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Installing USB music thumb drive inside the console

Discussion in 'Model S' started by drklain, Jun 16, 2017.

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  1. drklain

    drklain Member

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    When I first took delivery, I played my music from one of the low profile USB drives that are about the size of your thumbnail and don't extend out from the receptacle but about an 1/8 of an inch. Low profile which is nice, but limited capacity and slow thumb drive and it was a bear to remove it. I decided to go with a larger, fulll size USB drive. Looked at some of the previous guidance from old hands who used 90-deg adapters so that the drive isn't sticking out and a potential object to be bumped/damaged. My 2017 Model S has the center console and phone adapter -- thus doesn't have the depth to use one of these effectively. My initial solution was a short USB extension cable to just have the thumb drive lying in the little compartment behind the phone cradle, but it bumped around and destroyed my "minimalist style" interior, so I started looking at options.

    The phone dock/cradle has a USB cable which runs under the mat and then into the base of the area providing the upward projecting plug the phone is docked into. It turns out that (a) there is space beneath this platform and (b) the channel the cable runs through is pretty wide (relatively speaking) and has room for a second cable.

    I poked around and determined that what I wanted was a USB-A extension cable which had a 90-deg male plug on one end and USB Female receptacle on the other. The question was "what direction does the 90-deg plug go to ensure the cable exits it at the bottom when plugged into the car?" Turns out the answer is a Left 90 degree plug (a right one would have the cable coming up instead of down). Found one on amazon for $6 -- the Tripp Lite U005-10I (pictured below) and bought it figuring this is a no brainer -- if it doesn't fit I'm not out a lot.


    Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 10.16.50 AM.png Installation was quite easy, and it looks great. For those with a center console who haven't poked around at it much, here's what it looks like with the two cables installed:
    IMG_5438.JPG
    If you remove the rubber ribbed mat the cables disappear into (it just lifts right out), here is what the install looks like:
    IMG_5440.JPG

    Routing the cable took a bit of work to get both cables below the little tabs that hold them in the channel. First the Tripp Lite cable is a little thicker than the phone dock cable. In the picture above, the Tripp Lite cable is in the receptacle to the left, the phone dock cable in the receptacle to the right. I ran the phone dock cable in the right plug and the inside radius part of the channel because that leaves more room for the thicker USB extension cable.

    While running the cables, Had to do them both in parallel dealing with each tab individually. The tabs are VERY flexible/bendy (technical term <g>) so what I did was plug both cables into the receptacles and then ran the USB cable under the rearmost tab (bottom of the pic). Had to use a very small flat head screwdriver to hold the tab up while I slid the cable down and under the tab as the gap between the end of the tab and the open part of the channel was a little narrower than the width of the cable and the cable would just bend the tab down if I tried to push it down without supporting the tab up. Once this was done, I next routed the phone jack (inner) cable into the channel and up to and below the next tab (2nd one from bottom in pic). Sliding it down the gap and below the tab was easy. Next I routed the outer (Tripp) cable into the channel, outboard of phone cable at second tab and then under tab number three. Last was the phone cable under tab number 4, then the Tripp cable outboard of it. Note that the Tripp Cable runs over the phone cable as they both drop into the area beneath the unit. My original plan was to run the Tripp cable as the inner (right hand side) cable to avoid this, but the problem was the width of the cable and getting it under those darn tabs. Running it as the outer one just worked better and the "over/under" situation at the end isn't a big deal because they are both dropping into a hole and this area is covered by the mat when done. last thing was to run the receptacle end of the Tripp cable into the hole and push the rest of the cable into that area. Easily done.

    So what do you do now?
    1. Reinstall the mat.
    2. close the phone dock cover so you can access the area under the phone dock (it is open towards the front of the console, it is the open phone dock cover which covers that gap.
    3. Remove one or more of the cup holder inserts so you have room to get your hand down there.
    IMG_5449.JPG
    4. Reach your hand in under the phone dock from the front (bottom of the pic above) and find the receptacle (female) end of the USB cable.
    5. Plug your USB thumb drive into the cable and tuck things back under so that it won't interfere with the phone dock cover opening and closing. I found this worked best by tucking the USB drive up behind the forward edge of the area under the phone cock. This ensured the cable and thumb drive stayed back and clear of the phone dock cover when it rotates open. Note in the pick below, the cable I put in as at the bottom. At the top of the phone dock, you can see the phone dock cable installed and the iPhone lightning connector sticking out the top.
    IMG_5443.JPG

    IMG_5457.JPG

    6. Reinstall your cup holder inserts and everything is good as new, your USB works fine and away you go. Whole job took less than 10 minutes.

    Of note for those who have a console, the large expansive area from the yacht floor/non-console cars is still there under the console. If you remove your forward cup holder inserts, there is a reasonably large area/compartment forward of them where something could be stored/tucked away. I didn't realize this was there as it is hidden under the cub holder cover. I'm thinking I will remove my forward inserts (never use them anyway) making that area accessible when the cup holder door is open.

    I'm sure I'm not the first person to route a USB extender cable through this channel to make things a bit neater, but had not seen any mention of it in the forums and figured I would post this for the benefit of any owners who are interested in dointe the same.
     
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  2. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Five left on Amazon as of now, just ordered one to have in stock. :D Thanks for the great documentation!
     
  3. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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  4. drklain

    drklain Member

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    As I put in my post, that is what I started with. The problem is that those mini-USB sticks are:
    • Hard to remove from the USB socket
    • Slow
    • Limited in storage capacity
    What I did was my second solution when I wanted to go to a larger USB stick and be able to remove it more easily.
     
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  5. jelloslug

    jelloslug Active Member

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    Sometimes updates fail when there is a USB drive plugged in. Make sure you have enough slack to unplug it if need be.
     
  6. f-stop

    f-stop Member

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    FYI last time I looked the Sandisk Ultra Fit is available in up to 128GB (I have the 64GB one).

    Also, on the point of being hard to remove, I simply attached one of those little cellphone/USB keychain loops like this one to the Ultra Fit USB, it has an attachment point for this purpose. it's easy to give a quick tug to remove it when necessary. (You could attach a larger split keyring to the loop to make it even easier to grab and it would still be inconspicuous and out of the way)

    Anyhow to the OP, nice post showing an alternative solution
     
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  7. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    Not sure why it would be harder to remove that in your setup. With an extension I would need two hands, with a small drive, one hand (the comment about attaching a ring is right on, I forgot to mention my small USB-uSD adapter came with a string I use to pull it out with one finger).

    Slow how? You can get USB3 drives faster than Tesla's USB2 can utilize. I use an adapter for microUSB which you can buy in high speeds (>100MB/s). That said, for music you don't need that fast.

    Limited storage? How much storage do you use for music? :)
     
  8. Doctt

    Doctt Member

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    That one is USB 3. Why U say it is slow? Fast enough for any music. They are up to 128gb
     

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