Monday, May 25, 2009

Installing a 12 Volt DC power drop in my 1997 Camry

On of my hobbies is railfanning. I go out an watch and photograph trains. At times I take certain pieces of electronic equipment with me to add to my experience. I recently decided to make setup and operation of the equipment easier. One of the problems I have is the cigarette lighter plugs in this 1997 Camry don’t work when the keys are not in the car and the switch is not in the accessory setting. Therefore there are times when I leave the keys in the ignition with the window down on the car so that my equipment still operates. There is also the problem when I go to start the car it shuts down some of the equipment anyway. I also can’t operate my ham radio equipment at the high power setting. The solution to the problem was a direct power feed off the battery to the cockpit of the car.

Today I had all the parts to install the direct power feed. I ran the wire to the battery, I wired in a toggle switch to turn off everything beyond that point, wired in a test item that if I lost it wouldn’t be a big deal, then attempted to wire up to the battery and this is where things got ugly. I have a car alarm in the car that I don’t know how to operate. So when I reconnected the battery cable the car alarm goes off. I was doing everything to turn it off and nothing seemed to work. I finally figured it out and got it turned off. I finally got to throw the toggle switch and yea it works! I turned the power off at the toggle switch wired in my ham radio and wired in a power inverter (converts 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC) this gives me household outlets under the passenger seat. I double checked all my wiring and threw the switch again and everything worked without the keys in the ignition. My problem is now solved and I didn’t electrocute my self. I also installed a bigger wattage power inverter that I had on hand since the one I was using barely ran the equipment I wanted it to run. Sometime this week I will have to take it out on a test run to see how it works out. Sounds like fun.
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