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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

In the middle of our camper wiring. A bunch of questions have come up; hoping you can help.

Our system has 300Ah of lithium batteries, 30 amp shore power connection to a Victron 2000W inverter/charger, Victron MPPT solar controller, Sterling B-B charger. I am wiring a small Siemens AC panel to distribute the AC power to our loads. DC loads go through a Blue Sea fuse panel.

I am mounting most of the electrical components on the driver's side garage wall (under the bed), except for the B-B charger.

So, here are my questions.

I am using 10ga (B/W/G) stranded AC wire from Ancor. Having a hard time to get a clean connection at the AC outlets as the strands fan out. Worried that a good proportion of the strands aren't carrying current. Tips or tricks? Can I crimp a spade connector to ensure a robust connection?

I have a Victron 712 BMS and the solar controller has an iPhone app to keep track of solar power. The Victron inverter/charger literature mentions a website that can be used to track or control the device but no Bluetooth connection. The inverter is mounted in the van garage, with easy access from outside. How often do you need to change settings? Would you recommend the Victron remote panel?

How often do you need to access the main battery shutoff switch? I have access from the main cabin but not so easy to get to. My thought was that the fuses protect for emergencies and the shutoff switch is for maintenance only. Other thoughts?

How often do you need to access the Sterling B-B charger? I am assuming not very often and plan to mount it in back of a cabinet near the driver's seat.

What have others used for a high quality 12VDC receptacle? We will have them scattered throughout the van, for refrigerator, chargers, fan, etc... I want one that is durable and easy to install; recommendations for surface mount and flush mount would be appreciated.

Any recommendations for quality dimmable DC switches for LED lights?

Finally, did most of you turn on power for the first time when installed in the van or did you try it on a bench (away from flammable substances, children, pets, etc...)?

Thanks!
 

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Hi all,



.



I am using 10ga (B/W/G) stranded AC wire from Ancor. Having a hard time to get a clean connection at the AC outlets as the strands fan out. Worried that a good proportion of the strands aren't carrying current. Tips or tricks? Can I crimp a spade connector to ensure a robust connection?

!

I usually just twist the strands tightly, cut off the excess, and screw down. On some connections where there is too much room alongside the screw to get a good clamp I have soldered the strands together. Many do not like this, be sure to use rosin core electrical solder, that plumbing flux stuff WILL corrode.
BTW. Once those stray strands get to the main wire bundle they all share the current.
The barrel of a spade connector just adds one more unnecessary connection.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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I use ring connectors. They cannot vibrate loose and short out the way stranded can.

Blue sea makes high quality dc outlets. For USB outlets, I look for the higher amp USB C compliant outlets without an annoying blue light.

I only use the battery shut off switch to fully disconnect the batteries for servicing or if the van is going to sit for a long time. My ACR is under the drivers seat and not very accessible at all.
 

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I am using 10ga (B/W/G) stranded AC wire from Ancor. Having a hard time to get a clean connection at the AC outlets as the strands fan out. Worried that a good proportion of the strands aren't carrying current. Tips or tricks? Can I crimp a spade connector to ensure a robust connection?
Ferrules are used to hold the strands of stranded wire together when making screw connections.

https://www.cesco.com/Thomas-Betts-T-B--F2036-Thomas-Betts-F2036-Sta-Kon-reg-Nylon-Insulated-Ferrule-14-AWG-Blue/p2111694
 

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Discussion Starter #5

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... I am using 10ga (B/W/G) stranded AC wire from Ancor. Having a hard time to get a clean connection at the AC outlets as the strands fan out. Worried that a good proportion of the strands aren't carrying current. Tips or tricks? Can I crimp a spade connector to ensure a robust connection? ...
I had the same problem with thick 10 gauge stranded wire and standard domestic outlets. Next time I would use 12 gauge wire which better matches the standard outlets but is heavy enough for the current draw of most appliances. For my application 10 gauge was overkill (and more importantly a nuisance).

I used crimp fork terminals. Here's a thread about this issue.
 

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... How often do you need to access the Sterling B-B charger? I am assuming not very often and plan to mount it in back of a cabinet near the driver's seat ...
There is no need to access the unit. It should be installed close to the van's battery with thick wires to minimize voltage drop but it can be some distance from the house battery as there is a voltage sense wire that can allow the unit to compensate for the voltage drop to the house battery.
 

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Hi Ranxerox,

Looks like the ferrules would be used when connecting to a compression connection (like a circuit breaker). What would you recommend when connecting stranded wire to the screws on an AC outlet?

Thanks.
I would say you could use Ferrules for both types of connections, But I have only saw Ferrules used for small circuit breakers in industrial machinery I have repaired.

I guess you could try a pin connector for a wall outlet.

https://www.cesco.com/Thomas-Betts-T-B--10RC-55PT-Thomas-Betts-10RC-55PT-RC-Series-Vinyl-Insulated-Pin-Terminal-12-10-AWG-Yellow/p1933614
 

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... What have others used for a high quality 12VDC receptacle? We will have them scattered throughout the van, for refrigerator, chargers, fan, etc... I want one that is durable and easy to install; recommendations for surface mount and flush mount would be appreciated.

Any recommendations for quality dimmable DC switches for LED lights?

Finally, did most of you turn on power for the first time when installed in the van or did you try it on a bench (away from flammable substances, children, pets, etc...)?

Thanks!
I just used gray plastic outdoor surface mount boxes available at any hardware store. I just screwed them to my FRP wall panels.

I used inexpensive Chinese dimmers and remote controls. I disconnected the Ford cargo bay lights and I really appreciate having my led lights controlled by a fob on my keychain.

The first thing that you connect to a power source is a fuse, so any danger is minimal. Just remember to disconnect the negative wire from the battery when you are working on things. I forgot once.

I'm not sure that I have provided any information that you didn't already have but there's my two cents worth.
 

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Used 14/3 SO cords with crimped ring connectors for the 120 volt AC. Used 12/2 SO cords with spade connectors for the Blue Sea 12 volt DC plug recepticals. Also used 14/2 and 16/2 for smaller DC loads.

Either ring or spade connectors always used. Used shrink wrap around each wire at connector joint.
 

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Hi all,

Can I crimp a spade connector to ensure a robust connection?
That's what I did, except using ring terminals, to go from a stranded wire to a screw terminal.

How often do you need to access the main battery shutoff switch? I have access from the main cabin but not so easy to get to. My thought was that the fuses protect for emergencies and the shutoff switch is for maintenance only. Other thoughts?
I use the disconnect only before and after a trip, as I store my van with lithium batteries in the "everything off" state.

How often do you need to access the Sterling B-B charger? I am assuming not very often and plan to mount it in back of a cabinet near the driver's seat.
I'm not using this exact device but mine is pretty buried. I have only used it once in 2 years, so access is not a priority for me. Solar covers my needs.


Any recommendations for quality dimmable DC switches for LED lights?
I use these: https://amzn.to/2PJ3Yvj

Finally, did most of you turn on power for the first time when installed in the van or did you try it on a bench (away from flammable substances, children, pets, etc...)?
I did it in the van but started with small loads. Turning on a 900 watt load helped me discover a single loose ring terminal (one I forgot to tighten) that heated up a wire pretty quickly. Now I do that sort of test every-so-often.

Ken
https://ourkaravan.com
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all who responded. Very helpful! I bought fork connectors for the AC outlets - much easier and cleaner installation than wrapping wire strands around the screws. Doing as much wiring as possible on my plywood panel before installing it in the van. It sounds like the placement of my components is OK based on what others have done. I have to say that it feels like progress has been so slow with electrical work; just not a lot of visible change after a day of work. Trying my hardest to do everything right, using quality components, no shortcuts. It all pays off with a higher quality build.
 

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Take the time to read more about making good connections as they are the most likely point of failure in a system like this. Human error is always the most significant contributor to problems. Look at the links provided above and look for others in this and other forums on RV and Van conversion wiring. Aviation and Marine wiring information is equally applicable to vans. They have developed standards for use in vehicles that depend upon good technique to prevent catastrophe.

Use a proper ratchet crimp tool to make cold-weld quality crimps. If you will use ferrules for anything, they too require their own tool to make a cold-weld quality crimp. Use the appropriate size crimp/ferrule for the wire gauge.

Properly crimped connections of stranded wire are always better than twisted stranded wire compressed with a screw, or soldered stranded wire connections. (proven by microscopic analysis) Even though each of the methods other than crimping has worked for people for a long time, the margin for error is higher and the potential consequences that may arise should be the thought with the most weight in choosing which method to use.

Plan things to reduce the number of connection points to a minimum.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Take the time to read more about making good connections as they are the most likely point of failure in a system like this. Human error is always the most significant contributor to problems. Look at the links provided above and look for others in this and other forums on RV and Van conversion wiring. Aviation and Marine wiring information is equally applicable to vans. They have developed standards for use in vehicles that depend upon good technique to prevent catastrophe.
Thanks Travlin. Good tools that are used properly are a big part of doing my build right.
 

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the Victron phone app is Very good and gives you complete
control of Victron equipment -

If you dont have built in Bluetooth on the victron gear
much of it can have bluetooth receiver added threw Victron Connect -

The Bluetooth app/control is one of the main reasons I use victron gear-

Easy access to circuit Breakers/ main switches is most useful when UR first setting system up-
Once U get system checked out U will hardly ever really touch switches -

with Victron app U can make changes to setting Super Easy -

Daily Data tracking records are kept in gear memory for 1 month - Nice
solar chargers also keep grand total of power produced -
 

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... I disconnected the Ford cargo bay lights and I really appreciate having my led lights controlled by a fob on my keychain...
I've contemplated what to do with the cargo lights. I thought about trying to hook them up in the van system so they're only one when I hit the dome light, similar to the "all the way back" vs "all the way forward options in Toyotas (and probably others). Really just don't want them to turn on when one of takes a leak at night while out boondocking. They're so bright.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've contemplated what to do with the cargo lights. I thought about trying to hook them up in the van system so they're only one when I hit the dome light, similar to the "all the way back" vs "all the way forward options in Toyotas (and probably others). Really just don't want them to turn on when one of takes a leak at night while out boondocking. They're so bright.
We had the same issue on our first camping trip. My wife got up very early to walk our dog and I felt like the interrogation lights were switched on...
 

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I've contemplated what to do with the cargo lights. I thought about trying to hook them up in the van system so they're only one when I hit the dome light, similar to the "all the way back" vs "all the way forward options in Toyotas (and probably others). Really just don't want them to turn on when one of takes a leak at night while out boondocking. They're so bright.
I removed the four LED cargo lights. Reused them powered from the house battery. One with switch above rear doors, one with switch in the shower enclosure and two over the sink with a switch that can be reached from ground outside the slider door or from in front of the sink. None turn on automatically. Only other lighting is two strings of LED lights installed in the bottom slot of the 80/20 extrusion at the bottom front of the rear overhead cabinets. String light switches located under each cabinet and reachable from bed or the aisle.
 

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I control the cargo lights by a DPDT [On-Off-On] switch. On, using the timed stock circuit; totally Off; or On all the time... There are many threads on that topic.
Yes, those lights are bright. A much better problem to solve than too dim. I'll eventually put in a dimmer, but in the meantime... I disconnected the center two lights. The remaining four lights have their own individual toggle switch.
-Barry

I've contemplated what to do with the cargo lights. I thought about trying to hook them up in the van system so they're only one when I hit the dome light, similar to the "all the way back" vs "all the way forward options in Toyotas (and probably others). Really just don't want them to turn on when one of takes a leak at night while out boondocking. They're so bright.
 
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