The Silver Socket
by Richard Atwell
So you've got a Westfalia and wondering what that weird looking socket under the glove compartment is for is driving you nuts. It's not quite like the 12V cigarette lighter socket found on US automobiles. My Canadian Westy has a normal socket under the fold-out rear bench but unfortunately it is hooked up to the city power so it's not much good while driving unless you make some custom modifications possibly with an auxiliary battery.
The socket under the dash, commonly known as the "Silver Socket", is for European 12V accessories and it's difficult to find accessories let alone plugs that fit it. For the 74-75 camper models, because of the layout of the interior there was no space for a full sized spare. VW provided a full size spare that deflated and fit in the cabinet below the sink. VW provided a small 12V air compressor to inflate the tire and this plugged into the silver socket (see link at the end). Most of these tires have outlived their usefulness because of excessive age so they are an interesting novelty now.
VW also provided a trouble light that you could plug in for road side tire changes for earlier 6V models.
Every once in a while plugs appear on eBay and sell for ridiculous amounts of money often from the UK. Plugs are readily available here in the US if you know the part numbers and where to look.
Male and female plugs allow you to wire up anything you want but probably the most useful hookup is a 12V female cigarette lighter plug so you can plug in US accessories that already have the standard USA male connector.
The silver socket is wired to the terminal 30 on the hazard switch using 16 AWG wire It doesn't appear to be fused. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that before you use it that you inspect it and clean off the corrosion as best you can. I've notice a 0.5V voltage drop at that connector because of corrosion!
The metal dash, which provides the ground connection, has a neighboring cut-out in the metal for an extra dash switch. At least one person I know has used this hole to mount a USA style female socket.
The first is the convertible style make by Hella. The other is the standard European plug.
|Euroline 61 08 102||Euroline 61 08 106||Euroline Adapter|
Bosch makes a German male to USA female adapter but I don't know the part number just yet...
Fortunately, plugs and sockets exist from several sources (in no particular order) so you can hook up whatever you like.
|John Deere||Female socket||AL25073||$4|
|John Deere||Female socket||MG82002966||Heavy duty version|
|BMW||Accessory socket kit||61 13 2 319 167|
|Euroline||Female plug||61 08 102||$12.10||photo above|
|John Deere||Male plug||RE11344||$18|
|Flanders Co.||Male plug (by Hella)||386-87135||$10||Convertible|
|Hella||Male plug||8JA 002 252-102||$10||Convertible|
|Bosch||Male plug||0 986 352 000||photo above|
|BMW||Accessory plug kit||71 60 7 653 870|
|BMW||6" Euro to USA converter||71 60 7 653 870||$25|
|Euroline||Male plug||61 08 106||$10.90||photo above|
|Euroline||Euro male to US female||ADAPT||$23.95|
Jasan C. from Portland, OR sent me some photos of the adapter he built to convert the silver socket to the USA style. He fused the wiring which is good since the wiring from the silver socket is not fused as far as I can tell.
Radio Shack makes this great connector when you are building/testing your wiring projects. It accept two banana plugs and well as unscrews so you can connect base wire just like most stereo speakers. There is also a 10A fuse inside for protection.
04/04/03 - Sourced from Type2.com and it's archives
10/14/03 - Added link to Jamie's site
12/23/03 - Added Eurotech to list of vendors
04/28/04 - Added Vintage Warehouse as a supplier
08/01/04 - Added Jasan C's photos
07/15/05 - Added BMW photos and PN
09/06/11 - Fixed broken photos, added translate button, updated footer
07/15/19 - Google update: new adsense code, removed defunt translate button