'off the shelf' items. That's why I designed in an 'Emergency Replacement' option, under a minute to change any of the bulbs using a standard lamp and socket. You still have these on hand from the stock setup. High Output replacements can be had in under a week, if/when you need one, and always a good idea to have spare bulbs on hand.
i made this prototype using my reverse light. one of my brake lights has a really corroded contact so that's next but i wanted to use a clean unit. i'm doing one side for now so i can compare.
Always a good approach doing one side, so you can 'see the difference.' Reverse lights are a relatively harmless way to begin, the brake light improvement will be more visually apparent because it's not as bright to begin with.
also gonna purchase a 6 pin connector and i'm gonna play with the lights since i'll be able to add fogs or a second brake light just by messing with the wiring...i'm calling this project spaghetti.

now you're just making us hungry ... but sounds like you are using a similar approach. These lights are pretty flexible.
not trying to steal anyone's thunder i just have a lot of time on my hands. wires are/will all be color coded. i pulled them from a donor 318is, & sorry about the big pics
Seems I'm not the only 'Mad Scientist' on the forum...good luck!
boogie
Posts: 51
Joined: Dec 23, 2015 2:28 AM
Location: florida

Re: Project Octopus lighting solution (suggested by 2 member

Post by boogie »

haha thanks i wouldn't call myself that but i try. i like electrical work and i've always wanted to upgrade the eletrics of these cars. heres a link of something i've been loooking into but haven't put the funds aside for: http://www.mye28.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=139908

also i'm from the south i'm 22 and i'm black so i use a lot of slang especilly online since i don't feel the need to prove anything to anyone as far as being educated goes. couldn't think of a better name than spaghetti since when it's all done it'll be an organized mess of wires. i ditched the LEDs so i could show the difference a lot better and here's my result. pictures are also links to a few more pictures i didn't post here... Image
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus Version 2.0

Post by MisterFixit »

As you might imagine, I made a few improvements to the design after the first one shipped.
The major improvements are:

1) Ability to replace a failed lamp in under a minute with the Emergency Bulb Replacement jumper - in the first version, this was not reliable.
2) Simplified connections to the harness plug from each lamp - eliminates 8 connections and 16 terminals (Euro sets- 10 and 20).
3) Clearly marked connector terminal on ground distribution harness - previously not intuitive, now pretty obvious.

At this time I have three out there;
one Euro with ten bulbs;
one US with eight bulbs and one HO for the center brake;
one using the customer's old sockets for a cost savings.

UPDATE 12 OCTOBER 2020 - Cheap sockets are no longer to be found, dealer (or me) only, no matter what a website says.
For a lower cost on your Octopus, you ship me a set, and I will give you a break on the price, up to $56 off.
Up to you; of course I only to this to keep you safe out there on the road... Mo Brighta, Mo Betta.

Question: "How do you make a small fortune restoring and upgrading old BMW lights?"
Answer: "Start with a large one."
Last edited by MisterFixit on Oct 12, 2020 7:47 PM, edited 1 time in total.
CrustyE
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 01, 2016 5:17 PM
Location: Saint Louis, MO USA

Re: Project Octopus 2.0- simpler, better, cheaper

Post by CrustyE »

SUB'd! :bow: :up: :wow:
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus 2.0- UPDATE

Post by MisterFixit »

OK, latest version of the Octopus, I did a setup for Randy with two additional features-
Dual tail lights;
Dual brake lights.

In addition, he had sent me his sockets for the mod, so he got a $50 discount.

I know for a fact that no one on this forum ever visits a parts yard and inadvertently sticks a few E28 bulb holders in their pocket,
but if you happen to have eight of these that are in useable condition, you can also get a discount on the Octopus.
You'll need to send me two 'tail', six (or eight) 'brake' sockets for the full set; if you're short a few, no worries, I'll provide the rest.

Any further interest in having this setup for MUCH brighter rear lights? I'd be glad to build you one... with or without the other upgrades.
Andy
Last edited by MisterFixit on Jul 14, 2018 3:48 PM, edited 1 time in total.
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Octopus 2.0 - more options

Post by MisterFixit »

Continuous Product Improvement. That's the word on Octopus evolution... but not the eight legged variety, they haven't changed much in 300 million years, according to an article in National Geographic.

Price Drop - an Octopus using your sockets (white plastic bulb holders) is lower; used or new sockets are available if needed at extra cost. Folks who bought the first few Octopi got a killer deal on new sockets... Sorry, I realized just couldn't afford to keep that up.

Upgrade Options - the 'Plus Two' and 'Plus Four' upgrades using your sockets are cheaper when ordered with an Octopus because new sockets are expensive, so again - lower parts cost. Same with Euro options, same reasons.

Relay(s) - For MAXIMUM Voltage, add a relay to supply the additional brake lamps in the +2 and +4 upgrade options, running them on the Power Antenna circuit. This supplies the added 4.5 amps from a different circuit, meaning the brake light circuit (fuse, switch, wiring, check panel) all see normal loads. Available for US and Euro lights. Mo Brighta, Mo Betta.

So Start gathering up all your used sockets, put them in a box and send it in for the lowest price on a nice improvement on lighting - Adopt an Octopus and keep your rear end safe from vehicular assault!

Remember Pearl Harbor, and those who sacrificed.
Cannabis9478
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 20, 2016 9:20 PM
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Project Octopus 2.0- simpler, better, cheaper

Post by Cannabis9478 »

Hi Andy,

Is octopus kit still available? I am a oversea member in NZ with Euro spec e28, what's the latest options available?
Also possible to have LED bulbs that won't trigger the OBC as an option?? Is the kit still installed to the loom pin by pin or there's a socket option?
Looking forward to your reply. Thanks.

Cheers

Mike
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus 2.0- simpler, better, cheaper

Post by MisterFixit »

Cannabis9478 wrote:Hi Andy,
Hi Mike.
Is octopus kit still available?
Yes
I am a oversea member in NZ with Euro spec e28, what's the latest options available?
* Relays to power extra lamp to maintain proper Check Panel operation;
* Triple tail light option for ALL three red sectors working on 'running light';
* Working rear fog lights when desired, or as a second brake light when not;
* 'High Output' everything recommended for maximum visibility - still standard.
* New, used, or customer's sockets (bulb holders) in decreasing cost order.
Also possible to have LED bulbs that won't trigger the OBC as an option??
Not yet, unless you have some.
Is the kit still installed to the loom pin by pin or there's a socket option?
No plug-in option as of right now; Maybe Hella has something I could buy and adapt?
A plier and an itty bitty screwdriver is all you need to install, that's not too bad.
Looking forward to your reply. Thanks.
Cheers
Mike
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus 3.0 - even simpler, way cheaper

Post by MisterFixit »

OK, here is the newest idea I had regarding the Octopus.

Currently, E28 lighting uses 'conductor plates' to carry current to rear lamps - these plates are susceptible to corrosion which can cause weak light output due to resistance and voltage drop. Dim lights can also result in rear end damage. This is BAD.

The Octopus bypasses ALL the 'conductor plate' corrosion points (48 - 60 points of contact) with direct wiring, which includes somewhere between 30 and nearly 60 soldered terminals and relays and such. This brings a whole world of higher voltage and brighter lights into view, solving almost every complaint of the average E28 owner. It takes a lot of work to make one - lots of stripping and crimping and soldering and heat-shrinking and drilling and testing and like that.

Mr. Octopus is expensive, $150 up to $400 or so with ALL the bells and whistles. You may want a +4 upgrade, relay options, LED center brake option, and stuff like that. Euro cars have rear fog lights, lots of possibilities, and cost more as a result. It is labor intensive, but it's a labor of love.

SOOOO, since everyone is not rich, maybe I can pare it down, offer just what you really need. Say you only have the typical brake light problem. Maybe a Two-Legged Octopus, one that can be extended to more lamps as needed, could do the trick - and for much less money.

I am doing the development work here in the Laboratory, will post when it is ready for prime time. Meanwhile, get your thinking caps on. Ask me about an idea you have, maybe we can get that on the drawing board too?

Just one thing - please don't ask me about LED bulbs, I am still trying to find good ones that make MORE LIGHT across the ENTIRE LENS and DO NOT confuse the check panel.
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: Project Octopus Peg-Leg - any interest?

Post by MisterFixit »

I am still developing the Octopus project - currently in revision 3.1.

New Option: Pick Your Problem Bulbs
This new option is a less-involved way to replace power paths to only the problem lamps; wiring bypasses just the really bad sections of the conductor plates. This usually is the brake lights, especially on the left side. With only two or four new wires, I think a Peg-Leg Octopus is a good mascot.

If your brake lights are scary dim, but turns/tails/reverse lights all work well enough, why not do a dual brake light option with Octopus wiring to the original brakes, and a relay powering the added lamps? This will solve the worst of the problems at lower cost.

Or, maybe a dual brake light / dual tail light upgrade with a dual relay pack for all four new filaments - again, less wiring, more light at a lower cost.

The objective is to make the Octopus solution cost effective, have a simpler installation, and more accessible to the 'electrically challenged.' I am also re-writing instructions with this goal in mind, more pictures too.

Latest Full Octopus with bells, whistles, and relays.
Some features in the most involved project build so far:

> Euro Functionality: provides rear fog light PLUS additional brake light option
> Triple Relay Pack for rear fog, tail, and brake lights - full voltage and increased light output
> Full color-matched harness bypasses ALL conductor plates for full voltage to all lamps
> Intelligent socket design allows 'Octo-bulb' replacement on the road using standard bulb in any position
> Check panel sees normal current to all tail and brake lights, functions normally
> Triple tail light options for FULL WIDTH red lens - all three red sections operating edge to edge (relay required)

So far, I have no upgrade options for reverse and turn signals beyond high output lamps. But, this is not to say it isn't possible... just not yet on my radar.
Last edited by MisterFixit on Oct 12, 2020 7:50 PM, edited 1 time in total.
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

Post by MisterFixit »

OK, I finally have an order for a new Octopus version, the 'peg leg', set up for the one 'problem' circuit on a light.
This new option is designed to bypass only the specific bad conductors between the wire harness and problem lamp or lamps.

This option solves the customer's brake light issues ONLY, and with a dual brake option, it lights two brakes on each side of the car:
one brake lamp under the reverse light (rear fog sector), plus the stock brake under the turn signal.

Other lamps are unaltered, so this option solves a specific problem, saves money and is a simpler installation.

I expect that the majority of two-legged and four-legged Octopus installations will be for brake and tail lights, because reverse and turn signals are normally well off, unlike the left brake light which fails first and often.

The usual solution - a temporary one - is to 'adjust' the bulb holder (socket) by twisting it back and forth. This helps to find another part of the conductor with the tabs for better contact, and the light comes back on... for a while, anyway. The Octo-Brake solution does the same for a brake light that the full-on Octopus does for ALL circuits, getting full voltage to lamps for full time, full output.

As before, with the Octo-Brake upgrade I build in the ability to replace a failed lamp immediately - remove and replace! With a spare Octo-lamp you might want to have on hand, unplug the wires, swap in the new lamp, and plug the wires back in. A standard lamp can be used with the included jumper wire, but your lights may go dim from the corrosion that remains on the conductor plates, not ideal. Of course, the beauty of the Octopus is proper functioning of the check panel, because the current seen by the relay is normal.

I am working on reasonable pricing for this, and hope to keep the exchange going with your sockets for mine, to keep the supply of lighting upgrades steady. I hope this solution is available to more folks without the need for a full blown Octopus, and solves the real problems without being too expensive. Of course, if things get too cheap, you can always include a tip...

Thanks to one and all, and Happy Easter!
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

Post by MisterFixit »

Happy Feast Day to Bl. Carlo Acutis, patron of the internet and social media.

Today I am building a Pegleg Octopus for both brake lights, customer in Kentucky has a need.
This is the second best way to get RELIABLE bake lights in an E28... right behind DUAL brake lights!

There was some concern that the cost of a Pegleg would be wasted when a Full Octopus is installed later on, but NOOO.
The two brake lights will integrate with a full octopus easily, lowering the cost later, which is BY DESIGN. Who wants to throw money away? Nobody, that's who.

So theoretically, you could get an Octopus two bulbs at a time, and only spend a tiny bit more for postage and a ground adapter.

Any takers???

Andy
harrypalmer
Posts: 555
Joined: Jul 25, 2012 12:10 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

Post by harrypalmer »

Hi Andy,

Your signature mentions E28 front solutions, what’s this all about?

I’ve got Euro front headlights installed in my car, but the wiring is a US version, and would like to have access to a correct setup that takes into account all the wattage from Euros H1H4 bulbs, fog lamps, turn signals and side markers.
So have you got a solution for this? Or have you ever considered coming up and marketing a true Euro harness with correct upgraded gauge wiring and full relay setup? I’d be interested in a plug and play just like you did with the rear, if you offer a solution. Thanks and good luck!

Jack
MisterFixit
Posts: 924
Joined: Jul 21, 2006 5:01 PM
Location: Golden, Colorado

Re: UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

Post by MisterFixit »

harrypalmer wrote: Oct 12, 2020 11:26 PM Hi Andy,

Your signature mentions E28 front solutions, what’s this all about?

I’ve got Euro front headlights installed in my car, but the wiring is a US version, and would like to have access to a correct setup that takes into account all the wattage from Euros H1H4 bulbs, fog lamps, turn signals and side markers.
So have you got a solution for this? Or have you ever considered coming up and marketing a true Euro harness with correct upgraded gauge wiring and full relay setup? I’d be interested in a plug and play just like you did with the rear, if you offer a solution. Thanks and good luck!

Jack
Hey Jack, the 'Front Solutions' I used to offer included several items that have been discontinued... I guess I will revise my sig; this included:
>High Performance high and low beam H1 headlights - the lows are discontinued, NLA.
>High Performance H1 lamps, 2x brighter, same watts - the supplier closed their doors.
>38 mil headlight protection film - discontinued, NLA.

Some things I still have - few HO H1 lamps... thinner (12 mil) headlight film... H4 male connector - mates with US headlight harness connectors. Plus HO front turn signal lamps, single and dual filament, and plenty of rear lighting parts, HO Lamps, and upgrades.

I do in fact have a relay modification kit to make the Euro headlights work correctly. Your E28 already has relays for both high and low beams and for fog lights, so that part is fine -- as long as you don't install extreme high wattage lamps! The weak link is normally the connectors, and I have replacement terminals to bring them back to new. BMW normally crimps them; I solder and crimp, so a better flow of electrons is guaranteed. The wires are plenty beefy, as long as they are intact. Or we can run heavier wiring, if you really need it (or want it).

The relay modification turns the lows into full time lights, highs on or off doesn't matter. Euro lights never operate highs in the outer lamps anyway, US lights do. That's why US cars turn OFF the lows with the highs, to keep from overheating and burning out the H4 lamps.

Let me know how you'd like to proceed - DIY, at your usual shop, or here. You'll need to budget around 60-90 minutes for the job, unless you want more... believe me, I can talk for days about ways to increase light output.

By the way, how are your rear lighting upgrades - still working well? I have a note that you have my +4 kit with relays and working rear fog lights in an 86 535i... and were in Florida at the time of the upgrade. Now it seems you are in Denver. It's a short drive to Golden, Jack. You might want to upgrade to an Octopus... for even brighter lights! Besides, I'd like to see that rear fog light switch you installed, and how that all works with the lights.

Andy
harrypalmer
Posts: 555
Joined: Jul 25, 2012 12:10 AM
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: UPDATE - Octopus for single lamp - less $$$

Post by harrypalmer »

Hi Andy,
Wow that's great. Interested but need to define what exactly I need/want. I'll get back to you and thank you!
Post Reply