Is it possible to live in my small trailer on Direct Current only?

How can I do it? I'm living off the grid with 2 deep cycle 12 volt batteries. Wouldn't my batteries last longer without converting all the time to Alternating Current? Can't I just use 12 volt accessory plug-ins? What do you think of DC vs. AC? I'd like to also start adding solar panels as I can afford to, one at a time.

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Utahtabby7 years ago
the main problem with living in a camping trailer is they are not madefor long-term living in and the walls de-laminate and grow mold frommoisture from your breath, cooking, bathing, etc. House trailers haveventilation systems that change the air; but camping trailers are notmade the same way. FEMA found out the Katrina trailers grew moldwhen people lived in them full-time, besides having a lot of toxic fumesfrom old-style construction materials. If you had windows open some, anddoors opening a lot and furnace or AC running to exchange air, andvents for your bathroom and a range exhaust fan, you might be OK for afew months....but air quality really suffers during wintertime when youare closed up in a small trailer. Even snowbirds only live in theirtrailers for a few months in wintertime and that is in a hot climatewhere they can air it out during the day. Just a thought. Tabby<br /><div id="refHTML"> </div>
No, Edison's problem was he was trapped, he knew he needed high voltages for low losses, but they would be unusable in a domestic or even commercial application, so he had to stick with low voltage local generation, which was uneconomical. Westinghouse pioneered the idea of HV distribution, and SZ de Ferranti in England pioneered the whole end-to end system. Ferranti is a hero of mine. He designed and built the entire system at Deptford Power station - at 21 years old.

From WikiPedia.
Ferranti bet on AC early on, and was one of the few experts in this system in the UK. In 1887 the London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) hired Ferranti for the design of their power station at Deptford. He designed the building, the generating plant and the distribution system. On its completion in 1891 it was the first truly modern power station, supplying high-voltage AC power that was then "stepped down" for consumer use on each street. This basic system remains in use today around the world. One of the remaining supports of the generating hall of Deptford Power Station forms the frame of the sign at the Manchester Museum of science and Industry in Manchester UK, home of the Ferranti Archives.

He would be spinning (synchronously) in his grave if he knew what a screw up his family made of it after he died :-(
AC is the only way to generate high voltages specifically to allow "long" transmission lines. Alright, so these days we COULD use HV DC transmission ( big links in the USA are DC sometimes, and there is the massive 2GW channel connector), but its very expensive and only worthwhile for seriously large systems. Because of reactive effects and radiation losses, AC transmission is less efficient than the equivalent DC, but AC makes induction motors work, so we are unlikely to see the end of it.
arnold54 (author) 7 years ago
Even though I understand the reasons, I still think it is too bad we don't have much of an option of living simply with DC electricity. Life can be so much simpler and cheaper if we have access to what we need to accomplish it. I appreciate all of your comments and please keep at it -- I'm learning so much from you and this site. Thanks!
In big systems there is really no argument, nothing beats AC for convenience and usability. Without it, high voltage transmission wouldn't have happened until the last 30 years etc etc. You can get 12V PC power supplies. This is a question that;s been asked a lot. You're screwed if you want to use a conventional refrigerator for example, or a washing machine, but finding DC lighting and most electronic items that are DC powerable is possible, if difficult. Please make sure you size your wiring for the much higher currents of a low voltage setup.
You could probably run a washing machine off DC with some serious modding (maybe just the motor and control circuit). But yeah it will be hard to find things like refrigerators for DC unless you can get one that doesn't have a hermetic compressor and replace the motor...
That said, people like http://www.rparts.com can sell you ALL the parts to make a 12V refrigerator with a Danfoss hermetic compressor.

lemonie7 years ago
You could switch the lighting to LED. Camping-grade stuff is often 12V.

brokengun7 years ago
Yeah you'll definitely have some problems finding DC replacements for a lot of everyday electronics things. Besides like heating and lighting..... it will be hard to find DC replacements. Perhaps you should consider just using 12volt dc for some stuff as to take some of the load from an inverter for AC appliances.