Mod #2: 12-Volt Outlet

Mod #2: 12-Volt Outlet

Submitted on: 06/06/08

     Category: electrical
Mod Rating: 12345

(30 ratings)

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Mod Description:

“You can never have too many 12-volt outlets.” I don’t know who said that but it’s true. Think about it. How many electronic devices do you bring with you camping? Some my say “Why would I do that? I’m going camping” while others bring the cell phone, DVD player, 2-way radios, electric blanket, 12-volt TV, etc. And guess how many 12-volt receptacles there in a typical RV? Usually just one, and it’s most likely in the least convenient location.

Mod Difficulty:

Now you may not need to charge all of your devices at one time and you could by a 2 or 3-into-1 receptacle adapter to plug in to the lone 12-volt receptacle. But what if the kids want to watch a movie on the portable DVD player in their bunk bed? What if you want to plug in a low-power inverter for small AC appliances? What if you DO want to charge multiple things at one time? Then you need another (or more) 12-volt receptacle.

Modding your RV with a new 12-volt receptacle is pretty easy. You will need the following:

  • Wire cutters/crimpers
  • A few feet of red and black 14 gauge wire
  • A 10 amp fuse and inline holder
  • A few Scotchlock splicing connectors
  • A couple of ring connectors
  • A hole saw the same size as the receptacle body
  • A drill
  • A couple of screws


Locate where the receptacle will go and ensure nothing is behind the area where it will mount. Locating the receptacle near a 12-volt light will make it easy to tap in to the power going to the light. Drill the hole. Attach the red wire to the center post of the receptacle using a ring connector. Using a Scotchlock splicer, attach the red wire to the fuse holder, attach the other end of the fuse holder to the white wire going to the light using another Scotchlock. Attach the black wire to the receptacle with a ring connector and the other end to black wire running to the light using a Scotchlock. Slide the receptacle in to the hole and secure with screws. Plug something in and test it.

The wire colors depicted above are typical for most RVs but if you find they are different than described here, make sure you connect the wires correctly, ensuring the right polarity. Otherwise, you may risk damage to the device you are trying to power. If there is not a light nearby where you want the receptacle, you will have to find a power source to tap in to, so make sure the wire you tap in to can handle up to 10 amps. Most RV accessory wiring can handle up to this amount.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Marine Grade Cigarette Lighter Socket 12 VDC
Can-Am Spyder 12V Accessory Plug Jack Outlet
Truckspec TSP-312 12-Volt 3 Outlet Cigarette Lighter Adapter with 30 Cord

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14 Comments For This Mod

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  1. samlaura1998

    hey this is a cool mod. my tt has bunkbeds and i want to add an outlet in one of the bunks so my son can watch a dvd without the battery going dead! i’m going to definitely do this mod!

  2. BillT

    I added two 12 volt outlets in my fifth wheel to allow me to use a 12 volt portable fan in the bedroom or the living area. I also added a weatherproof one in the bed of my pickup so I could run a small compressor or my 12 volt cooler.

  3. tvman44

    That looks like a good idea, the only 12Vdc in most RV’s is on the antenna plate and it is too small for most plugs. Think I will add a standard size socket in the entertainment center, it will be an easy run to the fuse panel from there.

  4. Henn Rebane

    Great idea. I’ll install one at the dinette to keep the batteries of my laptop, camera and wife’s mobile ‘phone charged up while going down the road.

  5. Joe

    When considering your truck you can run trolling motor plugs to both the front and rear tied directly to your battery and fused.

    The male plug can have several adaptors configured for inverters, lighter sockets, air compressors, etc. this gives you a portable source of heavy duty power always at hand.

  6. Joe

    When considering your truck you can run trolling motor plugs to both the front and rear tied directly to your battery and fused.

    The male plug can have several adaptors configured for inverters, lighter sockets, air compressors, etc. this gives you a portable source of power always at hand.

  7. Rick

    I did this a while back. I installed a plug in a forward cargo compartment on my Class A Motorhome for a 12 volt refrigerator, properly fused it and tied it directly to the battery. Works great.

  8. dale wood

    Mine is not a 12 volt, but rather an additional 110 outlet.
    My wife has an oxygen generator, and the motorhome manufacturers, in all their wisdom, run the whole front end on one circuit breaker.
    I located and area under the refrigerator, installed a 110 (old work) j box in that wall, ran shielded 14/2 romex across the coach and put a male plug on the end, in the electrical service area.
    Now i just plug a short extension cord into the 30 amp service on the post, and the other end onto the romex. viola ! A dedicated outlet.

  9. Lloyd BC

    As a ’sleep apnea’ sufferer, I use a ‘CPAP’ machine at night. Luckily, it is a unit that runs on 110v when using the humidifier, but will operate on 12V as only an air pump. As most of our camping is ‘unserviced’, I installed 12V outlets in both of our last two tt’s. Our previous unit had an existing outlet high in the wall above the side bench, so I added an outlet under the dinette bench. Our current tt had no 12V outlet, so I placed one (which incorporates test connectors) at the end of the kitchen counter, and another in the shelf at the head of the bed.

  10. rklingborg

    I have added 3 to the inside and 2 to the outside so that I can run fans and and DVD and outside a remote speaker (even thought the transmitter and speaker suck the the life from the battery).

  11. kc7cbf

    I added one for the satellite radio and one by the power panel- great for charging!

  12. madsci

    I’ve done this one about 5 times over by now. Two on one side of the dining table, one on the other, one by the bed, and one in the trunk. I used these receptacles by MPD:

    http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/AS212/AS212-ND/755444

    My original plan was to install USB jacks as well, but I didn’t want to have a constant drain from DC-DC converters or have to add a switch for each one. So instead I got small cigarette lighter to USB adapters for about $2 each on Amazon and I keep a few of those in the junk drawer.

    The only problem with that has been traffic from my camp mates who need to charge their phones, cameras, iPods, and so on. The solution to that has been to build a chest with a couple of SLA batteries, DC-DC converters, USB ports, and a collection of charging cables and adapters that I can set outside the trailer in the camp common area so people can charge their toys without bugging me. I was going to tether it to the trailer’s electrical system, but so far it hasn’t been necessary.

  13. Bulleit

    So you run the red wire with inline fuse to the (+) terminal on battery and the black wire to the (-) terminal on battery?

  14. Ben Gantt

    Now could you plug a small invertor in one of the 12V locations?

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. 10 Low Cost Mods You Can Make to Your RV

    [...] 1. Adding a 12-volt outlet - The standard 12-volt outlet is generally located near the TV connections or entertainment center of your RV and is often not very accessible. If you have kids that just “need” to watch a DVD in their bunk or you have several DC devices to charge, adding more 12-volt outlets can be a real convenience. It’s simple to do, requiring simple wiring and costs around $15. You can see an installation example here: http://www.modmyrv.com/2008/06/06/rv-12-volt-outlet [...]

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