A few weeks ago I installed a new Winegard ConnecT Wifi Extender in our Cougar fifth wheel. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a 12-volt power supply for off-grid camping only a plug-in wall adapter for a 120AC outlet. I was a little disappointed since we often boondock and firing up our 1000W inverter just to power the Wingard ConnecT would be wasting precious power.
Luckily, I noticed that the Winegard ConnecT runs off of 24 volts DC power. It’s provided power adapter simply converts the 120VAC to 24VDC. The current draw is 1.5 amps. This opened up the possibility of using a device called a DC to DC Converter to provide off-grid power straight from our trailers battery bank, at 90% power efficiency.
Installing the 12-24 Volt DC to DC Converter
I order myself a 12V to 24V Vorcool DC/DC Converter Regulator off Amazon for about 20 bucks. It is waterproof with built in voltage regulation of 8-18 volts on the input and a max current output of 3 amps. Perfect for the job.
Disclaimer: Working with electricity can be dangerous. Performing the modifications detailed in this blog posting may void your warranty. The following is for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as instructional. If you decide to do the same modifications I’ve done then research and beware of the risks involved. I accept no liability. You have been warned! – Ray
Next, I needed a 12-volt source to tap into. Since the Winegard ConnecT was installed above the fridge, I figured its 12-volt power supply circuit would be my best bet. I already had a hole drilled back there for the ConnecT’s external antenna cable.
I cut off the Connect’s power supply input connector and spliced it onto a pair of DC hookup wires making sure to observe the correct polarity. Then I fed the wires down behind the refrigerator using the cooling stack as a pathway to where I would install the DC to DC converter near the fridges 12-volt input.
I screwed the DC to DC converter to the wood base that held the fridge and wired things up. The 24-volt output wires to the Winegard feed and the 12-volt input to the refrigerator 12VDC supply line terminal block.
Fusing wasn’t necessary as the Vorcool converter has short circuit protection and the refrigerator 12-volt line is already fused. The RV fridge 12 VDC circuit is fused with a 15 amp fuse, so I felt the line had sufficient overhead to add a few more amps draw on it.
I also decided to add in an on/off switch to save power when we don’t need the WiFi booster running. To mount the switch I simply used a blob of silicone sealant.
Video Detailing the DC-DC Converter RV Mod
As you can see a DC to DC converter can be a great way to save a little power when dry camping. An amp here and an amp there all add up. The device was simple to install with the biggest worry being correct DC polarity easily managed with a multimeter.