Home Modifications Tshow Part 8 – Installation

Tshow Part 8 – Installation

by Moderator
Installation Parts

2 – Waterproof connectorized cables , 6 foot, 4-wire, 18 gauge, with stubs
1 – Cable, 8 foot, 6-conductor, 22 gauge, stranded
1 – RJ12 Phone cord, 6-conductor, 28 gauge, stranded, preferably black
2 – RJ12 6P6C crimp plugs (requires special crimping tool)
1 – Molex mating 12-pin Female connector #34729-0121
6 – Molex female crimp terminals #34803-3212 (sold in a string of 100)
2 – Male/Female 6-pin 10 amp Auto Connectors (comes in a kit of 5 pairs)
4 – Wires, 22 gauge, stranded, 1-2” long each
1 – Epoxy – two-part, for metal to plastic (also used in the prior section)
6 – Magnets – 10mm diameter x 1mm thick (ordered in prior section as a set of 25)
4 – Tie wraps as needed
2 – Adhesive tie wrap pads

For Tesla X or S Sept 2015+
1 – Diagnostics connector with ribbon cable (or similar). We no longer have a source for this part.

For Tesla S before Sept 2015
1 – TE Connectivity Data Connector Mfg Part#173851-2
12 –  TE Connectivity Connector Pins Mfg Part#173630-6

Processor Module Installation

You really want to install the Tshow processor module in the cabin. It’s a better environmental area than outside the cabin. Originally, I planned to install it in the inside front part of the center console, where it fits nicely. This is a rather hard place to get to, and it may need to be removed to update the software.  My car doesn’t have the pano roof or air suspension modules, so those areas were considered, but both are difficult to get to, and may not have enough free space for the Tshow processor module. I finally found a good place under the passenger seat. Easy to access and a good location to run wires.

The box is attached to the carpet under the passenger seat. The Velcro hooks will not hook into the carpet (I’ve tried all the versions they make). You need to use both the hooks (mounted on the box) and the fiber on the carpet. The best Velcro adhesive will also not work great on the carpet, so I used double-sided carpet tape to hold down the Velcro, which has more grip.  I’m sure there are other ways to do this. Obviously, you don’t want to drill/screw into the battery below the seat!

For placement, adjust the seat near full down and adjust front to back.  I chose a location where it is slightly less exposed, but the seat might run into it if at the maximum forward position. It will not hurt anything, but I don’t expect to move the seat that far forward. Leave room for the side and back connectors as well.

Under seat

Processor module under the seat – cables are attached in later steps

There are three cable paths needed for connecting the Tshow processor.

  • The Tshow LED assembly at the front of the car
  • The diagnostics connector for power and CAN bus connections above the “Cubby”
  • The remote control module, which is mounted in the center console.
Cables schematic

Cables schematic

CAN Bus Diagnostics Connector

Tesla has a diagnostics connector for our 12v power and two CAN busses (a total of 6 wires). You access this connector by pushing straight down on the center cubby (under the 17” display). It is only held in with two clips.  You can reach in and pull out two connectors – the 20-pin diagnostics connector is blue (refreshed S cars, Model X) or black (classic Model S).  You’ll also see a white 4-pin Ethernet connector you can ignore.

Diagnostics Connector Pinouts

Tesla diagnostic connectors

I built a cable that connects the 20-pin diagnostic connector via 8″ of the black 12-wire ribbon cable to one 6-pin female connector. The 6-pin male connector goes to the Tshow processor module female 12-pin connector. While unnecessary, I attached a 2nd 6-pin female connector to the remaining diagnostic leads, perhaps for a future project for other CAN bus connections.

A cable will run from the Tshow 12-pin female connector under the seat to the 6-pin connector in the cubby. This cable uses 22-gauge wires, as it may take up to an amp of power. Using thinner wires is not recommended, but thicker wires are difficult to fit into the 12-pin Molex automotive connector.

Tip – For the cable from the Molex connector, I attached the crimp pins to the cable for the 6-pin male connector, but didn’t insert them in the housing yet. I taped the wires/pins together so it is easier to route.  Once routed, the tape is removed and the housing attached.

On the same 12-pin Molex connector, I connected the 6” 4-wire female cable stub. This connects to the cable routed to the front of the car NeoPixels.  It is almost impossible to stick an 18-gauge wire into the Molex connector, so we need to add pigtails to the 4 wires. On the open end of the 4-conductor cable, solder 22-gauge pigtail wires and cover with the heat shrink tubing, and shrink. Crimp a terminal to each of the pigtails and optionally solder. See the testing section for how to insert these pins.

Route the wire from under the seat, under the passenger seat track near the center of the car. On the passenger footwell, pull back the carpet and side of the center console a few inches (do not remove it, but you need enough space to run the cables). It is only held in place by snaps, but some force is required to release the snaps.  Run the 6-wire cable along the inside of the console cover and up above the cubby.  At this point, I attached the 6-pin female housing that will mate with the 6-pin male housing that goes to the diagnostics connector.

Wire routing

Center console wire routing

Remote Control Installation

The remote really can be mounted anywhere you can see it and can press the state button. I elected to place the remote in the center console close to the USB ports, on the passenger side and used tiny magnets to hold it in place.  The rubber mat is easy to pull out. I drilled a small ¼” hole in the edge of the plastic where I’ll feed the wire.  In the larger console area, the bottom has a rubber mat, which also lifts out.

I used a 6-conductor black modular phone cable. I have a crimping tool and RJ12 6-pin connectors. This makes it far easier to route the wires without the connectors.   I attached one RJ12 connector to the Tshow module end of the cable. I routed it along a similar path as the 6-wire that goes to the diagnostic connector, under the seat track and along the inside of the console side cover. There is a hole at the top back of the console where the wire is routed. It’s a bit tricky to feed the wire through this area, so you may need to use a thin solid copper wire to help guide it.  With the wire now inside the console, run it along the bottom, passenger side where the rubber floor will cover it.  Feed the wire up through the ¼” hole I made earlier. Strip the wires and crimp the 2nd RJ12 connector. You’ll need an extra 8” of cable or so to do this, and once done the excess can be pushed back into the console well.  Be sure the wires on this cable have the same color wire on pin one of both connectors. Also, be sure the flat orientation is correct so it fits into the remote module without a twist.

Bizarre side story – The loose phone cable I purchased was defective and had 6 wires on one end, and only 5 on the other. I didn’t notice it while crimping the connectors and I spent at least an hour trying to figure out why it wasn’t working.  I had to remove that cable and start over with a replacement cable.  Never encountered anything like it before!

I cut a small slice in the large console rubber mat where the wire goes, but it likely is unnecessary. Insert the large rubber mat into the console floor. Ideally, the wire will fit into the channel and not make any bumps in the console floor.

On the smaller rubber mat, I cut a small cutout where the cable will feed to the remote module. Confirm the fit is correct.  Remove the mat.  Using the remote cover that has the 3 tiny magnets, I temporally attached 3 more magnets to the underside of the cover. Next, I placed the cover on the rubber mat in the location where it needs to reside. I added three more magnets to the underside of the rubber mat.  You may want to test the location by inserting the mat and confirming the location with enough room for the remote box when attached to the cover and that the console cover can close.

With the position set, carefully remove the mat. I then added a small dab of epoxy to each of the 3 magnets on the underside of the mat (not to attach to the mat, but to attach to the plastic under the mat. Carefully insert the mat and press down on the cover to get a good bond between the magnets and the plastic of the console.


Three magnets and RJ12 connector attached to the wire

After the epoxy is set (24 hours), remove the 3 temporary magnets and attach the lid to the remote module. Attach the RJ12 connector and set it in place. Push any excess cord down under the console.

Finished remote installation

Finished remote installation

Frunk Disassembly

I expect the way Tesla intended the T-badge assembly replacement is by removing the entire front bumper fascia. Not knowing how to do that (it may require a lift), I did it without touching the bumper, but it is far from easy.  My car is a refreshed RWD S, with the Biohazard filter. Other configurations may differ slightly, so you may need to improvise as needed.

With the frunk open, remove the center rear cover, the two side covers, and then the small front cover. These all snap out, there are no screws or bolts. Remove the cabin air-intake by first removing the two rubber drain tubes on the sides, releasing the two pull snaps above the drain hoses, and release the 3 plastic locking snaps near the windshield. The unit should lift out of place. Below that is the air duct to the cabin. It simply lifts up a few inches and then pulls out towards the front of the car.

Pull off the large rubber seal that is around the tub.  Remove the inner liner tub being careful to disconnect the LED and release button wires. The LED module connector is latched and is slightly tricky to release.

There are two 10m bolts that hold the tub in at the bottom left and right ledges. All the other bolts can be left in, as they hold the cabin filter. (The video shows two additional bolts being removed from the side of the ledges, but they can be left in). Release the two plastic locking snaps in the front and remove the tub, while pushing the wires and rubber gasket out.

Tshow LED Assembly Wiring

On my refreshed Model S (RWD), there was a hole in the firewall sealed with a black grommet. It is located about 10” down from the windshield and a few inches from the side of the car. It was partly covered by an aluminum foil sheet that I folded back.


Grommet in firewall

Remove the grommet.  Remove the front passenger door sill plate. The cable with the connector attached will fit through the hole and through a second hole about an inch in that comes out just above the passenger cabin fuse box.

You may need to thread a thin wire or string first and then pull the cable and connector through the firewall.  I cut a hole in the grommet slightly larger than the cable, and a slice to the edge of the grommet so it can be placed over the cable and reinserted into the firewall.

I routed the cable around the fuse box and down into the sill area with the other large cable bundle resides. When near the B-pillar I routed the wire under the seat track and under the carpet and out through the existing cut carpet patch. You only need an inch or two of cable exposed under the seat. I used a couple of tie wraps to keep it all neat in the cabin.

Routing wire along sill

Routing wire along sill

End of cable under seat

End of our cable under the seat through existing carpet cutout

Back in the frunk area, I applied some silicone around the grommet to seal out water and noise. Route the rest of the wire around to the front.  I use a couple of tie wraps and adhesive pads to keep it all neat. Tip: first clean the area with alcohol when you plan to attach an adhesive pad.  We’ll install the Tshow assembly next and attach its connector.

grommet sealed

Wire through the grommet and sealed

Installing the T-Badge LED assembly

Remove the two 10mm bolts that hold the bumper and the T-Badge assembly. If you lift up on the flanges, where the bolts held down the assembly, about ¼” you can unscrew the T25 bolt using a long shaft. This is tricky, as it is clearly not the way Tesla intended!

Now for the worst screw. In the center, there is one more T25 screw, which is easily visible, but a huge pain to get to.  It needs to be removed, but the frunk latch assembly is in the way.  I removed the electrical connector from one side and removed the pull cable from the other side to get a tiny bit of additional access. I used a low-profile hex bit ratchet with my T25 bit.

Reaching in with the ratchet, I could unscrew it. I needed to use my other hand from the other side to push on the back of the ratchet to keep it from falling out. It took me about 30 minutes to do this – as there was only room to move the ratchet one click at a time. The screw was never loose enough to undo by hand.

With the 3 screws removed, there are four snaps holding it to the chrome part of the bumper. Push the assembly towards the windshield to release these snaps. You may need a plastic pry tool to help (don’t use a metal tool).  Once released, it should come right out.

T-badge assembly removed

T-badge assembly removed (top) and ready for our Tshow version (center)

Installing the new assembly with the LEDs is a bit easier. Move it into place and push onto the four light-blue snaps. Luckily the extra thickness of the 0.062 thick polycarbonate doesn’t cause a problem.  I installed the two side T25 screws in the inverse of the removal process. You do need to lift all the tabs up so the screws go into the hole properly. Not hard, but easy to drop a screw.

For the center screw, the new electronics’ box is somewhat in the way. My trick to getting the screw back in was to use a bare T25 bit, held in place with a finger on the end of the bit from the left. I used long-nose plyers, to turn the bit and screw it back in. This only took 5 minutes!

Connect the 4-pin connector to the cable and confirm that it works!

Important! – Reattach the frunk latch cable and the electrical connector.  Complete the rest of the reassembly, including attaching the electrical connections in the tub and the two drain hoses to the air intake assembly.

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