Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Uses for 12 volts

If you didn't already know, I live in a 26 foot foot travel trailer.
These things have a built in converter that turns 110 volts into 12 volts to run all the lights.
It originally had a refrigerator that would run on 110 volts, 12 volts or propane. Not unusual for one this vintage, it was belly up.
There is a propane furnace that runs off 12 volts, it is belly up too. I have torn it out twice,( no small feat) to try and fix it and finally threw in the towel when it blew the sight glass for the pilot light off one time too many when it backfired and it shattered on the wall clear across the trailer,mere inches from my face as I knelt down to observe what the hell was going on with it. Right now I just use little space heaters but I have the Grand daddy of propane heaters out in the shed, I have to vent it to the outside yet. About two minutes and you have to shut it off, it will go from 35 degrees to ninety that fast.
I don't mess around when it comes to being cold. I have already built a stove of sorts that it will fit inside, I just have to plumb the exhaust.
Anyway, twelve volt systems can do a lot of things that your normal 110 volt systems can.
Think of the fanciest car you possibly can, Heated seats, power windows, mirrors, seats, killer stereo, GPS system, DVD players with video monitors for the passengers to watch,digital programmable dual heating, just think about all the fancy things that cars have these days and remember one thing, they all run on 12 volts.
The kid in this video is obviously a Geek but he can show you a thing or two.
I was playing with 12 volt toys before I knew what a volt was.
Back in the day, little toy train sets and slot car sets all had 110 to 12 volt transformers.


  1. Now that was a very useful post for me. That kid sounds like Steven Hawkin, lol, he makes it all sound pretty simple. BTW, got my batteries charged up last night but not got to take 'em down to the Fort yet. I also found that the scooter motor is a Permanent magnet motor. I can use it for a micro hydro or wind generator. Lot's a good shit on that old scooter. Thanks to the post, it was good timing for me.

  2. Anonymous1:29 AM

    That kid's off the hook . . . . simply incredible. He's 12?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Busted, why do you have to convert 110v to 12v to run yer lights? Is that how the trailer is wired, to FUNCTION on a 12volt supply? Is that the way most trailers are wired?

    I don't know nuttin bout that stuff, so thanks for the reply . . .

    Dang, that kid is killin me . . . he's gonna be valuable to any sitch he finds hisself in. Set for life, not matter HOW ugly it gets, he's gonna get taken care of, fed, and housed under ANY worst case scenerio . . . .

    I feel old.

  3. Low voltage direct current, in and of itself, is great. Went to a school on alternators run by Delco-Remy about 20 years ago. Actually learned how to make a DC welder from a car alternator. Also, you can use DC underwater. Screwed a patch to the hull of a friend's boat with a Makita screw gun.

  4. Looks a little like my room as I was growing up. (except for the laptop, cellphone, Ipod, CD player...)

    His seems missing the exercycle with 100amp alternator. (mine was pre-Gilligan) I used 12v deep cycle marine batteries.

    My rig powered an entertainment center, lights, CB radio, tv, slot cars, cooling fans, small heater etc. Dad was a tube era geek. He wasn't pleased with my spaghetti room, but certified it as not a fire hazard. It used some primitive solar power, mostly passive to prevent the batteries freezing up outside my window in winter.

    Frankenstereo pumped out the Zappa!
    Kids today?! Kids since forever.
    The genesis of my grid grew from wanting to listen to late night clear channel AM signals. VW Blaupunkt ruled!

    I grew out of 12v living for the most part, but still have Frankenstereo in my workroom. Today, it is again pumping out the Zappa!

  5. I was thinking about doing the solar route just before the economy took a dump. I think if you wait a year or two there's some better tech coming. Their working on more efficient panels and lower watt lighting.

    Cats rule!

  6. GREAT POST BK! The only expensive piece in his whole duct taped together scenario there is the Xantrex charge controller. He will be pleasantly surprised when he gets his solar panels and finds that they WILL charge his golf cart batteries when there is an overcast sky. Another tip is to convert your old 12 volt "tailight bulb" lights to 12 volt fluroescent or LED fixtures. The price is way down on them and they will not SUCK your batteries dead as quick. The fluros are about as much more efficient than the burning filament bulbs as the LED's are than the fluro's. I am presently considering spending some of the non-existent funny money around here on some "cold cathode" lights to see how they work out....

  7. YO BUSTED: Here's a link to some inexpensive LED bayonet bulbs to replace your old incandescent filament bulbs. If you ever DO have to go to running the palace on 12v these will help your battery last longer and good bright white light! I may get some to replace the bubs in the fixtures I haven't changed over to fluro's.

    HERE's a picture of my rig: