12V Accessory panel install

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by rcj63, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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    Hi all,

    Like many here, I boondock often in our '03 Coleman Tacoma, and as it ages, I'm gradually updating and upgrading its 12V system. I'm working on an all-new battery setup and wiring up in the front, but in the meantime, am preparing to install a 12V meter/receptacle/dual 2.1-amp USB charger panel from Blue Sea Systems.

    I've seen other posts on doing this in various places, but the one thing I'm not clear on is wiring protection. The best place for me to locate the panel is in the storage area next to the hot water heater and its switch, all of the wiring for which is easily accessible. My plan is to splice into the 12 wiring here. My assumption is that this wiring is A) adequate for the current in question (looks to be about 12 gauge?) and B) protected by a fuse in the converter box (WFCO 8735).

    The Blue Sea panel also has a built-in circuit breaker/reset switch rated at 15 amps. Given this, do I need to install an inline fuse for further protection for the switch/charger/panel itself? If so, what's an appropriate sized fuse? Or, would it be best to run a separate line off of the converter and if so, is it likely mine will have an extra available circuit? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Ron
     
  2. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Tapping in there , I see no problem and the breaker in the panel should be all you need. Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 11.53.58 AM.png
     
  3. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    If your converter has any empty fuse slots you could add a new circuit just for the accessory panel but it shouldn't be necessary. Depending on other loads on the chosen circuit the 15 amp fuse on the existing circuit should be sufficient to support the panel. To get the most accurate reading on the meter you should run a separate wire from the battery post, at least 12 gauge, with a 15 amp inline fuse at the battery post direct to the panel. If you want to tie into an existing circuit I would recommend the 12 volt circuit to the fridge, because you're not likely to be running the fridge on 12 volt while boondocking. I would also recommend a 15 amp DC rocker switch in the panel line, just to avoid adding another parasitic draw to the trailer.
     
  4. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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    Great. Thanks for the response! I actually never run the fridge on 12v, so if I can tap in there it would effectively be a dedicated circuit.
     
  5. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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    Thanks much.
     
  6. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I have several uses for 12VDC in my popup with all my Ham radio and other item... I was always looking to hookup up to 12VDC somewhere...

    It was best for me to install one of these 12VDC SUB PANELS... They have fused connections and tie directly into the battery system...

    [​IMG]
    Google Image

    I used what is called BOAT CABLE that comes in 12GA pairs to provide the 12VDC I needed at various places... You can find BLACK + and WHITE- or RED + and BLACK - for cable colors. Think mine ended up being RED + and BLACK - ... This has in a couple of places in my setup where you will see a RED + cable on top of a BLACK + CABLE haha... Make old timers roll over in their graves I quess...


    [​IMG]
    Google image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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  8. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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    Not a bad idea, if I plan to add more than one outlet. I have a similar sub panel in my boat, and have some of that boat cable lying around I think. Did you connect yours directly at the battery, or tap in to the existing power feed in front of the converter box?
     
  9. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I have a master BLUE SEA four position Battery Switch. OFF-BANK1-BOTH-BANK2 then back to OFF again...

    These all use the ring terminals so I just tap at the connections feeding my system... This way when I select OFF all is disconnected... If I want to run the Sub Panels always hot then I just tap the BANK1 or BANK2 side of the master switch.

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    I will do only two ring terminals on one post... If I need to tap more then I will add one of the TERMINAL BLOCKS

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    Google images

    Roy Ken
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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  10. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Seems way over kill ....... just my 2 cents that isn't worth a nickel.
     
  11. rcj63

    rcj63 New Member

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    I installed the panel today. Discovered that I had a completely unused 12v feed coming from the converter, so tapped into that to run the Blue Sea charger/voltmeter panel, which I mounted nearby next to the water heater switch. It works great and should be fuse-protected and good to go! Tnx all for the advice. Next project: Replacing the battery cable up on the tongue, which is pretty shabby. And then a new, bigger battery with a kill switch, but might as well wait for spring for that.
     

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