dumb question about volt meter - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-10-2014, 09:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by VicCT View Post
Thanks all! This is where I ask, there is a 12 volt socket in the trailer? I haven't seen one . . . but that doesn't mean it isn't there! If it is there, then there is something to plug it into, which solves my problem, at least when the battery is on the trailer.
If there is one Scamp normally puts them up on the end of the top kitchen cabinet facing the rear table. If the trailer also is TV ready it may be a combo receptacle with the cable connection and 12V plug. If you don't have one they are pretty easy to add.
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:00 PM   #16
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I will head over tonight to check, but I think I would have noticed if it was there. Couldn't I add a regular outlet to run on 12v, instead of the socket? Forgive me if that is a newbie question! This is all a bit overwhelming.
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:34 PM   #17
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...Couldn't I add a regular outlet to run on 12v, instead of the socket? ?..
You could but I think that's a bad idea. 120v outlets should look different from 12v outlets and you shouldn't be able to connect a 12v device accidently to a 120v one. And there are many 12v devices configured for cigarette lighter sockets and none, I expect, with 120v plugs.
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:39 PM   #18
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A lighter socket has become the de facto 12 VDC outlet.
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:59 PM   #19
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"Lighter Sockets" and "12 Volt Accessory Sockets" should be two different birds to the point that many vehicles with both, label the accessory sockets "Not for cigarette lighter use". I think that the accessory sockets are designed to hold the plugs better as well as be designed for constant use.

That said, I have no idea how to tell them apart, but if it sez "Lighter Socket" on the package I keep looking.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:03 PM   #20
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I use a automotive volt meter and a momentary on switch to check the battery voltage

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Originally Posted by VicCT View Post
Hi all,
New to trailer ownership and trying like mad to figure out the whole 12v thing, among many other things. I did a search but could not find the info I need. I have been to 6 or 7 different auto parts stores, and Sears, looking for a portable digital volt meter for my battery. They have things that plug into cigarette lighters, and things that plug into wall sockets, but isn't there something that I can just clamp onto the battery to test the voltage (without permanently installing it)? If so, none of them had it. I want to be able to monitor the voltage so I know when to charge it when it isn't being used.

I realize there is probably a simple answer to this question, but I can't find it.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:35 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
"Lighter Sockets" and "12 Volt Accessory Sockets" should be two different birds to the point that many vehicles with both, label the accessory sockets "Not for cigarette lighter use". I think that the accessory sockets are designed to hold the plugs better as well as be designed for constant use.

That said, I have no idea how to tell them apart, but if it sez "Lighter Socket" on the package I keep looking.
I would think that the ones that say "Not for cigarette lighter use" are simply not fused high enough, and/or don't have a sufficiently large wire to carry the current that a lighter would require. I assume that if it is specified for a cigarette lighter, it is of higher quality.

Several 12 VDC devices take quite a bit of power. I have a 12 VDC resistive heater that uses 125 W. That would be in the 10 A range. I wonder how much a lighter takes.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:47 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by VicCT View Post
I will head over tonight to check, but I think I would have noticed if it was there. Couldn't I add a regular outlet to run on 12v, instead of the socket? Forgive me if that is a newbie question! This is all a bit overwhelming.
If you mean by a regular outlet a 110 wall type outlet like the one found in your home? I haven't ever seen one that works off of 12v. The problem with the regular wall outlet is it will only work when plugged into electrical power and has no connection with your battery. That will not help you with your original question as to how to easily monitor your battery levels - for that you need a 12v receptacle . They are pretty cheap to buy and simple to install and hook up.
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:47 PM   #23
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Lighter sockets on a CRV and a Blazer are fused the same as the accessory sockets, 15a. Another difference may be that the lighter socket is better designed for the heat generated. I think that the "Rule of Thumb" for accessory outlets is 10a. hence the 15 amp fuse?
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:21 PM   #24
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Thanks all! You are a fantastic source of info for us newbies. I just checked - - no 12v socket. I will ask the trailer company installing the hitch if they can install one. It may be simple, but I don't do electric.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:44 PM   #25
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Sounds like a good plan, but get them to install two outlets at the same time. it's will only add a few dollars to the bill now and you will need them as soon as you start using your trailer.

BTW: If you have separate fuses in your [power chassis, get each one on it's own fuse and NEVER on the same fuse as the lights. That way if something goes wrong in one you will still have the other one and your lights won't be out.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:07 PM   #26
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Oh boy. I have a lot more to learn. I don't even know where the fuses are yet. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:38 PM   #27
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Look in the (usually) brown box in the front of the left dinette seat.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:40 PM   #28
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Look in the (usually) brown box in the front of the left dinette seat.
Brown box in front the dinette seat?
Which Scamp layout does the OP have & what year trailer?
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