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Dashcam Power Cable

This project makes a professional 12V always-on power tap for your dashcam that connects to Tesla Model S intrusion module connector. We include a few notes on the Model X, but this project will not work as written in the Model X.

 

Introduction

There are many ways to make this connection, so this is just one way it can be done. The connectors we use match the Tesla connectors and are polarized so they can’t be inserted incorrectly.  We added a T tap in the cable, which is used to power your dashcam. The design allows for easy installation or removal without any effects to your car (i.e. no car wires are cut or modified). Assembly takes about 30 minutes.

dashcam power cable

Our finished dashcam power cable

You can buy the parts yourself and make the assembly yourself. For a limit time we also make a kit of parts available for $14.95 (with free USA shipping), or a completed assembly for $24.95 (also with free USA shipping).

buy the parts kit Buy fully assembled

 

Intrusion Module

The always-on connector is for the intrusion module. The module is included in European Model S cars. In North America, Tesla made the Intrusion module available as a retrofit for $350 in 2018. It includes a new microphone assembly, the intrusion module, installation labor and a window decal. The car’s software is also modified to provide an intrusion detection on/off control. We’ve designed our power cable to work with cars without or with the intrusion module, so long as the always-on connector is available (see next).

While this project is for the Model S, we believe all Model X vehicles include the intrusion module. It is a different design with a different 8-pin connector (but only 3 wires used). On the Model X the module is located next to the center dome-lights The pinout is shown in the next section.

Microphone Panel

The always-on power source is in the headliner, behind the microphone panel. To open this panel, pull down using your fingers, at the back edge. Two snaps will release and it will hinge down an inch or so, where you can then slide it towards the back of the car to release.

panel

Opening the microphone panel

There should be a 4-pin, 3-wire black connector taped to the panel, or if your car has the intrusion module, the connector will be attached to that module.

Connector taped to panel

Connector attached to panel with blue tape (yes this is a different car!)

headliner connection

Intrusion module connector untaped

The 4-pin intrusion connector is black and has three wires. Don’t confuse this with the two gray microphone connectors. These do not have any power.

All Model S cars made after September 16, 2015, will have the always-on power, and cars from 2012 through late 2013 also include always-on power as do all European cars.  Non-European cars made in 2014 and 2015 may not have the connector, or it may be tapped up with the large wire bundle in the headliner and hard to extract.

Connector Pinout for S and X

Intrusion Module Connector Pinout Model S, uses a TE Connectivity 4-pin connector

Pin 1: 12v, wire color: Red/Dark Blue (older cars and AP2 cars), Tan/Black (after Oct-2014, before AP2). We’ve also heard one unidentified car had a gray wire!

Pin 2: LIN bus (do not use this wire), wire color: Light Green/Red

Pin 3: Ground, wire color: Black

Pin 4: Unused

Intrusion Module Connector Pinout Model X, uses a Sumitomo 6098-3910 8-pin connector 

Pin 1: Ground, wire color: Black

Pin 2: LIN bus (do not use this wire), wire color: Green

Pin 4: 12v, wire color Red/Blue

Pins 3,5,6,7,8: Unused

 

Parts for Model S

 

project parts

Project parts

 

Tools

 

Assembly

For each wire end, strip about 3/32″ or 2mm of insulation from the wire. We then tinned the wire with a small amount of solder.

Using the crimp tool attach the male terminals to the end of each wire.

Even though the wire is crimped, it’s not all that secure. We elected to add a tiny bit of solder to each terminal and pin where the bare part of the wire is crimped. Add just enough solder so the solder flows and the tinned wire solder melts. If you add too much solder, the terminal or pin will not fit the connector!

Attached the male pins into the blue housing in the order shown – Red at the top, green next, and black last. The 4th position on the connector is unused. The pins only go in one orientation and should click when fully inserted. If necessary, use a tiny screwdriver to push a terminal into the clicked position.

blue connector

Pins partly inserted into blue housing

Check carefully that each pin is fully inserted, then push down on the locking part of the housing.

Cut 1/2″ or 1.2mm of heat shrink tubing and thread it on the three wires.  Thread the remaining shrink tubing onto the wires. Do NOT shrink the tubing yet.

heat shrink

Heat shrink tubing inserted

Using the crimp tool attach the female terminals to the end of each wire and solder.

Insert the three female terminals into the black connector housing in the order from the top, red, green and black. Again the last position is not used. Each terminal should click into place. If necessary, use a tiny screwdriver to push a terminal into the clicked position.

 

black connector

Terminals partly inserted into black housing

With all the terminals fully inserted, on the black housing, close the locking tab.

Open the T connector and thread the red and black wires through the connector. Place the red wire in the top slot and black on the bottom slot. Move the T connector so it is closer to the blue connector, so there is about 1.5″ or 4 cm of wire between the two. Use pliers to clamp the clear and black portion of the T connector together until it clicks.

The bottom of the “T” will be used to connect power to your dashcam. Check that it is not already closed. If closed, you’ll need to pry it open by releasing the two side tabs (not so easy).

Using a head gun, shrink the heat shrink tubing. Your completed assembly should look like this:

Completed assembly

Completed assembly

 

Installation

Your dashcam hard wiring power cable should end in a red and black wire, and include an in-line fuse. For our installation, we used the wires from a BlackVue hard wiring cable (for most models from DR430 to DR900). This kit has a 15 foot power cable, which is too much wire to stuff into the headliner, so I cut it to length. Be sure to re-attach the in-line fuse. It’s best to do this work before the dashcam wiring is installed as described in our dashcam installation guide.

Insert the dashcam’s red and black wires into the two holes in the transparent portion of the “T” connector. In the cable view above the red is on the left and black on the right. The next images should help get this right. Make sure they are fully inserted and clamp the T connector together using pliers.

Connect your blue connector to the Tesla black connector.

Cable in the Tesla

Cable in the car

In the view above, we placed white cardboard between the microphone cover and the assembly to make it easier to see the wires.

Test that your dashcam is getting power.

Poke the in-line fuse, the blue connector and T connector up inside the headliner.  If you have the intrusion module, connect the black connector to the intrusion module.

Close up the microphone panel by sliding the front in first, and then pushing up until it clicks into place.

If you have the intrusion module, it is smart to test it as well. To do this, roll down a window in an area that is not too loud. Lock the car and wait about a minute with the key held 50 feet away or so. This arms the intrusion module. Without bringing the key back in range, insert your hands into the car and clap your hands loudly together. The alarm should sound. Use the FOB to unlock and silence the alarm.