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Old 11-05-2018, 10:56 AM   #1
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Electric Options

I am getting a lot of conflicting opinions on what I need for electric in my Ford 350 Camper Van. As I continue my DIY project, I am uncertain what type electrical system to use. I will be off grid camping. Only needing electric for refrig, water pump, charging ports and any LED lighting necessary. It is also wired for the penthouse pop-up. For those experienced campers , what are your suggestions? Inverter, converter? Very confused!!

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Old 11-05-2018, 12:54 PM   #2
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We have similar power use in our van so have used a converter, 120v to 12v, in my builds. We did add a 120v plug in to the outside of the van so that when we are home we can keep the house batteries charged and the fridge running. Also put in a couple of 120v outlets in the van. They come in handy at home when vacuuming the inside.

We used a converter similar to this one. It has a built in fuse panel. There are other manufacturers that make similar units.

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Old 11-05-2018, 12:59 PM   #3
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A 2-way fridge runs off both AC or DC. Basically everything you mentioned can be DC powered so maybe you don't need AC power? A good house battery hooked to the vehicles DC system using a battery separator might be all you need. Here is a link that might help. It's more suited for larger RV's but has some good info.

IMO it's better to plan for expansion just in case you want to upgrade in the future but building a very simple setup is possible.

This is basically what I have
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:31 PM   #4
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Sportsmobile includes an expensive 2000W pure sine wave Magnum inverter with all their builds, and I don't think we've ever really needed ours. The only time it has been even slightly useful is to charge our laptops, because Apple refuses to sanction 3rd party 12V chargers, but laptops are optional now that tablets and phones are so powerful, and those all have USB charging options.

If I had to do it over again, I'd try to omit the Magnum and have the extra storage space and money.

Then again, we don't have a microwave, which I believe all require AC power. And maybe some day I'll be glad I have it, too soon to tell.
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Old 11-05-2018, 09:10 PM   #5
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Iím no electrical guru, I pulled all of SMBís original electrical system and itís being redone and upgraded for me right now. Iíd try to find an up fitter in your area to do the install if youíre not sure how it all needs to be pieced together, as thereís quite a few components that are needed.
Iím going with the Xantrex freedom XC 2000-a power inverter with charge control, Xantrex remote panel, Victron battery monitor-everything needs to be centrally grounded through a ground bus to get proper readings from your battery, power bus, shutoff, fused distribution block, 4D house batterie(s), I now have 2 for a total of close to 400 amp hours. Add in solar panel(s) and a solar controller for true off grid use, the more solar the better, Iíll have close to 350W between 2 mounted on the roof and a 100W suitcase panel when done.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:27 PM   #6
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One very important 120V safety issue is wiring the neutral and ground properly in the circuit breaker box.

In a normal home breaker panel installation, the ground and neutral are tied together. You do *not* want this in a van. The ground and neutral need to be separate. You can think of the wiring in the van as a glorified power strip -- hot, neutral, and ground need to all be carried through. This is important because miswired outlets and bad grounds are not uncommon at camp sites. You don't want to make the whole van chassis "hot" if the hot and neutral are swapped!

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