Lots of powered add-ons in the car, but hate wires
March 31, 2008 12:18 PM   Subscribe

I've got four add-ons in my car that need 12VDC power: cell phone, sat radio, ipod, GPS. If you have this same problem, and you hate seeing wires everywhere, what have you done about this? Bonus points if you drive my car (2004 toyota corrolla).

As you might guess, I'm not interested in one of those 4-in-1 cigarette lighter ports. I guess I'm wondering if it's possible to run wires back through the dash into the fusebox, and how many devices can you do that with? And what did it cost?

Wondering how people are dealing with this in general.
posted by luser to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I personally consolidated the iPod/Sat Radio issue with an Alpine reciever that has inputs for both. However, I believe most GPS devices have a hardwiring kit that will let you do this. For the iPod, you can get extension cables and run them to wherever they need to be. With all those devices, however, you're looking at one of those 4-in-1s anyway as you need to get power to them somehow, but you can get one with a longish cord and put the splitter under the passenger seat or in the glove box.

Having all those devices as separate accessories is going to be hard to keep as tidy as you want.
posted by Ksilebo at 12:30 PM on March 31, 2008

I've done this in two cars. Wire a splitter behind the dash and tap into the cigarette lighter's power. Plug the chargers into the splitter and duct tape them in as they have a tendency to pop out. Then just route the charger leads to wherever you want them to come out. I have my iPod one coming out at the emergency brake, cell phone comes into the center console, and GPS to the glove compartment, so I can just pull it out when I need it.
posted by AaRdVarK at 12:36 PM on March 31, 2008

Few, if any of those devices run on 12V - there is a DC-DC adaptor in the plug.
The ipod is 5V, and a lot of cellphones are also 5V. If you're lucky, the GPS might also be 5V, not sure about the radio. So at the least you may be able to consolidate the adaptors and have multiple devices running off the same 12V plug, thus no need for a 4-in-1 cigarette adaptor. (You might need to buy a beefier 12V->5V plug though).

If you want to do this (or anything) without a soldering iron, it will be harder, because waht you want is a custom cabling solution. But if you want to do it without soldering, I'd suggest you spend $10 to buy a soldering iron and get your feet wet - it's not hard and is a useful thing to learn to do.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:37 PM on March 31, 2008

Response by poster: iPod/Sat Radio issue with an Alpine reciever that has inputs for both

Power inputs? Is this common? I have a Kenwood head unit that has an aux in on the front, maybe there's power inputs on the back?
posted by luser at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2008

Power inputs? Is this common? I have a Kenwood head unit that has an aux in on the front, maybe there's power inputs on the back?

Its the Alpine iDA-X001. The iPod basically charges via USB, and it has its own SatRadio, Bluetooth, etc. modules. The unit only has a standard USB port and the necessary plugs for the Sat/BT/etc modules. It just would make sense to me to integrate those 2. I wouldn't integrate the GPS because I have a TomTom Go 930 that is a heck of a lot better than any in-dash satnav system that I've seen so far.

The addon modules are a bit spendy but I only wanted the iPod functionality (built in, no extra buy) and the Bluetooth (extra module that does handsfree carphone, A2DP and AVRCP). Additionally some Sat Radio kits have available hard wiring kits as well, now that I think about it.

I do all this because my 99 Audi A6 didn't have all of this when it rolled off the lot in 99, and I wanted to be able to take my GPS with me when travelling (Hertz's NeverLost sucks) while being able to throw my iPod or USB drive into my glove box and not worry about having to control it from the iPod. This setup also lets me control my phone while in music player mode and my Macbook if I have it paired for audio. Going out of the scope of what you're looking for, but it would eliminate a lot of the wiring you had if you were to consolidate the iPod/SatRadio into the receiver. My phone and GPS still go to a 3 way splitter under my front passenger seat strictly for power.
posted by Ksilebo at 1:02 PM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

First off I have an 2004 corrolla. You do know you have 2 cigarette lighter ports right?

Second why not just bu ya car/plane/boat/regular power adapter.

The one I have works in the cig port and also has a usb port to power usb powered devices. So you can charge 2 things at once.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:17 PM on March 31, 2008

So you can use that to charge 2 things and use the second cig port to charge something else that sits in your inbetween seet box and connected to the cig port inside it.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:19 PM on March 31, 2008

It may not work for you, but I have a two port USB charger that fits into a cigarette lighter that I use to charge my iPhone and other things. Unfortuntely my Wife's stupid Motorola Razor 3xx, which can charge off a computer USB port, and which can charge via a motorola charger that seems to have a 5 pin mini usb connector, will not charge from a generic USB charger.
posted by Good Brain at 3:34 PM on March 31, 2008

You know it's possible to consolidate a great many of those separate functions into a single PDA Phone, especially if you commute within an EVDO region? Run XM Mobile or similar, use something like Resco Radio for streaming audio, and get a phone with an A-GPS chip. Finally, a good music/video player like CoreAudio and you are set.
posted by meehawl at 9:15 PM on March 31, 2008

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