Today I also found some time to fit my Ruptela FM-Eco3 tracker to the car at the same time as my GPS repeater (explained in this previous post).
I decided I wanted the tracker mounted as far away from the head unit as possible because I was getting some interference from the GPRS communications which could be heard when listening to the radio. For this reason I thought I’d have a look behind the instrument cluster as a suitable location because all required connections are within easy reach, I’ll detail the process below.
To gain access to the instrument cluster area, first start by looking along the upper edge just above the speedo and rev counter and along that edge you will find 3 torx screws which all need to be removed. Once those are out the way, you can start to pry the plastic surround off from this area. My most effective method was to start by the two blower vents in the centre console and carefully using a flat bladed screwdriver just pry the plastic trim upwards slightly until that end clicks out of place, then work your way around the edge of it to the other side until all edges are unclipped. You may find it useful to pry the top edge downwards where you removed the torx screws as the screw holes are slightly recessed into the upper dash and will need prying out. If all goes to plan, the blower vents will come out already attached to the trim, if not, give those a good pull too and they will unclip from the dash. I found it easier to put the blower vents back into the plastic trim for safekeeping and also to aid reassembly later on.
This was as far as I needed to go to find a suitable spot. I chose to mount the tracker just above the right-hand blower vent tube, the tracker itself is only about 4″ by 2.5″ by 3/4″ so it would sit nicely on top of the pipe and I ran a cable/zip tie around it to keep it from rattling around. Before you do that though you will need to get the wires ready. For the GPS antenna, I had lost my original antenna for the tracker and I may have left it on my old car when that was scrapped so I decided to tab into the antenna from the GPS repeater from my last post. I had to purchase a “SMA ‘T’ Splitter” and a “1.5m SMA male to male cable” to do the job, both of which came to about £4 on ebay so very cheap. I hooked up the T splitter to the repeater cable above the interior light and ran the cable down inside the pillar to where my tracker will be mounted, as luck would have it the cable was once again the perfect length for this at 1.5 meters. That’s your antenna connection sorted. With my FM-Eco3 tracker, it had a small wiring loom with 8 cables coming from it. The ones we are interested in are the black, red and yellow. You can crimp a ring terminal on the black and put that onto one of the many 10mm bolts that you will find in that area of the dash for your negative connection. The red wire, you will need to find a permanently live connection, in my case I used a multimeter to probe each of the fuse slots to see which are live when the ignition is off and then used some male and female spade connections and suitable size wire to plug into the fuse holder and extend it out of the board so I could tap into the wire without losing use of whichever device is on that fuse, you should also have a 3amp inline fuse on the tracker wiring loom to protect that as well in case it ever malfunctions. The yellow wire in my case was configured to indicate when the ignition/engine is off or on, you can choose whether or not to use this in the Ruptela configuration software. If you look on the left side of the fuse board you will see a large plug with two thick wires going into a plug, a yellow one and an orange one. The yellow one becomes live when the ignition is in the first position and the orange one is live when it is on the second position, I chose to tap into the orange one so the tracker would indicate it’s online when the ignition is at the seond position. Here I carefully used a Stanley knife to remove a small amount of insulation from this wire and solder the yellow tracker wire onto it, then wrap it up well in insulation tape for safety reasons, also, don’t forget the inline 3 amp fuse on the yellow wire too! The connections for many other vehicle trackers will be the same and these instructions can also be applied to those but do read the manual first to make sure.
Then you just need to reassemble the plastic trim by slotting it back in place and pushing along all the edges to make sure it’s completely clipped in. You may need to adjust the right-hand air vent pipe to get it to slot in properly, I found it easy to remove the plastic blanking plate from the end of the dashboard (where the door shuts) and put my hand in there to position it correctly. Then put back the three torx screws along the top edge and you’re done!