Installing a Compass Gadget Upgrade




Introduction: Installing a Compass Gadget Upgrade

About: I am liking the flexible schedule of retirement to do things and love this site for ideas to amuse myself.

This is my 1996 Nissan PU I've owned since 1998. It is reliable and I have taken out of state trips since I retired rather than fly. I had installed a home indoor/outdoor thermometer, but the velcro adhesive kept melting and falling down. I had upgraded the radio to one with bluetooth, but it didn't display the time constantly. I wanted to upgrade to a better indoor/outdoor thermometer and saw this gadget from China online that not only showed the temp, but time, date, and compass with lighting. The truck had 270K miles and I hope to get close to a million miles. So here is how I worked out this upgrade. It is unique to my situation, but hope it may give you ideas for similar applications.

Step 1: Finding a Location....

When the gadget arrived I didn't realize it's size would present a mounting problem. I stewed about it for a couple weeks and decided the only area to locate it was the corner of the glove box door. It wouldn't fit where the old temp device was or any other place in the interior that would interfere with other components. I didn't want to use the dashboard and mess up my cover.

Step 2: Tools, Materials, and Preparation....


Wire strippers, wire connector crimpers, phillips screwdriver, meter,and not pictured a drill motor with step drill. Your individual situation may require other items per situation and individual taste.


18awg stranded wire, female power receptacle, electrical splice fittings (I used butt fittings, Scotch Locks), electrical tape, and zip ties.

After collecting the materials and tools I needed to locate a power source to tap into for the gadget. The male power plug when it is plugged in lights up the display and wakes up the compass. I didn't want it on all the time, so I determined to power it when the dash lights were on. The glove box light is also activated by the dash lights so it is convenient to tap into. I removed the glove box (a few screws) and exposed the feed to the light. I used "Scotch Locks" to tap inline for power. I used the meter to find positive or hot feed. It was the red wire. The power receptacle white/black wire was to hot lead. I used the twisted black and white to extend the connection matching black-black-black, black/white-white-red. It is just a simple inline circuit, just make sure the hot is right and the ground is too. Next I need a route for the sensor to an appropriate spot.I removed the inside panel to expose the cavity inside the truck body and plan a route for the sensor (which was limited wire length) to a temperature neutral area for the outside temp.

Step 3: So Far So Good?...

The frogs think so.

Step 4: Routing the Sensor and Wire....

To route the sensor and wire I had to get to the space between the body and fender. There is a wire boot that works well. Remove it from the body, cut half way through, and remove the wire. Fish a stiff length of pull wire through the boot hole and the glove box corner hole. Attach the sensor and pull through. Then I removed the inside fender cover and hand fed the sensor and attached it to the fender. then I re-attached the cover. I adjusted the length of the sensor wire and fit it with the other wire in the boot and taped around the cut. Then the boot is replaced in it's hole.

Step 5: Mount the Gadget....

I cleaned the glove box door and mounted the gadget in the top corner. I just let the wires hang over the top and behind the gadget into the glove box. A couple zip ties made it neat. I had to use the power plug because the device needs a lower voltage (I checked it off the provided supply plug) instead of directly wiring it to 12Vdc. I believe the install came out well. The loose wires in the box can be made neater and I may move the sensor higher and am considering a little ventilation below it in the cover. As I mentioned the compass goes to sleep, but just turning the parking lights on wakes it up and it is lit at night with the dash lights. I get ideas from other instructables that apply to situations different from mine and apply them. I hope this may give you inspiration too.

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you both. I had to add screws to the foot of the compass because like the other device I had the adhesive wouldn't hold and it fell down.


    8 years ago

    Really cool. Good idea

    Ooo that is excellent, especially if your somewhere where google maps is just always wrong. Definitely could of used this in Spain. Thanks for sharing!