Adding Dual 12v/USB Outlets

By Tom VandenBerg,  O’Tug – NT37-110, Solomons, MD

In June 2020, we took possession of O’Tug to bring her down from New Bedford, Mass to Solomons Island, MD. My brother and sister-in-law assisted us on the several day delivery trip. Between the four of us, we had 4 iPhones, 4 iPads and a couple of other 12 v items that needed to be charged every day. Plus, at night my brother needed to run his CPAP off of a portable inverter. And since we were in the height of the COVID crisis, our plan was to anchor out as much as possible for safety issues during the delivery trip. O’Tug had only two 12 volt outlets, both of which were in the pilot house. As you can imagine, management of charging all the 12 volt devices soon became a priority ‘dance’ every day.

My brother came up with the idea of using the power off of the 4 berth’s reading lights as a source. This winter, I started exploring that idea and took one of the reading lights off the bulkhead, and low and behold there is 12 gauge wire running to each light and plenty to splice into. Now the issue was how to mount a dual 12v and USB outlet to make it look decent and not to detract from the Nordic Tugs fine wood workmanship throughout. A boating friend came up with an idea to build a box – I took that idea and after many measurements, I made a prototype one out of scrap lumber. I wanted to ensure the boxes would fit where the existing light fixtures were mounted and they had to be big enough for the outlet and associated wiring. The prototype fit perfectly at all four light locations.

Teak has become super expensive, so I made the boxes out of mahogany since I had a good chunk of it in my shop. Plus, I know I can match the color of the faded teak close enough, ie my pilothouse table finished with Minwax Helmsman Varnish. The boxes are 5” by 5” and 2.25” high. I milled an edge around the 5” by 5” face to 3/8” so that there is plenty of gluing surface. The total stand-off (height) of the box is 2 and 5/8”. (Photo 1) The sides were glued together using small biscuits. I made the backs out of ¼ plywood milling the key way holes to the same distance as the light fixture mounting screws, ie use the same screw holes on the bulkhead to mount the stand off box. (Photo 2) I used the Marinco SeaLink Deluxe Dual USB Charger and 12 Volt Receptacle (Model # 12VCOMBO) and the Blue Sea Terminal Block 20 AMP (Model # 2402) to attach the wiring to. (Photo 3) The installed lights at each bunk and in the owner’s cabin are Photos 4, 5, & 6. Note: Owner’s cabin port reading light is wired to the starboard light, so the the starboard box back has to be cut out more to accommodate the additional wiring.

In addition, I replaced the 12 v outlet at the navigation station with the Marinco SeaLink Deluxe Dual USB Charger and 12 Volt Receptacle, and, added an additional one on the shelf behind the port pilothouse seat on the small shelf above the main salon settee reading light (using the reading light’s power).

The musical dance of charging all these smart devices are over onboard O’Tug with lots of flexibility when we have guests aboard and for everyday use.

Photo 1 Photo 2
Photo 3 Photo 4
Photo 5 Photo 6



Copyright © 2012 SENTOA • Last Update May 10, 2021 • Questions? Contact the SENTOA Officers.