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Old 06-30-2005, 08:27 PM   #1
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House-like 12 volt light switches

Is there such a thing? Or am I chasing unicorns? The guy at Leviton is probably still laughing at me.

87 SaftLiner

There are a few new pics of my bus as well.

87 SaftLiner
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Old 07-01-2005, 04:38 AM   #2
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I'm using regular house switches for ac & dc, the switches don't care which type of voltage goes through them. As long as I don't over-amp them (which will never be a problem), they will continue to work just fine.

I also have wired a few house outlets for dc to be able to plug in dc accessories that I have put regular house plugs on (I don't like those cheapo plastic cigarette lighter style plugs).

Ya just gotta make sure you have a way to easily identify the ac switches / outlets from the dc to prevent improper plug-ins & potential disasters.
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Old 07-01-2005, 09:38 AM   #3
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I am also using regular household switches for small amp DC devices such as the master switches for the water pumps. It will work fine as long as you don't send too much current through them (remember DC devices require more current than AC for the same Wattage.)
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Old 07-03-2005, 03:12 PM   #4
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Specifically, it requires 10 times more current 120 Watts / 12VDC = 10 Amps; 120 Watts / 120VDC = 1 amp. I've read that there can be arcing problems with the contacts, and even welding of switches if you overload them. That said, a 20 Amp rated switch should be able to handle lights, especially florescent ones, or any other load below 20 Amps. They make a kind of socket that has one plug turned sideways -- I think it's for 240VAC circuits, and you can get matching plugs for it. If you're going to set up DC circuits with DC specific sockets, you might think about that (it's what I plan to use). It would be a whole lot sturdier than those flimsy cigarette lighter sockets, and probably cheaper, too.
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Old 07-04-2005, 09:00 AM   #5
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Because I had heard that it’s a no-no to use 120 VAC switches on a 12-volt system I used the 12-volt RV type rocker switches instead….they’re a bit more expensive than the cheapie household 120 VAC ones at approx. $6.50 for a single switch
Here’s the link to where I picked ours up…. ... ilter=true

I went for the Marinco Brand of cigarette-lighter style of plugins on both our buses because the standard cheap flimsy ones they sell for cars are a joke .
The Marinco ones are made for boats and have a lot more contact area and can be locked together making a very good contact.
They’re spendy though …each receptacle cost around $15.00 . But they’re the only ones I ever found that can be attached to the outside of the bus and not have to be concerned about them rusting out.
Here’s a link to them…
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Old 07-04-2005, 08:32 PM   #6
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The plug you bought with one blade turned sideways is a 120volt 20amp setup, IIRC. Kinda looks like this, yes?:
- !

I'd recommend using a different type of outlet/plug entirely, look into using the 220V-15amp ones, IIRC. There is NO WAY that they can plug in 120VAC appliances by accident.
Kinda looks like this from the end, two blades and the grounding pin:
_ _

And if a switch or outlet is rated for 20 amps, then 20 amps is 20 amps. Just check your voltage/wattage to get the right amps rating.

I REALLY wish that manufacturers would get their stuff together and design outlets and plugs for 12 and 24 volts. The 'cigarette lighter' outlets can't handle any real power........
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Old 07-05-2005, 08:02 AM   #7
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Ryan there are quite a number of plugs & receptacles deigned for 12-24 Volts,,,
Check out the Marinco Link ablove.
West Marine sells all sorts of 12-volt outlets too.
The Boating folks are way ahead of the RV crowd in this sort of stuff
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:07 PM   #8
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The same 12 volt cigarette sockets and plugs from Marinco can also be purchased from Digi-Key.

Socket: AS212-ND ($2.66 ea.) Picture
Plug: APP-003-ND ($2.07 ea.) Picture

I'm putting these in various places in my bus for 12v power. Typically for things like lights, fans and small (75watt) inverters. I'm sticking with standard cigarette style for compatibility reasons.

I am using a regular 120v light switch to switch 12v power to lights. The switch will actually be turning on an inverter which will be wired to a 4' fluorescent light. Sort of an 'on demand' inverter which will only be on when in use.
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