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E-Class (W212) 2010-present: E 350, E 550

Installing 4-port USB socket in console. Question?

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Old 03-31-2018, 06:00 PM
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Installed 4-port USB socket in console. (Pics included)

I am installing a 4-port USB socket in the console (2016 W212). It will go into the otherwise useless ashtray, properly and tastefully built to look like it is fully integrated with the car. (Pictures later)

Meanwhile, I have a question for you electronics wizards... Can I simply solder the pos/neg wires from this new unit to the pos/neg poles in the existing cigarette lighter socket? I can run a neg to ground in the console and a pos to an unused, switched slot in the left-dash fuse block if I have to, but would prefer not to fish a wire under the dash. (The existing lighter socket is being used for a radar detector, until I can decide whether to hard wire it)

A cigarette lighter is a simple device, so I'm thinking I can add (essentially) a second cigarette lighter location (powering the USB assembly instead) in series with it in the existing lighter socket, provided that 12v power will be the same in both. So I'm open to electrician advice. TIA. .

Last edited by DFWdude; 04-05-2018 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Change Title
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Old 03-31-2018, 08:28 PM
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Conceptually the positive and negative wires could be attached to anything that meant the voltage/amp specs. You have to be careful that all the devices when attached will be within the specs. There is risk of course.

I recall someone posted a while back about hardwiring a USB hub into the center console by tapping into the wiring for the 12V running to the rear. Don't recall the details or if they were even successful.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:46 PM
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Does anyone know if the wires on the lighter sockets (forward console or console rear) are soldered in place, or are there connector clips?
haven't had time yet to disassemble the console to look.
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:10 AM
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they are usually a right angle three slot connector. If the socket is illuminated it will have all three active prongs. Only two prongs will be active for one that is not illuminated.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DFWdude View Post
I am installing a 4-port USB socket in the console (2016 W212). It will go into the otherwise useless ashtray, properly and tastefully built to look like it is fully integrated with the car. (Pictures later)

Meanwhile, I have a question for you electronics wizards... Can I simply solder the pos/neg wires from this new unit to the pos/neg poles in the existing cigarette lighter socket? I can run a neg to ground in the console and a pos to an unused, switched slot in the left-dash fuse block if I have to, but would prefer not to fish a wire under the dash. (The existing lighter socket is being used for a radar detector, until I can decide whether to hard wire it)

A cigarette lighter is a simple device, so I'm thinking I can add (essentially) a second cigarette lighter location (powering the USB assembly instead) in series with it in the existing lighter socket, provided that 12v power will be the same in both. So I'm open to electrician advice. TIA. .
I did the exact thing on mine awhile ago. I tapped into the positive and negative wires which go into the bottom of the 12v plug/cigarette lighter. If I remember correctly the negative was brown and the positive was either blue or green. Off of it I ran a 12v 2.1 A USB phone charger to a wireless cradle I made for my Samsung and it's been doing fine ever since. I used 16 gauge wire and 3M tap connectors. Soldering would be a good idea too but might turn messy.
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:50 PM
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Well, this project is done. Thanks to all for the suggestions. Not only do I have a 4-port USB hub, but also a two finger-wide cubbyhole for spare change. What a way to use a worthless ashtray...

The charger is a standard Hypergear 6.8 amp cigarette lighter plug (in black), cut down to leave only the top panel and the internal electronics. https://www.frys.com/product/9239939...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG



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Old 04-04-2018, 04:27 PM
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Looks good. Any pics of the wiring behind the scenes? Is the 12v outlet still live for your radar detector?
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by thefisch View Post
Looks good. Any pics of the wiring behind the scenes? Is the 12v outlet still live for your radar detector?
It's wired to the pos/neg terminals of the cig lighter as Oda112 confirmed. Both the 12v outlet for the radar detector and the hub work like a peach.

Getting the console apart to pull the center console segment was a PITA, but thanks to searching several You-tube videos, the procedure was tedious, but not horrible. But I forgot to take pictures, cause I wanted to get it back together before I forgot how I got it all apart.

The wiring is bisected with connectors so the ashtray can be removed easily as needed.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:46 AM
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My 2016 E-Class did not have it... but I do wonder if the newer cars (any brand) will adopt USB power port stations as STANDARD equipment? Everyone who drives a nice car will have a cell phone... every couple or family will have two or more. Not to mention tablet and laptops for passengers. So, I think the need for device charging while on the move is just as important as having cup holders (if not moreso).

It used to be that Mercedes (all the German marks, really) were late adopters of convenience features that distracted from driving... My 2001 MB had cup holders as an afterthought, for example. But today, the Command system offers three data inputs (2 USBs in the console box and an SD slot in the dash) which is great for music, etc, but worthless for charging. I think Mercedes can be just as forward-thinking and generous by offering built-in charging stations as well.

As more people give up smoking the cancer sticks, it makes the space reserved for an ashtray more redundant and archaic. Might as well use the space for more positive purposes, IMO.

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Old 04-09-2018, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DFWdude View Post
Well, this project is done
I'm impressed with your skills! Have you thought about adapting your idea such that the center console's sliding door doesn't have to stay completely open to access the USB ports? Maybe simply rotating them would the ticket?

I'm nowhere near your level, but wanted a sleek USB charging cord option. I didn't like the idea of routing it from my armrest box, so I focused on the ashtray cig lighter / power port. By using a low-pro USB cig plug, I can keep the center console's sliding door closed or even 1/2 open while using it. That was important to me.





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Old 04-10-2018, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Rad View Post
I'm impressed with your skills! Have you thought about adapting your idea such that the center console's sliding door doesn't have to stay completely open to access the USB ports? Maybe simply rotating them would the ticket?

I'm nowhere near your level, but wanted a sleek USB charging cord option. I didn't like the idea of routing it from my armrest box, so I focused on the ashtray cig lighter / power port. By using a low-pro USB cig plug, I can keep the center console's sliding door closed or even 1/2 open while using it. That was important to me.


I had initially thought to do this myself, as I have several low profile, dual USB adapters. But I decided: 1) I didn't want to drill any holes in the console, limiting restoration to stock; 2) I didn't want to take the console apart every time the flat charging wire went bad (& it will); 3) I wanted more than two USB plugs; 4) I didn't want to deal with keeping the wire and plug away from sweaty drink cups that could short the connectors and damage the phone; and finally. 5) I wanted the socket free for use with the radar detector and other toys. Your idea works, too, so it's all good.

I see you have a rubber mat in lieu of the useless ash tray. That's cool, too.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:44 PM
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You’re right, I don’t put drinks in the passenger side drink holder - unless I pull the charging cable out (it’s on a cheap keychain style winding mechanism).

You also keenly pointed out the rubber mat in place of the useless ashtray. Its a genuine MB part that I bought online. I’ll update this post with the p/n on the underside of it. Not sure it’s better or worse than the ashtray, but it’s different.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Rad View Post

You also keenly pointed out the rubber mat in place of the useless ashtray. Its a genuine MB part that I bought online. I’ll update this post with the p/n on the underside of it. Not sure it’s better or worse than the ashtray, but it’s different.
Actually, the rubber mat would be very helpful for anyone using the low profile plug solution. With a short cord, the phone can then be placed in the ashtray space, resting on the (grippy) mat so it won't bounce around/mar the phone, etc. The mat also prevents small items falling (irretrievably) through that 3/4" hole in the plastic console underneath, never to be seen again (or worse, cause rattles).. Good idea, so p/n would be appreciated.

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Old 04-14-2018, 10:21 AM
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Merc p/n A204 683 05 94 is a perfect fit for my N. American 2012 W212 E550 sedan.

I got the idea from this thread: https://mbworld.org/forums/e-class-w...placement.html



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Old 04-16-2018, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the part number, Johnny Rad. I will order one of these soon.
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