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      07-17-2010, 02:53 PM   #1
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Heads up display and polarized sunglasses

I recently found out that BMW'S HUD does not work at all with polarized sunglasses. We were trying to figure out why we couldn't see it even though it said it was on. Took off the sunglasses and it popped right into view.

Has anyone else noticed this problem? We asked the BMW Ultimate Driving guys about it and they had no idea that it did not work with polarized glasses.
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      07-17-2010, 06:04 PM   #2
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      07-17-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
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I've had issues with polarized lenses since my E60 550i. There's no issue with any of the displays in the car except for the HUD (which almost disappears). My solution was to buy a new set of frames and have non-polarized lenses made up for them.

Although I prefer polarized lenses I would much rather be able to see the HUD.

As an aside this is also an issue with the radio display in the non-nav E9x cars. Every time I get a loaner the radio display is invisible.
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      07-17-2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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Yep, it's an issue with the HUD. "Best" solution is probably non-polarized lenses. Not much you can do about it.
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      07-17-2010, 08:48 PM   #5
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http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showt...nglasses+radio
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      07-17-2010, 11:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptack View Post
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Polarized Oakleys will do the exact same thing.

Non-polarized lenses seem to be the only option.
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      07-19-2010, 09:06 AM   #7
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There was a thread here somewhere about some little piece of adhesive plastic film that you tape over HUD, and then you can see it even with polarized lenses...
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      07-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerlex View Post
There was a thread here somewhere about some little piece of adhesive plastic film that you tape over HUD, and then you can see it even with polarized lenses...
It's here: http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215204. It's a mod worth the effort - I'd do it too in my current E87 but since I get a E82 in September I can't be bothered for the remaining period. (and I usually drive around on my iPhone as audio-source, so no real need as well to see the screen).
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      07-20-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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couldnt you apply the film to your glasses if you wanted?
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      07-25-2010, 10:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zell View Post
I recently found out that BMW'S HUD does not work at all with polarized sunglasses. We were trying to figure out why we couldn't see it even though it said it was on. Took off the sunglasses and it popped right into view.

Has anyone else noticed this problem? We asked the BMW Ultimate Driving guys about it and they had no idea that it did not work with polarized glasses.
Any heads up display system will not work well with polarized sunglasses. I can't explain the reason, but I work on HUD system in the military and we get pilots all the time who complain that their HUD "isn't bright enough." "Sir, take off your sunglasses, please." "OH! There it is!"

No offense meant to you at all - they're trained not to wear polarized glasses. You aren't. Just get glasses that don't have polarized lenses. Easiest option.

:-)
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      07-26-2010, 11:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix155 View Post
Any heads up display system will not work well with polarized sunglasses. I can't explain the reason, but I work on HUD system in the military and we get pilots all the time who complain that their HUD "isn't bright enough." "Sir, take off your sunglasses, please." "OH! There it is!"

No offense meant to you at all - they're trained not to wear polarized glasses. You aren't. Just get glasses that don't have polarized lenses. Easiest option.

:-)
haha
I know what you mean HUD and pilots dont always go well.
but now, I'm used to it and I cant imagine to start a approach without HUD:P.
but every professional pliot knows not to use polarized glasses, some airliners just ban then from the cockpit.
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      07-27-2010, 06:53 PM   #12
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      07-30-2010, 07:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papahotel View Post
haha
I know what you mean HUD and pilots dont always go well.
but now, I'm used to it and I cant imagine to start a approach without HUD:P.
but every professional pliot knows not to use polarized glasses, some airliners just ban then from the cockpit.
Unfortunately my aircraft type doesn't have HUD, but wearing polarized lenses turns the front windows into some sort of bizarre technocolour display.....very pretty but not too helpful!

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      07-30-2010, 08:18 AM   #14
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If you think of light as a having two axes, and x-axis and a y-axis, then a polarizing filter (sunglasses) will generally removed most of the light in one of the axes. So after the filter you are left with light in only one of the two dimensions (and typically 50% of the initial light intensity). If you then run the polarized light through another polarizing filter at 90 degree angle to the first, all light will be blocked (if the filter is at the same angle, no light will be blocked).

You can test this by taking two pairs of polarized sunglasses, lining up the lenses of the two, and then rotating the sunglasses relative to each other so you see through one lens of each pair. At some angle, they will block most or all of the light. The first blocks light along one axis, the second blocks it along the other.

The reason that polarized sunglasses essentially negate the HUD is because the reflected light is mostly polarized. The reflected light coming from the HUD is polarized orthogonal/opposite to the sunglasses, so that light is completely removed by the sunglasses (unlike most other ambient light which is not polarized, of which only a portion of the light is removed by the polarization and tint). If you tilt your head sideways 90 degrees, I bet the HUD shows back up because now you are aligning the axis of the polarized sunglasses with how the reflected light is already polarized. This is the same with the radio displays, where if you tilt your head you can see it again.

The reason that putting something like transparency film (oriented correctly) over the radio display helps is that it changes the angle of polarization so that the sunglasses don't filter all the light anymore.

My guess is that all polarized sunglasses are designed with the same axis of polarization because most reflected light (i.e. of the water, etc) is not what we want to see and is usually polarized the same way... so sunglass manufacturers choose the polarization axis to kill those types of light.

Anyway, not the most eloquent, and maybe not completely correct, but the general idea should be about right.
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