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Sunday 4 March 2018

New car

As I alluded to previously, I have since replaced my car, same model except for some noticeable differences, externally it's running lights, different grille, and rear tinted windows (which makes the tailgate look completely black), internally there are airbags from the A pillar, which are curtain airbags and deploy right where I want my handsfree mic to go, a rev counter thus preventing my FTM-400 display from being installed in the same place as before, along with the airbag issue outlined above, and a parcel shelf in the boot so the contents cannot be seen from outside.

So as you know my plan is to put the main unit of the FTM-400 in the boot, I noticed that a change in the tailgate electrical arrangement (this being the rear demister is a different design) means only one cable is feeding it, on the passenger side of the car if viewed from inside the tailgate when open, the space on the other side is vacant and if there are no airbags behind there I will use this to run cables in and out unless I can get them behind the boot carpet without doing this, the antenna should thus enter the boot instead of through the right passenger door, and drop down to where the radio ultimately will be placed, perhaps even through the hole I alluded to, and would be a shorter run as the magmount cable is RG58 and is not brilliant on UHF but good on VHF and I can simply cut out excess wiring from the magmount and rewire it as there are instructions to do this online and I've had a lot of time to study them.

Power arrangements can either be the battery as before or a split-charge circuit, but due to the expense of the latter direct to battery may be my only option, however I need to be able to switch the radio on and off from the ignition key as I am not aware of a security code feature on the Yaesu FTM-400XDE, though it might be worth looking into.

As the box will be in the boot the main aim then is to run the data and mic leads to the main unit using an extension, the Yaesu ones are woefully expensive for what they actually are so I looked into using a generic RJ-12 and RJ-9 extension for the display and mic respectively (these are as far as I can tell the correct extensions though more research will be done), extending the extension speaker can be done with a suitably long "aux" cable as the current setup (though disconnected as the car has actually been replaced) has a coupler in line (stereo as the FTM-400 expects a stereo connection and the supplied adaptor is plugged into the opposite side and the speaker plugged into that), the speaker I use, a Nokia HFS-12, has 1.5 metres of cable, the coupler adds 45mm and the Yaesu stereo to mono adaptor adds another 45mm or so bringing that up to 1.59m total, I currently have a 1 metre cable for it though may have to see if I have something longer before spending money, the speaker will be located near the driver's seat, the control for the hands-free mic will again be on the gear stick, though it's a different design it still has a metal bar under the gaiter, and the rubber loop should still get round, though I can check the design of the gear stick and see if this is practical, if not then some creative thinking is in order.

I subsequently discovered that the throttle on this car is of a drive by wire type, on the previous car, with the same engine, the setup was the traditional Bowden cable between the pedal and throttle body, this has me mildly concerned from an RF standpoint and additional tests will be performed once installation and tuning is complete, this seems to be on versions of this car with traction control and electronic stability control, though it could also be seen as a requirement of Euro 5 and later emissions standards.

To actually mount the radio body I was thinking I could use some of my (not adequate) carpentry skills and make a box to mount the radio on to, covered in carpet to match the rest of the boot of course, and easy to lift out should I need access to the all important spare wheel (again I have a full-sized spare wheel), doesn't need to be big but does need to fit in the boot, I was not planning on screwing it to the parcel shelf as I do need to be able to remove the parcel shelf and that would devalue the car, essentially I need to take measurements of the boot on the drivers side (given it is this side that I plan to use), with those measurements I can then go to a timber suppliers and get the wood then find a close approximation of the boot carpet from a carpet shop's remnants shelves, the other mounting idea would be to put the radio inside a box but this would need a temperature controlled fan to extract hot air out to prevent the radio overheating, and would make access to the data port harder, my aim is always to get the installation tidier than it was in my previous car.

With the recent heavy snowfall I don't plan to start any work immediately, this is down to the fact the outdoor temperatures are below freezing or feel this for the most part and I don't have a garage with a heater, rather than the actual snow itself, also the car's exterior will need cleaning after the snow has melted before the magmount can go on the roof.

With all the parts of the radio ready to go, all I require are some wooden boards, though one may suffice depending on size available, some carpet of similar colour and type to the boot carpet, some suitably sized bolts with nuts and washers to put through the radio bracket (though I could use self-tapping screws for this though bolts may hold it better), a new drill, a jigsaw as I could easily have to cut the wood to fit around the wheel arch inside the car but may be able to get away with not doing that if I make this the size of the wheel arch itself, but this decision will be made when the measurements of the boot dimensions take place, and hardware to attach the parts together, when complete the radio is not fastened to any panel within the car (except the negative side of the radio power lead which will connect to a chassis ground), the only other things that are outstanding are the extensions for the control head, microphone (though I will be using the handsfree mic rather than the hand mic) and external speaker.

Hopefully I can get on with this work soon, maybe with some assistance from club members as well, but of course it remains very weather dependent.

73 de 2E0EIJ

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