How to get 12 volt into Campster - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-17-2012, 10:37 PM   #1
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How to get 12 volt into Campster

There is one thing that seems to befuddle me - electricity in all its forms. I am good at following directions however.

What I want to know how to do is get a 12 Volt battery system into my Campster without rewiring, adding wiring etc. The trailer has shore power with outlets and lights. How can I install a 12 volt battery? What do I need to install?

There is an electrical box. Do I connect an inverter to the box between the battery and the box? I have used an emergency power supply that has standard plugs in it in the past but it doesn't last long enough with my CPAP machine. I have to drive around in the car to recharge the battery. (no generator, planning to go solar, another issue). I am planning to get a dedicated battery pack for the CPAP so it won't impact the rest of the trailer.

Other than the CPAP the electrical use will be mostly lights, and fan over stove. Heat will be Olympic wave catalytic and am not interested in most electronics when I am camping except maybe an iPod w/speaker on occasion.

Any and all assistance would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Teri
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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12volt and 120v do not mix, they are 2 separate systems. You can convert 120v to 12v via a converter and vice versa via an inverter.
If you have limited 12v needs then a simple battery with a plug in charger and one or 2 12v outlets for your CPAP and maybe 2X 12v lights with leds would be sufficient.
Read up on The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Go to a Wholesale Club (Costco, Sam's, BJ's) and purchase a Jump Start box that has a BUILT IN charge transformer. $50 to $70. You can use it as a standalone 12VDC battery source and when it gets week, just attach an extension cord to it to charge it up or to supply your 12VDC.

You can also use it to start your car when the battery is dead, charge your phone, air up your tires as they have an air compressor built in and some models have an inverter built in so you can run some 120VVAC items off them.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #4
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thanks for the link Jim. It is very helpful.

I will learn about this stuff yet.

Darwin, I have used an emergency power supply that I keep at home on camping trips. They are handy and I may use it for the upcoming trip to Yosemite in April. I would like to have a more permanent setup.

I am still looking to understand the whole system and the differences in the parts. Then I want to add solar to that.

What have others done with their power systems.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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Your problem is that you have wiring and lights, etc that are 110 volt AC.

Generally for campers, everything is 12 volts and there is a converter that changes 110 volt AC to 12 volts DC. When you can't plug in, the 12 volt battery supplies the 12 volt power. When you plug in, the converter charges the battery as well as run lights, etc.

You have several choices.
  • Add additional 12 volt lights and other accessories as well as a big battery and a converter.
  • Convert the existing lights and accessories to 12 volts and add a big battery and converter.
  • Or add a big battery, a converter to charge it and an inverter to convert 12 volts to 110 volts. This is quite inefficient, especially for big loads (think refrigerator).
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
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Thomas has the simplest answer to using your existing wiring:

Or add a big battery, a converter to charge it and an inverter to convert 12 volts to 110 volts. This is quite inefficient, especially for big loads (think refrigerator).


Otherwise, you have a wiring project that someone with electrical experience should do, not someone with little or no knowledge of the subject.
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Old 03-18-2012, 01:08 PM   #7
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I have two systems in my Campster. Right now the twelve volt system, which runs a couple of lights and a cigarette lighter outlet, is not connected to anything, and I really don't even know where it used to be connected. I don't use it. I would actually like to take the lights out, and when I find some good LED fixtures, I may redo all the lighting (the 110 lighting is fluorescent as as I have a dog with epilepsy I can't really use it much.). But I like the jumper battery idea, just haven't yet found the one I want to buy. (needs 600 amps to jump my car so can't just get the cheapest.). I want one with 110 and 12V outlets.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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Bobbie: Google Stanley Jump Start and you will find them in many sizes. They have a built in charger and all you do is plug the cord into it. Every other one I have had with an external transformer I have misplaced the transformer.

I had 2 from Harbor and the batteries went bad way to soon. It was cheaper to buy the Stanley from Costco than replacing the battery. DR
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