Monday, November 9, 2015
Adding More 12 Volt Sockets
Our 1995 Suzuki Sidekick came from an era in which the only thing you plugged into the vehicle's 12-volt plug was either the cigarette lighter or perhaps a radar detector. And since we often use our Sidekick for camping and travel both on and off the pavement, we're bringing along a lot of 12-volt-powered or 12-volt-rechargeable items, such as mobile phones, GPS, CB radio, battery chargers, and such. But unfortunately, our trusty 20 year old trucklet only has one 12-volt plug.
Yes, I have a 12-volt splitter—the kind that plugs into the lighter. But since the wiring to the truck's existing 12-volt socket is such thin gauge wire, if I run the GPS and try to charge a phone, it'll blow the fuse, which, by the way, is also responsible for the radio. No bueno. So now what?
When I got my ARB off-road fridge for the truck, I also got the wiring kit, which runs a dedicated 12-volt plug into the vehicle. That plug is wired directly to the battery, in my case, an Optima Yellow Top, and the wiring has its own fuse. And guess what? I can do the same thing to add another 12-volt socket—even with USB ports—so we can have more places to charge devices. I see a project in my future.
Browsing eBay I found a number of options including the 12-volt dual USB and cigarette lighter power adaptor seen here. I think this would probably work really well for the Sidekick. It flush mounts, so I could have it come out of the center console on the side. I'd have to get wiring and a fuse to get it directly to the battery, but that's no biggie.
We've been talking about adding something like this for quite a while, and this might make a good little project. Plus, I like the fact it also has USB charging capability.
Have you ever installed something like this? What was your experience, and do you have advice or pointers? Post up in the comments.