Power Board for Rear Storage System

The rear storage / drawer system is a fantastic addition to the Landcruiser but it is fairly useless without some provisions for power. The Cruiser came with a 240v inverter outlet which is great but we really needed to have various forms of 12v power outlets available. So today I made a power board for the rear drawer system.  I have to say I think the result is pretty awesome.

Here’s the finished product all installed. I really like the voltage/amp meter as well as the dual USB port outlet. They make the wiring very easy.

Now, it was not a simple matter of putting in a few plugs here and there. The cruiser is my wife’s car and she doesn’t like wires everywhere or any holes in the panels, so I had to come up with a system that is hidden from view and leaves all the plastic trim untouched.

I’ev also seen a lot of these sort of power boards mounted to the front of the drawer system but when the tailgate is closed, there’s no room for the plugs to remain connected. Fortunately the RV Premium drawer system has a convenient bracket to mount a panel for all the outlets.

Now with the location decided, I had to fabricate the panel itself. I chose to make it out of ply board as it resists moisture and can be drilled and screwed without falling apart. I then sculpted it to contour with the existing trim and give it a coat of enamel paint. The 12v power feed had already been fitted by the auto electrician who did all the radio and trailer wiring for me and it was a simple matter to pull the wires through the vent in the trim. No drilling holes anywhere.

Here you can see the contoured panel, the metal bracket I used to mount the panel to and the vent the wiring came through.

I’ve made a few of these power boards for other vehicles in the past so I know the sort of outlets and other features that I need. For now I’ve fitted a Merrett plug which the fridge will run from, a regular cigarette lighter outlet and dual USB ports. I considered fitting an Anderson plug as well but decided that it wasn’t really necessary. If, in the future I decide to add another outlet, there’s sufficient spare space on the panel for adding it later.

All the components were purchased from Jaycar Electronics. I could have got them cheaper through eBay but I wanted to be able to return the items easily in the event one was faulty.

Even with power cables running into the plugs, there’s still sufficient storage space in that cavity. I’m thinking of mounting an air compressor in there.

Another useful feature I have found is to have a battery voltage indicator as well as a ammeter. The later shows how much electricity I’m drawing from the auxiliary battery, giving me an indication of how long I can run the appliances before needing to recharge. The combo unit from Jaycar is a real ripper and makes wiring up the combination very simple indeed.

Lastly I fitted an isolation switch. So I can turn everything off if it’s not being used. The power feed already had a 15 amp inline fuse and this is accessible from behind one of the removable panels in the trim.

I’m pretty happy with end result. Its clean and simple but more importantly, it meets Kylie’s requirements and she likes it too. Job done.

With the removable wing in place, there is no sign of any wiring or plugs for that matter. Completely stealth installation. Power cables come up through the hole in the wing panel.