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Electrical System Installation

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We’re very proud to present you the electrical system installation of our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion!

 

This post is a collection of images of the installation process.

 

For everything related to the design process, we recommend you to read the post “Electrical System Design”.

Electrical System Design

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: ~40 hours

(We honestly don’t know the exact hours; there was so much work performed here and there, some things were completed later, some things were improved, etc. Needless to say, this is an approximation!)

 

TOTAL COST : ~2000$ USD (this excludes the solar panels installation)

 

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click and commit to buy one of the product linked, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through our affiliate links is a great way to say thanks if we were of any help in your van conversion! Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.

 

MATERIAL:

We used mostly marine grade material as it is the highest quality available. We don’t want to mess with safety or long-term reliability; the electrical system is not the place to cheap out…

We won’t go in details for the material that follows, because it varies from one electrical system to another. For example, if your cable length is different than ours then the diameter will be different than ours. So will be your terminal rings diameter and quantities, etc… Do your homework! And check our Electrical System Design post for more info.

 

TOOLS:

 

PRE-REQUISITE

 

CO-REQUISITE

 

Disclaimer

We’re not electricians. What we present here is the result of countless hours of research through the interwebs and through knowledgeable people that did it before us. There might be mistakes in our diagram, so make sure you fully understand what you are doing…

 

 

First of all, the location of every major component was determined to minimize the space occupied by the installation. The 3D model layout was very handy for this task.
Electrical System Installation Van Conversion CAD 3D Model

Interactive 3D CAD layout here.

 

 

But most important, we followed our detailed diagram to assemble everything together. We don’t think we could have made it without the diagram…

(you can over/click on the dots within the image to retrieve information on the components)

Click here for High-Resolution Diagram.

 

There are just too many steps and details to cover everything, so what follows is some pictures of the installation process. If you wish to see specific stuff, you can always request it in the comments section!
(Click on the picture to enlarge)

 

electrical-system-installation-van-conversion-3

Fitting the 210 AGM Rolls Battery. This thing is HEAVY!

 

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Getting the major components in

 

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We tried to keep the cables length to the minimum

 

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Isabelle doing all the work

 

 

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Connecting the solar charge controller

 

Electrical System Installation Van Conversion (2)

Crimping party

 

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View from the top of the cabinet

 

Electrical-System-Installation-Van-Conversion-(Heat-Management)

Passive heat management: cool air enter the side of the cabinet (from the “garage” side), then escape through a large gap behind the drawers and through an opening we left on the side of the cabinet.

 

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Removing the drawers will give us the access to the electrical system

 

Inverter Van Battery Positive

The inverter is connected to the auxiliary positive terminal under the driver seat. It is protected with a 200A Class-T fuse.

 

Van Batteries Cover

The inverter connection is contained within the batteries cover. Nice & Clean.

 

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We did that!

 

 

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

  • We added a remote to the inverter, because sometimes (alright, most of the time) we forget to turn it on before driving to charge the battery. Here is the remote: http://amzn.to/2hLJBjU
samlex-inverter-remote

Remote for 1000W Samlex inverter. Buy from Amazon

 

  • We decided to minimize the electrical cables length, so we don’t have a sexy distribution panel to display our switches. The switches are a bit hard to access, it might irritate us in the future. We’ll see.

 

NEXT STEPS:

  • Loads installation (lights, 12V sockets, fridge, etc) (wait for it!)

 

 

(VERY) RELATED ARTICLE:

Electrical System Design

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, we’re converting it to a campervan and we are now selling our house to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

6 comments

  1. Comment by Terri

    Terri Reply December 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Hi, I’m interested in knowing how you wired up the 110 AC ground and neutral of the inverter and the shore power battery charger. Are the AC grounds connected to the vehicle chassis? Does the inverter bond the neutral and ground together internally?

    You’ve created an amazing website here! I love the style, the photos, writeups, graphics, etc. It’s informative AND a treat to look at.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Terri, i wish you did not brought up that topic 😛 Neutral VS Ground is still confusing for me… but here we go:
      We ran a badass 00 welding cable from the ground point between the driver/passenger seat, back to our negative bus bar of the house battery (there was no nearest “approved” ground point per BEMM). The negative of our inverter is connected to that bus bar.
      We connected the ground of the inverter to a ground point in the back of the van (per BEMM), but i’m not sure why… we did it anyway after reading a few articles here and there…
      The battery charger is not grounded, because the ground is provided by the shore cable (i recall reading this somewhere).

      Please feel free to correct or educate me! 🙂

      And thanks for the compliments! Happy Holidays!

  2. Comment by Terri

    Terri Reply December 24, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Hah! I’m in no position to educate anyone about this. I’m still trying to work out a diagram with all the parts and connections I need and have no hands on experience yet. What I’ve read about grounding the AC side of things has been confusing. It’s funny how easy it is to find good articles about marine wiring that sound like they’re written by electrical engineers explaining well established best practices, but I haven’t come across anything of that sort for RV wiring.

  3. Comment by Terri

    Terri Reply March 15, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Do you by any chance remember where you bought the cable clamps that are holding the cables and loom to the plywood?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply March 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      We bought them at our local electronics shop, but here is a kit with many sizes on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nGxzY5.

  4. Comment by Terri

    Terri Reply March 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks, the kit with many sizes sounds perfect!

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