How to: Add a USB charger. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Add a USB charger.

Kazer

Explorer Addict
Joined
March 13, 2010
Messages
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City, State
Sneads Ferry, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Excursion PSD
This is my first kinda sorta write up, so please be easy on me.
Okay, this really wasn’t difficult enough for a write up, but why not.
I’m always charging my phone on the go in my ex but I hated the bulkyness of those usb cigarette lighter adapters, so I wanted to put in a usb power point.
Pictures and instructions follow:
Start by removing the top section of the center console (7MM) Picture courtesy of BigRondo
1bRemovescrewundermat.jpg

Pry from rear as indicated by the arrows. Pictures courtesy of BigRondo
1cPryfromrear.jpg

1dDisconnectPowerSources.jpg


Next, I went to the auto parts store and picked up an aftermarket cigarette lighter, in-line fuse holder, and a 15amp fuse.
Attach the fuse holder to some 16 gauge wire and it down to the driver side footwell behind the lower part of the center console
100_0628.jpg

100_0629.jpg

I tapped the power wire into the delayed accessory fuse up under the dash by the hood release (after realizing i wanted to tap into an existing fuse, i knew i porbably didnt need the 15amp in line fuse but i wired it in anyways. you will definitely need that inline fuse if you wire directly to the battery)
100_0634.jpg

This is where I ran another wire and where I grounded it
100_0633.jpg

Here you are
100_0632.jpg

I found an extra usb plate thingy off my girlfriend’s brothers custom built computer and figured it was perfect
100_0637.jpg

Mark and cut!
100_0639.jpg

Mounted in the hole
100_0642.jpg

100_0643.jpg

The usb thingy I found was female on both sides and it mounted to the black front plate, so I did some splicing and whatnot to get a male to male connector
100_0645.jpg

Plug all the wires into their respective homes and you get this
100_0647.jpg

Put it all back together and you have a nice factory looking usb charger
100_0656.jpg

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100_0648.jpg


And there you go!
enjoy
 



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Looks good but I recommend stepping down the voltage from 12v to 5v with a linear converter or something else.. Pushing 12v thru to the usb can damage the batteries on your phones and other devices.
 






i forgot to mention in the op but there is a 12v usb adapter plugged into the aftermarket cigarette lighter. it is gray in the pictures, but difficult to see

It's hiding in the mess of wires

100_0647-1.jpg
 






Good Idea Kazer! and good write up as well
 






Okay, so the usb wall plate mount looks to be a "Kramer WU-AA"

Thanks jwigs!
 






Kazer, on pic 3, you see a harness (right side, orange plug, pointed at with an arrow) that is plugged by a cap, that is supposed to be the wiring for the cigarrette lighter on the smokers package, IIRC, why not use that instead of running new wires?
Aside from that it looks really good, I want to get a power inverter with USB and do both the 12v and usb plugs in the center console with the inverter itself hidden
 






Steve, I call stolen photos! :p:

Just kidding. ;) Nice write-up and a great idea. I am adding this to the list. :thumbsup:
 


















Got any pics of the install?

Bad camera phone picture, but this is it. I wired it into the stereo 12V, so it powers on/off with the radio to control the XM and whatever else I plug into it. It has a bracket so it can be easily removed, too.
 

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Bad camera phone picture, but this is it. I wired it into the stereo 12V, so it powers on/off with the radio to control the XM and whatever else I plug into it. It has a bracket so it can be easily removed, too.

Thanks for the pic. Outstanding job on the install.
 






Great write up! Maybe the OEM will add this eventually. They already have 120 volt power outlets in some vehicles.

Brooklyn, I vote for this to be a sticky! :thumbsup:
 






Our local Walgreens has a mini-Usb charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter and sells for about $5. Also, it is about 3/4 the size of a regular car charger, so it isn't bulky at all. Anyway, you did a great job, and I don't want to rain on your parade, but it seems like you went through a lot of trouble.
 






Our local Walgreens has a mini-Usb charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter and sells for about $5. Also, it is about 3/4 the size of a regular car charger, so it isn't bulky at all. Anyway, you did a great job, and I don't want to rain on your parade, but it seems like you went through a lot of trouble.

It would take all of thirty minutes to do, but the other perk is now he has a open cigarette lighter port (for other types of chargers) and he can still charge his electronics with the usb.
 






i got to say, thats pretty damn cool. i have one of those usb-cig lighter adapters already, but you can never have enough places to charge stuff these days. if i had the same type of center console you had, i would probably try this on out too.
 






Thanks guys.
All in all it was about 30ish minutes from removing the top part of the center console to getting everything back together. And I just got back from Ohio and the usb charger worked great for charging my phone while my gps charged in the cigarette lighter and the gfs phone charged in the factory cigarette lighter on the back side of the console.
 












Thanks Brooklyn! Lol
 



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As an electronics tech, I can offer a few insights.

First, the inline fuse isn't needed. USB auto adapters that are that long should have a fuse in the tip.

And at any rate, for ease of use, just tap on to the existing 12V outlets. Stock is a 15A fuse. More than enough for 3 12V taps. it'll save you a few bucks.

Check your adapter, for smart phones i recomend a 1A charger. Non smart phones, 500ma will be fine, the amperage determines your charging speed. I use my phone as a gps unit, and a 500mA charger will let my phone battery drain, slowly.

USB hubs would be usesless. New phones/ GPS units use voltage on the D+ and D- lines for charging. With a hub attached to just power, my phone isn't charging. ymmv.

Here is what i did. I found that Most outlet/usb charger like JoshMcMadMac's are only 500mA. they don't charge my phone well enough.


I tapped into the rear seat's 12V outlet in the center console. Yes those are quick disconnet T-Taps. I bought them years ago, and found them just before i did this, luck as it were, I want many more, they are so clean. see the OP for removal instructions. I just snaked the wire fron the opening under the dash to the 12v wires.
2011-12-08_09-12-36_641.jpg



I got this on ebay for 10 bucks, 4 ports. It had an led installed that lit the blue ring up half way, my diagnal cutters removed it. The top has flaps for a clean look. the back outlets are open to the air. it's very clean looking. I bought a few small 1A USB Car Chargers, $1.75 ea on ebay. Here is the finished look
2011-12-08_09-12-54_985.jpg


ordering the usb ports later when i have some time to figure out where i want to put them. maybe at the front of the console under the HVAC controls.
 






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