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Looks confusing AF! He already has DC distribution. He just needs to add AC!
@Powderhunds

MFA detailed a WFCO WF-8945 “Power Center” (I’m assuming a 45 amp charger). IIRC these are a very similar product as the one I suggested to him

The WFCO has an AC side built in. A panel takes a 30amp main breaker & five branch breakers. If I am correct about this he does not need a “Blue Sea” AC panel as the WFCO has an AC side which is the same as what I used but mine is Parallax brand which was twice the cost.

MFA is Canadian, so I gave him the seller reference I purchased from (It is different for us north of you to buy stuff).
 

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Hey Gary,
Much appreciated on the thorough review!
Please see my comments below in bold.
Hi,
On a breaker for #4 wire that does not need wire lugs, I've used this style in a couple places:
Maybe not the highest quality, but the ones I've had for 5 years still OK.

Could also use solder lugs on the wire -- Del City - Electrical Supplies & Professional Grade Wiring Products carries them -- easy to use with a propane torch.

If one end of the fuse goes right to the PM van battery, the Mega fuse style that bolts right to the van battery terminal plate works well-- as in this photo:


The fuse is the little gadget with "Mega" written on on it.

I was probably being a bit picky on the #18 wire -- it should be fine as long as its quality wire.

Those Trojan L16's should be up for anything, and for the long adventures you plan to go on should provide a good long life. Still drooling over those pictures of Patagonia on your site :)

Gary
 

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Hi MFA

I got a bit confused here as Powderhunds was suggesting an AC panel & I thought you were asking for options. Reading thru your thread it is my understanding you already have the WFCO installed?

On a different topic, I used the following fuse blocks, MRBF 9BA9B71D-8F71-4CFE-8213-794ECB225672.png
 

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@Powderhunds

MFA detailed a WFCO WF-8945 “Power Center” (I’m assuming a 45 amp charger). IIRC these are a very similar product as the one I suggested to him

The WFCO has an AC side built in. A panel takes a 30amp main breaker & five branch breakers. If I am correct about this he does not need a “Blue Sea” AC panel as the WFCO has an AC side which is the same as what I used but mine is Parallax brand which was twice the cost.

MFA is Canadian, so I gave him the seller reference I purchased from (It is different for us north of you to buy stuff).
Sorry, I should have read closer. You are right that it looks like his unit already distributes both DC and AC. When he said he was waiting to tackle the AC I didn’t realize he already had the panel.
 
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I originally used 2x6s stood up in the tall orientation, don't do that.
Now I have 2x4s (5) and 2x2s (8) all laid out flat, with plywood screwed into them from the top.
Muuuuch skinnier and it slept us for a week, so feeling somewhat confident.
I'll probably add some angle iron or something to give it a bit more stiffness, but not much!
See pics below.
But how did you attach the platform to the wall?
 

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Discussion Starter #66
Can you tell me a bit more indepth on how you did your cabinet fronts? They look really clean, looks like you nailed the holes for the drawers, super square and all that. What tools did you use to cut out the holes in the cabinet fronts? Drop a skill saw in? I am such a woodworking novice and I would like to do this, but not sure how to be super precise when cutting out holes in a solid sheet of plywood.
Hey dtwigs!
For all of our cabinets we used 1/2" baltic birch plywood.
We've watched tons of videos on how to, but this one is closest to what we did:
The "ribs" are three plywood sheets all the same size (~20"x 36") with a front sheet.
We piloted and screwed the front sheet into the three ribs, then used filler, sanded, primed, painted.
Cuts were made with the handy jig saw. Just drill a 1/2" hole with a cordless to get your blade into it, then cut your lines out.
I SHOULD MENTION TEST FIT AND MEASURE THRICE BEFORE CUTTING.
We bought pre-cut drawers, then cut them to size and assembled them for a custom fit to maximize our room.
Keep in mind if you have wires, gas line, plumbing, etc behind the drawers you want to leave like an inch.
Came out great!!


Hi MFA

I got a bit confused here as Powderhunds was suggesting an AC panel & I thought you were asking for options. Reading thru your thread it is my understanding you already have the WFCO installed?

On a different topic, I used the following fuse blocks, MRBF View attachment 60311
Yes, I have the WFCO power center which has an AC and a DC panel.
I bought a Blue Sea fuse panel first, then this. So now I have a brand new fuse panel for a future project haha.
Installing the inverter hopefully today or tomorrow.


But how did you attach the platform to the wall?
I used plus nuts "Screw-To-Install Rivet Nuts"
Find them in your local hardware store or McMaster Carr.
We used probably 100 of them in our build, from the walls to the roof to the bedframe to wherever.
Pretty funny, when we got our van we were terrified to self-tap, so we used these.
Now we drill wherever we see fit, but we still use these to give us a really strong 1/4" nut locked into the van.
They can spin, but for the most part they kick ass.
For the bed frame I used 60" of 2" x 2" x 1/8" angle iron if I remember correctly.

Update
On the weekend it has been -20°C to -30°C so we moved the van to my work's shop (pipes burst from the cold, so no water, but we do have heat!)
We finished the flooring (reclaimed wood look vinyl flooring) which looks amazing!
Finished the last large panel that needs laminate.
Installed the stove, that sucker is HOT!!
Built the propane locker, still need to drill a vent hole and seal everything.
Slept in the van in the shop.
Painted a few trim items to finish that.

Heading out tonight to keep working on propane and hopefully start the overhead cabinet.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
FWIW
Another name for these is "Jack Nut"
Yep, Jack Nut, Cross Nut, Plus Nut, Riv Nut (people call it that, but not correct)
Good for future readers.
Thanks Phil!
 

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Yep, Jack Nut, Cross Nut, Plus Nut, Riv Nut (people call it that, but not correct)
Good for future readers.
Thanks Phil!
Not meaning to sound like an a$$, but the above statement is partial incorrect.
When you referred to Screw-to-Install Rivet Nut, I looked up that term and found the item was the same as the Jack Nuts I was researching a few days ago, confirmed by McMaster-Carr,

60345
 

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Discussion Starter #70
Not meaning to sound like an a$$, but the above statement is partial incorrect.
When you referred to Screw-to-Install Rivet Nut, I looked up that term and found the item was the same as the Jack Nuts I was researching a few days ago, confirmed by McMaster-Carr,
Yes, correct. McMaster Carr uses the term Jack Nuts. I said "Screw-to-Install Rivet Nut" so people could google it.
Plusnut is a trade name https://www.rivetnutusa.com/plusnut-rivet-nut-rivnut/
Cross nut is a common term Steel Cross Nut- Pre-Bulbed - 1/4-20 .280 Grip Cross nut pre-bulbed, 100 Piece Box: Amazon.ca: Industrial & Scientific
These 4 terms are all very similar parts; you thread a bolt in, and collapse the posts, it leaves you with a nut in a thin material.

Rivnut is also a trade name, though it behaves like a rivet bulb rather than leaving the cross pattern Rivnut® | Rivet Nut | Rivet Nut USA
 

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Yes, correct. McMaster Carr uses the term Jack Nuts. I said "Screw-to-Install Rivet Nut" so people could google it.
Plusnut is a trade name PLUSNUT® | Bollhoff PLUSNUT® | Slotted Body Rivet Nut | RIVNUT® PLUSNUT®
Cross nut is a common term Steel Cross Nut- Pre-Bulbed - 1/4-20 .280 Grip Cross nut pre-bulbed, 100 Piece Box: Amazon.ca: Industrial & Scientific
These 4 terms are all very similar parts; you thread a bolt in, and collapse the posts, it leaves you with a nut in a thin material.

Rivnut is also a trade name, though it behaves like a rivet bulb rather than leaving the cross pattern Rivnut® | Rivet Nut | Rivet Nut USA
Steel Cross Nut- Pre-Bulbed: Does everyone use a Astro Pneumatic Tool 1450 13" Plusnut and Extra-Long Rivet Nut Setter Kit Metric & SAE to install these?
 

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No . I'll speak of rivnuts (my experience) . A bolt , nut and a star washer and flat washer will work (not well ,but OK for a few) . Better is the rivnut setting hand tool , looks like a pop riveter , good for up to 1/4" aluminum rivnuts . Steel 1/4" and bigger should use the "V" style setter .
 

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I've got the Astro 1442 setter. Absolutely love it. Can't believe how long I have lived without it. I used it to install some window guards on the rear doors of my van.
 

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Steel Cross Nut- Pre-Bulbed: Does everyone use a Astro Pneumatic Tool 1450 13" Plusnut and Extra-Long Rivet Nut Setter Kit Metric & SAE to install these?
That's the one I got so I could also set plus nuts because I still have some laying around from last time.

Also, use what ever size rivnut you want because almost none of the predrilled holes fit standard sizes. The smaller holes throughout the van don't fit either a 1/4" or an M6 rivnut. (I'm 99% sure they don't fit an M5 but that's too small for me anyway.) So you are going to end up drilling your own holes or enlarging the existing holes. I did find a couple that fit the 3/8" rivnut and some of the hex holes fit an M8 hex rivnut. Otherwise all those holes are fu*king useless!
 
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Discussion Starter #75
That's the one I got so I could also set plus nuts because I still have some laying around from last time.

Also, use what ever size rivnut you want because almost none of the predrilled holes fit standard sizes. The smaller holes throughout the van don't fit either a 1/4" or an M6 rivnut. (I'm 99% sure they don't fit an M5 but that's too small for me anyway.) So you are going to end up drilling your own holes or enlarging the existing holes. I did find a couple that fit the 3/8" rivnut and some of the hex holes fit an M8 hex rivnut. Otherwise all those holes are fu*king useless!
One of the main reason we used so many plusnuts is that the hexagon holes fit the 1/4" quite well. We did drill a few holes, but maybe like 5 out of 50.
 

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Discussion Starter #76 (Edited)
Update Number Who Knows
With the flooring being done, we put felt pads on the fridge and moved that in to place.
First thing after installing a fridge, is to fill it with drinks.
This helps with the thermal efficiency of the fridge and the workers ;)

Inverter Installed
Way back in the day I told Leah she couldn't bring her 1400W Vitamix, because the DC current was simply too high.
I said we could bring a 600W or 900W blender instead.
So we came together and compromised, and decided on bringing the Vitamix!
I bought a $200 2000W inverter on Amazon, then cancelled and bought a $300 one due to the modified vs pure sine wave.
After sizing it to fit in the box that was already built, and deciding how many outlets and the want for a remote on/off it was an easy pick.
I still need to put a fuse off the battery, but it's installed!
If you look at the last couple pictures, you'll see that the jig saw is actually running of our house batteries!
That's super cool! Also you'll see Leah's power stance while trimming the water box. That's maybe a little less cool haha, jk love ya babe.

Propane Lines Connected
So first thing: I know there isn't proper propane safety in these pictures. That still needs to be built. Future readers don't take this as gospel.
Back to the build, last night was a kickass milestone!
We now have the propane tank in it's locker, and we can turn the furnace and stove on from the front of the van just by turning on the thermostat or stove knob.
I have to say the copper gas lines was a huge anxiety project for me, but it turned out to be one of my favorite so far.
Copper tubing is super pliable, you can adjust by hand if you mess up, and if you use the proper bender and tape measure you can make some really nice shapes.
My favorite is the T beside the solar controller that has 3D bends in all directions

Bed Reinforced
Thanks to a post earlier in the thread about the 2x4s working for two years then breaking, I decided to reinforce that with angle aluminum.
These were scrap from my first attempt at solar framing, so they were "free".
We didn't have any issues with the wood only style, but it still feels better to have extra support.
Used 4 strips of aluminum.
 

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"Ancor" those copper lines about every foot or so . Copper will work harden as you bump down the road causing cracks . You don't need anymore van catastrophes .
 

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This has been a really cool build thread. Great work!

What is the plumbing on your heater? Where does that big duct go?

What paint did you use on the rear plastic grills? Do you like it? Is it durable?
 

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Discussion Starter #79
"Ancor" those copper lines about every foot or so . Copper will work harden as you bump down the road causing cracks . You don't need anymore van catastrophes .
Amen! I've tried to anchor where appropriate, especially near corners.
Below is a couple examples of the anchoring:


This has been a really cool build thread. Great work!

What is the plumbing on your heater? Where does that big duct go?

What paint did you use on the rear plastic grills? Do you like it? Is it durable?
Wooo! Thanks @MsNomer it feels good to hear compliments from one of the people who made this forum what it is!
That big duct will go into the plywood we install to separate the "garage" and the "kitchen"
That way the furnace will hat our feet and the floor where you put your feet down when you first wake up.

I just used spray paint, tremclad or another semi-gloss white. Primer, and three coats. Nothing too fancy.
 

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Rustoleum makes a primer+paint spray (says also for plastic) that I used for the vinyl shutters on my house. I power-washed them first, dried them in the sun, then in the shade of the garage gave them two coats with about 1/2 hour between coats. They've held up for 4-5 years now (no peeling or cracking) but the more exposed ones on the garage are finally starting to fade from the sun. Time for another 2 coats.
 
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