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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 05-11-2010
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12v DC outlet installation

I'd like to install a 12v outlet for use with my Garmin GPSMap 76, cell phone charger, iPod, etc.

I'm planning to wire the recepticle directly to one of my batteries because I don't have any more room on my panel. The wires from the recepticle won't reach the batteries, so I will be lengthening them. What size wire should I use?

Also, I'm assuming I should wire in an inline fuse. Any other tips/suggestions for an electrical dunce?
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Old 05-11-2010
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If you're using one of those cigarette lighter type recepticle, I would probably use 14 guage wire with a 10 amp inline fuse close to the battery.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Kwaltersmi—

You don't say what distance the run from the outlet to the batteries is, so sizing the wire is tough. Also, do you want a 3%, 5% or 10% voltage drop, and what amperage is likely to be the maximum you'll put on this circuit.

Personally, I think you should wire this through the panel for a couple of reasons.

One, wiring directly to the batteries makes it so that you can have a load on the batteries that you can easily forget about and leave you with dead batteries even when you've shut the master battery switch off.

Two, there's no way to turn off the circuit in the case of a fire, and de-energizing the circuit is one of the basic fire-fighting steps you take when an electrical fire occurs. This may occur even if you fuse the circuit... if the fuse is too large for the wiring involved. For instance a GPS or iPod might draw only 1 amp or so and have a fairly small wire, but if the 12 VDC outlet is fused for the maximum draw, say a spotlight that draws 10 amps, the accessory wiring leading to the iPod or GPS might heat up enough to cause a fire without the fuse blowing.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 05-11-2010
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The PO of my boat install an extension cord which is mounted on a spool with a handle and a cigarette lighter type receptacle. It was something that he purchased and I have never seen any thing like it before. You can move the DC power to where you need it to most places on the boat.
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SD - The distance from the recepticle to the batteries will likely be about 3 feet. I don't know the draw of my handheld GPS, iPod or cell phone charger, but I'm assuming they are relatively small, so I was planning on a 3 amp fuse. I won't ever be plugging in a spotlight or other high draw devices.

I'd prefer the recepticle be wired to the panel too, but my panel is full and I was under the impression that it was not good to hotwire/piggyback the recepticle in to the wire/switch from something else on the panel. However, I'm open to all options within my ability.
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One solution I've used on my boat for this is to have a breaker that goes to a fused switch panel. The panel then has fuses rated according to the requirements of each individual piece of equipment. This allows me to use a relatively spartan DC main panel but still have proper over-current protection for each individual circuit as well as have on/off switches for each circuit as required.

The panels I use are the BlueSea WeatherDeck panels, but I got them on clearance when various marine stores went under. They're pricey otherwise.

Doing it this way means you can run a single wire from the circuit breaker to the switch panel and then run the individual circuits from it as needed. I would recommend you look into do this, since I'll bet that you have at least one or two circuit breakers that are well over the load ratings of the equipment on them.

Just a suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post
SD - The distance from the recepticle to the batteries will likely be about 3 feet. I don't know the draw of my handheld GPS, iPod or cell phone charger, but I'm assuming they are relatively small, so I was planning on a 3 amp fuse. I won't ever be plugging in a spotlight or other high draw devices.

I'd prefer the recepticle be wired to the panel too, but my panel is full and I was under the impression that it was not good to hotwire/piggyback the recepticle in to the wire/switch from something else on the panel. However, I'm open to all options within my ability.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Piggyback off your cabin lights, use #14 wire, put a 5amp in line fuse on the positive side of the wiring up close to the panel, or in the panel.

One seldom has all their lights on at once.
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Old 08-24-2010
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And if you switch your cabin lighting to LED, you have more power for toys anyway.

I am solving my lack of circuits problem by adding a panel board. 6 more circuits to fill.
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