12V in-the-dash install - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-09-2012, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: PA
Posts: 964
12V in-the-dash install

I found a thread by Black Lab on installing a 12V outlet, which in retrospect seems far easier and more clever than this. But this is what I did. Maybe it will help someone get over the fear of cutting into their dashboard and "just do it."

The usual suspect: a marine 12V "cigarette lighter" power socket:

Note I've soldered wires on the connections and shrink-tubed them BEFORE starting the job. Soldered because I don't EVER want to monkey around under here replacing a popped-off spade connector; done BEFORE the job because I don't EVER want to monkey around under here soldering. Note also the tabs every 45deg on the locknut.

The candidate area covered in masking tape: this will allow marking, re-marking, and cutting without damaging the surrounding plastic. To the right you can see a handy metal hoop into which you could likely just shove the socket and be done a-la Black Lab.

The masking tape allows for banal marking methods. Make sure you have clearance BEHIND the panel to accomodate the penetration of the installed socket and it's wiring.
Note since the nut threads on the socket, the inside of it is a good approximation of the socket's size.

The plastic is soft, and about 3/32" thick (guessing). There are MANY ways to cut a hole in it. A utility knife + patience is a viable option. I think trying to buy the RIGHT sized drill bit here is a mistake/ overkill. Fit is really critical, drill walk would be catastrophic, and it's just a 3/32" thickness not wholy unlike the consistency of hard cheese.
I drilled a bunch of small holes for some reason.

I thought the slug would pop right out, but I needed to connect some of the dots with a razor blade.

This is the part where I actually paid attention to my work, so I didn't document it well. Note the file in the center right side of the pic. Happily it is rounded on one side and worked a treat to smooth out the edges and sneak up on my marked line. Checking fit often, I stopped when I could JUST wiggle the socket in.
Again, soft plastic - many ways to skin this cat. Sandpaper wrapped around a dowel - or even a marker - would work well, too. Don't over-think this...

My carefull fitting resulted in having to actually "thread" the socket in. I think the socket plastic is a little harder than the dash plastic and it tapped the hole (I had to turn it all the way down and it bottomed tightly).
Thread the nut on the wire, and the wire guides it right to the back of the socket. I don't think you need to be much more than hand-tight on the plastic nut, but the plastic tabs enable a little you to shove it around with a screwdriver - meaning you only need access to a few degrees' worth of nut if you have girl hands. You can get this on in a VERY tight space if you're patient.... and have girl hands.

I fed the wires under the tank along the left side frame, using zip ties as it seemed prudent. There's plenty of room and options for routing.

The money shot... taken maybe 15 minutes after starting the job - altho it was wired previously per a post I saw somewhere here, which brings me to my last potential, "hey, why didn't I think of that?" moment:

The battery end.
I had previously wired the other end of the connector to a spare battery tender connector (so I could use it in my tankbag until I had the time to do this) and just couldn't think of a compelling reason to cut off the connector and install lugs.

Ok, hopefully that provides a few idea and some motivation. Just do it. Unless you go at it with power tools, insanely large cutting tools, or personal clumsiness amounting to slapstick, you'll be fine.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-19-2012, 02:01 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: London UK
Posts: 5
This is what I've done.

There is pre wired male socket for heated grips. so I bought female coupler and connected straight on 12V waterproof socket. Also there is spare bracket in fairings from inside, so I could fix the socket straight to it with clip nut. Steering is clear when GPS plugged in and wire fixed to the other wires with velcro.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-19-2012, 06:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: south georgia
Posts: 92
Use a forstner bit if you can get one ( pretty cheap ) and drill one hole and your done. Of course if you don't have one your technique also works.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-29-2012, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: PA
Posts: 964
Originally Posted by phoneman View Post
Use a forstner bit if you can get one ( pretty cheap ) and drill one hole and your done. Of course if you don't have one your technique also works.
The reason I posted this thread is to encourage those reluctant to cut into their plastic for fear of screwing it up. The dash material is so thin and so soft that I really DO think a drill bit here would have a much greater chance of causing problems. Just IMO.

If I had to do it again, I'd dispense with the drill entirely and use an Exacto -or even just a utility knife. That + care = job done with no special tools or drama.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-29-2012, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pasadna area
Posts: 13,186
Could be possible to get a hole saw the close diameter and do it in one swell foop.
That would give you good control with a variable speed drill. Sawing with an Exacto knife might be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Your results are good though.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-29-2012, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 229
My method for drilling into anything thin is to use a step bit. It has worked many times for various fig lighters, switches, holes for a cable run through, etc. Drill slow and the hole starts small and gets wider and wider. Check often and stop when you can press fit whatever you're mounting in it.

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-29-2012, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Braintree, Massachusetts
Posts: 8,025
I've had good luck with that particular 12V socket. My bike lives outside through New England winters and it was still corrosion free after 5 years. Good piece of kit!

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #8 of 15 Old 08-27-2012, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 106
I used a 1" holesaw. Took all of 2 seconds, and made a perfect looking factory hole that the marine grade socket dropped perfectly into. It all looks factory. This way leaves no imperfections.
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-13-2014, 07:46 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Qc, Canada
Posts: 833
Unibit work very well in plastic. 7/8" hole size in this case.

Unibit Cobalt Step Drill - Tools - IRWIN TOOLS
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-13-2014, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Monadnock region, NH
Posts: 20
Just ordered the lighter adapter that hooks to the battery tender connection. Hopefully it'll fit in one of the wire guide thingy that the clutch cable runs through on the triple tree. I'm a huge fans of taking the simplest route possible. 😎
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