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Old 09-08-2013, 23:12   #1
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Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

Is there anyone with experience adapting their consumer electronics to work straight from their 12v system? Since many run on DC anyway, why not skip the inverter?
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:28   #2
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Re: Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

There are these things called inverters...
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:32   #3
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Re: Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

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There are these things called inverters...
Sorry, I meant "skip the inverter"

And the reason is because of power inefficiency. I'm not really debating if it's worth it to go through the trouble for power efficiency. I am just curious.
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:39   #4
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For low power stuff eBay do a good range of DC/DC converters..

http://m.ebay.com/search?cad=1&so=12...rter&mfs=KWCLK
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:49   #5
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Is there anyone with experience adapting their consumer electronics to work straight from their 12v system? Since many run on DC anyway, why not skip the inverter?
Most electronics don't work on 12V internally. So they use converters to make the voltages they need. To appeal to mass consumers they have to use AC.

Many devices that use wall wart style plugs can run on DC directly. Check the plug to see if it outputs 12-14VDC. If it does then that device probably will work with 12V from your batteries without the wall wart. Some small TVs are like this.

For high power devices (microwave, hair dryer, etc.) to run on 12V would need massively large wires. A typical 1200W hair dryer designed for 12V would draw 100A and need 2 cables the size of your thumb. It's not practical.

If you do some research you can outfit a boat with all 12V powered devices but you won't find many that need much more than 100W. Next time you're on a road trip stop at a big truck stop and look around. They have many 12V powered consumer items. Just remember truckers don't much care how many amps they use.
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:51   #6
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Re: Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

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Is there anyone with experience adapting their consumer electronics to work straight from their 12v system? Since many run on DC anyway, why not skip the inverter?
That only works with gear which can use 12.0v - 15.0v, which is the range of voltages a typical house DC system (12v nominal) will experience.

Otherwise, you need a DC-DC converter for every item. Generally not worth it.

I do have 24v (my house electrics are 24v) chargers for my laptop and 5v micro-USB stuff (IPad, phones, cameras, etc.). My computer monitor is 13.8v and will run directly off the big DC-DC converter I have for VHF. All these measures are pretty painless.

For the large monitor (aka TV, used often for watching movies) I have a separate small inverter which I have not yet connected. On this summer's cruise, I tended to leave the big inverter going 24/7 as there was constant need to run or charge this or that, so all these measures were probably somewhat futile. Incidentally, I had no problems with electrical power although we were at anchor and off shore power most of the month. A good generator run once a day was generally quite enough. So on my boat, at least, saving that last bit of power by scrupulously powering everything only from DC power does not seem to be worth the hassle. YMMV, of course.
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Old 09-08-2013, 23:59   #7
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Re: Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

Thanks guys, this is the info I needed

Oh, just one more question. From what I've read, the amps don't matter so as long as it's above what's required from the particular device. Is that right?
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Old 10-08-2013, 20:12   #8
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Re: Convert Consumer Electronics to 12v

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Oh, just one more question. From what I've read, the amps don't matter so as long as it's above what's required from the particular device. Is that right?
Yes. The ideal is that the chosen power supply should provide the required voltage, AT the normal current draw of the device. If the power supply is rated for more current, that's fine.

As already mentioned, DC-DC converter assemblies abound on ebay. But at this time it still requires careful selection and some electronic skills to be successful. For occasional use of AC-powered electronics, an inverter is the simpler option.
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