Electrical (Inverter Setup)

Electrical (Inverter Setup)

June 14, 2015 Categories Camper Van

Today I worked on getting the electrical setup basically complete. I can’t fully finish it until I add paneling to the wall where the fuse box and solar charge controller get mounted, but both my AC and DC systems are operational. For anyone interested, I basically followed this guy‘s electrical system writeup to the tee. It’s very well written and even includes pretty pictures and diagrams. I think the only thing I did differently was use 12V AGM batteries and a 100 Amp breaker going to the DC fuse box.

First thing I did was connect my battery isolator and 50 Amp circuit breaker to my van battery power source (the big, red wire I ran the other day). There’s another 50 Amp breaker in the engine bay, so both sides of the long, red wire are protected.

Then I connected my battery ground wire directly to the van frame.

The last part of the isolator setup is connecting a trigger wire telling the isolator when the ignition is on. This wire just needs to be connected to any electrical component that is powered only when the vehicle’s ignition is in the ON position. When the isolator detects power coming from that wire, it opens up the circuit between the van battery and in-house batteries, allowing the in-house batteries to be charged while the van is running.

Next I connected the inverter to the batteries using a 150 Amp breaker. I also connected a ground wire, but forgot to take a picture of it.

Then I connected a 100 Amp breaker for my DC fuse panel to the batteries.

With my inverter connected to the batteries to supply my AC power and my DC circuit ready to supply power, I temporarily hooked up my fuse box to test out my DC circuits. I also plugged a power cord into the inverter to test if my AC power was working. I’m happy to say that both my DC and AC have power and everything seems to be working fine. The inverter only makes a small hum and I think once the lid and wall are on the power box, I won’t even be able to notice it. I didn’t take any pictures of my “testing” because the fuse panel is literally just sitting on the floor since I haven’t paneled the wall it’s getting mounted to.

One of the DC circuits I tested was my water pump. It was nice to finally see running water in the van.

Unfortunately, I discovered a small leak between the pump and the accumulator, but I already bought new plumbing parts to fix it. Somehow the PEX swivel elbow is letting water out. I tried tightening it, but that only made it worse (clearly I’m too strong for my own good; better eat more cookies). And yes, it’s the fitting that’s leaking, not the joint where the fitting connects to the pipe.

I need to panel the end of the bed tomorrow so I can get the fuse box and charge controller installed. Once I do that, I want to leave the inverter on with the fridge plugged in to see how long the batteries will last. I’ll also probably plug in a fan and leave a light turned on for a few hours to simulate a normal day’s usage. No matter what math you do to figure out your estimated power usage, it’s gonna be different in the real world.

 

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