This guide will walk you through the process of installing the WRXtras 6-Switch Panel.
A quick note before we begin: Don't worry too much about the modifications you will be making to the cupholder trim piece. Down the road, should you decide to "revert to stock," a brand new trim piece direct from the dealership is less than $30 (at least in the USA.)
STEP 1: Drilling the Four Mounting Holes
Included in your order is a thin template meant to be used to ensure you properly locate the four holes that need to be drilled into the four shoulders of the forward cupholder. This will prevent damage to the aluminum faceplate if you were to use the switch panel itself as the locator and nick it with a drill bit. The template is an exact square, so orientation does not matter. Place it in the cupholder, and slide it all the way forward.
How you drill the holes is up to you. You can just hold the template in place with one hand while you drill with the other. You can tape the crap out of it to hold it in place while you drill. You can even use it to mark the holes, and then remove it and drill them separately. I recommend leaving it in place as it will help to prevent the bit from walking out of position. Either way, use a 1/8" drill bit to drill the holes. Be diligent with the drill so you don't accidentally scuff up the sides of the cupholder in the process.
STEP 2: Removing the Rear Portion of the Center Console
Open the center console armrest. Remove the liner at the bottom, under which you will see two screws. Remove them. You can leave them in there for safekeeping and close the armrest again.
Next, unclip the boot for the handbrake. All you need to do is reach down between the driver's seat and the center console, grab the bottom edge of the boot, and pull up. It takes a bit of force, but it will un-snap, and you can lift it up and out of the way.
Lifting the boot will have exposed a single screw that was hiding under the front of the boot. Remove it.
The only thing still holding the console in place is a popper opposite that screw (top right). Just grab the left edge of the console (to the left of the cupholder), and reach down between the passenger seat to grab the bottom edge on the right side, and give it a firm yank. The entire console should tilt up (don't just yeet it out of the car as there are still wires attached to it!) Carefully tilt the console up far enough to get access to the front side of the forward cupholder.
STEP 3: Drilling the Hole(s) to Route the Wires
You might be tempted to drill the hole in the bottom of the cupholder, but I'd advise drilling the front side for two reasons: 1) Your wires are likely going to be running that direction anyway, and 2) If you do spill something from a beverage stored in the rear cupholder, and it makes its way to the forward cupholder, it won't just pour out the bottom into your transmission tunnel. In my case, I had a 1/2" bit designed for plastic, so I just drilled two 1/2" holes side-by-side. Those two holes are just barely big enough to fit all of the wires.
STEP 4: Installing the Switch Panel
Running the wires and hooking everything up is the most annoying part of this process because you don't have a TON of extra wire length to work with. There is more than one way to skin a cat here, but this is the easiest way I found to do it (this is given my two smaller holes, but if you just drilled one giant hole, then adjust as necessary.) Take the wire harnesses, and pass them through. In my case, I passed three through each hole. Note that this is the time to label each set of wires (you can bundle each set together with masking tape and label them.) Otherwise good luck trying to figure out what wire goes to what switch once you're finished!
Now grab the switch panel itself. Unscrew the tiny little black nuts and remove the four bolts. Make sure the panel is in the proper orientation, and go about hooking up the wire harnesses.
Once they're all connected, carefully tilt the panel down and maneuver it into position, taking care to pull some of the slack through the hole(s), but without yanking too hard. Carefully insert the four bolts, taking care not to scuff the panel, push them through, and secure them with the included lock nuts.
Congratulations, your panel is installed! To re-install your center console, simply work backwards. Place it in position, re-install the screw in the upper left, snap the handbrake boot back into place, and re-install the two screws under the armrest. But first...
STEP 5: DO WIRING STUFF!!!
How you wire your panel is up to you. Each use case is different, and so I do not provide any specific guidance for wiring any of my panels. I also assume no responsibility for you being a moron and doing something incredibly dumb with your wiring! However, I do offer some basic tips:
Relays, relays, relays. If you are going to be powering devices that draw any significant amount of current, always use relays to power those devices, not just to ensure you don't exceed the rated capacity of the switch, but also to ensure you don't exceed the capacity of the wiring you are using to power to the switches. If you don't know what a relay is, Google can explain everything, but in a nutshell: you use the switch to trigger the relay, and it is the RELAY which powers the device.
The fuse box in the passenger compartment is a great power source if you are drawing minimal current, powering relays, or using these switches as signal wires, rather than load wires. Specifically, Fuse 13 powers the cigarette lighter in your center console, and is fused for 20A. It is switched power, and will turn off when the car is off. If you aren't carrying much load, you can provide power to all of those switches from one wire going to that fuse slot, in conjunction with an add-a-fuse adapter.
The bolt securing the fuse box to the internal structure of the car is a great ground location, but any bolt that connects directly to the metal structure of the vehicle should be a decent ground.
These switches have more leads than a typical, "basic" switch, because they can be wired up in different ways depending on how you want the switch to function, and how you want the LED to operate. The guides below show some common wiring setups depending on what you want to achieve.