Acad – A smoke, anyone?

As some of us may remember, cars used to come with an ashtray. Not as extra, but as standard without extra charge. For those that do not remember those glorious days: In those days, everybody (but me) smoked cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe. The remnants of these, ashes, were supposed to be deposited in an ashtray. If the smoking was done inside an automobile, as a driver or as a passenger, the ashes were to be dumped in the ashtray. That’s all there’s to it.

Someone with a rather shortsighted vision at the Citoën design department thought it wise to include one of those ashtrays when drawing up the first sketches of the Dyane in the early 60ies. The same boys and girls later sketching on the fantastic vehicle we know today as AcaDiane, just stole the front end of the existing model and added an upgraded rear end of the Citroën AK400, the original 2CV panelvan. In doing so, the ashtray found its way into the AcaDiane.

To get an impression of what this looks like in my Acad, here are some impressions:

Opened, ready for action:

…yes, it’s dirty, I know, used extensively by a previous owner. But look at the design!

As remarked earlier, I’m not today, nor have I ever been a smoker. As such, I’ve never been overly impressed with this luxury design feature. Time to do something about that!

While the original design featured this ashtray, no one thought that an USB charger port might become even more handy in the future – a great miss in my view. But now’s the time to do something about that. With the ashtray not seeing any useful.

Since Citroën didn’t bother to do so, why not convert the ashtray into a couple of USB ports? But as I do not want to mess up the rest of this perfect interior design, the ashtray must still look like one after it’s done.

Part 1 of 2, the mechanicals:

First, I went and bought a suitable double USB, something like this:

…or similar. Mine was €10.

Then remove the ashtray and clean it! After that, make a square hole the size of the USB port in the bottom. This may look like this:

After that, look for a suitable material for a bracket. I found a piece of aluminum left over from a previous project. I cut off a bit about twice the diameter of the USB port. Then I drilled a hole for the port. Here’s what I got:

Note that I got the cromed plate attached to the lid of the tray.
Time to work on the bracket, here’s what I got:

…now we’re getting somewhere!

Assemble the two and test fit in the ashtray:

…that looks mighty nice – if I say so myself!

The last piece of this part of the puzzle is attaching the assembly to the ashtray. I drilled two holes on either side of the bracket and put in a pair of pop rivets. Then it’s time to test fit in the car:

And when you close it, you would never know:

Part 2 of 2, the electricals:

If you thought this was it – nope, we still have to attach the USB port to Acad’s electrical system. As we’re still around freezing where we live, I’ll do this when the temperatures are well above that, which is hopefully within a few weeks.

To do this we need the electrical diagram for my Acad, more specifically, for a Spanish Acad. My Acad seems to divert from the standard French Acad’s and the regular Dyane’s. With Acad having a 3-fuse installation instead of the more regular 4 fuses, here’s what came closest online:

…obviously, we need to get creative to get the job done. But the installation can by no means be called complicated. However, we may have strong opinions on how it was implemented by Citroën, and certainly how it was abused during its lifetime.

The plan is to do some re-wiring while I’m at it. Truth be told, one of Acad’s previous owners had been messing about with the wiring. An extra start button had been installed – dunno why, the lock works nicely – and a button for an electrical windscreen washer-pump was added. Unfortunately, none of this is to my liking – it’s a mess. To add to Acad’s misery, the wiring of the wiper-motor had been ‘repaired’ at some point. None of the results were close to what is my understanding of a proper electrical installation.

As it seems not at all uncommon with electrical fires due to overloading the light switch and the contact switch, I intend to do this:

  • rewire the starter contact switch to an electrical relay
  • rewire the light switch to another electrical relay
  • let the relay for the starter contact feed the USB port

But, as said before, we’ll have to wait for some more enjoyable weather first.

To be continued shortly…

#2cv, #dyane, #acadiane, #ak400, #usb,