Day camper

Jun 29, 2015
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I am thinking of converting a VW Caddy Maxi Life to a day van. It will just be used for days out, no sleeping needed. I want a compressor fridge and a leisure battery to run it and some led lights. I intend to tow a caravan with the vehicle and it will have a split charge relay to power the caravan 12 volt system for towing. Is it possible to also have a battery 2 battery charger to charge the on board leisure battery when not towing? or will the split charge relay do the job?
 
Sep 16, 2013
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Sounds a cool project (y)

Regarding charging the caravan battery and the vans leisure battery, I personally wouldn't charge both from a single split charge relay. The reason is, with different lengths of cable and (probably) different batteries, it likely wouldn't be as good as it should be.

If it were me I'd either use a B2B for the vans LB, or add a second split charge relay for it.

Good luck with your build.
 
Jun 8, 2012
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You could use a single relay to power both, but would need a decent size relay and cabling to ensure both got enough power. You could also run two relays, one for the towbar, one for the leisure battery.

Obviously, a B2B charger will be more efficient at charging, but will also be considerably more expensive and you may find it unnecessary for the modest requirement of just running the compressor fridge, depending on how much driving you do. TBH, you might get away with no alternator charging at all if you just charge it at home from the mains and only take days out.

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The Ex-Gasman
Jun 29, 2015
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Thanks for the fast replies, I don't intend to charge both at the same time, if I did I think I would need to upgrade the alternator, I will probably try the split charge relay first. I tend to go off grid so charging from EHU will not be possible, I may be able to get some solar on the roof. The idea is to tow the caravan to site they use the day van for trips out, but not driving for a long period so even a battery to battery charger may not be enough. I will have to check the usage, the fridge I'm looking at is portable so could be run off the caravan to get to temperature before the day out, that power should be made up from the solar on the caravan during the day, so probably the fridge would only be running for a few hours in the day van.

All this is only in my head at the moment, but any ideas on the project would be welcome.
 
Jun 28, 2020
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Check that the caravan dosen't already have a split charge system in place. The feed from a towbar would only normally be live when the ignition / engine is on.

Sterling Power 12V Battery to Battery Charger Maintainer BM12123

This might work?

Will trickle charge when engine is on.

Have you thought about getting a powerpack which you can plug into the lighter socket might be easier and cheaper?


Only 18amp though...

I have found that fridges use loads of juice.....

Cheers James

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The Ex-Gasman
Jun 29, 2015
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We are on our first trip away with the camping car, I didn''t fit a leisure battery and the fridge has been fine. Today I switched it on when we got up and as we left for the beach put a picnic and ice-cream in it. Several hours later after a long walk we came back to the car for the picnic, the car, which is black, was very hot inside btit the fridge was fine the freezer had gone up a bit and was at -12 deg but the ice-cream was still very cold. No problems starting the car after 5 hours with the fridge running off the car battery. The fridge runs at 60 watts and unless very hot will cycle at about 50% so approx 30watts. I need to re-arrange some of the car layout to make it easier to use but it's working well. We haven't made tea and only used the toilet once so far, but it is looking good.
 
Jun 28, 2020
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That's good..

Which fridge?

I'm thinking of getting the power pack up thread... It's on on offer at the local machine mart.

Cheers James
 
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The Ex-Gasman
Jun 29, 2015
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That's good..

Which fridge?

I'm thinking of getting the power pack up thread... It's on on offer at the local machine mart.

Cheers James
It's the only one at the price that I've seen which is a fridge freezer as opposed to a fridge or freezer which most are.

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Jun 28, 2020
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That is a beast. Where do you fit that in a caddy life??!!


Cheers James
 
Jun 28, 2020
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GreAt you found room for it.

I did contemplate getting a caddy maxi, how do you find camping in it?

I think you win on the refinement and loose in the space. I'm guessing it's all about what your used to..

Cheers James

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The Ex-Gasman
Jun 29, 2015
1,987
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Southampton
Funster No
36,999
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caravan (for now)
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on and off since 1984
GreAt you found room for it.

I did contemplate getting a caddy maxi, how do you find camping in it?

I think you win on the refinement and loose in the space. I'm guessing it's all about what your used to..

Cheers James
This is all due to us changing from the motorhome to a caravan, when we go on a trip we like to stay in one place for a few days and that is more suited to a caravan, so we sold the MOHO and got a caravan. However we then found we missed the MOHO as a day van when out walking etc. we only have one vehicle so any new car would have to be a daily drive, after looking at several including the Nissan Elgrand which would have been ideal but Japanese vans do not have a towing limit stated by the manufacturer which would mean we would possibly not be insured when towing the caravan, we settled on the VW Caddy Maxi Life and I intended to convert it to a day van. After we got it I realised that if I did we would not be able to put the extra seats back and we didn't really need a converted car, so now it is a picnic car. We have a camping stove, kettle etc. as well as the fridge freezer and a porta potty. We're keeping it like this for this year and may do a conversion in the future even thinking about a lift up roof. So far it suits us well as it is so I'm not sure how it will work out. If I do any major conversion I will post here.

Cheers John
 
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