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Old 09-06-2011, 12:30 AM   #1
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12 Volt Outlet Problem

We just got back from our first time camping without hookups, and I was very surprised to find that I was unable to use the 12v outlets in my Escape to charge our cell phones.

Upon later investigation with a voltmeter, I found it reading 11.6v at the socket, which is apparently below the threshold voltage for my 12v phone changer. I was reading 6.4v on each of my 6v batteries and 12.8v at the Voltage Converter/Power Center.

Do we have any folks here that are knowledgeable about their 12v systems? Are the voltages I am experiencing low or typical? Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

If you have 12.8 V at the power panel, you should also see 12.8 V at the 12V outlet.
Some things that could cause the voltage drop that you are seeing:
- You may not be making good contact with your test leads. Check the voltage at the spade lugs where the wires attach to the socket.
- The socket may be defective. The rear one on my 19 with the integrated coax connector is pretty cheesy. The above test will show this as well.
- Is there is something besides the 12V outlet on the same circuit that is drawing a lot of current? On my 19, the outlet under the dinette is on its own circuit.
- Check the voltage for the 12V outlet circuit after the fuse on the power panel. If it is low, check that the fuse is firmly seated and is making good contact in its socket. Possible cold solder joint of the fuse socket to the circuit board.
- Loose connection where ring terminal for -ve connection attaches to buss (actually a #10 bolt acting as a buss)
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #3
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

I charge with 12V chargers when boondocking with no problems. I would check the things Harold listed, as the voltage should be the same at the batteries as it is at the plug. There should be no voltage drop with the wiring used, I would not think.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:39 PM   #4
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Thanks, guys! I'm experiencing the same lower voltage across both of my 12v outlets. I'll see if I can figure out the location of the voltage drop.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

12v socket problem is solved. There was a single strand or two of wire hanging beyond the terminal on the fuse board. I bent them back (with the battery disconnected of course!) and now the sockets are putting out the full 12.8v that I as seeing at the battery.

Unfortunately, in the course of diagnosing this issue, I uncovered another, possibly worse problem. When pulling fuses from the fuse board, only circuit #3 lights up! All other LEDs stay dark. (The LEDs are supposed to light to indicate that a circuit is off) My 12v sockets (on circuit #4) are showing 11.6v when its fuse is pulled (even if the reverse-battery-protection fuses are pulled as well!). It shouldn’t be getting any voltage at all!

I traced though as much of the wiring that I could easily follow, and found nothing that stood out as improper: connections felt solid; circuits shared a common ground; there are no obvious shorts visible.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Well done on finding the problem and fixing it! That was certainly a tough one.

I think that the LEDs are only supposed to light up if you are trying to draw current from that circuit. Otherwise the LEDs for the unused circuits that don't have fuses in them would be on all the time. Try turning on whatever is connected to the circuit and see if the LED goes on when you pull the fuse.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:10 PM   #7
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Thanks, Harold! That is exactly it! Everything is working fine. With the fuse blown, we see some voltage and the capability for a very small amount of current so that we may detect when a load is applied and display it via the indicator LED. All LEDs are displaying correctly, and everything looks fine.
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle Wayne
12v socket problem is solved. There was a single strand or two of wire hanging beyond the terminal on the fuse board. I bent them back (with the battery disconnected of course!) and now the sockets are putting out the full 12.8v that I as seeing at the battery.

Unfortunately, in the course of diagnosing this issue, I uncovered another, possibly worse problem. When pulling fuses from the fuse board, only circuit #3 lights up! All other LEDs stay dark. (The LEDs are supposed to light to indicate that a circuit is off) My 12v sockets (on circuit #4) are showing 11.6v when its fuse is pulled (even if the reverse-battery-protection fuses are pulled as well!). It shouldn’t be getting any voltage at all!

I traced though as much of the wiring that I could easily follow, and found nothing that stood out as improper: connections felt solid; circuits shared a common ground; there are no obvious shorts visible.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?
The LEDs that indicate a blown fuse is causing this "problem" (which isn't really a problem). They only light if there is a load on the circuit. If there is no load, at the socket you will be measuring the voltage drop across the indicator LED circuit. Again, they won't light unless you put a load on the circuit.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle Wayne
We just got back from our first time camping without hookups, and I was very surprised to find that I was unable to use the 12v outlets in my Escape to charge our cell phones.

Upon later investigation with a voltmeter, I found it reading 11.6v at the socket, which is apparently below the threshold voltage for my 12v phone changer. I was reading 6.4v on each of my 6v batteries and 12.8v at the Voltage Converter/Power Center.

Do we have any folks here that are knowledgeable about their 12v systems? Are the voltages I am experiencing low or typical? Thanks!
I had the same problem last monday I was camping without power hook up for One night, And I notice that I was not able to charge My cell phone or to plug any other small appliance in the interior outlets, This in contrast with previous camping I did for 5 Days with Electric Hook ups, where I was able to use all the 3 interior outlets, And I was wondering if there is something wrong with My trailer.

Tammy told Me that The 110V outlets will only supply power when plugged in to an external 110V power source such as a generator or your home. To invert the 12V power to a 110V you can purchase an inverter at Canadian Tire for about $50 depending on the size you need.

The problem is that I have not a clue how to use this things.
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:02 PM   #10
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

You plug the inverter into a 12V DC outlet and plug your AC appliance into it. You'll have to read the instructions. I have one that has to be restarted every time the 12V power is shut off. Others don't require that you restart them. They are sold from 25 watts output to 300 watts or so ( with the price rising ). Tell the sales guy what you require and he can help you select the model. You will be able to charge your cell phone and/or power a computer. You will not be able to run a hair dryer or coffee maker or microwave or electric heater or any other high draw appliance.

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:49 PM   #11
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

I had the 12V fuse blow one time out camping and had to replace the fuse and then the 12V worked again. Another time we tripped the electric shut off switch not remembering we had a shut off and no 12V worked. Something else to check.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo
You plug the inverter into a 12V DC outlet and plug your AC appliance into it. You'll have to read the instructions. I have one that has to be restarted every time the 12V power is shut off. Others don't require that you restart them. They are sold from 25 watts output to 300 watts or so ( with the price rising ). Tell the sales guy what you require and he can help you select the model. You will be able to charge your cell phone and/or power a computer. You will not be able to run a hair dryer or coffee maker or microwave or electric heater or any other high draw appliance.

baglo
Thank You very much for Your answer, all I need is to charge My cell, and batteries for My GPS, I will look for a proper inverter, for now I have a eliminator power box 400w, I didn't notice that it says "inverter" on it I use it as a self rescue unit when I am in remote areas, to boost My car battery, charge My cell or other necessities, But is always in My car, will be more convenient to buy an inverter to have in My trailer.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #13
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Just remember that the input (12v side) of an inverter draws 10X the amps that the load (120v side) draws. Since most typical 12v receptacles are limited to around 10 amps, you are limited to a little over 100 watts of load. Although there are much larger inverters available, if you are going to go much over 100 watts or so you will need to wire it directly to your batteries with the proper sized wire. Some models come with alligator clips for temporary higher current connections than the cigarette lighter connection allows.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:12 PM   #14
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

When dry camping I frequently bring a deep-cycle group 27 battery along just to clip our 400W inverter to. I have a pigtail allowing me to charge that battery from the 7-pin connector in the truck bed. In addition, I can run A LOT of groovy 12v patio lights from that battery (irony?,...probably)
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:13 PM   #15
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garand
I can run A LOT of groovy 12v patio lights from that battery (irony?,...probably)
I just didn't have you pegged for a "patio light" kind of guy : - )
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Old 10-14-2011, 02:36 PM   #16
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye
Just remember that the input (12v side) of an inverter draws 10X the amps that the load (120v side) draws. Since most typical 12v receptacles are limited to around 10 amps, you are limited to a little over 100 watts of load. Although there are much larger inverters available, if you are going to go much over 100 watts or so you will need to wire it directly to your batteries with the proper sized wire. Some models come with alligator clips for temporary higher current connections than the cigarette lighter connection allows.
Yep.. we hooked up a 2000w inverter to our Batteries and the wire was pretty hefty.. it came with 4 gauge cables. It's perfect for our needs.. coffee maker and stuff like that.. I think I paid around $140 @ costco..
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:48 PM   #17
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Re: 12 Volt Outlet Problem

Jeff, those are cheap flashbacks to my Haight Ashbury, Monterey Pop Festival days.
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