Power Port for GPS/Cell Phone In A Vintage Vehicle

I recently went on a rather long trip to Truckstock 2012 in my stock '49 F-2. For added convenience and safety I wanted to use my GPS system and my cell phone but I thought I had to add some kind of 12 volt converter. I researched the subject found the newest devices use "smart chargers" which put out 5 volts and as long as they can sense an input voltage source as low as 6-7 they'll send out the needed 5 volts to charge the device.

Here's a description of what I did to install a power port in the negative ground, 6 volt system in my 1949 Ford F-2 truck.

I started with a dual port power port I found at my local farm supply store. I liked this unit for a few reasons. First it's made of metal, I've had problems in the past with plastic ones that the mounting ears broke off after inserting and pulling out the plug. Second, it had two ports, one for my GPS and one for my cell phone. I could have both plugged in at the same time. Third, I thought it looked kind of period correct and it tucked under the dash it wasn't as noticeable as the larger, clunkier plastic ones I found.

Here's what I started with:

Custom Accessories dual cigarette lighter receptacle part#49997 Custom Accessories - DUAL CIGARETTE LIGHTER RECEPTACLES
Two 1/4" round head nylon round headed bolts
Two 1/4" Keps nuts, eliminates the need for a lock washer
One crimp on ring terminal with a 1/4" hole
One crimp on ring terminal with a #10 hole
One plastic insulator, I just cut a piece of 1/8" thick piece of plastic to fit Solder iron and solder
Heat shrink tube

If your vehicle is like mine and has the stock positive ground electrical system you will have to maintain a negative ground in the power receptacle for the protection of your electronic device. You will have to insulate the case of the power receptacle from the metal of the dashboard and swap the power lead, the black negative wire of the power port will become your hot wire, the red positive wire will become your ground wire. Follow the steps below to wire your power power. If your vehicle is negative ground you just have to wire it up like a normal 12 volt unit.

Step 1: I cut the red wire coming from the center post of the receptacle, keeping the fuse holder for later use, attached the 1/4" crimp ring terminal.

Step 2: I soldered the fuse terminal to the black wire coming from the receptacle and covered it with a piece of heat shrink tubing. On the other end of the fuse I crimped on smaller #10 ring terminal to attach to the accessory post on the ignition switch.

Step 3: I cut the piece of plastic to fit and inserted it between the receptacle and the bottom of the dashboard, using the 1/4" nylon bolts and Keps nuts to fasten it to the underside of the dashboard. I also inserted the 1/4" ring terminal between one of the Keps nuts and the metal dashboard.

I used this set up on my 1600 mile trip without a problem. Both my GPS and cell phone worked great. Whenever my cell phone got low I'd plug it into the receptacle and it would charge to full. I didn't notice if it took longer to charge in my F-2 than it did in my daily driver but I doubt if it did it was much longer.

Last updated on November 5,2012