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pivotCE

[pivotCE] Putting a Touchstone in My Car: A Walk Through My Process

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I finally put a touchstone in my car. For those counting at home (minus my almost two year departure from webOS to Android), it took me 3 years to work up the chutzpah to try the install. But I did it. What took me so long? I’m glad you asked.

Why now?

You’ve seen it done a lot I’m sure. And so have I. But something always bothered me about the installs I’d seen. There were too many wires, the Touchstone was glued or stuck onto the dash using adhesive, and I always thought using the cigarette lighter (12V socket), or worse, a 3-prong power inverter was ugly (and kinda lazy).

What kept me from installing one in my car was that I told myself if I was ever going to do it, it had to follow 3 rules:

1. No wires! It had to be clean.
2. It had to be modular. I might want to sell the car but keep the Touchstone set-up.
3. It must be powered from the car’s battery or fuse box.

The problem was, I didn’t know where to begin.

The research

I knew adding power to the car was possible from stuff I’d read online. But everyone made it look so simple and I’m a car-wiring n00b. So I did what every online-savvy I-want-to-learn-something-new person does, YouTube. This video will teach you the fundamentals of installing an Add-A-Fuse or Expandable Circuit as it’s called in the video.

The other important thing to know in all of this is how to splice cables. With my time as a musician and tech hobbyist, splicing cables is pretty standard stuff. I did have to read up on splicing the USB cable that I wanted to use to ensure I could hide the cable. Google was my friend.

What I used to do it

The parts I ordered:

The tools I used:

  • Solder/Soldering Iron
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Ratchet set
  • Heat shrink

Trouble spots

I ordered the Add-A-Fuse twice. I also ordered the Hardwire Barewire twice. Why? Because I never truly had it all grounded properly to begin with and I thought my parts were broken. I ordered new parts. And unsurprisingly, those didn’t work either. Until I tried a different spot for the ground that followed the instructions for bare metal in the video. Tada! Power.

I originally used electrical tape, the crimp joint that comes on the Add-A-Fuse, and left the ground wire bare. These are all areas that are recipes for disaster in a vibrating car. To overcome those areas, I opted to solder each splice and add heat shrink over it. I even coated the bare ground wire in solder to get a better connection behind the bare metal bolt.

Getting the USB cable through the holder was a pain. I tried carving with a knife, using a small dremel cutting wheel, and then finally opted to melt my way in there with the soldering iron. Don’t judge me. It worked. :D

Super quick summary on how I got power

  1. Cut USB ends off Barewire and USB angled cable, soldered and heat shrinked together
  2. Stripped loose wire end of Barewire back, snipped off crimp connector and stripped Add-A-Fuse wire back, soldered and heat shrinked positive leads (red wires) together
  3. Added solder to ground wire from Barewire and secured it to the bare metal bolt
  4. Found a switchable fuse port in the fuse box of my car and bare metal bolt for ground
  5. Popped out the fuse, installed that fuse into the Add-A-Fuse, installed a 5 amp fuse into the second port of the Add-A-Fuse and plugged it into the port in my fuse box
  6. Plugged the USB cable into my touchstone and started my car. IT’S ALIVE!

Photo Gallery

Each photo has my notes as well. Enjoy.

I made the hole for the cable with the soldering iron. Not elegant but you can't see it.I really like how the cable turned out. Nice and hidden.I thought it was done! But 4 magnets just weren't strong enough. I could bump the touchstone off or take the whole thing off when removing the phone.This is the final setup with 8 magnets set higher. The holder arms are adjustable.It even rotates! This was kind of an after thought but I use nDrive beta on my Pre3 and it looks a lot better in landscape.Here's my add-a-fuse and circuit breaker in my car. Pretty simple.I actually removed the first 4 magnets and moved all of them up to give the Pre3 more room. The bottom of the Pre3 and Pixi rest ever so slightly onto the two extension feet of the holder.You can't tell but this is the first complete setup with 4 magnets. They were too low and didn't give the Pre3 enough room. Looked good though without the Pre3 on it!It clears my turn signal easily by 2-3 inches. I can see it clearly but it's not distracting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASporting my Pre2 the day I was done with the project. Looks great!The final look with 8 magnets.A look at the final ground setup.Here you can see the cut I made pretty well. This cleared out room for the angled cable. It's an early attempt with only 4 magnets.With the holder so close to the window it was important to see how it would look in direct sunlight. I think it's doing great.An early look at the setup where you can see only 4 magnets on the holder. Angled cable ready to go.Here's an early look at the back. Still has 4 magnets but I'd made the cut to fit the cable already.

Talk about it!

#webosforever



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