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A break-in, and USB Power

May 2015.

Summer's here and we decided to go camping at our super-secret-undisclosed-location-that-you-have-to-rush-to-or-someone-else-will-get-there-first.

While there, we had a great time, including an epic fire that was bigger than our daughter.

But being four years old, and sitting in the back seat for three hours each direction, @mini.turbodb understandably got bored and started playing around (unbeknownst to us) with the back window in the truck, ultimately leaving it unlatched/unlocked.

No biggie, except that when we got back, I parked the truck in the alley behind the house and left it overnight, where some young hooligan randomly happened to try the back window and found it unlocked. As far as I can tell, they then wriggled themselves in through the window and tried to remove the new stereo I'd installed a couple years earlier.

They failed. But not before trashing the center dash - breaking, bending, and scratching several of the plastic components.

Oh and if they'd had a screw driver, and weren't such a hooligan, they could have removed the stereo with 4 screws and no damage. But life is life.

As I waited for the center console to come in, I realized that I could use this as an opportunity to upgrade the truck in a major way. USB ports. I'd been using an adapter that plugged into one of my three cigarette lighters, but in 2015, we can do better. I bought a 12v, 2-port socket meant for boats, but that with the front rectangular panel removed, happened to be the same diameter as the socket for one of my cigarette lighters.

In it went, and pow. Now I can charge two phones at the same time, right from the dash. And it looks stock, right down to the green LED when it's powered.

Take that hooligan.

[Update Oct. 2017]
I've since replaced this USB charger with a different model due to some RFI issues is was causing.
See Mod wars - USB charger RFI vs. Ham Radio


  1. Eric Vigil
    Eric Vigil January 30, 2023

    good work !
    Question : why did you put the USB adapter unit in the cigarette lighter instead of just using one of the two 12v sockets below ?
    I'm assuming you had a reason, and/or I looked at my taco (same model) and that cig lighter looks like a pain to get to/out, have to remove the whole face yes ?
    The bottom ones you can just pop off the bottom trim.
    Thoughts ? pics of that install/removal of the lighter unit.
    Cheers !

    • turbodb
      turbodb January 30, 2023

      Hey Eric, I replaced the cigarette lighter for a few reasons. First (and most important) was because I'm never going to use it as a cigarette lighter, and I don't want anyone else to, either, hahaha! Second, it seemed nice to keep the two (already) 12v power outlets (with their covers) next to each other, rather than usurping one, and then having the cigarette lighter act as the "second." Lastly, I'm pretty sure they are on different circuits, and so by using the lighter location for USB charging, I still have all the current available to the two 12v power receptacles.

      You do need to remove the entire center (black) face, which is harder than just removing the lower trim, but not that much harder. Here's a write-up on how to do it, specifically, #3 - center finish panel. Once it's out, it's easy to replace the lighter.

      By the way - there are some additional pics, and a bit of discussion about RFI (radio frequency interference) and USB chargers in this post: Mod Wars - USB charger blocking Ham Radio Communication.

      Shout if you have questions on any of that.

  2. Eric
    Eric February 1, 2023

    Thanks for the reply !
    I think for the sake of not having to remove the climate control face and trim (not till I have to), I'll leave the cig socket for now (I don't use it for cig's anyway) but I'll probably install that USB unit in one of the bottom sockets since it's simpler. Off topic question : where do you recommend sourcing recovery gear ? I know you can get almost anything on Amazon, but is there an off road vendor that you have had good experience with ? 4Wd parts, morris 4x4 , etc. ? I got a Bubba Rope from them direct , but wanted to get some other less expensive parts , shackles, tree straps, etc. Thanks !

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