Polarity Question?

Cowboy Camper

Super Active Member
Jun 17, 2007
Howdy Folks.

I'm sure this is an easy one for most of y'all, but I just need to know the proper Polarity for the 1/4" Phono Plug that can also be used as a 12v Power Source from the Ceiling Lights in the camper.

<img src="http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/9391/2691428280100500874S425x425Q85.jpg" border=0>

What's what here as far as Polarity is concerned? Tip/Sleeve, Inner/Outer or Positive/Negative? <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_question.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Question">

I got this Plug for free, but cannot for the life of me remember how I should wire it to add a light to my bathroom.

<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_cowboy.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Cowboy Camper">

The Wargos

Active Member
Sep 6, 2008
Pasadena, Maryland
Hey Cowboy,

Typically, the center part of the plug is positive and the outer part is negative. However, I am not really sure it matters with simple 12V light wiring. Polarity really comes into play with critical listening of high end audio equipment where "out of phase" distortions may be heard by discerning ears.

I may be wrong and someone else may pipe up, but IMHO, not sure the connection matters.... but I'd still go with positive in the middle. LOL

Bob,Ann & Kali (the Border Collie)
00 Damon Camplite 05 Dodge RAM 1500
"We're all here, because we're not all there"


Franconia, Pa.
I don't know this for certain, but typically the center is hot (positive) and the outside is ground.

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Ray Arnold

Let's do this thing !
Sep 13, 2008
If you have a Volt/ohm meter, you could plug that into your light and measure across the two terminals. just to be sure.

Ray&Karen Utah,Bo,and Mister.
2008 Fleetwood Avalon
2007 Chevy Tahoe


Morris County, NJ
Sep 11, 2008
Morris County, NJ
I beleive for lighting it should not matter. Unless, lets says you are running a 12vdc fan. Then it will matter, either it runs correctly or backwards!

2005 Honda Ody
2002 Ford F150 Supercab 4X4
2008 Fleetwood Seapine


Super Active Member
Oct 14, 2004
Grand Prairie,TX,75052
In my camper the "tip" or center is positive and the "sleeve" or outside would be ground.
As others have already said it would not mater if you are only going to use it for lights but even if you use it for a fan reverse polarity could cause problems.

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Cowboy Camper

Super Active Member
Jun 17, 2007
Thanks folks, that's what I thought I had read before. Tip should be Positive.

I had been thinking about this some today, and came to the same conclusion that some have mentioned. Just plug this thing in and touch the leads with the multi meter. When I get a + 12v reading, pay attention to where the red lead is... That's the Positive. (duh, just answered my own question! <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_lol.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Laugh Out Loud"> ) Thanks for the replies though! <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Smile">

For those who don't know, I modded my bathroom with Hard Walls, and it'll be dark in there at night. So this free find is an excellent beginning to solve this for me. Since it's also a shower stall, I am highly considering a Fan to go with the light to help dispense steam and heat buildup as well. So, the polarity is pretty important... Sorry I didn't make that clear in the original post, and y'all are correct to say that the polarity doesn't matter with just a light.

The Stock Vent Fan is close to the shower stall, but it is across the aisle. I figured an old PC Case fan would be a good item to add to whatever I come up with for a light in there. Here's a pic of the hard walls I came up with.

<img src="http://inlinethumb31.webshots.com/43998/2631282530100500874S200x200Q85.jpg" border=0>

I'm gonna hang the home made Fan/Light combo up on the wall in the corner that see here. The fan will blow the steamy air toward the stock vent fan, and the light will hang into the stall to shed some light on the situation in there. <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_big.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Big Smile">


Feb 4, 2009
The wiring does matter even for lights. If you reverse the pos and neg for lights a regular bulb might work but if you convert to LED then they will not work. It is a diaode so it is directional. Most time positive is in the middle but you should double check with atleast a test light or multi-meter. Better to wire it up correctly even if the wrong way might work for now.