12/24v socket outlets


I'm thinking of adding low voltage (12/24) volts circuits to my house to power low voltage items directly and thus eliminating the need to step up the voltage and then down again, however I'm unable to find low voltage socket outlets. I can use a different type from the 240v ac main so no one at home will plug a low voltage in a high voltage circuit, however I can't find anything specific for my needs... i.e. something flash-mount. Has anyone used any of these outlets and from where can these be purchased?



  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    I have installed 12V outlets in various places to power my radio and 12V lights.

    I used automotive cigarette lighter type outlets. They are installed in regular outlet boxes
    (you must use deep boxes because of the size of the recepticles).

    To install them I used a 7/8" hole saw to make a hole in the center of a blank wall plate.

    Another solution is to find some 2 prong twist lock recepticles and plugs at your local building supply
    or electrical supply house.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    I would also look at the Anderson PowerPole connectors. These are much more reliable than cigarette outlets. You can also get chassis for the powerpoles so they can be mounted in a wall, cabinet, etc. Google for the powerpoles and you can find a place that carries more than just the standard powerpole connectors..

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,080 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    Cigarette Lighter type sockets are also not very child friendly (or possibly, too child friendly). I would tend to avoid recommending them in areas where children are unsupervised. Using slightly less than standard UL approved AC connectors are designed to be (relatively) resistance to children's figures (child with wire, all bets are off).

    Depending on the load (match current rating with that of the load)--I would suggest using a non-120 VAC standard AC sockets available from the hardware store--Like twist lock sockets and well labled (some are even available in Orange or other colors to attract attention to the differences). Then you can use standard house wiring techniques (boxes, covers, good UL cordage connections available, ROMEX, conduit,etc.) for your DC system.

    As always, upstream fusing/breakers are very important in any distribution wiring scheme. (you need to make sure that the wiring is heavy enough to both trip the circuit breakers without damage, and the resistance of the run must be low enough to ensure that the surge current of a dead short will also trip the breaker/fuse).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    I built a remote off-the-grid cabin in Mexico and wired it with standard #12 romex to standard outlets, but with no grounds. On a standard outlet, you have (like a human face) a large right slot, small left slot and a round hole at bottom. I wired for AC at the regular 2 slots, and 12 volt DC positive at the round hole, negative 12 volt at the small slot. Now I can plug everything AC (with ground prongs broken off!), and I have wired all 12V appliance plugs using the small slot and ground prong. Remember this is Mexico--thus no electric codes, inspectors etx. frank
  • kc8adukc8adu Solar Expert Posts: 50 ✭✭✭
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    i use anderson powerpoles and the 2 and 4way panel mounts.
    some outlets have lighter sockets just for a conveniant way to charge cellphones.
    i get the 30 anp contacts.these are the standard ares and races use so i can plug my radio gear in anywhere in the house.
    since all lighting is 12v exept ceiling fixtures at 24v all lamps have dc ballsts and fluorescent bulbs.all portable itens have powerpoles.
    imho any ac connectors are an accident waitng to happen.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    Frank, baby,

    Ground plugs and electrical codes are there for your safety! I hope you have working smoke detectors in the cabin, and hope you never need them.

    Remember folks, electrical codes are usually MINIMUM requirements, put there to follow, to keep you safe, not just to piss you off.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    i agree that what you did frank is an accident waiting to happen and you have taken away the safety of the much needed ground lead as well as introduced the possibilty of ac running through a dc appliance or even shorting the dc power with the introduction of a normal appliance with a 3 pronged plug.
    maybe you should use an oddball 220vac connector and label it for a heavy duty connection, but only one that you will not find inside of you home. the reason being is that you do not want somebody accidentally plugging in your dc appliance to a real 220vac outlet. the trouble with dc is that there isn't any standard connector for all and there shouldn't be. you may only wish to power a small radio to receive the news rather than a monster dc light that uses 10amps so the connection could vary in its requirements. because of the powerpoles are genderless it would be possible to connect the polarity wrongly too, but i'm not familiar with that connector type at all or how they could be mounted.
    most power supplies that deliver dc power to higher amperage items and even batteries usually have a bolt type connection that a nut would be tightened down to secure the connection. bare wire doesn't secure very well so these types of connectors are used for under the nut, which could be a wingnut for connection ease. http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103298&cp=2032058.2032231.2032283&parentPage=family
    automotive parts stores could carry the heavier connectors if you need them. alternatively you could place washers under the nut to help prevent the spreading of the wire, but this works limitedly. as long as the posts are insulated to prevent shorting to the mounts, this is universal. because of the nature of the connection points and the ease of something going wrong, fusing will have to be used, preferably near the batteries, so that when accidental shorts happen it will be caught and blow the fuse. it would also be possible to make a polarity protection device with the use of a diode. this isn't always easy to mount power diodes and they introduce a voltage drop as well, but this would make the dc outlet(posts) somewhat goof proof if used in conjunction with a fuse.
    for smaller power requirements a banana post arrangement could be used, but the same precautions are needed as for the heavy duty posts i mentioned above. here's what the dual banana post could look like: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102838&cp=&sr=1&origkw=banana+posts&kw=banana+posts&parentPage=search
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: 12/24v socket outlets

    Perhaps I should explain that we are the only ones using this cabin, the AC inverter (autozone 150 watt) has its own switch for the rare times I use it. And the outlets are clearly marked and most important, all lines are fused. but thanks for the warnings! living on the edge, frank
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