I have always loath the cigarette lighter jack. I don't smoke and cigarette lighter jack is only good for it's original design purpose - to light a cigarette. For used as a 12V power outlet they are big, ugly, and do the job poorly. However often did you find the device is not getting power because the spring loaded contact has jarred loose?
Disclaimer - this post is not intended to be an instruction for modifying the DC system in your vehicle. Should you choose to follow what I did, in part or in whole you are solely responsible for any potential risk or damage that occur.
For my VW Vanagon Camper I had built a custom DC outlet box for the purpose for secure connection of devices. The DC outlet box also allow me to plug in charger to charge the batteries when the vehicle is under storage for extended period.
this one in my Vanagon Camper has two banks of 12V ports - one for the house battery and one for the starting battery; there is also a rocker switch to turn on or off the doom light with an LED indicator to help you find it in the dark
In Brunnhilde the ideal place for this DC outlet box is where the cabin cup holders are. It happens that one of the two cup holder is defective. Someone at Airstream tried to make it open and close more easily by filing off the length of the plastic spring tabs. Problem is they are filed down too short that they binds the cup holding ring.making it useless.
I have been trying to find a good looking plastic project box for electronic hobbyist that can accommodate the XLR connectors that I have used for many years in the Vanagon Camper. I always subscribe to that constraints are prerequisite for good design and constraints I have here. I didn't want to drive all over town to find a electronic project box so I would try to make lemonade out of a lemon.
A few days ago I was staring at the defective cup holder again. I thought to myself may be I turn the cup holder into the panel for the power port. My initial plan was to install 4 ports. I took some measurements and inspected the hole behind it. Soon I was quite sure despite the shallow depth I can install the almost 1" deep XLR connectors if I just put my mind to it.
the left cup holder has a cutout already - i wonder what Westfalia intended it for; may be the European James Cook have a connection here
a potential arc welder hazard - i am not sure it is possible to short one of the terminal post and the back steel frame with the seatbelt buckle but you cannot aford it to happen even the chance is very small
The other thing I discover is the label for the cabin batteries fuse box is not consistent with the numbering of the fuse box. It is transposed 180 degrees. Someone had fallen to this trap and most of the fuse sizes are wrong because he/she relied on the orientation of the label without paying attention to the numbering of the fuses which is on the transparent cover.
i verified all the fuse circuits by pulling them one at a time and the label descriptions are correct; you can see many fuse sizes are still wrong in this photo
one can never stress the importance of properly fusing the load - i used a blade type fuse holder
i don't care for big dc-to-ac inverters; my goal is to conserve battery charge so i only use one that is just enough for the job; this one is about 120w but enough to power my notebook, charge the DSLR's battery, and the TV
some of the many use cases