Installing The 12v Electrics In My Van Conversion
I have never done any 12v wiring or know of much knowledge to do with it, but surprisingly it was quite easy to do and I believe anyone can install a 12v system in any van conversion themselves with a little patience and internet research. Hopefully this post will help you with your personal 12v system.
My van needs to be able to sustain power being off grid for short and long periods of time while travelling round Europe, I will be wild camping most of the time so I won’t have access to main hookups for power but this is were having a solar panel and split charge relay helps.
Electric items used
- 2x 230v Leisure batteries
- 200 watts solar panel
- 30amp charge controller
- 3x 12way fuse boxes
- 16mm red and black wire
- 2.5mm red and black wire
- Mains hookup kit
- 1500w Power inverter
- Split charge relay kit
- Isolator switches
- 7 Recessed spot lights
- Smart charger
I planned roughly were all the electrics will be going at the start of the project, this is so I could run all the wires behind the walls and ceiling.
Over time I purchased all my electrical parts piece by piece and stored them in my box so when it came to installing the 12v electric system I wouldn’t have to wait for anything from the postman.
Most of the electrics will be stored under the bed.
- 2x 230Amp leisure Batteries (underneath other section of bed)
- Isolator switches
- 12 Way Fuse Box
- Split Charge Relay
- Pure Shine Power Inverter
- Mains Hookup
- Battery Charger
- Charge Controller
- Plug socket and 2x 12v sockets
Battery size (AH) is all personal preference but for me personally having BIG size batteries is a must so I can run all my appliances for a longer period time without the worry of them running out, especially as ile be off grid.
In my van I have two 230AH pleasure batteries, That is a Total of 460AH. For a lot of people this is way too much power if only using your camper van on weekends or short getaways. As I said before its all personal preference.
Both the batteries are stored under the main part of the bed and sit perfectly without any movement so there was no need to fix them to the bed or floor.
Both positive and negative are wired together using 16mm wire and then connected to the 12way fuse box via a 30amp fuse and isolator switch.
The control board is where all the electrics in the van are connected to and have easy access for any problems, such as blown fuse.
A power inverter is designed to convert 12v to 240v, this will allow me to power items with normal household plugs such as laptop, lamps or hairdryer. My power inverter has a rated power of 1500watts, this means it can’t run any appliance higher than 1500watts. The higher the watts the more expensive the inverter will be.
It connects straight to the 12way fuse box on the control board and the output is connected to a multiple plug socket. Having it connected to this enables me for future ideas/upgrades.
Mains Hookup/Battery Charger
The mains hookup will be barely used as the batteries will be getting charged most of the time from the 200watt solar panel on the roof, But its handy to have a mains hookup just incase I ever need it.
The mains hookup power inlet socket (waterproof) will be installed underneath the van but easily accessible, this is because I want the van to look slightly stealthy from the outside and I really don’t want to be cutting more holes in the vans.
The battery charger is always plugged in to the mains hookup so when I go to use the mains hookup the battery charger will automatically turn on and charge the batteries.
Yes its upside down, but when you look at it from above its the right way up 😀
Split Charge Relay
The split charge relay is designed to charge my leisure batteries when the vehicle is running. It simply connects between the vehicle battery and leisure battery.
When the engine starts the relay detects the high voltage from the alternator and then starts to charge the vehicle and leisure batteries at the same time, when the engine turns off so will the relay because of the voltage drop, this way the vehicle battery won’t drain.
I purchased a cheap 30amp smart com relay kit off eBay but as its only 30amp so I purchased a 100amp relay also so I could get a higher ampage going through to the leisure batteries.
The wire from van battery connects to smart com and then connects to the 100amp relay and then to the two leisure batteries.
Extra Fuse Boxes
I have a fuse box under the kitchen cupboard that my powers the kitchen 12v sockets, water pump and plenty has room for plenty of room for future upgrades. This fuse box is powered from my leisure batteries.
I also have a fuse box inside the tall Cupboard beside the bed. This powers the tv and antenna. Again there is plenty of room for future upgrades.
I hope this post has helped some people who may be struggling with the electric section of your build or just given you some inspiration/ideas. As usual any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.