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mk5 build

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Builds (2005-2015)' started by mk5, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Sep 6, 2018 at 3:56 PM
    #1
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Finally starting a build thread for this truck!

    t2.jpg

    UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I don't really know what I'm doing yet. Or ever.

    This is a 2005 4x4 access cab previously owned by adriancast. I picked it up in early 2018.

    I would say that I primarily use this truck to drive to shopping malls, and that my top priorities are good gas mileage and keeping everything factory-original.

    Mods when I got the truck:

    Interior
    Exterior
      • Softopper
      • Rear Diff Breather Mod
      • Reverse/Camping Lights
      • Pop n Lock Tailgate Lock
      • BHLM (Black Headlight Mod)
      • Toyota Hilux Snorkel (STH167RA)
      • 30" Double Row From OKLEDLIGHTBARS (14,400 lumens)
    Wheels/Tires
      • American Racing Wheels
      • 285/75/16 BFGs A/T TKO Load Range E
    Lift/Suspension
      • Cab Mount Chop
      • All-Pro U Bolt Flip Kit
      • Front/Rear Wheeler Super Bumps
      • All-Pro Standard Duty Leaf Pack
      • Icon Uniball Upper Control Arms
      • All-Pro Rear Extended Brake Lines
      • All-Pro Front Extended Brake Lines
      • Icon Rear Shocks w Reserviors
      • 2.5 Donahoe Racing Coilovers w 700# Springs
    Performance
      • Flowmaster 40 Series
    Recovery/Tools/Misc
      • Super Z Snow Cables
      • Fire Extinguisher (3lb)
      • ViAir Air Compressor (mounted in the engine bay)
    Armor
      • All-Pro IFS Skid
      • All-Pro E-Locker Guard
      • All-Pro Transmission Skid
      • BruteForce Hybrid Front Bumper
      • 4xinnovation DOM Sliders at 15 degrees
    Mods I've done, am doing, or plan to do:

    • New fuse block & rewire for all the aftermarket stuff
    • Radios: CB and mobile HAM radio installs
    • Head unit: ATOTO A6 andrioid head unit + accessories
    • Subwoofer: I fit a 10" subwoofer in an access cab, without giving up a seat!
    • Winch: I got the Smittybilt 10k lbs synthetic one and it BARELY fit.
    • Raising the seats: More space for activities!
    • Adding aftermarket LED lights to replace the missing factory fog lights
    • Adding a reasonable amount of interior lighting (you know, like domestic trucks have had for decades?) And then: adding even more lights.
    • Coming up with a comfortable way to camp in the bed.
    • Revisiting the front grille: Better airflow, no more loose headlights, and best of all, more horns!
    • Someday: Getting a bumper with a swingout tire carrier. It's crammed back under the bed for now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
    BigHam and loginfailed like this.
  2. Sep 6, 2018 at 3:57 PM
    #2
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Rodriguez Canyon and Anza Borrego State Park

    OK, I just bought the truck Yesterday. Let's go for a ride!

    After a busy morning of activities, I headed up to Julian, stopping at the pie store to pick one up for my wife. She thinks I'll be home in time for dinner, which I won't be, so it's kind of a strategic purchase.

    Then, I hit my first trail: Rodriguez Canyon:

    This is a fitting first trail, because it's the same trail I first drove my prior (and first) 4x4 pickup on, many years ago:
    old_truck.jpg
    I guess I didn't quite get the camera angles the same...

    Reaching the other end of the trail, I headed south on the S2 until around the 43 mile marker, and crossed over into Anza Borrego via Vallecito Creek Road. I had spent too much time enjoying BLM land activities atop Rodriguez Trail, so the sun was already setting at this point!

    20180311_184941.jpg
    Uh-oh, looks like I only have one headlight And it is DIM :(

    Luckily, the LED bar is brighter than the light of a thousand suns!

    20180311_192327.jpg
    I turned north into Arroyo Seco Del Diablo, which quickly became a breathtaking slot canyon with one particularly narrow squeeze. I kept the truck level as the tires climbed up both sides of the canyon, and had no trouble getting through.

    20180311_194650.jpg
    Soon I emerged from the slot canyon and caught this final glimpse of the day's light.

    I hadn't seen another human soul since Banner. I was driving an unfamiliar truck across limitless, unknown desolation in the darkness of night. It was perfect. God, I love the desert.

    20180311_194245.jpg
    Soon I came upon a helpful sign confirming I was on track for my intended thru-route to Ocotillo Wells: Diablo Drop Off.

    The drop offs were steep but not too bad. I definitely walked them first, since I've never been here before! I soon found myself in Fish Creek Canyon.

    20180311_204508.jpg
    Behold, the wind caves! At least, I think they're the wind caves. I'll have to come back in daylight.

    Finally I found pavement, emerging from the trails near Ocotillo Wells. I headed east to catch the 86 north, stopping at every gas station on the way looking for new headlight bulbs. I must have stopped half a dozen times. It gave me plenty of time to air up the tires and peoplewatch. My favorite was the guy circling the block in a purple Hummer with outward-facing speakers blasting Kid Rock.


    Finally I reached the Indo Walmart, certain I'd find my bulb there:
    Snapchat-1139862071.jpg
    Defeated, I approached the check-out with only a bottle of Gatorade in hand. But even that wasn't meant to be, as a tattoo-covered gentleman in the line before me became frustrated with the cashier over something involving cigarettes. I quietly left the lukewarm beverage on the counter and backed away when he started assaulting a manager and shouting that he would murder everyone in the store. By the time I watched the first police car screech to a halt at the door, I had already ordered my headlight bulbs online from the comfort of my truck. I'm used to the frustration of the constantly barren shelves of every Walmart in California, but at least this trip was entertaining!

    I made it home about 6 hours late for dinner, but my wife wasn't too mad because I had that pie from Julian. Overall, it was a fun first trip for my new truck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
    loginfailed likes this.
  3. Sep 6, 2018 at 3:58 PM
    #3
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    New fuse/relay box for all the aftermarket stuff
     
  4. Sep 6, 2018 at 3:59 PM
    #4
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Radios!
     
  5. Sep 6, 2018 at 3:59 PM
    #5
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    New Android head unit: ATOTO A6

    atoto1.jpg

    More to come...
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  6. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:00 PM
    #6
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Raising the seats

    So, I decided that I need more space for activities under the seats. Also, I'm short and these trucks don't have a height adjustment on the seat. Here is what I did to raise both seats by about 1.5 inches. Do this at your own risk. Seats are critical safety equipment.

    In short, I made these spacers that go under the seat rail attachment points:

    spacers.jpg

    The rear spacers are simple bushings made from 1.5" diameter aluminum rod. Luckily, I had just picked up a band saw, which made this easier.

    saw.jpg

    I did the drivers side first, and made them ~1" long. After confirming that the design worked, I made the passenger side even taller, ~1.5", to give a little more space for my subwoofer.

    lathe.jpg

    I drilled the center hole for a tight clearance fit, and I used 50mm long (60mm pass. side), M10x1.25 alloy steel screws to hold the seats down (adding washers under the screw heads as appropriate). I left the aluminum bare, since it had shined up nicely in the lathe. The spacers are mostly covered by the floor mats, which don't sit totally flat any more... but if you're sitting in the back seat of an access cab, then uneven floor mats aren't going to be your biggest source of discomfort.

    The front spacer is a bit more complicated. I made it from 1" square steel tubing. The strongest piece I could find was 0.12" wall thickness from 46,000 psi steel. Here's the basic design:

    spacer_drawings.jpg

    These raise the front of the seat rails by ~1.5". The 45 degree cut is so that you can screw the spacer into the original threaded hole under the seat, through the 10mm clearance hole. (As you can see above, I had to extend this cut on the gray pair of the spacers, so that the bolt would fit... but I think I messed up the angle of the cut on those?) The tapped hole on the top side (M10x1.25) is the new mounting point for the seat rail, and the slot on the back side is for the pin sticking out from the bottom of the seat rail. That pin is just a bit too long to fit in the tube without this relief cut.

    milling.jpg

    Here is the front spacer installed in the truck -- you can see the pin I'm talking about:

    spacer.jpg

    The front spacers got cleaned and primed, then bolted in place with 16 mm long M10x1.25 alloy steel screws. All the screws here are 170,000 PSI high-strength steel, and I trust the design to hold as well as the original with respect to front or rear collisions. I ever get more time, I plan to weld in a reinforcement between the spacers, with flush clearance holes for the seat pins, to restore more of the side-impact strength of the original seat configuration.


    Edit 7/2019: I saw someone is selling machined aluminum seat spacers here. I don't know for sure, but it looks like that's a better design, since it engages the seat pins as well as the mounting screws.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
    TacomArizona and loginfailed like this.
  7. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:00 PM
    #7
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Subwoofer!

    More to come!
    box.jpg

    sub2.jpg

    sub.jpg

    LT_calc.jpg
    lt1.jpg

    lt2.jpg

    Sounds great!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  8. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:01 PM
    #8
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Winch!

    I've never had a winch before. I decided that the $300, 9500lb one from Smittybilt should meet all my needs, since I'll probably never need a winch, because I only ever drive to shopping malls on paved roads anyway.

    But then, I read about synthetic rope, and how it is lighter and easier to work with. And I knew that if I didn't buy the synthetic version now, that I'd be buying synthetic rope in a few months, and then I'd have 100 feet of steel rope in my garage for the rest of my life.

    So, like I said, I had decided on the $480, 9500 lbs synthetic-rope winch.

    And then I saw they had a wireless version with supposedly improved water resistance and slightly increased weight capacity. And I knew that if I didn't get a wireless controller, that I'd soon spend 20 hours hard-wiring an in-cab winch controller for my truck.

    So, like I said, I had decided on the $550, 10,000 lbs, wireless synthetic-rope winch.

    winch_box.jpg
    So then it was time to remove the front bumper. Which, it turns out, is heavy as my favorite four-letter word. An improvised system of rope, pulleys and jacks did the trick:
    winch_install_1.jpg

    Luckily, it seems that the form factors of winches and bumpers have been well-standardized. Or at least, the mounting holes lined up in my case. But unluckily, my LED bar sticks well into the space that I now need for the winch:
    winch_install_2.jpg
    What should I do? Should I be a reasonable person and realize that I can't have both a winch and a super-huge light bar in my bumper at the same time?

    Of course not! I want both the winch AND the LED bar! WHY CAN"T I HAVE THEM BOTH?!!1!!?

    iwantitall.jpg
    Um, I stole that picture by the way. Sorry, internet people.

    Anyway....

    So logically, I decided to hack away a majority of the heatsink on the LED bar and hope for the best. More specifically, I'll hope that it doesn't overheat and self-destruct, or melt the synthetic rope spooled only millimeters away. But the good news is, I'm good at both destroying things, and yet somehow still hoping for the best.

    this_was_loud.jpg
    With a hacksaw and a milling machine, I carefully cut away the LED heatsink. What I can tell you is that this was the most terrible noise I've ever generated in my life. And I say this knowing that in the past, I have tried playing both the accordion and the banjo. Yet today's noise was somehow even worse.

    Now I've eliminated much of the LED heatsink, as well as any remaining shred of patience or goodwill my neighbors might have once harbored for me. But at long last, the LED and the winch both fit within my bumper:
    winch_fit.jpg

    After another quick 20 hours of pointlessly fabricating brackets before realizing the the factory-provided solenoid mounts would work best, I had completed the rough install of the winch:
    winch_first_done.jpg

    After the initial install, I revisited the winch a couple weeks later to:
    1. Replace the original fairlead with a $20 black-anodized one from Amazon.
    2. Properly spool the rope
    3. Install a battery cutoff switch so that the winch isn't powered at all times.

    Here is a final picture of the install:
    trail.jpg
    I've wrapped the last foot of the rope in electrical tape for now, to protect it from sunlight damage. But I'm hoping to find something better in the long run.

    Quick edit: Prior to install, I weighed all the winch components with my luggage scale (winch, solenoid, rope, fairlead, wire, and hardware bag). It totaled ~55 lbs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    loginfailed likes this.
  9. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:01 PM
    #9
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Something to replace the fog lights...

    Because this truck had an aftermarket bumper, there were no longer any fog lights. I decided to re-purpose the foglight circuit to add some side-facing offroad lights.

    I tried 4 different brands of "cheap" LED off-road lights from Amazon. Of course, none of them performed even close to their rated specs, and some of them were total crap. Here is a summary:
    Selecting the linear trough style lights, I proceeded to waterproof them by disassembling and reassembling with RTV silicone, then I applied yellow tint film to match the front LED bar. Then I spliced them to the appropriate connectors, and mounted them to the front corners of my truck, right below the wheel flares:

    side_light.jpg

    I had to use the mounting hardware from one of the other lights to get the angle right -- the included hardware wouldn't pivot far enough. I also replaced all the screws and nuts with stainless steel ones. Most of the "stainless" hardware in cheap Chinese stuff is fake, or at least of an inferior grade for automotive exterior.

    Here are the connectors I had to buy to match the original fog light wiring: PartsSquare Extension Wiring Plug Socket Connectors Female Male Adapter For HB3 9005 H10PartsSquare Extension Wiring Plug Socket Connectors Female Male Adapter For HB3 9005 H10

    Here is the yellow film: LinkedGo 12 by 48 Inches Self Adhesive Headlights or Fog Taillight Tint Vinyl Film (Golden Yellow)

    Overall I like these lights. They shine bright to about 90 degrees to either side of my truck. Sometimes I wish they went even further back, so maybe I'll try different ones someday. One downside is that they're not true foglights -- so they can't be used on the road. I have to be careful to turn them off during the day -- since they turn off with the ignition power, it's easy to inadvertently leave them turned on from the night before.

    Per usual, I spent a lot more time and money evaluating my options here. But this is a mod you can do for ~$35 and less than 1 hour of time if you have an unused factory fog light circuit from an aftermarket bumper installation.


    Here is a view in action -- including both the front and the side LEDs:
    led_lights.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  10. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:02 PM
    #10
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Let there be light!

    More to come!

    hood_lts.jpg

    side.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  11. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:03 PM
    #11
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Fixing up the bed for camping...

    More to come!

    bed.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  12. Sep 6, 2018 at 4:24 PM
    #12
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Revisiting the front: Strengthening the headlight mounts, brightening the headlights, and MORE HORNS!
     
  13. Sep 6, 2018 at 10:35 PM
    #13
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Product review: ATOTO A6 Android Head Unit

    Overall rating: 2/5. Will become higher if ATOTO provides warranty support for the dashcam, which recently stopped working.

    Pros: Inexpensive and runs Android! It does almost everything I had hoped it would, except for the dashcam (for which I've recently requested warranty support).

    Cons: It doesn't do anything particularly well, and is full of frustrating quirks, bugs, or omitted features.

    Prices paid (w/o tax or shipping):
    • $244 - ATOTO A6Y2721PB Andriod head unit. Includes GPS and WiFi antennas, and external microphone.
    • $20 - ATOTO OBDII Bluetooth thing
    • $35 - ATOTO AC-44P1 USB dashcam
    Other non-ATOTO items purchased or used with this install:
    I installed everything per instructions with proper technique. I am imperfect but generally competent, and I have a strong background in electronics.

    Feature-by-feature review:
    • Radio: Works, reasonable but not great FM/AM reception. Seeking is SLOW and tuning modes are confusing.
    • Media player: I hated the built-in mp3 player, which wouldn't let me find music by folder and filename (which is how I organize it). I used a popular mp3 player from the Play Store instead, and it works great! HOWEVER, if I turn off the car while playing mp3s, it will boot back up to radio mode EVERY TIME.
    • Other apps: All my favorite apps seem to work well. I'm mostly using it for maps and GPS stuff on the road.
    • GPS: Works great, reports better accuracy than my GS6 phone does. Also faster to acquire its position from a cold-start.
    • WiFi: Works great. But I hate having to activate mobile hotspot mode on my phone each time I drive. I have tried several GSM modems and hotspots for this device (all on my AT&T plan) and haven't found anything that works for hands-free, automatic mobile internet. But this is 100% AT&Ts fault for no longer offering a hands-free mobile hotspot option for cars, and I plan on switching carriers when I get the time to research my options.
    • Bluetooth: Seems to work well. No in-motion pairing lock-out.* Dual bluetooth is nice -- I can do audio streaming from my phone and read OBDII at the same time. However, you can't hook up two phones at the same time. Most crucially, call audio quality is poor even with the ATOTO microphone mounted at the top of my A pillar. Worse than other brand-name head units I've used.
    • Dashcam: Not functional. Seemed to work for a while, but now endlessly stops and re-starts recording. Fills up the card with thousands of zero-length video files. Does not record while I'm driving. Even when it worked, the camera had very poor night vision due to apparently poor thermal management: I'd get a nice crisp image at start-up, but after several minutes, the image would wash out due to rising dark noise on the sensor.
    • Backup camera: The unit takes a single backup camera signal and trigger input. I have tried two cameras on my truck, and both work but not perfectly. Sometimes, the image freezes or cuts out, then the screen displays "No Siganl" (sic). I checked the signals on a scope during these events and found them to be within NTSC spec. So it appears the ATOTO unit is either buggy or needs an abnormally strong camera signal. I have both cameras wired now with an external selector switch/relay. They both work a majority of the time, but sometimes the backup camera just won't work right when I really need it!
    • TV tuner: There are no ATSC tuners available for this product line via it's tuner interface. Only DVB, which will not work in the U.S. I will agree that having a TV in your car is stupid, but I've wanted one ever since I saw the movie "Wayne's World." So instead, I took one of my old "set top box" ATSC tuners and plumbed it to the "AUX IN" ports on the back of this unit. I also installed a UHF antenna along the top of my windshield, threw together a 5V power supply, and ran a fiberoptic cable from the front of the dash to the tuner hidden behind it, so that the remote would work. Believe it or not, it works, I can watch TV in my truck. And now that I've accomplished that, I'll probably never ever use it again -- broadcast TV is unbearable to watch!
    • OBDII: Works well with Torque. I don't necessarily trust Chinese-made consumer electronics with full-time access to my truck's CAN bus, so I keep this part unplugged except when I'm using it.
    • Steering wheel controls: Works using the Metra 70-8114 harness only. I didn't need the other METRA "universal" thing for my 2005 truck. I was pleased to find that all 5 buttons work, even though I know my clockspring isn't working for cruise control.
    • Headlight dimmer: Works, display automatically dims when the headlights come on. You can also manually dim it from the front panel. Buttons don't appear to dim, though.
    • Display: Pretty low-resolution by modern smartphone standards (i.e., difficult for web browsing), but it is good enough for an in-dash display. It is bright enough to be seen except in direct sunlight, and dims enough so as not to blind you at night. Touch screens are really difficult to use while driving, but we already knew that.
    • Audio: OK, but not great. I notice a lot of distortion at higher volumes. There's also no high-pass option for the speaker outputs, meaning it's wasting a lot of its output power delivering bass to the full-range speakers, which are very inefficient at these frequencies. Since I have a separate powered subwoofer, I wish I could filter out the lowest bass from the main speakers. Also, the equalizer is nice but there doesn't seem to be a way to save your custom equalizer settings. For these reasons, I bought an Alpine amplifier and will be re-wiring the system so that I'm not relying on the power amplifiers in the ATOTO unit.
    Other frustrations that could be easily fixed through software improvements (hint, hint, ATOTO):
    • You can't adjust the volume of the subwoofer relative to the speakers. You can only turn it on or off, or adjust it's absolute volume (which means that it no longer tracks the system volume at all). So most installations will require an external sub volume control.
    • Sometimes, the subwoofer output will stop working for some audio sources (e.g., mp3). You have to do a hard reset to get subwoofer output back.
    • It ALWAYS returns to playing the radio when I start the car, even if I was listening to mp3s or bluetooth before turning it off.
    • You can choose the color of the buttons, but only between a handful of values. So you can make them red, but not orange. They also don't dim.
    • You can't change the volume quickly because there's no knob. OK, I get it, there's not space for a knob. But even if you press and hold the buttons, the volume still changes very slowly. Or, if you press the buttons repeatedly as fast as you can, it starts skipping some of the presses.
      • Why not offer an add-on knob accessory for this product line? This is, has been, and will always be, the best way for humans to adjust the volume of our music.
      • I tried to make my own volume knob for this using a rotary encoder and a microcontroller, via the resistive interface for steering wheel controls. (Yes, I am a very stubborn person). It didn't work because the ATOTO unit only processes resistive inputs at a rate of about 2 Hz -- that is, it only allows two volume 'clicks' per second. Any faster and it will ignore the inputs. So, my microcontroller has to buffer the volume commands for up to several seconds, making the knob useless and infuriating to use.
    Here's an example of a frustrating interaction: I go to play some quiet instrumental music from the mp3 player, turning up the volume only to find that the supwoofer output has stopped working. So I restart the system. After the restart, it starts playing the radio at a now-deafening volume. It takes me 10 seconds to get the volume back down to a reasonable level.

    *Note that I didn't connect the "parking brake" signal line, which is designed to lock out some features while in motion. Note further that I will never buy a car that locks me out of pairing mode while the car is in motion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  14. Sep 7, 2018 at 4:57 AM
    #14
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    A rant about aluminum wire and why nobody should use it.

    More to come!
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  15. Sep 15, 2018 at 3:59 AM
    #15
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    Member:
    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Hacking the Midland 75-822 CB radio so the stupid backlight stays on.

    As we previously established, I am usually alone on the trail and have no use for a CB radio. And, it seems that the truckers no longer use CB any more. So naturally, I decided to mod my unused CB radio so that the damn backlight stays on all the time.
    start.jpg

    This mod will cause the LED backlights on the Midland 75-822 to turn on at all times whenever the radio is on.
    For a hybrid handheld/mobile CB radio, the Midland 75-822 got a lot of things right, including price point and form factor. But one thing they screwed up is the display lighting. It has a backlight, but you have to press a button to turn it on, and even then, it only stays on for a few seconds. How am I supposed to know what channel I'm tuned to while driving alone in silence at night? I mean, what if I was inadvertently on the wrong channel, and I missed out on the only contact I might ever make on CB in the 21st century?

    So I drank a few beers and took the stupid thing apart.

    1.jpg

    Like most of the things I've taken apart after drinking, this radio was full of parts. Lots and lots of parts.

    2.jpg
    Having removed the shell, I next desoldered the antenna BNC center conductor and unscrewed the BNC/dial nuts, so that I could remove the upper cover. Then I had another beer.

    3.jpg
    Now I could pull apart the two circuit boards, to reveal... yep, more parts. At some point the coax broke away from one of the boards, saving me the trouble of desoldering it. And I think some of the speaker wires also came off, and then my cat ran off with some of the screws. I'm just really good at taking stuff apart--ask my wife.

    Ok, so, if you want the lights in your Midland 75-822 to stay on, this is all the further you need to disassemble your radio. Do NOT remove the LCD like I did:
    4.jpgRepeat: Do NOT remove the LCD. It is a pain to re-attach correctly. (Ask me how I know.) Only remove the LCD if you want to replace the LEDs with different colored ones. (Note: The LEDs are the two white rectangles in the white area of the PCB above.) I might have preferred orange LEDs, but by this point I was pretty sure I had permanently destroyed the radio, so I decided not to mess with the LED color. Simply having access to the LED terminals was enough to help me find the transistor responsible for their operation.

    Wait, where'd I put my beer?

    OK, *hiccup* this is the thing we're going to, uh, solder the stuff for:
    5.jpg

    The LED turn-on transistor is a standard N-channel FET. I found a picture from the internet, it says "SOT-23," whatever that means. By shorting the source to the drain (in this case, with a bent piece of wire soldered to each pin), you can turn on the LEDs at all times. Think of the source as your bank account, and the drain as your Tacoma. By connecting one to the other, you can maintain an uninterrupted flow of... wait, what was I saying? I'm going to grab another beer--want one?

    diagram.jpg

    While I was in there, I also decided to make the LEDs brighter. Because I'm a Free American, that's why. You got a problem with that?

    So... it looks like I slapped a 1.2 kOhm resistor atop one of the 2.4ks on each side, to (approximately) double the LED current. Doing this produces an increase in brightness that is nearly indistinguishable to the human eye, while also wasting time and somehow causing me to get blood all over my resistor kit.

    6.jpg
    I'm not exactly sure how I put the damn thing back together, but based on my injuries, I think it took several tries.

    After I finished putting the radio back together, I ran out to my truck to try it out. Sure enough, nobody uses CB at 4AM (or ever?), and I pretty quickly lost interest. But I'll be damned if the thing didn't light up the whole time.
     
    loginfailed likes this.
  16. Sep 15, 2018 at 7:07 AM
    #16
    loginfailed

    loginfailed Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2016
    Member:
    #195923
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    Male
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    Dwayne
    Houston, TX
    Vehicle:
    2014 DCSB 4WD
    I also do little mods to electrical stuff. Manufacturers sometimes hit home runs overall and then completely drop the ball on some small detail.

    :thumbsup:
     
  17. Oct 9, 2018 at 3:51 PM
    #17
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
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    #247373
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    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Camping out by Old Dale... on a clear moonless night. The stars were amazing.

    camping.jpg

    mine.jpg
     
  18. Oct 9, 2018 at 6:18 PM
    #18
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

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    '05 access cab 4x4
    Crap!!!

    P0333.jpg
     
  19. Jan 18, 2019 at 3:39 PM
    #19
    TacomArizona

    TacomArizona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    15' ACOR 2wd 4.0
    How has the seat raising MOD been?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  20. Mar 16, 2019 at 11:53 PM
    #20
    mk5

    mk5 [OP] Active Member

    Joined:
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    #247373
    Messages:
    38
    Vehicle:
    '05 access cab 4x4
    Light timer circuit.

    So last year I spent all this time adding lights all over my truck.

    For example, the glove box and the console:
    glove.jpg console.jpg

    And also under the hood and the bed rails.

    It turns out that, even though I used LEDs for all of these, this still presents a risk to drain your battery by leaving the lights on all the time. For example...

    I used cheapo Chinese reed switches for several of these lights in my truck. These are essentially magnet-controlled switches, and I used them with magnets glued to the opposing surface to automatically turn on the lights on and off in these various places. Long story short, two of these switches failed, leaving the lights on all the time.

    Also, in an unrelated third case, I accidentally switched on the bed lights during the day and then went out of town for a week, and that also killed my battery.


    I replaced the failed reed switches, but I wanted something to prevent a “light switch left on” situation from becoming a “dead battery” situation.


    So I made a little circuit that uses an LTC6995-1 timer with a relay to function as an auto-off timer for all the extra lights I’ve added to my truck. I just wire it in line with the light, like this:
    diagram.jpg

    Here it is in testing:
    timer1.jpg

    It’s not the cheapest circuit I’ve ever designed, but it was easy, and I had most of the parts on hand as surplus. The things I really like about this design include:

    1. Using an SSR (pictured), it can switch up to 2A current, and it only adds about 5mA to the load current when it’s on.

    2. Using a mechanical relay, it can switch up to 10A current, and only adds about 20mA to the load current when it’s on.

    3. After it turns off, it draws less than 1 mA, which is negligible for a car battery. And if I removed the diagnostic LEDs on the board, it would draw <0.02 mA.

    4. It doesn’t need constant 12V or constant ground to work. It just gets wired in line with the light, so it works whether the light is switched on the high side or the low side. (But it won’t work with PWM… at least not without modification.)

    5. To reset the timer, just close the door for a moment.

    The hood and bed lights have a 2-hour timeout, whereas the glove box and console lights have a 30-minute timeout. Even if the reed switches fail again, I won’t have a dead battery!

    Here’s one of the circuits ready for installation in the hood. I potted the circuit in silicone with heatshrink, then wrapped it in split loom.
    timer2.jpg

    After half a year in service, and they seem to work great!
     

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