Sunday, June 30, 2013

An Electric Tool Box

Not long after I bought my truck, I purchased a tool box to mount in the bed. I thought the box was pretty cool because you could open it from either side without climbing into the back of the truck. 

Lately I've been having trouble opening the box from the driver's side (which is used the most) and it finally reached the point where it could only be opened from the passenger side of the truck. 

Why would that be a hassle? Well, if you are asking that question you've never had a toolbox for the back of your pickup truck. You see, once you get your tools where you want them it simply does not work to move them to another spot. If you do that, you can't find anything ever again. Ever. Kind of like the sock-eating-dryer thing. Either put them where they go or give them away. Same end result.

I tried swapping the locks on either side of the truck, but that didn't change anything. So I took a close look at how the mechanism that operates the single rod from both sides works. After several years there is some wear on the moving parts of the latch system. Apparently the "open either side" part only works within very strict tolerances, and the worn areas are not allowing the driver side lock to do what it needs to do, since it's on the "complicated" leg of the mechanism. There is no feasible way to turn the entire setup around so that the driver side would be the simple side.

I'm really not sure what an entirely new mechanism would cost- I didn't bother pricing it. I made life simpler with a bit of creativity :)

I went to AllElectronics.com and purchased a lock solenoid for $6. I ran a wire to a small switch I put in the dashboard and to power. I then made a mounting bracket from a piece of aluminum angle I had in the scrap bucket. Drilled a couple of holes, shaped the actuator rod how I wanted it, hooked up a switch, power and tested it out. It works like a charm! 

My next order through All Electronics will include a switch that's operated with a key. I'll replace the driver side lock with the key switch so I can open the box from the driver's side without unlocking my doors.

Here's a picture of the mostly-finished setup:

I still have to tie down the wires and clean it all up, but it works! Total cost estimate (even with the switch I want to order) is $12. And it still opens from the passenger side with the key, so if the battery is dead I can get in that way.

I really enjoy doing this kind of stuff :)

1 comment:

  1. Choreboy Rides Again! You're amazing, m'dear :)