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Old 06-04-2013, 09:08 PM   #1
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Charging Station Mod

The 23B is really nice as it has a lot of counter space in comparison to the other TTs we looked at. But it was lacking a good location for charging phones and the like. With the DWs permission I removed the stereo and the false panel above it. Before doing any other changes (so I could easily revert to the OEM design), I had the DW test the stereo to ensure it was not too high.

All the wood pieces to make the charging station was from the various panels I removed from the TT. The interior panels were cut from the false front that was from under the J-Sofa, and was hidden by a black skirt under the sofa. The stock used had held in those various panels.

I did pull another set of dedicated wires from the converter, to the two 12 volt power points.

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I found we use the space to place misc small items that use to land on the counter on this shelf more than we use it to charge our phones. Best of all we no longer have cords hanging down all the time.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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I like it. I may have to see where I can put one.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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Looks good!
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:42 AM   #4
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Nice work!.....I was looking at USB / 110V receptacle combos this weekend as almost all our devices take the same plug (phone, GPS, Kindle, iPod)

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I love the idea....but $30-$50 is a little pricey....ouch
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:32 AM   #5
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We solved two problems with our setup. having a 120VAC charging station and having one that works when we are on Shore Power or running Off the batteries. We just run a couple of 120VAC extension cord multi-outlet receptacles from a 600WATT PSW Inverter that is direct wired to the battery bank. One to the Home entertainment location and the second one to the bedroom night stand location. These will give 120VAC when we are on Shore Power or running off the battery. We normally camp off the power grid most of the time anyway. I mount these multi-outlets behind the table top or down on the wall - All cabling is out-of-sight with only the multi-outlets visible. I run this 600WATT PSW Inverter from the battery even when connected to Shore Power sites. HDTV never misses a beat when the power goes off.


All of our charging transformers plug into these two areas.

I am not a big fan for 12VDC cigarette lighter sockets or 12VDC appliances. Apparently the trailer manf guys aren't either as you certainly don't find many in the trailers...

My other hobby is Ham Radio which has a bunch of 12VDC equipment to be used inside the trailers. I hard wire all of these 12VDC connections to one of these BLUE SEA 12VDC Fused Sub Panels which is fed from the battery bank with larger cabling.


If I have to use a 12VDC socket and plug I usually purchase a matched set from BLUE SEA/JAMESTOWN with a high current rating...


Just my thoughts
Roy Ken
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:29 AM   #6
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Nice looking work on the power outlets.

A little information about using computer style 120 volt plug strips with voltage spike suppression circuits for charging stations on GFI protected circuits. Some plug strips with overvoltage protection cause a few milliamps (mA) current to flow to the ground circuit conductor in their protection/monitor design. They are usually the more expensive type strips. A GFI receptacle or GFCI protected breaker (Ground Fault Interrupter or Ground Fault Circuit Interruper) for personal protection is designed to trip if the leakage current exceeds 5 mA to ground. That current is additive so if the plug strip is impressing a few mA of leakage on the circuit it won't take much more leakage to trip a GFI protection device feeding the circuit.

It can also cause up to 60 volts AC to be impressed on an unconnected ground conductor (missing ground pin) which can be verified by using a digital voltmeter. Fortunately there isn't any current capability from the 60 volts so there should be no real danger.

Just something to keep in mind especially if you are using more than one plug strip and experiencing nuisance GFI trips. FWIW. vic
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threebutchers View Post
Nice work!.....I was looking at USB / 110V receptacle combos this weekend as almost all our devices take the same plug (phone, GPS, Kindle, iPod)

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I love the idea....but $30-$50 is a little pricey....ouch
Threebutchers, I considered adding a 120V outlet like the one you shown. But if I am not connected to shore power it would be useless. By adding the 12V power points I now will always have a method to charge our phones.

I also ordered (but not arrived) a couple Griffin (gc23139) powerjolt dual car chargers. They are the only usb charges I know of that have dual 2.1amp outputs.
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Threebutchers, I considered adding a 120V outlet like the one you shown. But if I am not connected to shore power it would be useless.
Too true....
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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I get around this problem by using an INVERTER. This runs off the battery and gives me 120VAC. It works better for me as 120VAC appliances are more readily available and work better than 12VDC appliances. My charging station runs off of 120VAC whether I am camping at shore stations with electric service or camping off the power grid using my dedicated 600WATT PSW Inverter. In addition to the charging station I get to run my HDTV, DVD player, and any number of small wattage 120VAC items when camping off the power grid...

just my thoughts
Roy Ken
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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The bad thing with using the inverter is that you loose power running the inverter to convert DC power to AC power, and sometimes it has to be converted back to DC power.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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To each his own I reckon. I can run all these 120VAC items from an inverter and many 12VDC items directly connected to the battery bank and make it just fine until 8AM the next morning where I can re-charge my battery bank back up to 90% state of charge and then be able to do it all over for the next day/night battery run.

I guess if all I wanted to run off the battery is to charge up my cell phone then using a cigarette light plug would work just fine.

That is not my cup of tea for camping off the power grid... If I got a whole trailer full of 120VAC and 12VDC appliances that I can use with just a little planning and adding a couple of additional pieces of equipment I am going to go that route...

Coffee bar is always open at my setup camping off the power grid. Come on over and have a cup...

All of the items I have listed in these couple of posts here all run just fine from my 255AH battery bank and when my battery gets down to 12.0VDC the next morning I can recharge back up to 90% state of charge in as little as three hours of generator run time. Then I am good to go for the next day/night run off the batteries.

Its all in what you want to do...

We are very successful camping off the power grid and run just about the same things we run at the electric camp sites with the exception of the air conditioner. About the only big thing that gives me fits is if it is required to run my propane furnace at night as the high current blower motor really eats up my batteries. Most of the time we just warm things up nice and toasty by 11PM and then just get under the covers until 8AM the next morning with the furnace set on about 40 degrees...

My bigger point here is you don't to settle for a couple of cigarette lighter sockets - for just a little more you can run almost all of your favorite things to do when camping off the power grid and make it just fine until 8AM the next morning.

If just charging your cell phone or maybe run a small fan is all you want to do camping off the power grid - hey thats great...

just saying...
Roy Ken
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:42 PM   #12
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Roy,
Sounds like you have it figured out for your needs. I stopped buying dedicated 12 volt cell phone chargers forever ago after I figured out a small cigarette lighter inverter to plug into works for the included 120 volt charger. As you say, not as efficient, but I'm not looking to stay off grid for long periods. I now have a little cigarette outlet to USB 5 volt unit that I got in a regatta goodie bag. Cute little thing. Works for many chargers.
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... About the only big thing that gives me fits is if it is required to run my propane furnace at night as the high current blower motor really eats up my batteries. Most of the time we just warm things up nice and toasty by 11PM and then just get under the covers until 8AM the next morning with the furnace set on about 40 degrees...

...
Roy Ken
I think the furnace fan typically draws 4 to 5 amps. An expediter I know swears by using a 12 volt heating blanket for the bed. He said the blanket doesn't use as much as he thought it would so it's pretty efficient. If I recall correctly he uses it to pre-heat the bed and only occasionally needs to cycle it back on over night. Just thought that I'd mention it as a possibility for you. vic
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:55 PM   #13
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VIC - yep we do the same here... It does help out big time using an 120VAC electric blanket and doesn't draw as much as you would have expected. I think our electric blanket has two heat zones with maybe 75WATTs for each zone. No matter how cold it gets I still have to my feet sticking out from under the covers haha... The wife loves to sit with a lap heated blanket when it is chilly outside.

We have been camping in our OFF-ROAD POPUP all over VA and down south to the coast and as far west as Texas and Okla. We like the high country of the southern states where it gets pretty chilly sometimes in Natl Forest areas. Been doing this for the past five years or so so pretty much got all the angles figured out. That all falls under being successful haha... The one thing we learned real quick was you just can head for the woods and expect to come out successful - got do some serious planning...

Now it is almost all old hat - we have our favorite camping off the grid spots and know exactly what to expect...

Roy Ken
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RETIRED DOD DOAF DON CONTRACTOR Electronics Tech 42YRS

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2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:21 PM   #14
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I think there is difference is between a person like Roy and myself is, I have do not have much desire to run a large battery bank, nor use a generator everyday to recharge. I do not mind being off the information grid for a while, and I actual enjoy it. I actually pulled the hdtv out of the HTT after the first trip. I can watch all the hdtv at home that I want, why do it camping too.

We found we can go three days using some furnace time (~8-10hrs), lights (LED boards), frig on propane, and so forth utilizing one small 85 amp hour dual purpose marine battery. The only item we have issues with is my DW’s Smartphone. My old school phone, will last up to a week on a charge, so it is not much of an issue.

For us, this is the reason for a 12V charging station, as I do not want to waste energy using multiple inverters to charge some small device, and I do not want to deal with charging batteries every day. A bonus of this charging station is I can plug in my 12V air compressor to fill TT tires on the curb side. I plug in the compressor into a 12V outlet that I installed in the frig access compartment on the streetside.

It is a simple solution that works, and takes nothing to maintain.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #15
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JAGIVEN - Hey that works for me too... I just wanted to be sure you was aware that all the different things with the modern trailer works great camping off the power grids with just a little effort.

We have been avid tent campers from the late 50's to just five years ago. Our way of camping was to load up the Jeep and pile all of our supplies and things in a small utility trailer and head for the high country of AZ. Might stay out a week or so...

Now with all the modern things associated with the todays trailers it just amazes me what you can do with one... I have a very power Hungary hobby with my Ham Radio and associated emergency weather comms nets and all. All of this has to be fit into what I do. Once I finally get a workable thing figured out then I also have to satisfy what the wife wants do when she is camping as well... I am just amazed you have all of these options available to you.

We both love the outdoors and do all the same things we did for years of tenting and being with nature. It is also very nice to finish up the day with HDTV, checking weather, news, and maybe some NCIS, checking in with kids, and spending a most comfortable sleeping out in the woods somewhere off the beaten path.

If all of these things was not available like they are we would be just as happy eating cold beans from a can with franks.
Enjoy the camping experience while we can...

Roy Ken
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RETIRED DOD DOAF DON CONTRACTOR Electronics Tech 42YRS

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2008 STARCRAFT 14RT OFF-ROAD POPUP with PD9260C and three 85AH 12VDC batteries
2010 F150 FX4 5.4 GAS with 3.73 gears - Super Cab - Towing Package - 2KW Honda EU2000i Gen
K9PHT (since 1957) 146.52Mhz
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:27 PM   #16
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The big question from me.... how hard was it to get the paneling off? I have the same set-up and would love to do something similar. Our HT is brand new though, and I don't want to mess something up So just a couple of questions:
1) How did you get the paneling off?
2) Did you just tap into the 12V power going to the stereo for the 12V receptacles? I'd love to put a few up there to power my Sirius satellite radio and as a charging station for phones, etc.

Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:24 AM   #17
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There are a number of locations I could have pulled power from (cabinet lights, stove fan, Slide Out switch, Awning switch, stereo, etc). But I did it the hard way and pulled a new wire pair from the converter to the Charging Station. By doing it this way I knew I had plenty of power (not overloading any other circuit), to run my heavy duty 12V air compressor (8 amp draw) to fill the TT tires off the same Aux power jack.

As for removing the panel, it is fairly easy to do. I use a small rubber mallet, and just tap all the way around the panel, a number of times. After a few times I increase the force until the staples break loose. Do NOT use any type of pry bar or you will break the panel as it really thin. It just takes some time, so you do not break the panel. I was careful as I was unsure if my DW would like the new height of the stereo, and I wanted to be able to reinstall it if necessary.

I used scrap wood from other TT projects to frame it in, and enclose the million wires back there. I needed one piece of finished wood above the Stereo as the upper hole was about an 1 ” to tall. I ripped down a piece of pine and then used a piece of paneling glued to it as an overlay so the wood work would match, and then I would not have to do any staining. I then used a Kreg jig to secure the filler into place.

I did not want to see all the wires to I made a small frame work out of ” stock, so I could hide all the wires. The frame work was then covered using the large prefinished panel I removed from under the J-Sofa, No one can see that panel anyways and that opened up the area under the sofa for shoe storage.

I installed four panels to finish it off, so it looks really nice and clean. Total time, about 10 hours, at least three of those hours was running new power lines.

My brad nailer barely fit inside the cabinet, so I place friction tape on the face frame not to damage the existing wood work as I worked.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:33 AM   #18
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Great info, thanks!
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:34 PM   #19
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Thanks for posting the lowdown on your mod. At first, I couldn't see the advantage, but now realize that the sockets are set in and there is a neat little compartment there. I have often eyeballed that radio and wondered about doing something with the space above. This gives me some good ideas!

I, too, have used a lighter socket 75 watt inverter to power my mifi doohickey to allow for boonie computer use. I finally hard-wired a neat little 175 watt one in that has an on/off switch.

I don't watch TV at home, so no worries when I am out in the TT.

Thanks guys and gals for sharing your ideas and views on things like this.
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