6 Volt Bus Conversion to 12 Volt Charging Notes
by Joe Fournier
There was generally agreement on the following
points regarding a conversion to 12v from 6v (though not all who
responded to the mailing list poll addressed all
For many items, such as the clock, voltage drops
can be used.
- Wiring - doubtful that any wiring needs
to be replaced, as 6v systems tend to have more amperage pumped
through them than do 12v systems. amperage is really the deciding
factor, so I infer that a 12v replacement that draws more amperage
than the origian 6v item probably warrants consideration of whether
the wiring can handle the change.
- Bulbs - will be very bright and hot for
a short period of time, then they will cease to work. I infer that
there's a small risk of damage to nearby stuff as the bulbs
overheat (don't forget the e-signal bulb).
- Fuel sender - does not need to be
changed; it's a resistive element and the same elements were used
in 6v and 12v units.
- Fuel gauge - there were different gauges
for 6v and 12v buses. Dave Easterwood is certain you can run a 6v
gauge in a 12v bus; another respondent (Justin) confirmed that he
runs a 6v gauge and sender in his bus and it works fine. Lucky for
me, I have a spare 12v gauge, so it's a non-issue.
- Clock - running a 6v clock on 12v will
fry the points in the clock. (If you've never seen the inside of a
VW/VDO clock, they're simply elegant. They really are wind-up
clocks, wound every couple of minutes by a set of points making
contact. I picked one up at a junkyard a few weeks ago and was able
to fix it in less than an hour of tinkering (though I'd never seen
the inside of one before). I ain't no Eisenstein, they're just that
There are lots of other things I didn't ask
about because I think I know the answers. Please correct me if you
know I'm mistaken:
Wiper assembly - 6v runs very fast,
putting extra stress on bushings and in many cases eventually
frying the assembly.
Starter - 6v winds up fast, but again,
often dies an earlier death if run on 12v.
Radio - 6v run on 12v would fry almost
immediately. Use a voltage drop or upgrade to something better than
an AM radio. ;)
Switches - shouldn't have a problem,
except if they have bulbs, which need to be changed per
Generator - specific to 12v or 6v - don't
One more thing...I THINK I can run a 12v radio
by tapping juice from 2 6v batteries in series. I know I'll have to
do this in such a way as to isolate the power between them, but I
think this is similar to the issue of how you run an auxiliary
battery. Since I have a 6v gas heater that I'll consider installing
at some point, a second battery is a real likelihood for