How to Power a 12 Volt Radio While Camping Outdoors

How to Power a 12 Volt Radio While Camping OutdoorsTwelve-volt power is increasingly common around the campsite. There are several methods of generating 12-volt power for radios and other electronic devices. The power can be captured from your vehicle or generated at the actual campsite. Generating power is not ideal for campsites that require hiking to reach. The radio combined with the power source is a heavy weight to carry. The 12-volt radio can be powered for many hours with a small battery or a solar charger.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Plug a 12-volt adapter into the cigarette lighter or power source for your vehicle. The 12-volt outlet is located on the dash of most vehicles. The power is connected to the vehicle battery that will only recharge when the vehicle is running.
Step 2
Plug the radio into a portable solar charger that has a 12-volt power outlet. If the solar charger does not have a 12-volt outlet, adapters are available. Place the solar panels in the sun and run the radio during the day. The radio will continue to work when the panel is not charged but the portable panel energy storage is limited.
Step 3
Plug the radio into a 12-volt battery booster. The battery booster has a variety of functions. It can charge your car battery, be charged from the car battery and power 12-volt appliances and electronics with the stored energy.
Step 4
Plug the 12-volt radio into a fuel-powered generator. Be sure the generator has a regulator to control the output of 12-volt energy. Use a 12-volt adapter if the generator does not have a 12-volt power outlet.
Step 5
Plug the radio into power outlets that have regulators for 12-volt energy. Outlets that have more than 12 volts will cause the radio to short and potentially cause permanent damage.

Tips & Warnings

Use a fuel-powered generator if you have multiple appliances and electronics that require power. The fuel guarantees you will have power throughout the duration of your trip.
Do not use power from your vehicle battery if you do not have a method of jump starting the vehicle. The battery may be too low to start the vehicle and you can become stranded.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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