Adding a hardwired 12V / USB Outlet - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-11-2017, 11:33 PM   #1
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Adding a hardwired 12V / USB Outlet

I would like to add a hardwired 12V / USB outlet to charge electronic gadgets. We rarely stay at sites with a current bush and don't have an inverter to feed the plugs off the batteries so we need 12V outlets of some type. We currently have no 12V outlets but four 120V outlets that we rarely if ever make use of.

I am planning to add a Magnadyne WC-USB and WC-12V outlet the same as ETI currently installs. My plan is to install one in the wardrobe cabinet beside the door and one under the pop-up table beside the sink. I am considering removing the existing single junction boxes for the 120V plugs and replacing them with double boxes to mount the 12V and 120V behind the same cover plate. Alternately I would cut new holes and install them standalone.

I am also planning to run a dedicated circuit from the fuse box through the cabinetry to both outlets. Given the return distance of ~50' and current draw of ~8 amps for the WC-USB I think I will need to run 8 or 10 AWG wire.

I am wondering if anyone has tackled a similar project and has any tips or feedback. The tremendous knowledge of the forum members has helped me solve many problems to date. Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:04 AM   #2
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I've added them in a couple of locations, one in a power panel at the end of the dinette table and a second on the gable at the kitchen end of the bed. It's useful for the TV and tablet.

They're pretty inexpensive online.

Your proposed wire sizes seem high to me and the length of the run might not be as great as you think. That is, unless you're planning on running some heavy duty device on the cigarette lighter outlet.

Ron
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:41 AM   #3
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I would add, not replace anything. If you wanted you could replace the 120V outlets with ones that have USB ports for those times you are connected, but if you have enough 12V USB that really would be redundant.

You would not need that heavy of wire. 8 amps at a 5V USB outlet is only 3.3A at 12V, so #16 wire would be just fine, #14 would provide lots of extra capacity.

I have found our current setup for charging is a bit unruly, with cords all over the place, and intend to do a setup something like Ron showed to keep cords nice and tidy.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:05 AM   #4
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You would not need that heavy of wire. 8 amps at a 5V USB outlet is only 3.3A at 12V, so #16 wire would be just fine, #14 would provide lots of extra capacity.M.
8A at 5V not 8A at 12V; that makes sense! Smaller wires will definitely make the install easier. Thanks!

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Old 08-12-2017, 02:39 PM   #5
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Scout out a good path for the wires before drilling holes.. These trailers can be difficult to fish wires to where you want them.

When you drill into the side of a cabinet you are likely only going through 2 thin layers of ply separated by an inch of airspace. The bit will go through in a hurry.

Adding a new fuse to the panel is the easy part.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:49 PM   #6
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When you drill into the side of a cabinet you are likely only going through 2 thin layers of ply separated by an inch of airspace. The bit will go through in a hurry.
A good situation in which to use a drill bit stop collar, to keep the bit from going too far.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by msweet View Post
I am planning to add a Magnadyne WC-USB and WC-12V outlet the same as ETI currently installs. My plan is to install one in the wardrobe cabinet beside the door and one under the pop-up table beside the sink. I am considering removing the existing single junction boxes for the 120V plugs and replacing them with double boxes to mount the 12V and 120V behind the same cover plate. Alternately I would cut new holes and install them standalone.
You might check to see if there is an outlet box at all. Recently Escape has been using Self Contained Devices (SCD), which are receptacles which have a closed back and are installed directly in a panel without a box; I don't know what they were using in 2009.

Jim showed these SCDs in Prairie Schooner modifications, and a discussion followed. They came up again in Replacing 120V outlet with 120V/USB port outlet.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:34 PM   #8
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Probably the op will be safe as in 2009 up to 2014 Escape was still using the traditional electrical boxes. The switch came sometime after 2014 to the SCD boxes. But, the new style can be replaced with the older style, that is what I ended up doing in my case.
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:50 PM   #9
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Scout out a good path for the wires before drilling holes.. These trailers can be difficult to fish wires to where you want them.
I scouted out a path along the drivers side wall through the cabinetry beside the existing wiring bundle. No drilling required.

Everything was going well until the fish tape got stuck behind a pipe behind the shower enclosure... after over an hour of wiggling and jiggling I was finally able to get the fish tape out. On the second attempt I had the fish tape through the cabinets around the front dinette into the wardrobe and pulled back with the wires in under 10 minutes.
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:51 PM   #10
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Probably the op will be safe as in 2009 up to 2014 Escape was still using the traditional electrical boxes. The switch came sometime after 2014 to the SCD boxes. But, the new style can be replaced with the older style, that is what I ended up doing in my case.
We have plastic electrical boxes as you noted.
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