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      04-09-2013, 11:00 PM   #1
SgtGigglebox
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Radar Detector Install Guide - Wired to Fuse Box

BMW Z4 (E89) Radar Detector Installation – Wired to Fuse Box
4/9/2013

Here’s my walk-through for installing a windshield-mounted radar detector, wired directly into the fuse box. I know that there are a few other methods out there, but it bugged me that folks weren’t having a lot of success with the fuse box approach. Everything here is 100% reversible and no parts of the car are affected (no splicing of factory lines, no soldering, no vampire clips, no risk of sending “save me” messages out to BMW Assist). For reference purposes, im using the Beltronics STi radar detector.

The downloadable (PDF) version of this guide is attached to this thread in the event that you want to simply print it out. (At the Bottom)

Tools / Parts Needed:

• (1) Philips Head Screw Driver
• (1) T-15 Torx Bit
• (1) Package 16-14 Gauge (5/32”) Bullet Connectors
• (1) Pair of Electrical Wire Strippers
• (2) ATM-sized 5A Blade Fuses
• (1) ATM-sized Add-a-Circuit
• (1) Direct-Wire Power Cord from Radar Detector Manufacturer
• (1) Radar Detector

1. Using a regular Philips head screw driver, remove the (3) screws found horizontally directly beneath the lower edge of the glove box compartment.



2. Carefully remove the panel (that was secured by the 3 screws that were just removed). Be sure to apply pressure towards the right on the left-most corner of the panel as you pull it down to ensure that the corner of the panel does not scratch the leather where it meets the center console. There should be enough flex in the panel to bend it as you pull it down to avoid scratching/scuffing.



3. As you lower the panel, rest it on the floor of the car.



4. Once the panel is resting on the floor of the car, disconnect the cable / plug that powers the “mood lights” in the footwell. With this cable disconnected, you can now remove the panel in an effort to get it out of the way.



5. Towards the upper right side of the (now) exposed portion of the car, find the metal tab. This is the tab that is defined as “Shiny Fastener 3”. It looks like it’s made of a dull aluminum. I managed to leave it out of the next picture, but the arrow points to where it lives, just to the right of the picture.



6. Twist the Fuse Panel Release tab (Shiny Fastener) counter-clockwise. Using your hand / fingers continue to unscrew this tab until the fuse box panel drops down / is released.



7. Slowly pull the fuse box panel down, sliding it towards you as you go. The fuse box panel is connected to a green rail, allowing it to slide.



8. Open the packages to the ATM Add-a-Circuit, 16-14 Gauge (5/32”) Bullet Connectors and the direct wire kit for the radar detector.





9. On the direct wire kit for my radar detector, one side plugs into the radar unit using a phone jack connection (we’ll leave that alone for now), the other is broken up into 2 ends (ground / power). The ground will also be left intact, so make sure not to inadvertently cut the round ring connecter off.



10. Using the wire strippers, cut the end of the power line, just before the plastic sheathing. Again, this is the wire that has a flat plug connector.



11. Strip approximately ” to ” of the casing off at the end that was just cut.

12. Slide the exposed wire into the back of a male version of the 16-14 Gauge (5/32”) Bullet Connector. Ensure that the exposed wire extends to the end of the inside of the connector and that exposed wire exists where you will be crimping it. Use the wire strippers (or pliers if appropriate) to crimp the bullet connector.

13. Now cut the existing connector off of the Add-a-Circuit. Strip a similar amount of casing off of the wire that was done in the previous step. Slide the exposed wire into the back of the female version of the 16-14 Gauge (5/32”) Bullet Connector.

14. Ensure that the exposed wire extends past the portion that will be crimped and that exposed wire exists where you will be crimping it. Use the wire strippers (or pliers if appropriate) to crimp the bullet connector.



15. Connect the male and female ends of the 16-14 Gauge (5/32”) Bullet Connectors.

16. Insert (2) 5A ATM-style/size fuses into the slots on the add-a-circuit (there are only 2 slots on the add-a-circuit). I used 10A fuses, but the add-a-circuit is only rated for 5A fuses. I'll likely switch them out in the near future. Also, only one of these fuses are necessary to complete the circuit since we're not tapping into a used slot, but the placement is important. I left both in from a round of testing.



17. The Direct-Wire cable should now be ready for installation.

18. The radar detector that I have installed is mounted via suction cups above and to the right of the rear-view mirror. Plug the phone-line type connector into the radar unit.



19. You can tuck the wire coming out of the radar detector into the forward-edge of the trim where it meets the windshield. Follow this seam down the forward edge of the a-pillar. Make sure that as you tuck the wire into the seam that you keep the cable flat (I had to continuously fight the cable to keep it from being twisted).



20. When you come to the base of the a-pillar, there is a somewhat sharp turn that you’ll have to make. It helped me to run the cable an inch or so to the left along the base of the windshield prior to coming back towards the pillar.



21. Tuck the cable into the seam along the base of the a-pillar. This seam can be a bit tight. Having a credit card or something similar to push the cable into the seam may be helpful. Keep tucking the wire in along this piece of trim downward until you reach the small horizontal gap shown in the picture below. Bring the cable from the seam through this gap to the weather seal running down the car’s frame. Be sure to tuck the cable (without twisting) as far under the weather seal that it can go.



22. Run the wire down the inside of the weather stripping until you reach the 2nd horizontal gap in the trim at beginning of the footwell. Bring the cable back through this gap and along the upper right corner of the footwell.



23. Next we will mount the ground wire from the radar Direct-wire cable. Using a T-15 Torx bit, remove the screw (shown below) found near the place that the “Shiny Fastener” was connected to the trim on the underside of the glove box area.



It took quite a bit of poking and hoping with a multimeter to find something in this area that was actually grounded.

Loop the ring connector over the screw and screw it back into it’s hole.



24. I plugged the Add-a-Circuit into fuse slot #9 from the fuse diagram. It’s listed as being related to the mirrors, but mine was empty. I have all options (I believe) except for park distance control, so I’m not that I understand the connection to mirrors. In any event, the behavior was what I was shooting for (off when the cars off, on when the cars on).



25. I plugged the Add-a-Circuit with the fuses pointing down.



26. Once you have the power and ground connected, run through a test of the radar detector’s functionality. The car has some strange power states, so for “being certain’s sake” I would go from all the way off / nav screen retracted / no lights of any kind on to all the way on / engine started.

27. Gather the remaining length of wire and bundle it together using a twist tie or something similar. I tucked the bundled cable into the space up and to the right of where the fuse panel lives.



28. I took the picture (above) after I had already raised the fuse box panel back up into its secured position. Make sure that when you are raising the fuse box panel to slide it back up it’s rail and be mindful of the bundle of cable that you’ve place to the right of it. Make sure not to pinch any of the cables. Use the “Shiny Fastener” to secure the fuse box, twisting it clock-wise until its tight.

29. For good measure, run through another test of the radar detector to make sure that the bundling of the wires and raising of the fuse box haven’t affected any of your connections.

30. Now, get the body panel that covers up the fuse box area from wherever you placed it earlier and place it on the floor of the car. Reattach the power cable that we disconnected at the beginning, ensuring that it is properly run through its little guides on the body panel.







31. Once the power cable is reconnected, re-install the body panel into its original position. Make sure to keep a hand / eye on the left upper-most corner of it to ensure that you do not scuff the leather on the center console. It took a few tries before I successfully got the panel seated towards the front of the car and the screw holes were correctly lined up.

32. Screw in the (3) screws that we removed at the very beginning to re-secure the body panel using a philips head screw driver.



33. That’s it. I would run through another test of the radar, just in case something has changed, but you should be good to go.

Hope this helps anyone that wants to try this manner of installation.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Radar Detector Install Walkthrough.pdf (1.78 MB, 144 views)

Last edited by SgtGigglebox; 04-11-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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      04-10-2013, 03:13 AM   #2
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Interesting. Thanks. My old RS4 had a hard-wired Snooper. But I couldn't be bothered for the Z4.
As an alternative, I bought an Inforad K2. It's doing a good job so far. It's cheap, about the size of a USB stick, transferable between vehicles and on the Z4 sits just beautifully in the gap just below the speedo and rev counter on the dash. No wires, battery lasts about 4 hours and recharges through the cigerette lighter (adaptor provided) and updates its database from your computer. Does mobile and fixed camera sites and has databases for European countries and (it says) the USA. It also monitors your actual speed and beeps away like crazy if you're travelling above the relevent speed limit. Only takes a minute or so to lock on to the GPS when you first turn it on.
A major advantage - in the UK anyway - is that there are no sucker marks left on the windscreen which are always a major temptation for low lifes to break in with a view to stealing what they hope will be an expensive Sat Nav unit left in the glove box.
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      04-10-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Nice DIY! I hardwired it to the overhead light enclosure because I didn't want to run a long wire down to the fusebox. I have a permanent windshield mount that is behind a toll tag sticker so it's invisible from the outside when the detector is removed, and very stealthy even with the detector installed.
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      04-10-2013, 04:32 PM   #4
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Wow did not realize you were looking into the fusebox for this.
I had mine hardwired through the overhead light as well. It is much more simple as MorfinX said. Just need to T tap a wire in the light harness (green and white one on the right side harness) and I have my wire hanging down right next to the mirror.
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      04-10-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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Pure Genius!
Good execution and even better illustration.
Could have replaced your HEPA filter while that panel was off as well as inspected your power lead for discoloration at fusebox related to recent recall. Again, good job with the add-a-circuit.
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      04-11-2013, 06:17 AM   #6
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very nice write up!

i did similar but without the hardwire, i just plug it in the socket in the foot area
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      04-11-2013, 08:08 AM   #7
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Ahhhh. could u just not get a battery operated one? Though great work really, seems alot of work to run a cable.
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      04-11-2013, 09:11 AM   #8
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A nice tuto in the forum with a PDF attached!!

I don't need to wire any radar detector but I appreciate the quality of the work done here!
Thanks for taking your time doing this!
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      04-11-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VailM3 View Post
Ahhhh. could u just not get a battery operated one? Though great work really, seems alot of work to run a cable.
Yeah, the idea of battery powered units sort of changes things a bit

This radar detector has been with me for several years, and I didn't want to buy another one.
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      04-11-2013, 09:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z4z4z4 View Post
Pure Genius!
Good execution and even better illustration.
Could have replaced your HEPA filter while that panel was off as well as inspected your power lead for discoloration at fusebox related to recent recall. Again, good job with the add-a-circuit.
Never occurred to me! The car is only 3 1/2 months old, but I did get the notice in the mail yesterday about the recall.
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      04-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #11
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Nice write up. Thanx for the info.
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      04-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafale View Post
Wow did not realize you were looking into the fusebox for this.
I had mine hardwired through the overhead light as well. It is much more simple as MorfinX said. Just need to T tap a wire in the light harness (green and white one on the right side harness) and I have my wire hanging down right next to the mirror.
The last 3 installs I did have all been to the fuse box, so I convinced myself that I wanted to do it that way on this one. Generally speaking, I would prefer to not tap into existing wires, but its more of a paranoia thing. I wish I would just break down and get one that goes under the hood / behind the grill.
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      04-11-2013, 02:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtGigglebox View Post
The last 3 installs I did have all been to the fuse box, so I convinced myself that I wanted to do it that way on this one. Generally speaking, I would prefer to not tap into existing wires, but its more of a paranoia thing. I wish I would just break down and get one that goes under the hood / behind the grill.
Been using T-taps for years and it seems to work pretty well and is easily removeable too. I would definitely recommend going that route. Much easier and cleaner wire routing. It is mind boggling to me to go look for power all the way in the fuse box or engine bay when you already have it right there at the desired location.

Great write up nevertheless.
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      04-14-2013, 11:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VailM3 View Post
Ahhhh. could u just not get a battery operated one? Though great work really, seems alot of work to run a cable.
The wired ones perform significantly better than battery operated ones, if you are talking about high end models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtGigglebox View Post
The last 3 installs I did have all been to the fuse box, so I convinced myself that I wanted to do it that way on this one. Generally speaking, I would prefer to not tap into existing wires, but its more of a paranoia thing. I wish I would just break down and get one that goes under the hood / behind the grill.
I wired it to the fuse box on my 335i. I was just too lazy to route all that wire this time around

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafale View Post
Been using T-taps for years and it seems to work pretty well and is easily removeable too. I would definitely recommend going that route. Much easier and cleaner wire routing. It is mind boggling to me to go look for power all the way in the fuse box or engine bay when you already have it right there at the desired location.

Great write up nevertheless.
I find T-taps to be unreliable sometimes. Check out posi-taps. I discovered these somewhat recently. They are expensive, but work extremely well. I will never use T-taps again.
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      04-15-2013, 12:57 AM   #15
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FYI on detectors:

Escort has recently (last couple of weeks) released a HUGE performance improvement for its extreme range RedLine windshield-mounted unit. Best of all, the upgrade is FREE, a word not usually associated with Escort! Technical details are somewhat arcane, but basically the new software allows you to turn off unneeded Ka band segments which allows the unit to respond more quickly to those you actually do need. And since the unit typically needs to scan only a few segments, its sensitivity to those segments increases thereby decreasing detection time and increasing detection distance. Details are on the usual detector forums and on Escort's forum as well.
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      04-15-2013, 01:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williakz View Post
FYI on detectors:

Escort has recently (last couple of weeks) released a HUGE performance improvement for its extreme range RedLine windshield-mounted unit. Best of all, the upgrade is FREE, a word not usually associated with Escort! Technical details are somewhat arcane, but basically the new software allows you to turn off unneeded Ka band segments which allows the unit to respond more quickly to those you actually do need. And since the unit typically needs to scan only a few segments, its sensitivity to those segments increases thereby decreasing detection time and increasing detection distance. Details are on the usual detector forums and on Escort's forum as well.
Holy balls, Escort actually finally put in Band Segmentation?? Any idea if they added RDR as well?

For the benefit of people reading this thread, Escort/Beltronics been not been very good at detecting short radar bursts (i.e. Quick Trigger) compared to the Valentine 1. Band Segmentation has only been available on their very high end STiR Plus model, which is a custom install and not windshield mount. This is huge news! It's been rumored as a firmware update for ages. Hopefully they have added for the 9500ix/Pro 500 as well. I'm going to head over the the Escort forum and read up on it. Thanks for the tip!

Edit: Looks like the Redline receives both BS and RDR. The 9500ix/Pro 500 receive nothing
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Last edited by morfinx; 04-15-2013 at 01:18 AM.
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      04-15-2013, 09:31 AM   #17
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I nearly went the route of a fixed detector as I already had one, but opted for a satnav with speed cameras instead
If you read my write up on installing it inside the dash storage it is pretty easy to get a female 12v socket, or a doubler, inside the top centre speaker/blanking plate.
From there a tail cane be brought out behind the speaker for easy attachment of any detector using the oem lead.
Incidently the speaker grill is metal meaning my standalone detector just magnetically attached itself avoiding the need for suckers or brackets.
Or if you don't have navi then munt inside the storage unit.

Btw you don't have to use the centre console 12v socked like me it is just as easy to get a lead from the fuse box/footwell source up to the centre dash position.

http://e89.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=818451

Last edited by Pacemaker1000; 04-15-2013 at 09:45 AM.
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      06-11-2013, 03:49 PM   #18
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Awesome writeup.

thanks!
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