Electrical Guidance to Conversion Newbie (1 Viewer)

Mike-1607

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Hi all,

I have recently purchased a Fort Transit Custom and am currently in the process of converting it to a day van. I don't have big illustrious plans with the van, I would just like to be able to stay in it for a couple of nights at a time.

I have just completed the full insulation and vapour lining of the van, in addition to having a couple of windows being installed. I am now looking to construct the carcass structure of the bed and cupboards, while installing my electrical system.

I am new to electrics and am becoming confused as to what components I will require for my build. If anyone is able to advise, it would be greatly appreciated. I have purchased a Sterling B2B charger and am looking to purchase the rest of the equipment that I will require for my system.

I have produced a basic sketch of what I am planning, if anyone can offer suggestions on how to achieve this, it would be great.

upload_2018-10-30_8-59-35.png


Many thanks,

Mike
 
Mar 23, 2012
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My electrical knowlege isn't great but is the battery really 1200wh and why agm? If the starter battery and leisure are a long way apart I think you will need some serious cables.
 
Jan 28, 2008
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batteries are usually rated in amphours 1200 ah would be six huge or 12 normal batteries most vans would have between 90 and 200ah ie one or two .Im not sure what your asking for there are lots of diagrams out on the web just remember to fuse everything and to get wire sizes correct
Unless your traveling everyday you will need either a mains battery charger or solar to recharge batteries .having said that you can probably get two nights out of a single battery with a couple of hours tv No space heating?
 
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Mike-1607

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Hi,

I purchased a B2B kit from Simply Split charge with a 4m cable run. I will be dropping this to about 1.2m due to where I plan to install the battery.

Regarding the battery, I had a little look in to it and found that (for me) the AGM was a good way to go. Lithium is out of my price range and I didn't want the gasses from the liquid type. If I am wrong then please advise. As said, I have very little knowledge in this area.

Here is the link to the battery I have been looing at:

https://www.halfords.com/motoring/b...ure-batteries/halfords-leisure-battery-hlb800

Thanks

Mike
 

TheBig1

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agm batteries are really not suited to what you suggest. many people have had early failure issues with agm and sla are much cheaper to buy

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Jan 28, 2008
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sealed lead acid will do what you want if it its just a small tube down through the floor to vent them i think it was hymer who were fitting agm and then went back to lead acid as the failure rate was high
bettter battery here Amazon product ASIN B008OHXDTGyou can probably get one cheaper thats the first one i searched for
 

pappajohn

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Even car manufacturers are back peddling on AGM batteries for their engine stop/start systems due to short life and early failure.
Another 2 or 3 years they will be hard to find.

Go for regular lead acid batteries and vent through the floor.
It only needs a small hole so the vent tube is a tight fit.
 

pappajohn

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No heating
No cooking
No hot water for washing
No kettle for hot drinks

Your gonna love living like that.

Just wondering why that leisure battery data shows cold cranking amps 850amps

I reckon it's a re-labelled starter battery.

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Mike-1607

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Oct 30, 2018
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I was just looking for some friendly advice on wiring. Not sarcasm.

No heating - portable gas fed camping heater
No cooking - 2nr gas fed hobs
No hot water for washing - water heater to be installed below sink
No kettle for hot drinks - camping kettle heated through gas stove

The van is for single night stays when on mountain biking trips.

Cheers for the battery advice though :gum:
 

pappajohn

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I was just looking for some friendly advice on wiring. Not sarcasm.

No heating - portable gas fed camping heater
No cooking - 2nr gas fed hobs
No hot water for washing - water heater to be installed below sink
No kettle for hot drinks - camping kettle heated through gas stove

The van is for single night stays when on mountain biking trips.

Cheers for the battery advice though :gum:
Sorry, it wasn't sarcasm, it was realism.
Maybe if you had said what your intended use was going to be the answer may have been more useful.
As there was no mention of any other energy use it could only be assumed it was going to be one step up from a mattress in the back of a van.
 

TheBig1

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if you don't like sarcasm or other humour, you will hate being on this forum. your'e not a snowflake perchance?
 

andy63

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if you don't like sarcasm or other humour, you will hate being on this forum. your'e not a snowflake perchance?
Thats a bit out of order imho... the lad wants some advice...which is more likely to encourage him to stop ..

So the battery to battery charger is a good choice for his intended use..
If you dont intend installing any mains hook up facilities and a mains charger or any other means of charging your battery then a second battery might be handy if you are more than one night away...
Its always a good idea to get your batteries brought back to full charge asap after using them and the smart mains chargers do that job best..

When running in your 12v systems like lighting , power , pump etc i think it pays to bring your negatives back to the fuse box... rather than using chassi returns... easier to check faults if things go wrong..may be what you intended but some think it saves on wiring costs..

I would come back with specific questions if you have any , because basically you intend a fairly simple set up..
Andy
 

DBK

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My electrical knowlege isn't great but is the battery really 1200wh and why agm? If the starter battery and leisure are a long way apart I think you will need some serious cables.
1200wh is 100Ah at 12 volts. Strictly speaking watt hours are a more accurate way of defining the power in a battery as it is a measure which is voltage independent. However, amp hours are what seems to be more widely used. :)

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DBK

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Hi all,

I have recently purchased a Fort Transit Custom and am currently in the process of converting it to a day van. I don't have big illustrious plans with the van, I would just like to be able to stay in it for a couple of nights at a time.

I have just completed the full insulation and vapour lining of the van, in addition to having a couple of windows being installed. I am now looking to construct the carcass structure of the bed and cupboards, while installing my electrical system.

I am new to electrics and am becoming confused as to what components I will require for my build. If anyone is able to advise, it would be greatly appreciated. I have purchased a Sterling B2B charger and am looking to purchase the rest of the equipment that I will require for my system.

I have produced a basic sketch of what I am planning, if anyone can offer suggestions on how to achieve this, it would be great.

View attachment 264492

Many thanks,

Mike
I can't see anything wrong with what you are planning but I would suggest some sort of instrumentation to tell you what is happening with the electrics will give you peace of mind. Our van has a NASA BM-1 Compact but Victron also do something similar. They aren't cheap and you can get much cheaper versions off ebay if you want to try that route.

If you plan longer trips a solar panel would be very useful, say 150W. They are not a lot of use in the depths of winter but I suspect your power usage won't be high.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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If it is possible (and it may not be) group high current devices (batteries, chargers, pump, fridge (if fitted), and main earth point close to each other. If it isn't possible plan on substantial cable from the start. The main earth point should otherwise be central to the items mentioned - which in your case is close to the leisure battery. The control panel will only require a substantial earth connection back to the main earth point if it includes a mains charger otherwise, assuming it's simply switches, fuses, and possibly meters, a normal size of wire is all that's needed. As a way of imagining connections start by connecting everything to the main earth point. Run switched and fused +12v feeds to each device entirely separate from the earths already installed.
 
Jan 28, 2008
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Thats a bit out of order imho... the lad wants some advice...which is more likely to encourage him to stop ..

So the battery to battery charger is a good choice for his intended use..
If you dont intend installing any mains hook up facilities and a mains charger or any other means of charging your battery then a second battery might be handy if you are more than one night away...
Its always a good idea to get your batteries brought back to full charge asap after using them and the smart mains chargers do that job best..

When running in your 12v systems like lighting , power , pump etc i think it pays to bring your negatives back to the fuse box... rather than using chassi returns... easier to check faults if things go wrong..may be what you intended but some think it saves on wiring costs..

I would come back with specific questions if you have any , because basically you intend a fairly simple set up..
Andy
what is wrong with chassis earths my van starts on that system
 
Jan 28, 2008
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any connection can corrode or burn out it the fault with using chassis return i was querying

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DBK

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any connection can corrode or burn out it the fault with using chassis return i was querying
Chassis return works of course, it is still widely used and saves a few pennies but it isn't perfect. You won't find it being used in aircraft for example.
 
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Knowing how things get shaken and bashed around inside a van thats being used only occasionally I would always prefer to run sheathed twin cable as I build it. The cost isnt that great especially if the system is a simple one but the sheathing will reduce the chances of blown fuses and the earths will all come back to one carefully prepared point. Make sure that you get the right size cables bearing in mind their length between the batteries. If you are using it to go biking then it might stand around about a bit whilst you are out enjoying yourself so I would add a solar panel around 100watts to help keep the battery charged . Lead acid will be fine provided you vent it as said. Also be careful about gas bottles they MUST be in a vented compartment. If you are going for simplicity then perhaps the water pump is the most power hungry so you might consider, as we do using a 5ltr container for drinking water perhaps with a pump dispenser top.
Have fun

Mike & Ann
 

andy63

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what is wrong with chassis earths my van starts on that system
So does mine (y)
Its my preferred method of wiring up the hab systems of the vans ive converted ..
Easily accessible back at the fuse box on one good solid connection compared to burying many returns aroubd the van body that gets built over and become inaccessible, much easier to check any subsequent faults...
Andy.
 
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Apr 27, 2016
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Regarding the battery, I had a little look in to it and found that (for me) the AGM was a good way to go. Lithium is out of my price range and I didn't want the gasses from the liquid type.
You could go for a Gel battery. It is a recombinant valve-sealed type like AGM, with the acid electrolyte in gel form instead of being absorbed into a fibreglass mat. They seem to have a better reputation than AGM, and work best with a special Gel setting on the B2B to give the optimum charging profile.

They are more expensive than standard sealed Lead-acid batteries. On the other hand they can be discharged down to 20% charge level, in contrast to sla which you should not discharge to much below 50% on a regular basis.

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Apr 27, 2016
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I notice you have a couple of USB outlets. I used to think they were a great idea, but I've gone off them recently.

First, they are usually limited in output, and struggle to charge the latest smartphones. I bought a couple of cigarette-lighter plug USB chargers 'Quick-charge 3', which are much faster than built-in ones, even the 2.4 amp ones. I can easily buy better to replace them if they go out of date in a year or two. I installed two double USB sockets, but I rarely use them now, and have added more 12V sockets for USB adaptors.

Secondly the built-in ones draw a small current even when off, so if you do fit them, wire them through a switch to turn them off.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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You'll need a battery isolator switch and a suitable fuse mounted just next to the battery. The fuse should be able to pass the amps from the B2B charger, as that will probably be the largest current in the system. 30 amp or 60 amp I would guess.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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what is wrong with chassis earths my van starts on that system
Not a lot but for the leisure system there is good reason to avoid multiple earth points. It is very difficult to explain if you don't have a pretty good understanding of current flow throughout the vehicle (and if I sound patronising I'm genuinely sorry). The best system is a single (if possible - if not more than one linked by heavy cable) earth point with one connection to chassis.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Knowing how things get shaken and bashed around inside a van thats being used only occasionally I would always prefer to run sheathed twin cable as I build it. The cost isnt that great especially if the system is a simple one but the sheathing will reduce the chances of blown fuses and the earths will all come back to one carefully prepared point. Make sure that you get the right size cables bearing in mind their length between the batteries. If you are using it to go biking then it might stand around about a bit whilst you are out enjoying yourself so I would add a solar panel around 100watts to help keep the battery charged . Lead acid will be fine provided you vent it as said. Also be careful about gas bottles they MUST be in a vented compartment. If you are going for simplicity then perhaps the water pump is the most power hungry so you might consider, as we do using a 5ltr container for drinking water perhaps with a pump dispenser top.
Have fun

Mike & Ann
Using twin seems logical but it makes the earth runs far longer than they need to be because the earths will need to go back to the fuse point or switch when there is no need for them to do so. Especially if the battery and fuse panel are well separated.
 

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