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My gokart motor is being controlled by a motor controller from 2x12v motorbike batteries wired in serial (24v).

I also need to power some other electronics (led strip) using 12v DC.

My initial test was to reduce the 24v back to 12v using a linear voltage regulator. But it generates too much heat and waste.

My next step is to go and buy a buck step down converter but before I do I wanted to ask the following basic question.

How can I draw from one of the 12v batteries for the LEDs while also drawing 24v in series for the gokart motor?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Buck from 24V is better than loading each battery differently. (A third, smaller battery is another option) \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Aug 4, 2021 at 14:33

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The simple answer is that you just connect the electronics across one of the two batteries. If the electronics needs a common ground with everything else, that would be the battery whose negative terminal is connected to ground.

But unless the current you want to draw is very small, this may cause problems. That battery will run flat faster as it's now driving two things. This unbalances the two batteries, and can cause damage to the battery that goes flat first.

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It is better to cut the strip in half and wire it in series for 24V so as to balance the load to both batteries.

Otherwise, you will degrade the life of your batteries without a BMS protection.

For 5V or digitally controlled LEDs, use a buck step-down converter from 24V to the required output operating voltage. These are inexpensive boards online. (E.g. Banggood, Amazon) that meet or exceed your load demand.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sadly I can’t do that as the led strip has its own integrated controller with flashing modes and a remote control that my son wants to use \$\endgroup\$ Aug 4, 2021 at 11:48

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