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Author Topic: Electric newbie  (Read 961 times)

romantheunreliable

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Electric newbie
« on: October 19, 2018, 07:57:46 AM »
Hi everyone!
I just bought an wonderful T4 Camper from 92! The previous owner, Roman, made some preeeetty sketchy electric installations.
I thinking about making it real simple. Right now, fridge, a few lights and a few usb outputs.
Thinking about going real simple:
1) Buy a CTEK D250S
2) Add fuse between CTEK and starter bat.
3) Connect the CTEK to deep cycle bat.
4) Add a fusebox between CTEK to all my other installations
5) Buy a simple 220 V charger for charging the usage bat. when at places i can get power from.

Question time :D
1) Cheaper/better solutions to the CTEK?
2) How much A should the fuse between the CTEK and starter bat be?
4) Fuse A between the CTEK and other installations, lights, fridge, water pump etc
5) Other more simple and fixed solutions for charging the from 220/240 outlets?


In the future ill prob also install solar panels

BR
Steffen

Camper_Dan

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Re: Electric newbie
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2018, 05:03:29 AM »
Greetings and Welcome!

I'd stick with a cheap isolator, relay, or solenoid.  Mine was under $20 and has lasted 10+ years.

Find out the maximum output of your alternator to determine the fuse size to go on each side of the isolator.  Basically you're fusing against dead shorts in that circuit.  Always put your fuses as close to the batteries or power source as possible.

I'd skip the solar, the only people who like it are the people looking to make money off convincing others to buy into it.  A generator is cheaper and more reliable.

I'd skip the fridge too.  Ice chests are cheap, they require no power, and they don't die on you.  They also don't add heat to your interior in the summer.  Last year I spent a total of $48 on ice.  It would take over 10 years for those 12v fridges to pay for themselves, and the last 3 I had barely made it past their 1 year warranty period.

My van really has no wiring or plumbing.  My house battery is in a marine style battery box, with 4 accessory outlets mounted to the outside of it.  I have a little adapter that plugs into an acc. outlet and converts it to 2 USB ports.  That gives me all the power I need for everything.  Wiring might be slightly more convenient, but it's also a lot more headaches.  As I get older and get more experience, the simpler the better for everything.

Cheers!
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romantheunreliable

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Re: Electric newbie
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2018, 06:30:00 AM »
Thanks for the advice Dan

Do you have any schematics or links for good descriptions for installations on isolators, relays or solenoids?

The kitchen of the van already has a fridge so we'll keep it.

The solar panels are likely added later as we plan to stayoff grid and possibly for longer periods sometimes than the fridge and other electrical equipment will be able to survive on.


Camper_Dan

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Re: Electric newbie
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2018, 07:53:28 AM »
Greetings!

It's pretty simple, 4 gauge or larger AWG wire from your starting battery, to a fuse or circuit breaker rated slightly below your wire's capacity, and as close to the starting battery as possible.  Same size wire for all of this.  Your isolator can be placed in the engine compartment, or inside, whichever is the most convenient for you.  Isolators do usually need to be grounded.  Next the wire goes through a hole in your firewall to the interior.  Make sure there is a heavy duty rubber grommet on this hole to prevent the the wires insulation from getting punctured.

The wire then goes from the isolator to the house battery(s), with a similar fuse to above placed as close to the house battery connection as possible.

Finally, there is a signal connection on the isolator, use at least 10 gauge AWG for this, and it runs from the isolator to your fuse box, to a fuse that only has juice going to it when the key is turrned on.  This is what triggers the isolator to engage once the engine is started.

Many of us also use battery protectors, also known as low voltage shut offs, on both our house batteries and and  our starter batteries.  These prolong your battery's life, and insure you'll always have plenty of power to start your rig.

Hopefully your fridge also runs on propane, which a much better choice when parked, and then just use the 12v option when driving.  Propane is much more efficient than 12v for refrigeration.

Solar panels get hyped a lot because they pay high commissions, but in reality they're not nearly as good as they are claimed to be, and they are likely never going to pay for themselves.  An isolator, a generator, or shore power are all better and cheaper options.

Cheers!

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