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Ignition Free Electric Windows on Smart car (Smart 451)

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CAUTION:
Following this instructable may void your Smart’s warranty. Also, it may be that having ignition free electric windows may violate standards or vehicle regulations (I could imagine that this came into place to prevent kids from playing with the windows and getting hurt by them when left alone in the car).
Don’t do anything that could reduce your car’s safety. If you follow this instructable, you should be familiar with car electrics and you do it on your own risk. I may not be held liable for any damage resulting from this mod.



My introduction got a little long this time, so if you just want the essentials,
skip from here.....

I didn’t intent to do much this weekend.
Acutally, I wanted to add a new blog post, start my next app-project or continue writing my instructable about my iPhone app “Gas By Numbers”, Unfortunately, nothing of all this happened.

Being lazy, I just surfed the internet.
My Smart car came to mind, and how I’m still fed up with the automatic shifting of gears (it’s not a real automatic transmission), even after 3 years. My Smart has the so called “soft touch” which means that I can select to have the transmission shift automatically or manually. I’d prefer the auto-mode, but I still hate that the gear shifting points are set in a way which render it more or less useless for every day use. Due to a lot of truck traffic on my daily commute, I rarely reach the speed needed for auto to shift into 5th gear. So I have to manually shift to 5th when in auto, but then the auto mode doesn’t come back. Instead, shifting is switched to manual.
Also, when in manual mode, my Smart tells me via the display when it would be energy efficient to shift into the next gear, but in auto, the gear shifting takes place at much higher speeds than what it tells me when in manual.
So I was looking for a hack on the gear box software. After all, 3 years have passed since I first got annoyed by this fact and it’s just a matter of software settings.
Well, there aren’t any hacks except for increasing your Smarts horse power via chiptuning. But this probably worsens fuel efficiency, so this is not where I want to go. And I don’t need more speed, I’d just look for a more convenient “shifting experience”.

…… to here.

Anyway, while searching for a gear box software hack, I stumbled over a forum where people commented on something like a “fuse extender” for the electric windows which made me curious. This little gadget sells for about 20-30 bucks and provides a means to operate your electric windows without having to turn on the ignition.
After looking at it, I remembered that I often times leave the motor running until my windows are closed before switching my Smart off. Because if you first turn off the engine (turn off ignition), the electric windows won’t operate.
So if you turn off the engine first, you have to turn on the ignition again to close the windows.
Something I was annoyed off, too, but never spend much time thinking about.

Hmmm. Getting a little electric something to make the windows operate without ignition seemed great. But on Saturdays, stores close somewhere between 1 and 6 pm and it was already about 3 pm.
Also, spending that much money on such a little thingy seemed overpriced, too.

(Spoiler alert: the DIY version will be free if you have some electrical stuff at home already, otherwise it shouldn’t be more than a couple of cents, although you’ll mostly have to buy complete sets of terminals, heat shrinking tube and such, so that your initial cost to get what’s needed may be around 10 bucks. But the remaining parts can be used for other projects later).

So I checked for explanations on the gadget to see if I can DIY something. I stumbled over Kane’s website evilution.co.uk (which I already found 3 years ago and which is a great source of information on everything “Smart”). He already has an instruction on what to do, but the hack seemed too easy and clever as not to share it here. You can find Kane’s original instructions here http://www.evilution.co.uk/358.

Basically, the electric windows don’t operate without ignition because the fuse is not connected to permanent live, meaning that if ignition is turned off, all power is taken from the fuse.

This instructable shows how to get fully operational electric windows of a Smart 451, no matter which position your key is in.
Other (older) models can also be modified, but you’ll have to check which fuse you have to work with. I don't know if newer models work, too.
 
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espdp22 years ago
I LIKE this! I was thinking of a more complicated method involving some kind of rewiring job, but this is elegant. Any issues so far with the mod?
Mike73 (author)  espdp22 years ago
I encountered once that I couldn't pull up the window while driving once, because I haven't fixed the cable to the fuse box with tape.
I think it may be ok, too, if I just use a terminal that's a little thicker (or may be to just bend it a little) to give it a tighter fit.
I just pulled to the side and wiggled on the cable. Ever since, all is well.
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