I’m quite happy today. The She-Beast’s electrical system is installed and I’m currently testing it to see how long the batteries will last in a real-world environment with what I expect is my average daily usage. The fridge is plugged in and running, I ran the microwave for three minutes, I have the main lights on, I have a fan running, and I have my iHome plugged in, though I only played music for about an hour earlier. I started testing just after 4pm today and I’m hoping everything will easily run until tomorrow at 4pm, but ideally it *should* run for a couple days or longer. Nothing is charging the batteries right now, so this should give me a good idea of how long I can go without driving or having a lot of sunlight to give the batteries more juice.
Before I started on the electrical, I fixed my water leak by remaking the small connection between my water pump and accumulator. After running the water for a couple minutes to test it, I noticed the connection on the other side of the accumulator had a slight drip, so undid the connection, added new plumber’s tape, and put it back together. I tested again for a couple minutes and both sides appear to be leak free. I kept some water in the tank and left the lines pressurized all day without any leaks that I can see.
Then I got to work on the electrical. First thing I did was put a board around the floor drawer to bring the raised floor out and even with the end of the drawer box. There will be another board on top of this one to make the drawer face flush with the step.
I added some strips of wood as spacers to bring the end of the bed out and even with the board I just added.
Next I built the panel that the fuse box and charge controller mount in and cut out the openings for both. I also drilled some holes for a DC outlet, a two port USB charger, and a battery voltage meter.
Then I stained the paneling and put my fuse panel in place. As you can see, I have five AC circuit breakers; one 20 Amp main breaker that cuts off power to all other circuits, a 15 Amp for the fridge and outlet above the stove, 15 Amp for the microwave, a 15 Amp for the rear storage outlet, and another 15 Amp for the outlet built into the rear of the fuse box. I have 11 DC circuits, but don’t have the fuse installed for the propane alarm since I don’t have the alarm connected yet and I don’t want a live wire just sitting there. The large, gaping hole that’s still open is where the charge controller for my solar panel goes.
One of the neat things I added was this three hub DC panel I picked up off eBay. It has a two port USB charger on top, a battery voltage meter in the middle, and a regular DC outlet on the bottom. Particularly, I love the voltage meter because it lets you quickly and easily see how much charge you have left in the batteries.
Here’s a peek inside the power and battery boxes. I still have to drill a hole in the bottom of the battery box for fresh air and add my battery tie down plate.
Here’s my microwave, plugged in and clock set. I heated some water in a bowl for three minutes to test it out. The battery voltage meter dropped about 0.5 volts while the microwave was running, then returned to normal once it stopped. I also tested my USB outlets with a small fan and plugged a slightly larger fan into the rear storage outlet and left it on.
My van is now fancier than two of the homes I lived in during 1995 and 1996, as it has both running water and electrical. Those are two luxuries I think most people take for granted.