12V plugs and sockets that are not cigarette lighter style

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

I'm about to start wiring the inside of my Jeep with 12v power outlets all over the place to charge all my goodies.

I really dislike the old-school cigarette lighter style plug and sockets for a few reasons
  • They're bulky, both the male and female ends
  • They break after lots of use
  • Because they're so big they can't be densely packed into a small space - i.e. 4 female sockets take up a lot of space.
  • They look like crap :)

So I'm looking for an alternative.
Ideally, I'd like to mount the female sockets flush with the dash/cabinets/whatever so a solution where they can be mounted into a wall plate or similar would be fantastic.

I'm thinking something like this:
mnUvSx1RAznoULEnAnwsbeA.jpg

Does anyone have any suggestions, or something they've used the past?

EDIT: Also, does anyone know a good source to buy stuff like this in, say, a 10 pack?

Thanks,
-Dan
 

Vanaroo

Observer
I wanted to do something like this years ago on a boat. It just irritated me how clunky/imprecise/etc. the cigar lighter style plugs were. Ultimately I decided it was a losing battle (at least back then) because of all the purchased items I had (and would buy in future) with male cigar lighter ends on them, and I begrudgingly stuck with the standard. That was then though (15-20 years ago - although I'm *still* running cigar lighter plugs now) -- I'll be interested to read what people suggest now.

A note on the typical USB "outlet" (such as the Blue Sea and others): They have a small power draw whether in use or not. For that reason I went with just plain old (irritating but handy) cigar lighter sockets and use the USB male plug-in adapters when needed (the regular sockets have no draw when not in use, as long as the USB adapters are not plugged in).
 

anickode

Adventurer
The other pain in the ******** thing about cig lighter plugs is that they tend to rattle loose really easily. The smallest bump will break contact.
 

Yuman Desert Rat

Expedition Leader
I like your idea but youre limiting yourself to a specific type of connector.. unfortunately most gadgets come wtih cigarette lighter style plugs. Euro/SA/AU is more Hella style. Im a fan of upgrading to blue sea outlets. Ive never had a plug pop out on its own...I have upgraded a lot of my male plugs to aftermarket ones that lock, have an led indicator and the tip is removable allowing for use with Hella receptacles. I also have dedicated USB ports as well as adapters. I know this probably isnt much help but I think versatility and universal options a key for an overland vehicle.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Hi Everyone,

I'm about to start wiring the inside of my Jeep with 12v power outlets all over the place to charge all my goodies.

I really dislike the old-school cigarette lighter style plug and sockets for a few reasons
  • They're bulky, both the male and female ends
  • They break after lots of use
  • Because they're so big they can't be densely packed into a small space - i.e. 4 female sockets take up a lot of space.
  • They look like crap :)

So I'm looking for an alternative.
Ideally, I'd like to mount the female sockets flush with the dash/cabinets/whatever so a solution where they can be mounted into a wall plate or similar would be fantastic.

I'm thinking something like this:
View attachment 283144

Does anyone have any suggestions, or something they've used the past?

EDIT: Also, does anyone know a good source to buy stuff like this in, say, a 10 pack?

Thanks,
-Dan
Oh yes!! Dan thank you for starting this thread. I hate the cig plugs. All my digging I couldnt find anything. Im considering RC car battery leads given they actually use 12gauge wire and make my own.
 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the replies all!
Tons of great info here.

I'll give a little more background into what I'm doing, then address some ideas directly.

Background:
  • I want to be able to charge and run gadgets on 12V (Laptop, proprietary camera battery, AA/AAA batteries, goPro, GPS, likely more)
  • I really don't like the idea of an inverter and having all my AC chargers for this - inverters are inefficient, heavy, big and hot.
  • And almost all those gadgets have a "brick" anyway that actually charge the device at ~12V, so I'd be going 12V DC -> 110V AC -> 12V DC.
  • I can do better

Therefore no inverter for me.

So what I'm going to do is make or buy cables so I can charge stuff straight at 12V. Rather than having 6 or more things with the bulky cigarette lighter plugs, with all the downsides I mentioned earlier, I want a different plug.

Note: Nothing I'm charging needs high current. The laptop is the biggest, and it's only 4 amps.
I'll wire my fridge in differently so it won't use one of these "plugs" I'm looking at.

The laptop is the only device that doesn't want 12V (it wants 14.85) and so the "car charger" I'm looking at actually has a brick that steps it up and regulates it to 14.85.
I'm thinking about getting it because it will likely make the power smoother and prolong the life of my laptop. So I'll permanently wire the brick to 12v (with a swtich) and have a plug on the out of the brick to plug in the actual charger for the laptop. I'll have to make sure it's a different plug than everything else because the laptop will be the one "odd ball".
Not perfect, but it should work.

If it is just USB ports you are looking for blue sea has some hardwired ones.
Those Blue Sea dual USB sockets looks fantastic! I'll be getting a couple for sure.
They're cheaper on amazon - Blue Sea Dual USB Socket
and I notice they have a 15mA parasidic draw.. so I'm going to wire them in with a nice switch (like these) and make sure they're on the aux battery.

Another option is Anderson power poles. Check out powerwerx. http://www.powerwerx.com/
Wow, those powerpoles look amazing. If I was doing high current stuff, I would seriously consider them. I'm still thinking about it.

It kind of depends on what you want to run on it. Here are a few choices for consideration.
Rigrunner USB Version
Wow, that rigrunner looks fantastic, and priced right too.
I had been thinking of the Blue Sea version of kind of the same thing - Blue Sea Fuse Block times 6.
I'll have a good think about if the rigrunner makes more sense - it looks like it will be a little more bulky because of how far out those anderson connectors stick.

I would look at the genuine Hella sockets. Positive locking and pretty robust.
I've never seen those before - thanks guys
They look like an "updated" cig lighter socket - more durable and a tiny bit less bulky.
Would be good if I had high current stuff. I'm hoping for something smaller. They;'re not cheap either...

I like your idea but youre limiting yourself to a specific type of connector.. unfortunately most gadgets come wtih cigarette lighter style plugs. Euro/SA/AU is more Hella style. Im a fan of upgrading to blue sea outlets. Ive never had a plug pop out on its own...I have upgraded a lot of my male plugs to aftermarket ones that lock, have an led indicator and the tip is removable allowing for use with Hella receptacles. I also have dedicated USB ports as well as adapters. I know this probably isnt much help but I think versatility and universal options a key for an overland vehicle.
Very good point and something I have been considering.
I will have a 12V soldering iron on board, and I'll bring a few spare male and female versions of whatever socket I go with.. so I can do any repairs on the road, and if I did wind up with a new gadget on the road I can just cut it's connector (cig or hella) off and solder on a "new" connector.
Also, I'm going to leave one of the original cig lighter sockets in the dash - that way if I absolutely have to use a cig lighter for something, I can.

OP, google Trolling Motor Plug and Receptacle
Very interesting, though it's still about as bulky as a cig lighter. It would be good for high current stuff, but it's beyond my needs.

I have always thought about using the 2-wire version of the trailer plug.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...PtYEo&tbm=isch&client=safari&ved=0CCEQMygDMAM
I found a source for a panel mount plug for it. But that was many moons ago. And I never ended up purchasing any
Hmm.. that could be interesting for the fridge plug - if I don't go with the Andersons above. A panel mount for this could be interesting too.

If you wanted to go full on bonkers, you could go source military style "cannon-plug" connectors?
I'm going "full on bonkers" with enough of the build already - I'll try to keep electrical connectors out of that category :)

--

I'm still leaning towards the "jack-plug" style I posted in my original post. I think they meet all my needs, and I'm going for low current anyway I don't see any problems. I might even get the "right angle" version of the male plug to reduce the chance of snapping it off. (like this)

Thanks again all,
-Dan
 
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Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
I converted all my wires to Anderson plugs. The pisitive wire Always seems to have letters on.
Did you panel mount them using these (http://www.powerwerx.com/powerpole-accessories/powerpole-outlet-cover-plate-electrical-box.html)
in one of these (http://www.powerwerx.com/powerpole-accessories/powerpoles-chassis-mount-4-sets.html)

What are they like to plug and un-plug - i.e. is there a clip you have to squeeze or something and does it require much force?

Does it feel like they'll be good for a ton of cycles without breaking?

Thanks,
-Dan
 

Arclight

SAR guy
The Anderson Power Poles are all that I use for my 12V wiring now. You can get panel-mount, in-line and even waterproof exterior versions. They are genderless, which I think is a big advantage. I can plug my solar panel into any power pole socket on the truck. They also snap together like Legos, so you can make assemblies with as many Power Poles as you want, or mount one sideways if you need a cable that won't be confused with normal 12V wiring. They seem to be good for a lot of cycles, and the contacts have a bit of wiping action every time they are inserted, so I don't worry about dirt.

In a nutshell: I recommend going Anderson Power Pole, unless you have a really special application in mind.

Arclight
 
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