How to crimp: Making reliable automotive electrical connections

This post details the proper method for making automotive electrical connections using the crimp method. It is not intended to be an authoritative or comprehensive guide, but rather an introduction to some basic concepts, hardware, and methods that have served me well. The intended audience is enthusiasts who don’t have any formal training in the area but like or prefer to do their own wiring projects, which can range from a simple radar detector installation through full chassis and engine harness fabrication.

In my experience, automotive electrical problems can be amongst the most frustrating to diagnose with loose or faulty connections often being the root cause. However, unlike so many other types of problems that can occur as a result of mechanical stress, driver error, or just plain bad luck, electrical problems can be almost entirely avoided by applying a little bit of knowhow when making connections.

Several years ago, I installed a fuel cell which – amongst other things – involved wiring up an electric fuel pump. For serviceability I incorporated a connector into the design, which involved splicing two wire ends together and applying solder to ensure they didn’t pull apart.

Everything worked well at first but after a while I started experiencing problems with the engine cutting out in the turns (one high speed bumpy turn in particular). My initial hunch was fuel delivery related – which ultimately proved to be true – but the specific cause was time consuming and difficult to diagnose. Random luck helped my find the problem sooner than would have otherwise taken.

While testing a new fuel pump in the workshop I bumped the connector and the pump sputtered. Turning my attention to the connector, I discovered that the soldered connection failed leaving me with two wire halves. The heat shrink insulating material hid the problem from view and kept them mostly in contact with each other but all it took was a little bit of force and/or vibration (like driving over a bumpy turn) to open up a gap breaking the flow of current to the pump.

Like most electrical problems, the fix for this problem was easy once diagnosed but a long an painful journey to get there. Ironically, in my effort to sure up the connection with solder I made it less reliable. Realizing this sparked my interest as to the correct way to make reliable electrical connections.

Update: 2/17/2013

The topic of soldering versus crimping is often debated. Already, there have been several responses to this article denouncing crimping as the preferred method to soldering. That crimping is a preferred method is my opinion (a generalization for which exceptions apply) and I am in the good company of aerospace, military, Formula 1, and medical. If performed correctly, both soldering and crimping will produce reliable connections. Likewise, if performed incorrectly, both will result in unreliable connections. Hence, there is an abundance on anecdotal evidence for and against each method available on the Internet.

A key and significant advantage of crimping over soldering is the ease and speed with which a properly formed connection can be consistently performed. I have seen far too many people get soldering wrong (also my opinion, MSME & having worked in aerospace too) and hence my motivation for writing this article. With proper tooling crimping is nearly foolproof. There are a wide variety of connector types and associated tooling that range from inexpensive to very expensive, but even inexpensive connectors can produce good results. The tooling and connectors demonstrated in this article are on the more expensive end of the spectrum but the same principles and techniques apply to other connector types as well.

Why soldering is bad

There was a time when I soldered all of my electrical connections under the misguided belief that I was making them more reliable. I eventually learned otherwise. I should have known better but I hadn’t thought about it deeply and the practice is commonplace, even amongst some automotive professionals. To understand why soldering is bad, entertain the possibility you could purchase ceramic insulated wire for your next automotive electrical project. Would you use it?

Hopefully your answer to the above question is a resounding no. Ceramic has several properties that when viewed independently make it an excellent choice; however,  its low ductility (brittleness) makes it a poor overall choice. Wire must be able to bend freely as it is routed through the car and is subject to constant flex and vibration. When you use solder to make electrical connections you’re also greatly reducing the wires ductility in the solder region and – like a chain – the wire is only as reliable as its weakest link.

If you take the opportunity to inspect the connections made by the manufacturer of your automobile, you’ll discover that most if not all connections do not have any solder applied. The recall cost to an automobile manufacturer for a flawed electrical connection can run hundreds of millions of dollars, so their engineers incorporate only the best practices for forming durable and reliable electrical connections. Think about this the next time you pull out your soldering gun to make your electrical connection super reliable!

The following video illustrates the effects of solder on a wire connection and compares it to a properly formed connection using a crimper.

Thus far the focus has been on reliability as reason to avoid solder but there are other practical considerations as well. Soldering can take significantly more time than crimping (a topic we will get to shortly). For large projects, this can mean added days. It also requires a higher degree of skill to execute properly if used (e.g., not enough heat, wicking past the contact into the insulated area, etc.). For enthusiasts, electrical work is often performed in compromising positions with poor lighting such as under the dashboard, underneath the car, inside the engine bay, etc., which can make applying solder a challenge. Proper ventilation in tight quarters can also be difficult to achieve but is necessary in order to avoid breathing in toxic fumes. Care should also be taken to avoid letting solder (or solder residue) come into contact with the mouth, cuts, and sores. Always wash your hands after handling solder!

I suspect many resort to soldering connections because they perceive crimps as being weak or otherwise insufficient by themselves. A common scenario it to take a crimp-style connector, crimp, and then apply solder to strengthen the connection. However, a properly executed crimp can be as strong as or stronger than the wire itself is properly executed. By adding solder you are ultimately undermining your desire to form a more reliable connection.

You might be wondering why soldering connections is bad when modern cars contain scores of electronic printed circuit boards (PCBs) each having hundreds of soldered connections. Unlike wires being routed throughout your car, the components soldered onto a PCB are not subject to flex and handling because they are mounted to a rigid plan (the PCB board) contained within an enclosure. If vibration is a concern, the PCB it can be mounted on vibration isolators and epoxy can further be used to mechanically secure the components in place. None of this is true for most automotive wiring projects. Furthermore, as with any rule, there are exceptions and the application of solder in forming connections is no exception. Used properly in conjunction with crimping, solder can be used to build a more reliable connection but is unnecessary in most cases and – in my opinion – the risk of getting it wrong does not outweigh the benefits and therefore is not discussed.

If done with care, solder can be applied to a crimp connection as an added measure of reliability by applying only in the area near the very tip of the wire. The solder must not flow into the region below the crimp compression as you want the wire itself to remain flexible so it does not break apart from the connector. In my opinion, the risk of making a mistake is far greater than any improvement in reliability (marginal at best). It also adds a significant amount of time for each connection to be made (2-3 times) and it therefore not advised.

Crimping

The figure below shows a wire properly crimped a solid contact pin. Unlike other connector types, this pin doesn’t lend itself to soldering even if we wanted to. Visual inspection shows 8 compression points (only 4 are visible in the figure). A cross-section view is shown in Table 1.  The stranded wire can freely flex at the base of the connector with little or no fatigue and the wires are held in place by compressive forces that exceed the strength of the wire itself, making for a connection that is strong, durable, and virtually impervious to vibration. It took only a few seconds to form this connection with proper tooling using a foolproof procedure.

A solid contact socket properly crimped to wire takes only a few seconds to achieve. This is a good crimp, but ideally there should be a little bit of uninsulated wire showing before it enters into the connector pin (about 1/2 the diameter of the wire).

Same pin as shown above after applying tension to the point of failure. Visual inspection shows that the wire strands broke before the crimp failed confirming that the crimp is stronger than the wire itself.

Same pin as shown above after applying tension to the point of failure. Visual inspection shows that the wire strands broke before the crimp failed confirming that the crimp is stronger than the wire itself.

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Close-up view of same pin shows the tip of the wire showing through the inspection hole, providing further proof that the crimp is stronger than the wire itself.

The perception that crimping is inadequate may stem from the commonplace crimper available for about $10 at your local hardware, automotive, or electronics store. This tool has no place in forming automotive electrical connections and if used, adding solder probably will serve to better the connection.

The commonplace hardware store crimper has no place in forming reliable automotive electrical connections.

The key to a reliable crimp connection is having the right tool for the job, and knowing how to use it. The right tool depends on the type of connector being used, of which there are many. Even an aerospace quality crimp tool will not work or produce proper results if used on the wrong connector type. Some shops limit themselves to using a small handful of connector types because they don’t want to or cannot afford to purchase tooling for every type. I’m partial to Deutsch DTM style connectors for reasons stated below and which will be illustrated extensively throughout this article. For these connectors, crimp tool like the one illustrated by Figure 5 is required. If you choose a different type of connector, be sure to ask the vendor or do your research as to the proper tooling required and learn how to use it properly.

A proper crimp tool for automotive applications (Astro Tool M22520/1-01) for use with connectors having Amphenol style circular contact pins.

Video Demonstration

Tooling and Connector Hardware

I am going to describe and illustrate how to make a proper connection using a Deutsch DTM style connectors. Again, this is the type of connector type I prefer partly because they are used by Motec in the construction of their ECU harnesses so I needed to become familiar with them have acquire the required tooling. By no means do I attest these to be the only or even the best connectors for making durable automotive connections. There are several good alternatives available such as GM Weatherpack, Metripack, Deutsch Autosport, and many more.

Deutsch DTM Connector

In addition to the reasons stated above, reasons why I like Deutsch DTM connectors and have stayed with them are several:

  • Incorporates circular contact pins facilitating fast and virtually foolproof crimps.
  • Wedgelock insert fixes pins precisely in place for smooth and easy plug / unplug action.
  • Suitable range of wire sizes (16-22 AWG) for most connection needs.
  • Available in 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12 pin connector arrangements.
  • Inline and flange mount available.
  • Parts readily available from a wide range of suppliers in gold or nickel plated.
  • Pins are easily removed from connector housing and can be purchased separately.
  • Receptacle and plug assembly halves can be purchase separately.

Deutsch DTM connector parts consists of pins or sockets (sockets shown), housing (plug assembly shown), and Wedgelock.

Close-up of 4-pin plug assembly having part number DTM06-4S. Not shown is corresponding receptacle assembly having part number DTM06-4P.

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DTM solid pin drawing. Source: Deutsch Industrial Product Catalog.

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DTM solid pin drawing. Source: Deutsch Industrial Product Catalog.

I order my connectors through Motec USA because they’ve never failed me and they also offer kits that make ordering parts a little easier (housing, pins, and wedge sold packaged together). The kits can be found in the Motec catalog available on their website. For a complete list of distributors in the USA and worldwide, visit the TE distributors webpage. I found the complete Deutsch connector catalog on the LADD Industries website. LADD is a Deutsch distributor.

In addition to complete product line, the Deutsch catalog contains lots of useful information such as produce line overview, tooling, electrical characteristics, operating condition tolerances, and how-to instructions.

You should select the housing configuration that is correct for your application. With the DTM connectors, you also have the option to select pin type. I like and use the solid pins because they’re very easy and virtually foolproof to crimp, so this is what I’ll be going into more detail on when describing the assembly process. Should you choose to also use a Deutsch connector, I recommend reading the catalog sections that describes details regarding assembly, electrical characteristics, and operating condition tolerances.

With the DTM connectors you can choose solid barrel or stamped pin types. I prefer the solid barrel pins because they result in fast and virtually foolproof crimps. This pins seen in the illustrations are the solid barrel type. Stamped pins have wings that curl onto the wire. Either pin type is fine for most applications. Just be aware there are two different types of pins, each requiring a different crimp tool. Refer to the Deutsch catalog for additional details.

Crimp Tool

The correct tool is critical for achieving a proper crimp, else you’re probably better of soldering (as bad as that is). Check with the manufacturer or distributor for your connector of choice for information on tooling requirements. For the Deutsch DTM series connector, Tyco (manufacturer) recommends the DMC MH860 crimper, which is a circular indent style crimper conforming to MilSpec M22520. Its design accommodates a turret that can be removed and replaced by another to accommodate different contact types making it a versatile crimper (I also used this same crimper to crimp connector for MilSpec bayonet connector shown by Figure 8).

The MilSpec M22520 crimper incorporates an interchangeable turret design that can accommodate different connector types such as the MilSpec (MS3116F2041S) bayonet lock bulkhead connector as shown here.

For DTM connectors, I use the M22520/1-01 “large MilSpec crimper” manufactured by Astro Tool (Figure 5), also available from Daniels Manufacturing Corporation (DMC). These cost about US$250 new. You’ll also need to purchase a crimp head (a.k.a., “turret”), which is M22520/1-02 for the large crimper and about US$80 (Figure 9). In all, expect to pay about US$330 new. These are also commonly available on eBay for about ½ the cost, which is how I purchased mine. It sounds like a lot of money for a crimper, but its foolproof design will save you tons of time and you’ll get perfect crimps every time. I’ve used a number of different contact types and associated crimpers and this is by far my favorite, so I seek out connectors incorporating a solid round pin design for all of my wiring projects where applicable.

M22520/1-01 crimper incorporates an interchange crimp head (turret) for accommodating a variety of contact designs. Use M22520/1-02 for the Deutsch DTM solid contact. Each gauge holes shown (12, 16, and 20) actually accommodates a range of gauge sizes, and adjustment for the desired gauge wire is performed using the wire size selection dial shown by Figure 11, and as specified on the turret label (see next photo).

IMG_9226a

The crimp head (turret) specifies the wire size selector setting to use for the gauge wire being crimped to the contact. (Only part of label is visible in photo.) For example, for 24 gauge wire, rotate the red hole (20) into position as shown, and set the wire selector into the 2 position.

The wire size selector wheel configures the crimp tool for the specific wire size (gauge) to be crimped. As shown, the tool is configured for 20 gauge wire.

Wire

Although not required in order to achieve a good crimp, I use Tefzel insulated wire whenever possible. It is military spec (MilSpec 22759) and used by F1 racecar and airframe constructors. Definitely overkill for stereo and radar detector installations, but if building engine or chassis harnesses, or routing wire through harsh environments (temp, oil, moisture, etc.) then I recommend you consider it if long-term, trouble free performance is desired. I indiscriminately use Tefzel wire for all of my jobs given the choice.

Like a quality crimper, you’re not going to find Tefzel wire at your local hardware, electronics, or automotive store. You’ll need to order it online but there are plenty of suppliers. I get mine from Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies.

For automotive use, always use stranded wire for flexibility. Solid core wire has no business being in an automobile.

Wire Stripper

A wire stripper tool is used to strip the insulation from the endpoint of the wire being inserted into the electrical contact to be crimped. When stripping, leave the insulation being stripped from the wire covering the tip of the wire so that it can be easily removed by hand (), but so that it protects wire strands from fraying at the endpoint. This will help to ensure a smooth insertion into the connector housing. You’ll also want the strip length be correct for the contact being crimped. A quality wire strip tool will help you easily achieve these goals.

As described in the illustrations below, I use the Ideal Stripmaster wire stripper. It’s expensive but only absolutely required if using Tefzel wire, else less expensive strippers of similar design can be used with good success.

Use a wire stripper to strip the insulation from the wire. Pull the insulation away from the wire but keep the tip covered until just prior to crimping to protect the wire strands from fraying.

IMG_9251

The Ideal Stripmaster wire stripper for MIL-W-22759/16 Wire (26-16ga). At around US$250, it’s very expensive. Suitable for wire gauges 16-24, but only required if stripping Tefzel insulated wire. Else, lower cost strippers of similar design available at your local hardware store will suffice; however, its small form factor and precision operation will have you appreciating it even if not using Tefzel.

IMG_9260

The Ideal Stripmaster incorporates hardened removable dies that are more precise than your garden variety (cheaper) wire stripper having a similar design. They are required for stripping Tefzel insulated wire. Cheaper strippers do not cut cleanly into Tefzel wire insulation otherwise lack the precision to get a good strip.

Crimping: Step-by-Step

Finally, I’m going to describe how to execute a proper crimp using a solid round contact for a Deutsch DTM connector. Different contact types involve different tooling, but the overall process remains largely unchanged.

Strip the wire end using a strip tool. The strip length depends on the pin type. For the solid barrel pin, you ideally want it so that there’s just a little bit of bare (uninsulated) wire showing when the wire tip bottoms out into the barrel.

It’s best to not pull the strip end all the way off the wire until just before you’re ready to crimp. This will help keep the wire end from fraying, which makes it more difficult to cleanly insert the wire into the pin barrel.

Insert the stripped wire end to be crimped into the barrel end of the connector pin. Ideally you want a little bit of bare (uninsulated) wire showing at the base of the pin so this is OK but not true to spec.

Set he crimp head dial for the pin size being used. I’m using a 20 gauge pin so I set it to 20 here. Note that a 20 gauge pin accommodates gauges 20-26. The selector dial on the tool frame configures the tools for the exact wire gauge as shown below.

A label on the side of the crimp head (turret) specifies the selector setting for the pin size and wire gauge to be crimped. Since I’m using a 20 gauge pin (contact size) and crimping 24 gauge wire, my selector setting should be 2.

Use the dial on the crimp tool to set it for the gauge wire to crimp. I’m crimping 24 gauge wire so I set the tool to selector setting 2 as per the table shown in the previous step.

IMG_9284

Insert pin and wire into tool as shown.

Using the wire, push the contact pin into the tool until is stops. Keep just enough push force applied so that the wire tip stays burred into the barrel socket, then crimp.

IMG_9286

The finished crimp should look something like this. Again, ideally I would have had a little bit of bare wire showing at the base of the connector pin. There’s an inspection hole that can be used to verify that the wire is all the way in. If you cannot see the wire through the inspection hole, snip off the pin and discard then try again. (Inspection hole is not visible here but seen below with wire end showing.)

Perform a pull test to ensure a good crimp. A tester like the one shown here is overkill for the auto enthusiast and I don’t have one, but you should at least give a good tug (harder for higher gauge wires). It only take a second and could save you a lot of headaches down the road. For a sense of how hard to pull, refer to the table below.

MIL-T-7928-01

MIL-T-7928 specifies minimum pull test values. If you’re life depends on a reliable connection, then follow it. If not, then be aware of the values and use your good sense when performing a casual pull test. It would really slow me down if I actually pull tested each and every crimp for spec conformance, so I don’t. A quick and sturdy pull is all I do.

IMG_9289

Shown here is crimped wire pull tested to point of failure. Point here is to illustrate (again) that this was a good crimp because — amongst other things — the wire itself broke before it was able to pull free from the crimp. (Note short amount of bare wire exposed relative to barrel length.)

IMG_92961

Further evidence that crimp was stronger than the wire being crimped. Wire was pull tested to failure but did not pull out as proved by presence of tip end still being seen through inspection hole.

The following steps are DTM connector specific and have nothing to do with crimping. They illustrate pin insertion and connector housing assembly. I’m using different wires (Tefzel insulated) crimped from a previous job so don’t be confused about why not red 24 gauge wires like the ones crimped above.

LADD is a Deutsch distributor.

Insert wires into DTM connector housing, pin head first through the silicone seal.

IMG_9302

Continuing from previous step, push the wires all the way in until they click into place. If the wire is very thin (18 gauge or higher) you might need to use an insertion tool to help push the pin in from behind. (I just use a small flat blade jewelers screw driver but be careful not to push on the wire if you do the same.) Once clicked in you will not be able to pull the wire back out using pull force alone, so give a quick tug to verify.

IMG_9311

After all of the pins are locked in, insert the wedgelock. It pushes straight in to the housing and snaps when flush. The wedgelock is what I love about the DTM connectors over some other types. They keep the pins perfectly aligned and from moving around when mating the two halves so there’s no need to nurse them together like cheaper connectors.

IMG_9314

Connector fully assembled. A quality job that will provide years of reliable service even under harsh operating conditions.

Be sure to document your pin assignments and save them someplace safe.

Document and save your pin assignments as I did here for a recent job. You’ll thank yourself down the road.

Wire Labeling

I am going to additionally discuss wire labeling. It contributes nothing to reliable electrical connections but is something that goes hand-in-hand with it and therefore worth discussing.

It’s important to label your wires for future reference if not using color coded wire. A label like the one shown here reads all the way around the wire making it easy to read from any angle.

IMG_9320

I use a Brady BMP21 label maker as shown here. It produces labels like the one shown above. It has a lot of nice features including lighted display, symbols, different font sizes, small and large cap characters, and much more. You set the wire gauges size and it’ll spit out more rows of text so you can get a full wrap of the wire so text goes all the way around the wire. I highly recommend it and I used it for all my electrical jobs, not just automotive (home networking, home automation, etc.)

The BMP21 incorporates a removable tape cartridge, which is available in different tape widths. Label itself is durable nylon cloth which does not smudge, even after being printed.

Label shown hot off the printer. Simply enter in the text (WYSIWYG), press print, and then shear off the label using a button.

Label is very easy to peel off from backing which is wider than the label part. No time is wasted trying to get the label and backing pulled apart like some other label makers I’ve used.

To attach label to wire, start by placing it on wire as shown. I try to get the top edge of the wire to align with the wire run so when I start wrapping there’s no overlapping edges. If this doesn’t make sense it will after you’ve tried it a few times. Not critical. Just depends on how OCD you are.

Continuing on from the previous step, wrap the label around the wire. If you specified a larger gauge wire than you actually have you may get an extra wrap or two than needed. No harm in doing so but you’re throwing money out the window by doing so by wasting label material on something you cannot see.

Optionally add some clear shrink wrap to keep the label protected from dirt and chemicals that could make them otherwise difficult to read after years of service. Be sure to plan ahead if you want to go this route by slipping the shrink on before your attaching your connector ends, else you will not be able to get the shrink onto the wire.

Apply heat to shrink wrap for final labeled product. If only all the connections in my car were as good as the one created here for a couple of microphone line inputs. Seems like overkill but I know no other way when it comes to electrical.

About Feature Image

E30 racecar that I built. I incorporated a Motec M600 ECU and I adapted car from wasted spark to coil over ignition. Note custom coil frame mounts that I milled from aluminum. All techniques described in this article where used in building the ECU and chassis harness.

Video VBOX installation

I just finished installing a Video VBOX Lite system in my car and am happy be driving my car again! It’s been 3 weeks since I started the project with 3-4 days of actual time spent. The biggest time sink was routing a microphone to the rear bumper which isn’t necessary but should make for a great sound track. I also lost a week to a wrong part being sent. If not for these two factors, install would have easily taken under a day.

Below is a video showing the output of my initial drive with the system recording just after completing the install, so minimal configuration. It’s not intended to be exciting (it’s not), but potentially informative for anybody considering a VBOX or evaluating similar systems.

Edit (07.25.14): The following video shows a VBOX recorded session from a recent lapping day with the system fully customized for my car and configured for the track. There’s an issue with the speed ‘sticking’ that I need to look into and I didn’t have my audio plugged in for this session. I also cooled down the colors in Final Cut for this video.

VBOX is an in-car video and data acquisition system targeted at motorsports enthusiasts and racers who want to improve their driving by analyzing their driving after each session or event. I researched several different systems and opted for Racelogic’s Video VBOX system because it had most of the features I was looking for, was priced competitively, pre-sales support was responsive (which is a gauge for what I can expect post-sale), worldwide distributor network including two distributors in North America, good support site with monitored forums and regular updates, and an impressive product line.

The feature that attracted me to Video VBOX are:

  • Multiple video inputs.
  • Fully customizable video output.
  • External stereo microphone input.
  • CAN bus integration for getting at ECU data.
  • High-resolution GPS and track mapping feature.
  • Data stored to inexpensive, standardized SD card.
  • Start/stop recording triggered by speed.

The one feature I wish VBOX had is HD video. There are other systems available with HD I opted for VBOX anyway because HD was a like-to-have for me, not must have. I purchased the VBOX lite, which is Racelogic’s least expensive system, as shown here:

vbox_lite_and_oled__30604_zoom

Layout Schematic

I gave careful consideration to the installation prior to starting and opted as follows:

  • VBOX stored inside glove box.
  • 1-externally mounted microphone at rear of car (mono).
  • 1-internally mounted microphone inside passenger cabin.
  • 1 video extension cable routed back to roll bar.
  • 1 CAN bus clip-on interface routed to driver-side foot well area.
  • All other accessories, incl. power & GPS routed from glove box.

Layout schematic for all of the above is illustrated below.

vbox-layout-schematic

VBOX Mounting Location

I considered two (2) locations for mounting the VBOX unit: Somewhere in the front trunk area and in the glove box. The biggest advantage of the front trunk is retaining full use of the glove box storage area, which the VBOX and all of its cabling pretty much fully occupy. However, I opted for the glove box for several reasons:

  • Status LEDs able to be viewed without needing to get out of car.
  • Easy access to record button if manual start / stop desired.
  • No need to pop trunk to add / remove SD card.
  • Easy to route cables in and out of glove box if needed.
  • Close proximity to 12v power outlet (under dash).
  • No need to route through wires through front bulkhead.
  • Simply remove and store for safekeeping during offseason.

My overall goal was to minimize or eliminate need to make any modifications to the car in order to accommodate the system. By using the 12v power outlet I didn’t need to splice into any wires or tie into the fuse box. Racelogic also makes a clip-on interface that reads signals off of the CAN wires without needing to splice into them so I went this route as well. (More on the CAN interface below.)

Microphone Locations

The VBOX has a stereo microphone input and includes a splitter and two single channel condenser microphones so that left and right channels can be picked up at different points. I ran wires for mounting as follows:

  • Inside cabin facing driver to pick up conversation and sounds hear by driver such as tires working. Also hoping that by pointing at driver from dash, wind buffeting will be kept to a minimum.
  • External to car and hidden behind rear license plate facing downward. Not coincidentally, this also happens to be right over the exhaust tips.

I expect (hope) that this should make for some great audio tracks. Will probably require lowering exhaust channel level relative to cabin channel during editing in order to get a good balance.

Camera Locations

My system accepts 2 camera inputs (more expensive models accept up to 4). Both are mounted from inside the vehicle:

  • A high-resolution camera is attached to the windshield using a suction mount and faces forward across the hood of the car. This will provide an unobstructed view of the track and is the main video displayed.
  • A low resolution camera is attached to the roll bar aiming at the driver from behind. This will be shown as an video inlay (picture-in-picture) and will be useful for accessing factors such as driver smoothness.

CAN Interface

CAN bus signals are captured using Racelogic’s clip-on interface. This is nice for at least three (3) reasons:

  • No need to alter the cars wiring harness.
  • I was fairly confident I had the wires but not 100%. With the clip-on interface, no need to worry about hacking-up the electrical in search of the correct pair. Fortunately I got it right the first time thanks in-part to some thoughtful Internet posts.
  • Non-physical interface for measuring signals means no chance of measurement affecting the signal and possibly causing CAN bus errors, which could in-turn affect vehicle operation.

The most obvious place to hook into the CAN signal was near the ECU since the pin-out schematic clearly identifies high and low CAN signals. However, it can also be picked-up of these same wires as they route up through the drivers foot well area near the fuse box. I opted for the latter because in the event of issues down the road, less stuff to need to tear into to diagnose and repair. (I apply this philosophy to all wire placement and routing considerations.)

The CAN bus interface is shown in the figure below and will be discussed in more detail with installation.

CAN bus access can be achieved on the Porsche 997.2 by attaching the VBOX CAN bus interface to the CAN wires routed up near the fuse box. They’re a twisted pair comprised of yellow-white (CAN high) and black-white (CAN low). The clip-on interface clips over the wires so no splicing is required. After closing the shell, I took the added step of securing with two small zip ties to make sure it doesn’t come undone. More details on the CAN bus clip-on interface below so read-on if this is of interest to you.

CAN bus access can be achieved on the Porsche 997.2 by attaching the VBOX CAN bus interface to the CAN wires routed up near the fuse box. They’re a twisted pair comprised of yellow-white (CAN high) and black-white (CAN low). The clip-on interface clips over the wires so no splicing is required. After closing the shell, I took the added step of securing with two small zip ties to make sure it doesn’t come undone. More details on the CAN bus clip-on interface below so read-on if this is of interest to you.

Installation

The bulk of the work involved with the install involved routing a microphone to the rear of the car. It’s a lot of work for just one (1) cable, but worth the effort in my opinion because it’ll return glorious audio tracks as opposed to the all too common wind-buffeting filled tracks heard on the Internet.

This is not a step-by-step guide so I’m only showing the basic flow. If you want to follow similar approach for your specific car, you can get detailed disassembly instructions on the Internet. Installing on a 2011 Porsche 911 GT3RS (997.2) and there was ample amounts of information on forums like Rennlist and Renntech that detailed anything I needed to know. For any Porsche 997 owners reading this, I’ll provide any 997 specific details that are not already amply posted about such as center console removal DIY.

Battery disconnected to prevent drain and shorting while working on the car.

Battery disconnected to prevent drain and shorting while working on the car.

Rear bumper removed for routing microphone to rear of car.

Rear bumper removed for routing microphone to rear of car.

Interior partially gutted (rear-half) to make room for cleanly routing wires to rear of car.

Interior partially gutted (rear-half) to make room for cleanly routing wires to rear of car.

Glove box removed for routing wires in cleanly from behind and into it.

Glove box removed for routing wires in cleanly from behind and into it.

Getting to the back requiring punching through the rear bulkhead. I removed the rubber plug seen at far left by the reflection from rear window which is being shot through. Then I ran some coat hanger into the engine bay to be used for pulling the microphone cable into the car. Observant person may notice rear shock dropped, which is because I also needed to remove the roll bar to gain access.

Getting to the back requiring punching through the rear bulkhead. I removed the rubber plug seen at far left by the reflection from rear window which is being shot through. Then I ran some coat hanger into the engine bay to be used for pulling the microphone cable into the car. Observant person may notice rear shock dropped, which is because I also needed to remove the roll bar to gain access.

Here’s the other end of the coat hanger, which I tape microphone cable to and route it back through the hole shown in previous. If you’re following, don’t forget to re-insert rubber plug and you’ll want to pass the wire through it by cutting a small hole and applying a small amount of Vaseline, wire pull gel, or similar. You can also see my brake pads are getting low.

Here’s the other end of the coat hanger, which I tape microphone cable to and route it back through the hole shown in previous. If you’re following, don’t forget to re-insert rubber plug and you’ll want to pass the wire through it by cutting a small hole and applying a small amount of Vaseline, wire pull gel, or similar. You can also see my brake pads are getting low.

Since the microphone gets routed through the rear bumper, I wanted to guard against the possibility it or its wiring getting damaged by an unsuspecting person working on my car during service, etc. If damaged during bumper removal I only need to replace the small run from the connector back. I used a 6-pin Deutsch DTM connector. For details on this connector and how to crimp, see my Reliable Connections post. Also visible is a stereo microphone input which is in addition to the mono cable. This will allow me to record audio with my Zoom H1 if desired without needing to attach it to the rear bumper as I’ve done in the past. The extra wire will also serve as a spare in the unlikely event the mono cable is damaged.

Since the microphone gets routed through the rear bumper, I wanted to guard against the possibility it or its wiring getting damaged by an unsuspecting person working on my car during service, etc. If damaged during bumper removal I only need to replace the small run from the connector back. I used a 6-pin Deutsch DTM connector. For details on this connector and how to crimp, see my Reliable Connections post. Also visible is a stereo microphone input which is in addition to the mono cable. This will allow me to record audio with my Zoom H1 if desired without needing to attach it to the rear bumper as I’ve done in the past. The extra wire will also serve as a spare in the unlikely event the mono cable is damaged.

Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There'll be no wind noise issues because it's protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in. Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.

Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.
Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.

Wires seen being neatly routed over top of left-rear wheel arc with some racers tape applied. They continue along the doorsill with the rest of the harness and up into the driver’s side foot well area exiting by the fuse box. In addition to the one wire for the VBOX rear mono channel, I also routed a stereo microphone cable to have as a spare and / or for recording using a higher-quality stereo microphone and audio recorder. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Wires seen being neatly routed over top of left-rear wheel arc with some racers tape applied. They continue along the doorsill with the rest of the harness and up into the driver’s side foot well area exiting by the fuse box. In addition to the one wire for the VBOX rear mono channel, I also routed a stereo microphone cable to have as a spare and / or for recording using a higher-quality stereo microphone and audio recorder. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Microphone wires continue their journey alongside factory harness into the dash area. You can see them just to the right of the CAN bus clip-on connector. I wrapped the mono and stereo cables together with some electrical tape to keep them together while routing through behind dash area.

Microphone wires continue their journey alongside factory harness into the dash area. You can see them just to the right of the CAN bus clip-on connector. I wrapped the mono and stereo cables together with some electrical tape to keep them together while routing through behind dash area.

I opted to mount route the wires externally in the pedal box area (microphone wires plus CAN bus clip-on feed wire). I didn’t want to pull the entire dash to get a clean route and ensure out of the way of moving parts (pedals, steering, etc.). You cannot see these unless you get down on your hands and knees to look under. I removed the three screws and routed the zip ties through the gaps in their respective speed nuts. No drilling required.

I opted to mount route the wires externally in the pedal box area (microphone wires plus CAN bus clip-on feed wire). I didn’t want to pull the entire dash to get a clean route and ensure out of the way of moving parts (pedals, steering, etc.). You cannot see these unless you get down on your hands and knees to look under. I removed the three screws and routed the zip ties through the gaps in their respective speed nuts. No drilling required.

After a bit of strategizing about the best route, I opted to go into the glove box through the top. The hole is not visible unless on hands and knees again, and the route selected provides a clean route for the wires with no physical interference. I needed to remove the useless CD storage tray. There are just two screws holding the CD try in place so it can be replaced at a later date if needed. (Does anybody listen to CDs anymore?) I cleanly removed a strip of felt for where the grommet is going to go.

After a bit of strategizing about the best route, I opted to go into the glove box through the top. The hole is not visible unless on hands and knees again, and the route selected provides a clean route for the wires with no physical interference. I needed to remove the useless CD storage tray. There are just two screws holding the CD try in place so it can be replaced at a later date if needed. (Does anybody listen to CDs anymore?) I cleanly removed a strip of felt for where the grommet is going to go.

The grommet ensures that the wires will not get cut on the rough / sharp edges from the hole cut. Probably not necessary since this hole is through plastic, but a good practice and always necessary when going through thin gauge metal.

The grommet ensures that the wires will not get cut on the rough / sharp edges from the hole cut. Probably not necessary since this hole is through plastic, but a good practice and always necessary when going through thin gauge metal.

VBOX shown laying in glove box. Microphone, CAN bus, and rear cameral inputs are routed in through the top. These are fixed inputs that will always stay with the car. The remaining inputs are routed into the box by closing the door on them as they are only used for track days. Photos below illustrate and discuss rational for externally routed inputs.

VBOX shown laying in glove box. Microphone, CAN bus, and rear camera inputs are routed in through the top. These are fixed inputs that will always stay with the car. The remaining inputs are routed into the box by closing the door on them as they are only used for track days. Photos below illustrate and discuss rational for externally routed inputs.

I routed a video extension cable from the rear of the car on through the top of the glove box (grommet from previous photo). This gives me plenty of flexibility in terms of where I mount the rear camera without needing to worry about cable length. Also, should the camera go bad, I don’t need to reroute cable. If you’re reading all this, are you staring to see a theme? This was a fairly big job and I don’t want to have to do it again. If you look closely, you can see the camera input just below the diagonal brace on the roll bar’s main hoop. That it’s hard to see because I can remove the camera on the off season and no visible wires. (Another theme for this install.)

I routed a video extension cable from the rear of the car on through the top of the glove box (grommet from previous photo). This gives me plenty of flexibility in terms of where I mount the rear camera without needing to worry about cable length. Also, should the camera go bad, I don’t need to reroute cable. If you’re reading all this, are you staring to see a theme? This was a fairly big job and I don’t want to have to do it again. If you look closely, you can see the camera input just below the diagonal brace on the roll bar’s main hoop. That it’s hard to see because I can remove the camera on the off season and no visible wires. (Another theme for this install.)

I mounted the rear camera to the roll bar so that it’s position over driver’s right shoulder and aimed down towards driver’s footwell. This will give a clear view of my inputs while driving. I really like the camera mount (yellow). It’s plastic so it does not scratch the bar and can be easily slid and rotated into position. I’m probably going to paint it black so it blends in with the bar and interior, although it’s hard to see from outside the car.

I mounted the rear camera to the roll bar so that it’s position over driver’s right shoulder and aimed down towards driver’s footwell. This will give a clear view of my inputs while driving. I really like the camera mount (yellow). It’s plastic so it does not scratch the bar and can be easily slid and rotated into position. I’m probably going to paint it black so it blends in with the bar and interior, although it’s hard to see from outside the car.

Cabin microphone is routed through top of glove box (grommet) and behind dash area, exiting as shown sandwiched between the trim pieces. You can see the front of the condenser microphone at the lower left corner of the air vent. Since the microphone is facing aftward I expect minimal wind buffeting. You can see small section of wire also showing though which I easily pushed back out of view after taking this photo.

Cabin microphone is routed through top of glove box (grommet) and behind dash area, exiting as shown sandwiched between the trim pieces. You can see the front of the condenser microphone at the lower left corner of the air vent. Since the microphone is facing aftward I expect minimal wind buffeting. You can see small section of wire also showing though which I easily pushed back out of view after taking this photo.

Forward facing camera is mounted to the inside of the front windshield. I chose to route this wire externally because I will only keep this camera mounted on track days. It also affords me a lot of flexibility in terms of placement (e.g., perhaps outside the car instead). I recommend mounting behind windshield because I lost 4 or 5 sessions worth of video last year due to bugs going splat on my externally mounted Go Pro. If a bug goes splat in front of the camera behind the windshield at least you’ll see it and clean your windshield.

Forward facing camera is mounted to the inside of the front windshield. I chose to route this wire externally because I will only keep this camera mounted on track days. It also affords me a lot of flexibility in terms of placement (e.g., perhaps outside the car instead). I recommend mounting behind windshield because I lost 4 or 5 sessions worth of video last year due to bugs going splat on my externally mounted Go Pro. If a bug goes splat in front of the camera behind the windshield at least you’ll see it and clean your windshield.

The bullet camera is attached to the front windshield using three suction mounts. The mount feels very secure and the bullet camera is very light so I’m confident that there’s be no issues with the mound coming loose.

The bullet camera is attached to the front windshield using three suction mounts. The mount feels very secure and the bullet camera is very light so I’m confident that there’s be no issues with the mound coming loose.

One more photo of front facing camera with wire routed into glove box. I just close the box on the wire. At the end of the track day, just release camera from windshield and store in the glove box with cable alongside the other equipment.

One more photo of front facing camera with wire routed into glove box. I just close the box on the wire. At the end of the track day, just release camera from windshield and store in the glove box with cable alongside the other equipment.

I mounted the GPS antenna on the rooftop as shown. It has a magnetic base but I also secure with racers tape which also serves to keep the cable neat as it routes to the front of the car. I mounted toward the back where the roofline is lowest to minimize aero forces wanting to push it off. The combo of magnetic base with cable acting as opposing force should keep the antenna fixed in place. For the tracks I visit top speeds approach 160MPH so acting forces needed to be considered.

I mounted the GPS antenna on the rooftop as shown. It has a magnetic base but I also secure with racers tape which also serves to keep the cable neat as it routes to the front of the car. I mounted toward the back where the roofline is lowest to minimize aero forces wanting to push it off. The combo of magnetic base with cable acting as opposing force should keep the antenna fixed in place. For the tracks I visit top speeds approach 160MPH so acting forces needed to be considered.

The GPS antenna cable enters into car a top of A-pillar and is tucked into weather stripping on its journey downward.

The GPS antenna cable enters into car a top of A-pillar and is tucked into weather stripping on its journey downward.

Finally, the GPS antenna cable is routed into the glove box. Just like the front facing camera, it’s only for track days so wrap-up and stow in glove box when using car for daily driving. Also, I expect that the antenna will get lost or damaged occasionally since it’s an external mount so I didn’t want to get fancy with how the wire was routed like I did with the microphone and other fixed inputs.

Finally, the GPS antenna cable is routed into the glove box. Just like the front facing camera, it’s only for track days so wrap-up and stow in glove box when using car for daily driving. Also, I expect that the antenna will get lost or damaged occasionally since it’s an external mount so I didn’t want to get fancy with how the wire was routed like I did with the microphone and other fixed inputs.

Finally, power is supplied using the 12v auxiliary power receptacle located in the passenger footwell area. It’s also right underneath the glove box where the VBOX unit is located so it’s a super short run. This receptacle is always powered (even while ignition is off) so I don’t need to worry about cutting power while VBOX is still saving data. I wanted to minimize any modification to the car so I chose not to tie into the fusebox or splice into wires. I’m probably going to add an inline on/off switch so I can reach over to power on / off the unit without needing to get out of the car.

Finally, power is supplied using the 12v auxiliary power receptacle located in the passenger footwell area. It’s also right underneath the glove box where the VBOX unit is located so it’s a super short run. This receptacle is always powered (even while ignition is off) so I don’t need to worry about cutting power while VBOX is still saving data. I wanted to minimize any modification to the car so I chose not to tie into the fusebox or splice into wires. I’m probably going to add an inline on/off switch so I can reach over to power on / off the unit without needing to get out of the car.

CAN bus interface

A CAN interface is optional. Without it you’ll get the basics like video, audio, vehicle speed, g-forces, track mapping, lap timing. With it you can get a whole lot more data. What you get depends on your car. For my car (997.2 Porsche), I can get at:

  • Lights on / off
  • Reverse engagement
  • Engine RPM
  • Throttle position
  • Parking brake engagement
  • Road speed
  • Brake position
  • Steering direction
  • Steering angle
  • Wheel speed (RR)
  • Wheel speed (RL)
  • Wheel speed (FR)
  • Wheel speed (FL)
  • Clutch engagement
  • Water temperature 1
  • Water temperature 2
  • Oil pressure
  • Oil temperature
  • Boost (my car is NA so does not apply)
  • Gear selection

The VBOX lite only allows up to 4 CAN channels at a time, with the option to purchase up to 4 more for a total of 8 (purchased individually). I’m going to start with throttle position, steering angle, brake position, and gear selection. I’ll probably also purchase 1 extra for oil pressure.

With the VBOX unit you can get an unterminated CAN cable and wire directly into your system. But they also sell a clip-on interface that eliminates the need for splicing. It also guards against the VBOX system incidentally introducing any CAN signals onto your system’s CAN bus. I opted for the clip-on interface.

CAN bus clip-on interface and installation

If you’re using the CAN bus clip-on interface or if you have a Porsche 997 you may find this section useful if interfacing with your vehicle’s CAN bus.

I opted to access the CAN bus wires located in the driver’s side footwell area. This is not the only location but it’s an easy location to get at and therefore a good choice. Here’s the loom (forefront) containing the CAN wires. You can see the fusebox in the background. Just remove the three screws behind the fusebox cover and the left trim panel exposes these wires comes right out.

I opted to access the CAN bus wires located in the driver’s side footwell area. This is not the only location but it’s an easy location to get at and therefore a good choice. Here’s the loom (forefront) containing the CAN wires. You can see the fusebox in the background. Just remove the three screws behind the fusebox cover and the left trim panel exposes these wires comes right out.

CAN transmits data in an electrically noisy environment, so the wires are a twisted pair to reduce signal noise just like Ethernet cable. For my car, CAN high is yellow-white, and CAN low is black white, so the combination of these colors plus twisted means these are almost certainly our wires. Thanks goes out to others who posted similar details elsewhere which helped me zero in quickly. I pulled back some of the loom wrap to clear the path for the clip-on interface.

CAN transmits data in an electrically noisy environment, so the wires are a twisted pair to reduce signal noise just like Ethernet cable. For my car, CAN high is yellow-white, and CAN low is black white, so the combination of these colors plus twisted means these are almost certainly our wires. Thanks goes out to others who posted similar details elsewhere which helped me zero in quickly. I pulled back some of the loom wrap to clear the path for the clip-on interface.

In order to route the CAN wires through the CAN clip-on interface, I needed to untwist a section of the wire. Don’t untwist more than you need to because they’re twisted for a reason (as discussed above). CAN bus spec allows for up to appox. 2″ untwisted (I forget where I read exact length but I’m close). Cutting the wire to untwist obviously negates the primary benefit of using the clip-on interface so don’t do that. It requires a little bit of finesse to push the twists back. Just use your common sense and exercise some patience.

In order to route the CAN wires through the CAN clip-on interface, I needed to untwist a section of the wire. Don’t untwist more than you need to because they’re twisted for a reason (as discussed above). CAN bus spec allows for up to appox. 2″ untwisted (I forget where I read exact length but I’m close). Cutting the wire to untwist obviously negates the primary benefit of using the clip-on interface so don’t do that. It requires a little bit of finesse to push the twists back. Just use your common sense and exercise some patience.

Shown here is the clip-on interface with wires positioned incorrectly to make sure anybody reading this gets it right. See discussion that follows directly below for details. This wires run along the circuit board where the signals are sensed and reported back to the VBOX unit. It’s a clamshell design with the two-halves snapping into place. I used zip ties as shown earlier in the post to secure shut. Again, probably not necessary but it cost me nothing.

Shown here is the clip-on interface with wires positioned incorrectly to make sure anybody reading this gets it right. See discussion that follows directly below for details. This wires run along the circuit board where the signals are sensed and reported back to the VBOX unit. It’s a clamshell design with the two-halves snapping into place. I used zip ties as shown earlier in the post to secure shut. Again, probably not necessary but it cost me nothing.

The clip-on interface came with no instructions and it was immediately ambiguous to me regarding how to position the wires. The correct way in my non-humble opinion is to position the wires so that the surface area labeled CAN_H comes into contact with the CAN high wire when the shell halves are snapped together. However, some companies in an effort to make things easier for people outsmart themselves and just end-up making things more confusing. So I wondered did they mean for the upper half to read like a map for positioning the wires into the bottom as viewed during installation? Certainly, I’m thinking too hard about this but I did some checking after finding no documentation online and came across the promotion video for the interface showing the latter (reads like a map). Turns out the promotion video gets it wrong. (For BMW, which is the car used, CAN high is red-blue, and CAN low is red).

I contacted Racelogic support for clarification and they responded as follows (option1 is having the CAN high wire in contact with the surface area labeled CAN_H):

As for the ambiguity issue you are correct in thinking option 1 is correct. As we have had this question before I have contacted the developers of this and they are aware of this issue and are working on a new version that can be used either way round. Although we will have to make do with sticking to option 1 for now.

Also my opinion, I think they could save themselves some engineering investment and simply include a small piece of paper with the clip-on interface showing proper usage since it’s otherwise self-explanatory.

Also complicating my install was that VBOX sent me a clip-in interface for one of their higher-end (not VBOX Lite) which accepts a different style connector. Shown below is the other end of the cable for the interface I received, where as it should look like a PS2 connector from the outside. This added 1 week to my install while I waited on the part because it needed to be shipped from the UK. (Would have been longer if I didn’t foot the bill for overnight express which VBOXUSA was unwilling to do, so make sure you emphasize having them fulfill the order correctly for your system if ordering a VBOX CAN interface.)

Shown here is the connector end for the clip-on interface sent, which was incorrect for my model (VBOX Lite). VBOX uses a higher-end, more expensive connector style on their higher-end products as shown here. Make sure VBOX sends your the correct connector for your system when ordering to avoid the added delays and costs that I ran into.

Shown here is the connector end for the clip-on interface sent, which was incorrect for my model (VBOX Lite). VBOX uses a higher-end, more expensive connector style on their higher-end products as shown here. Make sure VBOX sends your the correct connector for your system when ordering to avoid the added delays and costs that I ran into.

Setup and Configuration

I’ve only just started to play with configuring my VBOX system. Except for reading the CAN data, everything was plug-and-play simple. Getting to where I could read the CAN data for my car took a little help from VBOX. Not getting anything at first begged the question if installation error or software configuration issue. I was very confident I had correct CAN wires and support clarified proper usage of the clip-on interface so either an issue with the clip-on interface itself or software configuration was my thought.

The issue turned out to be software configuration. VBOXUSA sent me a scene file for my car which had VBOX reading the CAN data; something I was unable to do using the CAN database file for the 997.2 Porsche. Different cars differ in how they use CAN to send data so you need  model specific information which VBOX provides via their online vehicle CAN database. The database returns a file that gets read into the scene file loaded onto the VBOX telling it how to interpret the CAN signals.

The only other thing I needed to do to get the system ready for my initial (and successful) road test was aim the cameras. I purchased a small display that plugs into the AUX port on the VBOX and shows video in read-time. This makes setting up the cameras super easy. Just hold display in hand while adjusting each camera to desired position. The following figure is a photograph of the display screen:

I purchased a small external display so I can easily configure cameras at the track. The display shows video output in real-time and incudes a long cable so you can move about and see changes to cameras as they’re made. This can be achieved with software configuration app running on laptop as well, so this is a nice-to-have and not a must.

I purchased a small external display so I can easily configure cameras at the track. The display shows video output in real-time and incudes a long cable so you can move about and see changes to cameras as they’re made. This can be achieved with software configuration app running on laptop as well, so this is a nice-to-have and not a must.

Shakedown Cruise

Video showing trial run of system. This is with only minimal configuration so only minimal data is displayed and the brake pressure gauge needs reconfiguration. Goal of this drive was to simply check out video quality, confirm GPS working, etc. Just the basics.