Introduction: USB Pimp My Landy

About: I am Married to Louise, I am an Architect and have four wonderful children

This instructable shows how to build a simple mod for any Land Rover (or car) to give me somewhere to store a service record or any other useful documents.
(My little notebook that I used to use as a service record kept getting wet/ scribbled in/ lost) hence the need for permanant storage)

The dash storage device is made from a USB memory stick and a dead external hard drive case

Step 1: You Will Need...

You will need a USB memory stick - the one I used was a promotional freebee with a massive 128Mb of storage
And a old external hard drive case (The drive shown here is one I dropped 6' onto my garage floor - it stopped working!)

Just the usual electronics tools

Step 2: Salvage Components

You will need the USB socket from the hard drive case - this is a type B socket which allows you to use a A-B USB cable, very common for printers and scanners. I usea a mini-blowtorch to unsolder the USB socket as my soldering iron would not put out enough heat to desolder the larger areas of metal.

You will need to extract the circuit board from the USB stick and remove the USB plug. It is very easy to break the pads off when desoldering (I did) so it might be better to cut the pins from the back of the plug before desoldering

Step 3: Make Some Wings

The USB socket needs some wings to allow it to be riveted to the faceplate.

The wings are formed from pieces of copper broken off from a slating repair strap

1) Carefully prise the casing from the socket
2) Solder the two tabs on the sides using a powerful soldering iron
3) reassemble the case on the socket

I did have to add a couple of blobs of solder after reassembly as I found that the case of the socket was being pushed apart when I inserted a plug

Step 4: Make the Faceplate

The faceplate is made from the casing of the external drive case

It is 60mm square and has a 13mm hole in the centre (I made the large hole using a router - but a drill will do)
It has a 4mm hole at each corner and a 4mm hole for a rivet 12.5mm either side of the central hole

1)  mark out the positions of the holes
2) Centre punch
3) Drill
4) Cut out square using a hacksaw
5) File the sides smooth
6) cut off corners
7) drill the tabs on the USB socket and rivet to the faceplate

Step 5: Assemble

I used hot melt glue to hold the LED in place and also to mount the memory stick on the USB socket

When wiring the USB socket I plugged in an A-B usb lead and used a continuity tester to work out which pins on the B socket connected to which pins on the A plug.

I then wired the pins on the back of the USB socket to the pads on the USB sick using fine copper wire wire (The type with a insulating coating which burns off when you solder)

Step 6: Mount in Dashboard

Here comes the point of no return!

Hold the faceplate backwards on the dashboard and mark the position of the four mounting holes
draw two diaganols between these to find the centre.

Drill tiny holes at the corners for self tapping screws
and one big (in this case 40mm) hole in the centre to pass the innards through


Step 7: Finished

Now you have a USB enabled car and can store your service record on a spreadsheet

Use a A-B type cable to hook up a laptop

(That is my 6 month old son fighting for control of the camera)

MakerBot Challenge

Participated in the
MakerBot Challenge