Running 12v DC equipment on 120v AC (indoors)

mixerbd699

Member
mixerbd699 started this thread some time ago asking about options on powering lights inside. Since then 5 more threads have popped up asking the same thing. I have merged them all together and made this a sticky. I have also changed this initial post to a "quick overview" of options that are available.

John Marcson

The following are the major options for running 12v equipment inside:

Car battery charger

Pros

Cheap

Easy to find

Plenty of amps

Never "drains"

Cons

Can damage sensitive LEDs, flashers and strobes

Limited options and features

Regulated 12v inverter/supply

Pros

Safe to use on LEDs and strobes

More options and features

Never "drains"

Cons

Expensive

Hard to find high amp models (more expensive)

Car Battery/Battery boost pack

Pros

Cheap

Easy to find

Plenty of amps

Safe to use on LEDs and strobes

Cons

Dangerous to use and charge (gasses)

Will need recharged (limited time running)

No Features/Options
 
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Crown_Vics

Member
My daughter wants to have a working Federal Signal all light streethawk mounted on her wall. Now I need help on knowing what I need and how to power this thing up on the house current. Also, do I still need a control box to run all its functions? When she just wants it all to light up. what do I need to buy? Thank you for your help
 

kinnelonfire75

Veteran Member
This is a bit of a strange request, but here goes:


The easy way:


Radio shack sells 120vac to 12vdc converters that you could just plug the positive and negative leads of the lightbar into. Or in this case you can run the lightbar cable to the switch box and then run the pos/neg wires to the converter. Easier said than done. You will have to wire up the switches on your own. That i cannot help with...
 

Stendec

Banned
Be advised, with everything on, that thing will draw huge amps. Someone else can do the math, but even with the rear flashers off, I think it will draw considerably more than the average Radio shack inverter can handle - you'll need to spend larger bucks for a big unit.


You definitely do not want an overheating power supply in your kid's room.


But, if it's in good shape, and all the lamps and motors function, unless her room is the size of the Superdome, the novelty will wear off in about 5 seconds, after her stuffed animals explode into flames and her fishtank boils. Those things put out serious light with clean domes and fresh bulbs.
 

jdh

Veteran Member
You can(depending on the model) replace the halogen bulbs with a lower wattage incandesent such as the #93 aka 25811. But only if the bar has the bayonet type lamp holders. The #93 will cut the amp draw by 75%. The #93 only draws an amp per bulb....the 50w halogens draw 4.5.


And yes...it will put out plenty of light
 

fedsig7

Veteran Member
I would get a 12v battery and battery chrager, and when she isn't using the light bar, put the battery in the garage.
 

aj9j

Suspended
wow,


I had a federal signal twinsonic in my room when I was a teenager, needed 40 amp power supply to run it,


boy i remember those days lol. :D then when I got old enough to drive it went on top of my 1972 ford gran torino,


so yes you will need a hefty power supply to run that hog,


if you have every option avail it will probly need a 75 amp power supply,
 

Stendec

Banned
I ran a fully loaded Jetstream of off what i believe to be a 450 amp/hr jump-pack, and it burned through it in about 20 minutes.
 

jdh

Veteran Member
I have a fully decked out MX7K. 7 rotators, I sects, 4 F.F. and an 8 lamp stick....have it running at around 25 - 30 amps. :D


if I shut off the stick, or leave it on flash mode it only draws 15 amps.


Top That.... :lol: :mrgreen:
 

usdemt

Member
I wouldnt go with the battery and charger. There is the whole issue of gases being released while charging a battery, and who wants a battery full of acid in their daughters room. Also like mentioned above the Radio Shack converters are not going to be able to handle that amperage. I think they only go up to 5 amps. Best choice is a Pyramid converter but they are cheap and they weigh a ton.
 

Crown_Vics

Member
Thank you all for your help and tips! haha! Yes my DAUGHTER wants it in her room! It will have red/blue with a clear center dome.
 

Skippy

Member
Definitely check the bulbs and see if they're the bayonet. I borrowed an old jet sonic to use for halloween, and changed out the bulbs to standard auto bulbs to use with a radio shack 12v power supply. If it's the result she's looking for, what about just the party rotator lights that plug into the wall? (If you're really feeling frisky, grab the innards from the 120v party rotators and mount them in the streethawk bar. Plugs directly into the wall and no worries on power supplies, gases etc)
 
usdemt said:
I wouldnt go with the battery and charger. There is the whole issue of gases being released while charging a battery, and who wants a battery full of acid in their daughters room. Also like mentioned above the Radio Shack converters are not going to be able to handle that amperage. I think they only go up to 5 amps. Best choice is a Pyramid converter but they are cheap and they weigh a ton.
Radio Shack has converters that go up to 25amps. But that is as high as they go.
 

kinnelonfire75

Veteran Member
Crown_Vics said:
Thank you all for your help and tips! haha! Yes my DAUGHTER wants it in her room! It will have red/blue with a clear center dome.

Did she just ask for a lightbar and then you did the rest? Or did she ask for the specific model with a detailed list of options... :twisted:
 

jdh

Veteran Member
I have also used a 300Watt computer power supply to power edge bars. Mind you it was an older edge with the double flash power supply and the j-tube lamps. But it would run the four strobes and 2 flashers.
 
It all depends on the rails of the specific power supply, the wattage is just the sum output of all the rails (+3.3, +5, +12, -12) together. Some 500w power supplys could have more ampacity on the 5v and less on the 12 eg (+5v at 5a/ +35 at 12v) whereas another 500w could have more on the +12 rail (+5v at 3a/+12v at 40a).


Basically don't go thinking that your 500w lightbar would be fine on a 500w power-supply. Most likely you will need a 650w or 700w to support your needs at 12v.


Also for all those wanting to get thier power supply working whenever its plugged into the wall, all you have to do is ground off the Purple wire. (Purple to black)
 

Crown_Vics

Member
kinnelonfire75 said:
Did she just ask for a lightbar and then you did the rest? Or did she ask for the specific model with a detailed list of options... :twisted:
She asked specifically for a red and blue with clear center all light streethawk with front and rear flashers! As my wife puts it " there is no denying shes yours!" Haha!
 

High_Order1

Junior Member
I dunno about some of the responses here. I ran a Twinsonic off of a used marine battery and dedicated charger mounted to my waterbed through my 20's.... No ill effects, and the women LOVED it! ahhh! memories!


......uh, hoping your daughter doesn't have a similar intent, sir


Shawn
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
High_Order1 said:
I dunno about some of the responses here. I ran a Twinsonic off of a used marine battery and dedicated charger mounted to my waterbed through my 20's.... No ill effects, and the women LOVED it! ahhh! memories!



......uh, hoping your daughter doesn't have a similar intent, sir


Shawn
I like how you worded this.


the battery is hooked up to a dedicated charger to the water bed.


I bet the girls were always on the bottom and got a nice tingle from it. :mrgreen:
 

sephora99

Member
You could always run a direct DC line down to the basement of the house and put a SEALED battery in the basement with a trickle charger or battery maintainer on it. Even being sealed I would recommend putting it in some kind of enclosure to protect the contacts. Probably not the best setup, but if you need to have it going, that is the best way to do it without buying a high output DC power supply. The battery would be much cheaper. Or see if you could modify it to have LEDs and then it would use much less power.
 
Im working on starting a collection of emergency lighting and equipment, modern and vintage. My question is, how can i hook up lights and such in my house, i am an electrical contractor but i dont want to rig anything, is there a company that sells items to do this or does anyone have any tips for hooking up multiple lights and equipment in a home and having them on independent switches. any advice is appreciated.
 

Pimp

Veteran Member
You will need a 12V converter. This is a device with hot and ground leads for 12V and is power off a 120 plug inside your home.





You can buy one (if you love blowing money) at Radio Shack or you can look for a good one from Astron or Pyramid.






I have a RS-50A from Astron that I love.



ai93.photobucket.com_albums_l41_Pimpala03_DSC09648.jpg


ai93.photobucket.com_albums_l41_Pimpala03_DSC09643.jpg
 
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ChargerLighting

Site Veteran
I keep a fullsize battery on my floor & run everything off of it. Only maintenance it needs is a charge every month or so depending on how much I use it.
 

Squad-6

Veteran Member
I use a 20 amp supply like pimps & also have a full size battery under my workbench ran to an old switchbox for lightbars
 
The battery idea seems pretty cost effective, but i dont know if i want a battery layin around in my room lol, is there any sites with prices i can look at for the power supplys?
 

CrownVic97

Veteran Member
What kind of lightbars you have? Usually anything with halogen or incandescent sealed beam lamps pulls more amps.


The Pyramid I have above is 50 amps, which is plenty of power for all my halogen and sealed beam stuff.
 

MHPD2215

Member
Can someone give me some suggestions for a power inverter for testing vintage lightbars? There appear to be a lot of options out there and I'm not sure what will work for the significant draw that old twinsonics, aerodynics, etc. take.... thanks in advance!
 

jdh

Veteran Member
There are so many threads on this topic. The way I go about things is the more electronics the bar has...the cleaner the power supply should be. You can get away with a battery charger by adding a capasitor (50V / 20,000uf) across the output, although not proper, works for a beacon or maybe a twinsonic. With strobes, L.E.D.'s, bars with control modules (like a stingray, or electronic flashers) I would go with a 50 amp power supply. There are several companies out there that make them, however they are not cheap.
 

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