A place away from the crowds

I am now able to house the F355 in a space that isn’t open to others and has it’s own security. Although nothing ever happened to it where it was, I was always worried about it getting hit by others. Now no more! Yeah!

Having a space makes it much easier to work on the car when needed. This certainly came in handy after getting the car back after having the interior refurbished, because the alarm light wasn’t working.

When I removed the ashtray to have a look why, the actual LED completely broke away and fell down inside the car. I could see it down there, but honestly it wasn’t worth fishing it out. I pulled the wires that ran to the LED through the dash and taped them up temporarily. I then started a quest to get a replacement LED and mounting.

Initially, I found something that I thought would work but the challenge was getting it connected in place. I wasn’t particularly keen on having a soldering iron anywhere near the car, so I decided that a screw on connector would work best. I also wanted to have a system where I could plug and unplug the LED if needed. This become pretty obvious when you want to remove the ashtray for any reason.

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I bought the above audio connectors from Amazon. They are perhaps a little big but it does make it easy to connect and disconnect when needed.

The initial LED I bought I wired up and started testing. When I did, I saw it was drawing about 0.06 amps. I looked up some load tables and found that the battery would be more than able to cope with this and shouldn’t drain completely for about two weeks. However, given that I had the opportunity to reduce the load now I decided to do some more hunting.

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In the end I settled on a 12V mini chrome bezel from Jaycar. It was pretty small but I liked the fact that already came with a casing. Even better, when I tested it, the drain was only 0.03 amps. That is, half of the original one. So, LED secured. Check.

Next, I had to find a way to mount to the console. The exposed portion was straight forward, but securing it underneath proved a real challenge. In the end I managed to secure it with some foam packing and nylon washers. Not the cleanest job but it seemed to do the trick. Besides, it would be easy to remove if I ever had to.

I wasn’t 100% sure whether the LED was 12 or 5 volts but decided to assume it would be 12 volts and adjust if needed. I removed the ashtray (again – man I thought I done this enough times already!) and secured one of the plugs with screw terminals into place. Next, I mounted the LED from the external side of the console and secured as best I could using the nylon washers. I then screwed in the other connector. Now, deep breath, make the connection and voila! The LED started flashing in its familiar pattern. Success!

I carefully put everything back in place and finally screwed the ashtray back. Hopefully, It will be a long time before I need to go back in there but at least now, disconnecting the alarm LED should be straightforward.

It felt good to be able to do a minor repair in a environment where I could have both doors open, a set of tools lying on the ground and no one looking at you. I can also report that the following week the car started and ran as expected, so no unexpected shorts or unforeseen current drainage.

I’m approaching my tenth year of ownership and I’d do a write up on that milestone soon. Hopefully, with the car in a better location I’ll be able to write more articles! Let’s see.