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Old 12-31-2018, 07:51 PM   #1
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Default Goofy 12v Outlet Problem

1997 CoachHouse on a Dodge platform. In the last 9 months or so I have a problem where my 12v outlets won't work with known good 12v to 5.5v USB chargers in Cigarette lighter outlets. Sometimes.

A fan will work, as will the vacuum cleaner. But when I plug in my phone or tablet it will display a "connected and charging" message, then immediately a "disconnected" message.

Generally, this will happen after I've plugged up to shore power for a while. It lasts an indeterminate amount of time - the last time was a couple of months of straight boondocking, and magically, it stopped and all is fine.

Just a nagging, inexplicable problem. I recently changed the MagnaTek Series 6300 to a Progressive Dynamics PD4635V. No Joy. So I'm charging using an external phone charger or an inverter - the latter pretty funny, going from 12vdc to 120vDC to 5.5vdc. At least the inverter heats the cabin!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Trash-to-Treasure View Post
1997 CoachHouse on a Dodge platform. In the last 9 months or so I have a problem where my 12v outlets won't work with known good 12v to 5.5v USB chargers in Cigarette lighter outlets. Sometimes.

A fan will work, as will the vacuum cleaner. But when I plug in my phone or tablet it will display a "connected and charging" message, then immediately a "disconnected" message.

Generally, this will happen after I've plugged up to shore power for a while. It lasts an indeterminate amount of time - the last time was a couple of months of straight boondocking, and magically, it stopped and all is fine.

Just a nagging, inexplicable problem. I recently changed the MagnaTek Series 6300 to a Progressive Dynamics PD4635V. No Joy. So I'm charging using an external phone charger or an inverter - the latter pretty funny, going from 12vdc to 120vDC to 5.5vdc. At least the inverter heats the cabin!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

High Probability that this is an Alien prank. Are you in the SW US?

Bud
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:08 PM   #3
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You're right! I'm outside Phoenix! That must have been what those blinking lights and whistling was last night! You seem experienced in these matters, how long you figure the effects will last?
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:39 PM   #4
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Default Goofy 12v Outlet Problem

The alien answer is more fun but it Sounds like a voltage drop issue at the 12v outlet. The inverter probably can work on a wider range of voltages. You could test it either with a multimeter or something like https://www.amazon.com/INNOVA-3721-B...battery+tester
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:23 PM   #5
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I would try cleaning the contacts inside the socket. Use a pencil eraser and some contact cleaner to burnish the positive contact at the end of the socket. It is likely that you are getting poor contact. The face that a fan or vacuum works is because it draws more current and “burns through” the corrosion (for want of a better term). Low current contacts are prone to flakiness.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:45 PM   #6
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To add to JohnnyFry's comments, I've found that most 12v plugs have a spring contact on the end (Hot connection). If the side contacts aren't tight, the spring on the end just pushes the plug out of the socket to a degree where the hot connection is just barely touching. This accounts for it works at first then stops.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:53 PM   #7
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Some usb adapters are shorter than others. Some 12 VDC sockets are deeper than others. Hence the connection fails to be made.
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Old 01-06-2019, 07:59 PM   #8
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I have found that some electronics (like cell phones) are "picky" about the quality of the 5.5V output of the cig-lighter USB charger. If your USB chargers are the inexpensive type like the ones displayed at checkout counters (or partially damaged/worn out from use), it may be they are one piece of a 2-part puzzle? By quality, I mean voltage stability and/or background noise. When you are hooked up to shore power, it is possible that your 12 V power is "dirty" and the USB chargers can not cope with it. This can really only be checked with a "fast" (samples per second) oscilloscope (or you could experiment using known high quality USB chargers). The dirty 12V power might be the result of a grounding issue in your system or simply the best your inverters can do with the shore power input. Also, camp sites are known for having dirty power (or so I have read). Homes/apts/condos can also have dirty power particularly on circuits with outdoor outlets exposed to moisture.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98LeisureTravelDodge View Post
I have found that some electronics (like cell phones) are "picky" about the quality of the 5.5V output of the cig-lighter USB charger. If your USB chargers are the inexpensive type like the ones displayed at checkout counters (or partially damaged/worn out from use), it may be they are one piece of a 2-part puzzle? By quality, I mean voltage stability and/or background noise. When you are hooked up to shore power, it is possible that your 12 V power is "dirty" and the USB chargers can not cope with it. This can really only be checked with a "fast" (samples per second) oscilloscope (or you could experiment using known high quality USB chargers). The dirty 12V power might be the result of a grounding issue in your system or simply the best your inverters can do with the shore power input. Also, camp sites are known for having dirty power (or so I have read). Homes/apts/condos can also have dirty power particularly on circuits with outdoor outlets exposed to moisture.
By “picky”I think you might also mean they need a certain amperage. iPhones and iPads will not charge with a standard 1 amp (1000 milliamperes) 12v adapter. Many dollar store /checkout counter adapters max out at a bit over 1 amp so they are useless for iPhones. You have to look very carefully at the adapter specs. Look for over 2.1 amps ( 2100ma). That’s what the prior poster meant by high quality adapter.

If this is not your problem, then I suspect the earlier post about the socket not being deep enough and adapter ‘springing’ out. This happens in one of my cars with some adapters so I had to experiment with other adapters.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:36 AM   #10
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By “picky”I think you might also mean they need a certain amperage. iPhones and iPads will not charge with a standard 1 amp (1000 milliamperes) 12v adapter. Many dollar store /checkout counter adapters max out at a bit over 1 amp so they are useless for iPhones. You have to look very carefully at the adapter specs. Look for over 2.1 amps ( 2100ma). That’s what the prior poster meant by high quality adapter.
Yes, this is probably what I was referring to without remembering it was the low output amperage that was the problem. Thank you Bertiboo.

At any rate, keep it simple whenever possible.

Also, make sure the inverter is grounded properly. I think that typically there will be a separate ground wire (separate from the negative Battery cable) from the inverter housing to a good clean grounding point on the van body. This additional connection may be easily overlooked and won't always cause issues if it is left out.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:35 PM   #11
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If any of the excellent suggestions already posted do not solve your problem, then I would start looking at the ground from the outlet to where ever it is grounded or runs into the negative buss.
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