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Old 01-18-2017, 12:45 PM   #1
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Would an AC outlet/DC USB outlet combo be possible??

I am working on some electrical planning, and looked at this section of switches and outlets in my van:



Its pretty ugly. I was thinking I would replace the water pump switch, radio switch, and 12v power outlet with something like this:



However, then I am still stuck with the stupid large 110 outlet.

That made me wonder, has anyone seen, or would it even be possible to create an outlet that looked like this:



But the USB outlets would be connected directly to DC power. I think it would make a pretty clean looking outlet instead of having a stand alone AC outlet and a stand alone USB/12v outlet.

Then I could just have the single combo AC/DC outlet and 2 rocker switches like these:



What do you think, would it even be possible to make a combo outlet like that? I know very little about electrical stuff, so there may be very good reasons not to make something like this(please tell me why so I can learn!), but I just thought it would be cool if you could make it!
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:00 PM   #2
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I've seen those outlets, but I don't know who the USB outlets get their DC power, so I looked online and found this article fairly informative. Bottom line, the DC transformer makes the outlet quite a bit larger in terms of depth.

I would expect that since the outlet transformer is powered off AC, you would always need your inverter powered (not a good thing IMO).

How to Upgrade Your Outlets for USB Charging


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Old 01-18-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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Typically, commercial stuff like that is either 120VAC or 12VDC and they don't mix them due to a variety of reasons like AC is for your house DC is for your car and imagine if someone messed up the wiring...........

One suggestion to clean it up would be to make a big faceplate out of plastic or metal and make everything the same color, like black. You have three finishes right there and for sure it looks a bit wonky. You can get black 120VAC outlets at any hardware store
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:10 PM   #4
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Bronco, thanks for the link my understanding of those outlets matches what they said, that they are basically transforming the AC supplied electricity into DC electricity inside the housing of the outlet. Like the article mentions, you are moving the transformer from the outside(brick on the end of the charger cable) to the inside of the outlet.

However, that all exists because houses don't have a native DC electrical source. In our case, the vans have a DC power source and don't need to transform from AC to DC. Therefore in our vans we shouldn't need the transformer at all.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:13 PM   #5
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Flux, agreed a combo outlet would not be something found at Home Depot. But for the RV market, I would think it would have a place considering that many RV's have both AC(via an inverter) and DC power at our disposals.

This would for sure be a one off. And the market might not be large enough to call for its creation.

I would be curious to know of any electrical theories as to why you wouldn't want to combine AC/DC wiring in such tight spaces, for example.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:20 PM   #6
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I'm sure you could make it work, but you'd have to disassemble and rebuild, essentially just keeping the 'outlet' parts and the faceplate, and ripping out the transformer and all wiring. I'll take one or two once you figure it out.
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281 View Post
Flux, agreed a combo outlet would not be something found at Home Depot. But for the RV market, I would think it would have a place considering that many RV's have both AC(via an inverter) and DC power at our disposals.

This would for sure be a one off. And the market might not be large enough to call for its creation.

I would be curious to know of any electrical theories as to why you wouldn't want to combine AC/DC wiring in such tight spaces, for example.

I think it's probably the same reason we don't have a combination Alternator/Shore Power/Solar charger.

Great idea!! but the world doesn't seem to care about us van folks! Either that, or somehow this place attracts some inspired dreamers!!
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:45 PM   #8
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How about a single AC outlet like this: http://www.batteryjunction.com/silli...FYKKswodz1wL0Q

Then two 12v outlets, one of which has a USB adapter plug in it. All could be installed flush behind a piece of wood or custom faceplate. I personally like using 12v outlets with separate USB adapter plugs (flush mount) in them, as I think it's more versatile. If you need a second 12v outlet for something you just pull out the USB adapter.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:00 PM   #9
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Didn't know they made those. Not a bad alternative, since I really only want a single AC outlet on that location.

Thanks!

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Old 01-18-2017, 09:54 PM   #10
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I don't like most of the DC USB units because they are always on and draining the battery. The ac plug units are off until plugged into but need a ac source. I still like the units I plug into a old school cig plug because I can pull out when not needed.


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