Skills and Gear for Self Reliance and Homesteading

12V Power Survey


Folks, I need your help and input on how you currently use or would use a 12 volt battery in an emergency!

In our recent trip with our prepper group, I brought along my 12V Group 29 Deep Cycle battery, Solar panels and inverters. I was showing some of the things we could do as preppers in an emergency or just goofing around on a camp trip.


My battery was tied to a portable solar panel and charge controller, 60 watts total. I also keep along an auto battery charger if some 120AC power comes available. Now I connected the usual way with clamps to get some 12 volt outlets and plugged in a couple of inverters. The inverters were 400 watt and 220 watt in size. From that I was using a USB charger for my Iphone and camp lantern. I also put up three strings of LED xmas lights in the tree at my camp site.


The lights were bright as hell at night, and a big hit around camp. They only drew 5 watts total when all three were plugged together. One other prepper couple were using a standard battery with a 400 watt inverter and making coffee, or so they thought. They were having issues with their inverter showing a fault and not powering up the coffee pot. So I grabbed my multimeter and we checked it out. Seems the voltage was a little low but within limits for the operation of the inverter, most will drop out when the voltage drops to low. Then we checked out the coffee maker, uh oh, 900 watts listed. So the inverter was doing what it was designed to do, save itself.


In looking at this, I had an idea on remote or quick power usage, but I need more input. If you could answer a couple of questions in the following survey, I would really appreciate it. I will share the results later and see what I can develop of this idea I have. Not trying to be coy about what it is, but I need to see if it’s viable.

The Survey below will only take a minute, thanks for your thoughts!

If you you use 12V battery power in your preps, what is the closest size in Amp Hours do you use?

What is the closest size inverter do you use?

Do you use USB chargers and if so, what are you charging?

What other items do you or would you use the inverters to power?

If you use or would use a 12V device, plugged into a standard 12V outlet, what would that be?


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2 responses on “12V Power Survey

  1. Mike says:

    a story related to your 12 volt survey. Where I live I have been very fortunate. The few times I have been out of power have been very brief, less then an hour, during the 4 day black out my place of work had no power but my home was fine. However one time, a thanksgiving day, a squirrel got a it self entangled in a power substation someplace and caused us to not have power for 11 hours. Now I asked the wife to postpone the turkey diner, but she already had it defrosted and she’s a bit stubborn sometimes and this was about 10:00/10:30 in the morning. So considering we have a propane stove we both figured using the oven would be a “no electric issue”. Well, wouldn’t you know it, it turned out to be one. Yes if you want to use you propane/natural gas oven, you still need to use about 3 amps at 120 volts to keep the propane burning, glow rod to be exact, turns out it is a safety feature. Well I only had 3 trickle charger solar panels, 4 batteries, 2 riding mower, 1 car battery, and a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries wired in series for those to be a 12 volt battery. Well the solar panels, 3 watts, came no where close enough to keep up with the 3 amps needed, no surprise there, 3 amps multiplied by 120 volt is 360 watts. Strangely enough I have a very old radio shack 300 watt inverter that did a better job of being efficient, it didn’t drain the batteries as fast, then a 750 watt inverter, which blew that day, and a 1000 watt inverter which couldn’t even keep running when it was hooked up to a van using the van as a generator. I had the wife fill the tank of the van, pull it around to the back of the house where we have a door wall and no deck or stairs there. I kept the batteries on the inside of the house at the door wall. Well we had thanksgiving diner that night, tasted great and we ate under minimal light, a couple of battery powered lanterns bought for out in the yard at night, (no candles, we had way to many kids to break out any candles, for my sanity), but the lessons learned are: 1. Today’s propane stoves still need 3 amps at 120 volts; 2. I knew was only slightly prepared but it was still better then how bad that day could have been if I hadn’t planned; 3. Wife doesn’t hassle me so much about my prepping, the kids, well they hassle anybody about anything, even to this day, but that’s for another site. I’ve been looking into food preps lately and I need to replace the golf cart batteries. I seriously murdered those and the other batteries along with a few others I had laying around got me 150.00 at the local recycle place. I am looking for a decent 12 volt rechargeable 300+ lumen flashlight. The ones I have been buying, cheapies on sale, certainly don’t last long, but I recently bought a pair of auto fog lamps and hooked those up to a 12 volt power tool battery, we’ll see how long the batteries and charger last for that setup. So thanks for your site, I enjoy your articles, keep prepping, stay safe, watch each others backs. The socialist are still in charge and are not yet being as bad as they could be, but they all still need to go, for we patriot’s sake.

    • Vic says:

      Thanks for the great story! We really find out how our preps work when we actually have to use them, there is a lot to be said for bugging in. When we adapt for what we need now, it helps us plan out the future “what if’s” and there is no better motiviation in my mind than Thanksgiving dinner. Hell I would have rode a bike with a generator on it at that point….or maybe had one of my kids ride it. LOL. I started the survey because I wanted to see how others used 12V in their preps. I have an idea for a product that would help with battery connections. My wife is onboard with most everything we do for prepping and yep, like your kids, mine don’t quite get it. I am currently using a 60 watt solar panel with charge controller on the deep cycle battery. I have a variety of inverters and use a lot of USB like most people today and want to incorporate that as well. Thanks for the response and keep on prepping! Sooner or later I think the kids will get it…..

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