What accessories requiring a 12v socket do you actually use?

gatorgrizz27

Active member
As the title says, I’m curious to hear how useful 12v cigarette lighter sockets are in this day and age.

My LR3 has four of them, and I’m considering replacing some of those with dual USB sockets, as the only accessories I have that use them are a 12v shower and potentially an air bed inflator. Obviously the cigarette lighter itself can be useful also.

Currently, I’m working on my wiring layout to be as versatile as possible for normal uses and “future proofing”, without having specific needs at the moment or going overboard. I’m not a fan of the USB adapters as they always seem to quit charging after you’ve plugged your phone in on the drive to the trailhead.

I’m leaning towards keeping one 12v socket in the front, replacing the other with a Blue Sea fast charge dual USB, adding an ARB fridge plug to the back of the center console, keeping the other 12v socket there, and replacing the one in the cargo area with another dual USB.

Appreciate any input, I want to make sure I’m not overlooking anything or selling myself short.
 

JPaul

Observer
That sounds like a good idea. Not really a whole lot these days that I can think of wanting a cig socket for. I did recently pick up the 12v version of the Hotlogic food heater that I'll need one socket for (I have the 120v version I used at work, it's terrific for heating up and keeping food hot, looking forward to having some hot lunches on the trails in Moab in April) but other than that I can't think of anything else.

My aftermarket stereo has a couple usb ports that can charge a couple devices with. ARB/Engel fridge is going to be hardwired. Not using any inflatable air mattresses anymore so don't need the inflator.

I'll have to look at maybe doing the same thing with mine.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 
D

Deleted member 9101

Guest
The only things that I carry requiring a cigarette lighter plug is the charging cord for my jump box and mu work light.
 

VanWaLife

Active member
I run a charger for my Milwaukee 18V and 12V tools from a cig lighter socket. As I use the Milwaukee tools extensively in my truck (speaker, lantern, chainsaw, driver, tire inflator, ...) this is a key piece of infrastructure for me. Also the Luminoodle Basecamp (shorter Luminoodles will run off USB). And I usually have a cig lighter voltmeter plugged in, although it's fairly redundant as I have several other voltmeters in other locations. I put a bunch of 12V sockets in the cab, one in the bed, one by the tailgate, one by the front bumper. They are all occasionally useful. Also they can be useful as charging points if you plug a power source in to them. I use a small solar trickle charger plugged in to a lighter socket in the boat to keep the battery topped off.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
My fridge still uses a 12v and my drone chargers use it.

I have an Anderson to 12v adapter for those as I put a panel mount Anderson powerpole outlet in my rear cargo area direct wired to the battery. I should just re-work the cords but never have.

I have a handful of 12v to USB adapters, my Xterra has several built in 12v points as well so those are still useful for USB now. But like many here I've tried to make all my frequently used devices USB powered or rechargeable.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
only problem with this plan is your already obsolete, all 3 phones in my house are now USB-C and now even my E-Cig is too.. I keep 12V ACC ports around for USB only because they are ubiquitous and easy to update, I buy quality but if one fails I can always grab another at basically any fuel stop in the country.. I can move the C to the back if Sons on his Nintendo, or swap it with an old USB port to charge an antiquated tablet they use.. or whatever.

All my other stuff I replaced w/Anderson panel mount and on my fans, pumps, and other DC appliances I chopped off plug and put andersons w/an inline ATC fuse on em.. I can service all those well in the field and use all my existing DC cabling w/em.

I'm thinking of some built in USB-C chargers tho, there is only so many watts those little plugs can put out and I can remote mount a bigger PSU for laptops and stuff to a passthrough panel mount.
 

Alloy

Well-known member
I figured that I didn't need 12V cigarette lighters so I installed 9 dual / single UBS C sockets. One after another they burned out. I replaced all of them with 12V cigarette lighters that I can plug a USB chargers into.
 

MagicMtnDan

2020 JT Rubicon Launch Edition & 2021 F350 6.7L
I run a charger for my Milwaukee 18V and 12V tools from a cig lighter socket. As I use the Milwaukee tools extensively in my truck (speaker, lantern, chainsaw, driver, tire inflator, ...) this is a key piece of infrastructure for me. Also the Luminoodle Basecamp (shorter Luminoodles will run off USB). And I usually have a cig lighter voltmeter plugged in, although it's fairly redundant as I have several other voltmeters in other locations. I put a bunch of 12V sockets in the cab, one in the bed, one by the tailgate, one by the front bumper. They are all occasionally useful. Also they can be useful as charging points if you plug a power source in to them. I use a small solar trickle charger plugged in to a lighter socket in the boat to keep the battery topped off.

I've been thinking about doing the same (and hoping Milwaukee comes out with lights and inflators and other products that are more useful to off roaders than the "work" products they focus on).

Which Milwaukee charger(s) are you using???
 

VanWaLife

Active member
Which Milwaukee charger(s) are you using???
Home-Depot-M18-M12-Vehicle-Charger-Link
It was a little spendy, but leveraged a lot of tools for off-grid use. The 12V inflator won't bring four big tires up from a full air down, but it's super useful for pressurizing my Roadshower and topping off tires; much easier than getting the Viair compressor out if it can be avoided. I've used the M18 shop vac in blower mode to pump up air mattresses and in normal mode to keep things tidy on dusty trips. Thinking about a 12V heated jacket. Also eyeing their water pump as it would be handy for filling the Roadshower and as an emergency bilge in the boat. I think they're crazy not to do more marketing and development for outdoor activities.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
I'm all for getting direct DC stuff.. but for my portable tools I just grabbed a nice AC unit off ebay and ran it off a tiny inverter.. they are only like 150W so the smallest harbor freight inverter will run em fine.. now I got a house inverter for other stuff and I just use that.. if your house bank is decent then recharging a portable tool is a pitance.. they are like 2-3AH so squeezing a lil more efficiency out of an expensive DC one dont make much sense.. if your hurting for a fraction of an AH you saved already well beyond saving.

Same way for old laptops, really hard to justify a $100 DC power brick when a $40 inverter will git-r-done and wont be obsolete when you upgrade your laptop.

Beware of recharging your tool packs in the field, a little bit of direct sunlight or inside a broiling hot trailer can really nuke a battery pack.. its not as environmentally friendly as the shelf in your garage and the thermal safeties on these are mostly to just prevent fires, not save the pack.
 
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gatorgrizz27

Active member
Thanks for the replies, I almost mentioned USB-C as being a possible issue, but it really hasn’t seemed to be common to me yet, though I’m not a tech guy. I have an Anker power pack that uses is, but came with a USB to USB-C cord, so it still charges via the older style port, as well as probably a dozen other small electronics I have. (Phone and tablet x2, FRS radios, GoPro, lithium jump starter, Inreach, Bluetooth speaker, etc.)

I have an ARB onboard compressor, but keeping a 12V in the back of the center console isn’t a bad idea so a cheap inflator could reach every tire if it died. I’m also adding a TRAC marine connector on the rear bumper that I can plug a battery charger into, connect to my trailer, or eventually a solar input.

I run Dewalt tools and have an inverter in my trailer, I agree that lots of their stuff has great outdoor uses, but I have enough batteries that needed to charge in the field while camping isn’t necessary.

I’m curious if the USB outlets that have failed were quality units or cheapos, and I have considered hard wiring a small 120v inverter in at some point as well, but don’t have any need for it currently.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
ive had a handful of cheap-o's fail, thats when I started buying better ones.. no anker one has let me down, the key is getting ones that are certified to spec, if they did that then they pretty good.

Here's a hardwire USB-C that seems pretty good, there's a USB-C thread here about it: https://www.coolgear.com/product/usb-power-delivery-60w-high-power-industrial-adapter-charger-ccg3pa

Using my SawZaw as a chain saw to harvest firewood burns through battery packs pretty quick, I bring 3 packs and rotate through em.

USB-C is really nice, charges devices so fast.. 30mins can get u a ton of charge back.. tablets and phones battery sizes are largely moot when you can charge so fast, and now even laptops run off em so no special laptop travel bricks.. just use same cable for your phone charger.. plus the ports are more robust and go in either direction w/out quantum uncertainty involved.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Anything to do with Fridges you really must use the ARB/Engel Two Pin Plug and Sockets, My 2 ARB Fridges have them from the factory although they can use the normal 12v socket but my other fridges don't, Doing a Power test last night I had one of the ARB's plugged in the 2 Pin Socket and another Fridge plugged in to the normal 12v Socket, Some time during the night Guess which one shut down, 👹 🤬 🤬 🤬

Now I got to recharge the power pack and then restart the whole test again, The annoying part about it I was doing this test in my House,

I have now ordered another 3 ARB/Engel Power Leads and Matching Sockets and the Fridge Monitor Kit,

Standard 12v Sockets are ok for less important Items, Anderson sockets are best for heavy duty Items like Compressors and Portable Winches and I have also made up Adapter Cables for my Solar Panels using Power meters and for the Charge controller because some of my Items do not require a Charge Controller Some Do, but I have also retained the MC4 on the Solar Panels so they can be linked together if needed,

If you are going to start changing sockets make sure you make adapter Cables that will convert every type of socket and plug you use then if One Socket is being used you can always use one of the others.

Hope that helps, (y)
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Standard ciggie sockets are IMO a dangerous abortion, avoid like the plague for anything important, or that you use regularly. Never more than 5-6A and only for short periods, as in a few minutes. Even then they are risky, an inherently poor design!

Blue Sea has a nice socket design that twist-locks with the matching plug, but will also accept standard ciggie plugs for smaller (
Also the BMW/ Hella/ Merit/ Powerlet "Euro-style DIN" (ISO 4165) style is very robust.

Anderson plugs for high amps, for me my standard, for almost all power connections.

If you standardize on one of the last two types, there are adapters for guests, temporary use of devices with standard ciggie plugs.
 

shade

Well-known member
Currently, I’m working on my wiring layout to be as versatile as possible for normal uses and “future proofing”, without having specific needs at the moment or going overboard.
Depending on the loads you're considering and the OEM wiring, you may want to upgrade some or all of the wiring involved.

I prefer leaving OEM wiring alone or abandoning it in place, and installing an independent fuse box for these uses. You gain full knowledge of the auxiliary system, and remove concern about overtaxing whatever the OEM considered good enough.
 
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