Last modified 11 years ago

Welcome to OpenBM project webpage

Hi, my name is  Art Tevs and I would like to present you the project named OpenBM_E39.
OpenBM stands for: Open Source Bordmonitor. The project is mainly targeting all BMW enthusiasts, who would like to improve the standard BMW multimedia equipment with their own configurations. On this webpage, I would like to present you a device made out of the original BMW's 16:9 bordmonitor housing found mainly in E39/E38 as also X5. The device can seamlessly be included into original BMW equipment and deals as an output/input device for a CarPC.

Project Repository

You can find all available code at Github repository:  OpenBM-Repository

Project Constraints

  • Original Look 16:9 Bordmonitor with a CarPC.
  • use Bordmonitor for Input/Output? of CarPC
  • Being able to seamlessly connect Rearview camera as also DVB-T/DVD
  • Be cheap


Here is a list of current features supported by the device.

  • 800x480 native pixel resolution
  • 3 Input sources, 1xVGA and 2xAV (composite video)
  • Full support of all buttons and encoders. Buttons support press, hold and release states
  • All the control LEDs can be set into any flashing state controlled by a bit pattern, i.e. 11111111 - LED on, 01010101 LED flash every 1/8sek
  • Support switching between video sources as also turning on and off of the display
  • Automatic switch to AV1/AV2 when 'R' gear is selected (reverse camera)
  • Original Photo-Sensor of the bordmonitor is used to change the brightness of the display
  • Complete emulation of MID device through OpenBM.
  • Supports following configurations:
    • BMW Professional RDS
    • BMW Buisiness with DSP
    • CD-Changer
  • XBMC is running as a front-end software
  • Plugin to control the on-board computer


The software used by the OpenBM device is currently not publicly available. However, you can ask me for it. I will put online several parts of it, if somebody is get interested.

Operating System:
I developed a Linux daemon, which interacts between serial port (this is where BMW's i-bus will be connected later to a CarPC) and local TCP/IP stack.

I have summarized information about used CarPC on the Hardware page. As base for the CarPC I am using ZOTAC's IonITX series F board (with WLAN) housing in an VoomPC-2 enclosure.

Main Software:
Main software is based on XMBC for which I wrote several plugins. The information for the software can be found on Main Software page.

Documentation: I wrote a documentation for OpenBM as a final device. The documentation is in german, since this is the small market I am currently targeting :)  download here


The following list represents the timeline of this project. Every time there is new event, it will be published on an extra wiki-page and added to the list. So take a look on those events, already happened :)

May 2013 I've put the schematics and pictures of the newest HW revision online. Additionally a part-list is included, hence anybody who would like to build the same thing are welcome to use this project as a starting point.
July, 2011 Using 16:9 6.5 screen now
07th, September 2010 I've added couple of screenshots showing the self-made plugins to control BMW's equipment in action :)
31th, August 2010 Added information about new release of a gateway between IBus and software applications. D-Bus support is dropped.. TCP/IP is added :)
30th, August 2010 I've updated the session about the CarPC showing images with installation. Also a frame for the radio was rebuilt, here you can find more impressions.
25th, August 2010 The CarPC is now in the car. I've updated the Main Software section showing OpenBM + XBMC in action directly in the car.
9th, August 2010 For my CarPC I am using the XBMC multimedia software. I am currently working on a plugin for this piece of software to control the core BMW equipment.
20th, July 2010 First release of IBus/D-Bus Gateway. A daemon running in the background and forwarding messages between IBus (hardware) and D-Bus (software).
26th, June 2010 Based on the original 4:3 frame the OpenBM housing was created. Additionally cables required for CarPC were installed.
3th, June 2010 OpenBM is just a video output device. In order to bring audio into my car, I installed an AUX-In in the BMW Professional RDS radio.
1st, June 2010 First software running emulating MID device. I made a video showing the device in action.
April 2010 Prototype replaced by professionally etched PCB. SMD soldering and error patching was then performed by hand.
January 2010 First prototype of a button field controller module for the bordmonitor housing
October 2009 Put a new display into the bordmonitor housing. In this case I am using a 7'' display with native resolution of 800x480 pixels.
October 2009 Reverse engineering of original BMW's 16:9 bordmonitor housing. Special interest goes to the both button fields as also LEDs


At this place, I would like to thank Bengt-Olof-Swing for his helpfull comments. You can visit a thread from MP3car-forum where he shows his results on an equivalent project so far,  click here.

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