Sunday, February 9, 2014

12 Volt DC Outlet

Most boats in the US have 12 volt electrical systems. The wondrous 12 volt systems power everything from lights, refrigeration, instruments, radios, stereos, blenders(Margaritas) and chart plotters.

To power all these devices cruisers have resorted to more complicated systems including diesel generators, wind chargers and solar panels. My boat is mainly sailed on a lake so I do not spend many nights at anchor.  This makes my 12 volt needs much less than if I were living on it full time.

My boat is pretty basic in it's electrical system.  The S2 6.9 came wired from the factory for running lights and a few interior light, that was it.  Since I purchased the boat I added a deep cycle marine battery and wired in some Raymarine ST40 instruments for speed and depth. I covered that installation in this post. I had a spare fused switch on my panel listed a accessories so I used that to power my instruments.

I have been using my iPhone and iPad on the boat for navigation, entertainment and weather.  The addition of a Bluetooth speaker makes it easy to listen to music and movies while on the boat.  To charge my iPhone and iPad I thought it would be handy to add a 12 volt power outlet.  I thought about  
adding it near the switch panel on the starboard side but this was too far from the cockpit.

I often use my iPhone and iPad in the cockpit so it made sense to mount an outlet inside the boat but near the companion way. That way the charging cord would reach into the cockpit from there.

I had already mounted a power terminal strip behind the companion way stairs to power the Raymarine instruments.  I use this same circuit to power my DC outlet.

I drilled a hole and mounted it inside on the starboard side near the main DC power switch.  I installed a conventional power outlet. That way if I wanted to a power a search light or small inverter I would have that option.

I could have installed a USB outlet shown at the left. Blue Seas makes these for handy USB connections. If I installed one of these I would have been unable to plug any other devices into the outlet.  I bought a USB power insert with USB plugins. I use this when I want to charge or power my iPhone or iPad.  That way I don't have to install 2 outlets. I can use it as a regular power outlet and with the insert charge any of my 5V USB devices.

Check out all the Blue Seas DC Outlets

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)