How To: Adding A Rear USB Charger

Written on 02/19/2021
Abel Longoria

When camping we always sleep downstairs with our heads towards the rear hatch door. I found myself placing my phone on the ledge just above my head (behind the AC unit) while I sleep so that I can easily reach my phone. This is very handy in case someone calls with an emergency in the middle of the night or if you like to doze of while playing music.

One day we were camping and I placed my phone on the ledge before I went to bed and I realized it was almost dead. Doh. That's when I thought, it would be nice to install a USB charging plug in that area so I can charge my phone over night while I slept.

The next day, while at camp... and me being the total VanoNerd that I am, I just happened to have an extra Blue Sea Dual USB Charging Socket on hand with some tools so I got down to it. =)

What I used:

  1. Dewalt Compact Right Angle Drill
  2. Steelex D2853 Forstner Bit, 1-3/16-Inch
  3. Blue Sea Systems Dual USB Charger Socket
  4. Ancor 12AWG Marine Grade Wiring - Red
  5. Ancor 12AWG Marine Grade Wiring - Black

I keep my small Dewalt Right Angle Drill in the van and I found a great spot to mount the USB charger. Using a 1-3/16" Forstner bit I drilled into the stock Westfalia cabinet wall. The 1-3/16" diameter hole is exactly what the Blue Sea sockets call for. This short throw right angle drill is one of the coolest things I have in my tool box since it helps in really tight areas where a normal cordless drill won't fit.

Drilled hole complete.

You're probably wondering why I placed the hole so far up the wall well here's the reason. The Blue Sea sockets are a certain length and fit fine on single thickness panels. If I had placed the hole lower, the bit would have cut through two panels of wood and the Blue Sea charger would not have been long enough to mount through two pieces of wood.

Dual USB Socket installed.

The backing nut attached on the USB charger keeps the socket firmly in place. Had I drilled lower through two panels of wood the backing nut would not have been able to be used since the thickness of two wood panels is thicker than the length of the USB socket itself.

Finished off the USB socket with some nice 12AWG Ancor pretinned marine wiring. Ancor wiring is by far my favorite. It's marine grade and already pretinned throughout which makes it a great conductor. I usually keep rolls of this wiring in my van for on the road electrical modifications like this.

I ran the wiring down along side the vertical AC hoses in the D Pillar, then routed them under the rear closet, past the water holding tank and into my Rear Power Distribution Block (write up HERE) which resides in the voided area just under the false floor of one of the flat cabinets.

I keep a USB charging cable hooked up to this USB socket at all times so that every time I lay down to go to sleep I know its there. I just plug my phone up and it'll be fully charged by the time I wake.

The USB charging socket has two outlets so you and your significant other can both charge your phones while sleeping.

Before I added this mod I used to have to keep my phone up front away from the bed in order to let it charge overnight. This was a major pain when someone called or texted because then I'd have to get out of bed. Now, I just reach up to the phone on the ledge, reply or answer the phone without having to get out from under the covers. Hehe.