This Ford truck has, for many years, had the necessity to be able to connect to 110vac. In the past, it was simply to use the engine block heater. Now, in it’s new configuration, the need to connect to shore power is also necessary for powering the Xantrex Pro-Sine power inverter to keep the batteries charged as well as supply 12vd power for the lights and accessories while on display at the various shows around the country. The engine block heater is still part of the equation as well.
Previously, the truck had just a basic RV style receptacle mounted in the rear bumper which allowed a standard electrical extension cord to be connected between the truck and the power outlet. The biggest problem was remembering to unplug the extension cord before driving off. When responding to a call at two am, sometimes unplugging the cord was overlooked. On more than one occasion, this truck has driven off and taken the cord along with it. It is humorous indeed, to see a big Ford truck driving down the road with thirty or forty feet of orange extension cord snaking along behind. Fortunately, no real damage was done to anything other than the extension cord or the pride of the person behind the wheel.
For this project, the goal was to make the truck as easy to operate and maintain as possible. To this end, we decided to install a Kussmaul super auto ejector 110vac receptacle in the rear bumper rather than a basic RV outlet. The Kussmaul auto ejector is a device that when activated, will automatically eject the power cord from the outlet to prevent the power line from becoming compromised. We purchased the super auto ejector from Fire Equipment Liquidators.
What is really neat about this device is that it connects to the ignition circuit. When the key is turned to start the engine, a relay in the Kussmaul auto ejector activates and ejects the plug with a powerful spring loaded prong located between the three electrical terminals. The cover is also spring loaded, so once the plug is ejected, the cover then swings down to seal the outlet from the weather.
From the Kussmaul website: "The Super Auto Eject is a completely sealed automatic power line disconnect. This prevents contamination of the mechanism by road dirt and ensures long reliable life even when mounted in the most severe environment. A novel internal switch arrangement closes and opens the 120 volt A.C. circuit after the mating connector is inserted and before the connector is removed. This eliminates arcing at the connector contacts and assures long contact life. As with all Auto Ejects, the Super Auto Eject is connected to the starter circuit so that ejection occurs when the engine is cranked."
The first couple times the truck was started and the plug was engaged, we were a bit startled by how powerful the ejector forcibly ejected the plug. The plug shot out with enough force to hit the shop wall three feet away and cause a loud thud. Now we’re used to it. No longer will there be any worry about unplugging the truck from shoreline power before taking off. It was definitely money well spent.