It was supposed to be simple

I have three USB-power devices stuck to my dash or windshield – a Garmin nav, an old phone I use as an OBD-II dashboard, and a dash cam. We also sometimes need to charge our cell phones while driving. Three plus two = five USB power cords hanging off two lighter sockets, both down by our knees. Cords everywhere, always in the way.

Three of the devices are mounted up on the dash, so it makes sense to have a selection of power outlets on top of the dash. There’s lots of room up there. All I need is a 12V source on an accessory circuit.

The (crappy aftermarket Kenwood) radio supplied by Coachmen is adapted to fit using a kit that replaces part of the dashboard, and a magic goes-into-comes-outta box (iDatalink Maestro) that integrates some of the radio’s functionality into the rest of the dash. The dash panel that hides the back of the radio is removable. I figured I’d pop that panel off and find a place to pull power somewhere near the radio that comes with this vintage of Coachmen Crossfits.

Here’s what I found:

It’s in there someplace. Gotta be.

The bundle of wires under the radio ended up being a challenge to untangle enough to find a power source, and even more of a challenge to pack back into the available space. Spent an afternoon finding the right wire and making up a harness to feed my new USB adapters, and most of a morning stuffing the mess back under the dash panel. In retrospect it would have been much easier to fish a new wire down through the dash directly to a spare fuse or one of the accessory fuses that Ford provides, and leave that mess of a radio alone.

It’s back together though. I now have one lighter socket and two USB ports top-center of the dash above the radio, and an opportunity to clean up the mess of USB cords.

As an aside, I noticed the interesting method Coachmen used to power the radio. Back-to-back diodes allow the radio to be powered by the chassis when the coach battery is disconnected, or by the coach battery when the chassis battery is disconnected or the ignition is off without directly connecting the two batteries.

The downside to this is that the Accessory input on the radio will always be live, so the radio will draw power unless it’s shut off using the power button on the radio.






One response to “It was supposed to be simple”

  1. Thank God I don’t have such problems. At the moment my radio is not working in the car, no idea why. More importantly, the power steering has failed. Have to take care of my car for the 3rd time in 2 weeks. That’s probably a record.

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