Discussing The 12 Volt Home Bus

About: via Halfbakery

source: rmutt mar 20, 2000
How many "wall wart" power transformers do you have? Chances are you will get more. All modern electronics will operate happily from low-voltage DC. Halogen lights and electronic-ballast flourescents mean you don't need 120V AC for anything save a few big appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. Even TV sets and computer monitors can be modified to use low voltage. So why not switch from dangerous, obsolete 120VAC to a house-wide 12 volt DC bus? Power losses from the wiring are more than made up for by eliminating step-down transformer losses. Save 120V for the three or so appliances that need them, and the central switching DC power supply. No more wall warts!
... read the whole discussion.

Now we need to choose standards ... plugs, wires etc.  Note that we already have many components that run on 12 volt ... because that is the automobile bus.

Tags

  1. alternative energy
  2. gw project
  3. home bus

Comments


Mark de LA says
DC doesn't transmit well over long distances without loss. That's why Tesla's invention of the AC was nice & helped with the industrial revolution. If you have too many transformers you are probably a gadget geek. Most people still use AC for washers, dryers, TV's, computers, toasters, household appliances etc.  Work on local power generation might provide several different buses while you are installing the main system.  I like the concept of local block & neighborhood power generation via fuel cells or some other means.
This one looked promising in my search for LED's. I still don't quite have a feel for lumens versus wattage.  I think some of the usefulness claims for LED's are over-hyped.


Seth says
M 2008-01-14 07:41:46 9031
I still don't quite have a feel for lumens versus wattage.  I think some of the usefulness claims for LED's are over-hyped.
Well, one of the cabinet linear lights you mentioned above gives 325 lumens.  One 60 watt  incandescent gives you about 900 lumens.  So these are not exactly going to bathe my work table in light like i want.  That's the big problem with LED's is that they don't give you much light and most of the light you do get is focused in a narrow beam. 

I just sent away for some of the new Phillips bulbs which are supposed to be a breakthrough.  Each bulb should give me about 220 lumens and it costs about $3.  So to get the equivalent of a 100 watt incandescent (1750 lumens) i will need about 8 of these (i purchased 10).  The good news is that i could probably run twice that (which is about what i want) off of 6 AA cells ... and the cells would last just about forever.   For your new lighting projects it's really hard to beat CFL. 

Mark de LA says
Hmm... you pulled that one quote out of a mish-mash of opinions; some from people who don't know what the hell they are talking about.  Anyway, retooling the electric grid & main household wiring of the country seems about as much fun as forcing everyone to put solar cells on their roofs.  With local (power source for 100 acres or less) community power generation instead of nationwide grids you have a lot more chance to experiment with what kind of electricity makes more sense. 


Seth says
M 2008-01-14 07:41:46 9031
DC doesn't transmit well over long distances without loss.
Depends on the voltage.  They are actually talking in Scientific American about building a DC power transmission backbone to distribute solar power from the South West to the rest of the nation. 

But i'm just talking here about an around the room (< 100 ft) bus to eliminate all of those wall warts in my office. I just counted 10 ot them within 10 feet of each other.  Apparently the reason this happens is inefficiencies in the political domain rather than real technical problems.
source: MrEsoteric's comment in about page above
The regulatory body charges (extorts) large fees in order to test your product for safety compliance. You will see various approvals listed on your lowly "Wall Wart". By using one of these, the designer eliminates any further safety testing on the product because it connects to the low voltage ie safe side of the cube! So don't go blaming us engineers - it's politics!
Another example of your government making things worse.

Seth says
M 2008-01-14 08:52:49 9031
Hmm... you pulled that one quote out of a mish-mash of opinions; some from people who don't know what the hell they are talking about.  
Not really ...  this "opinion" is published all over the place, not just here.    Of course the real prolblem is far more complex than MrEsoteric stated above ... there are lots of variations of power requirements for each appliance and a single 120AC source might just be the best way to meet most of those different requirements.  But i think a combination of 120AC plus an additional 12 (or 24volt) local home bus is a idea that should be explored.  If it is a good idea, then the industry needs to figure out how to evolve from here to there.  Another compromise might be a room local bus ... one wall wart feeding all the gadgets in your office.  The other thing we are getting ready for is where you have some kind of local generation (solar/wind/whatever) ... throw that in the mix and you do need to rethink the house wiring. 
source: M above
Anyway, retooling the electric grid & main household wiring of the country seems about as much fun as forcing everyone to put solar cells on their roofs.  With local (power source for 100 acres or less) community power generation instead of nationwide grids you have a lot more chance to experiment with what kind of electricity makes more sense.
Yep, local generation is a good idea. 

But the biggest roadblock to retooling  our electrical system just might be codes and govermental regulations that obstruct implemention of innovation and experiment.

Mark de LA says
Some kind of standards & regulation are needed - it's not all the Big Government boogie-man's fault! Should we all standardize on IE or FF or Safari or Opera, Netscape or ? It's more about involution, evolution, revolution & devolution. The power grid is somewhere in the middle volution - rock & roll!


Seth says
M 2008-01-14 10:05:30 9031
Some kind of standards & regulation are needed - it's not all the Big Government boogie-man's fault!
Yep .  Again this is not one of those binary switches where it's useful to go from one extreme to the other.  But try to install some of the new technology comming down the pike ... actually try being a early implementer or entrapeneur profiting by installing this new equipment ... then you will find out what i am talking about.  The building codes need to have some kind of mechinism built into them to encourage (not discourage) early implementation and experiment with new technology. 

Mark de LA says
Nobody gave you a binary choice! I gave you involution, evolution, revolution & devolution - hardly binary! This is more a domain where capitalism & Darwin will eventually prevail! I would prefer, however that chaos not reign very long!

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