Charlotte's Twelve Volt Titivation!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by CandC, May 28, 2015.

  1. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    When I bought Charlotte, our 1986 Renault trafic autosleeper, I knew that she needed a fair bit of TLC. I've been trying to do things in order of priority as time and money allowed. My first job, a year ago was to sort out a couple of leaks which I managed with some hints from members here, the plastic cover from an old outside light and a tube of sikaflex (great stuff!)

    Next on the agenda was to service the engine. I treated her to all new filters, new oil and tweaked her carburettor and she ran a lot better.

    Last year, Charlotte was used mainly as a day van, but this year we have quite a few trips planned. As she passed the dreaded MOT with no advisories, I've decided to rework the habitation electrics completely and to share that rework with others in the hope it may help some and interest others.

    More to follow as soon as I've opened a well deserved beer ;)
     
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  2. ianhyslop

    ianhyslop Funster

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    Well done , keep up the good work .in fact have two beers .
     
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  3. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Because this is quite a big project for me, I want to get it right so have done a shed load of research on 12v electrics in motorhomes. As others have said before, the £10 spent on membership here is the best tenner I've ever spent!

    Our main trip this year will be two weeks in the highlands of Scotland, mostly wilding, so no hookup. When we are away, we will only be staying in the same place for one or two nights at a time. There's only a little bit of flat space on the roof so I've opted to go for the biggest panel which would fit at 60W alongside a split charge system and two leisure batteries: again the biggest that space would allow.

    After much deliberation I bought a 75AH and a 110AH battery from go outdoors, a 60W solar kit from www.sunstore.co.uk and a split charge relay and all the gubbins to wire it together from www.altecautomotive.co.uk as none of the kits fully met my needs. More to follow after beer number 2 (yet another useful suggestion from a funster!) (y)
     
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  4. rosalan

    rosalan Funster

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    I think you have made a good start by dealing with the most important matter first. Damp and rust are perhaps the nearest thing to death for a motorhome.
    Sorting out electrics may be an 'interesting' challenge, for I guess that previous owners may have added their own bits and pieces without recording any changes. Good luck and keep posting so we can all see and I hope learn from your experiences.
    Alan
     
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  5. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Keep up the good work(y)
    Oh think you deserve a third beer as well (y)
     
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  6. scotzsue

    scotzsue Funster

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    Sounds like a plan, should be plenty of power for a pvc.
     
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  7. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Yes, one of the most daunting aspects was trying to figure out what the previous owners had done.... I gave up trying to figure out why they had done some things when I saw that they had moved the leisure battery to under the same seat as the gas bottle!!! :eek: After a useful post from @Jaws , I decided to isolate everything previous owners had done battery side of the thankfully still standard autosleeper electrics. and start over.
     
  8. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    I apologise in advance for my deteriorating typing!! :beerchug:
     
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  9. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Don't worry.
    Mine is always this bad :LOL:
     
  10. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    I'll try to cover each aspect of the job and the components used in order, but if I miss anything or you want more details, please just ask. Because of the space and layout constraints, I decided to leave the gas bottle where it was under the rear near side seat. That would appear to be the original location as that compartment has a floor vent and the copper gas pipe starts there.

    The 75ah battery is already under the bonnet and, as you'll see from the photo was the biggest I could shoehorn in there! Oh and yes, the starter battery terminals need cleaning. All in due course ;)

    image.jpg
    The 110 AH battery will go under the rear offside passenger seat and be vented to the outside by tubing.

    Because of the fairly long cable runs, I'm using 110A cable throughout to minimise voltage drop and all will be protected by 100A fuses next to and both sides of each battery.

    The split charge stuff was supposed to arrive yesterday, but thanks to the courier messing up arrived today instead :( but it was still nice to see my shiny new toys :D
    image.jpg

    I had other plans made for today so couldn't spend as long as I wanted on it. I did, however, manage to make up the lead which will go between the starter battery, through the relay, to the first leisure battery.
    image.jpg

    The relay I chose is a 140A bi-directional voltage sensing relay which will charge the leisure batteries from the alternator when the engine is running and will also charge the starter battery from the solar or on hookup.

    image.jpg

    Well, that's it so far... Now I'm off to bed before someone tells me I deserve ANOTHER beer ! :hi:
     
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  11. irnbru

    irnbru Funster Life Member

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    Looking forward to reading your posts and hopefully picking up some knowledge along the way.
     
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  12. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Thank you Sue, we're not too demanding for power I think. We don't use an investor or TV so the biggest draw on the power is probably going to be the fan for the blown air heating. At some stage, I will be replacing all the lights with LED, which will be a help too.
     
  13. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    It's the fan on the heater that uses most of the energy (around 24 to 30 amps per day if heating on ALL the time!). In summer should not really be an issue however ;)

    And if you are 'vanning in the summer you won't be using the light bulbs much either!

    :D
     
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  14. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. :)

    I have learned so much from reading about different aspects of the project on here! So, like I said, if anyone wants any more info about anything I've done and why, please feel free to ask :)
     
  15. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Auto correct? :D
     
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  16. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Haha, yes.... that and no coffee yet after those three beers last night :D
     
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  17. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Thank you @chockswahay : although I was sure it would be our biggest draw, it's good to have it quantified, even if only roughly. So, with an absolute worst case scenario of the heating on all the time and drawing 30AH per day, no solar because it's winter and the panel's covered in snow and I don't move the van, I would still get 3 days before the batteries were down to 50% discharge.... NICE! :D
     
  18. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Whoa! steady there tiger ;) The total useable amps you have are the difference between 85% and 50% of your domestic batteries.

    Assuming you have 2 x 110 leisure batteries (?) then this would equate to 77 amps max useable (half this if only 1 leisure battery).

    My knowledge is limited on these matters but I think it is more or less along those lines.

    :)
     
  19. rosalan

    rosalan Funster

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    All going well I see. My only offering at this point would be to encourage the addition of LED lights. For years we would economise on the lights we had on, now even with a whole cluster switched on, they barely equal a single quartz halogens use of energy. LED's can be expensive and choosing the right colour matters, basically white for reading and warm for social. I only plug this point as it may allow you greater time to work inside the van, otherwise it could wait until later.
    Alan
     
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  20. CandC

    CandC Funster Life Member

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    Oh, I thought it would be 50% total... I guess the 85% is to give you a "safety buffer" type thingummybob for the batteries? Anyway... I should be out there, not in here typing. Hope to be giving you all an update later :)
     
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