How do I hardwire a 7 port USB hub into my truck for charging USB devices?

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by PantheraUncia, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    GM does make built in USB charging ports, it might be worth a look to see how their doing theirs and if it's a simple swap/install or entails lots of extra wiring and components.
    Many 2011 and up trucks come with the USB port that connects to the stereo and can recharge items.
  2. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    My Kenwood headunit has a USB port on it, but I believe it only has enough power for the 1 USB port, not sure it has power for charging an Ipad, it might charge a cell phone.

    I need multiple ports anyway (at least 3) for my personal phone, my on call phone for work, and my ipad. It would be allot simpler to reverse engineer a 7 port hub to get extra ports and make it compatible with the power system in the truck, well I thought it would be.

    And then if I have my phone plugged into the USB port on the head unit, where does the thumb drive go with my music on it ? :)
  3. Jaele

    Jaele Rockstar 100 Posts

    Just a quick note... Even though the iPad says its not charging it actually is, it's just not as fast. If you are plugged into the laptop and using the iPad it will recharge the battery a little slower then what is being used. Not sure if this helps you in your decision making.
  4. moogvo

    moogvo Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Originally, your question was how to take 12 volts and make it into 5. The easiest way, assuming that you do not have the electronics knowledge needed to design and build this particular circuit. Rather than to give you a parts list of the materials you would need to build it yourself, I told you that what you want is already out there.

    Advance auto sells a cigarette lighter adapter that has 3 lighter sockets and a USB port for charging. Now, you could get one of those and use it in one of two ways:

    1. Take the unit apart and take the already engineered regulator out and use that to power the USB hub that you said you wanted to use in the first place or,

    2. Use the unit as-is and buy 3 cigarette lighter to double USB adapters, plugging one into each of the unit's cigarette lighter sockets, giving you a total of 7 USB charging ports.

    At no point did I ever suggest you buy all of those items and dismantle them all for the parts to make a completely custom enclosure.

    Either way, you are never going to be able to pull 14 amps through any circuit of this type.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  5. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Thats not what I meant..... Anything that gets plugged into the cigarette lighter socket is a problem, whether it is a usb adapter, spot light, etc. They are just really prone to failure.

    So my thinking was to get 7 x 2.1 amp cigarette lighter USB adapters where each one has the resistors, regulator, pcb and gut them and make 1 unit with a single hot and a single cold lead that I can wire into the truck somewhere making it a clean install or factory type look.

    That should give me 7 usb ports with 2.1a to each one for faster charging.
  6. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    That is good to know, although I think I am using the power quicker than it can charge in that case :)
  7. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I got a chance today to disassemble one of the 2.1a single USB cigarette lighter adapters and here is what I found:

    Here you can see the parts of the USB adapter.

    Top view

    Bottom View

    Close up of the hot and cold connectors.

    So this thing is already regulated down to v5 2.1a from 12v. What I am thinking about doing is taking 7 of these units and gutting them out of their cigarette lighter adapter and then installing them in a 7 port USB Hub housing for a normal USB Hub.

    I am going to remove the coil spring for the positive connector and replace it with a red 10g wire for hot and the clip (negative) with a black 10g wire for the negative on each one.

    I am thinking about adding a terminal strip for later expansion if needed.

    And then I can just take the positive and negative from the cigarette lighter socket in the truck, remove it and put caps on them to connect them to the terminal blocks wires.
  8. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Actually I just found this:

    Apple is trying to be sneaky. They always have to do something dumb to make stuff not work with normal stuff.
  9. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    That's why I don't monetarily reward them with my money. Ever.
  10. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    So this project is moving forward now after being benched for a few weeks. After learning how to solder and make a mess of it at [MENTION=50075]SurrealOne[/MENTION] 's place, I picked up a soldering iron and decided I was going to fix me some leads on the USB charger in the photos above.

    (This is my second attempt at soldering anything) so it is not the best.




    So what I have now is 1 2.1amp USB charger with leads that I can either splice into my + and - cigarette lighter power cables behind the dash. All I need are 6 more to get 7 ports and an enclosure that will fit it all.

    Then I will have my 7 port USB charging station in the truck.

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