Last Updates: 10-26-02

Angel Eye? What is that? 'Angel Eye' is a cool headlight feature found on the new (2001+) BMW 5 Series. The projector headlamp unit on the BMW 5 series has a pair of circular-shape rings that when light up, they produce a pair of halos. BMW calls them 'Angel Eyes'. They are also refered to as 'Demon Eyes'. They look very nice on the BMW 5 Series. They don't serve any purpose other than for the nice and aggressive look, and to distinguish the newer BMW 5 Series from other BMW models at night.

This page shows how I created a pair of 'Eagle Eyes' for my high-beam projector headlight. I call them 'Eagle Eyes' because they look like the eyes of an eagle. They are not exactly like the BMW's Angel Eyes, but close enough.


Creating a Custom Angel Eye


Instead of a round glass rod used by BMW, I used a clear acrlyic rod. I bought it for $2.99 at a home improvement store, such as Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond. The rod is actually made for your window blind to open/close the blind when you turn it left/right. It is about 3 feets long, and you can create 2 to 3 angel eyes depending on how big your ring is. The rod has a hex-shape structure, not a round shape like the BMW, but it will do just fine.


The first thing I did was to create a circular ring out of it. I measured the diameter of my high-beam projector housing, which comes out to be 4" long (or 2" radius). Using the circular formula (C=2'pi'r, where pi=3.14), you'll have to cut your rod about 12.5 inches long. I suggest cutting it 15" long, and use the extra inches as handles to help in the molding process.
Next, I find an aluminum can or jar that has the same diameter as the ring or close to it (I used a peanut jar). After heating the rod in a small toaster oven for about 5-7 minutes at 300F, I held the two ends of the rod with a pair of pliers, and wrapped the rod around the glass jar with one end crossing over the other end. The flexible rod will harden within a minute. So, you may have to repeat this step 1 more time to mold it into a perfect circular ring. Once done, you can use a Dremel tool to cut the extra handles that were used during the molding process. You will end up with one end above the other, as shown. Don't worry, just simply put it back in the oven one last time and allow the end to soften and flatten.


To test out how it lights up, I put a small halogen bulb between the open ends of the ring. "Wait a minute here, young man. It doesn't look like 'Angel Eye'. No halo ring effect."


Yes, I know. That is because light goes in straight line, and it takes the shape of whatever object it goes through. In the case above, it goes through one end of the rod and out the other end, like a fiber optic cable. In order to make it lights up like the true 'Angel Eye', I had to refract the light as it goes through the rod by making multiple cuts (scratches) along the rod. I used a Dremel tool to create cuts along the rod. If you don't have a Dremel tool, you can use a small saw or a butter knife. It will take you longer though. A Dremel Tool set would cost about $29 to $59, depending on certain features such as cordless, variable speed, attachments, and accessories. It has many uses, such as cutting, sanding, curving, buffing, drilling, etc. Good tool to have for hobbies.

Cuts along the back-side of the rod. On the front side,
the cuts are multipled by the hex-shape.
With a Dremal tool, you can
create the cuts in 3-5 minutes.
Full view of angel eye rod.


Here are some shots of my 'Eagle Eyes' after creating the cuts (scratch lines) along the ring.

Angel eye with some foreground light. The halo ring effect
is more noticeable at night.
Closeup shot of light being refracted
through the cuts along the rod.


Instead of using halogen light, I used LED light for my angel eye. Halogen bulb is not only very hot and inefficient, it doesn't last very long. I don't want to open up my headlight unit to replace the bulb every time it burns out. LED is a great alternative. It is very very efficient, lasts very very long, and produce very little heat. They cost from around $1.99 to $3.99 each at your local Radio Shack store. Note that LED bulbs are not like any other halogen bulbs where you can just connect positive and negative wires to them to light them up. You must use a resistor on the positive lead. The purpose of the resistor is to limit/resist high current going through the LED bulbs. LED bulbs require only a small amount of current to light up. Hence the efficiency. Resistors should cost from $0.99 to $1.99 for a set of 5.

A white LED bulb. A 1100 vs a 2000 mcl LED bulbs. A resistor of 220 ohms. Resistor connected to positive lead.


LED light comes in many different color, red, blue, orange, yellow, green, and white. Red is really nice and will definitely make your car stand out, but I used white LED to be compliance with state laws. They even come in multi-blinking colors too, and I think cops love them. They'll be happy to turn on their version of multi-blinking color light. :)

Angel Eye with yellow LED. Angel Eye with blue LED. Angel Eye with red LED. Angel Eye with white LED.


After testing them out, it was time for me to put them into my HID projector headlight unit. First, I had to open apart my headlight unit. This is done by heating it in a cooking oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350F or until the glue loosen. I had to remove any access components that may melt, including my 8000k HID bulb and any attached wires. Be very careful when separating your projector unit because the glue will stick to anything it can get a hold of. Think of hot melted cheese on a slice of pizza when you pull it apart.

Here's my recommendation: As you pull apart the front cover from the headlight unit, cut/trim the cheesy web-like glue. Remember, pull a little and then trim a little, and repeat this step. Take your time and do it slowly. You have about 20 minutes before the glue harden. Plenty of time. As you trim, the glue will retract, and you can reuse the glue later when re-attaching the headlight back together.

To secure the LED bulbs into my Eagle Eye ring, I drilled a hole in both ends of the ring. I used two white LED bulbs and paired them together. With a resistor and wires soldered to the LED bulbs, I inserted the bulbs inside the holes of the ring. I wrapped black electric tape around it to hide to LED bulbs. I ran the wires through the water drainage opening on the headlight unit. I then glued the rings to the outer frame of my high-beam housing, using clear silicon adhesive. I applied only a small amount of glue to the un-scratch/un-cut part of the ring.

Two LED bulbs parallely paired. LED bulbs soldered & then glued together. Resistor can be connected at end of wires.


Next, it was time for me to re-attach the front cover back onto the headlight unit, using the same glue. Just reheat them in the oven until the glue melt again and re-attach the two parts together. Remember to apply pressure to get an air-tight hold. I had to sit on it to get this done. Finally, I put the headlight unit back onto my car, and connected the wires to my parking lights.

High-beam housing without Angel Eye. High-beam housing with Angel Eye. Angel Eye at work with halogen bulb. Closeup shot.



Miscellaneous Pictures of My Eagle Eyes At Work


Angel Eye with white LED. Close-up shot on passenger-side. Close-up shot on driver-side. With 8000k HID lowbeam. Close-up shot of Angel Eye.


Angel Eye from the side. Full view of my CRX. Nice! Angel Eye on an early morning. Close-up shot on driver-side. On a gloomy day, halo ring still visible.


Well, I hope this page gives you an idea of how to create 'Angel Eye'. It is not very professional/quality work, but it is a poor man's way of doing things (I mean a poor kid). If you plan to do this on your car, make sure you have the right tools and that you have some crafting skills. I don't want you to ruin your expensive BMW or your beloved car. The general procedures I wrote above show how I did it on my CRX. They may be different on your car. May require extra work & time for more sophisticated car, along with some imagination and creativity too. Now that you are warned, go have fun, good luck, and enjoy!

For those who don't like getting their hands dirty or don't have any free time and have money to spend, you can buy the real quality BMW Angel Eye on the web. Even then, you may still have to open up your projector housing, fit the Angel Eye inside, and connect the wires. I don't think it's 100% plug-n-play. These Angel Eye kits, aka 'Demon Eyes' kits, are made exclusively for BMW headlights. But there are also aftermarket projector headlights with built-in LED Angel Eye rings. Or you can just create you own. Imagine a BMW Z3, an Audi TT, a Honda S2000, a Celica, a Miata, or a Beetle coming down the road at night with Angel Eyes. I am scared just thinking of it. :)

1