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USB Cigarette Lighter Mod


Recently I was crawling around behind my desk, unlit cigarette in my mouth, plugging in my Microsoft precision 2 joystick getting ready to cause some serious mayhem in a nice online game of MechWarrior 4.As I crawled out from behind my desk, task accomplished , I noticed my dog staring at me, head cocked, ears up. She obviously thought I was insane.

And I'm thinking to myself, why in the hell cant I get a case like the ones the OEM's like compaq have. Nice little front USB connectors. Sweet, probably the only thing I like about a compaq machine. I have the extra set of USB ports that came with my Abit KT7-RAID. Maybe I could do something with them, to hell with compaq. Ill put in a set of my own. So I did. Here's how. Oh yeh,.where did my lighter go, hmm.

First of all I got my stuff together.


Starting Out

To go one step further I made a trip to the local auto parts store to pick up a cigarette lighter assembly, heh.

Cigarette Lighter

USB Dongle

As soon as I got home I started searching the web for the page where I had seen the lighter mod. No luck. After about an hour I decided it couldn't be to difficult to figure out. One thing I would like to point out, should you decide to try this make sure you have a strong psu. I have no idea how much power the lighter draws. 

The first step was to cut the dongle, ouch! Cut it about an inch and a half back from the mobo connector, give yourself plenty of room for stripping and soldering. Also, please take note that the white wire is very, very thin. Be careful stripping it or you wont have a wire! There are 2 black wires in the USB dongle, one is attached to the shielding, I would assume the wire is a ground, please take note of which wire is which so as not to cross them when reattaching the wires.

Repeat the process with the telephone wire. I used 18 inches, cut in half to extend my dongle 9 inches. Enough to reach where it needed to go. You may need more or less depending on the size of your case and where the ports need to reach. Remember, measure twice, cut once. You don't want to be done with this and find out you're an inch short.

Solder the wires one by one. You will have an extra in the telephone wire, I just cut it off. I will not go to far into detail, if you cant figure this one out maybe you should try something else. :-) After you're all done with the soldering be sure to carefully tape and bundle your wires. Make sure no exposed wires are touching. Bundle them up, nice and clean. After you finish that you can bundle it all up to give it a cleaner look.

USB Modification

After the modification in length

Cleaner and ready to be used.

Using the original USB plate I marked where I wanted the ports to be. I used the plate for size and screw position, and kind of eyeballed the distance from each edge. Then I used the dremel to cut the holes. For the lighter I used the illuminated ring as a template, also eyeballing position. After cutting my holes I mounted the USB ports. Make sure you do the soldering on the lighter assembly AFTER you mount it. In the photo you will see how  did the soldering. I had to take it back apart to mount it!

    On to the lighter! I chose a lighter assembly with an illuminated ring. Nothing but the best for my baby! Mount the lighter assembly in the bay cover! (remember?) I cut all wires off the power splitter except one ground and one 12v (yellow) wire. Leaving the female molex connector to connect to the case power supply unit. Tape off any bare wires leaving only the stripped ends of the black and yellow wires. You should have something that looks like this.

Cigarette Lighter Modification

Molex connector modification for the Cigarette Lighter Power.

    I soldered the yellow wire to the brass nut on the back of the lighter assembly, that is the hot. Also if you also chose the illuminated lighter assembly the wire attached to the back of the light should be hot, so it would also be attached to the same screw. The black wire on the molex is ground so I soldered it to the ground for the lighter which was a tab on the side of the assembly.

Molex connector attached to the Cigarette Lighter

Now I have everything mounted in the bay cover. I have taped up all of my loose wires and its ready to go in my case.

Back shot of both pieces installed in the 5.25" bay

Finished Product, Pretty eh? :)

    After pulling all my wires through the bay, connecting my new, longer USB dongle to the mobo and connecting the power lead I made for my lighter. I snapped in the bay cover, this is what I had done.

Finished Product

Installed in the case, looking' PimP !

    After taking care of all that I powered up, Success!

Oooooh!  It works!

Joystick USB cable running to front of case and saving me all the trouble from plugging it in and taking it out from the back!