Ashtray IPhone/iPod Dock




About: If it breaks, fix it. If it works, take it apart. If it can be bought, make it. If it doesn't exist, create it.

Convenient iPhone/ipod connection built into your ashtray!

Beginner - intermediate

Tools required.
Xacto blade

1x Car stereo with USB connection.
1x USB - ipod cable.
Liquid nails/strong adhesive.
Scrap sheet plastic.
Old iPod dock connector

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Step 1: Cut Plastic Base

Using an xacto knife,
Score and snap the plastic to fit within the ashtray.

Using a Drill / x-acto / dremel
Cut an opening for the iPod dock to fit in.

Step 2: Test Fit

Quick test fit of all the components together

Step 3: Glue Components Together

Take the plastic base, iPod dock, and USB cable.

Glue it together.

Step 4: Hole for USB Cable Pass Through

Enlarge a hole on the side/bottom of ashtray (hidden) for the USB cable to pass through.

Step 5: Assembly

Feed the USB cable through the enlarged hole.
Glue plastic base assembly to the ashtray.

Step 6: Back to the Car

Run the USB cable under the console towards the rear of the deck plug it in.

Insert assembly into the console.

Plug in your iPhone/iPod!

Scroll through playlists and charge your phone at the same time!


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    17 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi - this might be a "master of the obvious" question, so please forgive me. How are you powering the other end of the USB cable?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 6

    Awesome project! I see it's in an E30 ;) I was just planning to install a new stereo in my '89 bimmer so this is perfect!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice write up and the finished product looks so clean.
    I'd be worried about bumps or vibrations braking the pin connector or the female end in the phone/ipod. Hope it doesn't.
    Either way, great idea!

    adel antado

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I bought a cheap iphone holder and using VELCRO tape, attaced it to a convenient surface of the dash board. Now all I do is insert my phone into the holder when I drive.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great ible no matter what car you have,most have a "change pot" of some shape or description. remember, adaptation is the father of reinvention! (i think)

    I'm so surprised that US cars still have ashtrays... or is this just older models?
    I haven't had a car in the UK that's had an ashtray for over 10 years.
    Guess I'll have to find another place to stash my phone.

    4 replies

    In the US most people I know use their ashtrays for loose change, small objects.
    If they get rid of ashtrays they just need to change the name to "loose change tray."

    This interior I know -- it's a 3 series BMW, which was discontinued in 1991, so you're looking at an at least 21 years old car here.

    mcgary911Doctor Jazz

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    E30 3 series finished up in '91. The 3 series continued with the e36, e46 and today's e9xs. I have an E46 M3, and thought about doing something just like this. I even bought a bunch of stuff to build one. I considered a spec dock, but wanted to integrate a port for a usb drive as well, which the spec dock lacks. I ended up putting it in the center console. I don't need to see the thing, as I control everything with the steering wheel buttons. If I really need to see\handle it, I left enough cable to reel it out. I have some pics from my install. One of these days I should post the project here.

    One nice touch for a build like this, would be to cover the plastic with a nice piece of leather. That was my plan. I got a 10" x 10" piece from the craft store for about $5.

    Actually, a lot of modern US cars don't either, though many of them are sold with "Smoker's Packages" that convert some other cubby hole or cupholder into a makeshift ashtray. Even the traditional cigarette lighter found in older cars has now been relabeled as a "Power Port."

    But the US has tons of older cars on the road -- the average age of registered vehicles in the US, independent of special historic or classic vehicles registries, is 10.8 years. So we have lots of cars with ashtrays, even if they're not being used as such. Current statistics indicate that less than a fifth of adults in the US. (19.3%), so for the vast majority of us, what was traditionally an ashtray is free storage space.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea generator. While the specific project involves one specific type of auto, it does give me some ideas for my cars which all have entirely different ashtrays. Right now I use them to store cables, power and USB, but your project gives me a few other ideas.



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Had this in my car ages ago but it kept disconnecting when I went over a bump. If you have a BMW it's best to just get a spec dock it's easier than making one....


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great ible if you have a 91 BMW.....................................