Adding AC outlets to my boat? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

I also agree that a cig adapter would be the easiest and least expensive idea.

Be sure to use the proper gauge wire, proper type of wire and proper fuse, not to mention the proper crimper and connectors. If these answers are not obvious, then do a lot of research first or get a pro to help. Electrical systems are the number one cause of boat fires, much more than engines, fuel, galleys, etc.


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post #12 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

I bought a 500w inverter from Lowe's for 39.95. It has two AC outlets, a cigarette outlet and a usb port. Brand is Stanley. We just use it to charge small things, like phones. It has clamps to hook onto the 12v battery and for now I just hook it up for a few hours at a time as needed. (My batteries are pretty easy to access in the cabin.) Someday I'll permanently wire it to the battery and mount it somewhere. My 12v batteries (2) charge off the engine's alternator and so far haven't had any issues with power.

Honestly, I saw some inverters that cost huge $$ and I'm not really sure what's the difference. This thing has worked great for us.

Shop Stanley 500-Watt Power Converter at Lowes.com
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I think everyone is reading into this to much, all you need is a car 12v cigar lighter, two wires and costing less than 25 bucks. Go with 6 gauge wire you will have less voltage drop, an extra Battery would not hurt as you sound like you like gadgets.
Bingo!!!!!! 12GA or 10GA should be fine if the run is not long. None of these 12V outlets are rated for more than 15A and a cell phone draws less than .2A to charge.


1- Drill hole for 12V outlet
2- Connect red wire to center pin and black or yellow to the barrel.
3- Run black or tellow to the DC neg bus
4- Run red wire to DC panel or breaker with appropriate fuse for the wire and the 12V outlets max ampacity
5- Buy USB 12V outlet charger at Wal*Mart, eBay, Amazon etc.

Done

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post #14 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Yup cig lighter, with fuse as stated above. Quite simple, I put one in my cockpit so I could keep the phone charged and close by using navionics.


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post #15 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

But if you use 10 or 12G wire don't let anyone plug in the search light.

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post #16 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
But if you use 10 or 12G wire don't let anyone plug in the search light.

I suspect if you had an issue with a search light and 10 or 12 GA wire it was a corrosion or termination issue??

For example our Brinkman searchlight, one of the most powerful on the market, has a 100W bulb.

100W / 12V = 8.3A

A 30' circuit of 12 GA wire will yield a voltage drop of just 3.3% at 8.3A. The ABYC allowable circuit drop for a "non-critical" circuit like this is 10%. If like on most boats the outlet is near the electrical panel then the wire run from the panel feed to outlet will be but a few feet. Teh panels are normally fed with much larger wire.

The boat I just came from a two 12V outlets at the nav desk. The wires feeding the panel are 1GA and the outlet circuit length is under four feet of wire. It was fed with 12GA from the factory. Even at the full 15A rating of the outlet & breaker his voltage drop would be just 00.82%..


You could go to an 80' long circuit with our very powerful search light with 12GA wire and still be under the allowable 10% voltage drop.


A 30' circuit of 10 GA wire will yield a voltage drop of just 2.1% at 8.3A.

Even with an outlet with a max ampacity of 15A and a 30' circuit of 12GA wire you are still at only 6% voltage drop or 4% below the ABYC allowable limit.....

Many of these "outlets" are max rated at 10A and you really need to dig to find one rated at 15A.. 12GA in most instances is more than adequate and your voltage drop should not be an issue.

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 09-05-2012 at 02:47 PM.
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-05-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

Maine, My mistake, would have thought a 100W load on 12G would have caused the wire to get hot, I yield to your extensive knowledge.

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post #18 of 18 Old 09-09-2012
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Re: Adding AC outlets to my boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I think everyone is reading into this to much, all you need is a car 12v cigar lighter, two wires and costing less than 25 bucks. Go with 6 gauge wire you will have less voltage drop, an extra Battery would not hurt as you sound like you like gadgets.
Exactly. Add a lighter plug. You'll want it anyway. It's good to have one in the cabin and one in the cockpit. Then buy a $10 lighter plug to USB charger. You certainly don't want to use AC power to charge your phone, that's terribly inefficient.

If you still want AC then you could buy a cheap inverter to carry around that plugs into the new lighter plug outlet. I do exactly this however I've never needed the inverter. The lighter plug gets used a lot.

My only comment is that 6awg wire is way overkill. Lighter plugs are only rated for about 10A max.

This is what my new panel looks like with a dual usb charger plugged into the lighter plug socket
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Last edited by asdf38; 09-09-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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