Recessed Lights / Battery Cable

Recessed Lights / Battery Cable

June 12, 2015 Categories Camper Van

This morning I decided to get all my recessed LED lights installed. There are a total of five of these lights in the van and each light has its own on/off switch. I bought these lights as reading or personal lights, not to illuminate the entire van (that’s what the LED strip lights are for).

I also tested them out to make sure everything worked. The lights can tilt side to side, so I positioned them to tilt forward or backward, not left to right, as I want them to stay focused on the “personal” space. They’re plenty bright enough to allow you to read a book or whatever else you’d wanna do.

Next up, I decided to tackle my list item of getting the battery cable ran. This cable connects my van battery to my in-house batteries so that I can charge my in-house batteries as I drive, as well as via solar or city hookups. There will be a battery isolator installed so that the van battery only provides power to the in-house batteries when the van is running, as I don’t want my van battery to get drained down. I’m using 0 gauge wire, and as you can see, it’s about as thick as my finger. I didn’t actually measure it, but the roll was supposed to be 25′ long and I used the entire roll.

I installed one of the lugs before I installed the wire. Being that this is a massive wire, you have to solder the lugs on with a torch. You can crimp the lugs on, but pretty much everything I read or watched said to just solder them. This was my first time messing with cable this thick, so I educated myself by searching Youtube for examples. First, you have to strip back enough of the wire shielding for the lug to fit on, roughly 3/8″; I cut mine off using a utility knife. Then you apply a coat of flux over all of the exposed wire, including the very end. The flux will help the solder be absorbed into the copper wiring. After that, you slide the lug on, making sure not to have any stray wires hanging out, and begin heating it up with a torch. I bought a small, propane plumbing torch for this. You’re supposed to keep the blue part of the flame down to about an inch. When you hear the flux crackle, you can start feeding in the solder. It takes quite a bit and you keep adding it until it forms a nice pool on the very end of the wire. Once the wire cools, you can slip on the rubber booty to cover the lug or add some heat shrink if your lugs didn’t come with a rubber booty. Although my first lug seems to be held on really secure, it did not turn out as “pretty” as my follow-on ones.

In order to get the wire from the engine compartment to the rear of the van, I had to drill a hole through my firewall. Finding a good place to do this was a task upon itself. There’s not a lot of room under a van’s hood and I ended up taking off the engine cover inside the van to make sure the spot I found wasn’t gonna hit something on the other side of the firewall. Once I had my spot chosen and my hole drilled, I fed the lug end of the wire through the hole and out next to my battery. I’m not hooking it all up until I’m ready to connect my batteries, I’m just getting everything in place today. Then I slowly started tucking the wire away so it doesn’t get damaged. It goes from the firewall, up the dash, follows the trim up and along the door, goes over my dividing wall, along the top of the side doors, and then finally down to my battery box. The wire that’s still showing inside the cab will end up being covered by the headliner material and the wire along the side doors will be hidden behind wood paneling that I’ve been waiting to install until after I got this wire ran.

Since I had the torch out, I made a couple shorter wires. One is to connect to the van battery, which then connects to a 50 Amp breaker, and then connects to the long stretch of wire. The shorter of the two is for the opposite side, connecting to the in-house batteries, then to a 50 Amp breaker, then to my battery isolator, then to the long stretch of wire. I ran out of solder, so I couldn’t make the shortest of the wires I need to connect the battery isolator to the 50 Amp breaker. I also have to solder up my grounding wire.

My cousin just bought a house, so I cut out a little early to help move stuff and paint… and eat pizza. Mostly eat pizza. I didn’t get home until 1am, that’s why I didn’t post this yesterday (June 12th). I won’t be getting anything done on the van today, as I’m going back out there to help paint and continue moving junk.

One thought on “Recessed Lights / Battery Cable”

Clara · June 15, 2015

I would just like to say my stuff isnt junk! I greatly appreciated your help and all of your breaks!

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