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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #1
I have had a wild idea appear!

Would it be possible to wire up a couple USB ports to be made available in the car for various electronics charging? I was thinking it could be tied into the accessory outlet, or possibly wired directly to the battery, but with an inline fuse.

My questions are, what would it take, is it even feasible, and how could I do it better?

I am just a bit tired of running everything from the accessory outlet, I want to tidy up the cockpit!

Thanks for the input!

:icon_biggrin:
 

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2012 XT Touring 4EAT
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Would it be possible to wire up a couple USB ports to be made available in the car for various electronics charging? I was thinking it could be tied into the accessory outlet, or possibly wired directly to the battery, but with an inline fuse.
It's easy to do. You probably don't need to go directly to the battery. Tapping on to the 12v cigarette lighter outlet in your dash is quick and convenient.

A year or so back, I added one of these on my vehicle, tapping into the 12v socket wiring. The gizmo I used came from eBay Car Led Display USB Power Supply. So far, it's worked just fine. You could add several of them if needed. I mostly use it to power my Garmin Nuvi.


I wired it so that when I unplug the cigarette lighter harness, this device unplugs as well - the device is actually taped to the back of the console in this area. I did not add a fuse. If you search eBay or maybe Amazon, there's a version of this available with mounting 'ears' on the USB port - might be handy.
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hey, thats a pretty great idea Dave! I just may use that!

Any suggestions on where to mount the ports? I was thinking two for the back seat and two for the front seat, or is that just plain excessive?

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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2012 XT Touring 4EAT
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Any suggestions on where to mount the ports? I was thinking two for the back seat and two for the front seat, or is that just plain excessive?
Go to eBay. Search for 'Car Led Display USB Power Supply' or most of those words. You will find the item above, plus the models with mounting ears on the USB port. That should give you an idea of the physical size.

As for location, it could be inside the console box or on the back of the console (so maybe rear seat passengers could re-charge). Or, it could be up around the ash tray area.

As for me, I have the unit pictured above. I added a couple of gauges that replaced the ash tray and the 12v socket. I just let the USB port-on-a-pigtail lay on the ledge, right below the gauges. It is not visible if not in use.
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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605 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hmm, I think I'll order a couple of the double USB mounting tab included versions.

I think I will mount two for the rear passengers, above the fold down cup holders. But the front two have me stymied, mainly because I want to do away with the cigarette lighter location for cords to plug into. Maybe inside the arm rest cubby, that could work. Or possibly a combination, one in the cubby, one up by the ashtray.

The real trick will be mounting the ports and making them look natural and snazzy. I shall think some more on this, and once they arrive I can better scheme on how to best mount them!

Keep your ideas coming, I really do appreciate them!
 

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2014 XT Premium CVT
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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #7
Edit: aaaand, I just realized this is not what you're looking for at all. Carry on! :icon_redface:
No worries man! :icon_wink:

I am currently running a system like that, and its quite functional for the front half of the rig, but i want to get power to the backseat, as well as tidy up the cockpit.:icon_biggrin:
Plus I think this mod would be fun and unique!

:woohoo:
 

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2012 X w/PZEV 4EAT
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I'm just thinking about, if I was in the back seat of a Forester, where would be a convenient place to plug in my iPhone.

You could maybe hide a USB port inside the seat back pockets.

Or build one into the back of the center console.

Or somewhere in the side of the door panel. Maybe near the handle so you could drop your phone into the little cavity while it's charging.

Or, if you want to be really fancy, build one into the middle of the flip-out cupholder :)
 

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2007 FXT vf37 swapped 4EAT w/ VDC
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If you are more of a DIY electronics guy you could use a 7805 voltage regulator per outlet and what's called a panel mount usb socket. I like this socket but you could use cheaper sockets if you can cut rectangular holes extremely accurately.
I was going to mention this yesterday. Digikey has some good options for panel mounts.
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #12
Hmmm, I like the Digikey option, though it does require a pretty large hole and a good amount of depth.

I was hoping to do a DIY electrical project, 12v projects aren't usually too bad. I like a challenge!

:icon_biggrin:
 

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2014 Forester 2.0XT CVT
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I don't understand why auto manufactures don't build in USB charging ports. The old cigarette lighter/power outlet is so 1950's in a modern car.
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #15
I don't understand why auto manufactures don't build in USB charging ports. The old cigarette lighter/power outlet is so 1950's in a modern car.
I have to agree with you there Sage! Even though my subbie is only an 01, it still seems like a rational addition to any cabin! While the Cig lighter is versatile, it is definitely outdated!

:icon_biggrin:
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #16
Started my USB port mod..... But it's turning out to be a bit of a frustration.. I can't find a good 12 v source of power.. I tried piggybacking onto the cigarette lighter lines, but no juice.. Grrrr.... Oh well, tomorrow I will search out a source. On the good side I mounted the ports nicely! I'm pretty pleased with the outcome!
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, so the USB ports are in. :woohoo:

I think it went pretty well, I may buy a new ebrake/seatheater switch panel, because the front usb install isn't as clean as I would like, but it's ok for now..:icon_cool:
I used a band saw to cut the notches for the front ports, and decided to wedge the rear ports under the center tunnel trim, out of the way, but still useful! I used some JB weld to hold them in place. Not as clean looking as I would like.... But, it'll work for now.
Anyway... Photos, I really wish I had a better camera, my cell phone pics are just absolutely :censored: HORRIBLE!!! :mob:
Front, both of them.

Rear..



And a random current pic!
 

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1999 Forester 5mt
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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks! I ended up putting in 4 total, two in front and two in back. The only slightly odd thing is that the hardware I got doesn't push a whole lot of power to the port, so when I plug in my phone to any of the extra USB ports it goes into "slow charge" mode.. Which is weird, because its pulling power from the cigarette lighter and from the seat heater circuit, and when I charge my phone from the cig plugin it does just fine. Meh, it works just fine :biggrin:
 
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