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Old 04-06-2015, 09:04   #16
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

OMG, 90' Hunter, 12 volt cig lighter socket, Is this a running Joke????
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:35   #17
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

Hi CarolinaDelt,

I just had to look at this post with that subject heading. I too was going to suggest pulling out a good ol' safety match, smart alec that I am... however now that I see your problem is real here is my suggestion:

We too use our cigarette lighter for numerous electrical items that we don't want to use the inverter for (very inefficient for some of our electrical needs). We leave our boat on the hard for 6 months at a time and often during that time things get corroded. When back on the boat I immediately take some fine sandpaper and stuff it into the cigarette light, nash it around a bit et voila! the contact points are now clean and the whole shebang works again for another 6 months!

Hope this helps and sorry it is so wordy

Cathy
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:09   #18
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

Long exasperated sigh UUhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,

I know this is not going to sit well with some and all due respect to the OP who I am not picking on and I do hope he will easily fix this. But if you do not have a good Volt/Ohm meter on board and some basic knowledge on how to use one, especially a simple 12V socket, then you're not ready to go it alone on a boat, much less offshore. Even with deep pockets and a check book being the only tool in the tool box, you are going to personally need to posses the basic skills of trouble shooting electrical circuits. All the advice given following the first post should already be basic knowledge. Old boat new boat it doesn't matter, there will always be electrical trouble shooting. The old humorous definition of cruising is humorous because it is true.


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Old 04-06-2015, 10:32   #19
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

You need to learn to diagnose these things. Get a Volt/ohm meter. Even radio shack has them for $20 or less.
Put it on the DC voltage scale. Touch the side of the Cig lighter outlet and touch the pin inside on the center. Do you get voltage? If no:
Follow the wires back thru the boat to the next connection. Do you get voltage? etc etc.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:19   #20
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

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Originally Posted by Capt Doug View Post
OMG, 90' Hunter, 12 volt cig lighter socket, Is this a running Joke????
I think the OP meant '90 Hunter as in built in 1990 not a 90 ft Hunter. Don't think they ever built one quite that long.
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Old 04-06-2015, 12:24   #21
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

Actually, watch the Harbor Freight ads and you can pick up a digital multimeter for free with any purchase every few months. I have one, my brother has three (a bit piggy).

Basic troubleshooting: test the socket with probes from the multimeter (above). If no power, remove the socket from the panel/wall - a whopping 2 screws in most cases - and check the back of the socket. Disconnect the wires and check voltage there - if none then trace the wire back to fuse/circuit breaker.

I have some nice SS sockets that have a distressing tendency to short internally if the plug is rotated a bit; the short pops the breaker. To get working I first have to get the parts internally aligned to correct the short before resetting the breaker. Of course in the OP's case one of the wires may have simply come off the socket. Also, plastic sockets can deform from the heat of high loads and fail to work - better to replace with stainless steel if possible, but watch for shorts :-)

There really is no substitute for troubleshooting with a multimeter, including removing and examining the socket. I tend to agree with other comments here: basic electrical troubleshooting is a required skill for any cruiser, as it will be needed all too frequently.

Greg
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Old 04-06-2015, 13:25   #22
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

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But I have to ask. Did it involve fire or just smoke?
Actually neither. The notebook (with its internal battery fully discharged) would start for few seconds and then would go black again. But the little fan would work fine. As I unscrewed the socket and pulled it out right away the skimpiness of the #18 (or thinner) wires became the main suspect. As rewiring that particular socket would involve either disassembling half of the cabin or unsightly wire ducts I decided to run a totally new socket to a new and more useful location. Used a larger wire, I think #14 or #12 and now no problems with charging that notebook.

As a side note, last week, after much procrastination, I'm proud to report, I installed a 2000/4000W inverter. As it is the el cheapo "harbor freight" model ($99 on sale there 2 or 3 years ago, they now go for $129 on sale) I decided to do all the wiring as beefy as possible in case I come across a better quality inverter on the cheap so that all I'll need is to unscrew this one and install a better one in its place. I used #1 cable for neg. and #2 for positive as I was advised by an old salt that if you have two cables of uneven thickness always use the larger one for the neg. run. Which makes perfect sense. The cables I picked up a few years back at WM as left overs from large spools and got them at +50% off, whence the difference in sizes. So this whole installation - inverter, cable and lugs was under $200 + about an hour of my time. Not too bad if I may say so.
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Old 04-06-2015, 13:35   #23
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

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Originally Posted by CarolinaDelt View Post
..............Therefore, I'm assuming it's behind the navigation panel but I really don't want to take the panel off and cause another problem. Logic tells me the fuse/circuit breaker would be somewhere more accessible.
Perhaps the ribbing you're getting is because of this.

If it doesn't work, either it's the lighter contacts, the wires or the fuse.

If the wires go behind the panel, then you need to do so, too.

All of us, ALL, have realized NONE of us were BORN as electricians.

But the ONLY way we got better at it was to DO IT.

You need to check the lighter plug, the wires and the fuse and the connections at BOTH ends.

Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2015, 14:29   #24
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Perhaps the ribbing you're getting is because of this.

If it doesn't work, either it's the lighter contacts, the wires or the fuse.

If the wires go behind the panel, then you need to do so, too.

All of us, ALL, have realized NONE of us were BORN as electricians.

But the ONLY way we got better at it was to DO IT.

You need to check the lighter plug, the wires and the fuse and the connections at BOTH ends.

Good luck.
Nice pragmatic advice.

DC electrics are simple to troubleshoot.

When in doubt start anywhere and following the wiring until you reach the ends. One will be the socket and the other will be to power.

Read Calders books and make sure wiring is correct grade and size. Make sure connections are correct type, installed correctly and have a good connection. Make sure its routed properly, is fused and isnt degraded by age, corrosion and there are no defects.

If you have to pull panels pull them. Draw a diagram and circulate it so others can give you targeted advice.

Listen to the experts. There are no shortcuts. Half arsed fixes are just trouble. Fix it right first time. Life will be better.

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Old 04-06-2015, 14:57   #25
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

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including my needed spotlight!
This is highly suggestive - incandescent spotlights draw a LOT of power. Any resistivity in the socket (typically corrosion) will result in high temperatures, which can easily deform plastic sockets. Typically the plastic softens and the spring pressure of the plug drives the + lead inwards, leading to failure. Cigarette lighter sockets are rated at 15A MAX, and many aren't rated that high. So check the rating of the socket and ensure that the socket, wiring, and circuit breaker/fuse are all up to the max loads to be drawn through the socket. You should consider a different connector for your high 12VDC loads.

Greg
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Old 07-06-2015, 14:40   #26
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Re: Need Help W/ Cigarette Lighter

CD, #1 buy a book about marine electrical systems to at least learn the terminology to discuss your problems.
#2 if you are not confident enough to start repairs yourself then ask around for a recommended MARINE electrician to fix your problem and you can also pay him for a tour of your boat's electrical world.

If there is one problem then there are more. Have a pro go over your system. Most electricians are more than happy to let you watch and ask questions, they do charge by the hour. If you think 12v is a mystery than be very wary about 120v.
Did you have a survey when you bought the boat?
Good luck with your new boat!!!
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