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Home Forums General Discussion AC or DC? Re: AC or DC?


elnav, your post mentions 12 volt causing fires. While I get what you said and why you said it, I think it is very important to clarify things.

DC done poorly can cause a fire…

So can propane in a cabin hooked up with an aging rubber line used to connect to the bottle and running under the crawlspace. Rubber lines are for camping hookups that you can see and replace when they get cracked. Under a cabin, where you cannot see them…they can rupture and fill the entire place with gas in about five minutes. If sleeping inside, you would likely die from inhalation or when the proper mix was achieved and it hit the woodstove or pilot light…>>>BOOM!<<<

120V AC plugged into an inverter with five 14gauge extension cords run and taped under throw rugs (I wish a had a 10-spot for pictures or video of every setup like this I have seen in an off-grid cabin) will cause fires too. More setups than not (that I have seen) using small inverters are not set up properly. Plug adapters, extension cords, no grounds, no ground fault device…etc.

Anything done unsafe can kill you.

DC, done correctly, is no more dangerous than AC, propane, or any other modern tool we use.

If you take something like this:;rcol

The wall wart transformer that comes with this unit converts wall current to 13 volts.

(In fact, most of the audio gear I have seen converts AC to low voltage DC inside.)

If your batteries were within 30 feet of the cabin, using lets say 4 gauge fine strand wire for the 30 foot run to the cabin for a max load of 25amps at 12 volts. Then into a dist block for the various devices= (LED lighting, laptop, cell phone, LED TV and radio or amplified speaker system…added up correctly and wired with proper fusing for the load capacity of the wire used.)

=you would not use this setup over an inverter?

When I do the math, I find the wire and fuse blocks cost a lot less than a quality inverter and a bigger system to cover the losses in conversion.

While what you say is the truth about low voltage requiring more amperage for the same work…it is kind of misleading, since the panels or the windmill stores your power in 12 volt batteries to start with.

I just would not want people to leave this thread afraid of 12 volt DC.

…because the truth is, if you do it right…you can have the basics for less money using DC properly.