I’m about to buy an ex-MoD Wolf, with 24v electrics. I’m an amateur radio operator and want to use the vehicle as my mobile radio shack. And there's the problem – most kit is 12-15 volts.
How do I convert from 24v to 12v? Is a step-down transformer between the battery supply and fusebox a good idea?
I’m also considering changing all the lights to LED – what’s the best way to go about this?
Frank Baker, Attenborough, Notts
A transformer will only work on AC – so, unfortunately, it won’t work on your 24v DC vehicle. But you do have some options:
- For about £50, buy a 110AH leisure battery, run it on that and recharge when you get home.
- Fit a second alternator to go with your leisure battery – a 65A A127 would be fine.
- Use a couple of 24v-12v inverters from a truck rated at 10A.
While it’s not a megadifficult job to turn the whole vehicle from 24v to 12v, as some of the equipment is already 12v, it’s certainly time-consuming. Also, leaving it at 24v keeps the vehicle original, which will boost its resale value if you ever decide to sell. So, my choice would be the second alternator or the inverters.
LED bulbs are available in 12/24v versions – but you may have problems with the indicators, because a ballast may be needed to keep the flasher unit happy. Make sure the ballast is for 24v, because it’ll be a different value to one for a 12v system.
This workshop advice appeared in the January 2016 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.