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2017 Explorer Fuse Box (looking for 12V constant power) for dashcam

kmarnes

Well-Known Member
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July 28, 2016
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City, State
Vancouver, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Explorer Sport
Wow. Found the fuse box buried deep under the driver side. Super awkward to get to.

Has anyone tried to power a dashcam directly to the fuse box using fuse splitters? I've got a Thinkware F750 which is special because it can detect a bump even when the car is off to catch those parking lot hit and run situations, so one connection goes to constant power, another goes to another fuse, and then wire it through the cabin.

There are two dashcams, a front and a rear... but going through the interior isn't the problem... figuring out where the constant power fuse is. Can't seem to find anything useful online.

I understand the fuse box is the same since 2011.

Later tonight, I'll go through it with my multimeter and see if I can find me some live wires when the car is off.
 



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Sounds like you want constant power. That may or may not be a challenge since the battery saver turns off power after 10 minutes. The radio must have constant power since it can be turned on anytime as well as the visor buttons. There has been so much discussion on the 12V outlets that I cannot recall now if they are constantly powered or if they also are turned off after a while by the battery saver program. There are threads onswitch fuses but if I understand what you are after, then I don't think that is what you want.
If testing for live circuits, make sure the vehicle has been sitting for a while so as not to get a false reading due to the circuit not having been automatically shut down.

Peter
 






Almost all of those fuses are constant power.

I just ripped a Power Magic Pro out of my Explorer as I haven't had great luck with it. That said:

Fuse 32 -- Constant Power -- 10A -- Sync/GPS/Display/RF Reciever
Fuse 35 -- Switched Power -- 5A -- Restraint Control Module.

You can use other fuses beside those, but it is hard to find switched. Fuses 30 and 31 are entirely unused and I believe constant, but I can't guarantee that.

I recently had a fuse tap fail and kill the dashcam and the separately fused OEM component, so choose wisely. My switched fuse side completely died last week taking out the RCM and the dashcam's switched line. I always choose non-critical failure points (no one will die from the lack of SYNC, and the RCM doesn't come into substantial play until a crash--and if it fails--it's an airbag lamp until I can remediate the circuit.)

I would also consider some kind of low voltage cut off... does your ThinkWare have one built into it? These batteries really aren't designed for prolonged dash cam use.
 






I wired mine how you need tof wire yours. Mine does the same and had to do accessory and constant. After much swearing and twisting my body practically upside down I finally managed to do it.

Would have to look at which I used tomorrow.

Mine has low voltage cutoff that I can set which I did at 12.1 volts. Originally I did 11.8 but noticed slower cranking so I bumped it up and haven't had an issue since
 






Where did you tap into ground?
 






Thanks so much for your advice on identifying fuses. I'll give them a go and a quick test with my multimeter. Indeed the contortion level to wire up fuses in this thing is ridiculous.

As for ground, any bolt on the chassis will do. Will pick one that is out of the way... but finding one shouldn't be a problem.

If I get it working, I'll report back with some photos.
 






Reason I ask: I repaired my setup today but when I tapped the ground near the edge of the door--presumably where the BCM also finds a ground but a ton of other components in any event--I couldn't seem to get the PMP to come back online despite using that ground before.
 






I just ripped a Power Magic Pro out of my Explorer as I haven't had great luck with it. That said:

What was going on with your Power Magic Pro? I have one in my F150 paired with a Blackvue DR650GW-2CH.
 






I had a fuse tap blow this week--not the fuses in the tap, but the tap itself (??!)

Then, with new taps I couldn't get the PMP back online. Though honestly, I probably screwed up the ground somehow, although I put it in the same place as last time. I'm not really wild about this cheap device being constantly powered, so I'm going to go another route.
 






Update: To be continued...

Foiled at the fuse part. As soon as I pulled the fuses from #32 and #35, I immediately realized they were a different size than the mini fuses I had in my prior Honda, so I can't use the fuse splitters I bought for them. Drove to Canadian tire 20 minutes before they closed, and they didn't have any fuses as narrow as the one in the Explorer. Not that these guys are competent, but he said he never saw fuses so narrow (I pulled one for reference).

So I guess I'll have to look for fuse splitter (add a fuse) -- not sure what they are really called.

My fallback was to hook it up to the cigarette lighter inside the Sync compartment (via the stock cigarette lighter plug) and low and behold -- it's CONTINUOUS. So the damn dash-cam is happily recording thinking I'm driving while the car is off... so I have to go full ghetto and only plug it in when I drive, until I can wire it properly.

Looked up the fuses... looks like we're using both Micro2 and Micro3. The ones I had were Mini Fuse:
1280px-Electrical_fuses,_blade_type.svg.png
 












On our 2015 LTD the 12v outlet in the boot is constant powered. We tapped into the cabeling to power a WAECO freezer. I am are sure it is constant powerd, because several times my wife forgot to power off the fridge at night; it was still powered in the morning but the fridge went into saving mode to protect the car battery (and the car started fine). I presume at the fuse location you could tap 12v for the dashcam.
 






Yep, that's the big surprise about this MY Explorer--their liberal use of Micro2 and 3 fuses. The fuses I mentioned are Micro2.

Only 2-3 dollars in the US on Amazon (a bunch of sellers make the proper add-a-fuse). Your Friendly Local Auto Parts Store may have some too, but most of the time they only have ATC and Micro fuse taps. Bummer. I know mine was pretty clueless and didn't even know what a Micro2 was. (Anyone really surprised? Not me...)

My former Taurus used mini-low profile fuses. Even worse.
 






Tinkering again today, the PMP gets a stay of execution... I hooked into a new ground and things seem good to go again.

Still on the fuses mentioned earlier.
 






Okay, so I visited my family today. My brother is a real mechanic. I'm not. He basically said, fuse taps are for losers, and the fuse box is in such a ridiculously difficult access point. Also it wasn't really an option given that the fuses in the 2017s are Micro2/3 and nearly impossible to find seeing they are so new. And watched him hook it up in about 10 minutes flat, exactly the way I wanted it san cosmetics. I was very horrified to see him ripping panels off my interior before I could start recording the event.

Basically he ripped off the pillar to the left of the driver side, found a powered thingy plug, and used a 12V test light, attaching the lead to a bolt on the chassis, and then poking at all the different wires. Found the wires we needed. Some dashcams only need an accessory plug to power it, which requires accessory mode to be on. With the push button, you can either turn on the engine or press the start button without putting your foot on the brake. The constant power was found while everything was off.

I prepared this picture:
VjtcE4.jpg

All the dashcam connections were made below the plug. And of course, not all cars are the same, but my loaded explorer sport had a red wire on the bottom that went into the plug and didn't come out the top -- so it's a live accessory wire that doesn't actually connect to anything. Who knows maybe it serves a purpose for a Platinum trim, although apparently this is a pretty common technique for car makers. So we were able to literally just cut the wire and hook the accessory wire directly to it.

The constant power was indeed being used and had a thick blue wire underneath and above the plug. Obviously that wire is needed, so he tapped into it using some sort of "wire tap" piece. We had some problems because the dashcam wires are so thin. If you wanted to be super ghetto, you could just expose the wire, then wrap the dashcam wire around it, and then tape it up.

I would worry about touching constant power... but 12V isn't much of a deal. It won't kill you. You may feel a zap if you manage to ground it with body parts. Once done, I had lots of extra wire, and there were plenty of places to tuck it underneath.

The advantage to doing it this way instead of using fuse tap is that it's a cleaner installation. Fuse taps are also a problem, because fuse boxes aren't built like they used, and it would more complicated to run it up -- basically harder to connect and test, and harder to run up the pillar due to the need to remove even more interior panels. Plus you can save money by not purchasing them.

And for your entertainment, here's a short video of how easy it is to get through the soft interior ... basically he ripped out 4 panels with his bare hands, without even thinking. I would have been much more careful, but he was so fast, I only got video of 2 of the 4 panels, and I nearly had a heart attack. My new car isn't even a week old! He didn't break anything, but did have to use needlenose pliers to reset one of the plastic hook things, so it would clip back in.
 












Interesting install.

I still prefer the add a fuse method as it keeps everything separately circuited, and is fully reversible at a moment's notice as it's less invasive. Traditional fuse taps--when not being conflated with an add a fuse--are a pretty silly venture. But add-a-fuses work fairly well, though I still don't know what caused my failure...

Either way, you hit paydirt. Congratulations!

My only question... you tapped two different power lines. How is the dashcam distinguishing what lead to pull from to be powered/not powered? I presume you have some kind of Power Magic Pro device in there or a dash cam that was designed for the dual inputs that you can manually force off if you don't want the parking mode?
 






Interesting install.

I still prefer the add a fuse method as it keeps everything separately circuited, and is fully reversible at a moment's notice as it's less invasive. Traditional fuse taps--when not being conflated with an add a fuse--are a pretty silly venture. But add-a-fuses work fairly well, though I still don't know what caused my failure...

Either way, you hit paydirt. Congratulations!

My only question... you tapped two different power lines. How is the dashcam distinguishing what lead to pull from to be powered/not powered? I presume you have some kind of Power Magic Pro device in there or a dash cam that was designed for the dual inputs that you can manually force off if you don't want the parking mode?


The hardwire kit for the Thinkware F750 has two 12V inputs, one for switched, one for constant. It runs in a low power mode when only constant 12VDC is present, for the motion/shock sensors.
 






Interesting install.

I still prefer the add a fuse method as it keeps everything separately circuited, and is fully reversible at a moment's notice as it's less invasive. Traditional fuse taps--when not being conflated with an add a fuse--are a pretty silly venture. But add-a-fuses work fairly well, though I still don't know what caused my failure...

Either way, you hit paydirt. Congratulations!

My only question... you tapped two different power lines. How is the dashcam distinguishing what lead to pull from to be powered/not powered? I presume you have some kind of Power Magic Pro device in there or a dash cam that was designed for the dual inputs that you can manually force off if you don't want the parking mode?
Yeah, it a little nerve-wracking to say the least. I was a big fan of fuse taps before. There's just something safe about knowing that you probably won't mess anything up.

But having used a fuse tap in my last car, and removed everything in order to prep it for sale, it took a long time to remove the wiring and reconnect the original fuses. One could argue this particular way my brother did is superior and easier to reverse, because you are messing with less panels/distance and not having to deal with the underside fuse box which is really badly placed. Removing a wiretap -- it's a plastic clip housing which requires no tools.

Also he took one look at the fusebox and said "NO". Way too hard to deal with. The A-pillar so much easier to reach.

Before witnessing this, I would have been too scared to meddle with live wires in a car, but what he did makes sense. The diagnostic test light is super easy to use and understand. Way better than a multimeter for these purposes because everything is 12V, and when you start thinking about it that way, everything becomes simple.

matt88 answered your last question. The Thinkware F750 is a very cool dashcam. It'll catch those *******s that nick your car in a parking lot and take off because you aren't there. It has sensors inside that can detect a nudge (like car alarms), and saves the video. It has both a front and option for a rear camera too. I have both, but only the front's installed right now. It's going to take me a couple hours to set up the rear, because I'm not as confident as my brother ripping open the interior. There are settings to have it turn off if the battery voltage gets too low, so if you leave it alone for a couple weeks, you won't come back to a dead battery.
 



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In my explorer, there are 3 types of 12V sources: Constant, Switched (accessory), and smart-switched (shuts off after a couple hours, like the 12V cig. plugs and USB).
Is that RED wire a true accessory switched line?
The red wire was definitely accessory only (not smart switched). Because as soon as we turned off the car, the dashcam went into parking mode.

It's good to know about the smart switched (cig/USB). Makes sense.
 






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