The Lab (Technical Talk) > Designer Troubleshooting and Help

automotive applications


I am wanting to do a design for a parade float and use the vehicle power to power the light show during the parade. Can someone point me to sources on accomplishing this?

  It's relatively easy to run your lights and controller from 12V automotive power. 5V is really easy. All you need is a 12V to 5V buck (stepdown) converter of sufficient size to run your controller and lights. You can get buck converters from a few Watts up to many hundreds of Watts quite cheaply. The cheapness is sometimes a function to indicate reliability as well. A super cheap converter shouldn't be ran anywhere near its specified limit and it's good practice to put a meter on the output so you can monitor the voltage.  Running 12V pixels is potentially a bit more difficult as automotive 12V is typically about 12.7V for a standalone fully charged battery to between 13.8 and 14V for a battery connected to a running engine. Anything higher than 12.0V is known to cause issues with lots of pixels but generally won't be a problem for controllers. Getting a buck converter that will convert from 12.7-14.0V down to 12.0V could be hard to find as it's an issue with buck converters having an output voltage very close to the input voltage. Most 12V pixels will however work down to about 10-11V with no huge issues. Alternately if there is 24V available from a truck or 4WD then 24V to 12V is easy. Again a meter on the output is a good idea.

Search Amazon for "car ac adaptor"  and just use your standard AC connections.

A non DIYC person, who was watching me build some of our new props, saw this as I had left it on my screen while I went back to work.  (The statement was a reminder as to why we do this as a group, and have so many ideas....)

"Why don't you boost it up to some voltage, then put a buck converter to bring it down to the level you need?"
Further explanation was to use a boost converter to take it from the varying voltages while running, then bring it down to a constant level (12VDC).  Further comment was, "then you could put a car battery inline and when the vehicle shuts off, you still have lights!"

From the mouths of babes....   ;D
(And YES, I will keep asking if she wants to be part of our "Blinky Crew"!!!)


[0] Message Index

Go to full version