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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Next step: Where to locate this beast in the van and how to configure my electrical wiring around it?

I want to run 12V power to a few points in the van for powering MaxXair fan, some USB ports, and small appliances like 12V fridge,12V water pump, some lights.

How should I go about this? ELI5 (Explain to me Like I’m 5). Do I want to have a breaker/distribution box centrally located and run individual outlets distributed around the van?

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Thanks!
 

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Funny you posted this. I just posted a review of my new Delta Max portable battery. It was between that one and the Bluetti and I settled on the Delta. Please let me know how the Bluetti works for you.

My plan was to still run wires to lights, Maxx fan and water pump and connect them to a Blue sea fuse block then connect to the Delta. Will also install shore power to run portable AC. Haven't decided on heat source yet, but we don't do very much cold weather camping anyway.

Still pondering the wiring....haven't gotten that far yet. Lots of good sources out there on the interwebs!
 

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It is essentially the same task as any other van electrical system,

Step 1 is to take some masking tape and put a piece on the wall / ceiling in any where that you want the fuse block, 12 volt, USB, or 120 vac outlets.

Step 2 is to screw these items to the wall. Even if you are going to move them slightly later, it makes sense to fasten them down to the extent possible.

Step 3 is to run the wires.

Step 4 is to do all of the crimping / terminations of ring lugs, splices, etc.

It can be done in a weekend if you partner up with someone who has the tools and bulk of the parts
 

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Slow down, remember the ELI5 part! :)

Blue Sea fuse block, recommend me one? I'm thinking this one:

As for wires, what gage, brand is recommended? Other?
Please don't skip the steps:

1.a - Go to the store in the paint section and buy some of that green painters tape. Get the roll that is about 2 inches wide.

1.b - Cut off a piece that is ~ 3 inches long.

1.c - Put it on the wall of the van

1.d - Use a pen to write - 120 vac outlet . Repeat 3 times

1.e - use a similar size piece of tape and put it on the wall

1.f - Use a pen to write - 12 volt outlet - repeat 5 times

1.g - Do the same thing for some USB outlets

___

When you have completed this, you are ready to start thinking about buying parts - but not yet
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Please don't skip the steps:

1.a - Go to the store in the paint section and buy some of that green painters tape. Get the roll that is about 2 inches wide.

1.b - Cut off a piece that is ~ 3 inches long.

1.c - Put it on the wall of the van

1.d - Use a pen to write - 120 vac outlet . Repeat 3 times

1.e - use a similar size piece of tape and put it on the wall

1.f - Use a pen to write - 12 volt outlet - repeat 5 times

1.g - Do the same thing for some USB outlets

___

When you have completed this, you are ready to start thinking about buying parts - but not yet
Your right :) Excited to get started. I'll be working on the circuit design and layout this week since I got the rest of the week off.

Was hoping to get some stuff on order to get ahead of the Holiday shopping (and shipping) season. Like ordering wire, connectors, crimp tool and Fuse block.

Plan right now is only running 12V stuff around the van. I do need to plan for recharging my Bluetti with Solar, Shore Power, & from the Van battery system. I'm still trying to figure out how I can charge directly from the CCP.
 

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Look at Orton's electrical system. It will give you some good ideas about how to wire your 120VAC shore power input and about how to charge the Bluetti from your van battery. Orton is a member of this forum and maybe he will post a link to the electrical system page for his van build.

It can be useful to install a shore power connection early in the build. Right after you remove the interior panels. I installed a shore power plug on the rear driver side bumper. It had a 6 foot power cord, with plug, that I ran into the wall above the rear tire. I was working outside and this made it easy to plug in a light and a small electric heater.

I'm going to use a Bluetti AC200, for now, until I install the house battery and inverter. I'm using Orton's system of charging the Bluetti off of a 1000W inverter connected to the van battery.
 

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...
When you have completed this, you are ready to start thinking about buying parts - but not yet
"When you have completed this, have a nap during milk-and-cookie time." That's legit ELI5. Don't go leaving those parts out. 🍪

It's not critical, but locations might do well to take into account:
1- what route are you /likely/ to take for everything you'll wire into it
2- what enclosure or other stuff (cabinet, fridge, bed, toilet, galley, etc) might go where (the tape thing)
3- will the location you have in mind make charging it or maintaining it more difficult?

Example: place it right behind the driver's seat (access to charging is best), then run wires down the driver's side, up and over the rear door, then back along the passenger's side to a fridge mounted by the slider and you've got some serious voltage issues when the fridge compressor turns on. Yeah... not ELI5... but if it doesn't register in the back of the brain for later purposes then have another cookie and go back to sleep. 😄

Alternatively, just strap it to the wall for now and use extension cords and stuff until you build out more.
 

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place it right behind the driver's seat (access to charging is best), then run wires down the driver's side, up and over the rear door, then back along the passenger's side to a fridge mounted by the slider and you've got some serious voltage issues when the fridge compressor turns on.
The number one thing I would change if I could start over is the long runs around the perimeter. I would instead run across the middle—above, below, or through the floor as appropriate.
 

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The number one thing I would change if I could start over is the long runs around the perimeter. I would instead run across the middle—above, below, or through the floor as appropriate.
That is why I try to convince people to build 24 volt systems.

Put one 12 volt distribution / converter on each side of the van, near where the 12 volt is needed.

One wire pair from the 24 volt batteries to each 12 volt distribution box.

Run a few sort runs from the local distribution box to the point of use loads. Finished with electrical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
"When you have completed this, have a nap during milk-and-cookie time." That's legit ELI5. Don't go leaving those parts out. 🍪

It's not critical, but locations might do well to take into account:
1- what route are you /likely/ to take for everything you'll wire into it
2- what enclosure or other stuff (cabinet, fridge, bed, toilet, galley, etc) might go where (the tape thing)
3- will the location you have in mind make charging it or maintaining it more difficult?

Example: place it right behind the driver's seat (access to charging is best), then run wires down the driver's side, up and over the rear door, then back along the passenger's side to a fridge mounted by the slider and you've got some serious voltage issues when the fridge compressor turns on. Yeah... not ELI5... but if it doesn't register in the back of the brain for later purposes then have another cookie and go back to sleep. 😄

Alternatively, just strap it to the wall for now and use extension cords and stuff until you build out more.
This all makes sense. I’m an engineer but not an EE, which makes me dangerous. I have EE friends but they don’t own a van!

One method of my learning is to throw ideas against the wall to see what echos off best. Forums can be good for that.
 

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That is why I try to convince people to build 24 volt systems.

Put one 12 volt distribution / converter on each side of the van, near where the 12 volt is needed.

One wire pair from the 24 volt batteries to each 12 volt distribution box.

Run a few sort runs from the local distribution box to the point of use loads. Finished with electrical.
I reecognize there are advantages to a 24V system but I'm not sure that this is an inherent advantage of a 24V system. Mine will be 12V and I will have a fused distribution panel on each side of the van. Yes, the wire from the battery to the panels will need to be a bit larger for 12V, but in my layout, those runs will be pretty short. No need for 2 converters. (... although it seems a small regulator will be needed anyway for the Maxair fan 🤷‍♀️).
 

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I reecognize there are advantages to a 24V system but I'm not sure that this is an inherent advantage of a 24V system. Mine will be 12V and I will have a fused distribution panel on each side of the van. Yes, the wire from the battery to the panels will need to be a bit larger for 12V, but in my layout, those runs will be pretty short. No need for 2 converters. (... although it seems a small regulator will be needed anyway for the Maxair fan 🤷‍♀️).
Yes - It doesn't take all that long before a system needs solar + battery to battery charger + 12 volt voltage regulator.

At that point, the actual battery voltage starts to become less important.
 

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Anyway - back to the OP's thread.

By the time you purchase the low end tools for doing beginner level crimping, it might make sense to find someone local who has pro level tools and parts.

They can show you how to do it - maybe work with you to do some of it yourself.

There are marine electricians all over the place.
 

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Next step: Where to locate this beast in the van and how to configure my electrical wiring around it?

I want to run 12V power to a few points in the van for powering MaxXair fan, some USB ports, and small appliances like 12V fridge,12V water pump, some lights.

How should I go about this? ELI5 (Explain to me Like I’m 5). Do I want to have a breaker/distribution box centrally located and run individual outlets distributed around the van?

View attachment 163102

Thanks!
Check out rich built vans
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Anyway - back to the OP's thread.

By the time you purchase the low end tools for doing beginner level crimping, it might make sense to find someone local who has pro level tools and parts.

They can show you how to do it - maybe work with you to do some of it yourself.

There are marine electricians all over the place.
Appreciate the advice. In this case I got the know how (well novice level) and don’t mind investing a little in the tools. Van build is intended as a hobby.


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