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I think my dad might have a crimp tool. we raced Lightnings (a boat) and he crimped a lot of smaller wires. I remember a tool that looked something like this. lots of places to research if they cut and crimp the 2/0. thanks!

View attachment 73321
Your van interior artistic work is amazing. My wife is the artistic side of our family and it is pretty obvious.

I help people locally with van electrical and I have a slightly different take on "wire making".

The bulk of the wire runs from the "main system" to the "appliances" can be done with 10 awg and some 14 awg for things like lights. If you are into DIY wiring, save this portion for yourself.

There is no great joy that comes from cutting and crimping wires that are heavier duty that 10 awg. It goes from "fast and easy" to "much more difficult and time consuming".

What I do when building a new design is to mock up everything in 10 awg and and get it all functional.

Anything that needs to be heavier duty, I just have an outside supplier make those wires from my mock ups. There is a reason that these heavy guage wire making businesses exist. (economy of scale).

They have invested in the correct heavy duty tooling, have calibration procedures to make sure that the crimps are coming out right, and buy wire / lugs in volumes that allows them to sell a very high quality product to you for less than most people can purchase the parts.

Simply from a time perspective, I can order 10 - 20 each, 2 awg or 2/0 wire exactly the way that I want it on line, and have it delivered in 3 days.

I am not a fan of ebay but there are some very good, high end wire making suppliers on there. Marine cable is nice but a lot of it is not rated for the lower temperatures ranges because - boats aren't normally on the water when it is ice.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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Discussion Starter · #123 ·
You seem to be doing well from what I can see. You have a more complicated build than mine.

It is actually the Design Phase that needs the most problem solving. If we DIYers were given (or if we created) a set of Working Drawings that did not have errors the Build Phase would be quite easy.

From what I have seen, you are doing remarkably well on your Design/Build especially given your experience. Hope you are proud of what you have accomplished to date.
Thanks. My biggest problem so far is it's like building inside a whale, the way nothing is square. You're right about the preplanning. All the areas that are taking extra thought I knew would take extra thought: shower /driver seat issue, how the fridge gets built into the kitchen and fitting it all with out the kitchen shrinking to an unusable size. Without the preplanning I wouldn't have had the nerve to make the first cut.

I drew a centerline and it's all square to that. The fudge comes against the wall. Most people seam to build the furniture boxes and then fix them to the wall. I didn't do that, mostly because I didn't know how to do it and make it all fit. I fixed the back against the wall as one unit and then built out from there, fixing the studs of each to the other. What isn't fixed to the wall is screwed to the floor, with some angles to really secure it in some places. And since the whole driver side is interconnected, I don't think anything will move. It's not the prettiest thing, but I plan to put cosmetic faces on everything to make it look pretty.
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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Discussion Starter · #124 ·

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Discussion Starter · #126 · (Edited)
Your van interior artistic work is amazing. My wife is the artistic side of our family and it is pretty obvious.

I help people locally with van electrical and I have a slightly different take on "wire making".

The bulk of the wire runs from the "main system" to the "appliances" can be done with 10 awg and some 14 awg for things like lights. If you are into DIY wiring, save this portion for yourself.

There is no great joy that comes from cutting and crimping wires that are heavier duty that 10 awg. It goes from "fast and easy" to "much more difficult and time consuming".

What I do when building a new design is to mock up everything in 10 awg and and get it all functional.

Anything that needs to be heavier duty, I just have an outside supplier make those wires from my mock ups. There is a reason that these heavy gauge wire making businesses exist. (economy of scale).

They have invested in the correct heavy duty tooling, have calibration procedures to make sure that the crimps are coming out right, and buy wire / lugs in volumes that allows them to sell a very high quality product to you for less than most people can purchase the parts.

Simply from a time perspective, I can order 10 - 20 each, 2 awg or 2/0 wire exactly the way that I want it on line, and have it delivered in 3 days.

I am not a fan of ebay but there are some very good, high end wire making suppliers on there. Marine cable is nice but a lot of it is not rated for the lower temperatures ranges because - boats aren't normally on the water when it is ice.
Thanks HarryN! For the kind words and the advice. I'm a designer by profession. I used to design for Albert Nipon and Christian Dior before I decided many years ago I hated the fashion industry and became a writer. I still write, but now I design for dogs and do rescue events. Crazy career path. Doesn't make you rich but it makes you happy. :)

The electrical is my biggest mystery. Seriously, it's like a minefield to the novice. So I've been watching the explorist life videos to learn as much as possible. I figure one source is the best way to get a solid understanding of how it all interconnects so I can actually have conversations with other people on this subject.

I bought 12/2 AWG & 12/3 Gauge Marine Grade Wire, Boat Cable, Tinned Copper, Flat for all the wiring of stuff. It's big and fatter than I expected. Hopefully it will be okay.

I made this electrical plan for the system stuff. I'm still working on it, because all the Renogy stuff is 3/8" lugs, and much of the other stuff is 5/16" lugs. The wire sizes and fuses were figured out by explorestlife. I'm also watching videos for the install of each element to see what they say about the fuses and placement. I've been buying pieces over the past 6 months, so I have much of it. I mistakenly bought the lynx power in instead of the distributor, but it turns out, if you buy M8 screws you can make it hold the fuses and function as the distributor. The stuff i bought sometimes cost more money than other ways to do it, but I took the ease of learning curve over price, knowing how little i know on this subject and how much I don't want to electrocute my self or anyone else.

I'm gonna follow your lead on having someone else cut the 2/0, 4, 6, and 8 wires. I bought the 10 agw for the solar with the needed attachments already (on one side, I figured the other end needed to be free to fit through the gland.) Once I fix it all to the van I'm gonna make a list of the wire lengths and the lug sizes (if everything gets lugs, some might get ferrils, which at this point I have no idea what that is...) and find someone to make the wires.
74855
 

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Thanks HarryN! For the kind words and the advice. I'm a designer by profession. I used to design for Albert Nipon and Christian Dior before I decided many years ago I hated the fashion industry and became a writer. I still write, but now I design for dogs and do rescue events. Crazy career path. Doesn't make you rich but it makes you happy. :)

The electrical is my biggest mystery. Seriously, it's like a minefield to the novice. So I've been watching the explorist life videos to learn as much as possible. I figure one source is the best way to get a solid understanding of how it all interconnects so I can actually have conversations with other people on this subject.

I bought 12/2 AWG & 12/3 Gauge Marine Grade Wire, Boat Cable, Tinned Copper, Flat for all the wiring of stuff. It's big and fatter than I expected. Hopefully it will be okay.

I made this electrical plan for the system stuff. I'm still working on it, because all the Renogy stuff is 3/8" lugs, and much of the other stuff is 5/16" lugs. The wire sizes and fuses were figured out by explorestlife. I'm also watching videos for the install of each element to see what they say about the fuses and placement. I've been buying pieces over the past 6 months, so I have much of it. I mistakenly bought the lynx power in instead of the distributor, but it turns out, if you buy M8 screws you can make it hold the fuses and function as the distributor. The stuff i bought sometimes cost more money than other ways to do it, but I took the ease of learning curve over price, knowing how little i know on this subject and how much I don't want to electrocute my self or anyone else.

I'm gonna follow your lead on having someone else cut the 2/0, 4, 6, and 8 wires. I bought the 10 agw for the solar with the needed attachments already (on one side, I figured the other end needed to be free to fit through the gland.) Once I fix it all to the van I'm gonna make a list of the wire lengths and the lug sizes (if everything gets lugs, some might get ferrils, which at this point I have no idea what that is...) and find someone to make the wires.
View attachment 73367
I completely get it.

It is so painful for me to watch people on van forums struggle with electrical. There are just so many little details to work through. None of them individually are especially difficult, but the combination is very challenging for a first time builder.

There are so many parts and tools that are relatively moderately priced in bulk but fairly expensive in small qty.

You are too far along in your project for this to be useful, but I build drop in kits for people to use in their vans.

It isn't a zero effort on the customer's part but the hard work has been done and it is all pre-tested prior to shipment.

Essentially all of the things that you are showing (obviously not the panels and batteries) but the rest of the capability is all there in the box.

Because of how I build it (wire the batteries in series instead of parallel ) , the thickest wire required is 2 awg from the 4 batteries to the system.

 

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Discussion Starter · #128 ·
I completely get it.

It is so painful for me to watch people on van forums struggle with electrical. There are just so many little details to work through. None of them individually are especially difficult, but the combination is very challenging for a first time builder.

There are so many parts and tools that are relatively moderately priced in bulk but fairly expensive in small qty.

You are too far along in your project for this to be useful, but I build drop in kits for people to use in their vans.

It isn't a zero effort on the customer's part but the hard work has been done and it is all pre-tested prior to shipment.

Essentially all of the things that you are showing (obviously not the panels and batteries) but the rest of the capability is all there in the box.

Because of how I build it (wire the batteries in series instead of parallel ) , the thickest wire required is 2 awg from the 4 batteries to the system.

Very cool! The only reason I had the time to commit to all this learning was covid. What you have done is invaluable to the novice. I bought my stuff shortly after ordering the van when Renogy had their big sale, even before i was here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #129 ·
I'm about to put the wiring in the walls for all the AC & DC stuff. I'm nervous because once the walls are closed up it'll be a bitch if I screw up. I'm pretty clear on the outlets, fan, fridge, switches... but the part where people can see all the battery/solar monitoring is a total mystery right now. Looks like I have a battery monitor. The inverter charger has an lcd display, and the rover solar charger has bluetooth. Is there other stuff I need to wire for? Is all that DC? Is there a best placement for all that? Is there a best way to mount it so it's consolidated and aesthetically pleasing? Right now it seems ugly so I'm thinking of hiding it in a cabinet or something. Any advise on this? o_O
 

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Our Victron solar controller and battery monitor both have Bluetooth. I actually never mounted the battery monitor inside the van because the Bluetooth gives ample information if I need to check the battery. I have the monitor hooked up but sitting next to the battery. In almost a year I have never had to crawl back there and look, I always use the phone. I hope that’s helpful
 

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Discussion Starter · #131 ·
I actually never mounted the battery monitor inside the van because the Bluetooth gives ample information if I need to check the battery.
Yes, very helpful. I'm gonna do that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #132 · (Edited)
EDITED. I ordered the wire. They sell it in the lengths I need with whatever lug size assortment I need at the same cost as doing it myself. And from what I can tell it's good quality wire: marine grade, good up to 105 degrees c. PERFECT!


I made friends with someone on here, DJ Moyer, who lives 10 minutes from me!! This site rocks. 🤓
 

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Discussion Starter · #133 ·
Things are moving along. I'm knee-deep into the plumbing. The sharkbite push to connect fittings are much harder to work than I expected. You have to really push hard, and then pull, but there was no "click" on the pull to tell if I engaged the teeth so I just yanked like ****. The tubing came coiled, so getting it to be straight is nearly impossible. And forget about it if you make a mistake and have to use the stupid little disconnect ring. Finally I got it to work, but it was exhausting. Then I got to braided nylon tubing, and the 1/2" ID is so much bigger than the barbed fittings! I ended up ordering this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N9N2ZKP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
with these:

I'll be amazed if it doesn't leak. But I'll keep at it until it's leak-free. I do love how the shower fixtures look––the day's encouraging moment. I have some fancy carpentry on the shower face and barn door, which I will love doing because IT WILL BE PERFECTLY SQUARE!!!

Today I covered the shower walls (except the wall with the plumbing) with 1/4" plywood (definitely NOT perfectly square). This shower has not been easy and it continues to not be easy. In my attempt to get every inch out of the van, I have created for myself a not-square puzzle of a nightmare. I'm gonna make cardboard patterns for the FRP board. There's holes for the regulator and shower arm. How else do you make every edge, every hole line up????

I think the hardest thing about doing this is that it's all so interconnected. I can't fully complete anything without at least starting something else. A perfect example: I can't test for leaks until at least some of the electrical is in, I can't close up the shower or finish the kitchen until the plumbing is in and leak free. So much of it has been like that, to the extent that I leave a lot of things clamped together, and I have had to unscrew things.

My friend DJMoyer is gonna help me with the fan, skylight and solar panels. He put his on with struts and roof attachments from DIYvan, so I'm gonna do that. I worked out where all the wiring for lights etc goes, adding the wires is up next... It's so nice though, at the end of the day when I put everything away and look at what I've done, I really like how it's turning out. There's lots of space! And all the needed elements! And it looks square.
 

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If you have a Lowes or other big box hardware store near, you, it is a great resource. I made so many trips to the nearby Lowes while building our van that I cannot even begin to count. Often 2, 3, even 4 trips a day. They carry much of what we van-builders need, and being able to match things up like hoses, fittings, bolts, etc is really useful vs waiting even a day for Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #135 ·
If you have a Lowes or other big box hardware store near, you, it is a great resource. I made so many trips to the nearby Lowes while building our van that I cannot even begin to count. Often 2, 3, even 4 trips a day. They carry much of what we van-builders need, and being able to match things up like hoses, fittings, bolts, etc is really useful vs waiting even a day for Amazon.
There's a lowes and home depot, and yes, I go A LOT! Mostly to home depot. They have this bin of wood pieces that are 70% off and I've bought a bunch of poplar pieces there. I'm using a lot more wood than I expected to, then the screws, tools, drill bits, plumbing stuff...

I decided on a wall thing for food and dish storage that's 3" deep, copied from this:
73751


And maybe use shock cord to hold stuff from flying around, something like a horizontal version of this:

73752


Here's my drawing. I might make it brown like in the photo, or espresso with a white backing:

73757
 

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Discussion Starter · #136 ·
Plumbing update. It's been a headache because I didn't realize barbed fittings for pex and for the braided nylon tubing are not the same fittings. Uug. I nixed the braided tubing all together as there is no logical reason to use it. I hate thew sharkbite push to connect. The rest of my sharkbite will be with the clamp ring. 1/4 the cost, takes less space, and easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #137 ·
PLUMBING QUESTION: A plumbing video I followed cut a hole in the floor of the van to vent the hot water and fresh water tank. Is there a better way to do that? My water tank is in the back, on the driver's side.
 

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What do you mean by vent? Providing an air inlet to prevent suction in the tank? We just ran a loop of braided tubing to the bottom of our bed frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #139 ·
What do you mean by vent? Providing an air inlet to prevent suction in the tank? We just ran a loop of braided tubing to the bottom of our bed frame.
Yes, that's what I'm referring to. It's also for the hot water tank. I guess it makes sense that it doesn't have to lead outside. The hot water tanks that go under people's counters can't lead outside.
 

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I can take a picture of our solution tomorrow for our water tank. It’s really very simple. We don’t have hot water so I can’t advise there.
 
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