For many months now I’ve been putting off a project on my car, and I finally decided the time was right the weekend to get it done. Between my GPS, Sirius Radio, and iPod, I was having serious contention for the sole (“cigarette lighter”) power connector in my car. After a few weeks of using a crappy 3-way splitter (and having it get knocked out by several passengers), I decided to do some wiring work in the car.
All of these devices operate on 5VDC, so I bought a Mean Well SD-25A-5 power supply with the intention of burying it in the dashboard. Spotlight tells me that this order was placed on March 1st, so that should give you an idea of how long this project has been nagging me. Originally I put it off because we were getting the old place ready to go on the market, then our move, then the oppressive heat of summer… It finally occurred to me that if I didn’t take care of it soon, I would delay it further because it was too cold out.
So on Sunday I decided to finally crack open the dashboard and fire up the soldering iron. Building the cables and harnesses went pretty smoothly, and after removing the dashboard (which I have done before), I was able to do my first “lap test” of the power supply and made sure that everything was running off of it. Fortunately, from a Sirius radio past (which ran on 12VDC), I already had a 12VDC line coming out of the stereo wiring harness, so that made testing very easy. That, though, was “always on” power (so I could pause the radio with the car off while I ran into a store), so I removed that harness and wired it to a switched feed. After reconnecting everything and making sure it still worked, I disconnected everything from the power supply and started preparing the more permanent runs. The Sirius is on a mount on the dashboard, so I was just able to sneak the power for that out between the trim and the dashboard. But the GPS required a hole to be drilled. I did a decent job, but it wasn’t as clean as I wanted… I’m going to find one of those car seat plastic repair kits they used to advertise on TV to clean it up a bit…
After finding a decent spot for the power supply to live, and reconnecting all of the wires, I gave it one last test before sealing up the dashboard, and everything was hunky-dory. I reconnected all the dashboard switches to the dash trim and popped it back in, screwing the few screws which hold it all together. I was satisfied with a job well done.
Until the ride to work this morning, when I quickly realized that my turn signals didn’t work at all… I got really angry, setting the stage for a bad day at work, and then when I got home I grabbed a flashlight, screwdriver, and hopedI could quickly figure it out.. Turns out than when I reconnected the wires going to the hazard switch, I accidentally put it into a dummy spot on the dashboard instead of hooking it up to the actual switch. I’m kind of surprised that the turn signals are dependent on the hazard switch, but whatever… Everything seems to be once again working, including my new modification.
I didn’t bother hooking up power for the iPod, since I rarely use it in the car and the traditional power socket is now completely free for it’s use. I think at some point I’m going to put a USB connector somewhere in the dash which could power any USB device (including the iPod), but for now I’m very satisfied.
3 thoughts on “(Mostly) successful project”
On a couple different cars that I’ve had, the turn signals depended on all kinds of things like brake lights and reverse lights and such. I think the idea is that you’ll notice your turn signal isn’t working long before you notice these are things are broken.
That’s an interesting theory… I probably wouldn’t have been in such a rush to fix the problem if it were just the hazard lights… In fact, I probably wouldn’t have noticed for a very long time…
Nice. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar. My bluetooth headset charges over USB (and wall power), but I always forget to bring it inside or back out once it’s charged. I have a dock for my iPod that’s wired into my car as a CD changer, but for some reason my iPhone doesn’t like charging on it. For now I’ve worked around it by using the old car adapter I had, which does work with the iPhone, but I’d like something a little neater.