converting my fish house lights from 12 volts to 120 volts using a generator

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darryl19802000's picture
darryl19802000
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converting my fish house lights from 12 volts to 120 volts using a generator

i am looking to convert my fish house lights from 12 volts to 120 volts what is the first step to switching over to 120 volts?

25gill
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Joined: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - 12:04pm

 change light bulbs might need heavier wire 12 volt is probably pretty light wire

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darryl19802000
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would i need to put a 120 volt plug in on the outside of my fish house to plug in a generator?


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Captain Ahab
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This is sounding scary already.  If you have a buddy that is an electrician.........call him/her.  You don't want a smoldering pile where your ice house used to be.  We wired ours with 120 gauge wire with a plug in outside and just use different light bulbs for each application.  Also a 3-way switch works nice to switch between power sources.  Up for 120, middle for open circuit, and down for 12 volt source(or however you want it).

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue hapiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"Well done is better than well said."

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

All by:  Benjamin Franklin.

"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the bigger the problem, the longer the trip should be."

Author: John Gierach

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Crackshot.
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Capyian Ahah is  right ,    Seek Professional help on this one.    To be toatlly honest I think you are better off  leaving the lights 12 volt.     

 

 

 

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i12fish
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What's the benefit? A good charged battery should run lights forever. Wired mine with the capability to do this down the road and have never needed to. I have a fan. 2 lights, and a 12V TV/Radio that I run for days on a charge.

I would hate the noise, and if there's anything I needed to run that required 120V, I'd just use an inverter.

Just my opinion as I love listening to other's generators run all night...

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darryl19802000
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is an inverter like a generator?


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Crackshot.
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Inverters hook up to a battery and convert 12 volt to 110 volt 

 

 

 

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i12fish
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Sorry, 110V is what I meant. If there's something you need to run specifically, just find out what it takes to run and buy the inverter that meets that requirement. Wal-Mart sells them in a variety of power levels and most show right on them what they will run. Just need a cigarette adapter usually which I have 3 of in my house. They may come with a regular plug on both ends I'm not sure.

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Crackshot.
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 You are right , It is120V.        I grew up in "old School"  where everybody called it 110 and it rubbed off on me.   

 

 

 

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flyfish101
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Joined: Monday, January 3, 2011 - 11:01pm

I think He is trying to go from 120v generator to 12v lights. What you need is a power supply such as is in a camper. You can also get a smaller version probably at Radio Shack or I know Ebay sells them. Works the same as a  battery charger = 120v in - 12v out. If you want everything in the house to be 120v I am almost sure you will need to change the wiring and light fixtures.The exterior outlet for hookup is a good idea, but you will have to use a cord with male ends on both ends. You could also rig it up like a camper with a cover to push the cord into with a male end and the other wired directly to the power supply.

whispertube

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Captain Ahab Said:
 We wired ours with 120 gauge wire

Really?

You can't aim a duck to death.

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takenmykids
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Leave it 12 volt.  Inverters will drain your batteries very quickly.  You will need to run your pickup constantly to keep them charged.  Two deep cycle batteries will last a long time running a couple 40 watt lights and tv/radio.  Also no annoying generator running.

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jlh321
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Get an electrician to look at it.

   DO NOT make a cord with to male ends on it. If someone unplugs it from the ice house  while the generator is running they will have hot leads in their hands.
   The wiring and fixtures may not be rated at 120 volt.I would recomend all the wiring to be GFCI protected.

  You would be liable if you did the wiring that was not to code and someone got hurt.

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Captain Ahab
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StevePike Said:

Captain Ahab Said:
 We wired ours with 120 gauge wire

Really?

I meant 120v type of wire.  It can handle the big juice there Stevearino.

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue hapiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"Well done is better than well said."

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

All by:  Benjamin Franklin.

"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the bigger the problem, the longer the trip should be."

Author: John Gierach

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Captain Ahab
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..............the Steveinsky, the Stevearoni, the Steveanator, the Steveywonder.......................

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue hapiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"Well done is better than well said."

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

All by:  Benjamin Franklin.

"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the bigger the problem, the longer the trip should be."

Author: John Gierach

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darryl19802000
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wouldnt a tv drain a deep cycle marine battery fast?


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darryl19802000 Said:
wouldnt a tv drain a deep cycle marine battery fast?

Not necessarily. Depends on what kind of TV and how big it is. We ran a custom stereo cooler with 150 qt cooler, 8 in sub/ amp and four other speakers. That stereo ran for 10+ hours on my interstate deep cycle.

-Team Flightstoppers ND

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Safe enough to do if you do it properly.    But rather than convert it to 120 from 12 volts, why not simply wire it so you could use a generator on the ice OR a 12V deep cycle battery.   The 120 V from tthe generator could automatically charge the battery while you are using the generator.   You'd have both 12v and 120v wiring and lights and you could use either/or 12VDC or 120AC!   Or both at once if you really need a lot of  light to admire that 15 pound walleye!   

To connect the 120 volts from your generator use the same kind of plug that electricians use to wire your house for a generator - basically a 120 volt MALE plug that is mounted on the wall of the fishouse using a standard outside box  into which you just plug a regular extension cord from your generator.    You can buy them at any electrical supply house but I haven't ween them at Menards, Lowes or regular do-it-yourself stores.  
That way you won't electrocute anyone who unplugs an unsafe haywired extension cord while the generator is running.  As someone already posted DON'T just put a male connector on each end of a cord, unless you hate your fishing buddy for catching a bigger walleye than you! 
And yes, definitely put a ground fault plug in the circuyit  as soon as it enters the fishouse!  Leave it wired for 12 volts and the battery in place as it is, but then add the 120 volt wiring through the house.  If you are only wiring for lights and maybe a TV, you can use 14 gauge wire, but if you are going to use any cooking appliances depending on your generator capacity, go to 12 gauge.    
 Follow wiring codes - that way the fish won't 'win!"  If your house is already insulated and you don't want to tear off panelling to get behind it, there are lots of safe ways to add 120 volt wiring to it.   Don't just staple on some exposed wire over the top!. That might work but would be dangerous!

If you were going to get elaborate and use a very heavy generator and high draw cooking appliances or even electric heat , install a sub panel to distribute the power accordingly.   Thayt'd be a bit elaborate for even an above average fishouse, though.   Maybe on Mil Lacs or someplace. 

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bobkat
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Steve, haven't you ever seen 120 gauge wiring?   No microscope?   
How about 120 - 0 wiring?   That'd definitely be large enough for a fishouse!! 

Proverbs 21:19
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Many generators have GFCI protection on the 120v receptacle you plug your cord into. If yours does, this will provide protection for your fish house. To connect to your house, you would mount a flanged inlet on the house to feed your wiring. Keep all wiring to code. If you decide to go with an inverter, the load you plug in will determine how quickly your deep cycle battery discharges. You could put 2 or more batteries in parallel to get more run time. Use deep cycles with higher amp hour ratings for more run time. You can use your generator on the ice to recharge the batteries as needed.

PlainsmanND
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Joined: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 9:36pm

Interesting, what are you trying to accomplish?  Just lights, or TV/Microwave/XBOX?

I assume your thinking of a inverter style genset (Honda 2000) or somthing else quiet. 

I know what I would do but am just a DIY that has wired quite a bit and would be hesitant to give you advise. 

Im not sure what 'code' is for a house sitting on water :)  Id do much more research there before you either kill yourself standing in a puddle or burn down the shack.  You will also want to dig into bonding and unbonded since your running with no grounds. 

HUSKEE
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hey captain ahab (CHUMLEE) can i get your autograph??

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Goosefishmen
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HUSKEE Said:
hey captain ahab (CHUMLEE) can i get your autograph??

Careful, you don't want to make the fat kid angry................CHUMLEE, that is funny stuff.

There is no limit on a Good Time!!

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rainman1882
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Not sure what the direction of the project is but a couple of options IMHO:

1. Get a shore power to 12v converter like a camper would have, then you have something that will facilitate switching between battery and gen set.  Most have breakers in them too from what I have seen

2. Put in LED lights from a trailer or something of that nature if you have 12v already.  The battery life is amazing, light output pretty good and it's cool

3.  Do nothing and have the pickup or whatever you drive idle and charge the battery for a bit, this option is good because for almost no effort you have a solution that is cost effective and allows time for a deliscous beer.


Yeah, it's kind of like that.

HUSKEE
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(CHUMLEE)///// captain ahab where r u i need a autograph///

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darryl19802000 Said:
wouldnt a tv drain a deep cycle marine battery fast?

Depends how many channels you watch

 

 

 

Life is good