Installing A Cell Phone Charger Into A Classic

By Roy Lange

This is for all of the people that have cell phones and want to charge them while driving their classic Mercury.

If your car is 12 volt, it is not an issue, because all you need to do is get a cigarette lighter adaptor (pictured at right), plug it in and you are good to go.

The plug reduces the 12 volts down to the 5 volts required to power/charge the phone. But, if you are dealing with a 6-volt positive ground, it is slightly more complicated, but still not too difficult.

I have a 1953 Monterey convertible that is a 6-volt. I bought a USB kit from eBay (look for it searching for “motorcycle USB ports”).

I decided to install it in the ashtray. I wasn’t using it anyway, since I gave up smoking when cigarettes went from a quarter to 35 cents from a machine.

I located mine in the ashtray, but you can put yours wherever you want. I had another ashtray in the extra dash that I have hanging on the wall.

First, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the ashtray and put a rubber grommet in it to make sure the metal wouldn’t rub, cut the wire and create a short. The best thing about these USB units is that they are all plastic, so there are no grounding issues.

I took the plastic rectangle that came with the unit (one of the reasons I bought this USB plug) and cut it down so that it fits directly in the top of the ash tray.

Since I have a 6-volt positive ground car, I remembered that the “+” side of the plug goes to ground and the “-” side of the plug goes to the hot lead, controlled by the ignition switch (mine is still 6-volt positive ground in the 1953 Merc).

The red wire goes to the power source (ignition switch), while the black wire goes to wherever you want to ground it.

This unit reduces the 6 volts down to the 5 volts required to power or charge the phone. It works great and is not noticeable when it is not being used.

And in the event the next owner (once they pry the steering wheel from my cold dead hands) wants to go back to original, all they have to do is disconnect the two wires and insert the other ashtray.

Ed. note: Roy Lange is an IMOA member who resides in Conifer, Colo.