Adding Auxiliary 12V Sockets -- Need Power Source

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by BelchFire, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    I'm adding 12V power sockets for phone chargers and the occasional air mattress pump; nothing larger. I'll be using a 10 amp fuse and 14 gauge wire. I looked through the archives and found several people doing this, but no clear answer.

    Where do you guys pick up the power?

    2005 Fleetwood Victory. I do NOT have a battery, so accessing the battery directly is not an option. I pulled the cover over the converter, but it only has very large gauge wires coming off of it and no extra screw terminals available. The wires disappear behind the rear exterior panel immediately off of the converter and I don't want to start pulling the rear ABS cover to trace them out.

    The sockets I will add are in the galley, so it would be convenient to tap off of the power to the galley pump switch (hot side), but I don't know if that circuit is rated for add'l power. We've never used our pump as you can guess, because we don't even have a battery. We either camp with power/water, or dry camp. For that reason, I doubt the circuit will ever be overloaded b/c the pump would NEVER be on when the sockets are being used. Heck, the pump will never be on PERIOD.

    Where do you typically pick up auxiliary 12V power (without a direct battery connection)?
     
  2. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    How about the 12v power to the Fridge? Doesn't sound like you will be using that either.
     
  3. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    You are adding a battery aren't you?
     
  4. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    No, I'm not adding a battery. We seldom dry camp and we can do just fine without a battery on those few occasions. We're former tent campers, so coolers and gas lanterns are fine with us.

    I ended up tapping into the down-wind side of the galley disconnect switch. All it seems to be running is the overhead 12V lights. Since that circuit is designed to run two fans and six lights, I think we'll be fine if we're prudent. So far, we've only used one fan on two occasions, so it's not likely we'll max out the circuit. If I can swap the bulbs for LED panels, so much the better. I'm not on a battery, so the incentive to swap to LED is ONLY an effort to avoid overloading that galley switch.

    So far, so good!
     
  5. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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  6. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    Without a battery how do you intend to get 12V power?
     
  7. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    He's wanting to tap the 12V hot from the converter.
     
  8. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    But where is the power coming from? If shore power, then there is no reason to install 12V outlets. Plug the stuff into the 110 outlets.
     
  9. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    That's what I would suggest. I'm guessing everything has the cigarette lighter type 12V plugs. Wal Mart, Radio Shack, etc. all carry plug in 110V / 12V converters for around $5. The only reason I put a receptacle in mine was for 12V dry camping.
     
  10. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    I guess I am the ignorant one because I still see no reason to install 12V outlets if you have no 12V power source
     
  11. raspivey

    raspivey New Member

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    No, you're right. You COULD do it because the converter is supplying 12V power when connected to 110, but it's unnecessary.
     
  12. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    A battery is not a source. It is a storage solution. 12v power comes from the converter. It runs all your house lights, water pump and furnace fan. The battery is charged by the converter via a charger, which is included in the converter. So think of the converter, really, as a power center with three power systems. 110v AC, 12v DC, and a 12v charging system. So, without a battery, there simply is no availability to store 12v power. It also serves as the go between when plugged into your TV via the 7 way plug. The reason you might need 12v sockets without a battery is because some devices are charged with them. One might have 110 chargers for their devices, but since your in your vehicle already one may not want to carry both types, hence the desire for a 12v socket without a house battery. So, I wouldn't call it ignorance but perhaps perspective.
     
  13. hakrjak

    hakrjak Member

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    I used the power to my CO2 detector recently and that worked great... In the Coleman evolutions they are mostly easy to access inside one of the cabinets, so no searching for wires required.
     
  14. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    Thse circuits tend to be lite gauged and fused, like an amp or less. Just make sure you don't overload it. Hate to see it go out while you sleep and not know it.
     
  15. Tribble

    Tribble New Member

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    The Electrical system in a Pop up camper, is fairly simple. However there are 2 distinct electrical systems involved which can complicate things a bit. Let me take a moment to try and explain.

    The 2 electrical types are 12V DC and 110v AC.

    110v AC comes into the camper via a plug at the campsite, The socket type available will vary depending on the amperage provided. This (should) connect directly to an 110v AC breaker box. The AC breaker box connects to the "DC Converter' which provides 12v DC power, and power to any 110v AC connections (wall outlets, Air conditioner, etc).

    If your campsite does not have a socket, you will only have power if you have a battery, a generator, or a direct connection to a vehicle battery (not recommended as most vehicle batteries are not intended to provide power for extended periods of time), that power is typically only 12v DC, unless you have an "110v AC Inverter", or a Generator. This is called "Dry Camping" or in some cases "Boondocking"

    All of the essential electrical systems in a camper are run on 12v DC power. This can include lighting, a water pump, even a refrigerator, or a heating system.

    All of these 12v electrical circuits require the knowledge of 2 primary factors for the load you intend to use.
    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Distance
    [*]Current (in Amps)
    [/list]

    The Amp rating, and distance both effect the Fuse you need for the circuit, and the gauge of wire needed to run the load. The ground on the converter, is a common ground, meaning all wires share the same connection.

    The reason this is important, is that if you run too high of a load on too small of a wire for too long of a distance, the wire will heat up just like on an electric heater. This, is a bad thing when it happens and can lead to other "Really Bad Things".

    The proper way to run this is to connect a new wire, directly to the positive output of the Converter. Using an inline fuse, run a new wire to the new load using a fuse rated for the load (15a should be fine in most cases).

    This will prevent a fire. Fires are bad. Only you can prevent camper fires.
     
  16. BelchFire

    BelchFire I speak fluent vise-grip

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    94-D2, you're a wise man.

    She and I both need to charge our phones every night. I have an extended battery, but because so many campgrounds have little to no cell service, our batteries are dying while trying to connect. We try to remember to bring a 110V charger, but it's one more thing to pack, and often gets left behind. There's a 12V charger in my truck, full time. Plus, if we DO remember the 110V charger, we can use both.

    Then, there's the air mattress pump; it's ONLY 12V.

    Add two ipods in the coming years, and we'll max out our available outlets on phones and ipods charging at the same time. This adds two more.....
     
  17. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    I added these to my pup for charging and my television while dry camping.


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    Happy Campin'
     

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