October 1, 2011

Little HOW-TO corner: 12V lighter socket for GPS and Phone Charger

I love the classic look of my Yamaha SR400. At the same time however, I do appreciate some comforts modern technology offers. That's why I decided to add a 12V lighter socket to my bike. It will keep my phone charged and enable me to bring along my (car) GPS on longer tours.

There are very helpful and detailed instructions on how to do it here, but I'll show you my rather low-tech version.
What you need:
- 12V cigarette lighter socket
- electrical connections (plug and socket)
- a ON-OFF switch
- 1m cable (red and black)

I also strongly advise to solder all your connections. If you only put them together manually, they will easily oxidise (lower the conductivity) and are easily subjected to loosening and breaking due to the bikes vibrations.

Also necessary are isolating, heat-shrinking tubes to keep dirt and water away from your connections and the ever helpful electrical tape (not in the picture).

These are the metal connectors for the plastic plug (and socket). Solder your plus and minus cables on them and stick them in the plug (and socket). Make sure the red wire connects to the red and the black to the black. Once you put the metal connectors in the plastic  plug (or socket), you can't take them out again. (see those little hooks?)

This is the connection that goes from the battery to the switch.

12V lighter socket with GPS plug

Solder your negative and positve wires onto the base of the socked as shown in this picture.


Next, remove the battery connection to avoid accidental shorts. Cut those wires and add your connector to them. Solder and isolate with electrical tape and/or heat-shrink tubes. I used both. I used the white plastic connection just because it gives me the freedom of a 12V outlet for other things, should the need arise, but you can also do without it.

I drilled a small hole in the toolbox opening and inserted the switch. Having a switch is good in my opinion, as I don't want to have power in the socket all the time. You never know if a lizard decides to go there and commit suicide, frying your battery at the same time.

The socket and the switch fit easily inside the toolbox. There's still enough space for my emergency tools.

There's no visible alteration to the bike's aesthetic once the plastic side cover goes back.

I'm sure there are other and more professional ways to do it, but I think this is good enough. It works and it doesn't affect the look of the bike and that's what matters.

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