DIY: Add USB Port into Upper Dash Tray

Punkindave

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How is the original cigarette lighter attached in the dash, would you wish to replace it by something like you did? Can you "click" the original simply out, or is there more involved?
To be honest, it was a pita to get the cigar lighter out.. Thought it would just snap out but it was a weird setup with a light for the surround that wasn't obvious how it was assembled. I had to Dremel cut the clear plastic bracket, I had to slightly enlarge the hole to fit the USB.
The end goal was to have a high power direct charging outlet, it works great!
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KIVO

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To be honest, it was a pita to get the cigar lighter out.. Thought it would just snap out but it was a weird setup with a light for the surround that wasn't obvious how it was assembled. I had to Dremel cut the clear plastic bracket, I had to slightly enlarge the hole to fit the USB.
The end goal was to have a high power direct charging outlet, it works great!
Thanks for coming back to me :)

I looked at it, but was wondering whether I missed something, as I could not clearly see how to take the darn thing out... Before going for the less subtle approach, I thought it could be a good idea to get some experience feedback first :)
 

CraigEdWood

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I added a USB port to the upper dash tray to charge devices while in the phone mount and not have a loose cord dangling all over the place. My JL is a base sport with the garbage 5" Uconnect so I only wanted power not CarPlay compatibility.

EDIT: I later discovered that the AUX wire bundle comes with an "ignition on" wire and "always hot" wire for accessories, in addition to the 4 buttons. I moved power from the cigarette lighter to the "ignition on" wire accordingly.

End product:
IMG_20200111_200329.jpg


Parts:
The USB port is USB-C, USB-A QC, and a voltmeter. I had this on hand from a different project but skip the voltmeter because it does reflect onto the windshield at night. If it bothers me I'll just put some black tape on it.
Mount is a Bulletproof Mounting Systems 2-ball JL mount.
Misc wires, connectors, and T-tap. Multimeter to confirm hot wire on cigarette lighter.
Phillips screwdriver for trim screw removal, 10mm for ground bolt. Wire strippers and pliers for the electrical.

I started by removing the HVAC controls, radio, and lower dash as seen in this video: Note to self, buy trim removal tools next trip to Harbor Freight.

With those parts removed, you can see the underside of the dash tray. Be careful where you drill the holes for the USB port, you need to leave clearance to put the radio back in without hitting the new USB port sticking down. Drill more towards the engine side of the tray, I centered it and got lucky because it's pretty close to the back of the radio. I don't know if Uconnect 7/8 are deeper, check before you drill.
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I ran two wires down along the existing wiring bundle, one for power tapped into the cigarette lighter and one for ground to a bolt behind the HVAC controls. There is minimal metal up near the dash tray for a ground. I don't have anything that uses the cigarette lighter so I'm not concerned about tapping in there, and never using that and the USB at the same time.
EDIT: I later discovered that the AUX wire bundle comes with an "ignition on" wire and "always hot" wire for accessories, in addition to the 4 buttons. I moved power from the cigarette lighter to the "ignition on" wire accordingly.

IMG_20200111_165824.jpg
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Trim the rubber dash tray insert to fit the phone mount and the USB port. Don't try and use the same hole saw as it will grab the rubber and walk, scratching it all up :mad:. Use a razor blade and go slow.
IMG_20200111_200329.jpg


Button everything back up and don't forget to put the screw back into the radio surround trim like I did. Next time I have the dash apart I'll put it back in. The port I ordered came with a dust cover which I will use if it's dusty or may get water in it.

IMG_20200111_200351.jpg


I haven't ordered cables yet as I wanted to measure length from the port, down the mount arm, and to the phone. I'll probably get 90° cables so it tucks in nice.

IMG_20200111_201820.jpg
I just installed one to my Aux 3, 15 amp. I picked up from Amazon however it got INSANELY hot after only 10 minutes. All I had running to it was my Amazon EchoAuto, which was the whole purpose for the project, to hide the wires (EchoAuto pictured.)
1B6E76C3-2CD3-4C62-B8ED-2E03D8FBA097.jpeg


When I say hot I mean fire hazard hot, I could barely touch the male end of the usb connector after removing it. Buyer beware, I’m posting the item that i bought—DO NOT go with this product. If anyone can recommend a quality hub option I’d appreciate it. Again- DO NOT buy the product in the image.

D3596879-8582-4F7F-8319-7471471DB334.jpeg
 

KIVO

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When I say hot I mean fire hazard hot, I could barely touch the male end of the usb connector after removing it. Buyer beware, I’m posting the item that i bought—DO NOT go with this product. If anyone can recommend a quality hub option I’d appreciate it. Again- DO NOT buy the product in the image.
Thanks for sharing. I actually have two very similar ones ready to install... And it was one of my concerns when browsing for USB chargers - hot to tell the good from the bad?
 

MichaelAnthony

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I just installed one to my Aux 3, 15 amp. I picked up from Amazon however it got INSANELY hot after only 10 minutes. All I had running to it was my Amazon EchoAuto, which was the whole purpose for the project, to hide the wires (EchoAuto pictured.)
1B6E76C3-2CD3-4C62-B8ED-2E03D8FBA097.jpeg


When I say hot I mean fire hazard hot, I could barely touch the male end of the usb connector after removing it. Buyer beware, I’m posting the item that i bought—DO NOT go with this product. If anyone can recommend a quality hub option I’d appreciate it. Again- DO NOT buy the product in the image.

D3596879-8582-4F7F-8319-7471471DB334.jpeg
Yea I bought a half dozen of those
 

DarthDug

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Hi all, perhaps a dumb question but...
I see in the post 5 picture the 8.4 Uconnect has two USB connections plugging into it in. One has to be for the Front dash panel and the other has to be for the two USB plugs (in the center console and at the external back of the center console). If it is running a USB Y split for the console shouldn't I be able to add another USB Y split to add a dash pocket USB plug and have it accessible in the Uconnect as USB#4 ? Much simpler wiring and no need for a 12v to 5v step-down plus functionality in Uconnect.
 

DarthDug

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I just installed one to my Aux 3, 15 amp. I picked up from Amazon however it got INSANELY hot after only 10 minutes. All I had running to it was my Amazon EchoAuto, which was the whole purpose for the project, to hide the wires (EchoAuto pictured.)
1B6E76C3-2CD3-4C62-B8ED-2E03D8FBA097.jpeg


When I say hot I mean fire hazard hot, I could barely touch the male end of the usb connector after removing it. Buyer beware, I’m posting the item that i bought—DO NOT go with this product. If anyone can recommend a quality hub option I’d appreciate it. Again- DO NOT buy the product in the image.

D3596879-8582-4F7F-8319-7471471DB334.jpeg
USB plugs run at 5 volts. It sounds to like you might have powered it with a 12 volt source.

Screen Shot 2020-09-29 at 11.54.52 AM.jpg
 

DarthDug

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Hi all, perhaps a dumb question but...
I see in the post 5 picture the 8.4 Uconnect has two USB connections plugging into it in. One has to be for the Front dash panel and the other has to be for the two USB plugs (in the center console and at the external back of the center console). If it is running a USB Y split for the console shouldn't I be able to add another USB Y split to add a dash pocket USB plug and have it accessible in the Uconnect as USB#4 ? Much simpler wiring and no need for a 12v to 5v step-down plus functionality in Uconnect.
I dug into the dash today, the plugs don't look like the pic in post 5. this won't work.
 

aham23

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Edited my original post to add that I later discovered the AUX wire bundle comes with an "ignition on" wire and "always hot" wire for accessories, in addition to the 4 buttons. I moved power from the cigarette lighter to the "ignition on" wire accordingly.
How did you route that wire? If doing it this way from the start do you still need to pull the radio?
 

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That's what I wanted to do.
Your work inspired me.
It's fantastic.
The cable is no longer exposed when connecting the carplay.

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