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2021 Silver ProMaster 159
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Discussion Starter · #101 · (Edited)
Today I put together the rough draft of my control panel. A lot of wires were needed behind this board to make it all happen!

What is the purpose of a camper van control panel?

1. Most van builds have a lot of these items, but they likely create some confusion by "hiding" their switches and controls all over the van. I felt it will be easier to teach people how to operate the camper if you have these controls all in one place.

2. It is important to minimize the number of LED lights that glow at night in a camper! I selected USB plugs that do not have LED. The only item that might glow at night is the Inverter/Charger remote. This item will be usually turned off, but if it is running, I have a cover for the display.

3. Since this panel is close to the electrical system, it helps to shorten the length of the wire runs. Shorter 12 volt wire runs are an important design goal.

4. This panel is located just above the left side of the kitchen counter. This location will be ideal for placing cell phones and other items that need to be plugged in, especially at night.

5. It has 2 x dual USB plugs and 2 x 12 volt “cigarette lighter” plugs. This is a helpful number of plugs.

6. The 120 volt outlet is one of two in the van build. Some people install AC outlets throughout the van. In general, this isn’t necessary, but two is about right.

7. The three items on the left are the ones likely to be needed at night, since it is adjacent to the bed: ceiling lights, wall lamp and heater thermostat.

8. There is a switch for the refrigerator. This is to turn off the fridge (if needed) when most of the 12-volt system is powered up.

9. It is important to know the state of charge of the house battery. The battery monitor shows this at a quick glance.

10. In addition to this physical panel, you can get more details from the Bluetooth apps for the battery monitor, solar charging, alternator charging and the propane tank level.


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2021 Silver ProMaster 159
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Discussion Starter · #102 ·
Upper cabinets are one of the harder projects in a van build. They need to be solidly anchored and made from cabinet grade plywood. I first create anchor points with Plusnuts for the wall and ceiling. Then temporarily build the cabinet in place to make sure everything lines up. I then remove the cabinet to do all the finish work and painting.
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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
This week I began covering the 1/4 plywood panels with 1/8 inch foam and Marathon fabric. I have 18 sections to cover. I have a enclosed number of photos that shows a lot of the process.
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2021 Silver ProMaster 159
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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Then spray the panel and lay it on top of the fabric. This way you can lay the board down more precisely since it is "stiff as a board", rather than dealing with the flexible material if you try to have the fabric on top of the board.
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I've now mounted the cabinet after painting. I think one test of a well mounted upper cabinet is that you should be able to do "pull-ups" on it. Then it's probably strong enough. View attachment 85350
What are your thoughts on those soft cabinets? I've had them bookmarked for a while since I plan on using them above each of the bunks in the back. I know they are made for the sprinter, but curious how they fit the wall. Thanks!
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi Dennis,
Looks really good!

Wondering what the plans are for the bare metal frames?

Mine are still bare white paint after 8 years :)

The foam plus fabric on the metal frames would also provide some thermal break insulation.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
What are your thoughts on those soft cabinets? I've had them bookmarked for a while since I plan on using them above each of the bunks in the back. I know they are made for the sprinter, but curious how they fit the wall. Thanks!
I was curious about the value of the "mule bags", but I wasn't going to pay $800 for each bag. When I saw this version on eBay for $150, I thought it would be worth a try. sprinter 36 Inches soft cabinet Transit Cabinet Promaster Cabinet Camper Cabinet | eBay

I was pleased with the quality and impressed by the function. The grey color works well with the van interior, but don't care for the orange interior. It will be perfect for storing clothes and other light items. I like the fact that it is soft and since it is above the bed, it won't hurt if I hit it.

I mounted a half inch plywood that is 12 inches x 41 inches on the van ceiling ribs. Then I drilled six holes and put in 10-32 "T-Nuts" that could line up with the six anchor points on the top. I didn't use any of the anchor points on the back, but I think it will be fine with just the roof mounts. There is about a 3 inch gap from the back of the bags to the van wall.
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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Hi Dennis,
Looks really good!

Wondering what the plans are for the bare metal frames?

Mine are still bare white paint after 8 years :)

The foam plus fabric on the metal frames would also provide some thermal break insulation.

Gary
Gary, I'm leaning toward gluing the same closed cell foam I used on the plywood panels to the metal frames, then I have 4 way stretch fabric I'll glue to the foam. I just need to plan a little more so I still have access to route wires or make any other changes after I cover the metal frames. I'm also thinking of covering the areas over the slider door and the back doors in the same manner. Do you or anyone else have wisdom on covering these awkward areas?
 

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I was curious about the value of the "mule bags", but I wasn't going to pay $800 for each bag. When I saw this version on eBay for $150, I thought it would be worth a try. sprinter 36 Inches soft cabinet Transit Cabinet Promaster Cabinet Camper Cabinet | eBay

I was pleased with the quality and impressed by the function. The grey color works well with the van interior, but don't care for the orange interior. It will be perfect for storing clothes and other light items. I like the fact that it is soft and since it is above the bed, it won't hurt if I hit it.

I mounted a half inch plywood that is 12 inches x 41 inches on the van ceiling ribs. Then I drilled six holes and put in 10-32 "T-Nuts" that could line up with the six anchor points on the top. I didn't use any of the anchor points on the back, but I think it will be fine with just the roof mounts. There is about a 3 inch gap from the back of the bags to the van wall.
You are thinking the same way I am (not paying for expensive bags and don't want to bash my head). When you say there is a 3 inch gap, is that by choice or is the design not suited for a promaster?
 

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2021 Silver ProMaster 159
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Discussion Starter · #120 · (Edited)
You are thinking the same way I am (not paying for expensive bags and don't want to bash my head). When you say there is a 3 inch gap, is that by choice or is the design not suited for a promaster?
I rechecked the space behind the mule bags. The three inches gap is mainly because of the curve in the ceiling ribs. I'm not sure if it is possible to mount them closer to the wall. I'm curious how they fit in a Sprinter. I think they likely would still have some gap.
 
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