WHY 12 VOLT ? , Hunting Camp, Revenge of the Pumpkin

I Wouldn't DO that if I were you ......

Hi Folks !

You may ask WHY 12 volt. ? Well, in my humble opinion, there’s all sorts of neato things that come in 12 volt.

ALL sorts of RV and kitchen appliances. Go to the car boneyard and strip out a loaded luxury car they often come with video systems for the kiddies in back, radios, amplifiers. ELECTRIC seats you can use in the livingroom of your groovy hippy pad, all sorts of goodies.

 Battery – the 12 volt battery must BE the most common thing on earth.

While we like deep cycle batteries, a bank of semi-old car batteries rescued from the boneyard will DO fine. albeit for a short life, but good for a budget or in a zombie apocalypse last man on earth scenario.

24 volt banks are more efficient for current transfer from solar panels to battery bank, charging etc. some of the best solar panels are made for 24 and 48 volt systems, but we’re talking $30K grid tie systems designed to use a street inverter to dump power back to the grid.

Only good for the utility if you ask me, perhaps makes sense if you live in Texas with a LOT of SUN, and ONLY IF your public utility commission (PUC) has LAWS that MAKE the power company buy the power.

However, you still have the issues of stepping down the power for your common 12 volt toys, so you need DC to DC converters everywhere there’s a 12 volt toy or light.

Further if your state is like Maine, you only have “NET metering” which means the power you dump to the grid only OFFSETS what you consume, and ONLY to a ZERO $ bill. ANY EXTRA power you produce is a BIG FAT thank you for being green and dumb enough to invest in a $30K system that will offset your max $1200 a year electrical bill (TOTALLY NOT cost effective by ANY measure) the payback is some 17-25 years on your investment. Although admittedly, there is some personal satisfaction IF you can afford it, that you are not enriching the Enemy’s of the US especially if your utility uses a lot of fossil fuel in electrical production, and there is a bit of a reduced pollution factor.

IT is STILL an expensive satisfaction.

I’d rather leave groceries on the doorstep of a family in need at midnight for REAL satisfaction …..

Ok, situation:

My 72 year old neighbor likes to hunt.

He bought a camp way up north far in the woods, power not even close.

What to do to get it “civilized”

1) he purchased a 3 power source RV refrigerator, runs it on propane

He added an exhaust vent to the outside even thought the MFG said it doesn’t need it, based on my recommendations, it’s a small camp, and ANY thing that burns including a match produces Carbon Monoxide.

2) he purchased an Evirolet. a no power composting toilet, it is vented to the outside as well, and you simply add a little water and a bacterial “digesting” agent similar to what you use to freshen up a septic system. Stir it once a day/week or when you think of it with the retractable built in handle, to keep the digestion going (just like turning a garden compost pile.

Once a month you empty the tray at the bottom, it has nearly zero smell, and can be simply dumped on the ground to become part of the soil. I wouldn’t recommend using it in your food garden but you COULD IF everyone was healthy that uses it, but fine for landscaping plants or in the back 40…

 3) water tanks in the rafters for gravity fed water pressure. filled by 12 volt pump whenever they get low.

4) outside painted black water tank hung from a tree limb for sunlight hot water heating-shower supply.

5) HERE is the cool thing:  a Mobile battery bank.

 Ok, camps out in the boonies unoccupied, are magnets for kids, partiers, vandals and thieves.

The stuff mentioned above while fairly expensive, wouldn’t be the end of the world if stolen, are large enough to discourage casual thefts.

But electronics and electrical conveniences are a different story, as is an expensive battery bank.


 We start with a truck with a cap, in this case a toymotor tundra.


{A dual battery isolation kit is a solenoid that you mount in the engine compartment, and using same gauge cables as the main battery cables wire in to the vehicle electrical system.}

 What it DOES is pure awesome-ness.

You essentially leave the original battery in its place, when you start the vehicle you start using the power from that primary battery.

Whatever juice you use gets recharged and when that is fully charged the isolation solenoid trips over to a secondary battery or battery bank wired in parallel to keep the same voltage (but more than one battery in that bank adds amp hours)

In our case above, it was a bank of four deep cycle batteries in a box out back in the cap area, wired to the solenoid using a thicker gauge cable because the run was a tad longer so it need the thickness to properly transfer the juice efficiently.

So as you drive up to camp, the added advantage is you are topping off the battery banks.

We added in an RV external plug port with a door to the cap, and connected that to the battery bank. A nice finished look to the truck.

So you get to camp, and take one end of the cord and plug it into the cap, and the other end to the camp.

The camp has a distribution box with 12 volt breakers, and wires run to lights (LED of course) and DC outlets for TV radio etc.

There’s even a plug in for a portable inverter so you can use AC appliances.

So here we have the truck powering the building.

All the expensive parts are taken away when you leave, Problem solved.

 Now add this to your HOME system, and you can get an extra bang for your commuting buck by getting a little value from your drive by charging your bank for powering a circuit or two in the home.

 {note: there is a point of diminishing return considering the WEIGHT of the batteries VS. the reduced mileage, but a bank of 4 batteries in the trunk weighs no more than a passenger. and you could build a neato plywood box with handles and wire the bank with quick disconnects so you could remove it periodically and just put it in on days you need a recharge.}

 Something to play with, you will find a happy balance, it could at least take one more thing off the house load/grid power.

Set it up with the RV plugs like our truck above and simply plug in the cord. neighbors will think you are a yuppie with an expensive electric clown car, but in reality you are a smart conservative getting an extra bang for your MPG !!!


In the ODD/FUN things you can build using 12 volt here is a classic:

 My friend USED to get his pumpkin stolen off his front stoop every Halloween.

(I remember being heartbroken as a kid after spending fun hours with dad carving ours, coming home from a party to find ours smashed on the front walk-the world is NOT GOOD)

So my friend knows the little hooligans who were doing it but never could catch them.

One year he decided to payback…

He lovingly carved his pumpkin (there’s something about an excellent carved pumpkin that a hooligan can’t resist) and carefully placed it on its spot on the stoop.

He also carefully arraigned the garden hose in the roof of the stoop aimed at the general direction of the pumpkin.

Then he put a car speaker horn inside the pumpkin and ran the wire to the basement and plugged into the PA port of a CB.

The final touch was a neato tin hat for the pumpkin making it totally cute and totally irresistible.

 He waited. The hooligan hour arrived and they sneaked up to the stoop.

As they decided who was going to do the deed, the pumpkin speaks and says: ” I wouldn’t DO that if I were you”

They laughed and proper hooligan insults were exchanged with the talking pumpkin.

 When they decided there was enough talk as they reached, the hose was turned on for a proper initial response.

Incensed, they and the pumpkin escalated the level of insults to derogatory remarks.           -as hooligans must be decidedly angry for effectiveness.

 Enough ! they were going to execute this uppity pumpkin once and for all.

So naturally, first you grab it’s hat to demean it, at which time somewhere a switch was thrown, and an appropriate 20,000 volt charge was transferred to the tin hat, thru to the nicely wet hand of the hooligan who did the “mailman” dance to quite an effect.

 The pumpkin speaks and says… I TOLD YOU not to do that…

The hooligans promptly ran away,

The pumpkin survived the night,

As did it’s descendants every Halloween thereafter.

 Moral of the story:

Look up homemade “Animal fence chargers” using … of course a 12 volt battery, and a car ignition capacitor…..

Science: AMPS kill, while super high voltages can disrupt your ‘works” a mere 20,000 volts just make your muscles painfully contract.

AMPS travel THRU muscles, volts TRAVEL ON SURFACE -mostly…

Ask any mechanic who has touched a cracked old spark plug wire while the car is running.

It is the basic principle of a modern stun gun or taser.

Great fun… MANY applications…

Non-lethal,  -usually 🙂

……..and even a pumpkin can do it…..


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