The Switching Power of
12 Volt Batteries

In the Global Peace Hut in Dewe, East Africa, DC powered computers utilizing 12 volt batteries run efficiently. Although about as far off the grid as possible, these and other important pieces of equipment run off 12 volts produced from solar energy.

This is a component of a new wave in technology. It relies on the sun instead of complicated equipment to produce the electric voltage it needs to power even the most basic of equipment. Wind turbines and waterpower (micro-hydro) can also produce a variety of voltages including 12 volts.

In general, a power supply, commonly known as switching power supplies, relies upon switcher technology. This converts an alternating current (AC) input into the lower direct current voltages, or DC. The most common types of voltage this technology produces are 3.3 volts, 5 volts and 12 volts. Solar energy, however, is produced in panels as DC only. It requires conversion into AC, as required.

What Do Batteries Do?

To store the energy produced by any of these sources, you'll need a battery or several (a battery bank). Essentially a battery is a series of cells capable of storing electrical energy. Each of these cells converts energy into power or power into energy.

Different batteries require or produce different voltage. A typical RV battery, for example, consists of a 12-volt storage battery system. Such a system has its own fuses, wiring, power sources and receptacles. Battery banks are required by all utility systems, either stand-alone or interface.

What are the Basic Types?

The two basic types of batteries are single use and rechargeable. They may be a shallow cycle or a deep cycle 12 volt battery. Storage capacity matters in selecting the type of battery you require for your power system. If it's for renewable energy, you should go for rechargeable, recyclable and shallow cycle.

What Can 12 Volts Do?

The appearance of a 12 volt battery varies. It may be large or small. Unlike many batteries, it does not come in a standard shape or size. Yet, in spite of its shape, a 12 volt battery is capable of accomplishing many different tasks. These include:

  • Run a car
  • Run a truck or an RV (In fact 12-volt batteries are most commonly used in performing transportation activities.)
  • Power the motor of a computer's fan and disks
  • Power Led lights, and 12 volt bulbs

If your system output for voltage is either 12V or 24V, you'll probably require a 12V or 6V battery.


Batteries alone, or as part of a battery bank, are used to store energy for current and future use. They can stock up power from the sun as well as other sources to use when the system is unable to supply power directly. Batteries are available in different volts, such as 6V and 12V. And, in my humble opinion, batteries are one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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