Instructables

USB Car Power Bar

When my USB car charger died for the 3rd time in a year (Luckily previous were all replaced under warranty, Jimmy at the Telephone Booth is awesome!) I knew it was beyond replacement time now and I really wanted something more.

With the plethora of USB-powered/charged devices, I wanted something that could do more than one device and be more reliable that the retail ones in the store.

I had an idea, just needed a few parts/suggestions and I'd be all set.4-port USB Hub

 
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Step 1: 4-port USB Mod

Ok, so this step isn't totally necessary but I figure I was exploring and wanted to see what it looked like inside any ways.

Ideally I wanted to polish the plastic scratch from the clear surface and re-paint the body to match the car.  I can still do that later if I really want to.  Also, since we have a lazer at Thinkhaus (http://www.thinkhaus.org) I had dreams of getting all fancy with etching the logo into the plastic and lighting it up with either the existing LED or add more.  I settled for a printout of the logo set behind the clear cover.  Best not to completely over do this :)

Step 2: Fixing cheap crap

This is the underside of the 12V Power Accessory USB charger.  My $2,99 device wasn't working when I got it, so being the hacker that I am, I took it apart.  It seems this here quality product was rather hastily put together.  The USB port itself has a total of 6 prongs that poke into the ciruit board.  Two on the outside are large and are meant to hold it in place while the 4 smaller ones are in the middle and two of which are soldered into the circuit.  Well one of the large ones wasn't even through the hole in the board (bent) and one of the smaller ones was also bent.  So basically it wasn't even hooked up.  I desoldered it, cleaned it, straightened out the pins, resoldered it and then hot-glued the pins for more stability.  Worked just fine.
yo man4 years ago
cool! but did you install a after market deck (cd)
DragonDon (author)  yo man4 years ago
No after market deck yet, maybe later tis year. I just heard abut a 12V Fm transmitter that takes a USB drive....might be able to use my Android phone  on it.  We'll see :)
Hycro DragonDon3 years ago
I've got an FM transmitter that can use a USB memory stick, SD card (up to 8GB for sure, since that's the size I'm using) or it can use an analogue patch cord (which it comes with) It works ok, but, would likely work better if my car's antenna was a front fender type, rather than a rear quarter-panel type...since the transmitter has very limited range...I should rig up a cigarette lighter power port in my workshop, run of the same 12V supply that I'm running my AM/FM/TAPE stereo that I have up there (the one that was originally in my car), since I can have the transmitter closer to the antenna, just so I can see if my theory works...

The 12V supply is actually an old 6V/12V 10A battery charger that used to be my grandfather's, then my father's, and now mine, though it doesn't charge batteries the way it used to, it still works well enough to power a few 12V accessories in my workshop. It uses an old Selenium rectifier, and has a current draw "rotor" as it calls it, on it, as well as an indicator light, although, the light doesn't work...
DragonDon (author)  Hycro3 years ago
Ya, I saw those AFTER i had already bought this one. Also, by the time I decided to get one, they were all sold out from the local 'cargo store'. Wasn't willing to spend a lot of money on this, it just would have been nice to be able to use an SD card.
Hycro DragonDon3 years ago
The one I have is branded "Hip Street" Don't know the mother company or anything like that, but I have an mp3 player that is branded by that name too...and at a quick glance, people who don't know any better would think it was an iPod...lol
try searching "fm usb" on ebay. they have them as cheap as a dollar and most have remote too! :) nice instructable btw
DragonDon (author)  kt21123 years ago
Thanks for the note. Selling the car now as I'm moving to either Korea or Taiwan. I'll be able to get such things from the source ;)
well it would be crazy cool!
Hycro3 years ago
OMG! That's the SAME splitter I have...I bought it solely to turn the transmitter on/off when the car is on/off, since my power outlet is constantly powered...though, only 3 of the outlets work, one somehow came unhooked, and I re-soldered the other outlets so that they're always powered, for 12V chargers, which shut themselves off when they're not being used...the only one still switched is the one for the transmitter.
DragonDon (author)  Hycro3 years ago
Yah, damn cheap parts. But at least the majority of us on this site are skilled and willing enough to fix such crap. I was tempted to return it but it wasn't worth the effort.
Hycro Hycro3 years ago
I just wish I had have upgraded my splitter so that it could put out the full 15A that the power outlet is capable of, so I wouldn't need to unplug my splitter to plug in my air compressor...and now, my splitter is epoxied to my centre console...and the modified, non-switched ports all have the passenger seat against them...so, likely, to remove the splitter now, I'd have to remove my front passenger seat, and use a hacksaw to cut the epoxy. Although, being required to remove several other things to remove something that should otherwise be straight forward to remove is nothing new with my car...like, let's say I want to do something with the front door latches, the part that's in the door...first, I need to remove the window winder, which is a task in itself, because of the way the clips that hold them on are...then, remove the speaker grille, remove the speaker, and any screws I find under the grille/speaker, THEN I can remove the other screws for the door panel, and hopefully the panel comes off...
Don't get me started on changing any of the belts in the car...or the dash lights...
Hycro3 years ago
Is that an Acclaim you have??
I've got a Plymouth Breeze...lol.
DragonDon (author)  Hycro3 years ago
Nope, it's a 1992 Chrysler Dynasty LE. Incidentally, it's for sale as well.
Hycro3 years ago
Yes, mine was the same way...as well as one of the wires had broken off the metal collar that it was supposed to be soldered to...and I couldn't get it to re-solder, so I said f**k it...and decided not to use that one...which, it so happened, that I couldn't use it anyways because the front of my transmitter was in the way to be able to see what was on the screen (though, it only shows numbers, it is helpful to be able to find a certain track, if you know what number it is from scanning through them), and still have something plugged into the port next to it...without also unlatching the SD card...
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