My long-awaited electrical is finally in. Whew, that was a whirlwind, multiple long-days, hurry-before-the-rain (didn’t quite make it; one day it just poured) install. Parts have been arriving for months, stored away till the next batch of $$ could be saved. Because I have the great fortune of being friends with Greg S. (Scalf77), I didn’t have to become an overnight electrical expert or put myself in danger with a wing and a prayer system. I sure feel good about that and very grateful to Greg. So, terrific design/wiring/teaching by Greg; woodwork and general laborer/gofer/assistant by me. We still have a few things left to do, like running 12v/usb/ac outlets around the van and punching through the top for solar. I have 2 Renogy 100W panels to install on the Unistrut. Then it’ll be on to building enclosures and the like.
I wanted Lithium and I wanted it indoors, easily accessible and warm. I wanted to contain it to above and around the rear passenger wheel well, so I could conserve space and continue to use my L-track as much as possible. I also wanted shore power, roof solar, an external Anderson plug outlet for suitcase solar, and the ability to monitor the batteries onsite and remotely. Here’s a photo essay for the install:
I needed to make a strong box to hold the batteries. I stuffed Havelock wool in the crannies.
Didn’t have time for a photo, but I used 5/16-18 rivnuts in the inside van skin to hold the bolts for the 1/2 in plywood panel. If anybody needs to improve their chest muscles, just buy one of those rivnut installers. Geez. Thankfully, it worked just fine on a handlebar width I could (barely) manage. But, what a great tool! Here’s how it looked after everything was wired up:
The batteries are hemmed in tight. No flying through the air for these guys.
This 3000W Xantrex is a placeholder for the 2000W that’s on backorder.
The Balmar battery monitoring system is really helpful. There’s the panel readout that will go on the finished cabinet exterior. But they have an app that’s simple, easy to connect, and I can read it on my phone in my livingroom. Aux 1 voltage is my starter battery.
I wanted to live with this for a bit before committing to the cabinet design, so I built a temporary barrier to keep the dog and cargo from messing with the wires. The Kreg jig was perfect for this and I pin-nailed some underlayment to the 2x2’s for skin.
Though my build has been slow out of financial necessity, I’ve developed an appreciation for dry runs before finalizing an idea. Going on four years working on this, I can get zen about “Delayed Gratification.” I’m thinking of designing a merit badge for it and can think of a few other folks here who would qualify.