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One of my goals is to use power from my batteries as efficiently as possible. Part of that includes avoiding 110V devices as much as possible as that requires an inverter to get from 12V to 110V. And quite often, things that you plug into 110V outlets, often convert down again to 12V or 5V, for instance pretty much anything that comes with an adapter, like phone chargers. You can find that information printed on the adapter of the device itself, when you check under the “output” section.

Many electronics these days will work when connected directly to either 12V or 5V. Examples are anything that uses USB cables. For instance phones and game consoles. So you don’t really need to plug them into the household outlets with the adapters. This way you don’t end up with inverting 12V to 110V and then back down to 12V or 5V. Every time a conversion like that happens, you waste some electricity in the form of heat.

The following diagram illustrates what a setup with an inverter typically looks like.

I have no need to run Wattage demanding appliances, so I am not installing a permanent inverter. Instead I installed 2 dual socket outlets like the one shown below. You can find plenty of them on Amazon. It has a 12V cigarette lighter socket and 2 USB outlets. I installed one by the master bed and the other at the end of the top bunk bed.

The pictures below show the outlet in the master bed as well as where I put the wires; they are tapped off the Propane Alarm at the base of the bed wall.

The following pictures show the outlet on the top bunk bed. The wires have been tapped from the lights and go partially through the ceiling and then through the white plastic wire guides that are taped on the ceiling and bunk wall. It’s not the most graceful work, but it does the job.

These outlets will allow me to plug in the few electronics that I bring with me directly into the USB connector, or even the cigarette lighter socket, such as my little air compressor that I use to make sure my RV tires have the proper pressure before each trip. In addition, I can use a cigarette lighter inverter to power electronics that do not demand a lot of Wattage (less than 150W). You wouldn’t be able to power a microwave through this, for instance.

The diagram below is what my setup looks like:

If you need a fan to keep yourself cool on hot days and while off-grid, you can find plenty of fans that plug directly into 12V cigarette lighters or 5V USB outlets. They are smaller fans that are not as powerful as the large household powered fans (110V), but some of them actually do work quite well and do the job. You can even find coffee makers that will run off a cigarette lighter socket, although I don’t know how well they work as I am happy enough with my Instant Coffee.

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