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Thread: USB Charger - Any vehicle

  1. #1
    Rookie vikhattangady's Avatar
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    Default USB Charger - Any vehicle

    As an Impulse owner, I always looked at this spot and wondered “What is this even for? And what can I do to make this emptiness into something cool and functional?”

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    I know. What an eye sore.

    The answer: a USB charger

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    This is my guide on how to create a USB charger that can be installed in any vehicle with the appropriate use of one’s imagination and a half measure of jugaad.
    The photos will not be as good because when I made this, I was not in the habit of documenting everything for the purpose of blogging. However, PM me, and I will try to recreate some of the steps for photographs if the explanation provided is not very clear.

    Level – Requires moderate skill in drilling and soldering. Shouldn’t take more than a full day if you have all the parts

    5V voltage regulator (DIY: LM7805 5 Volts Voltage Regulator Circuit KIT | eBay, or readymade: 5V Voltage Regulator Converter AC DC TO DC Step Down Board LM7805 7805 | eBay)
    Electrical wire
    Heatsink recommended if the regulator does not have one already
    USB extension cable (need only the female end. Mine came with a dust proofing cap also)
    Moderate soldering skills
    A willingness to mess with your vehicle’s electronics

    Soldering Iron, flux and Solder
    Drill or rotary tool with 3-4 mm drill bit
    Hot glue gun
    Wire strippers (I prefer nail cutters)
    Insulation tape

    Step 1: Choose the location
    Choose the location where you want to have your USB outlet. Also consider what, when and how you will be charging. Will you be charging your phone while it is in your pocket? Or are you charging a GPS unit mounted on handlebars? Or maybe a GoPro stashed in a tankbag?
    Bottom line, consider your options and applications and choose a location accordingly. Make sure that once a charging wire is inserted, it does not interfere with or get caught up on any moving parts.
    Also select a location where your regulator circuit will be mounted. You will need a power supply and ground source close to the regulator, and space to run a wire from the circuit to the outlet. Make sure that your extension cable is long enough to allow this and leave extra slack if one end will be on the frame, and the other end will be on a part of the vehicle that moves with the handlebars.

    Step 2: Solder the circuit
    If you went the DIY route, wire up as per instructions provided, or follow this circuit diagram. Feel free to skip the LED if you don’t feel the need for it.
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    Another step has to be added to make this compatible with phones. A USB cable has 4 lines running through it. 5V, Data +, Data - and Ground (in that order). Android phones require the D+ and D- to be shorted to each other so that they recognize the connection as a power source. Apple devices need D+ and D- to both be providing a 2V signal (there is another variant where one pin gets 3.2V and the other gets 2V, but in that condition, it draws upto 2.1 Amps, which is more than the capacity of what we are building)
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    I added a switch so that I could supply 2V for charging Apple devices, or disconnect the 2V supply to the pins if I was charging Android phone, but it does not seem to cause any problem even if the 2V is provided, so switch is not required. The voltage bridge shown consists of 2 resistors, one of which is 1.5 times greater than the other. Let these be as large as possible to minimize losses. I used a 22k and 33k resistor. This provides a 2V outlet at the junction of the 2 resistors.

    Step 3: Begin Installation
    Locate where the circuit and socket will go and measure the length of wire needed to run the length between them. Measure that length from the female end of the USB cable and cut off a little excess. Route the cable as required. In some cases, it would make sense to drill holes to pass the cable through certain parts. In my case, I drilled a hole on the inside of the fairing, and passed the wire through that. This way, the regulator sits besides the headlight reflector, the wire coming from it passes through the hole, and into the empty cavity, at the end of which I positioned my USB female outlet.
    I used hot glue to hold the USB cable in place, and filled in the space around it with more hot glue to seal the gap. Another option would be to cut a rectangular hole to pass the USB port through a part, and hot glue it from behind.
    Place the circuit in its location and use double sided tape or hot glue to hold it in place

    Step 4: Wire up the circuit
    Once the wire has been run from the outlet to the circuit, trim to the length required and strip the 4 individual wires inside. Do this carefully as you have limited tries before the wire gets too short that it does not reach the circuit any more.
    Solder as follows:
    Red: +5V outlet
    Black: Ground
    Green and White connected to each other, then to the junction of the 2 resistances.
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    Step 5: Connect power
    As per your choice, you can either solder the supply connections to the circuit, however, I chose to use screw terminal pins so that I could disconnect and reconnect the supply if required.
    The point of taking the supply also is your choice. My suggestions are:
    1) Connect it to the wires that power the position lamp – advantageous if you are mounting the circuit close to the headlight like I did. It will require that your ignition key has to be on, and position lamp turned on for the charger to get power
    2) Connect it to the main power line on the vehicle, often a black cable. This will get a 12V supply when the ignition key is turned on. Best place to tap this cable is near the steering stem where there are a lot of couplers available, or near the fuse box
    3) Connect directly to the battery. This gives you the advantage of being able to charge a device without the need to switch on the vehicle. This is also the reason I would not recommend it as it will allow anyone to charge their devices and drain your battery without your permission. However, there are exceptions, like if you have the outlet inside a glove box or under the seat. That way, you can have device charging with the vehicle off, while at the same time, being locked away to prevent theft of device or unauthorized use of charger point.

    Step 6: Waterproofing, and done
    Once you have tested your charger and are satisfied that it works, it may be a good idea to waterproof it to keep it protected from the elements. For this, I covered it with a generous quantity of hot glue wherever a component was open to the surroundings.
    If you choose to do this step, make sure that you do not cover your heat sink (or the device could overheat) and do not cover the screw terminals (if you chose to use them)

    Step 7: Additional features
    In my case, I also had a dust proofing cap that came along with the cable. I knotted one end of a string and inserted the knot into a small dab of epoxy on the top of the cap. The other end of the string I tied off around a free spot on my bike. This way, when I removed the cap to use the outlet, the cap would dangle freely, and be there and ready when I was done using the port and wanted to recap the outlet for protection.

    So enjoy your modding, and PM me if you need any help. I’ve got quite a slew of mods to go along this one.
    Custom design DRL
    Rewiring switch cluster so that DRL are always on and you free up 1 spot on the switch for additional lighting/accessory control
    Helmet holder off the back of the bike
    LED winkers
    Reflective graphics
    Rewiring for Aftermarket (Xenon/HID) Headlights
    … just to name a few.
    Last edited by vikhattangady; 01-15-2016 at 09:30 AM.
    kdevdatta and i22 like this.
    Monsoon Ride 2014: Bangalore - Coorg
    Monsoon Ride 2015: Gurgaon - Lansdowne
    Diwali Ride 2015: Gurgaon - Mana/Badrinath

    Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2016
    Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare 2016

    Hero Impulse 2014 - Present

  2. #2
    Moderator Divya Sharan's Avatar
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    Default Re: USB Charger - Any vehicle

    DIY approved!

  3. #3
    Rookie vikhattangady's Avatar
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    Default Re: USB Charger - Any vehicle

    Waterproofing cap on the charger outlet:
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    Wire twisted once around handle bar to prevent tangling with any other part of the motorcycle:
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    Inside of my front fairing. In the centre is my voltage regulator circuit. 2 wires (Red and Black) bring in power from the pilot lamp wiring. Above the circuit is the wires passing through the hole in the fairing, and going to the USB port.
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    The white coupler seen dangling on the side is one that I salvaged from a scrapped motorcycle's wiring harness. It is the coupler that carries power to my LED aux lamps. The black fins in the upper right is part of the LED light heatsink
    Last edited by vikhattangady; 02-02-2016 at 09:30 AM. Reason: added photograph
    a_poor_blind_kid likes this.
    Monsoon Ride 2014: Bangalore - Coorg
    Monsoon Ride 2015: Gurgaon - Lansdowne
    Diwali Ride 2015: Gurgaon - Mana/Badrinath

    Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2016
    Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare 2016

    Hero Impulse 2014 - Present

  4. #4
    Addicted kaushik12041985's Avatar
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    Default Re: USB Charger - Any vehicle

    BOLT motorcycle usb charger

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