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Dave's In-car Photos 3

27th January 2003

 Article by Dave Burrows


Back around the start of the new year (2003) I had promised you all some new in-car photos.

I'm now currently running 3 GPS receivers in-car, normally against two Pocket PC's, but I now have the ability to run 3 on a permanent basis, and I also have the ability now to remove all the mounts very quickly.

What I now have on the drivers right hand side of the car is an Arkon CM626 mount.  This is not the multimedia mount!  This sits nicely on the dash in the small place I have, and suctions to the windscreen nicely.  The height gap just allows (within a few millimetres) an iPAQ 3630 with


Arkon CM626 and Leadtek 9531 hidden behind on Dashboard

Leadtek cable comes out from beside the dash


Navman sleeve to fit in (it's tight, but it fits!).  This allows me to run up TomTom Navigator or SmartST Pro that I have installed and run this against the Navman sleeve.  I can then run another GPS program against the lead you see coming up from the side of the dashboard which is the cable for the Leadtek 9531 GPS mouse.  This sits behind the Arkon cradle so I don't usually see much of the receiver.


Unfortunately the cable for the Leadtek doesn't quite reach, I've managed to bring it down the door seal, but I need to get an extension that will give me about another foot of cable which should allow me to tidy this behind the plastic edging of the door well.  This cable then runs down the side of the drivers mat (underneath) and plugs into a 4-way block that is located under the drivers seat.


I have a problem where I need far too many accessory sockets in-car, and trying to hide these IS a problem, and the easiest way is to put these out of sight.  Remember out of sight, out of mind ?  Okay, it's not perfect, but it never gets seen, so I don't mind this too much, and it does give me access when I need to plug another device into the accessory socket.


This socket houses both the Leadtek 9531 and my Radar Detector (Beltronics Euro 550) cable, and also will house 2 other chargers depending on what I'm using in car, usually a 3800 and 3600 iPAQ charger.


Now you would think this socket plugs into the main accessory socket ?  Oh no!  Now why would I do something as sensible as that ?


This 4-way block cable will come out of the back of the drivers seat and be passed round the back of the gear box / handbrake housing and plug into another (yep you've guessed it now!), 4-way block that sits under the passenger seat!


Having a 4-way block accessible from each side of the car makes tidying up cables easy.  Because I drive a sports coupe, I very rarely have anyone sitting in the back (and if I do they have to be under 5ft tall!), so the photo you see on the right, is with the passenger seat pulled fully up to the glove compartment.  When this is pulled back, this is hidden under the passenger seat quite nicely.


I was originally going to do a more professional job of hiding this cable by removing the gear box / handbrake housing, however I will be changing my car in the next couple of months, so didn't feel that the extra work and re-installation warranted this.


So what plugs into this accessory socket ?

4-way accessory socket hidden under drivers seat


4-way block under Passenger Seat (seat pulled forward)


I've failed to mention that I now also have a second permanent Leadtek 9531 that sits on the left hand side of the dashboard.  This again follows the other install by hiding the cable down the side of the dashboard and down the door seal to under the passenger seat.  The cable does actually reach so it makes the install slightly cleaner so I don't have any passengers kicking any wires.  The above accessory socket you see also will have a mobile phone charger plugged into this and if I have any other GPS test gear in-car, this will also be plugged into this 4-way block.



Second Leadtek 9531 sitting on Passenger side of the dashboard


Now on a regular day I would only have two Pocket PC mounts sitting on the dashboard.  The first you saw above (right hand side of steering wheel), and I would usually have the left most mount you see in the photo to the right.  However because I'm using the Arkon CM656 (multimedia mounts), what I've managed to do is carefully unclip the multimedia mount (as I don't currently use this) from the back of the cradle, and removing this takes away a couple of cables per cradle mount.  I can then easily install two cradles with ease and remove them very quickly.  The long arm mount on the Arkon CM656 makes the arm as long as the dashboard's depth.


Removing both of these mounts can be achieved in seconds, and the same goes with the mount on the right hand side by the steering wheel.


I could quite easily remove both Leadtek's from the dashboard in a couple of minutes, or within a few seconds there's enough cable to be able to remove these from the dash and store them under the seats so they are no longer visible from outside the car.


I am envious of some of the professional looking installs some of our readers have created, but for me, the most important thing is being able to remove the whole setup within seconds, and this now gives me an easy solution.  Like many people, I don't like leaving this sort of gear in full view when parking in public car parks or multi-storey car parks, if I can remove most of this gear out of sight


Two Arkon CM656 Multimedia Mounts

(without Multimedia casing)

(Leadtek's under the seat and mounts into the boot of the car), this makes it less desirable for the average thief who may be looking around cars seeing what they can steal.


Finally I've included a slightly wider angle shot of dashboard (below) so you can see the three cradles that are present.


On the far left hand mount I would usually use a Leadtek 9531 with my iPAQ 3870 and whichever application I'm testing.   If I'm not testing an application than I would run TomTom Navigator on this Pocket PC. 


On the far right hand mount by the steering wheel, I would usually use an iPAQ 3630 with Navman sleeve that would allow me to run TomTom Navigator, and also to plug a Leadtek 9531 into the serial port allowing me to also run up TrafCam.


On the middle mount, which isn't always in the car, I can run my iPAQ 3850 with any new hardware I'm testing and with any software. 

All three Arkon mounts sitting on dashboard


I also have the original TomTom Navigator cradle which I use from time to time, and also the Navman sleeve windscreen mount, so I can add 5 Pocket PC's in-car at anyone time.


Since completing this article, I have now received the Arkon vent mount, which I'm playing with.  It's had a couple of days road test, and like the windscreen mounts is a very robust cradle mount that hangs off of the vent mount slats.  I'll have a review of this available soon


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