Your Guide On How To Hardwire A Radar Detector
You will often find radar detectors plugged into the power point of a cigarette lighter, by a cord dangling down the windshield of the car. This is actually quite disturbing and distracting for us when we are trying to put our undivided attention on the road. This not only looks odd, but it also obstructs the stereo. Moreover, due to its position in full visibility, we need to take it down while parking the vehicle so that it isn’t noticeable, which is a hassle in itself.
Driving a car shouldn’t get this complicated.
In order to combat these above-mentioned issues and provide you with a smooth and hassle-free ride, hardwiring a detector comes to the rescue. In this case, a separate plug is set up for the radar detector installations that don’t mess with the lighter plug. Hardwiring a radar detector offers a more professional look to the car and although it may have a lengthy installation process, it pays off immensely in the long run.
If you are interested to know about how to hardwire a radar detector in your car to protect it from thieves and the police, as well as the installation process, below is a step-by-step guide to assist you in this process.
What is A Radar Detector and How Does It Works?
Essentially, a radar detector is a device that comes handy to drivers in order to avoid being tracked down and fined for crossing the normal speed limits.
This electronic device is installed in the car and is used to detect long-range radar and filter out signals. Hence, they bring forth a balance between sensitivity and selectivity, which directly relates to range and filtering.
While on the road, they keep us alert of any unforeseen monitoring of the car’s speed limits by a police radar gun the law enforcement officials, such as Traffic Police, are equipped with.
This is done using a cutting-edge Superheterodyne technology-driven receiver, which does an exceptionally well job in detecting the electromagnetic emissions from radar guns.
Though it is quite easy to confuse a radar detector as an excuse to break the law, it is not made for that. Instead, a radar detector makes us more cautious while driving down on the road, keeping in mind the public as well as our own safety.
Things You Will Need
- 1A hardwire cable
- 2Add-a-circuit fuse tap kit
- 3T-tap (optional)
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind before we proceed with our hardwiring project is to get a proper hardwiring cable or direct wire cable. This cable will power the radar detector. It is a straight and elongated cable, connecting the power source to a radar detector.
We can find a variety of hardwire cables available on the market with different modifications and features. The traditional ones are quite simple, whereas the fancier ones are often accompanied with an additional remote mute button, alert LED and even Bluetooth, which allows the detector to be directly connected to our phones.
There are a few hardwiring procedures of connecting the radar detector to mirror or with phone cord. Keep in mind these are possible in relatively new radar detectors with upgraded features. One such radar detector is the Escort Max 360C Laser Radar Detector, which comes with an integrated wifi automated system and is helmed as one of the best hardwired radar detectors of 2019.
For now, we will be dealing with the basic power cable, but feel free to experiment with these advanced options for a better and more secure experience.
Add-A-Circuit Fuse Tap Kit
After connecting the radar detector using a hardwire cable, we now need to power it to start working. For this, we require the fuse box. The location of the fuse box varies from car to car. In fact, we can find numerous little fuses for different car parts such as AC, stereo, power seats and air bags. To start our radar detector, we make it tap into the fuse box, just like any the other parts of the car.
To do this, we require a tool known as add-a-circuit, which allows us to upgrade our fuse box by adding new electronic parts.
Usually, the size of fuses depends on the car manufacturer or the car model, so you would need to get the size that fits your car. If you are wondering how to find the right fuse size, you can check the car manual for more information.
After finding out the fuse size, we need to get our hands on an add-a-circuit kit for the fuse of that size.
The most commonly used fuse sizes are for these kits:
- Micro2 add-a-circuit kit
- Low-profile mini add-a-circuit kit
- Mini add-a-circuit kit
- ATO add-a-circuit kit
Step by Step Guide to Hardwire a Radar Detector
Step 1: Plugging in the Circuit
Firstly, we require a fuse box that starts and stops along with the car’s ignition. Most circuits are powered whereas the rest are connected to the ignition. It is always recommended to go for one that turns on and off with the car’s ignition so that excess power is not drained out from the car battery while car is parked.
Next, we need to find out w how each fuse is connected, by referring to the car manual or the cover diagram on the fuse panel.
Once we’ve figured out the fuse slot, we will pull out the existing fuse using a plier or a fuse puller, and insert it to our add-a-circuit kit, which has slots for two fuses. The top one is for the new device we’ll be adding and the bottom slot is for the fuse we just pulled.
The add-a-circuit usually has a few extra fuses for the second slot. In order to fill it in, we will add up the maximum power used by all of the devices and choose a fuse that can handle more power than all of them combined.
Step 2: Connect to the Add-A-Circuit
This step follows the previous one, wherein we installed the add-a-circuit kit to the fuse box. Now, we will now connect the add-a-circuit with the hardwire cable, which can be done in two ways.
One way is by using the blue connector at the end of the add-a-circuit. It’s easy! Strip the end of the power wire of the hardwire cable, insert it in the blue connector and use crimpers to establish a good, compact connection. Although it is quite a simple step to follow and works perfectly well, it has two setbacks – it works only for one particular device and cannot be uninstalled.
The other method is to go for a T-tap that attaches to the red wire itself once closed, establishing connection with the electrical wire inside. Once it’s firmly locked, it can slide along the matching connector from hardwire cable, thus giving a perfect connection with the radar detector.
The add-a-circuit kits we mentioned above are all equipped with a T-tap and matching connector. Most hardwire cables come with a connector that slides onto the T-tap. In case they don’t, there are numerous such connectors available in stores, both online and offline.
Step 3: Connect the Ground Wire
The hardwire cable we use consists of two wires: power and ground. Whereas the power wire is connected to the add-a-circuit, the ground wire needs to be connected to a suitable place.
One way is to find a spare ground wire from the existing electronics, often found around the fuse box, and tapping into it. Or else, we can affix the ground wire to a metal part of the car’s chassis or frame, thus providing a solid ground for our radar detector.
Step 4: Running the Wires
The final step in this process, it involves just plugging in everything that’s been connected, and running the wires. The general sequence of this includes running the wires starting from the fuse box, up the A-pillar, across the headliner and finally into the radar detector.
Be careful with installation, to make sure that the wires don’t come in the way of any of the airbags. The wires can also simply be tucked away behind the body panels, but this is not possible if the panels are removed to facilitate a neat and clean installation.
Once the hardwire cable is installed it lends a highly professional and clean look to the car.
Now that the radar detector installation is done. Next, we can mount our radar detector in a suitable location inside the car, without having to deal with dangling cables and lack of proper plugs.
It is relatively a simple process on how to hardwire a radar detector if we follow each of the above steps thoroughly. It guarantees protection from speeding tickets as well as guards the vehicle from thieves and other notorious elements.
Although we can always hire a professional for the hardwiring job, doing it by ourselves takes less than an hour and we manage to save some bucks. Isn’t that worth it?