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Author Topic: Electrical worries  (Read 2043 times)

Dodge

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Electrical worries
« on: March 06, 2017, 03:49:41 PM »
Hi all,

I'm looking into van living because
1) My job doesn't pay too great, but its steady
2) I have gypsy blood so living like this/static caravan really appeals to me for some reason!
3) I travel alot! Not in the sense of abroad, but my kids live in Newcastle, I work in South Manchester, and family are dotted around North Manchester/North Wales.

So with that in mind, my Astra has done 20k in the last 7 months...
I can find places to cut down, i.e, during the week, park near work, at weekends to Wales, and alternate weekends, stay up near the kids.

However my main concern is electrics! I'm work on computers and do a lot of PC related tasks in my spare time (portfolio, odd jobs, gaming)
So having a PC setup/desk would be my main thing.

Is this possible using leisure batteries and an inverter for a couple of hours a night? Would solar do enough or is there a good way to charge it whilst on the move alongside it?

And lastly, is there a good way to keep out condensation to prevent any damage to electrics?

kryten

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Re: Electrical worries
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 07:30:18 PM »
A laptop would be better than a desktop. With solar you shouldn't have any issues with running a laptop. A desktop will use up your batteries and you would need some power for lighting and other electrical appliances.

Make sure your van is well insulated and also well ventilated, a roof vent would be ideal, especially around your cooking area. Also keep exposed metal to a minimum or completed covered if possible.

NickJ83

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Re: Electrical worries
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 07:33:58 PM »
I've been living in my van now for going on 5 months so heres my thoughts.

I dont see why you couldnt run a PC but you'd need a pure sine wave inverter otherwise you could damage your electronics.

Depending on your other electrical needs you could easily run from a bank of batteries and charge with solar but I'd definitely have another way to charge.

Most people use a split charge system. Often using voltage sensing relays etc.

I had one but couldnt get it set up right so I now have a very simple but reliable system.

Basically a live feed straight from my starter battery using the wire off an old jump lead. Between the batteries I have a 60amp fuse and a 100amp switch. When I'm driving I reach down to the switch put its key in and switch it on. When I stop I take the  key out. My rule is when its on its tethered to my keys so I cant forget its on.

Because I have heavy duty jump lead wire I can use it to start my van I think if it doesnt take more that 60amps. I'll have to look that up.

this is my battery I keep it on my doorstep. Thats a little LED volt meter so I can easily see if I need to charge it up.

Condensation on electronics. It will happen. I've picked up my laptop and camera and when they're cold they can feel damp but I guess most portable electronics are designed with this in mind. Insulate your van well and keep it vented and I wouldnt think you'd have too many problems.

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Dodge

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Re: Electrical worries
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2017, 08:42:15 AM »
Cheers for the tips and info!

Definitely looking at a retractable extension for an alternate power source, so if I do pop to a mates over night i can pinch their elecy!
For internet ill be looking for free hotspots and using a upgraded antenna so i can park some distance from it. 

Definitely a second battery, one for high power appliances such as the PC/Laptop, and then one for lights, fridge etc

I supposed the only way to see how it works is to try it!

I've hit that point where it seems like its definitely going ahead, how have you found the last 5 months in terms of savings, experiences, have you got a blog with do's and dont's? haha, I know half of this should be learnt from experienced, but hoping to save as much as I can on the initial outgoings for van/equipment

Cheers!