12 volt outlet install help - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-10-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
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12 volt outlet install help

I've got a 2011 13' Scamp and would like to install a 12 volt outlet (AKA cigarette lighter). Can I install the wires directly to the fuse panel to give the outlet a dedicated circuit? It seems that would be the easiest way.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:42 PM   #2
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Yes, that's what I did in my Casita. Most fuse panels seem to have an extra output.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:49 PM   #3
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Its the best way to do it. Sometimes you don't have a choice...I spliced into the wires for the light over my sink...I only charge my phone on it and just don't use them both at the same time. This winter I need to add one though that will haveto run to my fuse panel for a 12volt clip on trucker fan.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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Excellent thanks! I have several extra fuse openings, should be pretty easy.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:44 PM   #5
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I would like to tag onto this post. I am trying to add a 12volt outlet and am running into problems. I have a light I would like to come off of to power it, but can't figure out what I am doing wrong. I thought I had it wired right, but the light worked or the outlet worked but not both at the same time. Any suggestions? The light has a black wire and a white wire. Can I assume the white wire is the hot one? How do I determine if it is the hot one? Could the fact that they do not work simultaneously be related to too much demand of the wire? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billhenry58 View Post
I would like to tag onto this post. I am trying to add a 12volt outlet and am running into problems. I have a light I would like to come off of to power it, but can't figure out what I am doing wrong. I thought I had it wired right, but the light worked or the outlet worked but not both at the same time. Any suggestions? The light has a black wire and a white wire. Can I assume the white wire is the hot one? How do I determine if it is the hot one? Could the fact that they do not work simultaneously be related to too much demand of the wire? Thanks in advance.
Bill, without some sort of device to actually measure electricity, you're always going to be guessing. You can buy a small multimeter at any auto parts store for as little as $5 or $10. It's the difference between trying to guess color codes and actually knowing what's going on. You'll find lots of other uses for it like determining how much voltage your battery is giving you or seeing if your TV is really charging your battery.
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billhenry58 View Post
The light has a black wire and a white wire. Can I assume the white wire is the hot one?


White is USUALLY ground.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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If your adding a 12 volt socket I suggest you wire it heavy as alot of 12 volt items draw alot of current. You can still use a smaller fuse if you want to protect the circut but once it is wired too small and someone plugs in an item drawing alot of current they will upsize the fuse and then that will compromise the wiring. I wire them on their own circut to hold and use 30 amps but fuse them for 10 unless the circut needs more then I can still adjust the fuse size. Most of these trailers have a life longer than the current owners. Just something to think about.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:55 AM   #9
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I got a nice little meter at Walmart. The DC voltmeter then tells you which wire is which. The leads of the meter are color coded and labeled positive and negative. Never assume that the wire colors in a circuit are correct!

Steve makes a good point. Too small wire is a fire hazard if the fuse is too large. Large wire, small fuse!
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:23 PM   #10
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Be careful not to mix home (mains) wiring and 12v wiring standards/methods/terminologies here...

In home wiring, white is usually neutral and black (or red) is usually hot. Neutral and ground are usually tied together at the fuse box. (In Canada, at least... I don't know about other countries).

In 12v, you don't have the notion of hot and neutral -- you have positive and negative. Positive is usually white (or, I think (?) red), and negative is usually black. Most 12v systems tie negative to ground, but 12v systems aren't very consistent in this respect -- many use a positive ground.

So, *typically* in a 12v system, black is grounded and white is the sort-of equivalent of hot. But don't count on it: do your measurements.

And ground connections are often suspect, so it's best to run 2 wires to the source rather than using a ground connection. (Not to mention that on fiberglass trailers, there often isn't any grounded metal in reach!)

And and, pay attention to what the previous posters have said about wire size. It's a hazard to use too small of a wire for the fuse -- match your wire gauge to your fuse size. Plus, small wire gauge leads to voltage drop over distance -- depending on your application, that might be a problem.

However, none of this answers Bill's questions about his add-on outlet...

Yes, it's possible that 2 loads on a small gauge wire would cause enough of a voltage drop so that the light bulb doesn't visibly glow (or glows dimly enough that you don't see it) and the other load doesn't function either. What is the other load you've added? Some are more vulnerable to voltage drop than others. With a multimeter of some variety you can measure the voltage across your light bulb with and without the second load to give you an idea of whether this is the issue.

Off the top of my head I can't think of another reason that would prevent both from working simultaneously, but which allows each to function individually. I can't think of a likely wiring mistake that would cause such a problem.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:26 PM   #11
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It's actually quite simple to figure out which wire is positive and negative. On my battery black is connected to positive and white to negative. I used 16 gauge wire to install the 12 volt outlet connecting black to the positive (hot) bus on the fuse panel and white to the negative (ground) bus. I pugged in a 15 amp fuse on the panel where I connected the black wire and now have an outlet to charge our phones. Believe it or not, it was a post about a Winnebago renovation that helped me figure out where everything was on my fuse box since the new one they were using is the exact same model as the one on my Scamp.
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