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Old 11-15-2023, 09:13 AM   #1
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Need to build a control and monitor panel. Examples?

I need a control and monitor panel on the side of the closet. I do not want to cut into the closet itself due to structural and just space concerns.

So I am figuring some sort of surface mounted box.

I need to mount the following items in the panel for it.

3@ 12v power outlets
2@ dual USB power outlets
1@ rocker switch to control on / off for these outlets.
Control / monitor panel for my 3KW inverter.
Battery monitor
1@rocker switch for water pump
1@rocker switch for fridge cutoff
Relocated thermostat for Starcool
Thermostat / controller for Diesel or Velit Gasoline heater. I am noticing not a ton of love for gasoline versions of these heaters for some reason...
At some point I will have to be able to figure out some way to monitor tank levels for fresh and gray tanks, I will want those monitors here as well...

So what I am asking for is if anyone has set up something like this, could you please post some pics of examples? I am fishing for ideas on how to do this...What works, what doesn't, should switches be elsewhere that sort of thing...

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Old 11-15-2023, 09:29 AM   #2
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One thing I'd suggest taking into consideration when you find a solution to the "box" you referenced building; Many of the items you listed more then likely have some sort of illumination signaling it's receiving power (or lighted display panel). Any/All of these can become very annoying if they are positioned in a manner in which they would shine towards you when you're trying to sleep. I'd chose a location which guards against this.
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Old 11-15-2023, 12:45 PM   #3
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I am due to my particular interior layout, and the size of my fridge, limited to where I can put this thing. I am not adverse to a snap on soft cover of some blackout curtain material to keep the blue LEDs from blinding me though! As in this is not a thought that has not gone through my dome... The USB ports have a blue LED showing it is one. The inverter display shuts off but a blue status indicated LED shows it is powered on, The fridge at least doesn't face me and is on the other side of the van... The battery monitor is a mystery machine to me, I don't see an LED on it, other than the display panel, and I can only hope it is a tap on to use, and goes dark after X minutes... But no experience with it yet...

The more I use it, the more I am considering when I redo the interior, ripping out and starting over with a completely different design. Things are not where I would like them best.
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Old 11-15-2023, 03:26 PM   #4
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1/8" aluminum plate......093" would work fine too. Milled then bead blasted.








I added a battery monitor so I actually had to mill a second one.....that's the large round hole in the second picture.


One more.....switches are light, water pump and fridge.


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Old 11-15-2023, 05:38 PM   #5
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very nice...
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Old 11-15-2023, 10:45 PM   #6
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Amazon has a wide array of electronics enclosure boxes, some plastic some metal.https://www.amazon.com/s?k=electroni..._ts-doa-p_6_15
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Old 11-15-2023, 10:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
1/8" aluminum plate......093" would work fine too. Milled then bead blasted.








I added a battery monitor so I actually had to mill a second one.....that's the large round hole in the second picture.


One more.....switches are light, water pump and fridge.


First off, that is an absolutely beautiful implementation. Both of them. The issue isn't installing into a cabinet, but more how to stylistically build / install a box that attaches to the cabinet so the back side / wiring of the panels is not in the cabinet sucking up in my case closet space and being put at risk of damage. The biggest issue is the 12v outlets as they are so deep. I could easily whip up something for the control panels, or just install in the magazine rack that gets zero use and makes me wonder why the even put that there... I guess people in the early 90s read a lot of magazines while camping?

And there might be a solution to this issue. And that would be to mount everything BUT the 12v outlet panel into that magazine rack and cap it. WAY more than enough room for that.

Magazine rack + cap + building some kind of extender would do the trick too with the outlet panel.

Just magazine rack and put the 12v panel in the dinette base right below would work. So would pulling the panel apart and installing each outlet where I need it, that would make routing wire a real PITA though... I really need a single 12v outlet in the kitchen cabinet by the sliding door to run my CPAP, and I need USB chargers more or less everywhere...
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Old 11-16-2023, 08:34 AM   #8
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Ok...I think I'm understanding your design constraints a little better......you need surface mounting rather than flush mounting.

Can you post a picture of the magazine rack? Do you want/need some sort of door/cover over this control panel? ....Not sure I'm following the "cap" part.

Assuming that you want something aesthetic and not a NEMA box etc.

One idea........you could fabricate a panel like I've done above and build a 1.5"-2" tall wood frame to space the panel above the surface where you are mounting it, then mount the 12V outlets/USBs in the side of the frame...that keeps your depth shallow.





For extra sexiness I would round the corners and wrap the frame in vinyl etc.
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Old 11-19-2023, 11:06 AM   #9
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You could also 3D print a custom panel (or an entire box). I've done this successfully for a number of projects and the results are very professional. I've used Front Panel Designer https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/front-panel-designer# to design the panels and have a friend print them (also our Library has a 3D printer or you can print them at Print-A-Thing).

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Old 11-20-2023, 08:45 AM   #10
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FYI, The Hella/DIN 12 V power outlets are much more compact and have a more secure connection than the standard cigarette lighter outlet. https://www.amazon.com/Cliff-Top-Mar...-15&th=1&psc=1
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