Tip # 60, 12 Volt Outlets, and How the "Col-Lite" Could Save Your Life…..

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005 at 00:39
ThreadID: 122181 Views:4403 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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Some people talk about a 12v outlet outside under the awning… Some want it to plug in another fridge, for some reason taking it out of the tow vehicle at times, if they have excess solar on the van like 4 –125 watt panels and 4- 100 AH Solar Block batteries. OK, but I would not be lifting out a full fridge out of the tow vehicle, instead I would be making up and extension cable to plug in. So, that leaves the predominant use for an external 12 plug in the annex area for an additional camp light… OK… But: I don’t have one on mine, as I could not think of a use… Even for the camp light, and here is why:

Yes the awning lights are big power consumers, and a bit lacking…(I have the first of the big LED awning lights and they are great but you would have to see them for yourself if we make it to Copeton…) Any way, most people want an additional plug in light to hang up.. First of all the best light I have ever seen, and owned for 12 years now is the “Col Lite”. A big 600 mm big Fluro in a clear plastic housing… HUGE light throw and only about 1amp... I have seen them 15 years old in the local 4x4 Club… In fact it is the Standard in most 4x4 Clubs I have been to.. Tracy used to say if there were 39 Members show up at a 4x4 Meet, there would be 40 Col Lites because he took two… That is not true, if I was there, there would be 41 because I have two as well… Ha! (But we have Families, one is enough for most) Here is how it works: The standard is to cut off the short light wire and add 20’ of heavier wire to compensate for the distance. (As the distance or amperage increase, wire size increases). Then the next trick is to tie a loop on the stainless end of the Col Lite, so you do not pull the wiring out of the sealed electronics as that is non-repairable; instead you pull on a tension loop that takes the load… OK?

Now for the important bit: I do not plug it into the caravan…!! That is not where you want the Col-Lite !!! I repeat…….. Put the plug on the back of the Tow Vehicle!! First of all you can still use it in the annex with the long extension of the lead... But then you can drive the vehicle and use it also over there near the fire with the group, over there near the table for the get together hanging up, driven over to the wood pile; just drive the vehicle over to the spot and hang it in the tree or on the vehicle…. Secondly and MOST IMPORTANTLY: The Col Lite does not live in the van!!! It lives in the Tow Vehicle, and if you are broke down, have a flat, anything along side the road, besides your hazard lights at night, the first thing you do is plug in your Col Lite and illuminate the entire area for about twenty metres.. OK? It is a major safety advantage to have it mobile and living in your truck, so if you are away from the van it is always with you in a pinch… Hanging from the bonnet it makes the engine bay like bright daytime, and the same for the whole side of the vehicle for changing a flat. If you are home, so is the vehicle, and so is the Col Lite.. OK? But it’s place to live, and where it could save your life, is living in the tow vehicle for when you are away from camp… Home, or in the camping area, it is then where ever you want it, and away it is with you in a pinch..

Nudder lesson learned hard in da Bush from da “Lone Ranger” at Bushtracker..
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Reply By: Bogger John - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005 at 20:35

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005 at 20:35
I also find that my external 12 volt outlet is handy for my tyre compressor - saves having to use an extra long lead from the tow vehicle.

John
AnswerID: 566998

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Aug 18, 2005 at 20:29

Thursday, Aug 18, 2005 at 20:29
Well John, that one is probably valid.. Mind you I have a 20' hose that attaches to mine so I don't have to keep moving it around or fuss getting it to the other side.... And also, the Col-Lite plug on the back of the tow vehicle would mean you and move it to the site as well....

Da Ranger don mine puttin' da plugs on, just wonders if it really necessary some times... OK?
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FollowupID: 844889

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Friday, Aug 19, 2005 at 01:36

Friday, Aug 19, 2005 at 01:36
I use mine a fair bit... but not for lights. I have a rechargeable neon lantern that does not require any leads and use head torches for peeking in awkward places.

I run a small bilge pump with 30 metres of wiring to fill the tanks (if close enough to water) or 20L buckets, they can also be later pumped into the tanks or later ingurgitated via the 'sucker hose' on the drawbar. Also good for filling ther Thetford top flushing tank - no more hoisting buckets for me.

Pretty cheap to put in during construction and I am glad I made that choice

Cheers

John
AnswerID: 566999

Reply By: BT Dreaming - Friday, Aug 19, 2005 at 20:40

Friday, Aug 19, 2005 at 20:40
My wife and I are currently thrashing out design details for our 18 ft due in March next year and have also been wondering about a 12 volt outlet outside the van, although we were thinking of occasions when we would bring the TV outside. From reading the forum it would appear that many people have opted for the LCD TV supplied by Sound in Motion which I understand is 12 volt but there hasn't been any comment in this thread about using an external 12 v outlet to run the TV outdoors. Does no one do this or am I overlooking an easier way to power it when you have it outside?

AnswerID: 567000

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Saturday, Aug 20, 2005 at 02:37

Saturday, Aug 20, 2005 at 02:37
Da Ranger sez:
Ah don go out Bush to watch TV, just my horses.... Or stare at the fire or the stars....

Sooooo, not ignoring you, just don't know..... But I would not think the flat screen TV sort of thing is something you want to try and move around, OK? I have heard of one set so it could pivot and go out the window.... Maybe... Talk to S.I.M.

Kind Regards, stg
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FollowupID: 844890

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