“Cutless” Dashcam Install

I wanted to add a dash cam to the F430. I ended up going with a BlackVue DR-750LTE 2CH. It’s not the latest and greatest, but I found it used and liked that it had the LTE functionality built in. One thing I discovered after purchasing it was that it didn’t support parking mode built in. That is, it only operated when given power, and would continue draining power until your battery was dead. Newer versions of the BlackVue cameras have auto-off functions that automatically power down once the battery drops below a certain level, or the car has been off for a certain period of time.

In any case, BlackVue manufactured a little module called the Power Magic Pro. This little box takes as input Constant 12V, Switched 12V and Ground. On the output you simply plug your camera in. Using DIP switches, you control the voltage and time cutoffs.

Power Magic Pro

The problem I faced is that I wanted to hard-wire the whole thing into the car, but do so WITHOUT cutting or modifying anything in the car itself. This included splicing into existing wiring harnesses, or modifying fuse box covers to pull wires out.

The traditional way to install these systems is to use fuse taps and find fuses in the fuse box. In the case of the F430, the most convenient box is behind the passenger seat. However, I couldn’t find a way to elegantly reuse the fusebox cover without having to modify it to snake the wires out. It also meant not having a easy to access place for the Power Magic Pro without needing to run additional wires all over.

Fuse Tap

Instead, what I decided to do was tap off the needed wires from the harness that feeds the radio. It contains the ground, the +12V constant and the switch +12V signals so was perfect.

The stock stereo system uses standard ISO style connects. The nice thing about this is that it’s very easy to find cheap PigTails that mate with this connector. They can be found on Amazon for $15, or if you can wait you can find them for $3-$4 on places like AliExpress. In our case, we need a MALE and FEMALE ISO harness to build a pass thru.

Female and Male ISO connector

Basically what we will do is join these two pigtails together to create a straight pass-thru. From there, we will then splice into the PASS THRU itself. This means that we never have to modify the stock harness at all, and instead we are hacking into these cheap pigtails.

Items Needed:

  • Female ISO pigtail
  • Male ISO pigtail
  • Heat shrink tubing of various sizes
  • Power Magic Pro (or hardwire kit for your camera)
  • Two inline Mini-fuse holders
  • Two Mini-fuses (consult the install manual for your camera for the rating of fuse you need)
  • CLOTH electrical tape (not vinyl)
  • Solder and Soldering Iron
  • Wire strippers

I started by cutting the two molded connectors apart. This is because we really only need the pass thru for one of the two ISO halves (it contains all the signals we need).

From there, strip a small bit off each of the eight wires coming from both pigtails and splice them together straight across. Be sure you are matching them in the correct order such that no signal changes position from the female to the male end. Don’t forget the heat shrink tubing on each connection.

Do these for ALL the wires except the Red, Yellow and Black (12V switched, 12V constant, Ground)

For the Red/Yellow/Black wires, you want to make a 3-way splice with the wiring thats coming from your Power Magic Pro or hardwire kit. For the Yellow and Red wires, I also inserted a inline fuse holder. In many cases, I shortened the leads to make thing as tidy as possible. The black wire connects directly into the harness. In the end, you should end up with something that looks like this:
Once everything is soldered and heatshrunk together, tightly wrap the harness with the cloth electrical tape. We use the cloth as it has better heat tolerance, and it also provides a cushion to prevent rattles/etc.

From there, disconnect the power switch in the frunk area and remove the headunit from the car using the Becker keys. Detatch all the harnesses/antenna/etc. to get better access.

From there, plug your new harness into the vehicles harness. The nice thing about the F430 is that the area behind the headunit is completely open (otherwise this whole approach would not work). Once attached, I fed the power socket and the Power Magic Pro through the opening and let it fall downward and out of the way on the drivers side (LHD). From there, reattach the other end of your harness to your head unit, as well as the other wires (antenna, CD changer, etc) to the remaining connectors and slide the head unit back in.

From there, its just a matter now of tidying up the wiring and sticking the Power Magic Pro somewhere. I double stick taped the Power Magic Pro directly under the radio console in order to still easily get access to the parking mode enable/disable switch. The rest of the wires were neatly ziptied away under the dash.

Turn the power back on and verify everything is working as you expected.

This is a great approach to keep things neat, and fully reversible if you ever decide to remove the system.

Cable Routing

The other area of importance is routing of the cables for the front and rear cameras. Although much better to remove the interior trim to do this, I wanted to see the layout before committing to that. Instead, I tucked it into gaps in various places and got to a point where the routing allowed me to completely hide the cable except for one pass over point on the A-Pillar. That means you could do a complete hidden install with just potentially popping free the one end of that panel.

The camera is mounted to the windshield and has two cables coming from it. Power (red in the diagrams) and Rear Camera Signal (orange). I routed the wires straight back and into the cavity above the windshield. They exited towards the headliner on the rear portion of this cavity. To get access in here, I removed the dome light and its housing and loosened the screws a bit hold on the sun visors. This gave me a bit of flex to squeeze the wires where I needed them to go.

From there, I made the wires follow the seam between the two trim panels on the A-Pillar. Both cables run to the outside along these seam. This is the only place where the cables are visible in the install. If you have a black interior, this may actually be okay long term. Something lighter like this Sabbia, I would like to tuck them in more permanently. I suspect I can pop the end of the panel off and hide them within but did not try this yet.

From there, the power cable goes towards the front of the car, and the rear camera cable goes to the back. I tucked the fires under the felt-like weather stripping along the outside of the door opening. It forms a nice channel and holds them in there well.

The front cable continues down the weather stripping and comes out and tucks under the final trim panel and under the dash where the rest of the install can be complete.

For the rear cable, it too follows the weather stripping and tucks under the bottom of this final panel. From there, I removed the screws for the fusebox cover and rolled the excess cable up inside of the fuse box area.

Finally the rear camera cable is completed simply by fishing the wire through the bottom trim, and around the glass.

In all cases, using a plastic trim tool you can often just push the wires into the panel without needing to remove it.

The end result is a pretty clean, fully reversible wiring install in under 30 mins.

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