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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
i specifically asked while i was purchasing my E about the 12v power outlets - i asked if they worked while the vehicle was off, & the salesperson said yes. then i'd read somewhere that it wasn't the case (at least w/older models).

so this weekend i'm up north camping & wanted to inflate this mattress, & i found out i couldn't do it w/o turning the vehicle on. I WAS NOT HAPPY! (can't remember if it was 1st or 2nd click - thought it was weird that i had to go to the 2nd click to get the windows up also).

with both of my previous vehicles (taurus, ranger), i was able to safely use items like boomboxes (with inverters) for many hours - plus i would leave my phone in the car to be recharged overnight. wouldn't it be dangerous, power-wise, to leave the vehicle on at the 1st or 2nd click for quite a few hours in a row, especially overnight?

i know there's a couple other threads related to this, but they almost gave me a headache to read (especially ones w/lots of technical stuff). is there some SIMPLE way around this?

this could be a real problem, especially since i don't have the knowledge, capability, or $ to fix something that shouldn't have been built this way in the first place! why on earth would they have outlets off on a vehicle that's often used for going camping, etc.?

can someone please cheer me up about this issue?

p.s. i just wanted to make it perfectly clear that i am not the kind of person who can go drilling holes & inserting all kinds of things (to be honest, i don't even own a drill, & i'd be scared to let anyone else drill a hole in my new vehicle). i think someone said making the rear outlet 'always on' is easy but i didn't see where a description of that is, & i have a sneakin' suspicious that it might be too complicated for me or involve tools i'd have to beg, borrow, or steal.
 

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With a battery that has barely enough capacity to start the car, you don't want to run anything off said battery without the motor running.

I've drained my battery just listening to the radio for 30 minutes at a rest stop.

If you have good AAA coverage then do whatever you want. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
why on earth would honda do that? i thought honda was supposed to be such a great car company, but i'm starting to really wonder, especially with something like this..
 

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the salesperson said...
That and $1 will buy you a cup of coffee. Always assume the sales rep is either lying or doesn't know what he/she is talking about.

i know there's a couple other threads related to this, but they almost gave me a headache to read (especially ones w/lots of technical stuff). is there some SIMPLE way around this?
I can't imagine the method outlined here being any simpler. All it requires is a short length of wire, a wire cutter/crimper, and a couple of spade connectors. If this is outside your technical comfort zone, find someone to do it for you. It's a 10-minute job.

why on earth would they have outlets off on a vehicle that's often used for going camping, etc.?
Because the Element's stock battery is so tiny. Since Honda can't control how much of an electrical load is going to put on the outlet, or for how long, they err on the side of safety. Otherwise more people will be needing jump-starts and complaining—justifiably—about the inadequacy of the battery. All carmakers cut corners to keep costs down, but the battery (like the 12V outlets) is something owners can upgrade with little trouble.

Finally, if you only need to operate an appliance (such as an air compressor) for a few minutes at a time or run a very low-current device (such as a cell phone charger), you don't actually have to run the engine. Just turn the key to the "II" position.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
it's probably beyond my comfort zone, yes. i don't mess w/cars at all. zero experience, zero confidence in it.

why on earth would i have been able to use my inverter with a boombox for hours (4-5 at a time) w/o a bit of a problem in my taurus or ranger? (in fact i'd done it sometimes twice in 2 days & never left the campsite inbetween)

having it clicked to the 2nd position is still using more power than an outlet that's actually "on" (w/car all the way off), correct?

i never could have believed something like this would be a problem. i just took it for granted that i'd be getting an improvement, & wouldn't have to sacrifice something i've been used to using for years.
 

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having it clicked to the 2nd position is still using more power than an outlet that's actually "on" (w/car all the way off), correct?
Correct.

i just took it for granted that i'd be getting an improvement, & wouldn't have to sacrifice something i've been used to using for years.
Life is full of compromises. You get a flat floor, and a small battery. Upgrade the battery and jumper relay #3, and no more worries. Or buy a Ford. Whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Life is full of compromises. You get a flat floor, and a small battery. Upgrade the battery and jumper relay #3, and no more worries. Or buy a Ford. Whatever.

i shouldn't have to upgrade a brand new battery (& some jumper relay, whatever that is). unfortunately i am now broke, after buying this vehicle (& on a very limited income). i really didn't think i'd have to be spending more just to make it as usable as other vehicles that aren't even marketed for things like camping.
 

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I can understand your frustration. Since you are not comfortable with doing the mod yourself, as Ramblerdan said, it's really pretty straight forward. You could have a friend do it or take it to a shop that you trust. You can print out the posts relevant to the mod and let your friend or tech use them as reference material. If nothing else, attend the next EOC meet in your area and let one of the guys there do it.

I agree that Honda kinda missed the boat on a few items, but with this forum, anything can be done.
 

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Every foreign car I've owned in the last twenty years had the "cigar lighter" power shut off with the ignition. It isn't just Honda.

On the two Fords I've owned in that time the power was on at all times (until the battery died).:roll:
 

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My old work truck was a Ranger. The outlets had power all the time, but my old Accord, our last Ridgeline, our current Ridgeline and my 03 E all don't have power all the time:-(. I have turned my key to II position to listen to my Sirius and had no problems. I'm going to check out that mod for the outlet to be on all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can understand your frustration. Since you are not comfortable with doing the mod yourself, as Ramblerdan said, it's really pretty straight forward. You could have a friend do it or take it to a shop that you trust. You can print out the posts relevant to the mod and let your friend or tech use them as reference material. If nothing else, attend the next EOC meet in your area and let one of the guys there do it.

I agree that Honda kinda missed the boat on a few items, but with this forum, anything can be done.
unfortunately i can't afford to have someone do it, as i just had to replace one of my 2-month-old tires with a brand new one (a freak incident). any meets aren't even near me & chances are i wouldn't be traveling the 3 hours to where i saw they were having one. oh well.

can't believe many cars have that as standard. my inverter-boombox connection worked superb, & i can't believe i have to go back to batteries (& all that cost involved). from what people are saying, the battery isn't even good enough to power something like that even if i somehow did get someone to do the "always on" connection (though that is totally unlikely, & i wouldn't be happy about forking out more $).

frustrated is putting it mildly.
 

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I, for one, am very happy that the outlets turn off with the ignition. I have a fan mounted in back for our dogs that turns off when we stop for rest breaks or lunch without my having to go move stuff around to reach the switch on the fan.

I've added a 3rd 12V outlet to my E to the right of the steering column for my GPS and that too turns off when I turn the key off.

I guess it all depends on what you plan to use the E for. :)
 

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Thanks Desinia, but in post #4 I linked to a concisely annotated illustration showing how do to this mod that includes the differences in relays between auto and manual-equipped cars. By the comment "(& some jumper relay, whatever that is)" it seems the OP didn't elect to look at it. You can lead a horse to water ...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
i did look at it, but i am not an electrical-type person by any stretch of the imagination. sorry... i'm a female who's never even changed her oil (tho i've checked it a time or two), & can't even change a tire.

so you expect me to go messing w/wires, when i'd be afraid to wire a lamp? i don't think you'd wanta see me messing with wires when i've never messed with them in my life (tho i have gotten slightly electrocuted in the past, which makes it all a turnoff). do you actually think everyone on here is a guy who's had a lot of experience working on cars? cuz that's not the way it always is.
 

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Well then, how about printing out the articles and pictures that explain it all and then showing it some friend who is more comfortable doing this? It really is about as simple of a modification as can be done on a car and the reward is well worth it.

BTW, if you take an interest in the procedure while your friend is doing it, you'll also know how to get to the cabin air filter when it needs changing which will save you a ton of money over getting it done somewhere. All of this is so simple that once you see it done, you'll understand how easy it really is. There's no need to feel like a fish out of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i've gotta have something else changed, other than an outlet, right? it didn't seem simple to me, since other things were mentioned - that the electrical system & battery were both weak. so to use even an "always on" outlet would still be draining a battery that sounds like it's way weaker than my ford batteries were that i could use power of for hours & still have zero problem starting the vehicle afterward.... all the talk about this actually makes me a little fearful of leaving my door open while getting camping stuff out, for fear the light on will drain my battery!

since my intended use of an always on outlet is for an inverter & a boombox, i'd have to have a cord coming out a window, so the back one would be a weird setup, since i couldn't leave the back window up i don't think (i believe that leaves a light on). so now i'm even more confused.

any kind of cutting/splicing wires makes me very very nervous, not to mention makes me wonder if the warranty is compromised at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
but what about the weak battery, etc.? doesn't a person have to switch out a perfectly good new battery with a stronger one, to really be able to feel safe? (in that case, not really sure what i'd do with my installed battery)
 
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