How To: 12 Volt Accessories
There are many 12 volt cigarette lighter socket multipliers & multiplexers to choose from so you can have a socket for each of your 12 volt items. Something that many people don't think about or maybe they just don't know about is power supply and safety. If you aren't careful when hooking up all of your 12 volt stuff you could very well end up with a big problem.
You must take into consideration the power requirements of each item you intend to power up. Most vehicle wiring is only rated for 15-20 amps. What does this mean for you? Well, if you plug a few things in and blow a fuse when you turn them on, you need more power. Using a larger fuse in the fuse block may work, but it may also help you to create a vehicle fire. You must ensure that the wire leading to and from the fuse can handle the power you will be using.
Problems with insufficient wiring may not always present themselves immediately. Many times when a fuse is replaced with a larger fuse to accommodate more 12 volt goodies the fuse can handle it but the wiring can not. The wire gets hotter and hotter until the housing melts off and then the hot bare wire begins to melt whatever it has contact with.
It's always a good idea to look at the power requirements of each of the 12 volt items you wish to use. Check the supply of power to the 12 volt outlet that you plan to use. This can be done in a few simple steps. Using a multi meter you can check for continuity between the positive(+) lead of your cigarette lighter socket and the fuses in the fuse block until you find the fuse responsible for protecting the socket. Most meters will let you know that you have found continuity by beeping.
If you have no other way to tell, you may turn the igntion forward to the on position and then pull that fuse from the block to see what else is being fed by that fuse. This will give you an idea of how much power is already running through that wiring. If there is a lot of stuff running off of that one fuse don't worry, it's not too tough to install another 12 volt outlet.
12 volt power recommendations. This is just a brief description about installing more 12 volt power options in your car, truck or RV. Some mechanical skills are required to perform this work. You should install a new 12 volt outlet for each couple of 12 volt appliances or devices you intend to operate.
This is a very simple task for most truckers and car travelers. RVs are just as easy but running your new wire may be a bit more time consuming.
It's pretty simple to run a new power wire to just about any existing 12 volt outlet. First, find an empty spot in your fuse block. Attach a new piece of 12 gauge wire to the back and run the other end of the wire to the lighter socket. Remove the existing power wire from the socket and replace with the new wire you have just run. With 12 gauge wire you can now use a 30 amp fuse. This should be sufficient for powering up a couple of 12 volt goodies.
If you plan to install several new 12 volt power outlets in the same general area you may consider picking up a small automotive fuse block. In most cases running (from your vehicles positive battery terminal) a length of 8 gauge power wire. A car amplifier installation kit is a great way to pick up the desired 8 gauge wire. Do not connect the wire to the battery until EVERYTHING else is done. Run your new wire from the battery compartment to the area where you will install your new fuse block. Once your fuse block is all wired up and your new 12 volt sockets are installed and properly connected to your fuse block, using the right size fuses for the new wiring, you can hook up your 8 gauge power wire to your vehicle battery.