Electric Tool Box Lock How To
I have had a problem finding the lock on my tool box, getting the key in the correct way, and locking/unlocking the box especially when holding something in the other hand, in the rain, at night, in a hurry, reaching over the side of the bed, you get the drift.
So I said to myself “self why don’t you make it electric just like the doors and tailgate already are”. Being a clever fellow I decided that it could be done with a universal lock solenoid that can be picked up at many auto alarm installers. So I got on E-bay and bought two universal lock solenoids for less than 10 bucks shipped to my door. I live out of town and it would have cost that much in fuel just to go to town and pick them up so E-bay was a good deal for me.
After sleeping on the project it was decided that only one of the two locking paddle handles would be converted. The reasoning behind this was that I could leave the key locked paddle unlocked most of the time and use the solenoid locked handle. On my box if either of the handles is locked both handles are blocked from opening. Then in times when I was going to be away from the truck for an extended period of time, or when parked in a dubious place I could use the added security of the manually locked handle.
Now on to the planning, yeah right. I just jumped in to see what was needed. I looked at the lock and decided that a spare (from my RV) that I had laying around would be easier to work with. The use of the RV lock afforded me the ability to return the box to a stock configuration, a theme that seems to haunt me in most of my truck mods.
As seen in the first picture the lock is under the paddle style handle and is removed by taking the big nut off from inside the box. In the second picture a circle clip can be seen, remove that, then the lock tab, the spring washer that may be under the tab, and then the nut can be unscrewed. At this point the stock lock should be in hand. Look at it to determine if you want to use it or an easier to use aftermarket replacement lock. You will need to be able to remove the tumbler barrel from the lock housing. If you can do this with the present lock you are in good shape, if not look for a replacement lock that will allow you to remove the tumbler barrel.
As seen in the first picture the tumbler barrel is removed and the pins/slides and springs are removed. Removing the pins/slides just allows the lock to work without a key. Re-assemble the lock and install it in the hole in the box for fitting of the lock tab. During reassembly you may want to cut a very thin piece of stainless (or whatever is at hand) to put in the housing to cover up the slot where the key is normally inserted, this gives the lock a better appearance and helps protect the lock from being opened by inserting anything. If you are reusing the stock lock, the locking tab should not need modifying, if using a aftermarket lock you will need to duplicate the action of the stock locks locking tab. As you can see in the second and third pictures I had to bend the lock tab over to block the travel of the latch handle, I also drilled a hole in the tab to accept the stiff wire from the solenoid.
The stiff wire for the solenoid was a bit loose in the eye of the actuator arm so I used a piece of heatshrink placed over the rod shrunk and then a second piece over the first and shrunk. This seemed to make the looseness a bit more acceptable. The stiff wire was bent to make a nice transition from the actuator to the lock tab. A Z bend was made in the tab end of the stiff wire to attach it to the lock tab.
The whole assemble was then hand held in place to ascertain the position that it had to be attached to the box while allowing full travel of the lock tab to the lock/unlock positions. The actuator was then clamped in place and a liberal amount of E6000 (liquid duct tape) was placed on the areas that the actuator touches the box wall. If you want to drill holes in your box to mount the actuator that is fine with me, I just like the clean outside of the box.
Now on to the wiring. Two wires are required to operate the solenoid, one locks the other unlocks, the ground is provided by the none powered wire, i.e., the polarity of the wires is changed for lock or unlock operations. As seen in the these two pictures there are several wires in a bundle. You will need to find the pink with black tracer wire and the pink with orange tracer wire. Drill a hole in the floor panel inside the trough that the wires are in, put in a grommet and run two wires (12 to 16 gauge, your choice very little amps is present) then run the wires in a spiral harness (plastic krinkly stuff you can buy in bulk) inside the frame to the split between the cab and the box, up through the drain hole in the bed into the drain hole in the tool box and then through the spiral harness to the actuator. Inside the tool box I applied the spiral harness up under the lip of the box and used some E6000 to hold the harness in place. Tape is needed to hold the harness until the E6000 dries. Attach the two wires to the actuator wires and test to confirm you have the correct connections, if not, reverse the wire and retest. Once you have confirmed the correct operation make your connections permanent.
Now stand back, open the last beer and amaze your friends with your power lock/unlock tool box.
If you have questions ask them here, maybe somebody else has the same question.
Foot note on the krinkly wire harness stuff. It is a pain in the butt to use, so I didn't. Instead I used some Alkon Poli-Flex tubing part number AP-66. It is about .370 OD and .230 ID, that is I think what is the 3/8th inch size. It is big enough to run the two wires through yet small enough to be flexable in the corners, I still used the E-6000 to glue it in place.