12v lighter install - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2008, 08:54 AM   #1
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I was thinking it would be a good idea to instal a 12v cigarett lighter "thing" so I can charge my cell phone and whatever other electronic gadget that I might have at the time. I have a 1977 Scamp. I plan on doing this myself and figure it can't be to difficult. (famous last words) I want to put it on the cupboard above the stove on the far left side so I can just use the wires that are going to the light, here is my question as I have yet to purchase the gizmo, is it as simple as red to red and black to black? and.... I plan on possible installing a fan at a later time and the wires would need to run to that same spot ..not knowing much about 12v, is that to much for one area, does a lighter thing continue to draw energy and I should install on on off type switch with it. Figure I better ask befor I destroy Thank you Brandy
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:24 AM   #2
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I was thinking it would be a good idea to instal a 12v cigarett lighter "thing" so I can charge my cell phone and whatever other electronic gadget that I might have at the time. I have a 1977 Scamp. I plan on doing this myself and figure it can't be to difficult. (famous last words) I want to put it on the cupboard above the stove on the far left side so I can just use the wires that are going to the light, here is my question as I have yet to purchase the gizmo, is it as simple as red to red and black to black? and.... I plan on possible installing a fan at a later time and the wires would need to run to that same spot ..not knowing much about 12v, is that to much for one area, does a lighter thing continue to draw energy and I should install on on off type switch with it. Figure I better ask befor I destroy Thank you Brandy
Brandy, I have installed several of the 12 volt plugs. I purchase most from marine dealers and get the flush units, with the cap to cover the plug.. I will give you one tip - check polarily. Automotive and marine have red as positive and black as negative. In RV's black is usually positive and white is usually negative. As you can image, it is not hard to reverse polarity. I always use a volt meter.

Rick

My most recent plug install
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:30 AM   #3
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Rick what would happen if I were to have them switched? Does this fry the whole line? ruin my battery or the item I purchased? ...wow a stereo system in the trailer very nice Brandy
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:01 AM   #4
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I'm a little confused about this question. The cell phones, laptop chargers, camera chargers, and and other chargeable stuff I have uses 120v house-type current for charging through a "brick." I have a stereo and TV that uses 12v, but even then I had to hack into the wiring to hook the TV up to 12v.

Usually these things can be powered from 12v through an inverter, which you can pick up relatively cheaply from just about anywhere. Even a small one (150 watts up) can be plenty big enough for this.

There are some devices (som laptops, things with motors in them, sewing machines, etc.) which will not run on cheap inverters, which are modified square-wave devices.

The remedy for these things is a sine-wave inverter, which gives you a current exactly like home juice. A bit more expensive, but everything runs on them properly. Search for SAMLEX brand.

If or when you get tired of plugging things into the "cigarette-lighter' style 12v outlet, which are to me a design nightmare of built-in sloppiness, there are some alternatives: I have for the most part changed to Speakon plugs, which lock positively and present no opportunity for accidental shorting out, from kids for example.

As for the wires, white is usually negative and red or black is positive, but don't rely on the colors if you got the trailer used. A multimeter will then tell you the story.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:04 AM   #5
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Ahhhyiyi, think I will wait until I am more informed befor I go and do this little mod, thanks for your imput....Brandy

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:14 PM   #6
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Get a multimeter. Harbor Freight has them for 4 bucks on sale. You will use it for checking Batteries and 110v stuff too.

A lot of high priced 12v stuff can survive having the wires backwards but most wont.
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:19 PM   #7
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Even if you use an inverter, you need someplace to plug it in.

I strongly advise making a direct run to the 12VDC fuse block and giving the outlet its own fuse and adequate wires. DON'T just tap it into a light (in both senses of the word) wire. Even better is direct run to battery with fuse.

BTW, because wire loss at low voltage is more important than at high voltages (which is why power companies use VERY high voltages to move power around), it's wise to locate inverter as close to battery as possible and move the power with 120VAC extension cord.

Here's a how-to from a Toyota add-on; note the upsized wiring and direct battery connection (with fuse):

http://www.yotatech.com/~corey/tech/dan_12...wer_outlets.htm
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:24 PM   #8
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Ahhhyiyi, think I will wait until I am more informed befor I go and do this little mod, thanks for your imput....Brandy
When installing your 12 volt "cig-lighter" socket, the center post will be the positive line, and the external sheild/surround will be the negative/ground. The socket will not draw any current unless there is an accessory plugged into it that needs the current. No plug in = no current. I'm not sure about if you leave your cell phone adaptor plugged in without the phone. Most of those adaptors have lights, so light on = current.

HTH
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:32 PM   #9
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When installing your 12 volt "cig-lighter" socket, the center post will be the positive line, and the external sheild/surround will be the negative/ground.
That helped me Dan. Now I know which way it should be when I check with the multi meter.

When looking for parts last year I was surprised to learn that 12V accessory and lighter sockets differ at the bottom end. I read that you should not use 12V accesory tips in lighter sockets.

Has anyone been able to find some that have the nice low profile spring loaded caps rather than the ones that look like old style pop bottle caps? I found one meant for the back of pickups but it sticks out a good 1/2". Some of the newer cars have some real nice looking outlets.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:50 AM   #10
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I just want to mention that while we are refferring to these outlets as cigarette lighter plugs,they will mainly be used in our trailers for much smaller loads than an actual lighter.
This touches on the real issue as Pete was mentioning.

It depends entirely upon the load you will be using whether or not the wiring and the socket are up to the task.
Be sure that you DO NOT use an actual lighter in any socket that is merely tapped or extended from a light or other load.

Of all the loads possible to connect to the socket a lighter might draw the most current and therefore tax the circuit and socket.
Many sockets sold for accessory use even state that they should not be used for lighters or similar high current loads.

A lighter is designed to do just one thing.....turn D.C.current directly into heat.
Using too heavy a load on an undersize wire and socket will do exactly the same thing but to the wire and socket instead. This is a heat we do not want!

Better safe than sorry.
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:53 PM   #11
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We added this 12v socket to the upper cabinet so we could plug in a clip on fan when it's too hot outside. It's connected to the under cabinet lighting and has served us well when using battery power.
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:38 PM   #12
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Rick what would happen if I were to have them switched? Does this fry the whole line? ruin my battery or the item I purchased? ...wow a stereo system in the trailer very nice Brandy
brandy....
Be sure to wire the tip (inside) to the positive and the outside to ground.you could fry some of your plug in items if the tip was negative and the outside positive....... look at your battery and see if black goes to positive and white goes to negative. A simple voltmeter at the wires to the light will tell you which side is positive. It would also be a safe bet to put an inline fuse on the positive side before the lighter plug and start off with a low amp fuse.
Joe
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:13 PM   #13
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After reading the post and staring at the spot I want to put it in I think I am going to wait as I am going to the Fort Langley Camping this weekend . This way I can look around and see where others have placed them and get a better idea of what might work for me. Better to sit on a project for a few days to think it all the way thru, I am learning this patience thing one step at a time. Thanks for all the advice. Brandy
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:36 PM   #14
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Hi again Brandy. Here's a view of the whole shelf.

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Hope this is what you're looking for.
Jim
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