Saturday, September 30, 2023

Minor Electrical Issue Was Worth Fixing!

So you all will remember the nightmare that happened a few years ago when a rogue stereo /alarm installer decided he would use my car as his experimental test bed and not apologize for all the goofs? Well, one consequence of that was that a lot of the wiring harness got chopped and so many connectors on the harness were lost.

One of these was the connector to the cigarette lighter.  It's only 3 leads, but... And I recall it was because he had relocated the HVAC controls to this lower area, obliviating the need for a cigarette socket. Sure, I guess you then don't need the connector to the cigarette lighter but what if I changed my mind later?

Anyway, recently I realized I was having problems with this compact cigarette socket USB charger.  I would plug cables into it that I knew were not defective, but my phone would not charge.

Excuse the dust! Also, this unit is supposed to light up when power is flowing to it...

I would tinker with the backside wiring, and sometimes end up with the cigarette socket surround lit up (not the unit itself - it needs acc power) when the lights were off, and vice versa. Or no power at all, even when the engine was on.  Finally it dawned on me that this USB power thing might be broken. So...

24 hours later - Amazon to the rescue... yeah the box got crushed

But the unit inside was fine.

Bright red so I wouldn't get confused with the current one. Plus, anodized red is always nice

Obligatory comparison photo.

So what happened then? Obviously, a simple successful swap would not result in a blog post. 

Well both good news and bad. Good, in that as the red unit lit up, I knew the black unit had failed.

But bad, because it STILL wouldn't charge my phone.  The phone would recognize power being sent but the current seemed to fluctuate on/off/on/off/on/off... and then nothing. So annoying...

So it was removing the shift surround panel to access the wiring once again and...

And yes, the tape deck is working perfectly, and sounds awesome too!

I finally figured out that the wiring being inserted into the cigarette socket circuit was wrong, even though it was lighting up properly.  Actually, without the ignition on, turning the lights on gave a "buzz" sound so I knew something was off.  So I swapped some wires around and...

Proper wiring positions - for my records, just in case!

Success! Power to finally charge my phone.  I celebrated by buying a USB-C charging cable with both Lightning and USB-C ends to allow for charging of both of my phones (and anyone riding with me with an older iPhone).

So really just minor stuff. What's next? That reminds me I need to talk to Ochiai-san at Omori Factory...

Monday, September 18, 2023

Making Sure I'm Not Left Behind

I am talking about car cleaning and detailing techniques, of course.  Since I admittedly rarely drive the GT-R these days, I don't really get a chance to keep my skills up. 

On the other hand, my Lexus... 

So I found this interesting product, originally designed to be applied to cell phone screens to supposedly harden the glass to 9H. Thus obliviating the need for those thin plastic or glass screen savers. Not sure about that, but I recently was reviewing Minkara Parts Review and found several owners saying that this spray on product was helping protect those piano black finishes that are now popular in cars these days.

Of course, the GT-R doesn't have any piano black finish, but apparently this works on plastic in general, so if it doesn't make everything shiny, I might see how I could use this in the R33, at least on non-leather surfaces.

You can check out my impressions of this over at my other blog, at 

Don't tell the Lexus fans, but I am going to, in my spare time, start researching the latest on car detailing techniques and products, and practice on the IS-F.  Being a blue car with a clearcoat, I think this will be a good learning experience.   Interior-wise, it has leather and plastic, meaning I can practice on those materials too!

Stay tuned... yes I have some fun GT-R stuff coming up soon, just need to make a few phone calls...