Solar panel connection - output as well as input?

May 11, 2021
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Our Bailey Pegasus GT65 has a 'cigarette lighter' type connector in the battery box, intended for use as a solar panel input. Is there any reason I can't use it as a convenient 12v outlet for outside the van? We have the 240v plug outside too, but I have a couple of devices that run using the 12v lighter plug and wondered if they would plug in here? The only reason I can think not is if there is a diode in the way to make it input only, for possible fear of draining the battery or having something plugged in that sits outside the protection of the fusebox and master switch.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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I would think it’s a homemade fitting of the socket so you would need to test to see if there’s an output or plug something in such as an electric tyre pump.

BP
 
May 11, 2021
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It’s definitely OEM-fitted - it’s mentioned in the user manual but only in the context of being a solar panel input. Before I start poking anything in it I wanted to see if anyone had been there, done that!
 
Aug 24, 2020
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Check what fuse it has - if it's only designed as a solar panel input it may have low current wiring and fuse.

If the fuse (and therefore, hopefully, the wiring) will support whatever load you want to put on it then I'd say good to go.

EDIT - just had a thought - the installer may have put a diode in the wiring to make it an input-only socket. The only way to be sure is a voltage check on the output.I wouldn't expect it, diodes cause a voltage drop and would reduce the efficiency of the solar charging, and it would be cheaper and easier to just use wiring rated for both output and input.

ANOTHER EDIT - another thought, it may of course just be an input into the charge controller, in which case it definitely won't work as an output. Either way, I definitely wouldn't try to use it as an output without checking the fuse and wiring, and that will answer the charge controller question as well.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I would not use that socket for connecting a solar panel as the losses would be too great plus there may be a heat issue (arcing) if the connection is not a tight fit. If it is an output the power coming from it may only work a couple of LEDs if you are lucky and nothing else?
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Assuming its like a typical car cigarette lighter, then they are absolutely terrible for reliability of connection.
 
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May 11, 2021
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I’ll have a nose around under the seat inside and see what wiring and components I can make out. I agree that this type of connector is not the best, although at least in this application it will be static without any vibration. A decent weatherproof connector like I have on my motorbike would be good.

I have, for example, a 12v coolbox which I wondered about using there as fridge overspill. Only an idle thought really, as I had noticed it when going over the van.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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It’s definitely OEM-fitted - it’s mentioned in the user manual but only in the context of being a solar panel input.
You have the answer in your manual as above, it is an INPUT, not an output.
 
May 11, 2021
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I’m in the van now - it has a 10A inline fuse. If it is connected directly across the battery then I see no reason not to use it as a power source, with the risk that it could discharge the battery if left powered up with no mains charger on. Maybe something to investigate another day.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I’m in the van now - it has a 10A inline fuse. If it is connected directly across the battery then I see no reason not to use it as a power source, with the risk that it could discharge the battery if left powered up with no mains charger on. Maybe something to investigate another day.
Perhaps consider posting a picture of the connection on this thresd for better advice or ask a Bailey dealer or even contact the Baileys owner forum to clear up any confusion?
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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with the risk that it could discharge the battery if left powered up with no mains charger on.
But that "risk" is not unique to that outlet, it applies just the same to any other outlet or indeed any device wired to the battery.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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But that "risk" is not unique to that outlet, it applies just the same to any other outlet or indeed any device wired to the battery.
Correct as a poor connection could cause arcing and a fire which is why we avoided using the 2 pin 12v cigarette socket connection in the older caravans.
 
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May 11, 2021
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Most of the 12v circuit in the van is covered by the master switch, so flicking that off as you leave the van turns it all off. Anything outside of that circuit will continue to discharge.
 

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