12 volt outlet problem

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12 volt outlet problem

Postby halfdome, Danny » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:48 pm

I have only DC on my trailer and no ground to the chassis for the interior lights but grounded for the running lights. All the lights work interior & exterior. The 12 volt plugs don't work. We tested them with a volt meter and found the bottom of the hole to be negative and the sides to be positive. When I clip on my circuit tester to the side and touch the probe in the bottom of the socket the light comes on. My Positive wires are on the pos. bus bar and my neg. wires are on the neg. bus bar and the battery cables neg. to neg. & pos. to pos. When I touch a test wire to the neg. post on the battery and then to the chassis it will blow the porch light fuse. I'm assuming that is because there is enough metal between the chassis and porch light. I tried a plug in vector pocket power DC/AC inverter and now it won't work same with my cell phone charger, now they are both dead. My neighbor & I can't figure what is wrong. Any ideas? Danny
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Postby Chuck Craven » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:14 pm

Well first off the shell of the outlet should be – and the center pin should be+.
I am assuming that you are using the cigarette litter type of outlet. The wire colure code could be wrong. Then some place in the porch light you have a short probably from the + lead to the frame/aluminum skin.
Fix the outlets first. Then disconnect the battery and look for a short from one circuit to the trailer and/or from one to the other.

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Postby halfdome, Danny » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:33 pm

Chuck, from what you say my wires are backwards. There were no instructions with these Camping World outlets so I went with info. from another thread. I'll switch wires and get a map light to do a test so I don't burn up expensive phone plugs. Thanks, Danny :)
Last edited by halfdome, Danny on Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby surveytech » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:08 am

i just installed those outlets in my tear and the center was marked positive.
it was very hard to see though as it was molded into the plastic.
so i marked it with a silver sharpie for future reference.
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Postby halfdome, Danny » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:49 am

These plugs are all metal with no markings. They work now since I swapped the wires. The battery is in an enclosed box on the tongue with two 1" round vents to the outside, I hope that is enough for venting gasses. Danny
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Postby cracker39 » Thu Apr 20, 2006 3:51 pm

My 12V sockets have a blace connector on the shell and a short white wire with a matching connector came with it. White is almost always the negative (ground) wire on 12 volt lights and sockets, even though most people wire their systems with red for pos and black for neg...I know I did. Every running light I bought has either a white ground wire, or no ground wire (meant for chassis ground), and the positive wires for the brake light is black and the tail light wire is red. Back to the 12V socket. mine has a bolt and nut on the center of the back where I connected my positive wire from the 12V source. I haven't hooked up my converter, but I did test my sockets and all lights, both trailer interior/porch lights and running lights, with my battery.
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Postby fornesto » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:53 pm

I have found that there is a great deal of tolerance in the dimensions of 12V sockets and accessories. Some really cheap plugs will short out the socket because they rattle around inside there.

There is almost always a little 10A glass fuse inside the 12V accessory male plug end. Be careful, when you unscrew the end, the metal nipple will take off because it is spring-loaded (Don't ask me how I know). Check you cell charger fuse.
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Postby Chuck Craven » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:12 pm

In the Automotive world any color can be +12v. There is no standard. Normal system uses the car chassis as –12v return. But some European, and other countries use +12 to the frame / chassis. Even some military trucks use + to the frame / chassis. All I can say is there is no standard. :fb
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Postby cracker39 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 4:48 pm

My biggest problem with 12V sockets is getting them into an outlet box in a 1 1/2" thick wall. They will fit into a 1 7/8" box, if you punch out the middle hole in the back. The pos screw where you attach the pos line ends up flush with the back of the box, against the skin. Even then, you have to let the box stick out a quarter inch and put a shim under the cover plate if you only have a 1/8" paneling like I do. I got it to work, but it took some doing. One thing about my wiring. Adjectives like effective can be used, but purty ain't one you would want to use. I'm glad it will be under paneling and inside cabinets where it can't be seen.
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Postby bledsoe3 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:23 am

Dale, Get a piece of wood to match what you have 1/2" thick. Cut a trim piece that you can mount between your box and 12v socket. You can use your router to make it more attractive (1/4 round bit). This is what I did when I didn't have enough depth.
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I couldn't round it cause I used birch ply to match my cabinet doors. Here's another.
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Postby cracker39 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:35 am

bledsoe3 wrote:Dale, Get a piece of wood to match what you have 1/2" thick. Cut a trim piece that you can mount between your box and 12v socket. You can use your router to make it more attractive (1/4 round bit). This is what I did when I didn't have enough depth.


That's what I did in the back. I mounted a 110VAC socket on either side of my A/C, although I probably only needed one, but, I am planning to put a shelf on either side of it. I mounted the 12V socket beneath the A/C in the center. That one was the only one that needed additional spacing and I used one piece of 1/4" ply and laminated a piece of the paneling on it to match the wall. I'm going to do the same in the front, only I'll have one of each socket type, mounted about 2" apart and will use the same depth for both, making another spacing piece to match the wall.

I don't think mine will look quite as good as yours do. My 12V socket cover plae was shiny too, but rather than buy other covers to match it, I found spray paint the same ivory color as my other covers and painted my 12V socket cover to match the rest.
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Postby fornesto » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:35 pm

The budget solution is to surface mount discretely one of those 12V outlets that are designed for truck beds or underdash mount.
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