Friday, June 22, 2007

Project 1 Finished

I finally have a working 12V socket in my car now. I decided to use the 3-way power source and added a few custom options to it, along with some customized functionality using what was already built-in to it.

I added two more 12V sockets to my center console and changed the configuration so that it wasn't sticking straight up in the air (in front of the radio controls) when I plugged in an accessory, such as my cell phone charger.
Since I have no need for an ash tray, I completely removed it, and made the plugs face out instead of a hinged design as it was originally. The lack of room inside the area forced me to mount them in the way I did.
Here is what it looked like originally (sort of):Ok, I really just put the ash tray cover back on top of the finished project for the picture, and the color didn't quite work with the flash. On the plus side, though, you can see how I missed the wood color at the top, not too far off, but a good bit lighter than the original wood.

Originally, the power socket is on when the ignition is in position 2, (i.e. Run). So if I turn the car off, the power to this socket is cut. Not a big deal, but I don't like to charge my phone, then stop, then start again, etc. So I wanted one that would stay on even if I turned the car off. Not too difficult, but enough to get to do something different.

Finished Project
Well, this is what it came to look like when I finished.
If you notice the metal showing around the radio, that's just where I forgot to put the plastic trim back around the radio. The black line on the left is my cassette adapter cord running from my tape player to the back of the center console underneath the wood in the bottom of the picture. I have (since I made the picture) replaced the trim, and hid the cord behind the 12V socket wood.
Basically, the piece just fits in the space with friction, and the sockets themselves are held in place by hot glue, and a piece of wood wedging them against the main wood piece. I put a picture up later to explain it. The two black buttons operate the functions I added to the sockets.

The added functionality was really just a preference of mine for the needs I have. One is a plug that is tied to a constant 12V source (i.e. the battery). The second is to utilize the built-in battery/charging system monitoring lights that were on the donor unit.

1. The constant voltage (i.e. always on) socket was accomplished by modifying the power bus that the unit uses. I ended up using the far left socket for this use because it looks different than the others (its actually a cigarette lighter, not just a power socket).
For safety's sake I added a 10A fuse to this, and also a switch to cut the power manually if I want to have this switch turned off at any time.

2. The monitor that came with this donor unit is simply 3 LED's (red, yellow, green) that light up according to battery voltage, or charging system status. Its a neat little function and I decided to keep it since I would have had 3 holes there had I removed it. The modification I made to it though was that it would only come on when I wanted it on. I accomplished this using a cheap momentary switch I got at Radio Shack and routed through the constant power supply line instead of the original ignition switch source line.

3. I also added a power indicator (that I scavenged from the power plug on the donor unit). Its just a red LED I glued in the bottom to indicate that there is power going to the two socket on the right. I added this mainly since the plugs that connect to the factory plugs is a little loose and I wanted a way to trouble shoot the system if it didn't work.

I like it. My brother was ragging me about it, but ended up liking it when I finished it. Right now, the constant power socket isn't actually functioning correctly because I am having trouble finding a place to run a dedicated 12V+ line in through the firewall. I did find that I could tap into the clock 12V line since it is fused with the cigarette lighter circuit, so it should hold the current.

I did route the cassette adapter behind the project, and replaced the radio trim so it looks really nice. I debated adding another coat of stain, but I already have it installed and it looks good enough that I don't want to change it.

Next up: Fixing that dang oil leak.

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