Introduction: 120v Power Source For Car
I had purchased a tablet that I wanted to be able to charge in the car, but was unable to find a suitable car charger that would work with it. I then wanted to use a power inverter to charge it, but they are all big and bulky. I then had the idea to add a 120v power outlet to my console. I had a little change holder in front of my shifter that did nothing except collect trash. So, I modded it to house a 120v power outlet.
Find A Suitible Place For Your Outlet
Find somewhere that is convenient and not needed to place your outlet. The change holder popped right out and just barely fit the power outlet. I took the outlet cover and cut it down to follow the contour of the change holder. I then painted it black to match the interior. I then took a 120v electrical plug and wired it to the back of the outlet. Basically, now you have a 120v wall outlet with a extension cord on it. You could also just take a extension cord and cut one end off and wire it up the same way. I just happened to have some spare electrical wire and plugs laying around.
Find Out How Much More Your Car Can Give
Your cars alternator can only generate so much power. This means there is a limit to how many amps you can pipe into your cars cabin. Typically, you wont need an alternator upgrade unless you live off your vehicle or run high-power sound systems.
If you need more than your car can produce and still charge the battery while running core electronics, consider:
- Toning down your ambitions
- Getting a secondary battery and a charging system
- Installing auxiliary power
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What Are The Uses Of 12v Power Outlet In Car
The 12V power outlet has many uses and therefore it should be one of the essential accessories you should carry with you all the time so that you dont get stuck anywhere.
Even if your cigarette lighter sockets do not work, you can solve this problem by buying a new power adapter that would fit into your cars cigarette lighter socket or as is said more precisely as an accessory outlet.
1. You can use a 12V power outlet to charge mobile phones, tablets, and other USB chargers. You can charge your laptops using a converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket of your car. The best thing is you can connect multiple devices at once by way of USB cables to the power port in the car.
2. People take their music seriously when they are in a car. You can plug your devices with audio cables and enjoy music. This eliminates the need for carrying FM transmitters and other things.
3. Another great use of a 12V power outlet is to use it as an air compressor. It would be impossible to drive around without inflating tires or checking them regularly during the warm weather. The 12V power outlet in your car can be used to power an air compressor to top up the tire pressure and fill them quickly and effortlessly.
4. You could also use a car battery charger to connect it to a 12V power outlet in your car to charge any dead batteries in emergencies or other unfortunate circumstances when you run out of power.
Find The Location Of Your Outlet
To put an outlet in your car, you have first to find the best spot for it. You want it close enough to the battery so that you dont have to string the wire through your whole vehicle and also within reach of anyone who needs a plug. Usually, the best spot is in the center console, between the drivers and passengers seats.
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Temporary Car Inverter Installation
The easiest way to install a car power inverter is to plug it into a 12V accessory outlet. These outlets have traditionally been used for cigarette lighters, but many new vehicles eschew the lighter entirely. Some vehicles also have multiple outlets, or remote outlets, besides the one that’s in the center console.
Since the cigarette lighter, or 12V outlet, is tied into a circuit that typically includes other electronics, there is a limit to how much power you can draw from it. For that reason, many cigarette lighter inverters artificially limit the available wattage when using this type of connection.
That’s a major downside if you want to use power-hungry devices, but it’s a trade-off for how easy it is to plug an inverter into an accessory outlet and use it. These plug-in inverters are great for laptops and other small electronic devices. Some even include built-in USB receptacles for powering cellphones, GPS units, and anything else that uses a standard USB connection.
For more power-intensive equipment and permanent installations, you’ll need to do some wiring.
Brett Levin / CC by 2.0 / Flickr
Alternator Output And Power Inverters
The other side of the equation is exactly how much power the alternator can put out. You can sometimes find this number by looking at the alternator, but you may have to contact your local dealer to get a hard number. If you have trouble finding hard numbers, a car electrical shop can test your car’s real-world power output and consumption.
Most alternators can put out more watts than the stock electronics consume, and they can typically handle additional electronics like amplifiers. However, the exact output varies from one make and model to another. If you want to run a lot of power-intensive equipment off your inverter, you may need to install a high-performance alternator.
If you drive a truck with space for an additional battery, it’s also a good idea to take advantage of that situation. This is especially true if you want to use your inverter when you shut off the engine since adding an additional battery will help ensure that you don’t drain the main battery to the point where the vehicle won’t start.
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Mount The Power Adapter
If you chose to mount the power adapter to your handle bars, youre nearly finished with your project. But, there are a couple things to look for after mounting it. Turn your handlebars all the way in both directions. Make sure the mounting doesnt interfere with anything while you turn the bars. Also, make sure the wiring connected to the back of the adapter isnt pulling when you turn the bars. Leave enough wire to accommodate turning the bars.
Flush Mounting the Power Adapter
Flush mounting the power adapter give your motorcycle a nice, tidy, professional look. When looking for a place to flush mount it, make sure there is ample space behind the panel you want to mount it to. For instance, on my CB500X, I want to mount it on the right side of the instrument panel. Theres a perfect little flat spot. However, just behind that spot is the turn signal light and it doesnt allow enough space for the adapter. So, I opted to attach it to the headlamp access panel.
Once you figure out where to put it, the next step is to drill a hole in the plastic. This is always nerve wracking. What if I screw it up? What if it doesnt work there? It took me quite a while to muster up the courage to do it. But, think it through and drill with confidence.
Genesis Offroad 12v Power Outlet Installation
November 10, 2021 by Scott Witner
Sitting there on the tailgate with my daughter the other day, she asked me if I have a battery pack because her phone was almost dead. I thought to myself, that would really be nice if I had power back here to plug into. How about roadside assistance services like tire repair.
I carry a portable air compressor for just that and have had to use it on a few occasions to help others. The compressor runs off a 12V plug. Either I have to plug it into the outlet inside my truck or the outlet inside the vehicle of the person Im helping. Either way, its kind of a pain. It would be really nice to just plug it into an outlet in the bed of the truck since that is where the compressor is anyway.
I began to search on Youtube to see how others were installing these outlets in their truck beds. Most of the videos are DIY-type projects. Although I dont have a problem getting the needed parts and piecing them together, I continued my search. Mentioning it to fellow Gear Bunker owner Erik, he mentioned Genesis Offroad. I went to their website and wouldnt you know it, they have a universal 12V power outlet kit! The kit comes preassembled. All you have to do is run the wire from the outlet location to the vehicle battery. Check it out!
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Remove The Plastic Trim Around The Socket
If your car doesnt have any plastic panels holding the 12V socket, you should skip this step. Using a simple plastic trim removal tool to pry the socket out will get the trick done.
On the other hand, if your car wants to put up a fight and has plastic trim around, securing the socket in place, this step applies to you.
However, if youre unsure how to remove the socket from your vehicle do a quick google search because chances are someone has outlined the whole process.
Be careful when removing plastic trim as it tends to break easier the older the plastic gets.
Plastic trim removal tools are designed to remove plastic trim without breaking or scratching anything. Seriously, they are a lifesaver. Keep in mind that if youre pulling on plastic trim hard and it feels as if its going to break, rethink your strategy because it probably will.
How Do You Wire A 12 Volt Socket
3.9/5How to Wire an Extra 12 Volt Outlet in a Car
Beside this, how do you hook up a 12 volt outlet to a golf cart?
How to Install a 12-Volt Adapter for a Golf Cart
One may also ask, can you hook an extension cord to a car battery? No, you cannot jump a car battery with an extension cord from a wall outlet without a charger as an intermediary. Car batteries operate with direct current power and are rated at 12-volts. Wall outlets operate with alternating current power and are 110-120 volts. The power type and output are not compatible.
Also to know, what is a 12 volt accessory outlet?
Overview. Add an exterior 12–Volt power port to your vehicle, RV or boat with a 12–Volt All Weather Power Socket by Custom Accessories. It hard wires directly into your vehicle for 12–Volt power. The power port can power most electrical accessories such as lights, pumps, vacuum cleaners, coolers, etc.
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Installing An Inverter In Your Car
Installing an inverter is a lot less complicated than installing an outlet directly. Thats because an inverter changes the batterys power or the cigarette lighter to the standard 110 volts of an electrical outlet. This method is more manageable than an outlet installation and will ensure that your plugs have the right amount of power.
The first decision you need to make when installing an inverter is what size you want. If you only want one extra outlet or charge a few smaller devices, you can buy a small inverter and plug it directly into your car. However, if you need more substantial charges and more power, youll need to wire a larger inverter directly to the battery.
Modifying An Automotive 12v Power Outlet To Disable Power When Car Is Off
Recently, on a business trip, I had a rental car. Now, in my car, all of my 12V power outlets are always on. On the rental car, some of them were always on, some of them were only on when the car was on. Is there a way that I could hack my existing 12V outlets to either have some of them only be active when the car is on, or better, add a simple toggle switch that will toggle them between running always or only when the car is on?
The solution ends up being very, very dependent on the exact model of your car and the physical distribution of the outlets within the vehicle.
You’ll need a service manual for your car that has a complete wiring diagram. Check first before you buy one, as many only have block diagrams or step-by-step electrical tests instead of full wiring diagram.
Next, identify the 12V outlets on the wiring diagram. Outlets that are on all the time are likely connected to B+ via a 15A fuse. Outlets that are on only with the key will be connected to a relay that will be on with the run/ignition or accessory key positions. It, too, will have a 15A fuse upstream from the outlets.
I’d recommend adding a separate relay and fuse in parallel with your existing IGN/ACC relay, then running dedicated 14-12AWG wire to each DC outlet. You can then install an SPDT toggle to switch between the existing and new 12V supplies, with the center switch terminal connected to the DC outlet. Make sure that you use a switch that is rated for 15ADC or better.
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What Is A 12v Car Socket
Before we start, lets get an overview of what a 12V socketis. First, with a bit of a humble history.
A 12V socket also known as auxiliary power outlet started out as a way to power the simple but brilliant cigar lighter. The cigar lighter was patented in the early 1880s by the German inventor Friedrich Wilhelm Schindler and was renamed to the cigarette lighter in the 1920s.
The cigarette lighter is made of a metal container, thatcontains a thin flat coil of nichrome metal strip. When the cigarette lighteris pushed into the socket, the lighter is held in place by a clip that isattached to a bi-metallic strip. When the flat coil of nichrome metal makescontact with the 12V sockets positive terminal, current starts flowing throughthe nichrome metal strip, because the other end of the strip is groundedthrough the base of the 12V socket. The heating element heats up until it glowsorange hot, which causes the bi-metallic strip to release the mechanism. Whenreleased, a loaded spring pushes the heating element away from the socketsvoltage supply, breaking the contact and stopping the heating process.
Problems With Using An Automotive 12v Socket
Since car cigarette lighters werent originally intended for use as accessory sockets, there are a few inherent issues with using them in that capacity. Accordingly, devices that are designed to use a 12V socket have to be capable of working around these shortcomings.
The biggest issue with using a car cigarette lighter receptacle as a 12V socket is the inner diameter and depth of the receptacle itself. Since there is some variation in the size of these receptacles, which are sometimes referred to as cans, 12V power plugs typically have spring-loaded contacts.
Another issue with using an automotive 12V socket is related to the way that automotive electrical systems work. Although modern alternators are capable of maintaining a relatively uniform voltage output, the normal operation does allow for a range of output voltages.
With that in mind, all automotive electrical accessories have to be capable of running on roughly 9-14V DC. In many cases, a built-in DC-to-DC converter is used to convert the variable input voltage to a steady output voltage on the fly.
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Portable Device Power Requirements
To estimate the right inverter size, a general rule of thumb is to multiply the amps of your device by the volts, which will provide the wattage requirement:
V x A = W
For example, suppose you upgraded your old PS3 to a PS4 or Xbox 360 to an Xbox One, and you’re not sure what to do with your old console. These consoles may not be portable or the easiest way to add in-car gaming to your car, but you can easily jury rig one to act as the core of a DIY automotive multimedia system.
The rating on the Xbox 360 power supply shows that it draws 4A at 110V, so if you want to play an Xbox 360 in your car, take those numbers and plug them into the above-referenced formula:
110V x 4A = 440W
Here, you need an inverter that provides at least 440W. However, it’s important to note that you’ll need to find one that can provide 440W continuous instead of 440W peak. You’ll also need a bigger inverter if you want to plug in anything at the same time you’re using the Xbox.
Jason Young / CC by 2.0 / Flickr