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Easy Charging Upgrade for any Truck

Posted in How To: Electrical on March 17, 2017 Comment (0)
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They used to be called cigarette lighters, but that fell out of favor years ago. Now they are referred to as power ports, which is appropriate since these outlets are more often used to recharge your cellphone, GPS, or tablet than light a Marlboro. While new trucks might have four 12V ports and as many USB chargers, our 20-year-old Tacoma came with just one port for us to charge out devices. Not surprisingly, it is in the dash of our truck. That is great . . . except when we want to plug in our ARB Fridge Freezer.

Putting the fridge in the front seat is great for having cold drinks at hand on road trips, but it gets a little cramped in our regular-cab truck, even with only one person. The bed of the truck is a more appropriate place for the fridge, but our truck didn’t have a power port in the bed. ARB is a company best known for air-actuated lockers, but it makes electronic products as well. We picked up a wiring kit (PN 10900027) that includes a special threaded socket to minimize voltage drop and securely connect our fridge without concern of rattling loose. We had it installed and were enjoying a cold one from out of our fridge in under an hour.

The kit from ARB comes with everything you need to add a 12V power port to any vehicle no matter where you want to mount it. Included is 20 feet of 8-gauge wiring in an abrasion-resistant sheath and the connector to plug in your ARB Fridge Freezer.
The ring terminals included in the wiring kit bolted directly onto our battery. A 15-amp fuse is wired inline near the battery to prevent short circuits. From there we ran the wiring down the fender to the frame.
We routed the wiring along the inside of our frame with the CJK Offroad wiring for the electric locker we retrofit into the back of our Tacoma. We used zip ties every foot or so to route the wiring cleanly and keep it secure.
The only custom fabrication we had to perform was making a plate to bolt the socket to. We made a template out of cardboard and then transferred it to a piece of aluminum scrap we had lying around.
The bracket sandwiches between the ARE topper and the bedrail and positions the socket under the rail. This keeps it out of the way of objects in the bed yet easy to plug into. Removing the 12V end of our fridge cord allows the two-prong plug to be plugged directly into the outlet.
If you want to run a traditional 12V plug, Dorman makes a $10 plug (PN 84622) that threads into the ARB socket holder. You can even swap them back and forth in just a matter of minutes.
The cord for our fridge had a normal 12V plug on it; however, it can be unthreaded to reveal the two-prong plug beneath. This plug connects directly to the included outlet to minimize voltage drop and ensure that it will not rattle loose.
After adding a power port to the bed of our Tacoma, we no longer have to carry our fridge/freezer in the front seat of our regular cab truck. This got old in a hurry on load road trips.
After completing the installation, we have one more task checked off our list for our next adventure. Soggy sandwiches and warm drinks will no longer be an issue.

Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Four Wheeler Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.

Sources

ARB USA
Renton, WA 98057
866-293-9078
http://www.arbusa.com

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