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Old 07-26-2020, 03:38 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Freedom Elite 23H
State: Virginia
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Why do I have these connectors behind my dash?

My 2017 Freedom Elite is built on an E450 chassis.
It has an Axxera radio installed by Thor.
Attached are 3 pictures of my dash.

Pic 1 shows an an add-on dash panel opening cover, probably installed by Thor. I know that the HDMI and USB go directly to the Axxera for Android mirroring. But, what is the function of that black button?

Pic 2 shows the back of that same panel. There are 4 pins inside the socket behind the button. No cable was connected to it when I bought the vehicle (used).

Pic 3 shows 2 black & red connectors that I found hanging inside the dash, not connected to anything. Each has 4 wires that disappear into what looks like a Ford factory bundle/harness. One plug fits the socket behind the black button and the cable is right length. I can't find anything that the other plug will fit. Maybe it was removed to make room for the HDMI/USB?

I've never seen a stock E450 from Ford before Thor makes their changes. What would originally be in place of that panel?

Does anybody know what those two connectors are for?
What is that black button supposed to do?
Was the connector left disconnected intentionally?
Should I connect the plug to the socket behind the black button, just to see if it does anything?

If I replace my Axxera with a newer head unit model, the USB jack and HDMI jack are likely to become worthless. I'd like to know what Ford had in that spot before Thor made their changes. I might need to find something to cover the hole.
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:10 PM   #2
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I've been browsing photos of Ford E series dashboards, and they only show the mysterious "black button" and nothing else in that area. On my own dash, that black button does nothing - it doesn't even move like a normal electrical button when pressed. I had no idea that there was a connector block attached to it. Maybe it's the ejection seat button ? No clue !
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:13 PM   #3
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Pics didnít show
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh.vines@att.net View Post
Pics didnít show
You're saying you don't see the 3 pics that I uploaded?
That's weird because I see them when I view the thread.
They came from a Samsung Note9. I did not reduce the resolution, so they are rather big.
Maybe you could try another browser?
Or maybe we should ask the moderator if he can see them?
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:28 PM   #5
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Now they are here
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Popfla View Post
Maybe it's the ejection seat button ? No clue !
I can think of several occasions when an ejector seat would have been a great tool to have.

But, then I'd have to make the coffee myself.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:12 PM   #7
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Are you sure that's a button and not a warning lamp? Door ajar, rear seat belts? Passenger air bag, Something like that? The owners manual is the place to look. There's usually a page describing aspects of the dash.

The hdmi and USB you posted are the ends of extension cords.
If your new head has USB and hdmi they'll plug right in or can be modified to plug in.

I'll GUESS an ac voltage power outlet goes where the USB hdmi is now. (or you can easily add one)
I'll GUESS the unplugged items are the steering wheel radio controls if you don't have those on your vehicle.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
Are you sure that's a button and not a warning lamp? Door ajar, rear seat belts? Passenger air bag, Something like that? The owners manual is the place to look.

I'll GUESS the unplugged items are the steering wheel radio controls if you don't have those on your vehicle.
It doesn't feel like a button when you press it.
And, it also doesn't look like a light. (a black light?)
So, I guess it will remain a mystery. Maybe something to do with a Ford radio.

The mystery cable isn't long enough to reach the back of the radio.
It must be for something Ford planned for that spot on the dash.
Something that I don't have and probably will never have. So, I'm advising myself to just forget about it.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:33 PM   #9
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One of those hanging jacks looks like it would plug right into the connector on the back of that "button".
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
One of those hanging jacks looks like it would plug right into the connector on the back of that "button".
In Post #1 the OP did mention:
One plug fits the socket behind the black button and the cable is right length. I can't find anything that the other plug will fit.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:03 PM   #11
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This is for the ‘AUX’ Input on the OEM radio. The black thing is a plug
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:46 PM   #12
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Thor Owner's Resource

1st the black plug is exactly that; a plug. It covers a 3.5mm auxillary connector. 2nd If you go to the Thor Owner page, create an account and input your VIN you can download a lot of the original owner's manuals for most of the items installed in your MH. Axxerra is one you can download. If you download it in Adobe, use control F to find specific words or phrases. Search "3.5mm" and it will show up several times. It doesn't show the panel but it says it's an auxillary input on the front panel. It's the only 3.5mm connector anywhere on the front of our 2017 FE HE. I have seen that panel in digital or paper format but I haven't been able to find it today.

BTW-This is the absoulte best forum! I have used it soooo much to research items because Thor's information...is lacking and I'll leave it at that. Thank all of you so much for truthfully caring and trying to help newbies like me. I hope I can pay it forward.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:55 AM   #13
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The answer I got...

I had the same question about the black "switch" on my 2017 22FE dashboard. I called Thor who referred me to CW who then checked back with Thor (don't get me started...) and the final answer was "its a dummy plug, it doesn't do anything."
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:28 AM   #14
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I have basically the same thing in mine. I left it as the plugs for the original radio from the Ford factory... Not to hijack your post but what I need to Know is can you access the radio from under the dash if you remove the engine cover? I really don’t want to remove the front of the dash just to plug in the plug for the XM radio tuner??
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:52 AM   #15
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I used that plug for my mobile router. Thor said it was unused 12 volt power hot at all times
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:16 PM   #16
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All E450 chassis, both "cutaways" and those destined to live beneath full Econoline van bodies, share major sections of the wiring harness because it's easier and/or cheaper for the manufacturer (Ford) to do it that way, both for ease of assembly and for spare parts logistics. Consequently, things like a rear defogger that might be present on a full van body go unused on a cutaway chassis destined for use as a C class platform.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:42 PM   #17
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OP is satisfied

Thanks, everybody, for the replies.
I think I have a pretty good understanding now.

Here is what I think I know:
- The mysterious black "button" is actually a plastic cap that covers a 3.5mm A/V input. I know because I pried mine out.
- Why was it capped? This socket might be needed for a Ford OEM radio, but the Axxera radio has that jack integrated into the front panel.
- Why four pins? Right audio, Left audio, ground, and probably Video. I suppose the fourth pin could have been for a microphone input.
- Why was the cable unplugged from the back of the socket? why not?
- What is the function of the other red and black connector? I don't know and I don't care. But, I'm pretty sure it has to do with another feature of the Ford OEM radio.
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