Backseat USB Charger




Introduction: Backseat USB Charger

After all the feedbacks, I've added these warnings:

1- do not attempt this if your car has side airbags imbedded in the seat

2- make sure your back seat has sufficient room, so the 12v adaptor is not poking your neck/back area.

3- add an inline fuse, if you see yourself using it a lot.

Finding myself having more ipod/pad & phone devices on the road, I needed more charging options in the car.  Auto part store sell these multi-socket adaptors, but I like a cleaner solution with less wires showing.  

Material needed:

- Female cigarette adaptor
- Power car seat with removable access panel, of cause.
- Socket wrench with extender.
- Any wiring that's rated for 12v or more.
- Terminal connectors or soldering iron
- Spiral cutting tool.   I use my trusty RotoZip.
- volt meter
- A spacious, well lighted working area.

Step 1: Remove Car Seat

Pick the seat you want to hack and unbolt the floor railing.  Disconnect all electrical wirings to it & move to a well lit working area.

While you're down there, *** Find ** which wire/leads are the hot one (see step 4) with multi meter.

Step 2: Remove Back Panel

Remove back panel.  See if you have room to fit the cigarette adaptor in the seat cavity.  You may need to remove some foam materials.  I pick mine higher up, just below the head rest.

Step 3: Tap Into Existing Power Source.

Now the fun part:  you need to find an existing source & tap into it.  We picked the power seat motor just because the pin connectors were easier to remove.

Step 4:

You need to find which is the hot wire & match with existing lighter.  We stupidly didn't do that back in step 2, and need to put the seat back, power it to to find the A/C leads.   Live & learn.

Step 5: Test & Install.

Temporarily, connect everything & test for charging.   Hopefully, everything should work & no shorts.

 Install is the reverse process.  Enjoy your new charger.



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    19 Discussions

    This modification that you have described and shown pictures of is not a USB charger. It is a standard automotive cigarete lighter type 12 volt charger. A USB charger would be 5 volt and would be different hardware.

    4 replies

    yeah thats because you put a USB charger adapter into the 12v cigarete lighter

    BUT, what he installed is a 12 volt dc power outlet, not a USB outlet. He doesn't even go into detail in his report that you have to buy an additional $10 USB adapter to plug into the 12 vdc outlet that he has installed.

    I agree with this guy. You didn't hack in a USB port, you hacked in a 12 volt adapter port. Yes, you plugged in a USB adapter into that, but I would have preferred to just see you hack open the USB adapter and install that into the back of the seat. That would have nice.
    As it is, I like this hack and it is pretty nice looking. Thankfully, my car already has a 12 volt socket for the back seat. :)

    "A/C leads", "Cigarette lighter hacked into the seat", this is misleading. I am with sleblanc2 and wdsims63. Flush mount that charger, run 12v DC from seat straight into charger... Easy. I wouldn't even bother taking my seat out but that's cuz I'm hardcore!!!! :)

    Make sure to torque down the seat properly, as they are safety critical bolts under the seat.

    Would be easier to have a Wallie-mart multi-port extension and just hide the cord that doing all this and usually they have 2-3 lighter ports and 1-2 usb ports all on one module . Hacking the electrical system to the seat may cause other problems.

    Cool. Another place may be the door panels or somewhere on the door post,

    There's no way I'm going to take my own seat apart for this, but I really appreciate this instructable. It shows just the kind of "out of the box" thinking that I can never manage to do myself. But once I've seen it, I get inspired to do some simpler variation (like the suggested center console mods). Thanks!

    " find the A/C leads."

    Not sure what you mean by this, but if you mean AC electricity, I think you meant to say DC. Otherwise, A/C usually means air conditioning.

    Just to clarify, you tapped into 2 prongs that are always powered by 12Volts. Correct?

    It's great to have more places to charge our many gadgets. I applaud your enthusiasm for plunging into removing a car seat and tapping into a power source. But it's important to note that many modern cars have side air bags. Sometimes they are installed within the seats. These devices have explosive potential, requiring special precautions from car mechanics, (and even rescue personnel in car accidents.) Altering the wiring from the SRS (supplemental restraint system) at a minimum could pop up a dash light warning, but also, digging around in an SRS-equipped seat carries risk of physical injury. So this needs careful consideration from any makers.

    2 replies

    Any wiring to do with the SRS/Airbag/Seatbelt Pre-tensioners will be wrapped with yellow wiring loom/tape so that it's easily identified. I agree on the "stay far away" recommendation.

    Thank You, I've done research on my make/model before diving in. No airbags in mine.

    The placement of the outlet looks dangerous!
    If you crash and have something/someone heavy in the back seat. It/he/she will push the outlet in to the back of the person sitting in the front seat and cause serious injury.

    I did a similar mod to my car, tapping into the wiring for the original power outlet. I mounted a 12v port under my dash with a 2 port kinivo charger in it. Then I ran USB extension cables to bulkhead outlets where I wanted them.

    Step 6. Fling open door and run for safety after vinyl carseat with cigarette lighter housing bursts into flames when someone in the frontseat passes someone in the backseat the actual cigarette lighter.

    Thank you all for loving this !