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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I've got to make a commitment on the placement of the electronics so that I can run wire. In my layout, I have two possible placements. While you're here reading this anyway, would you mind commenting on which spot you think would work best?

1. There will be swivel seats and, as a result, a raised platform as a place for feet when the seats are turned toward the rear of the vehicle. We could put the electrical in there or use it for storage.

2. We have a chest style refrigerator on a short cabinet (28" wide x 20" deep x 17" high) amidships on the passenger side. This will either be a drawer, or will contain the electrical under a lid.

I like placement 2 from the standpoint of putting on the electrical panels that one needs to monitor. But, I feel like placement 1 would be a nice short run to the battery and also be easier runs of wire.

Any thoughts on the matter?

Kindest,
Tom
 

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Do you have slider doors on both sides? If so you will need to go under the van with the interconnect wiring for option 2. If it were me I would vote for option 2 as it seems to give you more room, but guess that depends on how much stuff you need to mount there.
 

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I'm not fully enjoying the process with selecting the electrical; dragging my feet, feelings of overwhelm, etc. Part of it is my frustration with the heating. I just want an electric heat source and no other! It seems like we are so close with current technology to be able to do that. Alas, I'm all but resigned to forking over the cash for the gas Webasto.

At the moment, here's my leanings with the electrical...

Batteries: leaning toward FLA due to price point, but getting other components that are compatible with lithium.

Shore power / charger / distribution center: Progressive Dynamics PD4045KV Inteli-Power 4000 Series Converter with Charge Wizard - 45 Amp

Solar: I'm dragging my feet on this one, too. It doesn't really seem like the simplest of installations. Anyway, probably 2 of the Renogy 100watts. I'll probably pop for the MPPT controller but haven't settled on a particular component.

Charging from van battery/alternator: Leaning toward Sterling Power BB1230 - Pro Batt Ultra Battery to Battery Charger 12V-12V 30A DC. I know I could accomplish this many ways, but I'm dizzy from the options. Besides being $300, it seems like a nice, safe way to charge house batteries -- be they FLA, lithium, whatever.

Inverter: I picked up a used Magnum 2000, but I might not use it. It's enormous and not pure sine wave. If I go with placement 1, I'll just replace the magnum with something with a smaller footprint. If I go placement 2, I'll use it at least until I really want induction cooktop which I figure is inevitable for me, lifestyle-speaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you have slider doors on both sides? If so you will need to go under the van with the interconnect wiring for option 2. If it were me I would vote for option 2 as it seems to give you more room, but guess that depends on how much stuff you need to mount there.
Yes, I have sliders on both sides.
 

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My 2 cents , keep your large amperage components close together . House batts close to starter/alternator thru switch mechanism . Inverters near house battery . Big cables short . A led light can be a ways away on a 16/18 ga wire .
A lot of good info here from experienced campers , search is your friend . I think I've made some good circuits but now deeper in ? ? ? . No big , make adjustments .
 

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I can't imagine why the electrical system seems overwhelming :)



Two sliders does not mean that you have to run under the van to cross over. I have a few wires running through the roof ribs.

I put all my back bone electrical into a cabinet over the passenger side wheel well. I connected to the van's battery via the upfitter connection in the passenger B pillar. The secondary control center is mounted hanging from the ceiling just aft of the pass. side slider.
 

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I put mine at #1 . A box behind each cab seat with a lower step between (with storage). Group 31 batteries. Inverter is under the driver seat. I have since learned that a third battery could go under the passenger seat. If we were doing it over, we would spread components into the step area, but initially we had only one battery.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
I put mine at #1
Thank you for the picture. That's very helpful. Do you swivel the front seats?

I'm realizing now that I probably don't have enough height in that platform for those batteries, as @papab points out. I could make the platform taller, I suppose, so long as it doesn't make the sitting position weird when the seats are turned aft.
 

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Inquiring mind wondering how you proceeded with this. I'm in a similar place now that you were then, and even have dual sliders, albeit in a 136". I just started specing out my electrical and am thinking Renogy simply because they make most of the components I need and one stop shopping when i'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the learning curve has some value to me. Like you, I also wish to go with electric heat as much as possible. I'm thinking of two lithium 100Ah batteries. I have a little Vornado electric heater, it's the VMH10 @https://amzn.to/2DzzI2k and on low it's 375watts and is super quiet. I'm not a cold weather camper so much so hoping it might get me comfy with a few hours a day of heating as needed. Anyway, any insight into components and the placement you decided upon would be helpful. I just added a 2nd swivel and am considering a side cabinet like you describe as #2 (although I may put my fridge in it, and of course a foot rest storage area like your #1 .

thanks!
ted




I'm not fully enjoying the process with selecting the electrical; dragging my feet, feelings of overwhelm, etc. Part of it is my frustration with the heating. I just want an electric heat source and no other! It seems like we are so close with current technology to be able to do that. Alas, I'm all but resigned to forking over the cash for the gas Webasto.

At the moment, here's my leanings with the electrical...

Batteries: leaning toward FLA due to price point, but getting other components that are compatible with lithium.

Shore power / charger / distribution center: Progressive Dynamics PD4045KV Inteli-Power 4000 Series Converter with Charge Wizard - 45 Amp

Solar: I'm dragging my feet on this one, too. It doesn't really seem like the simplest of installations. Anyway, probably 2 of the Renogy 100watts. I'll probably pop for the MPPT controller but haven't settled on a particular component.

Charging from van battery/alternator: Leaning toward Sterling Power BB1230 - Pro Batt Ultra Battery to Battery Charger 12V-12V 30A DC. I know I could accomplish this many ways, but I'm dizzy from the options. Besides being $300, it seems like a nice, safe way to charge house batteries -- be they FLA, lithium, whatever.

Inverter: I picked up a used Magnum 2000, but I might not use it. It's enormous and not pure sine wave. If I go with placement 1, I'll just replace the magnum with something with a smaller footprint. If I go placement 2, I'll use it at least until I really want induction cooktop which I figure is inevitable for me, lifestyle-speaking.
 

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Inquiring mind wondering how you proceeded with this. I'm in a similar place now that you were then, and even have dual sliders, albeit in a 136". I just started specing out my electrical and am thinking Renogy simply because they make most of the components I need and one stop shopping when i'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the learning curve has some value to me. Like you, I also wish to go with electric heat as much as possible. I'm thinking of two lithium 100Ah batteries. I have a little Vornado electric heater, it's the VMH10 @https://amzn.to/2DzzI2k and on low it's 375watts and is super quiet. I'm not a cold weather camper so much so hoping it might get me comfy with a few hours a day of heating as needed. Anyway, any insight into components and the placement you decided upon would be helpful. I just added a 2nd swivel and am considering a side cabinet like you describe as #2 (although I may put my fridge in it, and of course a foot rest storage area like your #1 .

thanks!
ted
What will the electrical "logistics" look like to support electric heat? Your heater consumes 375 watts on low. 375W/12V = 31 amps. 2 100Ah Li batteries have 2x80 = 160Ah capacity. So best case scenario is you have 160/31 = a little over 5 hours of heat a day, just for heat. Don't you need power for the fridge? Lights, charging your laptop? And how would you cram 160Ah back into your batteries every day? It would require a large solar array and 6 or more hours of sun a day--every day.

I hope I don't come across as sounding harsh. I've just been through your exact phase (the much pondering over electrical systems and the various things I need/want that will consume all that power). It's tricky and I'm not sure I've got it right at all. But when I saw the words "electric heat", some alarm bells went off and I felt I had to comment.
 

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I can't imagine why the electrical system seems overwhelming :)



Two sliders does not mean that you have to run under the van to cross over. I have a few wires running through the roof ribs.

I put all my back bone electrical into a cabinet over the passenger side wheel well. I connected to the van's battery via the upfitter connection in the passenger B pillar. The secondary control center is mounted hanging from the ceiling just aft of the pass. side slider.
Ha-ha! What a great picture! Like I said above, I've been going through the mental contortions recently. Those are some top-flight building blocks you've got there! As for me...yesterday, I hammered some scrap 1/2-inch copper pipe flat to use as bus bars! :-D
 

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I too question the electric heat plan. That's a lot of power used to create very little heat in a cold metal van.


The perfect no-cost-for-add-ons heat source is the van heater! When I was building mine during the cold New England winters, I just started the van and the heater made it shirt-sleeve warm in under 10 minutes.



There have been discussions about running the van at idle, and I don't recall any solid evidence of problems, especially if you're thinking of occasional use.


Not criticizing... just suggesting for consideration! Everyone gets to do their own thing!


ps. we have a Vornado 1500W heater that keeps our lightly insulated window van at 70 in outside temps down to about 30... perfect! (when on shore power!)






.
 

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I agree with you. I'm thinking in part to run motor and van heater when necessary for a little bit which will also allow alternator to charge batteries a bit extra with a DC to DC charger.



I too question the electric heat plan. That's a lot of power used to create very little heat in a cold metal van.


The perfect no-cost-for-add-ons heat source is the van heater! When I was building mine during the cold New England winters, I just started the van and the heater made it shirt-sleeve warm in under 10 minutes.



There have been discussions about running the van at idle, and I don't recall any solid evidence of problems, especially if you're thinking of occasional use.


Not criticizing... just suggesting for consideration! Everyone gets to do their own thing!


ps. we have a Vornado 1500W heater that keeps our lightly insulated window van at 70 in outside temps down to about 30... perfect! (when on shore power!)






.
 

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I get it. And I'm far from convinced that I can make electric heat work. And I do understand your math and don't dispute it. That said, My first main trip in the van will be a summer trip and will have some driving involved (i/e not boondocking for 2 weeks at a time) so I'm thinking of just testing out life with using the built in van heater, the small Vornado I mentioned, a DC to DC charger so alternator can help to fill up the batteries a little while driving and while running the van heat when necessary which will also help recharge the batteries. I'll likely add another combustible fuel-type heater at some point as well, as I do like comfy, but my fantasy boondocking trips are Baja and the desert where there will also be ample sun in my experience.

Nothing harsh in your tone. Your input very much appreciated.


What will the electrical "logistics" look like to support electric heat? Your heater consumes 375 watts on low. 375W/12V = 31 amps. 2 100Ah Li batteries have 2x80 = 160Ah capacity. So best case scenario is you have 160/31 = a little over 5 hours of heat a day, just for heat. Don't you need power for the fridge? Lights, charging your laptop? And how would you cram 160Ah back into your batteries every day? It would require a large solar array and 6 or more hours of sun a day--every day.

I hope I don't come across as sounding harsh. I've just been through your exact phase (the much pondering over electrical systems and the various things I need/want that will consume all that power). It's tricky and I'm not sure I've got it right at all. But when I saw the words "electric heat", some alarm bells went off and I felt I had to comment.
 

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I understand the desire to have high use appliances like Air conditioning and electric heat. For fear of sounding harsh, smarter people than us with lots of resources (read money) have tried and concluded “Not Yet” Vicarious learning is often accurate and from the right people trustworthy.

I see the heat as a simple issue as diesel and gasoline heaters are available, have a long history, and will be as good at the job and cheaper than electric. AC is another matter as cooling has less options. At this time carrying a generator seems the best choice for boon dockers and plugging in for campgrounders.

I see either AC or electric heat as sure ways to turn a $4,000 conversion into a $10,000+ conversion with compromises even then. If that seems OK to you go ahead and report back. Lights, computer charging, fan, microwave, induction stovetop, even hot pot and insta pots can be run on a $700 electrical system.
 
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