1st Gen "How To" R52 Top Commander Installation

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The Top Commander for R52 is a convenience module that simplifies the operation of the top and windows on the first generation Mini Cabrio. It...
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  1. Dr Obnxs
    R52 Top Commander Installation

    by Matt Richter (aka Dr Obnxs)


    The Top Commander for R52 is a convenience module that simplifies the operation of the top and windows on the first generation Mini Cabrio. It replaces a 20+ second sequence of button operations with a simple double click to open the top. A simple double click can completely close the top as well. Installation takes less than 30 minutes.

    This is the whole kit. The double-sided tape will probably already be attached to the back of the circuit.
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    Start by removing the light box. A credit card or something similar is used to pry it out.
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    The light box is held in with four clips. Once you can grab the front edge of the light box, you can pull the front edge down then the box comes out.
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    We don't need to do anything to this module, and you don't need to disconnect with the wiring from the light box. Just let it hang. We've only removed it to get access to the back of the switches. Remove the switches by pushing them out from the back.
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    The stock connector has a retainer. Hold it down and remove it from the switch. Don't worry about getting mixed up. The top switch has green plastic and connector, the window switch and connector are black. Push the two ends of the wiring harness through the switch holes from the back (the one with three wires goes to the top switch, the one with one wire goes to the window switch), and plug the daughter boards into the switches, then the factory connectors onto the back of the daughterboards. Pay attention to the orientation of the daughterboards and the factory connectors.
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    After hooking the harnesses up to the switches, just push them back into the housing. Pull the Top Commander harness out and get the red wire. It needs to be connected to the purple wire that goes to the light box. Use the included Posi-Tap connector.
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    Now all the wires are hooked up to the car. Connect it to the Top Commander. The power line is one of those that has 12 volts on it when the car is "awake". Any time a door is opened, or unlocked, this line is powered up. Anyway, if the line is live, when you plug in the Top Commander, the three LEDs will light up.
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    Now everything is hooked up. The circuit can be tested now. If any of the switches don't work, check the switch/daughter board/car harness connection. This is where pretty much all of the installation problems occur. When you're happy that everything is working, peel away the protective cover on the double sided tape, and attach it up inside the light box cavity.
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    Pop the light box back in, and the installation is complete!
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    The Top Commander can be operated in two modes:
    • Default mode: In this mode, a double click will open or close the top completely.
    • Sunroof Mode: In this mode; a single click will open the sunroof, and a double click will open the top completely.
    With either mode, a single click on the window up or down button will either open or close all four windows.

    Modes are switched by holding down the window close button down for more than 20 seconds.

    Here are some comments from Motoring Alliance's own Diablita:

    "Just installed the Top Commander in my 2008 Mini Cabrio ... OMG, I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! WOW, your product did answer my frustrations with having to keep my finger on the button each time I got in my car to put my top down or up. Living in So Cal, I go topless almost each and every day. I have 25,000 miles on my Cabrio, and it has only been on the road for 13 months. Most of my driving is around time, so the top goes up and down several times a day."

    Original Source

    Written by: Dr Obnxs, Dec 14, 2014,

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