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Am pretty much getting started with my PM build out (136" WB / LR), have most of the Thinsulate insulation installed, have cut templates for the 1/8" Baltic birch panels, will get started in the next day or two building the floating bed platform (using IKEA center adjustable beams and slats platform). I mention all this because if I know anything about what I'm doing it's because I've joined this forum and learned from all you folks, and have scoured Facebook and YouTube for all the other info.

We had a fantastic team from Campfyre Vans in Reno install 4 windows and a MaxxAir fan for us. Cutting into the body of the van is something we just didn't want to do ourselves.

By the same token, doing our own electrical wiring was something that, after lengthy discussions, my wife and I decided not to tackle oursleves, so we're going the Yeti 1000 route for our 12V electrical needs. We think it will work for us because we're designing a build out that requires very minimal 12V usage. With the Yeti unit we'll only run a MaxxAir fan, a Dometic CF19 cooler, charge phones and use a laptop plugged into the inverter for short 30-minute to 1-hour periods each day or so. Lighting will be provided by solar LUCI lights, headlamps and a couple of USB book lights. No solar yet, but we can add that as a foldable "briefcase" 100W unit in the future if need be. To start we'll just try to keep the Yeti charged using the $40 Goal Zero 12V socket charging cable while driving. We'll take a couple of short shake down cruise road trips to test it all out.

On long road trips we do stay in motels every 4th or 5th night and will be able to recharge the Yeti 1000 from a 110V circuit overnight and also run the Dometic cooler from 110V as well. We're hoping that gives us a needed voltage "boost" between drives during the day.

It sounds like the $420 YETI Link Car Charging Kit works great. I just have a problem with Goal Zero charging so much for their cables and accessories. But I guess they're really well made and you get what you pay for. For now, though, we'll just try to get by with the $40 12V socket charger and see how it goes.
 

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long quote snipped....
This will probably work fine. Couple of things to think about:
  1. GZ's 12 volt output is not regulated. Dometic and other 12 volt fridges will turn off at ~11 volts because they are designed to plug into your car's cig lighter, and that prevents them from running the starting battery flat. My 1400 hits 10.X volts at about 50%, which means my 12 v fridge shut off. GZ sells a regulated cable ($40 rip off) that will address the issue. You could also take the hit of running your inverter (it takes a few watts per hour) and plug your fridge into that, which is regulated.
  2. You get 120 watts from the standard 12V charging cable. With your usage, I'd be surprised if you go under 60% overnight. 4-5 hours of driving should top you off. Probably don't need the $425 unit.
  3. Your GZ unit comes with an AC charger (60 watts in). You can also buy a second charger and plug both in to get 120 watts, if you think that's important.
  4. I don't have the cig lighter adapter for my GZ. I installed solar in my van and that pretty much keeps it charged. I also bought a cheap cig lighter inverter from Amazon, like $25. When I need to charge my unit from the cig lighter, I just plug the AC cable into the inverter, which I then plug into the lighter. Works fine. This also gives me a backup to charge my computer or other AC appliance if the GZ fails.
  5. I have a Luci light, super convenient, use it all the time. I wish I had the one that can be recharged via USB, for cloudy days and days when I forget to put it into the sun.
I've bought a couple of smaller items from the Goal Zero open box page (Open Box Product). You might be interested in picking up one or more of the lights that have the proprietary GZ 12 volt cable. They're pretty nice, though overpriced.
 

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Excellent info and suggestions, wnybiker. Much appreciated! I will give you post a couple of read throughs, take some notes, and have them handy to consider as we get up and running and are actually out on the road! Happy trails to you, fellow traveler.

Edited Update: Oh, right! A 12V cigarette lighter inverter. I have one, a Bestek that I bought for the Honda Element that I owned. I'll have to give your #4 solution a try -- although I do have the Goal Zero 12V cigarette lighter cable, and I'm not sure I can return it.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
This will probably work fine. Couple of things to think about:
  1. GZ's 12 volt output is not regulated. Dometic and other 12 volt fridges will turn off at ~11 volts because they are designed to plug into your car's cig lighter, and that prevents them from running the starting battery flat. My 1400 hits 10.X volts at about 50%, which means my 12 v fridge shut off. GZ sells a regulated cable ($40 rip off) that will address the issue. You could also take the hit of running your inverter (it takes a few watts per hour) and plug your fridge into that, which is regulated.
  2. You get 120 watts from the standard 12V charging cable. With your usage, I'd be surprised if you go under 60% overnight. 4-5 hours of driving should top you off. Probably don't need the $425 unit.
  3. Your GZ unit comes with an AC charger (60 watts in). You can also buy a second charger and plug both in to get 120 watts, if you think that's important.
  4. I don't have the cig lighter adapter for my GZ. I installed solar in my van and that pretty much keeps it charged. I also bought a cheap cig lighter inverter from Amazon, like $25. When I need to charge my unit from the cig lighter, I just plug the AC cable into the inverter, which I then plug into the lighter. Works fine. This also gives me a backup to charge my computer or other AC appliance if the GZ fails.
  5. I have a Luci light, super convenient, use it all the time. I wish I had the one that can be recharged via USB, for cloudy days and days when I forget to put it into the sun.
I've bought a couple of smaller items from the Goal Zero open box page (Open Box Product). You might be interested in picking up one or more of the lights that have the proprietary GZ 12 volt cable. They're pretty nice, though overpriced.
I have an Iceco JP40 fridge and if it is on the lowest setting (3 positions) of the battery protection switch (cut of at 9.6 volts) it works just fine with my Goal Zero 1400.
 

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My entire electrical system was only $500 with 215 A-H of batteries, 200 Watts of solar, 1100 Watt inverter w/remote, Shore power w/battery charging, 120V and 12 volt fusing, alternator interconnect included. Yours redefines “A great use of $425" for me. BTW today that system would probably be no more than $425. BUT I can’t pick it up and walk with it!
Could you post your parts list for your $500 electrical system? I'd love to build it for that amount!
cheers,
Brian
 

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It’s in the diagram in post#37. Some items have changed so search Amazon, eBay etc. for similiar or ask.
 
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