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Using the existing GSM antenna

I've got a 2015 Nissan Leaf and I've been contemplating installing the OVMS module. The car was initially a lease in the US and brought to Canada once the lease was up, so there are issues getting the native Nissan Connect app working (i.e. registering the VIN). I've heard that the app isn't spotty at best anyway, which is when I stumbled upon OVMS.

This afternoon I removed the glovebox and was wondering if anybody had tried using the existing GSM antenna that is plugged into the TCU. If not, I might have a look around to see if I can make an adapter cable unless there is some other gating issue.

Been doing a bit more

Been doing a bit more research and it looks like the existing antenna uses the Hirose GT16 series. The female housing is the GT16C-1S-HU while the male housing looks like GT16C-1PP-HU. I might buy a couple of the male ends and the crimps to see if I can make the cable myself. 

I have created the cable,

I have created the cable, pics here. I have not tested the cable yet, that'll have to wait until my OVMS module has arrived.

This is the bill of materials:
1x GT16C-/1.6-2.9PC (outer contact crimp, male)
1x GT16-2428PCF (inner contact crimp, male)
1x GT16-PC (insulator)
1x GT16C-1PP-HU (male housing)
1x GT16C-1P/S-R(23) (housing retainer)
1x 135100-01-24.00 (RG316 coaxial cable)

The instructions for crimping the cable can be found on page 55 of the GT16 series datasheet

I used a Molex 0638111000 crimper for the inner and outer crimps:
1.4 mm setting for inner conductor
3.2 mm setting for ground portion of outer conductor
3.4 mm setting for insulation portion of outer conductor


very interesting idea

It works!

Well I received my OVMS module today, so I was finally able to test out my cable assembly and it works! I've connected to a local network and can read information off of the car remotely.

Is this something anyone else would be interested in? I might talk to a cable vendor and see what it'd cost to get a few made up.

Thanks for sharing the BOM

Thanks for sharing the BOM and photos, I'd be interested in a cable but I suspect there's not many more (since a new GSM antenna is around US$4, and I probably have decent local contacts to do for me what you have done.

Thanks all the same.

Stanton's picture
Custom antenna cable

I'm very interested in getting another cable just like the one you made for my 2011 Nissan Leaf; I would like to use/reuse the existing antenna as well.

I'll give it a couple of days to see if you get this message as I don't know if you are monitoring this thread (I just joined the forum).


So can I replace the sim card that came originally in the vehicle and connected the module to the car's antenna? 

If it's possible it'll be awesome since my module's "network card" is broken and currently I'm using a portable router inside my car to keep it connected !!

Antenna replacement

This is only an alternative for the antenna that connects to the module. The OVMS modem module is required for this to work.

Interested in Cell and TCU harness connectors

I'm also interested in one of these cables, if you feel like making a few up. I'd pay more than reasonably for parts, labor, and shipping to the US.

My ideal state is to make OVMS a plug-and-play replacement for the Leaf TCU, keeping everything hidden and the OBD port free. If I read correctly, the same pins in use on the OVMS OBD are also available on the large white TCU connector? From the 2012 service manual:

Pin 1: Battery power supply
Pin 2: Ground
Pin 3: Power switch ACC
Pin 4: Power switch ON
Pin 9: EV-CAN (H)
Pin 10: EV-CAN (L)
Pin 11: EV system activation request signal (12v)

Cables cables

I really like the idea of having a cable that keeps the OBD port free and using the TCU connector instead! I have a comparable end goal, except I'm hoping to power both my OVMS module and a dash cam off of an external battery so I don't drain the car's 12V, but still have the ability to measure it (as per forum post here). In which service manual did you find the TCU connector pinout?

However, based on the Leaf CANbus decoding thread on mynissanleaf.com, there are three CANbusses total on the OBD port:

  • EV-CAN (CAN0 in HW, CAN1 in FW)
  • Primary/CAR-CAN (CAN1 in HW, CAN2 in FW)
  • AV-CAN (CAN2 in HW, CAN3 in FW)

Only using the TCU connector would mean that you'd lose access to the CAR-CAN and the AV-CAN (hasn't been much work done on this bus). The thread (and service manual) mentions that the VCM is able to act as a bi-directional gateway between the CAR-CAN and EV-CAN busses (LAN-31 in 2014), but I'm not sure if that functionality is implemented in OVMS. In all of the code I've seen, CAN messages are directed to each CAN pin on the OBD connector individually. I'd be interested to see if it were possible to send messages from the EV-CAN through the VCM to the CAR-CAN to make using the TCU connector a reality.

Regarding the antenna cable, I'm running into some issues with key fob range (see post here) that I think may be due to spurious emissions from the cable, so I need to do some more testing to see what's going on.

The user formerly known as

The user formerly known as CML here. I feel your pain on the key fob range (replied over there) and totally understand not wanting to make up cables with that issue hanging out! I'm pretty happy with both the performance and the discreet install of the adhesive mount antenna behind my rearview mirror. 

Here is the service manual with the TCU pinout and info on page 160: https://carmanuals2.com/nissan/leaf-2012-audio-visual-system-section-av-47811

And a mynissanleaf thread on the TCU: https://mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=25949

Now that I have installed an OBD Y splitter and routed my cable behind the dash, I'm feeling less of a need to plug into the TCU port for that. But I would still like to interface with the TCU port for the EV activation signal! Right now that functionality is not implemented in OVMS v3, which means my 2011 has to be actively charging in order to accept climate control commands. 

Stanton's picture
Built a cable

I managed to build a cable based on the BOM provided in this thread, but can't test it out until I actually remove the existing TCU (although I was able to verify nothing was shorted)...and that won't happen until they come out with a 4G version of the OVMS, which I assume will have the same SMA connector on board for the antenna.

So I came across this earlier

So I came across this earlier, and ended up following the BOM and such, honestly it's a pretty big win over where I was able to mount the antenna before.  Works fine with the 4G module, and I'd generally recommend this.

Stanton's picture
Glad you were able to get it

Glad you were able to get it to work. I still haven't been able to make a successful splice/connection (after like 4 tries), so I'm stuck using a "stand-alone" GSM antenna for now. I have enough parts for another couple of tries, but won't have the time until later this year.

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