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I Need Advice on Beefing up my 12v power

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  • I Need Advice on Beefing up my 12v power

    So I have a 2006 Bu with a decent stereo system, Optima Yellowtop and a Big Three upgrade. All that has my stereo working great with no dimming but I have one last issue, 12v outlets blow.

    I am a geek so I need to know the best and/or most efficient way to make it so I can plug a bunch of stuff in and not keep blowing a fuse and/or melting male cigarette plugs.

    I know the problem right now is one or two things. The wiring they put in these cars is acceptable for generations past, but way too thin for the power requirements we have now. At one point when I was delivering pizzas I needed to power a tablet, phone, gps, car top light, and an electric cooler. Needless to say it took quite a bit of trickery to get it to work well and something gave in the center console armrest and it no longer works. Its not a fuse, I'm sure something melted.

    So I need extra cigarette plugs and maybe an inverter. I bought an extra center console that I will modify to keep my current one unmodified. So should I just be running better wire? Or is there an easier solution using say a small battery as a capacitor. I was thinking maybe a XS Power battery under the seat or in the console if there is space with beefy wire from the battery to the plugs, using the existing small wires to charge the battery. I have an isolator somewhere if I need it.

    Basically I planned to beef up the existing two sockets, and mold in a 3 or 4 port cigarette adapter and an inverter. I don't need the inverter but if I am going outside my comfort zone to mold in plugs then I might as well stick an inverter in there as well, even though I hate inverters.

    I presume that the existing wires are part of one of those annoying bundles wrapped in electrical tape that would be a pain in the *** to upgrade. So either I can just run a new line alongside my 1/0 wire to a barrier strip or install a small battery between the existing wiring and the outlets. I assume a 4ga wire should be enough power.

    Also any advice on which alternators fit in this car would be helpful. I had trouble finding any better alternators that would fit.

    Sorry for rambling but I can't find much information on beefing up the sockets despite the fact that plenty of people have to have the issue of increasing electrical demand.

  • #2
    anytime something is melting or blowing fuses constantly means you are risking an electrical fire that may destroy your entire ride by continuing to use that setup!

    run a decent gauge dedicated power wire to near the sockets, then wire several individually fused sockets off of that. you could use a small fuse box like this:

    i wouldn't allow more than 10 amps to each socket to be safe. some cars have 15 or even higher amp fuses for their outlets, but in reality the cigarette adapters do not make great electrical connections and can get very hot running much current for extended periods. if you can hard-wire things like the cooler and skip the outlets all together, then do. or you may consider using a higher quality connector like the small Anderson Power Poles (

    don't forget to also fuse the main wire close to the battery if it's directly connected.

    reference a 12v wire gauge table like this to make sure you are using correctly sized wire for the main run and the individual runs (always go a step larger if unsure):
    Last edited by theksmith; 02-14-2013, 08:54 AM.


    • #3
      Cigarette sockets? Forget them!

      Though they are supposedly rated for 15A, many won't handle 10A or even 5A without bursting into flames. And the plugs should be using internal thermal fuses.
      A (small) 150W inverter takes ~15A at full load. I'd limit cig sockets to 50W inverter and other outputs - if that.

      There are also the smaller Euro type sockets (rated for ~20A) with far superior contacts, but I'd consider hard wiring else Anderson connectors - eg, 50A types.


      • #4
        Anderson Power Poles instead of cigarette lighter outlets are the way to go. They make PowerPole distribution boxes in a number of configurations. Run a pair of heavy cables from the distribution box to the battery (fuse the battery end for safety with a Maxi-Fuse).



        • #5
          Andersons are a good suggestion, though I tend to use the common and cheaper SB (or SBS?) range, eg:
          Click image for larger version

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          ... which start from 50A capacity up to (over) 350A. And they are polar.

          They can be obtained relatively cheaply. I have sourced them at ~$5-$10 each.

          They are a bit bulky for small applications (eg, a 150W inverter that only needs ~15A if fully loaded) but a nice "standard" connector.
          I use the 50A Andersons for my dual battery setup where the dual battery is often removed when camping. I then have various Anderson to cig socket and Merit socket (the smaller and far more reliable Euro 20A cig sockets) configs.

          I crimp their pins and then fill with solder.

          Smaller connectors may suit your application, but normal cig sockets with st'd wiring - probably not. Though some cig sockets and plugs are good for 15A, many can be problematic at even 5A or lower.
          And st'd wiring is rarely rated for the socket's supposed rating of up to 15A. .