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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I kept trying to figure out how I am going to balance the need to switch some 12V stuff on/off against the fuse panel setup I have now and a circuit breaker setup I'm planning to implement.

Turns out the off-road folks have made these into a switched relay KIT thing on Amazon. But they're not attractive and subtle the way marine stuff would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, @Muvybuf. I'm actually not too bad at searching. But there's a big difference between "switch panel" and "relay switch panel." Sure, I could use a switch panel and build all the wiring to a handful of relays... but it would be really great to buy it with all those connections complete.

I tried to paste a photo of one into the first post but it's not working right.... 馃
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, @Stokeloafvan. That's the sort of more subtle look I'd prefer. I'll look more in that category. I was hoping for a more "fancy" (while subtle / classy) marine look. But those are an improvement over the Amazon stuff. Thank you. 馃槃
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Loving this. Keep 'em coming!

My ideal setup would be similar to VanDoIt鈥檚.
...

A very expensive option:

sPod BantamX

If anyone knows how to pull that off for less than $900 I鈥檓 all ears!
The look of the BantamX is quite similar to some of the $200 units on Amazon. Maybe that IS the way to go. Simple and inexpensive. 馃


I think you may already have found this based on a previous comment but I'm going to use this 6 relay box:

Amazon.com: 12V Auto Waterproof Fuse Relay Box Block Kit [6 Bosch Style Relay Holder] [6 ATC/ATO Fuse Holder] [Relays & Fuses Included] Universal Relay Block Box for 12V Automotive Vehicles Cars Marine Boat Jeep : Automotive

Plus a rocker switch panel (there are hundreds of options, here's one):
Amazon.com: Nilight-90111F 6 Gang Aluminum Rocker Switch Panel Toggle Dash 5 Pin ON/Off Pre-Wired Rocker Switch Blue Backlit Switch for Automotive Car Marine Boat RV,2 Years Warranty : Automotive

So that's somewhat clean and straightforward and about $60 plus the cost of wire.

For controlling the relays, I'm going to get a little more fancy and use @tngw1500se's Idea to control relays with push button momentary switches and a microcontroller as discussed here: WIRING: If I had it to do over again.....

It gives you some added flexibility such as being able to control a load from different switches (e.g. a light switch by the door and the bed controls the same light) and I can also add temperature (or other sensors) to use it to control loads like battery warmers, tank heaters, etc.
The downside to this approach is obviously complexity 馃ぃ But I've often tried to wade into the world of Arduino and this gives me a practical reason to do it, and thgw1500se already wrote a lot of the code for me (it's in the thread I linked above) so that's a big head start.
I suspect the thread from @tngw1500se helped nudge me in this direction; though I don't want that level of effort or complexity. But the relay thing in general will solve the accessible switches problem for me.

I hadn't searched for a fuse/relay box /without/ switches. That looks super good as well. Then I could just more attractive buttons, as you suggest. Okay... liking that. 馃

The current contender is this thing: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J6W4TJG/

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Might be of interest:
...
So cool. I'm always torn: I have enjoyed putting time into stuff like that years ago... but I'm not sure I want to do that now. 馃

I'm kinda liking the one @Dman linked. Looks like the "off the shelf" setup similar to what you guys are building, @tngw1500se and @Pajarojo . Oh, man... so many options! 馃榿
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, now y'all have me looking at more expensive stuff. The idea of a Bluetooth (or otherwise tablet) controlled switch setup is quite appealing. That seems even more promising than the other button setups.

@Dman, that Neutrino stuff looks nice. That got me searching for more stuff like that.

Now I'm even considering the pretty-package of this unit from Garmin. Or this unit from Trigger.

I've got a tablet in the rig now for music and Victron and Torque Pro and Dometic and whatever else. Maybe this BT approach brings that tablet to front-and-center and I don't need another device. 馃

Or maybe it's worth going the DIY route that @tngw1500se has setup?

It's only money, right? 馃槒
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Back and forth... decided to go with the inexpensive one for now. Had to remind myself of one of the guiding premises: keep things simple and reliable. Tablets and Bluetooth don't help that. Will report back how this one works: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SQWXGVZ/
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The more I see you guys looking at these 500 buck units, the more I want to go down in the shop and tinker with building one. LOL! An esp32 is about 10 bucks. The relay board is 10 and a fusebox would be about the same. I could deck a system out for less than 100.
Right? I feel the urge to just build my own after staring at all the options for a couple days. But for $110 with everything, I feel pretty good about giving it a go. Then I can decide whether to build my own - with a better interface - some other time. 馃し鈥嶁檧锔
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
You could get real simple and go 433 wireless:
...
My ideal solution would be old-school fuses and relays controlled by simple switches. Stuff that works and can be repaired.

Then all of that is automated and controlled by a computer-based solution that gives tablet-based control and feedback (on/off/whatever) and centralizes all the systems - heating, water, audio, lighting, motion, temps etc. - in AC and DC - and then it is running on a tablet at the front and another at the back (from bed).

Of course, all this would be a replication of what's at home: every light switch and everything else works without any control systems - just the way anyone would expect it to - and then the tablets are what get used most of the time once someone gets used to them. Control is available in a different view from a tablet than a phone. And it's accessible remotely.

This is the home tablet interface: busy, but useful once one gets accustomed to it. Clearly, a LOT less stuff for the van, but that's what I'd love to get to eventually. This one is on the nightstand; others are on the wall in other rooms. Different focus than the van, obviously.
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
It is up and running. Man, that took a LOT more time than I expected.

To replace the old fuse panel, I needed to disconnect every wire and cable (and label them) and then re-cut the mount plate that it was on. Once I re-cut it and centered things the way I thought would look best, I realized I had stretched the 1/0 cables from the batteries to the 200A breaker to their limit in the first install. And now they wouldn't reach the bit more I needed. Sigh. Re-build those cables.

Then noticed some connections that were loose on other wires and/or cables. Ugh. Oh, yeah... ran out of the right connectors and did a "temporary" setup on them (aka "terrible version of permanent") and forgot about that. Okay... re-terminate most of the cables. Re-terminate a bunch of the wires since their heads didn't fit right. Get it all connected on the new panel. Moment of truth. It worked first try. I love it when that happens.

Then had to get the switch control side mounted somewhere user-friendly. Sigh. Yeah... I've been ignoring this. So might as well do it right. Disassembled the cabinet above the fridge and added a new panel section and mounted the Cerbo touchscreen, heater control, relay control, and tablet. Since the don't all have a clean flush-mount option, I did them all surface-mount. Came out pretty good - at least by my "function over form" mindset.

Clearly some work to do: labels aren't complete on the fuse/relay panel or the fuse panel. Labels on the relay control board are just temporary. Need to figure out how to make them look good AND to dim the lights down a lot. And still mounting and routing everything behind the UI panel.

Relay board works great for $110 so far.

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Audio equipment Electrical wiring Gas Electricity Computer hardware
 
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