On adding inside outlet for plugging in USB - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #1
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On adding inside outlet for plugging in USB

I am now giving up solar panel etc and going back to putting in a cigarette lighter type plug in scamp to recharge my Mac via USB. Is that cheap to do as I can't do it myself. Other options? I decided I don't need any energy access most of time except outlet like my cars cigarette lighter. (Goal is off grid 3/4 of time and no need for other electrical energy except recharging Mac and iPad.). Please don't suggest using car for recharge as I am planning on not driving for many days at a time and committed to environmental responsibility. I do not use AC or microwave or need other electric access. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:25 PM   #2
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There is a "Charging Center" available that connects direct to the battery through a in-line fuse and has both 12volt and USB charging ports on it. I put one in a pop-up I restored, but it's not where I can get at it to give you a make and model, but here's a pic of it. The USB inserts pull out for 12 volt outlets.

P1010730_zps59583c12.jpg Photo by advocateone | Photobucket



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Old 03-03-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
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Son of a gun, this looks like a slightly different version but is the same idea. <$13

Sigma Switchs Car Charger and USB Port Charging Center Dual Port 5215 A0204 891s | eBay



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Old 03-03-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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You might try a portable charging system something like this.
Portable Power Station
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Old 03-03-2014, 06:52 PM   #5
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Usb

There are USB outlets that plug in to the 12v cigarette lighter and give you 2 USB slots. Most automotive stores have them.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:25 PM   #6
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Judi, check out the recent post nifty battery box. Just the ticket, it has a built in 12 volt outlet and you can hook a 400 watt inverter up on the wing nuts if you need ac.
Buy a portable battery charger, they have 12 volt outlet, led lights, jump starting, some have air compressors. And can be recharged 110 or plug into your lighter while traveling.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/500-Amp-Jump...58f435&vxp=mtr

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Trolling...691ccf&vxp=mtr

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Decker...item3cd3469cea

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2pc-Car-Char...item35cf2dea0b
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:35 PM   #7
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It looks like these are mostly for car charging? Or am I misunderstanding? I don't want to use my car as I will not be driving. The first few looked good and in Rv installed except when I searched for chargers they only said for tablets and phones. The ads for them made no mention of being able to charge laptops. Do they?
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:38 PM   #8
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Installing a 12v outlet isn't at all difficult. Hardest thing may be cutting the hole for the plug to fit into. You of course need a power source- many/most folks just tap an existing line, usually lights. Here's one how-to page

You could also have it done at any RV shop, if you can find one that won't charge an arm-and-leg for the job.

I'm not sure about directly-charging a laptop from 12v power...that would depend on whether the laptop itself was 12v.
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:06 PM   #9
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Your missing something, if you have a battery? The battery box has a 12 volt outlet installed in it. It also has a power level gauge to let you know your battery power level. It also has wing nuts you can hook a inverter, your solar panel. Which will allow you to use a 110 volt plug to charge a laptop or any small appliance.
The battery charger is a back up power supply. I wouldn't be off grid without one.
You can put air in your tires, jump your car, plug a inverter in it, has a light, and a 12 volt outlet.
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Old 03-03-2014, 09:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mszabo View Post
Your missing something, if you have a battery? The battery box has a 12 volt outlet installed in it. It also has a power level gauge to let you know your battery power level. It also has wing nuts you can hook a inverter, your solar panel. .

She's not "missing" anything. The box you describe isn't standard equipment on any trailer that I know of.

I did buy such an (aftermarket) box, and recently posted a thread about same.
Herewith, the link: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...box-63094.html

Certainly a good, cheap alternative to installing extra 12v outlets...but of course they're on the outside of the trailer. If that suits the O.P.'s purpose I highly recommend it.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:13 PM   #11
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I've had one for years, only problem is the gauge didn't hold up.
Mine quite working after four years. No complaints!
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:27 PM   #12
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I think that there is some confusion about what you want/need. In the op you asked for a USB port for charging now you want an outlet to charge your laptop, which a USB port isn't.

Because most laptops require more than 12 volts for charging, a direct battery connection usually won't do the trick. In that case it's easiest to get an inexpensive 100 watt plug-in inverter and plug that into a 12 volt outlet, plug the computers regular power cord into that, and charge the battery in that manner. The Charging Center I linked to has both a USB port as well as a fused 10a 12 volt outlet that would do just fine for a small inverter. But a single 12 volt, group 24 battery isn't an infinite source of power.



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Old 03-03-2014, 10:35 PM   #13
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Just make sure it's wired correctly and you get the amps required for whatever MAXIMUM recharge you need. Click image for larger version

Name:	usb-2.jpg
Views:	33
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ID:	68672 From what I understand the "i" stuff takes more juice.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Son of a gun, this looks like a slightly different version but is the same idea. <$13

Sigma Switchs Car Charger and USB Port Charging Center Dual Port 5215 A0204 891s | eBay
Nice find Bob.... kind of like that!!! hummmmm
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:53 AM   #15
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It took Parkliner less than 5 minutes to put one in for me.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:06 AM   #16
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Some Notes for the Above Posts:

1. DON'T tap into an existing wire for a 12 volt accessory outlet, especially the lights. These are usually lighter gauge wires and are (hopefully) fused for the load. Putting up to a 10 amp load on them may quickly leave you in the dark. After market accessory outlets should have dedicated wires run either from their own fuse (easy if you installed that PD-4045!), or directly from the battery with a 10 amp in-line fuse.

2. Be wary of hooking up electronics when using low end battery chargers. Many have very poor filtering and there can be some of the original sine wave still on the DC side, usually in the form of pulse DC. I have a computer that will run off of 12 VDC, but when an after marker charger was connected to the battery, it went crazy.



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Old 03-04-2014, 10:19 AM   #17
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Now back to original topic: infogypsy, look at the charging gizmo for your laptop, it will tell you how many watts of power it takes. Divide watts by 12 to get amps from your battery. You need a cigarette lighter plug that can handle that much load.

Wiring is simple. The socket you buy has a red and a black wire and maybe a fuse. Connect a short red wire and (probably 10 or 15) amp fuse to the battery's plus terminal. Run another red wire from the fuse to the socket. Connect the socket's black wire to the battery minus terminal. That's it other than mounting the socket someplace convenient in the trailer. It might be a little trouble snaking the wires through the trailer but well you need to hide the wires is up to your individual taste.

I have a question though, if you are living off the grid and not using the car to charge the battery how are you charging it? It won't last very long even just recharging your computer and running a few lights. A solar panel seems like a great (and maybe only) solution.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #18
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Personally I don't think that "Wiring is Simple" or that snaking a new 12 volt line from the battery to a new accessory outlet, is a task for the electrical systems impared owner.

1. It's not a cigarette lighter socket that's needed, it's a 12 Volt Accessory Socket... they are different. The Cigarette lighter socket is designed for intermittent use, the 12 volt accessory socket is supposed to be designed for longer term use and to physically support plug in devices such as small inverters.

2. There is no guarantee that the wire colors on the, always made in china, accessory socket will be correct. You have to know how to verify which one is which. Often they are not even attached.

3. Accessory sockets usually come with short Pig-Tails, to which the longer wires have to be spliced. Doing this correctly is a whole post on it's own.

4. The fuse holder has to be placed close to the battery in order to protect the unfused length of wire. Running a long length of wire before the fuse is an invitation for a fire.

5. Knowing how to safely secure and tie off the new wires also has to be done. Loose wires lead to broken or chaffed wires and/or loose connections.

6. And, unmentioned, is that an inverter will almost always still be needed to power the computers power supply brick.

As I said, I don't belong to the "Wiring is Simple" school of thought. I have repaired too many bad wiring jobs to ever suggest that.



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Old 03-04-2014, 03:59 PM   #19
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Well, the OP's not been back yet but if he or she is reading - Bob is right, you have to know all the stuff he just posted. It ain't rocket science though and you don't need a hydraulic crimper to make a decent connection. But what ever, it's up to you. The RV shop will be glad to do it.

A note on plugging your computer charger into an inverter: This works but is wasteful of electricity. The inverter takes power to run even when it's not connected to a load and when it is connected it will waste 10 to 30% of the electricity.

Your iPad will charge off a USB port but I'm not sure your Mac will. You can get an 'accesory' plug that has a USB port. That is the best solution to charge the iPad, no inverter needed. You can probably buy an adapter to charge your Mac from a 12v accessory plug. With that, no inverter needed.

Still wondering how you plan to charge the 12v battery...
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:10 PM   #20
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Keeping in mind that the O.P. is interested only in 12v power as the recharging source:

I think that every USB port I've ever seen is a 110v connection. One can use a 12v power source/port, but only by way of an inverter. If the source is the usual cigar socket, an inverter like the one below is often used:

Or am I 100% wrongedy-wrong-wrong-wrong about that????
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