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The vanlife => Van Conversion => Topic started by: Hendo on May 26, 2017, 08:19:33 PM

Title: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Hendo on May 26, 2017, 08:19:33 PM
Hi all.
Having done a couple of conversions, Ive now started on an ex-ambulance.  I'm an electrician, but the alterations made by the original conversion company are difficult to suss out.  They have seemingly integrated the rear cabin electrics and controls into the van's own loom in various ways.  In particular there is an isolator switch on the dash which cuts off the both batteries, except that some parts of the system are still live, eg. the imobiliser.  As it's a Renault Master with CANBUS there is no easy way to trace the cables.   If I just start chopping wires it won't end well. 
Does anyone out there have any knowledge of how the wiring is altered?  A schematic would be great!
Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Camper_Dan on May 27, 2017, 01:25:01 AM
Easy Answer:  Check with the original manufacturer, maybe for online ambulance forums, ebay, etc.  Advertise for a copy from a current owner.

Great Advice: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  If there is equipment you don't want, check the voltage and identify the switches, and mark them for later use, cap them to prevent shorts, then remove what you don't want, leaving the wiring intact.

In the future, if a system goes down, and it isn't easily replaceable, install a completely new system, with it's own wiring.

Good Luck!
Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Hendo on May 27, 2017, 07:07:08 AM
That's good general advice.  The makers don't seem willing to reply to anyone who isn't a real customer of their's so they've not been much help. The ambulances I've looked at have had a number of processor controlled boxes in the cab which variously control the communications, charging systems, the winch,  the cabin lighting, heating, ventilation etc. and are linked into the van's own system for the doors and the immobiliser amongst other things.  An extensive wiring loom exists behind the seats. To leave this rat's nest of cables intact would be a challenge, especially if removing the partition to fit swivelling seats.  I suppose it could be concealed beneath some sort of false floor, which would be a bit of a bodge.  It would be better to remove this harness if possible.  Maybe a visit to the local ambulance depot might give a few clues.
Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Camper_Dan on May 27, 2017, 09:28:11 AM
Perhaps the local ambulance people could assist you in getting the info from the manufacturer too.

Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Hendo on May 30, 2017, 04:05:26 PM
Here's some snippets of info for anyone converting an ex-ambulance.  The live supply to the ignition may be routed through the contactor box (under the seat in this case).  These contactors act as split charge relay, emergency connect, and crew-controlled battery isolators, possibly via switches on the dash.  Also if the vehicle has a hook-up connector on the outside it will likely be non-standard, it won't take a blue campsite-type socket, and it will probably contain a switch which prevents the engine from being started when the vehicle is plugged in.  The rear cabin lighting, ventilation etc. is controlled by a dedicated system (which may have been removed).  The control panels for this system are data-linked to the main box by RJ45 cables, so it works a bit like CANBUS.  In short you either use it as it is, or start from scratch.  If you remove parts of the harness, make sure you can restore it if things stop working!

If it has air suspension make sure it works OK - another thing that would be tricky to repair.

The flooring will incorporate a fixing system for trolleys and wheelchairs.  This is all bolted through the floor and would be a pig to remove if you wanted to change it.  The cab bulkhead is also a structural steel affair.  There's loads of weight in all this stuff!  And a fair bit of work in clearing out the seating, fixtures and fittings.

Depending on your situation, and skills, if you want a fully customised vehicle, it might be easier to buy a panel van and fit windows.  Or a minibus.  If you've got time, and reasonable engineering skills, then an ambulance might be a bargain.
Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Icaby on March 08, 2018, 02:09:33 PM
Hi Hendo,

I've just bought myself a Renault ambulance too. What's the update on your progress? How did you go with the electrics?

Title: Re: Anyone know about ambulance electrics?
Post by: Masterman on March 15, 2018, 09:32:23 AM
Hi Icaby
Just started in my master Amby conversion I process of removing excess wiring spoke to the company who modified the wiring and learned lots of archived wiring loom diagrams had been lost as my 53 plate was a retro system installed but if you wanted to have a look youíre more than welcome Iím in doncaster