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Old 09-21-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
radarcontact
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Smile ESCORT (and SMART console) hard wired w/pics

Just got done hard wiring my ESCORT and custom mounting the SMART console that has a power on indicator and a mute button.

I decided to locate the SMART console in the ashtray. I smoke, but not in the bimmer, so no biggie.
First thing I did was to pull the 330's console apart to see what I was dealing with. lift out the shift boot surround by grabbing it by the inside (leather) and lifting up on the "frame". Once it pops out you have two screws toward the rear.
(NOTE: ALL screws for this project are exactly the SAME, thank you BMW!)
Take those screws out and slide-and-lift the piece that has the window switches, backwards. It won't go far. If you have a manual you could take off the shift knob/boot and that would make things easier, for sure. On the Steptronic, you only get a little room to play with, but that's fine.
You should see two more screws at the base of the ashtray housing frame. Take those out.
Open the sunglasses holder and pull firmly on it until it snaps out, set aside. You'll see two more screws, remove those. See pic:
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My favorite part of this project is the stealthy SMART console in the ashtray. All I did was drill a large hole in the bottom of the ashtray (so the module's grommet sat inside the hole), ran the wires through the hole, mounted the module with HD automotive trim double-stick tape, and pulled the wires up behind the trim into the area where the sunglasses holder goes. Here's some pics of it mounted in the ashtray:
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I ran the power wires to the right, toward the fuse box. I ran the detector wires toward the left toward the steering wheel. You'll have to fish the wires through and around. Use your skills and you'll find a way!
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I used a fuse tap and fuse #24 for the switched power. It is for the rear parking assist, which I don't have. The fuse was there though and it was an easy hookup. I guess you could have followed the wires and used a wire tap as well. This required me to remove the glove box; I needed a good ground, and there is plenty of metal once you remove the glove box.
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I ran the detector wire under the dash, up the side moldings, around the window trim and to the detector. I stashed the extra 7" of wire behind the dome light with a cable tie. A good safe thing to use for the wire stashing operation is a putty knife with duct tape over the end. This will prevent scratching. A plastic putty knife might work good to, without the duct tape maybe.
Here it is mounted:
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Hope this helps somebody out there!
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:21 PM   #2
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Looks good, except for the fact that you have a think gauge wire protected by a 20A fuse. If the wire shorts, that wire could get red hot and insulation melt before fuse blows. You have a couple options:

Tap into another (smaller) fuse.
relocate the fuse that came with the excort closer to the place where you tapped
or
tap into a wire behind the dash (i.e. radio power) and install the escort-provided fuse closer.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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Looks nice and clean... Also, the 9500i is a great detector... Ive never understood these secondary displays though. the detector has a mute button on it, and the display dims... why not just hard wire the thing and be done with it?
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ca1242 View Post
Looks good, except for the fact that you have a think gauge wire protected by a 20A fuse. If the wire shorts, that wire could get red hot and insulation melt before fuse blows. You have a couple options:

Tap into another (smaller) fuse.
relocate the fuse that came with the excort closer to the place where you tapped
or
tap into a wire behind the dash (i.e. radio power) and install the escort-provided fuse closer.
Thanks, but actually #24 is a 5-amp fuse, and the detector has a 2-amp fuse about 4" away, tucked up on top of the fuse panel (not shown).
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:52 PM   #5
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Looks nice and clean... Also, the 9500i is a great detector... Ive never understood these secondary displays though. the detector has a mute button on it, and the display dims... why not just hard wire the thing and be done with it?
Well, they are designed for when your detector is too far away to mute easily (ever see the windsheild on one of those Lumina vans? lol).

Don't need it, but I like having it for three reasons:

1 - When I was using the coiled cord that came with it, I always seemed to notice the plug before I noticed the display; the display obviously changes its alphanumerics, but stays red whereas the plug would all of a sudden start blinking bright red when it was normally just a green steady light to indicate power.

2 - Since it's a convertible, if a cop ends up behind me I will put my visor down to cover/hide the unit. Having the SMART unit in the ashtray still lets me see the effect of getting hit by radar.

3 - At night if I am in traffic with the top up and there is a cop among the cars behind me, I go to DARK mode. Again, the SMART unit allows me to see the radar being used.

(I usually have the radio cranked, so I depend a lot on visual cues)

Last edited by radarcontact; 09-23-2009 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:58 AM   #6
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Thanks, but actually #24 is a 5-amp fuse, and the detector has a 2-amp fuse about 4" away, tucked up on top of the fuse panel (not shown).
5 amp should be good. Looking at the color, I thought it was a 20.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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Hi Radarcontact!

I loved this thread and followed it to a tee except for I'm having a problem finding as ground near the glove box. I used fuse 24. In my case its for the homelink / compass on my rearview mirror. I drilled the ashtray, installed the remote unit (great idea BTW), fished the wires, tapped into fuse 24 and cannot find a good ground point. The detector won't go on. I'm assuming it's because I have not found a ground. I suppose I'll have to remove the entire glovebox to find something? I'm curious if you have a picture of where you grounded yours.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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Hi Radarcontact!

I loved this thread and followed it to a tee except for I'm having a problem finding as ground near the glove box. I used fuse 24. In my case its for the homelink / compass on my rearview mirror. I drilled the ashtray, installed the remote unit (great idea BTW), fished the wires, tapped into fuse 24 and cannot find a good ground point. The detector won't go on. I'm assuming it's because I have not found a ground. I suppose I'll have to remove the entire glovebox to find something? I'm curious if you have a picture of where you grounded yours.
Hey man, so sorry...didn't realize anyone had posted a question here. Didn't mean to leave you hanging!

I'm sure you have found a ground by now, but if not...just make a good connection to any of the metal that's back around the glovebox. You can take the glovebox out (drop it down even) to expose a little more of what's back there. if there's an existing screw, just back it out enough to wrap the stripped ground wire around it a few times, then re-tihghten.

Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:06 PM   #9
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Since I posted this, I actually relocated my detector to the passenger side of the mirror.

I did this because the cops at the gate of the military facility that I work at kept spying it; sucked always having to take it down.

So, I cut a piece of non-metallic window tint (film) and put it on the window, made it look like kind of an extention of the rain-sensor's footprint. Waited for that to dry for three days.
Then I took the bracket that holds the detector and epoxy-puttied it to the window tint.
now when the detector is up, you can't tell because its on the opposite (passenger) side of the mirror, and it's disguised by the tint.

If I ever need to remove it, I just have to pull the bracket off the tint, then the tint off the window. Nothing too permanent.

Works great...and it's never been "detected"!

Last edited by radarcontact; 05-27-2012 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:58 PM   #10
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Tha **** is a fuse tap? These look like they will come in handy in the future!
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:27 PM   #11
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Yeah, they do come in handy! Lol
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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those things end up enlarging tabs that make contact with fuse, causing a loose connection over time. If you plan to keep the car for a long time, it is best to tap into a wire by removing a part of the insulation, soldering connection to new wiring and insulating with tape (or heat shrink, if possible).
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:22 PM   #13
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nice write up. Quick question why didnt u just wire it into the glove box flash light socket with an adaptor?
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:19 AM   #14
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those things end up enlarging tabs that make contact with fuse, causing a loose connection over time. If you plan to keep the car for a long time, it is best to tap into a wire by removing a part of the insulation, soldering connection to new wiring and insulating with tape (or heat shrink, if possible).
Never had a problem.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:22 AM   #15
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Oh, absolutely...that would work also.

1,000 ways to skin a cat
(and the final way should be more refined than the first)

Last edited by radarcontact; 05-31-2012 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:39 PM   #16
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Amazing thread I am about to wire mine the exact same way!

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Old 07-16-2012, 05:42 PM   #17
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Cool! Since I wrote that post, however, I moved it to the other side of my mirror
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:34 PM   #18
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Cool! Since I wrote that post, however, I moved it to the other side of my mirror
Did you do this for personal preference or another reason?

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Old 07-16-2012, 09:14 PM   #19
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Also what did you use as a ground and I like the piece if tint you used to hide the detector a bit.

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Old 07-17-2012, 08:51 AM   #20
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Did you do this for personal preference or another reason?

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Makes it more discrete to the cops at the air force base gate; detectors are prohibited (I power it off, out of respect for the rules, but hate to physically take it down).
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