2005 Audi TT ALP + NetRadar DSP Install - Phase 2

Flonase

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Well, another driving season is almost over for the TT, and it's about to go into hiding for the salt season. Made some further progress on the system, but there will be a Phase 3. Big items were installation of the 2RX+1TX heads in the front grille, installation of the GPS antenna in its final location, integration of the status LED into the instrument cluster, and progress on my dual-screen magnet mount. Also got some good improvements made to the audio system, but that's for another post in another forum...

As in my Phase 1 post from last fall, I'll throw some glamor shots in up front, and then write up some details.

TL;DR Pictures

Front view with the RX and TX heads installed as close to the recommended locations as possible. The little silver screws are for RX head level adjustment. The TX head is on a piece of horizontal trim that I believe is horizontal.

TheFront2019.png


Here's the view from the driver's seat. The status LED illuminates the grille for the hand-free phone microphone in the center top of the gauge cluster area (microphone also installed via custom housing in back). The GPS antenna is now in the OEM nav system location in the righthand grille on top of the dash.

TheInterior2019.png


This is my happy place. I was able to cruise up from Minneapolis to the border control station in Grand Portage and back on a beautiful day in August with this setup. Lunch on the lakeshore in Grand Marais, a beer in Duluth on the way back, and clear driving all day. Made all the effort on countermeasures and the audio system worthwhile.

Front Laser Heads

The front grille on the TT unfortunately does not have many level surfaces. The very top lip is level with the ground, but the crossbars are not. Also, the openings are just barely narrower than an RX head. Cutting, therefore, was required - I took out one section of a vertical bar on each side.

I wanted the ability to tweak the alignment of the RX heads without removing them, so I decided to mount them on a hinge. I picked up a couple of black plastic piano brackets from eBay that seat nicely into the backs of the horizontal "bars". I secured the top edge to the grille using 3M VHB tape. Here's the tape ready to go on the hinges, and then a shot of a hinge seated really nicely into the back of the grille.

Hinges.png


(In the picture I hadn't yet cut out a vertical piece of the grille just yet).

HingeInPlace.png


I wanted a long lever arm on the brackets, so that I could hopefully make fine adjustments. Hard to explain in words, so hopefully some pictures will work. Basically I used some threaded rod attached to the back plate of the ALP mounting brackets. The threaded rod goes up vertically to a little angle adapter thing that printed. The angle adapter has holes for the threaded rod and then a pocket for a chrome hex nut. A chrome screw goes through the plastic at the top of the grille and into the nut. There's a spring around the screw that pushes against the back of the plastic and against the angle adapter. It keeps the angle adapter pushed away from the grille plastic. Tightening the screw pulls the angle adapter forward / tilts the RX head down; loosening does the reverse.

AngleBracket1.png


BracketComplete.png


BracketInstalled.png


The TX head just takes advantage of horizontal plastic at the top of the grille itself. I simply drilled a hole for the cable and secured using more of that 3M VHB tape. Here are all three heads installed, before putting the front of the car back together.

HeadsInstalled.png


GPS Antenna in OEM Location

Old TTs like mine had an option for a factory navigation system. No, there was no nav screen - you only got turn-by-turn directions. And you liked it! Heh. Anyway, this meant the TT also had a factory GPS antenna, which was mounted under the righthand top-of-dash air vent. I transplanted the guts of the ALP GPS into the Audi antenna housing last year, but didn't get it mounted until this summer.

Just to make this more readable without having to go back to my post from last year, here's the OEM GPS antenna (top and bottom view).

GPSOEMhousing.png


GPSOEMantenna.png


And here's the ALP GPS antenna transplanted into the OEM housing:

GPSALPtransplant.png


And here it is installed in the OEM location. Let me say that fishing the cable back to the CPU was a GIGANTIC pain in the ass. Oh and also, in true Audi style, the vent cover cannot be removed without breaking its mounting post. There are no more replacement parts in black, so I had to re-attach the old vent cover by first securing the plastic tray to the metal frame under the dash using three screws (visible below) and then using tabs to clip the grill onto that tray. You just never know when the simplest task will turn into a nightmare on this car. At least the antenna now sits in the OEM location with a nice, clear view of the sky through the windshield!

GPSinstalled.png


Instrument Cluster LED Integration

The instrument cluster includes a mesh grille for the microphone used by the Bose stereo system. When I replaced the entire audio system, I replaced the Bose mic with the one for a Bluetooth adapter. I thought it might work well to illuminate the mesh from behind with the status LED, but didn't want to give up the mic. It took a couple of tries, but I eventually was able to come up with a workable housing to hold both the mic and the LED.

In the first version, I just made a box with holes sized for the mic and LED side-by-side. I lined the inside with aluminum foil using 3M spray adhesive. Unfortunately the offset made the light much brighter on one side than the other, despite the foil. No pictures, whoops.

I ordered a second LED and then printed up a housing with the microphone centered and an LED on each side. Here are a couple of CAD renders:

LEDbox2A.png


LEDbox2B.png


Unfortunately the two LEDs did not match very well. One was brighter and more directional than the other. I again lined the inside with aluminum foil, and again failed to get a uniformly lit mesh.

Version 3 was much better. I went back to a single LED, put it next to the mic, but this time aimed it at the center of the mesh. In CAD here's how it looks:

LEDbox3A.png


LEDbox3B.png


And here it is in operation. It works great! When the system is off, there is no visible trace of it.

LEDinstalled.png


My only issue with it is the color. When in defense mode at night, the blue light constantly makes me check whether I have my brights on! Something to customize further someday...

Dual-Phone Magnet Mount

Sometimes I like just firing up the system and rolling with it as integrated. I like the HiFi control set and the detailed spoken info. Other times, though, I want to go full Batmobile, and have both Waze and the ALP app visible on separate screens.

I've been using a TT-specific magnetic phone mount for a while now. I decided to try making a dual-phone mount that would work like the single-phone one I had. I picked up a couple of eBay-special stick-on magnet mounts in silver, along with one that had a ball mount I could cannibalize. I also replaced the supplied magnets with some 9mm x 3mm N48 neodymium magnets.

To put it all together, I made an arm that would hold the stick-on ones and to which I could attach the ball mount on the back in the center. Here's the CAD:

PhoneMountCAD.png


And here it is installed. I think it matches the interior pretty decently - not exactly OEM, but not terrible either!

PhoneMountA.png


And in full Batmobile mode - sometimes I just want the expanded instrument cluster...

PhoneMountB.png


I have some further plans for this, involving better cable management and some audio integration. I hope to work on that over the winter.

Next Steps

Lots of stuff that I'd still like to get done. In no particular order:
  • Integrated dash cam - am thinking of a motorcycle-style one.
  • Rear RX/TX heads.
  • Audio integration module for the countermeasure screens and the ALP itself.
  • General cable management improvements, especially for the phones.
  • Get system tested!!!
I guess that concludes the latest chapter in my book, "The Slowest ALP Install Ever".
 
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sdrawkcaB

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Absolutely amazing! I sincerely admire your creative genius and attention to detail!
 

12v Nick

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Pretty creative solution for post-install adjustments on the front laser – I dig it. Also loving how that LED illuminates the mic grille in the cluster. Great work, guy!
 

Tb12

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Great looking install! I'd consider going for some black oxide stainless steel screws for the adjustment screws, they don't rust like normal BO does and will hide a lot better. McMaster has a fair number available.
 

Flonase

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Great looking install! I'd consider going for some black oxide stainless steel screws for the adjustment screws, they don't rust like normal BO does and will hide a lot better. McMaster has a fair number available.
Good tip - yeah I’ve had a bad experience with rust on normal black oxide.

Honestly though I’m kinda inspired by where you’re headed with your install, and am thinking I might go more in that direction. Anything that can be adjusted into spec can adjust itself out of spec...
 

Tb12

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Good tip - yeah I’ve had a bad experience with rust on normal black oxide.

Honestly though I’m kinda inspired by where you’re headed with your install, and am thinking I might go more in that direction. Anything that can be adjusted into spec can adjust itself out of spec...
One of these days I'll actually finish... Maybe. Going to try and thermoform covers again tomorrow before I give up and just go flat. Rear is printed and prepped (minus the acrylic which I should have next week) so I'm hoping to do the rear install soon then get everything tested.
 

thanks

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One of these days I'll actually finish... Maybe. Going to try and thermoform covers again tomorrow before I give up and just go flat. Rear is printed and prepped (minus the acrylic which I should have next week) so I'm hoping to do the rear install soon then get everything tested.
Pics and details please!!! do you have a separate thread?
 

Tb12

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Pics and details please!!! do you have a separate thread?

Now back to this awesome TT install!
 

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