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D&R Electronics In-Dash Solution

In early-2015, D&R Electronics introduced an in-dash solution for computer monitors and tablets. Their In-Dash Solution bridges the gap between the screen fully integrated into the dash and a laptop or tablet mounted on a free-standing dock or mount.

The D&R In-Dash Solution cleans up some of the clutter in the front seat. This is especially important for smaller patrol vehicles and two-officer units. A less-obstructed center console also allows the driver to more easily exit the passenger door in the event of an emergency. The D&R In-Dash Solution is in use by the Denver, Colo. Police; Ontario Provincial Police; and Santa Cruz, Calif.

An obvious advantage of the In-Dash Solution is the better screen visibility. Instead of the screen or monitor being far to the right and well below the dash, the In-Dash Solution places the screen in the center and well up in height. The whole idea is that you can take a two-piece screen and keyboard, and integrate both pieces into the instrument panel.

The D&R In-Dash Solution is a “no wires cut” installation. No factory or OE wires are cut or spliced or tapped into. There is no interface whatsoever between the In-Dash Solution and any OE wire harness. The In-Dash Solution is fully airbag-compliant. That means the deploying airbags—any and all of them—will not contact the mounted display regardless of the tilt or telescope position.

The D&R In-Dash Solution essentially replaces the section of the upper dash from HVAC duct to HVAC duct, including the ducts. The panel with the OE radio and HVAC controls is simply pulled out and re-mounted 12 inches lower on the dash. To make this 12-inch move possible, without cutting wires, D&R Electronics supplies extension writing with the correct and compatible connectors.

The In-Dash Solution includes two major components, and four minor components. The major components are a reticulating arm that holds the monitor, and a rotating mount that holds the keyboard. The reticulating arm can be fixed or variable and is essentially mounted where the HVAC ducts are. The keyboard mount is essentially mounted where the radio used to be mounted.

The minor components include duct deflectors. The duct deflector replaces the factory HVAC ducts and directs air up and away from the monitor. The standard D&R kit uses air vents that point upward, even though the factory vents point outward. Outward vents are in-process and optional upon request.

The center stack in the kit is the sheet metal hardware to mount the OE panel, including the radio and HVAC controls. A faceplate is used to fill in the blank space for the radio. Finally, a harness cable, with the correct connectors to OE wiring, is included, specific to each vehicle.

A key part of the entire installation is a modification to the steering column-mounted shift lever. D&R Electronics cuts the shift lever to shorten it. It is then re-threaded to accept the OE shift lever knob. For the vehicles that need this shorter knob, like the Ford PI Utility, the shorter shifter is a part of the kit.

The center stack of the D&R In-Dash Solution is set up to accommodate select Motorola, Harris and Kenwood radios. Not all radios will fit. Double-check the width, depth and height dimensions. D&R recommends that a low-profile center console be used with their In-Dash Solution. This only makes sense. D&R makes consoles for all these vehicles, as do other manufacturers.

The D&R system is specifically designed around Data 911, Panasonic G1, General Dynamics (or similar) tablets and most other two-piece or convertible units. The D&R system is primarily designed around a hardwired iKey ruggedized or tough keyboard. (iKey also makes Bluetooth tough keyboards.)

The monitor can be pivoted or swiveled 15 degrees to the left or right, and the top tilted 10 degrees back or 30 degrees down. The entire unit can be pulled out away from the dash or pushed back into the dash along a 2-inch slide rail. D&R also makes a stationary, static-mount monitor display. The X-Y-Z range of motion varies slightly by the vehicle.

The installation of the D&R In-Dash Solution involves a number of steps. It is a long and fairly involved procedure to achieve the factory-finish final assembly. However, virtually every competent upfitter can complete the dash disassembly and the P&R in-dash re-assembly.

The steps for the Ford PI Utility generally involve removing the floor plate, USB/AUX panel, side trims, and center stack (control panel with HVAC vents). Then remove HVAC and AM/FM radio controls.

Replace the OE floor bracket with the D&R floor plate and center stack console. Add side panels to the dash. Add the keyboard tray and swivel arm. Add the display dash side brackets, and display holder brackets. Remount the OE center stack below the keyboard tray mount. To install the shorter shift lever, remove the steering column cover and swap shift levers.

One of the biggest challenges in the D&R development was how to extend the OE cables that plug into the AM/FM radio and HVAC controls. They eventually found and supplied OE matching/mating connectors. All nuts, bolts, washers, brackets, connectors, plates, panels and parts needed for an OE-appearing upfit are included. D&R has downloadable PDFs that explain step by step, bolt by bolt installation. The instructions are detailed. The photos in the instructions are clear.

Overall, the D&R Electronics In-Dash Solution is a clean way to declutter the center console. No OE wires are cut. It is airbag-compliant. It can be removed when the vehicle is taken out of service. The entire dash can be returned to the original equipment factory condition.

The MSRP for the D&R Electronics In-Dash Solution is about $2,000, depending on the make and model of police or special service vehicle. The In-Dash Solution is available for the Ford PI Sedan, Ford PI Utility, Ford F150, Dodge Charger and RAM 1500. The In-Dash Solution will be available for the Chevrolet Tahoe in early-2016.

Published in Law and Order, Nov 2015

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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