12 volt things...

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 2086 Views:3044 Replies:11 FollowUps:2
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Hi all. I have a camper trailer and I'm looking to install a 12 volt light for when we are camping in places with no power. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to do this, or whether there is a better alternative. I am planning to borrow a 12 volt power pack (that recharges from a car) from a friend before I actually buy one...I'm told it's just a matter of light-wire-plug and that's it! Any comments welcome!
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Reply By: Mel - Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

We went through this same exercise ourselves recently. Our solution...we bought one of the relatively new type of movable 12V lights now seen in pop-top type campers. Basically, the back of the light has a push on clamp that allows you to clamp it to any round tent poles. It has a stretchable telephone type lead with a male socket that you simply plug in to a fixed wired female socket (looks like a plug seen on headphones and the like). This type of light allows you to move it around within your camper (within range of the length of the cord). When we pack up we simply unclamp it from the poles, and leave it on the bed. Really easy.

Anyway, we purchased it from our local caravan dealer (Jayco, I think). The salesman said the standard set-up was to run the power through the trailer to car connection (on most 7 pin plugs there will be a spare pin you can use). However, to have lights, this means your trailer has to be plugged into the car. This doesn't work for us because we go to the fridge in the back of our car all the time and didn't want to have to be parked so close to the trailer. Instead, on the trailer, we wired the fixed female socket of the light through to an external 2 plug socket the same as we have in the car for the fridge (looks like a household plug). Then, we had a the same type of plug mounted externally on the car and made up a long extention lead to run between car and trailer. Works really well for us. Hope this wasn't too convoluted. Melissa
AnswerID: 7131

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00
The amount of time your battery lasts will depend entirely on the style of light you choose. LEDs use bugger all power and are good for small areas where you don't need a lot of light. Fluoro's are nearly as efficient, but they do use more power because they generate more light. Now the major difference in 12v fluoro's is the efficiency. That is a good quality (eg Bushlight, Col-light or Pirahna) will produce more light for the same amount of current than the cheap and nasty fluoro's. Expect to pay around $80-$100 for a decent fluoro. Incandescent lights are highly inefficient and will flatten your battery pack quickly.

I've seen 17 Ah gel batteries in one of those starter packs for only $59 on special at super cheap auto. Something like that with a good fluoro will make a good light setup. You can also buy fluoro's with internal batteries (rechargable) but the downside is you need a more secure place to hang it and the batteries won't last as long.

As we have a camper trailer with on-board 75 Ah battery and 3 sets of LED lights the only thing we added was a Bushlite fluoro which we only use when using the kitchen area.
AnswerID: 7133

Reply By: Rick - Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00
R.O.F. There's a thread in the Yahoo groups camper-trailer site that has a degree of correspondence on this matter, going back a few months(from memory). Cheers. Rick.
AnswerID: 7138

Reply By: royce - Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00
Hi. I use a PROJECTA jump start battery for heaps of things. Pumping up inflateables, lights, etc. Bought from Kmart..... very handy. Best when recharged from 240v. It needs a long run to fully recharge from the vehicle. Is that what you wer talking about? We had it running a cheep shower unit in the high country at the start of the year. In the end we had about 20 people using the shower powered by the battery. It got showered each time and lasted a week! Cheers Royce
AnswerID: 7139

Reply By: Grinner - Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 03, 2002 at 00:00
For another alternative to the VersaLites et al, head into your local Bunnings Wharehouse and find the Compact Flurescent Light globes. A company called Nelson make a 12v 11 watt version of the CFL's with a choice of standard baynett or screw fittings and cost less than 30 bucks. I bought one to have a play around with and it gives almost as good a light output as my Versalight.
AnswerID: 7140

Reply By: paul - Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00
If you want a totally overkill light (and money is not a big issue) that will turn the inside of a camper into day, check out the Rohrlux Opus 2 at www.portapower.com.au . Run it off a small modified square wave inverter and you can get the equivalent lumens output of a 500 Halogen floodlamp pulling only about .5 of an amp per hour from a 12 volt battery (that is factoring in the current draw of the actual inverter - the small the inverter the smaller the unit's current draw).

I have three now to light up part of a football field. They are amazing.
AnswerID: 7154

Reply By: Bruce- Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00
when we had our camper i installed a 100ah deep cycle battery in the camper and got my auto electrician to wire it in to the car battery charging system so that when the car battery was charged it then switched to the trailer battery , a one way diode stops power from flowing from the trailer to car . A portable 12v fluro light is cheap to buy...wrap a piece of yellow cellophane paper around it...it stops the insects from being attracted to it...cheers
AnswerID: 7159

Follow Up By: Bruce- Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00
we travelled 3/4 of the way around Aus with this system and had no problems at all...a fluro uses very little power
FollowupID: 3267

Reply By: Brian - Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 04, 2002 at 00:00
try this site and search for lighting/fluro or product code sl2852

AnswerID: 7160

Reply By: Roll on friday... - Saturday, Oct 05, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Oct 05, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks all for all your suggestions...just a little confused now on one aspect... I can't find any information on LED lights. Is there anyone in Adelaide who can direct me where to buy them?


AnswerID: 7183

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Sunday, Oct 06, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 06, 2002 at 00:00
Hella make a 12v LED courtesy light module, or you can buy individual LEDs from any electronics store and make your own lights (make sure you get at least a 6000 mcd rating, and wire them up with the appropriate resistor).

Another option would be to buy one of the multi-LED torches available from Jaycar and modify them to run off 12 volts (should only need a resistor).
FollowupID: 3276

Reply By: Porl - Sunday, Oct 06, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 06, 2002 at 00:00
Go to www.rpc.com.au and go to lights and you will find excellent deals on LED lights set up for living from. Don't be put off by the name of hte company, they know what they are doing.
AnswerID: 7196

Reply By: Steve H - Tuesday, Oct 08, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Oct 08, 2002 at 00:00
I purchased a 12v 150w inverter which plugs in to the cigarete lighter of my subaru which only has the standard battery (verry small) I used 2 x 7watt bc fluro lamps in clip on style bedside lamps for 4 -- 5 hours every night for 4 nights and also charged the camera battery about 4 times and the battery started the car with no problems.
Thecnology has come a long way.
AnswerID: 7273

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