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How about USB sockets and a switch instead of the archaic phone?

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  • How about USB sockets and a switch instead of the archaic phone?

    I mentioned re-routing the lighter circuit in another post. That made me really ambitious: How about wiring a USB socket or two in the aft phone compartment, using the hole where the curly cord lives? I mean, how hard could it be?!

    Oh, my stars and garters.

    Let me simply say that this project involved removing the entire center console. Looking back, I believe it could have been MUCH easier if I had left the console in place and just worked as before, through the brake-boot opening. But by the time poor Nancy Drew looked like I had tossed a grenade in the car, at least I had learned a lot about the center console: To remove it, you must remove the shifer boot and the shifter surround and the brake boot in order to disconnect various wires. There is a fiendish device that locks the aft cubby There are small Torx screws and 10-mm bolts. You must remove the radio. Oh, and there are two screws that you can't remove until you remove the center vents. But you can't remove those until you remove the instrument cluster—and that means you have to pull the panels to the left and right of it.

    All this to work on the floor of the aft cubby—which could have come out with everything else still in place.

    Anyway, The wiring itself is straightforward: the line to the front of the passenger seat is still in place, but now it has the benefit of a switch in the cubby—which also controls the two USB sockets in the cubby. The switch occupies the center hole for the phone brack (carefully enlarged to hold the switch). There is space beneath this hole for the wires soldered to the switch.

    Here is how the switch looks when it's off:
    Attached Files

  • #2
    When it's on (powering the accesories line and the USB ports, the switch is recessed—and glows with a cool blue light (first picture). The final installation leaves a mostly flat floor for your iPhone.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      The wiring is not really all that complicated, but it took some experimentation to figure out how to power the blue light only when the switch was on. Also, more bullet connectors: one to connect to new bullets spliced to the original lighter wires, and one to connect to the accessories wire that goes out to the front of the passenger seat.

      The USB socket is simple, thank God! It uses two slip-on connectors. I made these lines long enough to route under a metal crossover between the two components.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Of course, when everything was reinstalled and buttoned down tight, the damn thing didn't work. So I knew that the snapping noise I'd heard when working with the live + wire, soldering in new bullet connectors had blown the fuse. It's the #10 fuse, 20 amps, in the glove-compartment fuse block. And yes, I had a spare 20-amp fuse from the passenger-side bin that houses the nav box. So it was a simple matter to replace the fuse, and—


        What the—?! Well, it must be something upstream, because I checked the workings of the switch before I installed the completed assembly. So out comes the brake-lever boot again, and the shifter surround, check the original lighter circuit: Dead, D-E-A-D dead. What the—?!

        Wait a minute: How long had the spare 20-amp fuse been in the fuse-box cover? Wasn't it sort of stuck in place? Why, yes—yes, it was. So how about we yank the fuse and look at it under better light? Hmm. Uh-huh. Yes, that white corrosion could be the problem! Brass wire brush: brushety brushety brush. Re-install fuse. Push eentsy-beentsy button: Is it glowing?


        And by this time, putting everything back in place has become such a repeated routine that I'm thinking about that stereo-iPod converter that uses the CD-player harness. I mean, how hard could it be?


        • #5
          Note to person, if you choose to follow Satch's endeavor: TURN THE USB switch OFF when not in use (and you're not in the car). It does pull from the battery. I learned this the hard way. That goes for your multi-outlet that you installed as well, Mr. Carlson.