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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Many here have developed the electrical system for their van and purchased too little, too much, or bought components that are technically sophisticated and expensive. I will give you some guidance here for a basic 200 watt solar, 200+ Amp Hour storage, with basic interconnection to the van and to shore power, plus an inverter. Many of these components I have used in my van or used in previous RV’s or have worked with others who have them. This system will run a 3 cu ft compressor refrigerator, a 700 watt microwave, LED lights, chargers for all your electronic stuff, 14 volt TV and lots more. It will connect to the van’s alternator, can be plugged into an outlet at a campsite or at your home, and can provide sufficient power when boon-docking for unlimited days IF the sun shines, if not run the van to charge.

1. Batteries- 2- 6volt flooded Lead acid golf cart batteries from Sam’s club 215 Amp Hour rating made by West Penn a very reputable firm. $84 each I suggest you vent them. https://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-golf-car-battery-group-size-gc2/prod3590228.ip?xid=plp:product:1:1
Alternative- 2 similar AGM batteries- the cost will be $600 and they are not quite as long lived but you do not need to vent them. Venting saves $400

2. Solar- 2- 100 Watt Renogy monocrystiline Kit PWM controller which will be fine, kit includes lead in and connectors, [ame]https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Volts-Monocrystalline-Bundle/dp/B01N5L3V9Y/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1510364816&sr=8-14&keywords=renogy%2B100%2Bwatt%2Bsolar%2Bpanel&th=1[/ame]
Buy a 3’ length of 2” angle aluminum at Home Depot to mount them.
Alternative- buy 2 similar panels and a Tracer MPPT controller. You can add a third panel if you later find it is needed but I betting it won’t be.

3. Shore power/ breakers/fuses for 12 volt circuits- WFCO power center, get a 20 foot HD extension cord to lead in to it, buy breakers at H-D [ame]https://www.amazon.com/WFCO-WF-8735-P-Black-Power-Center/dp/B004LF14Q4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1510365319&sr=8-3&keywords=wfco%2B35%2Bamp%2Bpower%2Bconverter&th=1[/ame]

4. Interconnection to your van starting battery- Stinger 80 amp battery isolator. [ame]https://www.amazon.com/Stinger-SGP38-80-AMP-Battery-Isolator/dp/B001HC6UJ0/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1510365499&sr=1-2&keywords=stinger+battery+isolator[/ame]
I recommend a small switch to deactivate the interconnect most of the time.

5. Wire- http://assets.bluesea.com/files/resources/newsletter/images/DC_wire_selection_chartlg.jpg
THHN off the spools at H-D run in smurf tube (blue flex non-metalic conduit) when possible. To the other battery and to the power center run 4 AGW, to your refrigerator, lights and most low draw appliances use the Blue Sea chart.

6 Inverter- 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter- good for every thing you need- upgrade to sine wave if you must have a low watt induction cooktop. Some induction tops may run on this. Your risk. This comes with cables and a remote. [ame]https://www.amazon.com/KRIËGER-Inverter-Installation-approved-standards/dp/B00DNL05GW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1510365966&sr=8-12&keywords=1500+watt+power+inverter[/ame]

7. Fuzes and such. Use the Blue Sea chart to install fuses that protect the wires, that is they need to be no larger than the wires can carry. [ame]https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=80+amp+fuses&rh=n%3A15684181%2Ck%3A80+amp+fuses[/ame]
Fuse BOTH ends of the Positive Battery wire AT EACH battery, fuse the inverter AT THE Battery, fuse the other wires with the WFCO. Follow the WFCO instructions concerning grounding the shore line as it doesn’t get grounded to the chassis!

OK It’s a bit over $700, but I did get you to consider it. I often say solar is $500 and it is, the above is a complete system exclusive of a few USB and cigar outlets, some small switches, a bit of wire and some connectors. I can’t know what you will need exactly.

Take the money you save and go CAMP, visit good bars and restaurants that serve great food and drinks, take some pictures, renew your relationship with your SO, find the winter sun in the South, and remember the sunsets. If you have enough, doing is always better than having more.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh-Oh he is gonna post up the ULTIMATE! No vacation in Spain, no drive down to La Pas, no Arctic midnight sun, etc.
 

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Love this thread. I know when first starting to look into this stuff it gets confusing fast. Id hate to add to the confusion for people but just posting a couple other options for around the same money.

Cheap Pure Sine inverter for anyone interested. Does have a transfer switch in it though.



Another option for solar is Grape Solar sells $99 100w poly panels at Home Depot. The PWM charger included in that Renogy kit is positive grounded. I was originally going to get that until I saw it was positive ground. You can get the Wanderer controller from them on amazon for $50. They may even have started to include it with those kits now because I did see Renogy wanted to get away from selling any positive ground controllers.
 

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What?! No diagram of how all the pieces fit together? :)

Thanks for pulling this into a single post. It shows that a simple, safe, effective system can be put together for not too much money.

I'm only building out my van so I can put in a fancy Blue Sea electrical system, but that's my personal problem.
 

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"If you have enough, doing is always better than having more."

I pity the people who never learn this.
Winston? Calling Winston ;)
Oh-Oh he is gonna post up the ULTIMATE! No vacation in Spain, no drive down to La Pas, no Arctic midnight sun, etc.
Thanks RD for finally posting an excellent summary of "the other side".

And we haven't forgotten to live . . . sitting here in Mobile . . . with an odometer check revealing 26,500 miles of exploration since launch on April 9th . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank goodness you rose to KOV’s bait. I know you’ve done it all this year. It’s gotta beat that Jetta or whatever you went a gazillion miles in! Be safe, hugs to VJ. Just remember our side has cookies... Wait a minute you have cookies too! I appreciate the self restraint and don’t forget I do have that picture of you under the van fixing the 2nd alternator razor belt with the snow all around just in case!
 

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. . . and don’t forget I do have that picture of you under the van fixing the 2nd alternator razor belt with the snow all around just in case!
Chapter 2:

That electrically taped block of wood worked for over 20,000 miles. Made it all the way to Alaska and the Yukon and back.

But just to be safe, we had son Timothy look at it when we got home . . . he left the slightly 'injured' radiator hose in place, adjusted something and pronounced it "good to go". Then (and we should stay out of Kentucky) . . . in Kentucky, we again sprang a leak . . . radiator fluid everywhere. Timothy claims he did nothing with our block of wood . . . dubious and skeptical, we rang-off with Timothy - - clearly he wasn't going to 'motor-down' to Kentucky to save us.

So, to the emergency 'supply kit' with its limited 'fix' possibilities: electrical or duct tape, cable ties, or hose 'worm' clamps. Here is our latest (temporary?) fix:

 

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KilWerBzz,

We have considered a clamp, permanently, as a first line of defense . . . although, in the final analysis, if the 'band-saw' serpentine belt contacts anything, something is going to wear and fail. Incidentally, couldn't get your promasterforum link to open . . .
 

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Thx RD for comparison mod. can you post wiring diagram with ur battery setup. somehow I can't see posted attachments. I just got my 2500 159WB 2 days ago and thinking of either go with portable Honda Gen or 2nd housing battery setup. this van will be only use for toys hauler/weekend jobs and occasionally weekend camping, thx
 

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RDinNHandAZ, thanks so much for posting this. I've been slaving away over my wiring diagram (can be seen over in the electrical thread) and am realizing that I am over complicating things. Perhaps I need to get back to the drawing board. Electrical can be some intimidating for us uninitiated folks.... just try not to learn things the hard way. Thanks for all your input.
 

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Alternative- 2 similar AGM batteries- the cost will be $600 and they are not quite as long lived but you do not need to vent them. Venting saves $400
Is this a typical price for decent AGM batteries? I thought they were a bit cheaper than that. I ask because I'm looking at some AGM batteries in a bit different form factor, and they seemed expensive to me, but not so much compared to this estimate. Was going to go FLA, but now I'm tempted to go with AGM because you can mount them sideways and don't have to vent, so it gives me some better options.
 

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I bought my 12v AGM’s from Sam’s Club - $179 each (3 years ago and still performing well). BTW, no reason a vent system for flooded should cost more than $20. Personally, I wouldn’t even bother venting them as this is a huge van that fills with air every time you open or close the door! Worriers are going to worry always :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Sam’s Club does have the AGM listed in some stores and runs a special on them once a year at the beginning of golfing season in New England. I wonder if you can get them now.
Be aware, any AGM battery may not be the right AGM battery as those for standby power for computer equipment, emergency lights and so forth may not survive long in the van where considerable discharge down to 50% many times is needed. I like golf cart batteries because our use is similar but perhaps not as severe.
I have used Marine/Deep cycle batteries and had good luck but they were FLA as well.
Finally I just had to add water to my 2-1/2 year old FLA batteries. I got to within a 1/4” of the surface of the plates, a bit lower than I would recommend. I spend 6 months each year at 20% humidity or less so I plan to go on a once a year top up just to be safe. It’s a small matter but another thing the AGMs don’t need. Of course for the $200 I saved over KOV’s I’m getting paid well for the service time, it took about 15 minutes.
 

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Is this a typical price for decent AGM batteries? I thought they were a bit cheaper than that. I ask because I'm looking at some AGM batteries in a bit different form factor, and they seemed expensive to me, but not so much compared to this estimate. Was going to go FLA, but now I'm tempted to go with AGM because you can mount them sideways and don't have to vent, so it gives me some better options.
It depends on how many amp hours you're getting. My 2, 125A vmax batteries were $484. These are made for this type of application.

BTW, I have friends that are not typically ones to worry much that say they would not risk not venting a FLA. One has FLA batteries on his boat, they caused the carbon monoxide detector to go off. No reason to risk it.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

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Big difference between batteries in the hold of a boat and inside a huge van that fills with fresh air every time you open or close the door! Now, if you have a 118 low roof and drive it once a week it might be a concern but if you have a skylight and awning window always open and you use the van several times a day (as I do) hardly something to worry about. I used AGM batteries in my conversion because I didn’t want to deal with the corrosion and loss of fluid associated with flooded, not from any fear of them exploding. Can it happen? Of course, I’m not suggesting anyone not vent their batteries only that as far as I’m concerned (for the way I use a van) it’s something I wouldn’t even worry about for a second. But, then again, I never wear my seat belt (unless someone else is driving me in their vehicle, as RD will attest) and I always speed.

Somehow I’ve made it to almost 75 and I’m still in one piece. Fortunately, I have no interest in motorcycles, airplanes, surf boards or sky diving. I guess life is all relative ;)

Why even consider flooded when you can buy these for $179?
https://www.samsclub.com/sams/duracell-agm-deep-cycle-marine-and-rv-battery-group-size-31dtmagm/prod3590232.ip?xid=plp:product:1:1
 
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