E51 can anyone shed any light on whats this and that?

stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#1
hi guys can anyone shed any light on what this switch my be for? I found it on the side quarter panel in the drivers footwell right next to the accelerator pedal... strange place for a switch i know!


also can anyone tell me what the box behind the tv tuner located in the rear offside panel is for?.... thought at first it was the 100v power inverter but it only has two wires attatched.


... think i need to buy myself that expensive workshop manual lol!
 

Absolution

Moderator
E51 Owner
#2
Helloo,
The switch might be to allow you to drive and watch TV. Have you tried driving the car and switching it on?
As for the mystery box, do these diagrams help at all. Without looking at my plug I cant quite make out from your photo where the 2 wires run back to.



 

MrRob_in

Part of the furniture (please de-cat your e51/2)
Premium Member
E51 Expert
E51 Owner
#3
Might be a switch controlling a remote start (may have been removed) or any other accessories I guess ;)
That's where the main front fuse box it so it's an easy location to tap into.
 
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stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#4
Helloo,
The switch might be to allow you to drive and watch TV. Have you tried driving the car and switching it on?
As for the mystery box, do these diagrams help at all. Without looking at my plug I cant quite make out from your photo where the 2 wires run back to.



thanks for that mark will have another dig about see what i can suss out!
 

stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#5
Might be a switch controlling a remote start (may have been removed) or any other accessories I guess ;)
That's where the main front fuse box it so it's an easy location to tap into.
Ah! think you may be bang on there robin!..... guess its to enable-disable the remote start feature which i still have on the truck.... guess thats why its out the way but easy to access when getting out the motor.... will check it out but sounds good to me
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#6
That box is exactly the inverter unit - have a look at page 139 of JPNZ manual - image "A".

The connector has 4 pins populated (2 are on one row and 2 on the row behind - pull the plug for a looksee but make sure ignition off!) but it is actually an 8 pin connector - for ref pins 3 and 8 are 12v and ground, pins 1 and 5 are 100V AC.

Tempting to swap it out for a 240v inverter (natch you'd have to / want to change the socket) as you've just got a simple 12v 10A feed to play with - but should be enough for a laptop to charge from.
 

Whotsit

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#7
Don't you recon that as most /all power supplies are switch mode now and generally operate between 100-240v that you would be safe in using it for laptops etc provided you don't exceed the current rating. My charger draws 1.2 amps.
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#8
Don't you recon that as most /all power supplies are switch mode now and generally operate between 100-240v that you would be safe in using it for laptops etc provided you don't exceed the current rating. My charger draws 1.2 amps.
maybe - however regardless of the inverters operation mode (linear vs switch mode) you've got to deal with the Japanese power socket - and for me I hate Jap / US style sockets as the plug doesn't sit properly if ever for me.

So if you're going to deal with that, swap the socket to uk 3 pin, and there's only four wires to deal with to swap an inverter out - then swap it out for a 240v one.

Logic in that is - you will have other devices that won't be 110v compatable never mind the Japanese 100v.

But yeah - if it was to merely charge a laptop and you were confident of it's power requiremts then leave it as is - I suspect however no - you can't run a laptop off this as is - as the inverter is fed with 12V off a 10A fuse only.

By The Way when you say 1.2 Amps - with respect to what voltage? 240 or the 18v DC the laptop likely runs at?

Current draw of 1.2A at 240v will be 2.88 Amps at 100V for the same energy.

If we ignore power factors for now, 100v x 2.88 Amps = 288 watts, again ignore inefficiencies in inverter 100v/12v x 2.88A = 24A at 12V. so no, your laptop will be blowing fuses under the bonnet. It will certainly be higher current draw because the things I haven't bothered to explain or calculate - but this is your best case scenario assuming you had the best components ever made!

If we guess at the PF being 0.8 then 0.8 x 100v x 2.88Amps = 230 Watts - so no you are still blowing fuses as this comes out at around 19A.

You could assuming fuse block terminals are upto the job increase the fuse rating, then increae the wire guage (fuse is there to protect the wire) then swap the invertor out for something beefier in terms of current draw.

12v DC and 10 amps is all you have to play with - theres sod all power in that (ignoring correction factors for AC rectification) then you have 120W max.

240v AC 13 amp you have 3120W - huuuuge difference in power capacity.

I have ignored a lot of the maths around power factors and efficiency etc here to make this as simple as possible.

But for a reasonable example - what else does your car run of a 12v 10A feed? brake lights might be what 20W bulbs each? thats how little energy you have to play with.

If you look at the label on the socket - 100V, 100W - divide one by t'other - that's the max current draw - a single solitary Amp at 100V AC, which would give you half an Amp at 240V all other things being equal (which they aren't).

You could plug in a say gameboy or your home brodband router and that's about it.

So - if I were to do this - its change the fuse, change the wire guage back to the fuse and swap the inverter out and change the Japanese socket for a uk 3 pin........or sack it all of and just use one in the fag socket!
 

Whotsit

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#10
Nick, I don't disagree with any of your figures or opinions as I also know them to be correct and to be added is the residual current drawn by the inverter itself, I personally would not entertain using cables trapped within the bodywork to carry any reasonable load especially for a larger inverter, but depending upon the wave form of the inverter I felt it may be possible to run a lightweight charger from that socket, my charger is 100-240v at 1.2amp on the input
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#11
Nick, I don't disagree with any of your figures or opinions as I also know them to be correct and to be added is the residual current drawn by the inverter itself, I personally would not entertain using cables trapped within the bodywork to carry any reasonable load especially for a larger inverter, but depending upon the wave form of the inverter I felt it may be possible to run a lightweight charger from that socket, my charger is 100-240v at 1.2amp on the input
So that 1.2 Amp is probably at 240v. The energy requirements of the laptop don't change regardless of the input voltage - voltage goes down current MUST go up to compensate.

The waveform is immaterial as long as it's vaguely like a sine wave and carries the voltage and current you can work with. The residual current of which you speak is exactly where the Power Factors come in as nothing is 100% efficient - so we've dealt with that using 0.8 (should put us in the middle of the likely range of PF). How the waveform is produced helps with efficiency if nothing else but doesn't really matter much how it's produced (switched mode or otherwise).

You certainly can run a lightweight charger from that socket - but it's just a fair bit lighter than I think either of us would like!

Running cables within the body work isn't bad at all - they're double insulated for a starters (the oem ones at least), in fact the only difference between that and domestic really is that you won't have a great earth (portable electrical stuff tends to be double insulated anyway) and domestic might but isn't always run in trunking - usually just tacked to a joist.

Equally consider this - there's some massive current carrying devices in your car that you definitely can't get at easily - your battery probably gets 650 - 750 AMPS dragged out of it by the starter motor every morning. Fuel pump probably draws 20Amps constantly.
 

stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#12
That box is exactly the inverter unit - have a look at page 139 of JPNZ manual - image "A".

The connector has 4 pins populated (2 are on one row and 2 on the row behind - pull the plug for a looksee but make sure ignition off!) but it is actually an 8 pin connector - for ref pins 3 and 8 are 12v and ground, pins 1 and 5 are 100V AC.

Tempting to swap it out for a 240v inverter (natch you'd have to / want to change the socket) as you've just got a simple 12v 10A feed to play with - but should be enough for a laptop to charge from.
yep your right once again sitting duck!... had a closer look today and traced cables ... two in two out!......dont see much point in swapping it directly for a 240v inverter as looking at how thin the 12v supply cables( input) are i doubt you would be able to pull anything more than 1 amp , if that at 240v without frazzling those input cables.Having said that you could probably purchase a u.s. 100v laptop power cable and run your laptop off that 100v socket as it?

also to run a laptop would probably be cheaper(and more efficient) to use a step up inverter having a power range from 12v to anything up to 24v and running direct from the step up inverter,........ though its not and issue for myself as im planning to fit an aux battery in the(below floor level box ) near the rear door to run aux equip off and fit a removable rear camper pod across the back.
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#13
yep your right once again sitting duck!... had a closer look today and traced cables ... two in two out!......dont see much point in swapping it directly for a 240v inverter as looking at how thin the 12v supply cables( input) are i doubt you would be able to pull anything more than 1 amp , if that at 240v without frazzling those input cables.Having said that you could probably purchase a u.s. 100v laptop power cable and run your laptop off that 100v socket as it?

also to run a laptop would probably be cheaper(and more efficient) to use a step up inverter having a power range from 12v to anything up to 24v and running direct from the step up inverter,........ though its not and issue for myself as im planning to fit an aux battery in the(below floor level box ) near the rear door to run aux equip off and fit a removable rear camper pod across the back.
Have a look at post #8 in 'ere and you'll get my full thoughts on the matter, short version is no laptop off that existing socket and inverter no matter what you do! (well you can plug one it but it won't work for very long - possibly fractions of a second!)

Those input cables are rated for 12v 10A, output is as you state 100v and about 1A - my post in #8 deals with that (hint: change fuse in fuse block and run new cable to new inverter).

What do you mean step up inverter and plug it where?

For ref - inverter by definition inverts DC to AC. You can't put a transformer on a DC circuit because: physics (you get DC-DC converters instead).

If you're on about what I think you are - then you're talking about not using the laptops own PSU but plugging something directly into the laptops PSU port with something of the right voltage? If that's the case then oh if only it were so.

Modern laptops (read last 10 years) tend to do signalling over the PSU cable using a 1-wire protocol - it's how laptops can determine what PSU type they're attached to for charge rates etc. No PSU = no worky. FWIW most modern PSU's are also multi voltage but it tends to be 110v to 240v not as low as 100v (I'd say support for 100v will depend on the specifics of the laptop) as it happens the prehistoric crappy HP laptop I'm on right now supports 100v just fine, but wants 2A at 240V or 480 watts - so is far far too much for that OEM inverter.

You can get larger inverters and plug them into a cigarette lighter socket but it depends on what it's rated at as to the max wattage - equally it depends what you draw from said socket.

A mate of mine has a 1KW inverter in his Vito, but that's wired direct off the battery using appropriate guage cables.

I'd expect I could do the same - following much the same as what @ibebbs did in his Elgrand for camping round Europe in - and running a thicker guage from the battery through the same grommet he used and then installing a new inverter, new output cabling and a UK 3 way socket in ooooh - a couple of hours I'd have thought.

I haven't looked to see what rating the alternator has - but the battery I think is circa 85AH, so you wouldn't want to draw 20A off it for more than an hour really or else you're not likely starting the car that day :) if we guesstimate the car has a 100A alternator then you probably don't want to draw more than oooh 50A at any time at a guess or else you'll be drawing off it faster than it can generate to run the car and charge the battery.

I once had an alternator die on a car whilst it was running - I got about 30 mins off an otherwise perfect battery (the alternator died cos the belt shredded - there was nothing wrong with it electrically so it had been charging the batt fine) - that was about a 100AH battery so I'm guessing at 50A just to run the car.

50A at 12v will be (rather simplistically ignoring power factors again) about 50 / (240/12) = 2.5A at 240v or 600 watts ish - or just enough to charge my aged laptop.





Something I've only just thought of - the power draw of the laptop is maximum rated - so will only really be that when it's cold booting or maxed out or charging a dud battery with a moderate CPU load.
 

stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#14
Have a look at post #8 in 'ere and you'll get my full thoughts on the matter, short version is no laptop off that existing socket and inverter no matter what you do! (well you can plug one it but it won't work for very long - possibly fractions of a second!)

Those input cables are rated for 12v 10A, output is as you state 100v and about 1A - my post in #8 deals with that (hint: change fuse in fuse block and run new cable to new inverter).

What do you mean step up inverter and plug it where?

For ref - inverter by definition inverts DC to AC. You can't put a transformer on a DC circuit because: physics (you get DC-DC converters instead).

If you're on about what I think you are - then you're talking about not using the laptops own PSU but plugging something directly into the laptops PSU port with something of the right voltage? If that's the case then oh if only it were so.

Modern laptops (read last 10 years) tend to do signalling over the PSU cable using a 1-wire protocol - it's how laptops can determine what PSU type they're attached to for charge rates etc. No PSU = no worky. FWIW most modern PSU's are also multi voltage but it tends to be 110v to 240v not as low as 100v (I'd say support for 100v will depend on the specifics of the laptop) as it happens the prehistoric crappy HP laptop I'm on right now supports 100v just fine, but wants 2A at 240V or 480 watts - so is far far too much for that OEM inverter.

You can get larger inverters and plug them into a cigarette lighter socket but it depends on what it's rated at as to the max wattage - equally it depends what you draw from said socket.

A mate of mine has a 1KW inverter in his Vito, but that's wired direct off the battery using appropriate guage cables.

I'd expect I could do the same - following much the same as what @ibebbs did in his Elgrand for camping round Europe in - and running a thicker guage from the battery through the same grommet he used and then installing a new inverter, new output cabling and a UK 3 way socket in ooooh - a couple of hours I'd have thought.

I haven't looked to see what rating the alternator has - but the battery I think is circa 85AH, so you wouldn't want to draw 20A off it for more than an hour really or else you're not likely starting the car that day :) if we guesstimate the car has a 100A alternator then you probably don't want to draw more than oooh 50A at any time at a guess or else you'll be drawing off it faster than it can generate to run the car and charge the battery.

I once had an alternator die on a car whilst it was running - I got about 30 mins off an otherwise perfect battery (the alternator died cos the belt shredded - there was nothing wrong with it electrically so it had been charging the batt fine) - that was about a 100AH battery so I'm guessing at 50A just to run the car.

50A at 12v will be (rather simplistically ignoring power factors again) about 50 / (240/12) = 2.5A at 240v or 600 watts ish - or just enough to charge my aged laptop.





Something I've only just thought of - the power draw of the laptop is maximum rated - so will only really be that when it's cold booting or maxed out or charging a dud battery with a moderate CPU load.
Yep i was thinking of a gadget from maplins we used to use on our laptop(and yes its a good few years old now) that stepped up 12v to 17v or was it 19v to run our laptop off in the van... worked a treat so long as you had engine idling so as not to run battery flat.

The aux battery i will be fitting will be on a vsr so wont have to worry about running cranking battery flat etc and will attach a suitable inverter for intermittent use when iv done all the calcs.
 

sitting_duck

Well-Known Member
#15
Spoke to my mate with the vito today - turns out it's not 1KW inverter it's a 4KW inverter - so he can run a 240v / 13A device off of it.

I'd forgotten how big it is - it's like the size of a tea tray!

I'd be inclined to think his engine labours like billy-o and the alternator starts slipping on the belt whilst trying to keep up (it'll be about 200 amps shy I'd have thought).
 

stevemen

Here for life
E51 Owner
#16
iv have 4kw(peak) 2kw continous inverter in my sprinter camper to run microwave and our lasses hairdryer off(madly enough hairdryers need a massive start up load) mainly. it works fine, had it for 3 or 4 years now never an issue, though we do use it sensibly . short periods, with aux battery fully charged. vsr stops it discharging the cranking battery and aux battery only gets topped up by the alternator when engine is running and cranking battery is fully charged.
 

StewartG

Active Member
Premium Member
#17
On the remote starter switch in the footwell best leaving it switched OFF. Been known to drain the battery when left on as it did with mine and took a while to figure out that was the cause!
 

Ian Jones

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
E51 Owner
#18
does anyone know how to use the remote start please?

I have the keyfob, and the buttons work, but not so much on the car end.

If i turn the footwell switch to off, and press the keyfob button, a error message comes up, turn it on and the error message does not appear. So I would guess that they are talking to each other.

also if i have the engine running and press the lock/unlock remote start fob, i can hear a click from the footwell area, it doesn't happen when the engine is off.

can anyone shed any light please?

thanks
ian
 

StewartG

Active Member
Premium Member
#19
Ian, see my post above! Leave it switched off as doesn't work here. Somehow they are partially disabled when shipped abroad. Nothing but trouble if you start messing about with it.

Just my opinion........
 

obamaiswhite

Newbie
E51 Owner
#20
Ian, see my post above! Leave it switched off as doesn't work here. Somehow they are partially disabled when shipped abroad. Nothing but trouble if you start messing about with it.

Just my opinion........
Hi, I currently have the battery drained issues. I have the V6 2006 model E51 but I don't have the remote start key fob. Will I still have the remote starter switch to turn off?