Top 10 Applications for 12 Volt DC Lighting That Will Surprise You

July 25, 2016

Top 10 Applications for 12 Volt DC Lighting That Will Surprise You

In our last article, we have learned about top DC 24 volt lighting applications, and how it affects our everyday lives.

As with 24 volt lighting, its younger brother, the 12 volt lighting also have many applications inseparable to our day to day activities, whether we realize it or not.

Below are some of the most notable applications for DC 12 volt lightings, in no particular order:

10. Landscape Lighting

12 volt lighting are widely popular for landscape use. When tending our gardens, mostly metal equipment such as a spade and gardening scissors as well as many others are used, thus using 12 volt led lights are safer than AC counterparts.

Today's trend of landscaping where bulbs and lamps tend to be hidden also popularize the 12 volt lightings, which typically have smaller appearances.

Even more, if you live in a mostly sunny area, utilizing solar power panels to power up those 12 volt lightings will be a blast!If no solar power can be utilized, most landscape 12 volt lighting system used a transformer or driver. Commonly, 12 volt lightings used for landscape purpose will have GU4 or GU5.3 fittings.Check out this video tutorial for installing low-voltage landscape lighting here.

9. Fishing Boat Light Source 

12 volt LED lights have seen a surge of use on fishing boats over the past five years. Not only because of power efficiency, durability, and its long lifespan of over 40,000 hours even when underwater, 12 volt LED lights have been proven to be an effective bait for fishes. According to Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, this phenomenon is caused by the movements of plankton that are attracted to the light. The fishes, in turn, follow the plankton (their food source), seemingly attracted to the light itself.

12 volt LED lights for fishing use are mainly of white or green color, because of their long wavelength that can penetrate water better than other colors.

8. Mining Exploration Lighting

12 volt lighting is widely used in the mining industry, where the harsh condition often requires lights with mobility such as the flashlight, LED lantern, miner's light (the one attached to the helmet), LED signal bar, and many other forms.

With a relatively bright and wide light produced for such power-efficient and mobile lighting, the 12 volt LED lighting are popular, especially during mining exploration phase.

7. Ferry Boat Lighting System

A ferry boat utilizes 12 volt lighting for both its interior and exterior use. The exterior usage is actually exceptional because it is legally required for navigational safety by international marine laws.12 volt led lights are widely used for navigation because it's range of visibility and availability of different kinds of colors required by marine law.

For example, South Australia marine law require side lights to be red and starboard to always be green, as well as all-round lights to shine white in 360 degrees.The color-coding is important to determine the position and movement, ensuring the safety of the ferry.

6. Stage and Theatrical lighting

Theaters and Stages commonly used PAR (Parabolic Aluminium Reflector) lighting, where nowadays its 12 Volt variants are the most commonly used.This type of 12 volt lighting is commonly used because of its low cost and its ability to produce special effects such as pinpoint, precise spot lighting.

Low voltage 12 volt lighting produces a more concentrated beam than its AC counterparts, hence its popularity as theatrical lighting. PAR lighting typically use E26 or E27 fittings.12 volt tubular halogen bulbs are also widely used in stages and theaters, commonly used for "wash" light purpose to light up the entire stage.

5. Railway Train Lighting System


Trains and Railways famously used 12 V lighting bulbs for their interior lighting system, as well as for the exterior headlights and taillights. For the interior, many kinds of fittings can be used, like the GU4, or GU5.3, while the head and tail lights usually utilize 12 V lighting with BA15d or BA15s fittings.

Modern railways use high voltage AC and DC energy as their power source, which is then converted to DC by transformers for its motors and electricity use. With that being said, only DC lighting are applicable in trains, and 12 volt lighting being one of the most popular voltage choices.

4. Camp Site Lighting System

DC lamps are commonly used in large scale to light wide areas of camping sites. AC electricity is often not available on camp sites, which can be in the middle of a mountain or in the jungle. Therefore, commonly the main power source are DC generators, while newer sites utilized solar power.

It can be used for many purposes, from regular purpose lighting to light all the campsites, to lighting the stage for performance purposes, and many more. For the tents, a wire+clip fitting type can be used, while bigger lighting can use GU4 or GU5.3 fittings, or even E26/27 for the PAR bulbs if necessary.

3. Off The Grid Residential Lighting

Self-sustaining houses commonly use solar power generator as its main power source, and 12 Volt LED lights are the perfect pair for it.As with any house, the lightings can come in many types and sizes, but commonly it utilizes either E14, GU4 or GU5.3 fittings.

Check out our previous article about living off the grid here. And who said off-grid houses should be modest? Check out this amazing off-grid house designs with amazing lighting system here.

2. Plant Grow And Vegetation Lights

For the indoor farming purpose, 12 Volt LED lights are the popular choice because of their efficiency, durability, and the wide spectrum of lights needed for plants' growth.

Different light colors can aid in the vegetative stage to flowering stage, therefore making LED the ideal choice for a grow lamp.If you are planning to start an off-the-grid living, why not also start your indoor farming? Not only fun as heck, but it can also sustain your food needs and can also be an off-the-grid viable business. Check out this grow light tutorial by Fullbloom Hydroponics to get started.

1. The Flashlight

What is the most famous, one of the oldest, and most widely used 12 volt lighting invented by men?  Although it will be hard to track with so many types and kinds and long history, arguably it will be the flashlight! Has been around since the late 1800s, the flashlight has undergone major transformations and nowadays, they mostly use 12 volt LED lights.

Chances are, you already own one in your household, and it has been a lifesaver during blackouts and emergencies.

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