Modding the Radar Detector Cable, Part 2
I plan to mount the little circuit board in the dash bezel above the relocated head unit, just to the left of the DVD unit, since my right hand is either on the shifter or on the wheel, and both places are near that spot on the bezel. Josh suggested that I drill the three holes required (I'll use the discarded case parts as a template), and attach the board to the bezel with hot glue.
I'll hide the data wires as they run from the bezel to the detector. They'll run inside the dash over to the left side, up inside the windshield post, and across inside the headliner to the mirror. Even though the curly data cable is long enough to get that distance, the curls wouldn't do well; I need a straight line. The standard system uses a four-pin RJ-11 (telephone-style) plug on the detector end, so I cut the plugs off an Ethernet extension cable, cut off the four striped wires, and crimped the solid-color wires into an RJ-11 phone jack.
NOTE: I already had a crimper and ends for that connection; they're available at Radio Shack, hardware stores, and home centers, but they cost about $40. If you just need one connection like this, call your friendly local PC shop, and see if they have the tool that crimps both RJ-11 (phone) and RJ-45 (Ethernet) cable ends. Even if they charge you to do it, it'll be cheaper than the tool.
You could actually do it without the tool. If you just buy a package of ends, and you check out the way the plug is crimped, you could likely crimp an end on with a pair of pliers and a little creativity.
To get the wires to solder to the circuit board, we had to tin the wire ends first; tinning means to put solder on them using the rosin-core solder, guaranteeing that the wires are ready to accept solder and connect to the board. The board is already tinned, because it already had components soldered to it. I also had to trim away almost all the old solder with an X-acto knife, and clean out the tiny holes with a #56 drill (.0465 in. or 1.18mm)
Once that was done, we ran the tinned leads through their holes, heated them slightly and touched the solder to them. As soon as the solder made a cone -- not a ball -- we pulled the heat away, let them cool, and trimmed them. They're all on there good and tight.
Here's the way the soldered-up board looks:
Click images to enlarge.
And here it is with the disconnects soldered onto the data and power wires:
I didn't have a four-wire or six-wire disconnect, so I used a pair of three-wire disconnects on the data cables, but only used the outer two connections on each one. To make sure they're connected properly, I put one male and one female connector on each side of the joint; they only go together one way. I used a different style of connector on the (red) power cable. I put shrink tubing on the wires to add strength, and I'll use the hot glue that holds the board in place to also hold the wire in place so it doesn't flop around and break a joint.
The other end of the data cable -- the RJ-11 that plugs into the detector -- is in the upper center.
Now it's time to get the cables run in the car and solder in the power cable. Then it's time to test and, with a little luck, get a big grin on.