I recently decided to dedicate my old iPod nano as my "car-tunes" device and since the battery is getting weak I wanted to ensure consistent power for long trips. I bought 2 USB adapters for the cigarette lighter from overstock.com. They are about $3.50 each and decided to convert a blank switchplate on my Honda's dash into a USB power port.
There is nothing revolutionary here, just wanted to add my variation on the theme. I wanted it to look as OEM as possible. I think it turned out real clean.
Dremel with shaping bits
USB 12v power adaptor
hot glue gun
about 1.5 hours total time
Step 1: The USB power adapter
It didn't take long to find inexpensive 12v USB power adapters. I found these at overstock.com and they are from eforcity (not a promotion). I was looking for something with a small form-factor and that appeared easy to disassemble. I bought two ($3.50 ea) in case I messed one up, but didn't. I put the second one in the "power port" in my wife's car for the kids to use.
Step 2: The Console face
It is pretty easy to remove the console face completely from the car. I suggest that you do so that you can work on the bench and not in the car.
Step 3: Preparing the blank
I will skip over the dremel and knife work, you know what to do. I started my holes using the drill press for control, especially for the LED opening. I needed to remove some material from the back of the blank to get a nice fit. I finished the edges of the opening with a jeweler's file to get a nice edge.
Step 4: The USB device
Once the adapter is open, it is easy to see how simple the installation will be. I de-soldered the "hot" spring and one of the "neutral" contacts. I was going to re-solder both using the PCB spots but couldn't get the "neutral" wire in, so ended up soldering it to the other "neutral" contact. No-biggie.
The last picture is the dry fit before I glue it in.