October 11, 2017

Introduction

Many vehicle fuse panels lack a key-on-hot electrical tab on their fuse panels. This is frustrating when it's time to electrically connect a new accessory. We at RediRad understand, which is why we've included adapters with your RediRad that allow power connection without hacking into the wiring harness.

We feel that the following illustrated article will help you connect power to your RediRad safely and easily. But always remember: THINK before you DO.

Scope and Purpose

This article illustrates how to use the brass fuse adapters that are included as value-added accessories to RediRad Model AM/N. This article presumes that the installer knows how to properly use basic hand tools, a multi-meter, and where to locate vehicle manufacturer documentation for a given Freedom Machine. If performing this job isn't your thing, please get qualified help for assistance.

Part One: TOOLS

Quality tools cost more for a reason: they are often USA-made and they will last a lifetime if both cared for and used correctly. If you are new to working on cars, you have been forewarned.

Test-light or Digital Multi-Meter (DMM)? We recommend the latter. The Fluke model 12 DMM in Figure 1 has been serving my needs for 25 years. Figure 2 shows a precision pliers with built in wire-cutter. Sold at Sears' in a 3-piece kit, I have been using this same pair of pliers since 1986. Finally, a 1/8”-shank, flat- blade screwdriver is shown in Figure 3. This is another Craftsman offering that came in a screwdriver assortment (both flat-blade and Phillips-head).

Part Two: Does the fuse panel have an existing power tab?

First, verify whether the fuse panel has a ready-to-connect tab that provides key-on-hot power. You may need to consult the factory shop manual, and you will need either a “test light” or a DMM (see above). In my opinion, if you drive your Freedom Machine with any regularity, owning the shop manual for your application and being familiar with DMM are essential.

If the radio in your Freedom Machine can be used without the ignition key, chances are it doesn't have a fuse panel. But if it does and there's an accessory power “tab” available (See Fig. 4), use your DMM to confirm that it is energized. Connect the power lead to it and the ground lead to a suitable location and you're done.

Be advised that whenever the RediRad is energized it is in “stand-by” mode, waiting to receive an audio signal from your portable music source. While your Freedom Machine can sit for many days or even weeks (provided the battery is healthy) between starts without discharging the battery, and the RediRad's stand- by current draw is low, it isn't zero. Because of that, we recommend connecting the RediRad power wire to a key-ON-hot connection if possible to eliminate “stand by” discharge from the RediRad.

If radio operation requires the ignition key in either the ON or ACCessory positions, determine whether the fuse panel has an available accessory “tab” (See Fig. 4). If the accessory tab is energized with the key on, connect the power lead to it and continue on with the remaining steps toward RediRad installation.

If the fuse panel does not have this tab (below, right side), proceed to Part Three of this article.

Part Three: Using the early (AGC/SFE-type) fuse adapter with glass fuses

Included with your RediRad is a sleeve-type power adapter that slips around the end of a glass automobile fuse. Note that in most cases, the fuse panel's outboard side is the fused connection. Connect the adapter on the outboard fuse terminal.

  1. Properly remove an easily-accessed fuse from the panel. If possible, remove and adapt the radio circuit fuse with the sleeve-type adapter (see Fig. 5). That way, if the radio is working you'll know that the RediRad is energized. This will be helpful if you have trouble later.
  2. Test-fit the brass-side of the fuse in the fuse panel to be sure that the fuse panel can physically accommodate the extra diameter of the adapter. To do this: Use one hand to clamp the pliers jaws on the flat brass tab and your index finger of your other hand to simultaneously press the fuse back into the fuse clips. (see Fig. 6) NOTE: Fig. 6 doesn't show the other hand. If it doesn't go, don't force it: You may break the glass fuse.

IMPORTANT:Depending on the amount of the open space surrounding the fuse clips in the plastic fuse panel, the additional diameter of the glass fuse adapter plus the fuse's terminal may not permit the clips to open far enough due to mechanical interference with the plastic fuse panel.

Therefore if the AGC/SFE-type adapter will not work in your Freedom Machine, you can easily use the flat, rectangular fuse adapter after you modify it. Proceed to Part Four for more information...

Part Four: Using the modern (ATO-type) fuse adapter with glass fuses

Modifying the ATO-type fuse adapter is easy. First, remove the hairpin-end from the ATO-type fuse adapter (see left end of Fig. 7 and Fig. 8). Now curve the cutoff end as shown in Figures 9 and 10.

Next, use the pliers to insert the modified adapter into the RediRad's power lead (as shown in Fig. 11).

If the fuse that you want to connect to has been removed, reinsert the fuse back into the panel with the wide part of the fuse element facing you (so you can see it in low light conditions – See Fig. 4!)

If the fuse you want to connect to is already in the panel, feed the now-curved end of the adapter between the fuse and either spring clip that holds it in place. Do so by pushing away one of the spring clips off the fuse's end cap.

Re-confirm that there is battery power at the new connection with the DMM (See Part Two, above). You should be good to go with the rest of the installation. If you are without power at this connection, retrace your steps that got you to this point.

If you're still stuck, call RediRad Technical Support at 262 646 3363 and ask for Matt (He's a regular Reddy Kilowatt (WHO? Google it!)).

Part Five: Modified ATO-type fuse adapter installation images


Lastly, get that RediRad installation finished and get out on the road, will ya? You and your Freedom Machine were meant to make memories this way, not sitting in the garage!

Your favorite tunes are the soundtrack of every drive. See you down the highway.

Respectfully.

The Radio Rescue Squad at RediRad, LLC.


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