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12V/Cigarette Adapter Relocation Tips for Aftermarket Consoles

13 April 2005
Due to a request in a previous thread located here, I decided to do a little write up on relocating the cigarette/12V adaptor for aftermarket consoles. Many people who decide to upgrade their NSX stereo to an aftermarket one, need a new center console such as the ones offer by Science of Speed and Dali.

Most of these consoles have an ashtray delete, which means the handy 12V adapter goes bye-bye with it as well. Relocating it is a fairly simple process, but there are some tricks that might make the process easier.

Unfortunately, I had already done the install prior to this write up so I don’t have any in-process pictures, but I’ll do my best to piece together the procedure I used. Also, I don’t know if the terminology I used is “official” or correct. I just made them up for explanation purposes only, so if get them wrong or cause confusion, my apologies.

The first question that was asked was what tools I used to cut the center console for the stereo and adapter. Personally, I used a Dremmel with cutting bit. I also used the router attachment as shown below. That way I could clamp down on the console and cut with both hands.



Prior to cutting I traced around the objects I was cutting a hole for with a scribe to mark the pattern in which I was going to cut. Then after the cut I used the sandpaper wheel attachment of the Dremmel to smooth out the cut marks. The key here is to cut less (inside the lines) because you can always remove/sand away more, but you can’t put material back. Below is a picture of the backside of a console where it has already been cut.


The first thing you need to do is to figure out what size hole you need for the 12V adapter. This is where the first problem comes into play. The 12V adapter is made up of 3 main pieces. The center socket piece; this is where you plug things into (indicated by the red arrows). The outer body, this is used to mount and hold the center socket piece to the console/ashtray assembly section (indicated by the yellow arrows). Finally is the screw cap (as indicated by the green arrows), this tightens the outer body down using a threaded screw so you get a nice secure and tight fit and so the whole adapter doesn’t come out when you pull the plug out. See my crude schematic drawing below:



The outer body sandwiches the center console/ashtray assembly to a lip on the center socket. When the end cap is screwed on, it basically “clamps” down on the console, holding the 12V adapter in place. Note the interface between the outer body and center socket (as indicated by the green arrows). The problem is that there is another lip which the center socket piece has (red arrows). Note the gap between the center socket lip and where the two pieces interface (yellow lines).


Now when this is in the ashtray assembly section this isn’t a problem because there is a recess built into the ashtray assembly to make up this gap. However, on an after market console there is no recess so the center socket piece would stick out and not sit flush with the console. If we cut the hole larger so that the center socket sits flush, you can see that there is no way to secure the 12V adapter to the console. So what do we do?


The solution is we need to modify the center body so that it has a wider contact patch to “clamp” down on the console. This can be done in a variety of different ways and I offer only just one suggested solution. This may not be the best or the easiest but it worked for me. What I did was to take some aluminum strips (yellow arrows) and fasten them to the outer body piece with some FastSteel Mastic Epoxy (red arrows). It’s basically an epoxy in playdoh-like form that you can find at the local hardware store (great stuff by the way. I use it for everything; you should always keep some handy.) I cut the aluminum strips so that they would press against the inside of the console and hold the socket in place. It’s not pretty, but it works. Another suggestion would be to use a baffle or blocking plate to “close the gap” between the two sections.



You’re almost there. The last part is the electrical. There are three main wires that attach to the 12V assembly:
White/Blue – Power (blue arrow)
Red – Illumination (red arrow)
Black – Ground (yellow arrow)
Because I didn’t want the lighter illuminated (amber glow created by a plastic ring around the assembly) I just cut the red wire. I left the white/blue power wire connected to the harness and I attached the black ground wire to the body of the assembly. There is a metal “arm” that sticks out from the outer body for this connection (green arrow).


Once everything is done, just slide the socket adapter through the dash. Slide the outer body (now with aluminum strapping clamps) over the socket adapter and screw it down tight with the end cap. The 12V adapter should now be tight and secure and sit flush on your dash.


Now put the dash back together (don’t forget to connect back the wiring harness), sit back and enjoy. Now you can use your cigarette lighter adapter for everything other than lighting a cigarettes: radar detector, charging your cel phone, accelerometer etc. Cheers!

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Malibu Rapper said:
Great writeup! What did you do with your aspirator fan? Junk it?

Great question. For those that don't know: when you delete the ashtray assembly, there is no place to put the aspirator fan that was attached to it. I thought about attaching it to the wooden bracket (you can see it in the above pictures, it looks like cardboard or a piece of cheeze in the background) I made to support my aftermarket headunit. But after I thought about it, with my A/C broken and nary a need for heat (Vegas), I just left it out. :tongue:
Vega$, excellent write-up, thanks for taking the time to do that. It definitely comes in handy for those of us doing something similar. :biggrin: