Adding Auxiliary Power to a Classic Saab 900
June 24, 2012
The Classic Saab 900 produced from 1979 through 1994 was the bee's knees in its day but technology marches on and I needed a place to plug in all my 21st century accessories. There's the cell phone charger, and the blue tooth adapter, and the GPS, and the radar detector. Then, sometimes I travel with a friend or family member who wants to charge up their cell phone, laptop, or iPad. With one lone power outlet, known in the day as the cigarette lighter, I needed more power! And, as owners of Classic 900s know, the cigarette lighter on these cars has a European sized socked, oversized by American standards, so none of the accessories fit tightly into the stock lighter socket anyway. After online discussions on the Turbo! Mailing list, I decided to add some auxiliary power outlets.
Not being in the mood to pull out the instrument panel, I decided to try to work through the switch holes, sort of like a gynecologist.
I tapped into the existing cigarette lighter wiring which provides an excellent source of switched, high amperage power. The switches are easily popped out with a small screwdriver. Then, using my bird fingers on either side, I reached behind both sides of the lighter socket and popped the plug off the back.
In front, is the white t shaped connector sourced from a parts car. In back, near the dash opening, you can see the black t shaped connector that came off the back of the cigarette lighter. I could have spliced into the stock connector had I removed the instrument panel, but it was quicker to extend the t-shaped cigarette lighter connector. Just be sure to get the polarity right!
I drilled a small hole in the side of the glove compartment and fed primary wire from the glove compartment into the cavity behind the instrument panel. From there, it was trivial to fish the wires out through the switch holes. I spliced the primary wire to the extension wires to provide switched power to the glove compartment.
Once everything is buttoned up the dash looks completely stock and now I had extra power in the glove compartment.
I sourced an auxiliary power outlet from the local Advance Auto Parts store and mounted it high in the corner to reduce the impact on glove compartment space. Next time, I'll drill the hole for the wires higher up as well. After all, there are two more classic 900s in the family.
If one additional outlet is not enough, you can add a splitter or, as shown here, a triple outlet.
If you want, you can hang the extra outlets out of the closed glove compartment door. If you don't mind screw holes, you can permanently mount the extra outlets on the kick panel or on the side of the center console.
Once everything is buttoned up everything looks stock.
A quick and dirty alternative would be to stuff a splitter into the center console, but I no longer need to do this. My glove compartment has plenty of power and all my accessories fit tightly in their American sized outlets!
Please send comments (esp. dead links) to: carlsont (at) ptd.net
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