The Silver Socket

by Richard Atwell
(c) Copyright 2003-2011


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!

Dash Socket:

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.

Silver Socket Behind Dash


The first is the convertible style make by Hella. The other is the standard European plug.

Convertable plug by Hella European plug

BMW Adapter:

conversion plug adapter plug

Euroline parts:

plug socket male female adapter
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...

bosch adapter

Accessory Sources:

Fortunately, plugs and sockets exist from several sources (in no particular order) so you can hook up whatever you like.

Source Description Part No. Cost Comments
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


Going USA:

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.

RS adapter RS closeup

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.

RS project adapter



04/04/03 - Sourced from 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