Need some Opinions on 120vAC to 12vDC Power Supply - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2013, 02:52 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Need some Opinions on 120vAC to 12vDC Power Supply

Hi ,

Just need some opinions to my project that I might be using inside my trillium trailer .
For some time now my ac to dc power converter died from old age like I am getting there myself eventually . As of now, I have lots of 12 v power to run with out power hook up as I have solar panels 155 watts to keep my batteries charged . I have 120 v power that I can use if I decide to not use battery power when I plug in at a camp site . The thing is I don't have a 120 ac to 12v dc converter to run some of my lights and a water pump if I don't have batteries or solar power ,which takes about 6 amps and maybe 15 amps tops with lights on etc . Will have to put a surge protection plug in .
Just recently I ran across some conversion ideas online by using your old pc desktop power supply. I just happen to have 2 of them in the house sitting around and did convert them with the info online . I have a 550 watt one and a 400 watt one and I do get alot of amperage out of them to run what I have in the trailer to be happy with at 12 v . here are some links to what I am talking about to make you understand easier to what I am going to do sense they will not cost me anything .
Here goes

Converting a PC Power Supply

R/C 12 Volt Power Suppy Conversion from AT Computer Power Suppy

Modding a PC Power Supply into a 12 Volt Supply for your DC charger - Page 6 - RCCrawler.com Bulletin Board
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:04 PM   #2
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Dave and Elinor.

I purchased a traditional 12 volt convertor because it does more than produce 12 volts. It has a smart charging system that helps extend battery life by controlling charge rate and occasionally instituting a desulfating cycle. In our motorhome the house batteries were still good after 14 years, I believe because of the smart charging cycle.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
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Should you have a rotten egg smell then the unit is using a selenium stack and the fums that it gives off is toxic so don't use the present converter.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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The only thing in my trailer that needs 12v power when plugged in is the lights, and I've considered pulling the old converter out and just using a plain old adapter just as you describe, Dave.

I do have a smartcharger I could easily bring along for the battery, and to tell the truth I'd be glad to be rid of the "hum" of the converter!

Francesca
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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Question for Norm

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Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
Dave and Elinor.

I purchased a traditional 12 volt convertor because it does more than produce 12 volts.

Norm, I finally got a new battery for my Scamp 13'. I just purchased a 100w semi-flexible solar panel which I plan to mount like you did with tape. I believe my Scamp doesn't have a convertor or inverter. I have a bid on a MPPT 30A 12v controller which I plan to install. The only AC I have is one florescent light which I may take out and the fridge AC option. I'll mostly boondock. So my quetion (probably a stupid one) is do I need to add a convertor too, since I thought a MPPT controller does what you described the convertor is doing for you. And if so what kind do you have and how hard is it to add it to a trailer that probably never had one? Thanks for the advice.
Linda
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
The only thing in my trailer that needs 12v power when plugged in is the lights, and I've considered pulling the old converter out and just using a plain old adapter just as you describe, Dave.

I do have a smartcharger I could easily bring along for the battery, and to tell the truth I'd be glad to be rid of the "hum" of the converter!

Francesca
Francesca, that's exactly what I did for the same reason. I just turned off the breaker, plugged in the smart-charger that I mounted right on the converter, and ran wires to the battery. I kept the old converter in place because it also contained many 12 volt fuses that I didn't feel the need to replace.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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Francesca,

Just for the record, new convertors don't seem to hum, probably because they contain no traditional power transformers. Also they are typically very light compared to the older units.

We don't use a lot of 12 volts, it seems our solar panel output is adequate with its 80 watts, lights, water pump, hot spot, TV, sat receiver and sometimes fridge fans.

Because we're usually on solar 12 volts we occasionally turn the convertor on to give it a smart charge bump.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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I'm glad to hear the new ones don't hum, Norm- but don't most of them have fans? That wouldn't be any better, if so...

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Originally Posted by David B. View Post
Francesca, that's exactly what I did for the same reason. I just turned off the breaker, plugged in the smart-charger that I mounted right on the converter, and ran wires to the battery. I kept the old converter in place because it also contained many 12 volt fuses that I didn't feel the need to replace.
Clever!

My setup's probably different from yours- I don't think there are any fuses in the converter that would be needed just to run the 12v lights, so I'd probably just take it out.

Since mine's a 15amp service only, I'd probably just plug the smartcharger directly into the park pedestal alongside my trailer plug in, and use the 110v outlets in the trailer for the adapter plug etc...

Francesca
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
The only thing in my trailer that needs 12v power when plugged in is the lights, and I've considered pulling the old converter out and just using a plain old adapter just as you describe, Dave.

I do have a smartcharger I could easily bring along for the battery, and to tell the truth I'd be glad to be rid of the "hum" of the converter!

Francesca
Of course, using one of the computer power supplies, you would be trading hum for the "whirr" of a fan...
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:15 PM   #10
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I wouldn't bother with all that computer rigamarole- I think that just an appropriate-size 12v direct-plug "adapter" would do the trick!

I have one for my big Coleman 12v cooler that would probably work just fine....

Francesca
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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Norm, I finally got a new battery for my Scamp 13'. I just purchased a 100w semi-flexible solar panel which I plan to mount like you did with tape. I believe my Scamp doesn't have a convertor or inverter. I have a bid on a MPPT 30A 12v controller which I plan to install. The only AC I have is one florescent light which I may take out and the fridge AC option. I'll mostly boondock. So my quetion (probably a stupid one) is do I need to add a convertor too, since I thought a MPPT controller does what you described the convertor is doing for you. And if so what kind do you have and how hard is it to add it to a trailer that probably never had one? Thanks for the advice.
Linda
Converters run on AC and convert AC to DC, there are a variety of types, some just produce a standard current, others charge batteries in a smart or dumb way depending on the type.

Your MPPT controller will charge the batteries using your solar panels, and you'd run your 12v DC system off your batteries. If you need anything to run on AC when boondocked you'd need an inverter. It's probably cheaper to install a DC light source than buy an inverter.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Otters View Post
Norm, I finally got a new battery for my Scamp 13'. I just purchased a 100w semi-flexible solar panel which I plan to mount like you did with tape. I believe my Scamp doesn't have a convertor or inverter. I have a bid on a MPPT 30A 12v controller which I plan to install. The only AC I have is one florescent light which I may take out and the fridge AC option. I'll mostly boondock. So my question (probably a stupid one) is do I need to add a convertor too, since I thought a MPPT controller does what you described the convertor is doing for you. And if so what kind do you have and how hard is it to add it to a trailer that probably never had one? Thanks for the advice.
Linda
Not Norm, but my take:

The converter provides 12 volt power when you have AC power available to run accessories and to charge your battery. If you never see the need to augment your solar panels, you don't need a converter. The MPPT controller's function is to provide the right voltage to the battery from the solar panel, to charge it.

That said, it can be nice to be able to plug in and charge your battery when the opportunity presents itself. The converter I installed was about $125 and weighs 5 pounds.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #13
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Francesca,

My convertor has a fan in it but I've never heard it, probably for two reasons.

First my convertor is located under the couch at the bathroom end. I doubt I would hear it if the fan turned on. Second we draw so little 12 volts (with LED lamps) that it probably never gets warm enough for the fans to come on.

We do have two fans for the refrigerator coils that run during hot days. They are almost silent during the day and at night when I can hear them, there is no need for them we shut them off.

I am amazed how little energy we use. Today we spent $8 on propane after almost 4 months on the road.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:33 PM   #14
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Thanks Tom and Drew. I already replaced the original 2 12v lights with new 12v LED lights. I love them. I guess I'll give it a little time and see how efficient the solar panel is. If the battery needs supplemental charging, I'll add the converter. I have a small plug in inverter, and after a couple of camping trips, I'll see if I need more. Thanks again.
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