Hack A USB Port Into Your 2010 Prius


[Rosenberger31] did a nice job of adding a USB port to his 2010 Toyota Prius. He removed the access door on the console where the traditional “cigarette lighter” 12 volt port is located. A Dynex 12-volt to USB adapter was piggy-backed onto the power lines and the USB connector was then fit into the blank accessory plate next to it.

There is no data connection here, the port only provides 5v regulated power to devices plugged into it. None the less, it is still a pretty nice looking alternative to having a power adapter hanging out of the dash all the times. If you try this, heed one of the warnings from the comments and make sure you add a switch if you vehicle powers the 12 volt port even when the car is not running.

This makes us wonder: will this void your warranty?

46 thoughts on “Hack A USB Port Into Your 2010 Prius

  1. I’m not 100% sure if it’s available on the new Prius or not, but some of the new Toyotas include a USB port that’s connected to the stereo, and will play songs off an iPod or USB stick, in addition to being able to be used to charge devices.

  2. Yea, Paul. More warranties need to be overcome. Warranties are simply there to scare you into not learning things by taking stuff apart. Maybe not the most useful thing ever, but the USB charger is very neat and carefully done. It looks good, as if it was supposed to be there. (Maybe too good?) On the other hand I do hook my Mp3 player into the tape deck in my car. Could be very useful to some.

  3. i’m guessing the thing is basically a 5V voltage regulator, there was no information on the circuit that was providing the 5V regulated power to the USB port. how does it handle the car starting? Is there any information around on how to make the regulated power side of this hack?

  4. if i knew it would made hackaday i woulda posted this years ago when i did the same thing to my car. it looks cleaner too not butchered like his. hell i even added a car charger for my phone that runs to the center console compartment and a charger for my psp as i use it for music
    he used a A Dynex 12-volt to USB adapter that normally just plugs into a cigarette lighter.

  5. I would never buy a damn prius, they are so ugly. If some of the hybrids were a little less gay looking, they might appeal more to the younger crowd. Also, if its only power, im not impressed. Needs to have data lines to play music over the stereo somehow. I can think of one accessory made by VR3 that is cheap and could achieve this.

  6. Yea looks a bit rough, but when one takes time to read all the details, the less than perfect fit was to allow the light from the dynex unit’s status led to be seen. The dynex unit auto powers off after 8 hours so a dead battery may never be an issue. The lack of a fuse may never be an issue either, but would be more of a concern for me than a dead battery.

  7. This is not nicely done. I also fail to see the point as the person already had a lighter socket to usb adapter. If the person had made a circuit it would be closer to a hack. also, the usb bezel looks like it was hollowed out by a gerbil.

  8. Better hack, install a second or third 12V power port elsewhere like inside the glove box, and lower under a seat, now you have way more versatility and don’t have your dash look hacked up. Go to any of the custom audio websites and you see “hacks” that kick the crap out of this one every single day.

    Just saying it’s far easier to do a more useful install.

    P.S. this is not a hack in any way. if I drill a wire hole and install a usb port in my entertainment center can I get a hack a day story about it?

  9. I just want to say a few things in reference to the Prius bashing.
    1. Owning a Prius isn’t always an “economical” decision, it isn’t about saving gas money its about saving the planet and making a change for the betterment of the world and our children.
    2. Have you ever heard “Form follows function”. You purchase a vehicle for what you use it for. I daily commute for nearly 80 miles a day, the prius does of course save gas but it’s a comfortable and smooth ride. Not to mention it has LOTS of space inside. I will never understand people buying a 4×4 huge trucks that spend the whole life on the highway polluting and getting 6 mpg. Or people buying cars designed to drive 100+ mph when it is illegal to exceed, in most areas, more than 65 or on some back roads 70. Not to mention the legality of driving that fast, the endangerment of human life is appalling an extreme inefficiency of internal combustion engines at those speeds wastes gas and produces more pollution.
    3. In reference to this hack, do you people understand anything about electronics? You cant’ just hook a USB cable up to a audio jack and play mp3s. The ignorance of that statement scares me, it’s similar to the cries that the orbiter that NASA is crashing into the moon could alter our tides or push the moon our of orbit. I worry about the future of our species when these ill-informed views become the rising majority of the public.

  10. This should not void the warranty.

    Warranty law is complex, but generally the burden is on the dealer to prove that modifications to cars (like aftermarket chip upgrades) and work done by independent shops caused a failure before they can refuse to fix it under the warranty. Keep in mind that this will not keep many dealers from trying. :)

    Google “Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act” for more info.

  11. Wow Mike we can smell your smug from here.

    Prius dies not “save the planet” it in fact pollutes more than most small cheap cars like the fit or european smart car. (american smart = crap because of the stupid americanization they did to it.) Europe smart get’s 60mpg, american smart is so screwed up it get’s 40mpg.

    Honestly, to “save the planet” lobby to remove all the stupid american car regulations that cause cars to be inefficient. DIESEL is far cleaner and enviro friendly than anything else, yet you uneducated tree huggers shun it. calling it “dirty”

    Prius = stupid people. real high mpg cars = smart people. Want a real hybrid? buy a 1999 Honda Insight. it get’s real fuel economy (easily attain 65mpg in them) unlike the joke that the prius gets.

    Want to debunk me? then come on down to the MIT automotive labs and prove that you know more about it than all of us here in the lab. the Prius = bad to own for efficient. Anyone that researched it knows this. It’s a yuppie status symbol. nothing more.

  12. I do actually own, or rather my fiance owns, an insight. However your statement is debunking which part of my comment exactly? When I said 6mpg 4x4s were an idiotic idea, or that speeding endangers human life and causes more pollution and waste?

    Now, anon pissing contests online and their utter uselessness aside I will make one final comment. The “theme” behind my post was merely that choosing a Prius for it’s environmental benefits shouldn’t be shunned by the public. There are LOTS of options in both everyday life and in vehicles that are good for the planet. Yes there are hyper efficient diesel engines, however “heavy dirty emissions” are still emissions but they are certainly better than the majority of the choices available to the US public. I am currently looking into the aptera myself, I think an all electric car is the way to go especially when I can charge it at home from solar power reserves. However, we are missing my original point. This wasn’t a “I am better than you, you suck because you don’t have a Prius” comment. I just can’t stand people who are ignorant and defense of positive change, however it may take form.

  13. Now he just needs to program a pic micro with CAN and connect it to the prius computer network. Then he can just plug in a laptop and read out all the data like fuel efficiency , power usage, etc.

  14. Just a note: the Prius looks weird because market research shows that customers buying these cars (hybrids) want to stand out from the crowd. They want to be noticed for buying the car, because just economy isn’t worth it. It’s a status symbol, as much as a Hummer is.

    I worked at a car company, and this is the sort of stuff they think about when designing a car.

  15. Last time I was in the states (me = UK) I almost fell off my chair laughing at one of you car adverts “boasting” about its fuel economy.

    I drive a little Skoda Fabia (VW Polo Engine 1.4 Diesel) and I get 55mpg without trying to drive it economically. Its not even built as an eco car, yet it pissed on anything you had over there.

    I really don’t get it, do they just take stuff off the car until it gets cheap enough over there?

    Anyway Prius are hunks of shit, so a proper hack would be to beat out a new body with a hammer, replace the engine, and rip off the badges and fill them over smooth. I would also stick an arduino on the dashboard with a blinking LED to “trick” thieves into thinking it was alarmed :)

  16. All these people talking about, in the UK we have this, or about option that the average consumer doesn’t have. The Prius, and other hybrids have their issues however among the choices for the responsible eco-conscious consumer in America the Prius is one of the better if not the best choice (though obviously quite a subjective statement).

    The American consumer, though mostly ignorant of the scientific reality and data concerning conservation in a gross sense, doesn’t have all the options that other countries have.

  17. @tehgringe:

    Don’t forget that you, like we here in Canada, are calculating your MPG based on the imperial gallon, which is about 4.546 litres.

    In the states they use US gallons which are about 3.785 litres. So their MPG figures are always going to be lower by 1-(3.785/4.546) or about 16.7%.

    Does that put them a little closer to the ballpark?

  18. For those who have one of those models and option (nav package i think), just open the center console, and look towards the back of the storage…it’s right next to the AUX (for iPod) port.

    I have a Prius IV with solar sun roof and just found the ports today. The car is so high tech it’s like going treasure hunting finding out all the gadgets it has.

  19. The stupid Europeans quote mpg based on the Imperial gallon. About 20% larger than the US Gallon.
    Now, please get this straight before wagging your jaws (or keys in this case).

    Picking up my Prius tomorrow morning.

  20. Nice…. or you can go to your dealer and insert USB/Ipod-link.
    Oké it will cost you 303 euro but hell it won’t void the warranty. :)
    If i didn’t have the USB/Ipod-link I would do this.

  21. the prius, electric right? has to charge somewhere and that charge is provided by what? um coal burning electrical plants. sounds enviro-friendly now huh? Nope. the prius sucks, all that pollution made to just charge the damn thing. It puts out more pollution just by getting juiced up than that of any gas powered car. See where I am going with this? All these ‘Yuppies’ need to read the facts. Until all electrical energies are made from totally renewable or non polution means of generation then GW is still a big issue. All electric cars need power, not all can obtain it fro clean sources. Not for another 20 years at least, but by then the oil will have run out anyway.

    Here’s looking to a Happy Prius Free Future.

  22. “What if there were just a lighter plug with a usb jack that was flat? I know there are ones that stick out (I have one), but I’d like one that’s totally flat.
    Posted at 3:59 pm on Oct 7th, 2009 by Nick”

    you would never be able to get it back out of the cigarette-lighter plug. They do have ergonomic grips/handles sticking out for a reason.

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