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My daughter remarked that I spent like $500,000 in thinking and research time. She was waaay off-base! At most, my think/research time was maybe...$200,000... :D
I am just glad I don't have to pay for my time the amount I charge for my time, I could not afford myself. At my billable rate I would have almost $70,000 in labor in the van. Fortunately when I am working for myself I work for whiskey (I probably have about $500 worth of whiskey invested in the build).
 

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I'm a terrible boss.
I let myself take all kinds of time off and when I do make myself work, it's long crazy hours, I yell at myself, call myself names....it's a very dysfunctional relationship.
I should quit.
**** I let myself drink on the job and I pay myself like crap.
 

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Hi Harry, That is a great question, & I will attempt to answer it.

1) Diagnostics; Last year when in LA, I cooked a fuse that I sized for “one way” 🙄. I sat in my van & played with breakers & switches & was able to diagnose the problem & why it happened. The battery monitor was a big part of the diagnostics.

2) Electrical Load Surveys; I want to know how much juice my 12v things are consuming when they are running.

3) Battery Health; The majority of my charging my 250hr agm Rolls house bank is from the PM alternator. I do not have solar (I may never need solar & I am trying to keep my roof as factory slippery as I can for fuel economy). I manually switch on my charging system to recharge my batteries & when they are 100% I turn the system off.

I guess I like to know what is going on with my 12v system & no not to decide if I can cook eggs or wait.

I can understand some people do not “get” the reasons why I would incorporate such an instrument into my van. The easiest way I think I could explain it to you Harry would be a question - When you build your van electrical systems do you use your “multimeter” & if so why?
I always have a clamp meter in my van so for $200 I can check any cable for what is going on, but I do get it.

I use the bogart enginering monitors in my systems and they offer a wifi version, which I like because it doesn't require a phone application to work. It just works very well with any OS and any browser. It also allows use of any industry standard shunts. Can you tell that I like non proprietary systems? This enables customers to readily swap out any part if needed. So far this has only been some batteries that exceeded their cycle life. (knock on wood)
 

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So, then some folks are saying "what's the point of all the Bluetooth stuff"?
That wasn't clarified. Some of the posts, starting with yours, came off as suggesting that any type of monitor is unnecessary and all you need is a multimeter for the rare occasion that you might want to check your battery manually.
Which I didn't understand, because everyone has some type of charging system and some type of readout or indicator. Which, I can't really think of a reason why you wouldn't glance at it on occasion, to make sure all is normal.
So, am I missing something?
Is everyone saying the Bluetooth is unnecessary, or having a basic meter/readout at all?
 

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Most peoples electrical is probably way over done for their needs. Unless you have a super-duper, high faulting' LiPo setup a voltmeter and watt hour meter is probably more than adequate (but its ain't as much fun as being able to say "I have .........."
 

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I agree with all that.
What I understood the comments to mean and how I read it was you don't need ANY type of monitor, gauge, readout, etc.
As if to suggest that you should just build your system and never look at it again or even have a little digital readout somewhere that tells you what the voltage is.
 

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If that works for you why not? It doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. In the past 18 years and 3 conversions I’ve done I’ve never had a dead battery or run out of power but I do have a voltmeter that reads the output from my solar panels just so I know how many volts they’re putting out and one that reaDS the charge of the house batteries plus a watt hour meter that reads my daily power usage. I basically never look at the watt hour meter but I do find the two voltmeters to be valuable if only for a reference point that everything is where it should be. Everyones needs are different. If you feel you need it - go for it but don’t say it is a requirement because millions of vehicles get by everyday with an idiot light for their battery voltage and never have a dead battery!
 

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No no no. I think this where the conversation went sideways.
I'm talking about just a simple little 2" digital display, that does exactly what you just described. Exactly like you have. I didn't say anyone "should" have one or "needed" one.
I was asking why you guys were saying you shouldn't have one or don't need one.
Especially when you have one and do use it.
Im talking about a simple teadout, exactly like you have. Not a crazy over the top $8000 system to run a fan and 2 lights.
You guys have solar charge controllers. They probably tell you everything you need. I don't have a solar controller. I cant see anything. So I was asking what was wrong with hooking up a $30 battery monitor so I can at least see the basics of what's going on. And you guys just kept saying no one needs all that crap.
 

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Nothing wrong with having anything. I don’t think anyone is saying you shouldn’t have one. Your answered your own question! I have a solar controller in my closet that has all kinds of data readouts. I’ve never even looked at it it’s to hard to read😏. Need and want are two different subjects. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to see one voltmeter at 22.6 volts and the other at 14.2 but that’s all. The system works without being watched.
 

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Yeah, I think we were having a 4 way conversation and the lines were all tangled up.
 

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Discussion Starter #292
I always have a clamp meter in my van so for $200 I can check any cable for what is going on, but I do get it.

I use the bogart enginering monitors in my systems and they offer a wifi version, which I like because it doesn't require a phone application to work. It just works very well with any OS and any browser. It also allows use of any industry standard shunts. Can you tell that I like non proprietary systems? This enables customers to readily swap out any part if needed. So far this has only been some batteries that exceeded their cycle life. (knock on wood)
Thanks for the reply Harry, & I get where you are coming from. I try to stay away from proprietary stuff myself, but I do not avoid it all together depending upon how much it costs & if it can be easily swapped out of a system for another brand (Off the shelf if possible).

A major factor in me DIYing a camper van is so I could fix the thing myself (non proprietary). I do not like being at the mercy of an RV repair shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #293
Design Is Everything

Well not really, but the idea is if you come up with a ROCKIN DESIGN all you need is good materials and the talent/skills to build it. The hardest thing to get right is the design & we are all designing unique van camper conversions.

The following is from a thread about the correct slider passage width when designing the floor plan;


**


This really depends upon your design "floorplan". It is best to maximize the precious space.

Ours is 36" clear opening from the door jamb to the cabinet, but our design is for;

1) ARB sliding fridge to slide into the opening (we load and unload the fridge from outside mostly)
2) Open area and ease of moving in and out is ergonomically important to us.
3) Standing area around the prep galley
4) We sit on the floor with our feet on the campsite sometimes with the slider open (very comfortable for the two of us.

So the door open area is really multi-use & truly less "stuff" is more for us.

Good materials and quality labour is important, but I am pretty convinced with DIY van building it really comes down to smart ergonomic design (in other words - Design is Everything).

65361
 
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