June 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm #702
Now that I’ve successfully dropped the cover on the overhead console, I need to figure out where to hard wire my GPS. There are five possible connections up there:
- The little L-shaped light thingy (mood lighting?)
- The power doors and lift gate controls
- The map lights
- The rear AC controls
- A bundle of cables running through the roof
I’m leaning towards #1 or #3. I never notice the light in #1 before, so I wouldn’t be sorry to break that. It has two red wires (one blue-stripe, one yellow-stripe).
#3 has three wires (Red, Black, Green), and it’s very accessible, but I’m not sure how the light timers/auto door lights would affect the GPS power.
BTW, there is a ton of space up there.June 6, 2009 at 2:44 am #3355
There are three wires that run into the map-lights on the overhead console. The red is positive 12-volts (checked with a multimeter). It puts out a little more than 12v when the cabin lights are off, and a about 11.5v when they’re on. The middle wire (green) runs from the control unit; it turns the lights on/off with the doors opening, etc. The black wire is the ground (again, I tested this is the multimeter).
Rather than wire a voltage regulator (most GPS units take 5v), I used a technique I saw on some GPS forums. I bought a 12v female cigarette-lighter for $8 at an auto parts store.
I ran speaker wire from the lighter leads and stuffed them into the map light’s plug.
Then I plugged my GPS’ 12v car adapter into the cigarette lighter.
The hardest part was dropping the USB-plug down between the headliner and the windshield. There’s an annoying brace between the roof and the headliner.
Then I stuffed all the stuff up in the cavernous space above the driver’s seat and snapped the console in place. The finished product is very clean.
A couple of gotchas:
1. The first time I pushed in the map-light plug, all the lights in the van came on. I realized that there were some stray strands of wire contacting the middle green plug, simulating a “door-open” signal. Make sure you stuff the wires all the way into the plug before reconnecting it, or you’ll have this problem.
2. Because these wires are not “auxiliary,” power always flows to them. The GPS will not turn on and off with the car. This isn’t a problem for me because I never leave the GPS in the car (too tempting to small-time crooks), but it may be an issue for you. If there is a 12v aux wire in the overhead console, let me know.
3. If you plan on using the GPS regularly in another car, you’ll need to get another adapter. Garmin’s sell for around $20, but you can get generic units on eBay for under $10.
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