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Friday, December 31, 2010

Discovering hidden features

Yesterday I did my major projects relating to the radio and the power switch for the front night shade. (if you are bored by technical details, stop here, go away and get a good book to read.  But if you are a techie, read on….)

The shade turned out to take some time as I had to be very careful that I connected the right wires in the right place.  If you read the previous blog entry, you’ll know that the goal of this task was to move the switch from the driver’s left side where it is all but inaccessible while not in the driver’s seat, to the center of the dash above the heater/defroster controls.  Fortunately the switch is identical to the other switches in this area and there were three blanks for additional switches.  A secondary goal was to make the switch operable at all times, not just when the key is in.

There are 8 wires involved and I carefully tagged each one with numbers on both sides of where I would cut them.  Then I “spliced” in an extra 5 feet or so of wire and re-connected the other ends.  There were two power leads which I did not splice in as these are controlled by the ignition key.

I did find constant power source on the generator start switch next to the new location for the shade switch so I tapped in there.  Once I put everything back together, it didn’t work!  I couldn’t see anything obviously wrong.  And of course, there was no easy way to undo it all, so I needed to get it to work.

Did some research and decided to try easy fixes first.  I tried to run a hot lead from the old red wires that I wasn’t using to the relocated switch and viola, everything worked.  So maybe the genny wasn’t the best place to tap into.  Tried the hot lead on the utility lights and now everything worked – and without having the key in the ignition.  Closed everything up real nice and it looks like you couldn’t even tell it didn’t come that way from the factory.

Now the radio (Magnadyne M1-CD) was a different story.  Found the installation manual for it online and downloaded it.  The wire I’m looking for on the harness is supposed to be yellow, but there is no yellow wire!  Going to have to call the factory on that one.  But while reading the manual, discovered a whole host of features I didn’t know we had:

  • Sirius Satellite radio option – and found that the full satellite radio is already installed and ready to use.  Was able to receive their basic information channel with no problem.  Found a free trial online and may activate it for our next trip just to play with it.
  • Special traffic alert feature – when enabled, anytime there is a traffic alert in the area you are driving through, the radio will interrupt whatever else it is doing to play the alert.
  • Full weather radio – push the special button and you get the NOAA weather including any watches & warnings for your local area.
  • IPOD connection – a special cable out the back for you to connect your ipod via optional cable.  I ordered the cable so we can use it.  It allows the radio to control the IPOD and also charges the IPOD while it is being used.  I’m going to run this under the dash once it arrives to make it more convenient.
  • USB connection – for USB MP3 players – don’t have one of these so probably won’t use this feature. May try a memory stick in it to see what it does.
  • Memory card feature – it has a slot for memory cards that will allow you to play audio from the card.
  • Extra TV connections – This one I’d really like to use.  Currently our TV doesn’t have the greatest sound because the TV’s speakers are so small.  I can play it through the radio by running a cable from the TV earphone jack to the aux input on the front of the radio.  But if you get the volume up too high, you get background hum.  If I can run the wires from the back of the radio to the TV selector system, I will not only eliminate the hum and improve the sound, but to play music channels on Direct TV, I won’t have to have the TV on any more!  And best yet, it will work in the front or back of the RV.
  • The radio can be operated by an optional remote control device.  (need to see the cost on this one).

Here I thought it was just an AM/FM radio with CD player.

So, this was a manual well worth discovering.  Monday I will call the factory on the elusive yellow wire and check into any other options. 

Stay tuned for my further adventures as I personalize the RV.  Heck, I may get it so comfy in the rV, that I never want to leave it!



John and Ellen said...

Good to see that your maintenance issue(s) and upgrades are working out so well. Happy New Year Dave!


Judy and Emma said...

I sort of wish I was a techie, but really not so much. :) Thanks for the warning. I just wish a techie would show up when I need one...

Wil said...

"USB connection – for USB MP3 players" -- Perhaps this connection will charge your smartphone or other USB device (camera, handheld GPS), instead of having to have a triple tap at the cigar lighter outlet?

Good luck finding the yellow wire -- it was probably omitted or cut t the circuit board by the OEM installer.