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mx-4-2

12v lights vs 120V lights for enclosed trailer

9 posts in this topic

I am looking for any advise or guidance on lights for my enclosed motorcycle trailer. I do have a generator and plan to install wall oulets for heaters/fans/misc tools. I don't know what the pros and cons are for durability and light quality to use 12v with a battery & charger or also do 120 AC floresent lights. In addition, I would like to add two exterior flood lights.

Any thoughts are apprrciated.

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I would go with 12V and a converter. That way you can run it both ways. It would suck to kill your generator and have no lights. Also, if you are ever camped somewhere with a curfew it will be lights out time when your generator has to be shut off.

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I'd go 12v lights. Throw in a battery or two and you can use the lights without the generator. RV furnace fans run off 12v too, so there's one voltage for both lights and furnace.

Inverters work, but they can't throw a lot of current, and the power's not all that clean (modified square wave) unless you spend $$$ and get the sine wave output.

Workin on a buddy's trailer and we put two 6V golf cart batteries in there for lights/fan, wired in two 120v outlets to a pigtail out the front of the trailer that can be plugged into a generator if they're needed. The golf cart batteries should power everything for quite some time before they need recharging.

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Perhaps some of both.

There are some 12 volt fluorescent lights from the RV places. They are about three times as efficient.

The less expensive inverters may not play well with cheaper 120v fluorescent fixtures. They are magnetic and don't like the square wave output of those inverters. They should work, but might get extra hot or make a lot of hum.

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I put 3 rv 12 volt light's and 1 110 fluoresent in mine. The 110 is much brighter and if there is power why not have more light. The 12 v are ok and would run a long time on the 12v deep cycle I had in my trailer, but I wanted as much light as I could get if working on a bike or what ever.

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Wire it to 12 volt lights and have a converter to charge your battery (actual RV converter, not a battery charger) and then add 110V lighting that will work when on shore power/generator and when hooked ot shore power, it will also supply your 12 volts and charge/maintain the battery too. But the 110V lights will only work when AC power is avaiable, so if you want the large 110V flood lights outside, add a small 12 volt porch light also. And inside lighting, go 12 volts, add some 110V lighting as supplemental.

Basically comes down to this:

Use all 12 volt lighting for your primary needs

Add 110V lighting as a supplemental lighting, ie "in addition to your 12v lights" and you will be good to go.

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The less expensive inverters may not play well with cheaper 120v fluorescent fixtures. They are magnetic and don't like the square wave output of those inverters. They should work, but might get extra hot or make a lot of hum.

The magnetic ballasts for fluorescent lamps have been replaced with electronic ballasts a long time ago. I could be wrong, but I dont' think you can even buy magnetic ballasts anymore. It has more to do with the potting material used in the magnetic ballasts containing PCBs.

Re: RV converters, anyone know of a good brand that won't break the bank, but delivers the most bang for the buck?

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The magnetic ballasts for fluorescent lamps have been replaced with electronic ballasts a long time ago. I could be wrong, but I dont' think you can even buy magnetic ballasts anymore. It has more to do with the potting material used in the magnetic ballasts containing PCBs.

Re: RV converters, anyone know of a good brand that won't break the bank, but delivers the most bang for the buck?

I used an Intelli-Charger and added the smart wizard to it. I bought the 60 amp, but you can probably get by with the 40 amp unit. I dont remember cost, I got my from Camping World. Just make sure you take into account wire size from the converter to the battery based on amps. If you go 60, use 6 AWG wire, with the 40 amp, you can get by with 8 AWG wire.

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