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DC Circuit: Cell Phone Charger


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#1 Gypsy's Child

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:38 PM

My boat has a diesel auxiliary and has both shore power and DC power. Since I have a diesel, I never use the engine room blower & was thinking of tapping into this circuit to charge cell phones while underway.

 

Any comments or suggestions from folks familiar with the issues involved in doing this would be greatly appreciated. I invision a "cigarette lighter" type of receptacle unless there is something better. I'm thinking of having the receptacle in the cabin, although it would be convenient to have one in the cockpit also.

 

Thanks,

 

Steve



#2 Frogwatch

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:41 PM

My 28' S2 has such a recepticle in the cabin that I use for charging my kids cell phones and running my computer.  Your blower circuit could be used for the same but make sure it turns "off" when the power is off and that it has a fuze.



#3 Gypsy's Child

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:52 PM

Thanks, Frogwatch!

 

The blower is currently on a separate circuit breaker in the DC panel.

 

In addition to the breaker switch, the blower has an on/off button near the starter control panel in the cockpit. Since the blower can be "off" even when the breaker switch is "on", tying the charger into the circuit should work well.

 

I will check to see what the amperege is of the blower motor to see if I could run both the charger and the blower at the same time. Although, as I've said previously, I've yet to run the blower since I bought the boat in September.



#4 toddster

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:32 PM

A cell phone charger is, like, milliamps.  But the problem with a nice juicy 12v outlet is that anything could get plugged into that, some day, by some one.  e.g. One of those zillion-candlepower search lights.  Or an inverter.  My preference is to make those separate circuits with the correct wire gauge and breaker to match the rated amperage of the socket.    One way to avoid that would be to install a USB-style power socket, instead of a generic cigarette-lighter type socket.  Whatever solution you use, make sure the wire gauge is large enough to be protected by the fuse or breaker in the circuit.  



#5 Jim Conlin

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:52 AM

Blue Sea offers a USB power outlet.

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#6 bugger

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:41 PM

Just to add another perspective, you may want to keep that engine blower. 

 

On really hot days, after running the engine a lot, I found the blower useful for lowering the temperature of the engine compartment, which was otherwise leaking heat into the already too hot cabin. 



#7 Gypsy's Child

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:31 PM

Thanks to all of you for your helpful comments. Both my AC and DC panels are Blue Sea. I will install one or two of the USB ports that Jim  suggested. To show you how un-savey I am, I thought you could only send data through those things; had no idea that they transferred current for charging!

 

What a great site!

 

Steve



#8 jerryj2me

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:04 PM

safe premise - your 12v system will vary from 10V to 16V at the extremes.

 

A combination of the cigarette lighter plug and a USB charger designed to plug into that is suggested.

 

Why? The USB chargers that are configured to plug into a cigarette lighter are designed to deal with this power supply variance.

 

That Blue Sky device probably does the same, but the online page said 12v only. Probably a poorly written web page.

 

I would keep the blower and just add the circuit ontoa breaker in your power panel.



#9 Gypsy's Child

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 06:12 PM

Thanks, I just spoke to the tech guy at Blue Sea and in addition to the UBS port, they also make something called a 360 Panel. It is almost 5" square and contains both a UBS port and a cigarette lighter type port.

 

I was thinking of putting this 360 port on the same circuit as the blower. I will check to be sure that there is not an overload scenario created. I would also install a separate on/off switch for the new 360 panel. Now, both the blower and the new panel would have their own switch in addition to the breaker switch in the panel.



P.S. I will check with Blue Sea re the voltage variation issue. Thanks



#10 amro

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:01 PM

The 360 panel is an entire customizable panel system, not just one small component. To make it work your existing panel has to be a 360 with spare expansion space. Easiest thing to do is what jerry said. Get a high quality 12v plug, proper wire, and wire it to the existing blower breaker. The blower breaker is probably 10 or 15 amps, so #14/2 wire is the minimum you should use. Tinned wire is preferred.

#11 Gypsy's Child

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:13 PM

Thanks, Amro.

 

While the 360 is customizable, it is my understanding that it just needs a 15amp power supply & it should work fine.

 

Yes, only tinned wire!



#12 Jim Conlin

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 12:30 AM

Just to add another perspective, you may want to keep that engine blower. 

 

On really hot days, after running the engine a lot, I found the blower useful for lowering the temperature of the engine compartment, which was otherwise leaking heat into the already too hot cabin. 

+ 1

 

On the last boat, the ice box was adjacent to the engine.  We'd run the blower for 1/2 hour after motoring, just to stretch the ice.






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