USB Outlets?

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
Is it possible to switch the existing outlets with USB outlets? We'd like to replace at least one inside and the outlet outside. I've replaced every outlet in our home (some with 2 USB ports, others are typical outlets) so I'm experienced with them, but are they different in a PUP? I can't tell when watching videos except that I may have to get a couple of gang boxes to get a deeper cavity for the new outlets. Appreciate any help you can offer.

Just in case it doesn't show up in my signature, we have a 2006 Fleetwood Niagra. Thanks!
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,854
Oakland, California
It all depends - iy our only ever plug in to Shore Power - its just like at home. Same solution.

If you truly use your 12V battery power when not on Shore Power, install extra outlets that are USB only and fed off the 12V system.. Its easy, but you do need to make some new holes/cutouts and run wire. Watch a few videos then go do it.

In my instance - I added new dedicated circuits. You do not need to do that.
 

Jkoht

Active Member
Aug 10, 2020
165
You can replace an existing outlet with a combo 120 v dual outlet that also has USB outlets built-in. They'd only work when you're hooked to Shore Power, but intrinsically it's the same three wires to connect the new outlet.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
It all depends - iy our only ever plug in to Shore Power - its just like at home. Same solution.

If you truly use your 12V battery power when not on Shore Power, install extra outlets that are USB only and fed off the 12V system.. Its easy, but you do need to make some new holes/cutouts and run wire. Watch a few videos then go do it.

In my instance - I added new dedicated circuits. You do not need to do that.
Perfect, thank you! We don't intend on never having Shore Power so we should be good.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
You can replace an existing outlet with a combo 120 v dual outlet that also has USB outlets built-in. They'd only work when you're hooked to Shore Power, but intrinsically it's the same three wires to connect the new outlet.
Thanks! Shore Power is a must for me so that isn't an issue. :)
 

Jkoht

Active Member
Aug 10, 2020
165
Screenshot_20220627-212023_Samsung Internet.jpg
Frankly I'm surprised more rv companies haven't started putting these in new trailers. I've looked at doing at least one in all 4 different campers I have but at $30 a pop they're a bit spendy. Especially when I have so many extra wall packs available to use right now.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,394
Nowadays it would be a good idea to get combo outlets that include USB-C. I've seen them at Home Depot; two 115VAC outlets, one USB-A and one USB-C. More and more devices are moving to USB-C, leaving USB-A behind.

RV companies don't put them in trailers because they're $32 each instead of $3-5.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,839
Albuquerque, NM
In our popup, we installed a 12 "cigarette lighter" outlet, since we have a fan that works in it. We charged Kindles and cell phones with an adapter.
Our '15 travel trailer came with USB outlets, along with the cigarette lighter style, already installed on the 12v side. It's in about the most difficult to reach corner of the camper that it could be. We finally disconnected the USB section, we have a 12v extension cord we use if we want to use the fan, so it's actually where it's handy. I have been known to use the adpater to charge small electronics too, but not is a very long while
We haven't installed new USB outlets anyplace else yet, for one thing, finding a place that is handy for us where we can tap into the 12v system is a task we haven't done. We disconnected the USB outlets for a couple of reasons. For one, I was beginning to see reports of them malfunctioning, here and on the Retro owners' groups. The other question, which I have yet to see an answer to, is whether or not the step-down in the USB outlet is active when not in use. Since we mostly dry camp, not knowing if that was a vampire drain on power made us decide we'd use other options, since we had them.

[We have the advantage of running two solar systems, the older/smaller Goal Zero one charges a free-standing Goal Zero battery and the Zamp 1160 that charges the trailer batteries. We used the GZ battery even when the GZ solar set-up was our only one in the popup, and it was so handy, we continue to use it in the travel trailer. We use that to charge Kindles and cell phones, run my sound machine, etc. If we want to do that, or run a light or fan elsewhere in the campsite (instead of in the trailer) we can do that too, so it's very flexible for us.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
Check what the backside of your outlets look like in your trailer. You may not be able to use home AC sockets. Mine are an RV type that the wire gets pushed on by the backing plate, like this:
You could use a home outlet but you would have to cut the wire.
I just watched a video on this last night. They had the same issue and cut the wire and used a gang box to create another 'hole' for the new outlet. A bit more than I want to do but since it's only two outlets, hopefully it won't be a huge undertaking.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
In our popup, we installed a 12 "cigarette lighter" outlet, since we have a fan that works in it. We charged Kindles and cell phones with an adapter.
Our '15 travel trailer came with USB outlets, along with the cigarette lighter style, already installed on the 12v side. It's in about the most difficult to reach corner of the camper that it could be. We finally disconnected the USB section, we have a 12v extension cord we use if we want to use the fan, so it's actually where it's handy. I have been known to use the adpater to charge small electronics too, but not is a very long while
We haven't installed new USB outlets anyplace else yet, for one thing, finding a place that is handy for us where we can tap into the 12v system is a task we haven't done. We disconnected the USB outlets for a couple of reasons. For one, I was beginning to see reports of them malfunctioning, here and on the Retro owners' groups. The other question, which I have yet to see an answer to, is whether or not the step-down in the USB outlet is active when not in use. Since we mostly dry camp, not knowing if that was a vampire drain on power made us decide we'd use other options, since we had them.

[We have the advantage of running two solar systems, the older/smaller Goal Zero one charges a free-standing Goal Zero battery and the Zamp 1160 that charges the trailer batteries. We used the GZ battery even when the GZ solar set-up was our only one in the popup, and it was so handy, we continue to use it in the travel trailer. We use that to charge Kindles and cell phones, run my sound machine, etc. If we want to do that, or run a light or fan elsewhere in the campsite (instead of in the trailer) we can do that too, so it's very flexible for us.
I was thinking about going this route too - I have an iSUP that uses a cigarette lighter port to inflate. Would be convenient to have one in the camper.
 

Johneliot

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Jan 1, 2022
232
Chico, CA
Those rv types also have little ears that hold the outlet to that thin paneling. You can get gang boxes that have those ears on them if you decide to go that route. It’s probably much easier and cost effective to add a 12 volt outlet. Then you could get a auto plug that has usb outlets. This way you can use 2 different types of power sources is one outlet..
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
Nowadays it would be a good idea to get combo outlets that include USB-C. I've seen them at Home Depot; two 115VAC outlets, one USB-A and one USB-C. More and more devices are moving to USB-C, leaving USB-A behind.

RV companies don't put them in trailers because they're $32 each instead of $3-5.
Right? They aren't cheap but so worth the expense because we can't keep adapters to save our lives. I swear my husband eats them and charging cords. We bought a 3-pack for our kitchen reno and only installed two so we have an extra lying around (only USB-A). Good call on the -C though. So far only one of our devices uses that style so an adapter is fine for now.
 

Johneliot

Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Jan 1, 2022
232
Chico, CA
You can get them cheaper but they do make them.
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,394
My RV came with no 12v port. I installed a single 12v port, and adjacent to it, a USB-A dual port. The dual port is on a toggle switch so I can shut off its parasitic load. It runs off the 12v system.

After a few years, USB-A started declining in usefulness. Several of my devices are USB-C now. So I removed the USB-A dual port, and replaced it with a combination USB-A / USB-C. The combination port is also much higher output than the old combination USB-A port.

My solution to losing / forgetting adapters and cords is that I keep a 12v charger for USB-A / USB-C in a drawer on the popup (to fit into the 12v socket), and some extra cords (USB-A to Micro-USB, and USB-C to USB-C) in the drawer. They have a white label on them made with my Brother P-Touch label maker. The labels say TRAILER on them, so people remember not to put them in their duffel bags.

Keep in mind the following:

  • A 12v jack will work with any 12v device, including cell phone chargers.
  • Chargers using the 12v jack, OR USB charging ports wired into the 12v system will work regardless of whether you have Shore Power, but should be operated by switch so that you don't have parasitic drains.
  • USB ports seem to change in their characteristics every few years. 12v ports have stayed the same since the 1960s.
So having several 12v ports is a more general purpose solution that is less likely to need to be changed a few years down the road. I have two 12v ports (one inside, one outside), and one USB-A/USB-C combo port, for convenience.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
Those rv types also have little ears that hold the outlet to that thin paneling. You can get gang boxes that have those ears on them if you decide to go that route. It’s probably much easier and cost effective to add a 12 volt outlet. Then you could get a auto plug that has usb outlets. This way you can use 2 different types of power sources is one outlet..
That is definitely one way to go.
You can get them cheaper but they do make them.
I can get quite a few of these through work - we get them for trade shows.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
My solution to losing / forgetting adapters and cords is that I keep a 12v charger for USB-A / USB-C in a drawer on the popup (to fit into the 12v socket), and some extra cords (USB-A to Micro-USB, and USB-C to USB-C) in the drawer. They have a white label on them made with my Brother P-Touch label maker. The labels say TRAILER on them, so people remember not to put them in their duffel bags.
Ha! I was going to go one further and have a set for interior/exterior or hers/his I know where all my cords are...it's a certain someone who loses theirs and 'borrows' mine and I never see them again.
 

JandKfromVA

Member
Jun 3, 2022
38
Virginia USA
I bought a 110/usb home type outlet for my 2006 Coleman. It won’t fit without modifying the mounting location.
That's what I was thinking as well. Since this doesn't seem to be a quick job, I"ll likely wait until the fall when the weather doesn't feel like it's hell outside.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
2,108
That is definitely a fall job in VA! (I'm such a weather wimp.)

We did the 12v/USB addon in ours. As far as we're concerned, Shore Power is for prechilling the fridge before you go and those AC outlets have no purpose. :p
 




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