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Midland Radio Clean Install

privateer35

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Hi everyone!

I've gotten to the point where I want to start using an installed radio when off-roading. I've decided to follow the steps and purchase the items seen in this video:

My intentions for this project are to only really use the radio paired with cordless radios while off-roading with a group and for spotters outside the vehicle. Installation-wise, my goal is to install the radio safely while having it clean and hidden.

Before I start the installation, I do have a couple of questions about power and wiring.

  1. In the video, he installs it directly into the battery. I imagine he installs the power (red) to the positive terminal and the black (ground) to the negative. In doing so, will this draw power all the time? Or only when the vehicle is turned on? My goal is to only have power when the vehicle is running + when I turn the radio on. Is there a better way to do this?
  2. When wiring to the glovebox, there's no mention of how the wires are fed in and out of the glove box. He makes it seem like you can drop the wires in with no problem. Not sure how that works for the actual handheld speaker part. Not sure if there's an opening you can feed it through or if you need to make it yourself.
  3. Some comments in the video point out fire concerns with making sure the right amount of power is being drawn since it seems the base can get hot. Is this a concern with a radio that only draws 15W of power? Will directly hooking it up to the battery affect this?

If you've taken the time to read through/answer my questions, thank you. If you have any knowledge or tips to share, it would be much appreciated. I'm just a young Bronco owner trying to learn more every day!
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RagnarKon

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In the video, he installs it directly into the battery. I imagine he installs the power (red) to the positive terminal and the black (ground) to the negative. In doing so, will this draw power all the time? Or only when the vehicle is turned on? My goal is to only have power when the vehicle is running + when I turn the radio on. Is there a better way to do this?
The power wire (red) would have to be connected to the battery. The negative wire you can actually connect to any ground. There are several in and around the battery near the Bronco.

And yes, it will could draw power all the time if you leave it on. There are several ways to fix this. The two best options are probably the following:
  • Use a auxiliary switch with a relay to turn on/off the power to the radio
  • Use a fuse circuit that only powers on when the vehicle is running to trigger a relay (or feed power to the radio directly if the circuit is unused).
When wiring to the glovebox, there's no mention of how the wires are fed in and out of the glove box. He makes it seem like you can drop the wires in with no problem. Not sure how that works for the actual handheld speaker part. Not sure if there's an opening you can feed it through or if you need to make it yourself.
There is a gap between the underside of the dash and the glove box when the glove box is closed. Nothing special.
Some comments in the video point out fire concerns with making sure the right amount of power is being drawn since it seems the base can get hot. Is this a concern with a radio that only draws 15W of power? Will directly hooking it up to the battery affect this?
You have to ensure your wire gauge is correct for the application. If your wire gauge is too small and the device you are connecting it to is pulling too much power, then it could cause the wire to heat up and melt the insulation, which could cause a short and eventually a fire.

This is primarily a concern with the Aux switch wiring if you choose to power the device directly off of the Aux switch line. The wire gauges Ford decided to use for their Aux switches are undersized to some degree, so you have to be careful about it. To avoid this issue, many people are using using the Aux switches to control relays rather than using it to power the devices themselves.

If you are using the wiring that came with the radio, then you should be okay.
 
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privateer35

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I appreciate the detailed response @RagnarKon!

I heard 22 in the passenger fuse box is empty and only draws power when the vehicle is on. Is there an equivalent of that in the engine fuse box? Would you know what type of harness I would need to tap into the fuse? I've hooked up my dashcam to the mirror tap, but I imagine it's slightly different.

As for the wire gauge, is it as straightforward as verifying the wires I'm trying to use can support the power draw that the device is needed? For instance, finding wiring that can withstand 15w of power, given the device is 15w?
 
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RagnarKon

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I appreciate the detailed response @RagnarKon!

I heard 22 in the passenger fuse box is empty and only draws power when the vehicle is on. Is there an equivalent of that in the engine fuse box? Would you know what type of harness I would need to tap into the fuse? I've hooked up my dashcam to the mirror tap, but I imagine it's slightly different.

As for the wire gauge, is it as straightforward as verifying the wires I'm trying to use can support the power draw that the device is needed? For instance, finding wiring that can withstand 15w of power, given the device is 15w?
The adapter goes by different names, fuse adapter, adapt-a-fuse, add-a-fuse, etc.

My favorite fuse is also Fuse 22 (ironically), but in the engine compartment. It is for the the 360 camera system. I have the Mid package, and therefore I don't have the 360 camera system , so it's the perfect option. Since you have the High package, it's not wide open, but as long as you are only triggering a relay the risks are ultimately very low. But if you are a zero risk kind of person... Fuse 32 or 33 should also work. Those are for the 12V power ports in the Bronco and are not connected to any electronics in the Bronco. The only downside is the power to those relays is controlled by a microprocessor, so it may stay on for a little while after the Bronco shuts down—you may want to measure the behavior with a multimeter before committing to use those fuses. I believe they only stay on for 1 min or so, which is definitely acceptable, but haven't actually timed it myself.

Determining the correct wire gauge is a combination of current draw and wire length. There are several calculators online you can use to determine the right wire gauge. My hunch is that 16 gauge should be fine for the radio, but obviously you should double-check my hunch. Either way, I would expect Midland to ship the correct wire gauge with the radio.

Also... I know Midland describes it as a "15 Watt" radio but that is likely the wireless transmit power, and that doesn't necessarily mean it'll draw 15 watts from the battery. If Midland doesn't give the current draw of the radio itself in their specifications, go off of the fuse used in the wiring harness when determining wire gauge.
 
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privateer35

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When you say:
And yes, it will could draw power all the time if you leave it on
The adapter goes by different names, fuse adapter, adapt-a-fuse, add-a-fuse, etc.

My favorite fuse is also Fuse 22 (ironically), but in the engine compartment. It is for the the 360 camera system. I have the Mid package, and therefore I don't have the 360 camera system , so it's the perfect option. Since you have the High package, it's not wide open, but as long as you are only triggering a relay the risks are ultimately very low. But if you are a zero risk kind of person... Fuse 32 or 33 should also work. Those are for the 12V power ports in the Bronco and are not connected to any electronics in the Bronco. The only downside is the power to those relays is controlled by a microprocessor, so it may stay on for a little while after the Bronco shuts down—you may want to measure the behavior with a multimeter before committing to use those fuses. I believe they only stay on for 1 min or so, which is definitely acceptable, but haven't actually timed it myself.

Determining the correct wire gauge is a combination of current draw and wire length. There are several calculators online you can use to determine the right wire gauge. My hunch is that 16 gauge should be fine for the radio, but obviously you should double-check my hunch. Either way, I would expect Midland to ship the correct wire gauge with the radio.

Also... I know Midland describes it as a "15 Watt" radio but that is likely the wireless transmit power, and that doesn't necessarily mean it'll draw 15 watts from the battery. If Midland doesn't give the current draw of the radio itself in their specifications, go off of the fuse used in the wiring harness when determining wire gauge.
Thanks again for the reply. I should buy you a beer.

I did some additional research and learned how I can tap into a fuse. Looks pretty straightforward.

I will look into 32 and 33. Also bought a multimeter to check it as you mentioned.

Midland did ship their wiring, although I'll need to find a matching one since the one they sent needs to be cut and stripped as I'm planning to run it through the vehicle into the glovebox.

You also mentioned you don't have the 360 camera system, so I assume that fuse is empty. Do you use a single fuse tap since it's empty? All of the fuse taps I've seen on Amazon and in YouTube videos have two slots. One for the existing fuse, the other for the new one. Curious if a single fuse tap exists. Although... then you would have to figure out the amperage for that fuse right? For the regular fuse taps, it looks like you need to match the new fuse amperage to the original fuse amperage and you're good to go.

Sorry for all the questions and thinking out loud. I'm really enjoying learning all of this stuff.
 

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RagnarKon

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When you say:



Thanks again for the reply. I should buy you a beer.

I did some additional research and learned how I can tap into a fuse. Looks pretty straightforward.

I will look into 32 and 33. Also bought a multimeter to check it as you mentioned.

Midland did ship their wiring, although I'll need to find a matching one since the one they sent needs to be cut and stripped as I'm planning to run it through the vehicle into the glovebox.

You also mentioned you don't have the 360 camera system, so I assume that fuse is empty. Do you use a single fuse tap since it's empty? All of the fuse taps I've seen on Amazon and in YouTube videos have two slots. One for the existing fuse, the other for the new one. Curious if a single fuse tap exists. Although... then you would have to figure out the amperage for that fuse right? For the regular fuse taps, it looks like you need to match the new fuse amperage to the original fuse amperage and you're good to go.

Sorry for all the questions and thinking out loud. I'm really enjoying learning all of this stuff.
The fuse is populated from the factory even though I don't have the 360 system—they likely use to the same fuse box in every Bronco to streamline the assembly process. But the circuit goes to no where.

They do make single fuse taps, I have a few in my junk drawer. But the "add-a-fuse" is definitely more popular.
 
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The fuse is populated from the factory even though I don't have the 360 system—they likely use to the same fuse box in every Bronco to streamline the assembly process. But the circuit goes to no where.

They do make single fuse taps, I have a few in my junk drawer. But the "add-a-fuse" is definitely more popular.
Thanks once again! Everything so far is clear.

I was taking a look at the fuse box itself. I'm not sure how I can run a fuse tap out of the fuse box with the cover on. Did I miss an opening or will I need to make one myself?
 

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Thanks once again! Everything so far is clear.

I was taking a look at the fuse box itself. I'm not sure how I can run a fuse tap out of the fuse box with the cover on. Did I miss an opening or will I need to make one myself?
Most people put a notch in the cover or drill a hole in the side for the cable to poke out. In some cases you can also just put the cover on and have the cable snake out the bottom, but not sure if that's possible in the Bronco—haven't tried.

Personally haven't gotten that far yet on my build. I'm adding external fuse blocks but still mapping out where everything will go.
 
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Most people put a notch in the cover or drill a hole in the side for the cable to poke out. In some cases you can also just put the cover on and have the cable snake out the bottom, but not sure if that's possible in the Bronco—haven't tried.

Personally haven't gotten that far yet on my build. I'm adding external fuse blocks but still mapping out where everything will go.
Yeah, it didn't look like there was much space for a cable to snake out. I'm planning on checking out the other fuseboxes too to see if they're any different.
 

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Thanks once again! Everything so far is clear.

I was taking a look at the fuse box itself. I'm not sure how I can run a fuse tap out of the fuse box with the cover on. Did I miss an opening or will I need to make one myself?
I have same radio in my Bronco and I just used the round 12v power source in glove box, 15 watt radio is fine. Anything bigger you will need to wire directly to aux switches or battery direct. The radio comes with cigarette light adapter plug in & works great. That power source is fused & also time delayed for approximately 30-40 minutes meaning radio stays on after key is turned off for that period as well. Works great!
 

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I have same radio in my Bronco and I just used the round 12v power source in glove box, 15 watt radio is fine. Anything bigger you will need to wire directly to aux switches or battery direct. The radio comes with cigarette light adapter plug in & works great. That power source is fused & also time delayed for approximately 30-40 minutes meaning radio stays on after key is turned off for that period as well. Works great!
Yes, well aware of all that. I'm aiming for a clean install so that I don't have wires interfering across the dash/center console. I'm OCD about it.

My new plan is to tap into a fuse in the internal fusebox in the area under the steering wheel. Tap into a 5A fuse (not sure of the number yet) then run that cable to the ground and into the radio base that will sit in the glovebox with some velcro stuck onto it.

As for the antenna, I'll be taking the approach in the video I shared. Running the antenna cable through the firewall port, back behind the console, into the glovebox, and plugged into the radio base. Then, attach it to the hood for exposure. However, that's going to be temporary since I just ordered the JCR A-pillar brackets so I can hook in my existing ditch lights AND the ghost antenna that came with the kit to the accessory screws on top of the cowl.
 

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Yes, well aware of all that. I'm aiming for a clean install so that I don't have wires interfering across the dash/center console. I'm OCD about it.

My new plan is to tap into a fuse in the internal fusebox in the area under the steering wheel. Tap into a 5A fuse (not sure of the number yet) then run that cable to the ground and into the radio base that will sit in the glovebox with some velcro stuck onto it.

As for the antenna, I'll be taking the approach in the video I shared. Running the antenna cable through the firewall port, back behind the console, into the glovebox, and plugged into the radio base. Then, attach it to the hood for exposure. However, that's going to be temporary since I just ordered the JCR A-pillar brackets so I can hook in my existing ditch lights AND the ghost antenna that came with the kit to the accessory screws on top of the cowl.
I mounted mine in glove box & have speaker & controls on mic, fits perfect. I’ll guarantee your no more ocd than me!!
 
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Because you’re looking for a clean install I recommend Mountains2metal’s under dash mount. I installed the Midland MXT275VP4 in my Bronco and connected it to aux switch 6. Mountain2metal also has a antenna mount that worked perfectly, I couldn’t be happier with the install. I would show you a picture from inside the vehicle, but there’s nothing to see. Here’s a link for your convenience:

https://mountains2metal.com/under-dash-mount-for-amp-radio-fits-2021-ford-bronco/

Ford Bronco Midland Radio Clean Install IMG_0441
 
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Because you’re looking for a clean install I recommend Mountains2metal’s under dash mount. I installed the Midland MXT275VP4 in my Bronco and connected it to aux switch 6. Mountain2metal also has a antenna mount that worked perfectly, I couldn’t be happier with the install. I would show you a picture from inside the vehicle, but there’s nothing to see. Here’s a link for your convenience:

https://mountains2metal.com/under-dash-mount-for-amp-radio-fits-2021-ford-bronco/

Ford Bronco Midland Radio Clean Install IMG_0441
Appreciate it! Although, I do like the idea of having in the glovebox to be accessible and visible + it has an additional USB-C connection.
 
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Appreciate it! Although, I do like the idea of having in the glovebox to be accessible and visible + it has an additional USB-C connection.
Understood
Appreciate it! Although, I do like the idea of having in the glovebox to be accessible and visible + it has an additional USB-C connection.
Aux switch 6 is connected to a 10 amp fuse and the wire is just below the glovebox. Your radio draws less than 4 amp when transmitting on high power, so using the aux switch could be a convenient option.
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