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Old 02-14-2011, 10:31 PM   #1
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26BH Mod- High Output 12V Receptacle

I bought a 410 amp power inverter yesterday so I could charge my laptop without starting the generator. But the 12V receptacle above the dinette (for TV use only, it says) didn't work. Evidently the wires are too small going to that 12V outlet, causing power loss. My inverter would stop after being plugged in for only a minute, giving a low voltage warning.

The inverter showed 10.9 volts when it shut off, but the battery was still reading 12.6 volts at the time. Undersized wiring was the culprit.

Not to be beaten, I checked the Progressive Dynamics power control center, looking for a way to get 12 volts from it. There were two unused fused 30 amp circuits left on the power supply. Even though my inverter pulls 41 amps at full load, I don't plan on ever using it to that extent, so I decided a 30 amp circuit would suffice. And anyway, if the inverter pulls over 30 amps the fuse will blow, so it's safe. It won't hurt the inverter.

Part I used were:

-1 panel mount 12 volt receptacle with spade connectors for connecting the DC electricity (bought from a boating supply store, about $8)

-Two 3 foot lengths of 10 gauge multi-strand wire (about $3 total- at Lowes)

-A small package of spade connectors, male and female ($3- at Lowes)

-One 30 amp auto fuse (had it in my spares)


Tools:

-Flat and phillips screwdrivers
-Electric drill and a 3/16 drill bit
-Wire strippers
-Wire terminal crimpers
-Wood chisel (only because I mis-positioned the receptacle hole through the panel, and had to remove some of the support plywood in order to fit the mounting nut on the threaded body of the receptacle)

Quote:
=================
I'm not recommending you do this yourself. I'm just describing a modification I made to my TT. (Disclaimer- If you try this on your own, don't blame me if you blow up your power controller, or start a fire and burn down your trailer, or electrocute yourself. I'm not liable for any mistakes that may be in these instructions, or any mistakes you might make. To be on the safe side, have a licensed electrician do this for you. End- Disclaimer
=================
How I did it:

-Removed the under-refrigerator drawer to gain access to the back side of the power controller

-Use the mounting nut (taken from the body of the receptacle) as a guide to mark the size of the hole I needed to cut out. I just positioned the nut where I thought it should be and use the inside of the nut as a guide to draw a circle on the panel, next to the power controller. I should have marked the hole a half-inch farther away from the panel to give room for the nut. As it was, there was a strip of plywood (used to support the power controller) in the way.

-Drilled holes all the way around the marked circle, then used the side of the drill bit to finish cutting out the circle.

-Used the chisel to remove enough plywood so there was room for the nut to tighten on the back portion of the receptacle body. Again, if the hole was positioned correctly, this wouldn't need to be done.

-Slid the receptacle into the hole and tightened the nut on the back.

-Made sure the receptacle was positioned squarely, then screwed in the mounting screws, one on each side of the receptacle front.

Here's what I did with the wiring.

-Disconnect the negative wire from the battery!

-Strip about 3/8 inch of insulation from each end of the two wires

-Crimp on a female connector to one end of the white wire.

-Attach the other end to the negative terminal block, screwed to the floor. There were no open spaces in the terminal block, so I doubled up two of the smaller wires in one connector to free up a connector for the new wire.

-Crimp a male terminal on one end of the black wire, and a female terminal end on the other end

-Find the black wire coming out of the power controller labeled with the number "1". It should be unconnected to any other wires, with a crimp connector on its end.

-Cut the wire close to the connector on the end of wire #1, and strip off 3/8 inch of insulation

-Crimp on a female terminal end

-Connect the male terminal on the end of your 3 foot black wire to the female connector of wire #1

-Connect the female terminal end of the 3 foot black wire to the middle spade on the back of the receptacle

-Connect the female terminal on the end of the 3 foot white wire to the other spade at the back of the receptacle.

-Insert the 30 amp fuse into the #1 position of the fuse block, inside the door of the controller

-Reconnect the negative wire to the battery

-Test the high output 12 volt receptacle. Plug something in and see if it works.

-It worked. I cleaned up my mess and reinstalled the drawer.


I've been using the receptacle for the last 2 hours, and it works great. No low voltage warnings. The location of the receptacle is a little inconvenient, being under the fridge, but it's better than having no usable high amperage 12 volt DC power at all inside the TT.

Sorry I didn't get more pics.

Have a good one,

Bill
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12v1.jpg   12v2.jpg  
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:33 AM   #2
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Correction re Inverter size

Quote:
I bought a 410 amp power inverter yesterday...
Should've read 410 "watt", not "amp".
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Hey Bill! Nice job....I have thought about doing something similar in the master and coming right off the battery.

That 12 volt outlet behind the TV is only rated for 6 amps max, or about 60 watts on your inverter.

I would double check two things though if you have not already --

1. What is the rating on the 12 volt jack? 30 amps is pretty high for a cig lighter outlet, usually they are about 10 amp max I thought?

2. What is the cig plug and cord rated? I know my 400 watt inverter came with a cord that was not nearly big enough. I think it said it was rated only to 100 watts or something ridiculous.

If that is the case, you might think about lowering your fuse down to a 10 or 15 amp and see if it gives you enough to run your laptop. Just a thought to give you some extra protection.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:49 PM   #4
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Nice job. Yeah the 410 amp inverter had me going there for a minute.

-Lee
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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He carries a really big computer with him!:lizard:
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:11 PM   #6
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Tafische,

I thought about coming straight from the battery first, but after checking the schematic for the power controller and realizing there was a 30 amp dc slot open to use, I decided to get my dc power there.

Plus it's a lot closer to where I work with my laptop, meaning a shorter wire run. A long run from the battery would require heavier gauge wiring.

The inverter is made by a reputable company, so I doubt very much the supplied cable/plug combo would be underrated for the inverter. I've checked the wire after long use and it's still cool to the touch, telling me it's probably not undersized. Same with the plug/receptacle. Still cool to the touch.

I made an assumption regarding the receptacle, that it would handle the amperage I set up the circuit for. The device looks to be very well made, and is actually for use in boat applications. I didn't see an amperage rating on the receptacle or packaging, but feel confident it will handle the loads put on it.

If not, well, it was nice chatting with you. Maybe I'll see you on the other side.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:50 PM   #7
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Lol...yeah...I am probably a little over cautious on the inverter run cables...maybe because I have melted one out of my own stupidity. I am sure you will be just fine and have many more years of camping on only the laptop...they usually take 90 to 100 watts....(10 amps or so)....I will meet you on the other side when I do something much more bone headed!!

What I really want is to upgrade to a pair of 6Vs and an inverter charger that will power any of my 120V outlets when I dont have shore power....but that is probably a little overkill in our 26BHs!
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:59 PM   #8
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I'd like to go the dual 6V battery route too, but it's too late. I did a bonehead thing myself yesterday before I realized my inverter input voltage problem was the undersized stock 12v tv receptacle. I bought a new battery. My feeble mind just knew the battery was bad. But it wasn't.

So now I have two perfectly good 12v deep cycle marine batteries. They're both the same size, so I'm going to buy a second battery box and set them up in parallel configuration. When they shoot the craps, I'll either upgrade my TT, or upgrade to 2 6v golf cart batteries, if they'll fit.

An inverter setup to run all the TT outlets would be sweet, but you're probably right- overkill for our little economy travel trailers.

Just wondering, have you had any problems with your 26BH? The only problem I've had was one of the blind strings broke.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:03 PM   #9
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And you know, I think I will switch out that 30 amp fuse for something smaller and see if it holds up. I have a lot of spare 15 amp fuses. If one of those works for what I'm doing with the inverter, it would definitely be a lot safer.

Thanks for the idea.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:10 PM   #10
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Bill - I absolutely love my 26BH! Just the right size for my 1/2 ton pickup and works well for my family of 4.

It was a 2009 that was used, but the guy before me only used it like 2 or 3 times and it still had that new trailer smell...It was still the current model year and I got it for a steal!! The only problem I have had so far is the water heater flame sensor was not acting right - but the dealer gave me a new one for free. I have done several mods to it which I put in a video on another post...

I think you will be just fine with 2x12Volts...yeah..6Vs are prob better, but not by that much....let me know how the 2 12 volts fit on the front rail...I have been wondering if two 6 volts will fit up there with no modification....right now I have the small group 24 that came with it, but we have not done much boondocking....I hope to change that and go to a couple of Nascar races so that will require an upgrade!

By the way --- see if this helps...

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2178089/12vSchematic.gif

Not the clearest, but gives you an idea of where everything is run. Most of the 12 Volt stuff has smaller gauge pigtails. If you pull that TV outlet out, you will probably find the higher gauge wire you could tap into for something. I also thought about tapping into the line going to the propane detector. I am trying to find at least the 110 watts needed to run my small flat screen TV....

Enjoy your 26BH....I am jealous of your 2011 -- you have two cool upgrades -- outside speakers and the drawer slides....Oh--and that missing small dent in the right front side from my kids bike
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