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Unread 12-29-2014, 11:00 PM   #1
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Default Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

I picked up a very nice 1991 DS and it has two rectangular headlights mounted just above the front bumper. I followed the wires today and the lights are wired across two batteries instead of a voltage converter. I know that is not ideal and will put additional load on those two batteries. I am assuming those lights are probably in the 50 to 55 watt range. Would I benefit in changing those out to a pair of LED running lights which would reduce the drain on the battery? While still not ideal the load differential on those two batteries would be reduced. Would that offer any benefit?

Thanks,
Dennis
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Unread 12-30-2014, 07:09 AM   #2
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Default Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

Yes, It would benefit you by not draining the two batteries as much as the halogens did (if the run time is the same). The benefit is reaped more when you plug it in to recharge. It will not overcharge the rest of the pack and undercharge the two batteries as much as it did before because you have not unbalanced the pack as much as before. But as you already stated, it's still hurting the batteries, just not as much.

HERE ARE 3 OPTIONS NOT REQUIRING A REDUCER:
1) If all you have and ever want is headlights, look into LED's/Halogens that can handle 36v. Most LED's have a wide range of operating voltage, and it shouldn't be too hard to find one that works. I know I've seen halogens that work within 36v also.

2) A "completely free" alternative to a reducer is to wire your existing halogen headlights in series to your 36v pack. This will share the 36v power between the two bulbs on the same line and works just fine. If you need more info let me know. This is the only "free" way you can do it without a reducer and without hurting your battery pack.

3) Re-purpose one of the smaller resistor coils from an old resistor cart to drop down the voltage for you. This is the least efficient method as you are simply burning off the 36v down to a manageable voltage. But it works and it's a very inexpensive mod.


Sometimes there is no need for a reducer if your needs are simple headlights. But a reducer should always be used instead of using just part of your pack - otherwise you are doing long term damage your expensive batteries. Hope something in this rant helps 😜
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Unread 12-30-2014, 08:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

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Originally Posted by UncleJerm76 View Post
2) A "completely free" alternative to a reducer is to wire your existing halogen headlights in series to your 36v pack. This will share the 36v power between the two bulbs on the same line and works just fine. If you need more info let me know. This is the only "free" way you can do it without a reducer and without hurting your battery pack.
Thanks for the info. Option 2 looks interesting. Could I wire my lights in a series/parallel fashion? The two headlights in series with the rear lights in parallel. Then I could divide the 36v across all three with a 12 drop at each element in the series. I don't plan to add any other 12v items. I assume the downside to this would be if one light goes out they all go out which really wouldn't be a problem for me. Has anyone else tried this?

Dennis
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Unread 12-30-2014, 09:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

Unequal lamps won't work well in series. The voltage only divides equally if the resistances are equal and they won't be between headlights and tail lights. Get a reducer.
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Unread 12-30-2014, 10:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

Yes- I actually have 4 lights in series - but luckily they are absolutely equal resistance. Its not optimum, but I only have lights. No other accessories.

V_A is right - equal resistance is crucial...otherwise you'll smoke a couple of 'em.
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Unread 12-30-2014, 11:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

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Originally Posted by Volt_Ampere View Post
Unequal lamps won't work well in series. The voltage only divides equally if the resistances are equal and they won't be between headlights and tail lights. Get a reducer.
What if I were to use LED lamps that have an operating voltage range of 10V - 30V?
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Unread 12-30-2014, 11:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

I think a reducer will give you more flexibility and it will be cheaper in the long run.
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Unread 12-31-2014, 09:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

Amazon has reducers for 36 volts down to 12 volts producing 10 Amps for only $22. They're easy to install. If you want to run more accessories later, I'd just spend the extra money and get the one that produces 30 amps.
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Unread 12-31-2014, 01:53 PM   #9
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Default Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

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Originally Posted by Wayfun View Post
What if I were to use LED lamps that have an operating voltage range of 10V - 30V?
Two LED's designed to run in the range above would be perfect to wire in series to a 36v pack.
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Unread 12-31-2014, 02:00 PM   #10
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Default Lights wired without a voltage reducer?

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Originally Posted by Wayfun View Post
Thanks for the info. Option 2 looks interesting. Could I wire my lights in a series/parallel fashion? The two headlights in series with the rear lights in parallel. Then I could divide the 36v across all three with a 12 drop at each element in the series. I don't plan to add any other 12v items. I assume the downside to this would be if one light goes out they all go out which really wouldn't be a problem for me...

Wire taillights in series by themselves.
Wire headlights in series by themselves.
Done.

One thing you have to be a stickler about is NO LIGHTS ON WHILE CHARGING. Resist the urge to show off you new schematic to friends during this time. You'll definitely pop them as the charger puts off higher voltage than the bulbs can handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayfun View Post
Has anyone else tried this?
Dennis
This is how we setup my dads cart. He doesn't have the money or need for a reducer. Its much better than running off two batteries and it doesn't make sense to spend money on a reducer for just headlights.

In my cart I've got the 25A reducer but I'm running more than just headlights.
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