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Power outlets overheating

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by SpruceLandscape, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    Here's a questions for all of you that are into wiring and electrical problems (which, by the fact that i'm posting this shows that I AM NOT lol). My current truck, using the same beacon light that i've had for the last 2 seasons ( its a dual rotator mini bar rated at 8 amps) started burning up the plugs for the light. This truck has 1 cigarette lighter outlet, and designated power outlets. The first plug on the light melted after about 5 or 6 hours of usage a few weeks ago, but I figured that since it didn't appear to have a built in fuse, it maybe just shorted out finally and gave up. So, I purchased a new cord with a 8 amp fuse in the tip along with an on/off switch, wired it into the light, checking all my connections in there and greasing the rotators etc. Plugged it in, worked great at first. Went out one night had it on for roughly 2 hours and noticed that the light was cutting on and off when I was hitting bumps. Turned out the the plug no longer fit snugly into the power outlet (which is a different one than the outlet the last cord burned up in) because it too had gotten so hot that it melted the tip and was starting to become soft. I can't keep spending 10-15 dollars on a new cord everytime I go out, and I would hate to spend more money on another light if the problem is on the truck side. Like I said, this is the same light I have used for a few years, never had problems like this. On the other hand, this wouldn't be the first wiring problem I have had with this truck either. Any suggestions? Obviously I should look into hard wiring the light into the truck, but I really don't want to do that. Let me know what ya think. Thanks Once more thing... The 8 amp fuse in the tip of the new cord is still intact even though the plastic all around it melted. If I wait until the tip cools and then plug it back in, it will work until it heats up again. the only heat that I'm finding is in the tip, no where else in the wire.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2007
  2. Mebes

    Mebes Senior Member
    Messages: 451

    Heat is generally caused by bad connections.
    Loose connections drop voltage, and amperage goes up to try to keep things working.
    More amps = more heat (this is 1 of the reasons why you have to go to larger wires for larger amp devices)

    My guess is that your lighter socket in the truck is going bad, since it melted 2 different male ends that you put on your strobe.

    It's probably right where the wire feeds into the socket on the truck end.

    Whatever part is the hottest (when you unplug it) is where the bad connection is.

    Good luck
  3. friedlerpest

    friedlerpest Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Both of my 2500's have done this. We solved the problem by 1. seperating the cigarette lighter plug and dash power outlet. They run off of the same circuit from the factory. If you look at the fuse panel diagram, you will see no dedicated circuit for a dash power outlet. There are fuses only for console and rear seat power outlets. If you don't have either of those two outlets use one of those for the dash outlet (both have 20 amp fuses from the factory) and 2. ditching the rotator light bars. We switched over the strobe mini bars.

    We came to this solution through several methods. We first replaced all of the outlets in the trucks. This lasted about 20 minutes of operating time with both rotator mini bars. We then wired a new outlet rated for 20 amps directly off of the battery in the 05 - after about 2 hours we had a BBQ under the dash at the outlet. The manufacturer swears they only draw 8.2 amps on average. This would require a circuit capable of 16.4 amps for prolonged use. I say nay. It must be over 10 amps. At this point, for as much as I paid for the rotator mini-bars, about $100 each, I felt the integrity of my very expensive trucks was more important than trying to make the light bars work. The strobe mini bars were $299.00 each, I figure I will save a lot more in repairs to the trucks in the long run. The strobe mini bars only draw 7.2 amps. We now have over 50 hours of operation on each and no problems. I hope this helps shed some light on your problem.
  4. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I do have the outlet in the center console, thats the original one that burned up the first plug, and it is no longer working(obviously a fuse went in the truck) but its been too friggin cold to check it out yet. I know what you are saying about the strobe or LED lights drawing less power, but I have been really trying to stay with the rotators because I like the visiblity of them more. Especially when you are working around corners etc. Oh well, can't have your cake and eat it too I suppose. =o)
  5. friedlerpest

    friedlerpest Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    If your cigarette lighter plug still works, it didn't pop a fuse, they are both on the same one...it fried the plug outlet. We went thru this twice with each truck. The circuit won't start blowing fuses until one plug is dead and circuit is weak. At this point, a cell phone charger left plugged in could pop the fuse. You should replace the dash outlet plug and get it off of the dash circuit with cig lighter. Do you have a dash outlet and a console outlet? According my Dodge tech, the console outlet is only on its own circuit if you have both. Some trucks do and some don't. If it doesn't have both, the dash outlet is the same as the console outlet just in a different location. If you seperate them you should not have any problems with your light.

    We just made the switch to be sure of no more problems because the manufacturer of our rotators could not guarantee that the lights were working properly and at less than 10 amps. One of them went all of last season with no probs...hmmm. and one is brand new. They admitted to me the lights have a problem with drawing more amps than what they say. But they still blamed the problems on the quality of the trucks. Without naming names the lights are nicknamed "peanut lights."
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2007
  6. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    Yes, on the dash I have a cigarette lighter and a power outlet, and in the console I have a power outlet as well. Both outlets on the dash still work, the one in the console doesn't
  7. friedlerpest

    friedlerpest Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    On my Dakota, we hard wired a strobe bar . Just jumped off the console outlet plug wires, sank a switch in an outa' the way place and put an inline wire disconnect just inside the third brake light on the back of the cab. This light is mounted to a back rack, but I don't see why you couldn't do this with a magnet mount. We've never had a water problem with the wire coming out of the brake light because we put a little notch in the bottom edge of the lens to let it seal back down tight.

    This may be another option to consider...
  8. mulchmonkey2000

    mulchmonkey2000 Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    sprucelandcape, did you ever find out what was causing this problem? I have the same problem in my ford truck. I bought a replacement plug rated for 10 amps figuring it would work fine and it almost burnt up my truck. Is hardwiring the light to the battery with an inline fuse and switch safe?
  9. hikeradk

    hikeradk Senior Member
    Messages: 109

    12 v outlets

    12 v outlets are very inefficient ways to power your lights which you see from all the heat. The best way to handle this is to direct wire to your battery as mentioned before with a inline fuse and a switch. If you keep going back to the 12 v outlet I think you will continue to have problems. If you want to disconnect your light you can put disconnects inline and cap them when not in use etc.
  10. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I solved the problem by buying a mini bar with two strobes instead of two rotators. Haven't had a problem with it since.
  11. dss56

    dss56 Senior Member
    Messages: 118

    The problem is where the tip meets the element in the lighter holder. The contact there is not good and never will be. This is where resistance/ bad connection is and starts to heat up. The length of wire and you say at least 8 amps if not more for the light is not good for that connection with a plug. You can get some 12-14 gauge wire and wire directly to the battery with a inline fuse. Most auto stores have a selection of connectors, one comes to mind is a 4 wire trailer hitch connector its got pigtails for you to splice the 12-14 gauge wire to it and to the battery and strobe. Add a switch for on off on the positive side wire. This is the best and safest way to do this. There are other connectors to use but if you put this connector on the outside they are water proof and load with dielectric grease for more protection.
    I stress do not use the lighter outlet for anything more than 4-5amp draw or you will have this problem.
    Some plug ins might be rated for the 8 amps or higher but not for long term usage.

    good luck