Consumer Unit

This is the main fuse box for the 230V. There will be a master switch and and then separate fuses for each circuit. You have to consider how many circuits you want separated and then add on two extra spaces for the cut off switch.

  • Fridge & Battery Charger
  • Sockets
  • Exterior Power

(The exterior power is basically for a pass through to get power in the awning.)

Something like this…

http://www.screwfix.com/p/wylex-5-way-fully-insulated-main-switch-consumer-unit/24223?kpid=24223&cm_mmc=Google-_-Product%20Listing%20Ads-_-Sales%20Tracking-_-sales%20tracking%20url&gclid=CILFraeQhL0CFSfmwgodzFYAkg

Inverter

Inverter

In an effort to reduce cost I have gone for a 300W inverter from Screwfix (about £35). I don’t actually need a high wattage inverter as the only things we intend running on electric are the LED lights and maybe charge a phone or laptop although we seldom do while away… we don’t watch TV while in the Van! I would rather have a branded model inverter that pushes out a pretty clean supply rather than a cheap eBay one that pushes out filth and can trash sensitive electronics (if we ever use them!). The only down-side with this one is that it is quite loud, hopefully this will greatly drop off when I get it all boxed away nicely.

If you are not sure what an inverter is… it attaches to a Leisure Battery and has a normal domestic 13amp socket so you can run powered devices while out and about!

A Pure Sine Wave Inverter is much much cleaner than theel cheapo nasty one that I bought but I figured most of my stuff including phones and laptops will charge straight off DC rather than DC-AC-DC.

Leisure Battery Charger

I want a nice battery charger that can stay in place. I’m looking for something that will cope with:

  • Can comfortably charge a 110AH battery
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Mounting holes (preferably)
  • Multistage charging

This is the nicest I’ve found so far:
£74 – 3 Stage charging – https://www.portablepowertech.com/product/standard-20a-12v-battery-charger/

Paco 7 Stage 20A Charger
£70 – 7 Stage charging – http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-20A-Connect-and-Forget-Leisure-Battery-Charger-Caravan-Motorhome-Boat-/121734459481?hash=item1c57f07059:g:qMYAAOSw7I5Tw788

Scrap that… I’ve been given a battery charger from a friend who upgraded his!

Reversing Camera

You can get cheap cheerful versions with RCA connectors or more durable versions, I’ve gone for a cheap cheerful option with 2 cameras and a 7″ screen… I’ll add updates on fitting it and testing it.

2*IR Reverse Camera + 7″ LCD Monitor Car Rear View Kit for Bus Truck

After reversing into a Mercedes I decided that it was time I fitted the camera I had already bought!

I bought two IR cameras and a 7″ screen from eBay for about £40, I could have got one camera on its own but this was before I decided to replace the stereo / head-unit in the front of the van and it was only £5 extra for the second camera.

2015-09-19 17.56.56

This is how it ended up! I wired it all up with the screen at the back of the van to work out the best position for the camera. I then cut off all the connectors for the camera and got the smallest cable grommet that could fit the camera cable through.

Note: I think they are called cable grommets! I’ll find the proper name and update the page later! The thing I am on about is the white plastic thing shown in the image above. They allow you to create a waterproof point to pass a cable through something, like a van door! You drill a hole big enough for the grommet, glue the grommet in place with sikaflex or something like that, pass the cable through the grommet and then screw the grommet tight and a rubber tube in the grommet clamps down on the cable making it water tight.

2015-09-19 14.08.48

I then stripped the cable ends and tested it again with croc clips to ensure I hadn’t made any mistakes and I had the wire connections correct.

2015-09-19 17.56.20

I then cut a big bit of black heat shrink to cover all of the individual connections once I had done them. I then soldered and heatshrunk (heatshrunk… is that a word? You know what I mean!) each of the 5 individual connections, as shown above.

Once I was happy that all of this was working and I hadn’t messed up with my soldering then it was time to attach the camera. This was fairly simple, it was just; cleaning the door, drilling three holes for the camera bracket, coating the bracket in sikaflex (other flexible adhesive brands are available!) Sticking it on and then using rivets to attach the bracket before the sikaflex dried and then wipe off any sikaflex that was squeezed out before it dried.

2015-09-19 17.56.32

That is the camera mounted. Now to run the cables through some flexible trunking and make sure there is enough slack in the trunking to allow the back door to open wide.

The power and video cables were run through flexible trunking all the way down the passenger side and behind the trim on the passenger side to the dashboard. The power for the screen came from a feed I wired off the 12v cigar lighter socket and the power for the camera came from an aftermarket fuse board that BT had wired up before I bought the van. You could wire it off the same place but I would advise that you take the power for the camera from somewhere that is isolated by the ignition key! You don’t want to park up for a week and have the camera slowly trickle away the charge in your engine battery (as oppose to the leisure battery).

Update: Having used this now for a couple of weeks I’m kicking myself for not fitting this sooner! As well as saving me £350 for reversing into a Mercedes the camera is so good and clear! You couldn’t shoot a hi-def film on it but for knowing how close you are to the car/wall/tree/child behind you, it is brilliant!

Deep Cycle / Leisure Battery

AH = Amp Hours
If you pull 1 amp per hour, how many hours will this battery run for before completely flat (not a good idea by the way!) Rule of thumb is only take them down to half charge.

e.g. a 100AH battery can provide 1 amp for 100 hours or 2 amps for 50 hours, at ~12v, or 2A for 25 hours if you are going to stick to the half charge rule!

The voltage of a battery varies depending on the charge remaining in the battery so the voltage produced by te battery can be a rough indicator of the charge available in the battery…

Voltage Approximate Charge
>12.7V 100%
12.5V 75%
12.4V 50%
12.2V 25%
<12V Discharged

There is not much point writing detailed descriptions of Deep Cycle or Leisure batteries when there are so many good descriptions out there. Here’s a fairly detailed one if you want to read up.

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/technicalhelp/power/a-guide-to-leisure-batteries/

Please be aware that some batteries can emit hydrogen when charging so the space they are stored in should be vented!

110AH for £145
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-Xplorer-110AH-Gel-Battery-UItra-Deep-Cycle-5-Year-Warranty-/…. hideous ebay link

Battery Update

Battery

OK so I compromised and we didn’t go for a gel battery as I would have liked but on the plus side I managed to get a 110AH Sealed Battery for £65!!

http://www.platinumbatteries.co.uk/battery-types/leisure/leisureplatinum

http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/platinum-s6110l-110ah-leisure-battery-p342319