This weekend, we started running cables and mounting components so we can get the electrical systems hooked up. We already have the solar panels on the roof, and the battery fitted under the passenger seat. We also have a fair amount of conduit routed through the side panels of the van so we can run cable from front to back (e.g. from the fusebox to the ceiling lights or rearmost USB sockets).
Nothing at this stage is fixed, but we need to commit to some decisions so we can continue the build. So it’s a delicate balancing act of deciding where things should go, while leaving options for us to change our minds. In practical terms, that means:
- Making prototype mounting boards and boxes for components roughly out of MDF to test out placement and design before rebuilding them properly in nicer plywood.
- Making some educated guesses about where we want wires to emerge, and cutting cables to length.
- Wherever possible running wires – cut to a generous length – through conduit so we have some flexibility in exactly how we place the end components (lights, sockets, appliances, etc.).
Our electrical system starts in the area immediately behind the cab. It’s something of a no-mans land that in many conversions would just be wasted space. We’re hoping this will be a space-efficient placement. The main elements are:
- Leisure battery in the passenger bench seat base (with space for a second battery in the other half of this seat base if we need to expand)
- Solar controller on a board mounted to back of passenger seat base (with space for some other components we might add later, such as a battery-to-battery changer, inverter, or mains power charger)
- 12V fusebox and distribution mounted to back of driver’s seat base.
By separating the ‘power in’ (solar, alternator, shore/hookup power) and ‘power out’ (12V circuits) into 2 areas, we have more space to mount components without intruding into the main living space of the van.
Meanwhile, the insulation installation continues, as we desperately try to clear our house of bulky building materials.