Reverse clipboard Satnav holder for Ducato

Discussion in 'Top Tips & Tricks' started by Feltwell, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Following on from requests on another thread
    http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/those-chinese-7-sat-navs.105211/page-2#post-1364302
    here's some details on how I converted the Ducato's pop up clipboard to be a satnav holder.

    Firstly, I can't take credit for the idea, I found it on an old thread on another forum, although with no instructions.
    Secondly, I did this on an X244 Ducato - i.e. old shape cab. I don't see any reason why it won't work on the newer post 2007 models, so long as you definitely have the pop-up type clipboard, as I believe some vans with passenger airbags have fixed clipboards. Basically all you're doing is using the space that the folding mechanism usually occupies to store the sat nav.
    Thirdly, apologies for the dodgy photo quality, all taken in the dark with the flash which makes the dash look really tatty - It isn't at all in daylight!

    This is the clipboard folded down after the modification - looks pretty much standard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But with the hinged end reversed and the folding mechanism removed, there's space to store a satnav - just enough room for mine, which is one of the 7" Chinese jobs:-

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Which then in use sits very neatly just trapped by the end of the lid - the springs keep it gripped quite tightly, no mods to either satnav, lid or base required.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The springs are under tension even when the lid is shut, so it keeps it shut tight and it doesn't rattle.

    So, how is it done? Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures whilst I was doing the adaptation, but I'll describe it as best as I can.

    1. Get some radio removal keys for your make of radio (very cheap on Ebay), slide the radio out and disconnect all it's connectors.
    2. If the radio has a metal fitting cage in the hole in the dash, this will need to come out. Usually these are held in place by little tags in the metal cage being bent in to grip the plastic dash housing, gently bend them back with a small screwdriver and slide the cage out.
    3. You'll now see 2 torx headed screws below where the radio was, and further 2 on top of the dash at the back of the clipboard. With an appropriate torx bit, remove all 4 and lift the clipboard and radio holder assembly away.
    4. Next stage is to disassemble the lid and sprung folding mechanism inside. This is all held in place with metal rods - they are a tight fit but they are not glued or plastic welded into place, they will all slide out with some persuasion and you don't need to cut any.
    5. From memory the first one to remove is the one that joins the sprung folding mechanism to the lid. The lid has a hole in one side to allow it to slide out - a good grip with some long-nosed pliers and it will, with some effort, slide out.
    6. The lid will now open a little bit further and you can grip and slide out the one at the base of the folding mechanism.
    7. Last and most difficult, as access is tightest, are the 2 rods at the front of the lid that form it's hinge.
    8. Now the lid is free, remove the two parts of the catch at the back from the lid and base. Don’t worry about the holes, you don’t see them when the job is done. Also remove the 2 little rubber buffers that the lid closed onto.
    9. The lid and base can now be drilled at the back to form the new hinge, using the same rods that formed the hinge before. The lid will need to sit fractionally further forward than before, and the back very slightly higher, to give enough clearance at the new hinge end. There’s a nice plastic “lump” either side at the back of the lid that the perfect place to drill into.
    10. Hardest part is deciding where to drill – at the back and fairly high up. I got it wrong first time, but if you have re-drill the base no one will see it.
    11. Whilst the lid is off, drill a couple of holes at the front and put the little rubber buffers in there, so the lid won’t rattle.
    12. Attach springs – I bought a selection pack off Ebay for about £3 – to the original hinge mounts under the lid.
    13. Fix your hinge pins in place. I put a fibre washer between the lid and the base on each side to stop the side float in the hinges, which makes the lid shut better and not catch if it’s off-centre
    14. I araldited the hinge pins on the outside of the base to make them secure, then cut the excess pin off with a Dremel
    15. The springs can now be located at the bottom using the rod that originally retained the opening mechanism, as below.
    [​IMG]

    I glued grip mat to the underside of the lid, and put a loose base in. I also fitted a hardwired power supply for the satnav, as you can see, which was about £10 from Ebay. This is wired to a switched feed, so it is only on when the ignition is on - alternatively you could put a switch in and connect to a permanent live feed so you can have the satnav on with the engine off, but I was concerned about forgetting it and leaving it on.

    So there you go - if you're a fairly confident DIY'r then it's not too bad a job. I'd suggest cutting a slot in the base of the radio fitting cage so you can refit the cage before you put the whole housing back on the dash, but can still get the screws done up - fitting the cage tightly is much easier out of the dash. Refitting the radio may make you come up with a few new swear words, they are always a tight fit to get back in with the wiring behind!

    Hope this is of use to someone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
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  2. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    No good to me but I do appreciate the effort you put in for the forum (y)
     
  3. Lee Fryer

    Lee Fryer Funster

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    Thanks Feltwell will give it a go.

    Lee
     
  4. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    thanks -will review
     
  5. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Thanks. Nice job.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    Looks good (y)
     
  7. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Nice one old chap and good write-up too.

    Thanks,

    Trikeman.
     
  8. oldflemo

    oldflemo Funster

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    Looks really copy will copy it in due course
    Thank You
    Ian
     
  9. Cal54

    Cal54 Funster Life Member

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    Shame the recent models no longer flip up as this looks a really tidy job.
     
  10. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    An alternative for the same model.
    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Trikeman.
     
  11. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Well........

    New Satnav holder has had a pretty thorough road test, about 1100 miles to the Isle of Mull and back over the last 10 days! It worked well - the satnav did fall out twice though, due to:-
    1 - A pothole so big that I'm surprised I didn't burst a tyre - it was a choice between hitting that or an oncoming Transit van....... Frankly I'm surprised that the satnav falling out was all that happened!
    2 - A particularly vicious Scottish cattle grid

    Other than that it survived some very bumpy, remote, potholed rural roads very well.

    However - the power supply - I am *definitely* changing this to be wired to an "always on" power feed and putting a switch in. I was very impressed with my cheap Chinese satnav, it worked a treat, is very clear and is an unbelievable bargain compared to a TomTom camper, but it was a pain that every time the ignition was switched off the satnav would power off about 5 seconds later and often lose it's destination.

    So, wiring it into an "always on" power feed with a switch on the dash is on the To Do list. Luckily, when I wired the radio in I put a power feed in from the habitation battery so we could have the radio on when on site without flattening the van battery - so a handy source for the satnav feed as well.
     
  12. keith

    keith Funster

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    It wouldn't work in Portugal then.
     
  13. Roadracer2002

    Roadracer2002 Funster

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    Great idea, thanks
     
  14. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Finally got around to a few little mods to this:-
    • I changed the power supply to be switched, running off the leisure battery so if I forget to turn off it won't kill the van battery. It was driving me mad that every time I turned the ignition off, the satnav would instantly cut out -maybe I've got a duff one, but the battery on mine has never held charge. The switch went where the blank opposite where the headlight level adjuster is. At the same time I was changing the radio to be supplied by the leisure battery rather than van battery
    [​IMG]

    • Although it had only fallen out a couple of times in transit, I wanted to make it so the bottom of the satnav was held more securely, as sometimes when programming the satnav my finger pressure on the screen would be enough to push the satnav in. As I had no use for the holder I cut the bottom of the holder off and attached it to the dash with 3M VHB tape - wonderful stuff, a lot better than using glue! The satnav is now very secure indeed and it still looks neat.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, the original holder has a small plastic pointer on the back for programming the satnav with - keeps mucky fingerprints off the screen! If you're careful a hole can be drilled to keep this in the dash - mind the position though, there's not many places that have a deep enough clear section behind - just below the right hand switch blank is OK, don't go too close though as there appears to be a circuit board behind that blank.

    [​IMG]
     
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