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 FAQ #116
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Install an Additional 12v Power Sockets for SatNav etc.
I've at last tracked down a source of proper looking 12v power sockets. All I've found in Halfrauds and MDC is naff looking ones.

I've bought two, and intend to put one to the lower right of the steering wheel for the satnav and one in the boot for my portable fridge (got to keep the Chablis chilled, don't you know!)

I suspect the one at the front won't be too difficult as there's loads of wires around the steering column and dash.

Then hopefully it's matter of running a cable to the boot and finding a convenient place for the socket, next to the boot light perhaps?

Well, that's the plan!

It's certainly proving more tricky than I first envisaged. I spent my lunch hour grovelling about the car with a mate who's into this sort of thing too. He owns a V8 Stag and 2 litre Mondeo turbo diesel estate, and messes about in boats as well.

The rear near-side shelf comes off fairly easily - one T20 self-tapper and a few plastic spring clips which need a hefty pull. But the seat belt runs through it, so I can't take it into the garage to cut a hole in it. Plus there's no live supply nearby, though there's a huge bundle of cables revealed, probably mostly for the rear lights.

We then looked at how a cable could be connected to the existing lighter and power outlet

The arm-rest assembly comes out easily enough - 6 × T20 and two simple locating clips, but we couldn't get the cup holder with the two sockets out. The power socket is essentially push fit with an awkward retaining lug, but there's insufficient slack in the cable to make access to add another wire. It won't come out any further than shown in the photo. There's a connector on the end, and I was worried that if it became disconnected, it'd be real pig to reconnect it without having full access to under the panel.

And then finally at the front. This does look straightforward after taking out 1 × T20 and tugging it down from the top, but again no live feed is immediately evident.

I was surprised to see all the wiring in place to the three blanking plates for additional facilities - though I'm not sure what they are.

So I reckon fitting the sockets seems OK, though I was hoping I could completely remove the panels and do the drilling in the garage rather than in situ.

But finding and accessing the live or even switched feed is proving a pain.

I forgot to bring my camera home - well actually I did - I left the SD card in the reader plugged into the PC!

I took out the lower front panel, and dis-connected all the wiring. It was fiddly but I expect it would be easier for someone with either the proper compression tool or small long fingers!

After some measuring and deciding, I drilled a 4 or 5mm hole as a guide for the hole cutter pilot. The plastic cuts easily and sprays out little black bits of swarf!. The hole was the exact size required and the socket fitted precisely. And although it is in the left hand side of the pocket, the SatNav plug goes in without difficulty.

Tool for cutting the hole (27mm)

Refitting the panel was a bit more tricky. All the wiring was reconnected - I'd made a note of which went were, but it seemed they're all unique and polarised fits, so there can no mistake on the assembly line.

Panel is fitted by first locating the lugs on the lower edge into the fascia to form a hinge and then slamming the top to lock it home. But the newly added socket sticks out proud, preventing the panel from closing.

So I had to remove the socket, fit the panel and then re-insert the socket and screw home the large retaining nut from behind. This is facilitated by access access after removing the panel directly below the steering wheel. But strictly speaking, this panel needs to fitted BEFORE the switch panel! After some fiddling around, I got all back together.

I now have 4 metres of 15 amp cable looking for a 12v supply.
It also needs to be grounded as it's fixed into plastic.

I'm getting there slowly.

Photos of power socket in the front pocket, which still needs to be connected to a live or switched feed.

I'm having a big re-think about putting one in the boot, as I can't find any where to fit. I spent about 45 minutes in the boot trying to make sure there was enough space to fit the socket. I've concluded the margins are so tight I'm not risking it. I'm not willing to cut the hole and find something is fouling it or I've damaged the shelf irreparably.

I'm looking [shadowbox=images/faq/1189533870_82_FT12855_newposition01.jpg|Can I fit another power socket here?||]here (red circle)[/shadowbox] now. It means removing most of the central fascia, but that's OK. Hopefully I can find my live or switched power supply underneath.

jthspace wrote ...
The cigarette lighter socket is live all the time and is not switched via the ignition (I pressed it in to see if it would heat / pop out - it did).

My ciggy lighter is subject to " Economy mode", but then this is a C4 5 door.

After fixing the rear wiper on SWMBO's F*c*s over the weekend, I eventually got round to looking under the bonnet for a 12v live feed. I'm off to Motorworld for some in-line fuses and big ring connectors for my extra power supply. I assume this is where lads with giant hi-fis get the power from - there doesn't seem to be anywhere else.

I now need to check out the re-boot procedure for when I disconnect the battery, which I think is in the download provided by masona - Click Here - (and now in the C4O tech library - Click Here - )

I then took out the whole central console (actually quite easy when I'd figured it all out) to access the live feed to the 12v socket under the armrest. The centre wire is the live, but having exposed it all, decided it was going to take some serious re-wiring to connect to it - lack of slack cable and lack of space.

The only two fixing points of the panel holding the ciggy lighter and 12v socket. Pull it up from the rear.

Is there anywhere on the steering column/ignition swtich to tap into? I never thought it would be so difficult to find 12v in a car!

I found a large blanking grommet but there were no wires going through it. I prodded a screw-driver through it but it hit something. I couldn't see anything by the pedal bracket either.

So I decided to splice into the supply to the 12v socket in front of the arm rest. Most of the time was spent dismantling and removing the plastic, though it does go back more easily.

I cut the live feed and return to the 12v Socket, adding in the new wires via simple 15A strip connectors, and then wrapping them in insulation tape. It doesn't look too good, but is well hidden.

Barrie has details of the wire colours in his FAQ - Click Here -

I then threaded the wires behind all the plastic and fitted them with traditional soldered spade connectors to the socket I'd added ages ago.

I can now just lift off the cradle and drop it in the door pocket, out of sight and take the satvav with me or put it in the boot.

(Apologies for the disjointed nature of the FAQ - it was put together from several postings, but does describe how the final solution was arrived at.)
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FAQ Posted by BigJohnD
Info Created: 29 December 2008
Last Updated: 29 January 2014