07 Audi A4 and IC-7100 with ALS-500M and LT Tarheel II

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by WQ6N, Jan 6, 2019.

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  1. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am on a journey trying to integrate a ICOM IC-7100 into a 07 Audi A4 (8E Chassis). There is not very much real-estate in the driver area to mount the head and run the interface cables. Currently the head is just sitting on top of the ashtray forward of the shifter which blocks the controls for heating and air. The cables run along the side of the drivers seat toward the back. They run under the back seat floor mat.

    I have purchased 2awg Red/Black welding lead to run power to the trunk via a battery Blue Sea ACR isolator to a dedicated battery in the trunk. The negative will connect to the chassis side of the car negative battery lead. I cannot identify any Hall device but will use the chassis in any event. There is a alternate positive connection built into the battery connection. The 12vdc cable run under the car has a built in cable tray that works well. There is some required effort to weave the power cables around the Front Wheel Drive and keep them out of harms way. There is also a nice access to the trunk area via a built in grommet-ed port. Wrestling once again with the battery and am looking at a Type 31 AGM. I can only run the ALS-500M up to 200w due to the fact that the LT Tarheel II is rated at 200w PEP. Looking for a LT TH II-HP that will handle 500w PEP (someday). The remote for the amp is another thing to find a location to mount in the drivers area. No clue at the moment.

    Tried to mount the LT TH II on the trunk lid. It looks good and balances the 2m/70cm antenna on the opposite side of the trunk lid. However, it moves when driving due to wind resistance. I have tried to support the antenna with a dacron line which does help. I know that it is not recommended to use a trailer hitch mount for the LT TH II. I have a 1-1/4 in. trailer hitch and plan to try to mount the antenna using a TH MT-4 FB that can be lowered. Grounding will have to be via flexible cable or large strap. I have always used 1 in. solid copper ground strap but it may not work in this case. I will need to have the capability to take off the antenna as I do park in areas that will invite someone to take it if I leave it out. LT TH II tuning is via a TurboTuner-2 mounted in the trunk near the IC-7100 main unit.

    So that whats in the journey so far. I am wondering if someone has already gone down this path and has lessons learned to share? The main challenges, as I see them, are the lack of area to mount things in the driver location that has visibility of the gauges and controls and the grounding of the LT TH II while of a movable antenna mount. I would also like to take the amp out and use it while camping in a RV. I have a TH 100A-HP antenna for this which is way too big the small Audi. The tow vehicle is an older 02 Saturn (no dolly or trailer required) as the Audi cannot be towed without a full trailer. Changing the IC-7100 from one car to the other will be another effort when the time comes (slide mounts?).

    As always constructive comments are welcome. Especially lessons learned.
    73, JohnF
  2. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is called "drilling holes". The problem us, the underlying metal isn't strong enough to support much more than the antenna you have.

    The Audi does have a battery monitoring system. This requires the ground connections to be made at the same point as the battery's ground is located. You might experience issue when using the isolator, depending on how it is made. If it cost about $50 to $75, you probably have a non-FET unit. Which means, the rear battery voltage will always be lower by about 1 volt, plus whatever the cable drop is. For $2, that's about another half volt.

    Running the ALS-500 at 200 watts is probably a waste of time, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is what will happen when you forget to turn the power back when using the amp. Remember too, the alternator is a scant 105 amp unit.

    Lastly, the A4 doesn't have a B-CAN (body-chassis area network) system, which will show up as birdies about every 15 kHz. The only way is to cover them up with the auto notch built into the 7100.

    Good luck.
    K1SZO likes this.
  3. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    As always, its good to see your comments.
    I can honestly say it's not going to happen, regarding drilling holes in a Audi. The hitch mount worked well so far. And it looks good to boot.
    The Blue Sea ACR's are FET. Once I get it hooked up, I will post the findings. I do have my faithful backup - BUSSMAN 100 AMP BATTERY SEPERATOR-RB-BS-1314 that has served me well in the past, but I will most likely put that back into the Saturn along with the High Sierra screwdriver antenna and golf cart batteries. Fully agree with the chassis negative return line.
    Nothing is a waist of time, unless one sits and does nothing that is. Like I mentioned in the original post, this is just one step out of the series in the journey. The HP antenna will come in time but I rarely use power more than necessary.
    I can actually say that the VAG-COM OBD2 interface is extensive - K1, K2 and CAN. I have been operating solid for several weeks now with no issues. The Audi's are built very well. Sometimes too well and special tools or fluids are needed. German engineering. The base model Alternator is 120amp and there are upgrades from 140-180amps. Right now I will keep things stock. I have been through the engine and transmission and all is well.
    The new N8XKJ Boost Regulator is being built and that will added to the configuration (one more step forward).
    Thank you. 73, JohnF
  4. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    The BlueSea BatteryLink ACR is not FET. It is a relay driven contact according to the documents. I bought this second hand. The ACR is designed for boats (a car is like a boat with 4 wheels right...).

    Automatic Combined Voltage
    Adjustable from 12.2V to 14V
    Preset to 13.5 (13.4 to 13.6)

    Automatic Undervoltage Disconnect Voltage
    6% Lower than combining (closing)
    Preset to 12.7 (12.6 to 12.8)

    Automatic Overvoltage Disconnect
    Adjustable from 13.5V to 15.5V
    Preset to 15.0 (14.85 to 15.15)

    ON/OFF Time Delay
    Approximately 1 min. for charge/discharge

    OFF Delay
    Approximately 15 sec. for overvoltage

    The model that I have is:
    60A Continuous
    90A for 7 Minutes
    120A for 2 Minutes

    I ran the positive 12vdc 2awg welding lead weaving it around the pitman, idler arms and exhaust systems. Both front and rear driver side wheels needed to be removed to do so. So much easier than the 2/0 welding lead that I had on hand. All 2awg lugs were crimped but I am leaning toward soldering them as well. The negative side is tied to the trailer hitch bolts in the spare wheel well. All paint was removed around the chassis connection with a coat of conductive anti-seize compound. The Audi has a full size spare tire/rim so things are tight. As with the GMC, the AGM battery is also vented with a small tubing on one side of the battery top. The other side of that battery has a small plug in the vent port. The plan is run the small vent tubing out the same grommet the positive conductor uses for trunk access. Antenna RF and control cables use one of the spare wheel well drain holes. Each cable has a protective sheathing. All trunk penetrations are sealed with 3M fireproof flexible putty (Purchased at WhiteCap) and metal vent tape. RF/DC Grounding of the Little Tarheel II - LTMT1 is via a 6awg conductor to an alternate bolt on the external side of the trailer hitch. Successfully tuned to several bands using the TurboTuner-2 controller. The Tarheel MT4FB allows lowering the antenna for the trunk lid opening and closing with little effort. Incorporated Alan's method of external toroid conductor winding in the screwdriver antenna control lines. Placement of the toroid is on top of the trailer hitch receiver.
    Received the two recommended toroids (http://www.w0qe.com/N8XJK_battery_booster.html) for the N8XJK boost regulator from Digikey. Waiting on the shipment. I did order the 6ft power cables to wind the suggested 8 turns on each toroid. The journey continues...
    73, JohnF
  5. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you crimped them correctly, I wouldn't solder them. I don't know if you used high=strand wire, but if you did, you surely don't want to solder them.
  6. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    The welding lead is US SAE #2 by ACDCwireandsupply. There is a pretty high content of strands. I have large Thomas-Betts crimper that can do 4/0. Been crimping for decades so they do come out good. Just for grins, I soldered the ones in the engine compartment with a very large iron that takes forever and a day to heat up. I use the same iron on the HYCLAT 2-4 Gauge Battery Quick Connect. I standardized on these 175amp disconnects so I can move components around instead of undoing bolts and screws. Soldering takes some patience but it gets the job done. All the power cables, ACR, battery and routing is done.

    As a side job, I have stripped down the High Sierra HS-1500 mk-II to bare metal and in the process of overhauling and upgrading. Repainting with dupli-color to the same color as the car (silver metalic) and changing the 9vdc drive to 12vdc. Guess that makes it a custom HS-1800. The better half didn't like the bright red reflecting tap so will have to think of another method to make the mount visible at night.
  7. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    I came across this information while researching SMH SY50 connectors. It really augments Alan's input regarding crimping and soldering:
    Solder is 10 times less conductive than copper and you will have a high resistance connection which will get hot at high currents. If you feel you must solder - crimp first to provide a good electro-mechanical connection and THEN solder for permanence.

    A crimped terminal actually creates a metal-metal colloidal bond at the surface between the wire and the terminal, and if done right, no gas remains between the surfaces. This ensures longevity and safety, making this the preferred mechanism in industrial implementations.

    Soldered connections create a critical point at the point where the solder ends on the side opposite to the terminal: the solder wicks between the individual wires of the cable, producing a very stiff zone where the cable's flexibility is lost... this point is very fatigue prone and will likely cause a break here if there is any vibration or repeat movement.
    I have been crimping for decades but this is a good piece of advice.
  8. K0BG

    K0BG Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a fact! I didn't mention the fact here, but I do on my web site.
  9. WQ6N

    WQ6N Ham Member QRZ Page

    Change is good...right? Since the Little Tarheel II can only do 200w PEP, I pulled the IC-7100 and replaced it with a Kenwood TS-480HX. I have a spare mix43 Steward 28B2400-000 toroid (Steward's 28B material is the same as #43 material) that I will wind both power cables in parallel as much as possible. Hindsight lead me to address the VHF/UHF bands that went with the IC-7100. There is extremely limited area in the drivers seat. However, there is a slot below the steering wheel for the owners manual which has spring loaded compression fingers built in. A Yaesu FT-7800 slides right into the slot perfectly. Looking into the engine compartment, there was a rubber grommet that once pulled provided cabling access for a power cable to the radio. This is almost too easy. I fished a small line through the hole and pulled the power cable from the inside of the cab to the engine compartment. Reinstalled the grommet with the power cable threaded and connected the power and ground. The dual band antenna was mounted on the driver side trunk lid and ran along the drivers side tucked under the plastic trim. Done.

    There was no real-estate to locate the control head on the center column. This was solved with a panavice mount that was extended from the outside of the center console under the glove compartment (on the passenger side). Also insuring that the location did not inhibit the glove box door range of motion. Using the fan-shaped base, I wrapped one side around the upper lip of the center console for additional support and capture. I may have to drill a small hole on the inside of the wrapped fan-shaped base to secure it better if the head comes loose by vibration or use. Trying really hard not to drill holes especially in visible locations. The control head and mic extension cables are run from the underneath the rear deck behind and under the back seat forward on the side of the center bump on the passenger side. The drivers side carries the cables for the N8XKJ Boost Regulator Remote Control/Meter box. The LT TH II is controlled with the TurboTuner-2 PF button so no cables are necessary. I was thinking of using a short section of walkway cable conduit right on top of the bump from the back seat to the center console if I can find a black colored section.

    Another thing I need to do is to set up a SignaLink USB box for digital work (mainly ARDOP). Another hindsight I missed by pulling the IC-7100.

    That should do it, transformation complete. Now all I need to do is learn a new set of radio controls.
  10. KC9ONY

    KC9ONY Ham Member QRZ Page

    When you get time, how about taking some pictures of your installation?

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