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mweston8 years ago
A standard CFL will NOT work with 12 volts, you need to either get an inverter or buy specialized lights for your application. These are made to run on 12 volts and they fit in a regular socket - http://www.nolico.com/saveenergy/12_volt_marine_cfl.htm

Go to a local home improvement store and buy some standard light sockets like the ones you would find in you home, pick up a switch (regular style switch in a house would work) and wire everything up. Check you positive and negative leads because this is DC current, and your lights will not work if the current is reversed. Your power source can just be a deep cycle battery and if your solar panel only supplies a few hundred milliamps then you do not need a charge controller. A panel this small is fine because you just need to top off the battery after you use it.

Once you have your sockets, battery and switch set up, just install the lights and it should work. That was a pretty long explanation, so if you need clarification just ask. Good luck!
Dr Paul8 years ago
I run six - eleven watt compact fluorescent light bulbs off an 80 watt inverter. The inverter cost $ 12 at Xcess Cargo and the bulbs cost a dollar each at the dollar store. If thats not bright enough use a couple of 26 watt daylight bulbs. A 2.4 watt solar cell and a motorcycle battery should be more than sufficent for your power source depending on available sunlight and you could probably also run a radio. ( I recently bought a couple of 2.4 watt cells at Walmart for $ 15 each)
ReCreate8 years ago
No, It requires 110 Volts AC, It would not nothing. You would need an inverter for the CFL that runs on 12V.
It doesn't need AC, It can use DC because it rectifies it anyway.
ah well the normal ones run on 120 volts AC, i suppose they could run on DC too...
Don't waste 10%+ of your expensively generated 12V by running it through an inverter! Source 12V lights from RV, Marine and camping suppliers. I can't recommend 12V LED bulbs because they're too dim but fluorescents are readily available.
dougmany8 years ago
Try these:
http://www.backwoodssolar.com/catalog/lights.htm#12%20VOLT%20DC%20FIXTURES

I've used the L-949 model and it worked well.

-Doug
I think you'll need a transformer for it. What exactly are you trying to do?
baudeagle (author)  Weissensteinburg8 years ago
I was hoping to install small solar panel and a 12 volt battery on a shed. Then wire the shed as a 12 volt system with 1, 2 or maybe 3 CFLs. Would that work? I would then expect to use the lights in the shed for about 1 hour a month or so. Does this help to clarify the thought process? I really do not want to use and inverter if I do not have to.
frollard8 years ago
You either need a 12 volt cfl bulb, or you need to invert the 12 volts to 120 or 220 volts AC to use standard bulbs.
lemonie8 years ago
Probably more hassle than it's worth, but you can make them work in theory. L