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Improving Performance of 12V Splitter

When it comes to powering more than one thing in the field, a power splitter comes to a mind. And after powering your mount you actually already need one of those. 

I found that these cheap 12v car cigarette splitters are come in very handy. Of course there are different ways to connect things to a battery, but I realised that all of my power-required equipment comes with a cig-lighter plug in the end.(Mount, DeBuster, Laptop, DSLR power).

So instead of cutting ends and doing something else I decided to use those splitters.

But the moment I bought my first splitter, I questioned their quality and performance, as they looked very suspicious with that thin cable they came with. And as there was not my intention to waste any battery power, I decided to test them.

First thing I needed is to get power readings from my battery. I hooked up my voltmeter to it and as it was fully charged it showed 13.11v.

Now I wanted to test if there is any power drop can be measured through the splitter. I have cut the cig. plug and connected it straight to a battery using original wires only.
Then using the voltmeter again I measured the voltage from inside the splitter.

Measuring showed just a bit of power loss, only 0.02 . But that of course nothing, because there wasn't anything that draw the real power thru it.

So for the testing what could be more useful than connecting a Dewbuster to a splitter and test it again. Because by that time I found that a Dewbuster can be real power hug when turned to full (constant) power

And you can see on the image, that after powering only the Dewbuster and measuring again, it showed a voltage drop to a 11.94V! And that is only one power consumer being connected to a fully charged battery.

There is something have to be done with it.

I started with disassembling the splitter and checking out what is going on inside of it.

The moment I opened it I saw what's wrong with it. Not only they using very thin cable to power it, they have soldered them only in one place on those thin round and flat metal plates.

The farthest socket would be drawing power only through those plates and definitely their poor conductivity with addition to a thin cable will definitely cause the power drop.

Then using  the soldering gun I carefully disconnected the USB 5V socket cables as I'm gonna be using them again later.

Now those positive and negative metal plates could be easily removed.

Once again using  the soldering gun I have disconnected the wires.

For making the performance better and ease of use I prepared two things: Much thicker, high quality cable and Crocodile Clamps for making the connection to a battery easier.

Next I was going to prepare the positive plate of the splitter. I made the wire long enough to cover the whole length of the plate and using razor blade carefully removed isolation on three spots which going to be soldered.

One thing to remember, is to solder the wire to a plate when the concave side of the recess is up, because the other side is used by the positive pin of the plugs.

That's how it looks after soldering work is done on the positive plate.

And same job was done to a negative circled plate. Same length of the wire soldered in three spots to provide best conductivity.

After returning the plates back to it's place, I have also soldered back the wires of 5V USB socket. Red to positive, black to negative.

As for the other end of the wire, as mentioned before, I decided to go for crocodile clamps and heat shrinks to isolate the wires and give them more aesthetic look.

After assembling all back, that is the look of the new and improved final product.

After performing the same test that I did before, with Dewbuster drawing full power, I got way better results. Now its show a drop of only 0.19 V!



Now I have made two of those modified splitters, which gives me in total of 6 sockets to power everything I need and even have some spare left.

They even nicely fit in the compartments of my power case with lid closed.

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