Friday, March 9, 2018

RV Mod-Attwood 12V Outlet

man working on 12 volt wiring
Updating Miss Emmy
One feature our Miss Emmy is sorely lacking are electrical outlets, especially in the bedroom area. Absolutely nothing by the bed.


No electrical outlet of any kind by the nightstand. What’s someone who uses a CPAP machine to do? Or the person who wants to recharge their phone or Kindle?

 Install one of course.

glass sconce lamp and overhead reading light for a bed
Two of the six light fixtures. We replaced the reading light with
and LED bulb. We were able to "rehome" the old glass fixtures
Well, what Miss Emmy lacks in outlets, she makes up for in lights. There are SIX different 12v light fixtures in the bedroom.

Yes, you read that right. SIX light fixtures.

FOUR of them at the head of the bed. Yes, FOUR. There are two overhead reading lights and two side lights.

And add the two double light RV ceiling fixtures.

wires and junction boxes
Inside the old TV cabinet. The red cord was our temporary fix.
We'll be fixing this at a future date.
Yup, that makes a total of SIX fixtures, and come to think of it, that's EIGHT light bulbs! All of them 12v,  and all of them were incandescent.

Well, with so many 12v fixtures available in one small space, we decided to remove one lighting fixture and convert it to a 12v plug that will allow Chris to run his CPAP machine, even while boondocking.

Now, admittedly there is one 12v plug in the bedroom along with a 120v outlet.

They're just not well placed. They sit at the back of the TV shelf and was for the old, and very dead, CRT TV we removed.

Outlets facing into the closet and away from the bedroom?
But the outlets don’t even face into the bedroom. They aren’t even in the bedroom. They are actually located inside the closet and face AWAY from where TV location. Go figure.

Our temporary fix was to run a 12v extension cord from that outlet, through the TV shelf space and then over to the nightstand. It took a lot of searching to find the right one.

And while this solution worked, 12 feet of cord draped about the bedside was not the best (or safest) solution. The research and planning began.

First was settle on location. We opted to remove the heavy glass side light that was more bug catcher than anything else and kept the reading light.

Our firmly installed outlet. As a friend of ours used to say
"Robust construction!"
On to find the right 12v outlet. Many of the after-market 12v outlets we saw seemed poorly made until we came across this one on Amazon. Attwood specializes in marine and RV fittings and this under-dash mount outlet had excellent reviews, so we ordered it.

Good choice! It’s a solid, well-made unit with excellent fit and finish. The bracket it comes with is very solid and we feel it will hold up very well against the daily use we will give it.

Not super pretty, but it works. Sometimes you have to choose
function over form.
We went with the under-dash mounting as there was insufficient air space in the “mini-closet” sidewall to use an in-dash style mount. And we had no desire to totally tear apart the interior of the “mini-closet” to drop the wires down.

After a little thinking and prowling hardware store aisles, we came up with this install. It may not win a house beautiful award, but it works for us. Someday we’ll come up with a better cosmetic solution, and we left enough slack in the wiring to re-arrange it if the need or desire arises.

Here’s how we did it, but please note:
This is not a step-by-step detailed  “how-to”, but perhaps something we share will help someone out. We are not pros or techs, Chris is just a bit handy with some things. If you are not 100% comfortable with doing a project, please stay safe and use a pro.

1. SAFETY FIRST. Shut off the power
2. Remove and dispose of the old fixture.
3. Made a temporary splice, turned battery power back on and tested the connection
4. Turned power off, undid the temporary splice and mounted the bracket.
(We needed a right-angle drill attachment as there was not a lot of room between the nightstand and the bottom of the closet. )
5. Slid faceplate over the new wires, then spliced the new wires into the coach’s 12v wiring
6. Used brown electrical tape to help camouflage the red and black wiring that’s exposed.
7. Attached faceplate to the wall and tacked the wire down with some small clamps.
8. Turned the battery power back on and re-tested the outlet with a variety of devices.

End result?

A good night’s sleep and no risk of getting tangled up in the draped power cord.

It has worked so well, we're repeating the process on my side of the bed. After all, how many bedside lights does a body need?

Let us know below if you like the post, and feel free to leave a comment.

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