Customize MINI Settings with Bimmercode App

Discussion in 'Cooper SE' started by insightman, Sep 17, 2020.

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  1. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    A MINI Cooper SE owner posting on the North American Motoring MINI forum started a Bimmercode thread to report how he can change some basic settings using the Bimmercode app. He disabled the Acoustic Pedestrian Protection and seat-belt warning, and fiddled with the dimming of the head unit. So if you're adventurous and unhappy with some of the ways your MINI works, this app may be just what you've been wanting.
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  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I dislike having to cart around an AM radio to listen to local sporting events (although the way the Michigan Wolverines are playing football and basketball, that may soon cease to be a problem). InsideEVs published a BMW i3 Coding Tutorial in 2014. This section of that tutorial grabbed my attention:

    To enable AM radio
    Werte=01 – Enable AM Radio
    Werte=00 – Default (AM Radio disabled)

    Does any Bimmercode user know if the app can unlock an AM radio in the MINI Cooper SE? Why would BMW be so snobbish they would include an AM radio in the i3 (or, more importantly for me, the SE) and then disable it?
    Tommy Electric likes this.
  4. Tommy Electric

    Tommy Electric Active Member

    I am also very interested in hearing more about this as I'd love AM radio in mine.
  5. GetOffYourGas

    GetOffYourGas Well-Known Member

    AM reception in EVs is notoriously poor due to the electrical interference. It may have been so bad in the i3 that BMW decided it would look better to remove it entirely.
    J22, NewGreen and GvilleGuy like this.
  6. Toi

    Toi Well-Known Member

    ^ This... the VFD drive that your car uses to adjust how much duty cycle to entice the motor into movement makes it all but unusable for any AM station that isn't +150KW and right next to you.
    J22 and GvilleGuy like this.
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  8. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    To hear sporting events in my MINI Cooper SE I ride with my 3-inch long AM radio in my lap and hear almost no radio frequency interference--and that's with no external antenna. In contrast, the electrical system in my gen-1 Honda Insight hybrid produced tons of RFI. It made me wonder what the electrical system just inches behind me was doing to my body.
  9. GetOffYourGas

    GetOffYourGas Well-Known Member

    An AM radio on your lap is definitely more isolated from interference than one integrated into the car. Your experience with the Insight is definitely cause to wonder. I had a gen-2 insight, but I don't recall if I ever tried using its AM radio. If I did, it was to listen to traffic advisories on the highway, which never come in very clear anyway.
    carrrl and GvilleGuy like this.
  10. GvilleGuy

    GvilleGuy Well-Known Member

    Ah! This makes so much more sense now. I was stumped as to why AM would be excluded.
  11. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    The same 3-inch AM radio that gets almost no RFI in my lap in my SE was overwhelmed by RFI when riding in my lap in my gen-1 Insight, but almost no RFI could be heard on the the AM radio integrated into the Insight's dash. I assume the shielded cable connecting the radio to the roof-mounted antenna made the difference.

    Is the F56 SE the only 2020/2021 MINI Cooper without an AM radio? I was unsuccessful at googling the answer. Of course, the Owners Manual is no help.
    GetOffYourGas likes this.
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  13. GetOffYourGas

    GetOffYourGas Well-Known Member

    Well that's an interesting data point. I stand corrected.
  14. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You still may be correct that BMW disabled the AM radio because they considered any RFI to be unacceptable. They disabled the AM radio in the i3 before 2020, when the MINI Cooper SE became a car. I wonder if the i3's carbon-reinforced plastic body makes the car more prone to RFI than the SE's steel body?

    I asked if the F56 SE is the only 2020/2021 MINI Cooper without an AM radio because I doubt that the SE's head unit is unique to this model. So if other models can receive stations on the AM band, there's hope that Bimmercode can enable AM for the SE.
    Urbanengineer and GetOffYourGas like this.
  15. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Well-Known Member

    It might be worth noting that my Honda Clarity PHEV radio had AM band available, and it worked great whether driving on electrons or dino-fuel. My new 2021 Mini SE does not offer AM either, but does have satellite radio.

    I tend to think that Mini's decision to omit the AM radio band had really nothing to do with RFI or even $ of production of the car. After all, the Mini radio can handle satellite radio reception without interference problems -- why not terrestrial AM radio? Or, maybe they have been paid to offer paid satellite radio in lieu of the free AM band or just wanted to sell more satellite radio capable vehicles? As noted in this automotive story:

    "If you’re smack dab in the middle of the Venn diagram of “people shopping for a new BMW” and “people who absolutely must have satellite radio in their car,” good news: BMW and SiriusXM announced today that all 2021 BMW models will come standard with SiriusXM satellite radio and a complimentary 12-month trial subscription.

    "SiriusXM’s availability as a standard feature in all 2021 BMWs is part of an agreement between the satellite radio provider and the automaker that extends their partnership through 2026. It extends to other brands under the BMW umbrella, as well; that means SiriusXM will be standard in all Rolls-Royce models and BMW motorcycles, and all Mini vehicles will have the feature beginning with the 2022 model year."
  16. Puppethead

    Puppethead Well-Known Member

    That's what I got with my 2021 SE. I've been a satellite radio subscriber since before driving MINIs, and the 12-month trial was added to my account.
  17. Lainey

    Lainey Well-Known Member

    Looked at my 2016 (same generation) and it does have AM radio. I honestly had to look because I never use it. The 2021 F55/56 hardtops at my dealership all state AM/FM radio.

    Per this blog no i3s have it and even the Mini E experiences showed issues
    So my guess is all BMW/MINI electric will not have it.
  18. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    But, but the BMW i3 does have an AM radio, it just has to be enabled. In post 2 of this thread I showed the code I found on InsideEVs to enable it.

    Now that you've confirmed that the head unit of a 2021 MINI Hardtop includes an AM radio, I'm hoping there's a Bimmercode expert on this forum who can determine if the same code will work to enable that AM radio on the MINI Cooper SE.

    @ScottIJ are you listening?
  19. Lainey

    Lainey Well-Known Member

    Sorry I was quick to type and left out enabled on my last sentence. My mistake. Just that in both the i3 and the Mini E they had interference so they didn't have it enabled for owners.
  20. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Well-Known Member

    UPDATE COMMENT ON AM RADIO ISSUE: I too enjoy listening to certain AM radio stations in my area for specific programs and for local traffic reports, etc. and, as such, find the absence of an AM radio in the SE a disappointment. That said, I have discovered that I can use any of the multitude of streaming apps available for both Android & Apple phones to play (via Bluetooth) various AM (and other) radio stations through the SE's audio system. It doesn't know that it is not streaming music from the phone -- and no interference, no signal issues, etc. (as long as your smart phone has an Internet connection, that is) ...
  21. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Forum member @ScottIJ told me he couldn't find a Bimmercode option to activate a secret AM radio in the MINI Cooper SE, so that hope was dashed. @Texas22Step, your use of an internet-connected, Bluetooth-capable phone is a promising alternative. Sirius/XM presents another possible way to listen to sporting events or nationally syndicated radio programs. I'm still disappointed in BMW/MINI for abandoning AM.
  22. Texas22Step

    Texas22Step Well-Known Member

    The satellite radio option can certainly pull in certain programs that a MINI SE owner might want to hear. However, I for one will not be renewing the monthly fee for that service when the 'free' trial expires. I don't like paid subscription services, for one thing.

    The streaming option is without subscription fees, especially if your favorite AM station has its own streaming (listen live) app OR it can also be free if your AM station also simulcasts on FM, as some do. Then you can use your MINI's FM radio capability, also for 'free.'

    I suggest you check the websites of your favorite AM stations to see what they might offer (streaming or simulcast) in addition to the aggregator streaming apps out there for Android and Apple.
  23. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    For people like me who have to pay for minutes of internet service on their phone, that's sort of like a subscription fee.

    A completely free, but somewhat cumbersome option, would be to bring an AM radio and an FM transmitter into my MINI. My current solution is to bring a tiny 3" AM/FM earbud radio when I have to go somewhere while listening to an AM program and it works fine in the MINI. At home I have an excellent FM transmitter that I connect to our TV so I can listen to the TV news when I'm taking a shower, working in the basement, or even mowing the lawn. The two together could give me a way to listen to AM radio through my MINI's harman/kardon system.

    However, I'm too lazy to unhook the transmitter from the TV, too cheap to buy a second transmitter, and not really AM-distressed the way I would have been before the pandemic because I'm not in the car much these days and I can't bear listening to sports-talk radio when my team can't play (today they extended their long hiatus).

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