Has anyone seen or atempted to wire their unit directly to the fuse box?
I haven't done it with my new Garmin c550 because I move it between two different cars, and it'd cost over $200 for a new FM Traffic Receiver/car charger to hardwire, but I've done similar projects in the past with cell phone chargers, radar detectors, satellite radio receivers, and my old Garmin eMap. I am by no means a professional though. My installations all work perfectly, but they are not necessarily the "cleanest method", so maybe someone else can chime in with a better idea.
All I really do is:
1. Unscrew the cap off the car charger and remove the fuse and the spring. (If the spring is soldered in place, leave it there)
2. Use a small screwdriver or something and pry the charger casing apart (usually it is 2 halves). Take care not to break the casing or any tabs that hold it together.
3. Using solder or another method, secure a black wire to the wishbone shaped piece of metal inside the charger (when plugged in, this is the piece that contacts the cylindrical wall of the outlet) or to the small wire that is already attached to it. Connect the other end of the wire to a nearby ground.
4. Using solder or another method, secure a red wire to the piece of metal that the spring contacted when it was assembled (if the spring was soldered in place by the factory, feel free to solder the red wire to the spring) or to the small wire that is already attached to it. Connect the other end of the red wire to a terminal on a fuse holder. There are many different types of fuse holders, but here is an example:
You can buy these at any radio shack or similar store.
5. Snap the 2 halves of the charger back together and run the black and red wires out of the hole. Take care not to pinch any wires in the process.
6. Connect another length of red wire from the other terminal on the fuse holder to an open accessory slot on your fuse box.
7. Insert the fuse (from step 1) into the fuse holder.
8. Plug in your GPS, turn on the car, and enjoy your hardwired installation. NOTE: If you see smoke or smell smoldering plastic or metal, turn off the car immediately. I take no responsibility if this does not go as planned.
I direct wire accessories all the Time in my cars. With the nuvi 660 the problem is the charger also acts as an antenna for FM traffic, so it's not easy to do.
What I might suggest is direct wiring something like a multi outlet power adapter. For example, go to radioshack.com and use the model number "270-1561" in the search field for something you can use. The hardest part of direct wiring accessories is finding a clean place to mount them, in my opinion.
It really bugs me that the FM transmitter is in the power plug rather than in the mounting base for the GPS. This is a far less flexible solution that pretty much forces you to always have to deal with an extra power plug and a dangling cord. For this reason alone I'm debating if I even want to maintain the $60/year traffic subscription once the 3 month freebie runs out. That way I can just buy an extra car mount and power cord and be able to plug my Nuvi into either of my cars.
The FM receiver car adapter costs over $200 so I'm also debating just putting mine up for auction afterwards. Holy cripes that's costly!!
Do a Google search for "Littelfuse Add-A-Circuit". You plug this right into your fuse box and then can either wire directly to it or add an auxillary cigarette plug outlet under your dash. Very easy to install.
If you live in a "metro area" this traffic feature will pay for it's self over and over. If I might offer some advice, try it for a while. I travel to New York and New Jersey often and it helps me through traffic almost every time.
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