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”.
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)
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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…
- House Battery: Rolls S12-230 AGM (Spec Sheet)
- Battery Charger / Converter: Samlex SEC-1230UL 30 amp (Buy from Amazon)
- DC-AC Power Inverter: Samlex PST-1000-12 (1000W) Pure Sine (Buy from Amazon)
- Solar Charge Controller: Bogart Engineering SC-2030 30 amp with temperature sensor (Buy from eBay)
- Electrical System Monitor: Bogart Engineering TM-2030-RV (Buy from eBay)
- Shunt: 500A (Buy from Amazon)
- Power Inverter Fuse & Block: Samlex 200 amp Fuse Assembly (Buy from Amazon)
- Fuse Block: Blue Sea ST Blade 12 with cover & negative (Buy from Amazon)
- Fuses: Buy from Amazon
- Breakers: Blue Sea Single Pole Magnetic 40 amp (Buy from Amazon, Quantity = 3)
- Bus Bars: Blue Sea 150A 4 Stud with cover (Buy from Amazon, Quantity = 2)
- Main ON/OFF switch: Blue Sea e-Serie Battery Switch (Buy from Amazon)
- 3 Positions Switch: Blue Sea e-Serie Battery Switch (Buy from Amazon, Quantity = 2)
- Cable Clamps (Buy from Amazon)
- Split Loom, Various Size (Buy from Amazon)
- Zip Ties (Buy from Amazon)
- Zip Tie Mount with Adhesive (Buy from Amazon)
- Dielectric Grease to protect Battery Terminals from corrosion: Permatex 22058 (Buy from Amazon)
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.
- Terminal Ring example for cable diameter AWG 8 and bigger: http://amzn.to/2hvhB3E
- Heat Shrink Ring Terminals example for cable diamater AWG 8 and smaller: http://amzn.to/2hznhcR
- Heat Shrink Butt Connectors example: http://amzn.to/2hLJOUg
- Heat Shrink Tubing with adhesive example: http://amzn.to/2gOVCoT
- Primary Wire example: http://amzn.to/2hTpoou
- Duplex Wire example: http://amzn.to/2hLFIvk
- For wire diameter bigger than AWG 8, we went to our local Battery Expert shop, bought the wire and had them crimped for us, as it is preferable to use special tooling (or you can buy an hydraulic press to do it yourself http://amzn.to/2ieQKWs).
- Crimp Tool (Buy from Amazon)
- Hydraulic Crimp Tool (To crimp wire larger than AWG 8. Buy from Amazon)
- Heat Gun (Buy from Amazon)
- Wire Stripper (Buy from Amazon)
- Wire Cutter (Buy from Amazon)
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.
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)
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
- 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.
First month on the road review:
(The following text is extracted from faroutride.com/first-month/)
No surprises here, it’s going as planned. The battery state-of-charge (SOC) normally doesn’t get below 80% and is getting charged almost exclusively by our solar panels, except when there are a few days of bad weather then we top up the battery via the alternator. As we mentioned a few times, we would install a Sterling Battery-to-Battery charger (http://amzn.to/2xmHZ6W) if we had to do it over (so we don’t have to think of charging the battery from the alternator, it’s all automatic with the Sterling charger). Winter will be the real test for our electrical system, so more to come…
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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, converted it to a campervan, sold our house, quit our jobs and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!