Electrical Forethought

A little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way.

I feel lucky that my wife has started to join us on some of our camping trips. The kids enjoy it, and I believe there is nothing better than the family getting out there together. But it has created some additional problems. You know how it is… 

There is never enough 12V power to go around. Her mobile phone and all the other 12V accessories she feels are essential to bring, of course, need charging. According to her we definitely can’t do without them! So when it came to the need for additional wiring and electrics, I had to give it a little bit of thought. I needed to future-proof things, so that adding circuits or trouble-shooting out in the field would be simplified.
You may hear me talk constantly about fuse boxes. They are, in my opinion, one of the best solutions for adding electrical accessories to your 4WD. They give you the opportunity to run one wire directly from the auxiliary battery to the fuse box and then simply add circuits from the fuse box out. Many fuse boxes come with stickers so you can clearly label the fuses to the accessories. Some also have provision to be able to run earth wires back to them as well. Keeping your wiring clean and tidy will not only look professional, but it will also make life so much easier when looking for problems out on the tracks.
I added a dual 12V power socket to my Patrol last week because unplugging the Hema to charge my wife’s phone just doesn’t seem right. I had previously fitted a fuse box to the left passenger kick panel when I installed the dual battery system, so wiring up the dual power socket was easy.
I fitted up the power socket to the right hand side of the glove box and simply ran the wires through the vehicle directly to the fuse box. I also decided to run individual wires to the sockets, in case I had a fault with one socket the other would still work.
After running the wires, I just found a good earth, fitted the wires through conduit and fitted a spade terminal to the fuse box. Once I placed a fuse of the appropriate size into the fuse holder the circuit was complete.
And really that’s how simple it was. Now my wife is happy and I can still plug in all my necessary equipment that I need for the tracks. You know what they say – happy wife, happy life!


Top: You can see here that I was able to simply run the wires straight through to the power sockets. You can see that I actually ran separate wires to each power socket, that way if a faulty charger is put into one of the sockets and blows the fuse, the other socket will still work. Where possible you should always run separate wires, so that if one fuse is blown, you can still power accessories using the other socket.

Middle: After I fitted the wires to the socket I ran them through conduit for extra protection.

Bottom image: All wired up and ready to go. Now I will be able to follow the Hema and still charge my wife’s iPhone. Next on the list is an inverter to power the hairdryer...



Qualified motor mechanic Adam Adler has spent half his life under the bonnet of a 4WD and has worked for some of the top accessory companies and workshops. He knows what it takes to get your vehicle out there and back home in one piece. He runs the online aftermarket store www.nutsabout4wd.com.au.

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