Order of operations
The Sequence of the Build is Everything
Many of the build processes can be weather dependent. So depending on where you live and what the weather is like, can alter your build significantly. If you live somewhere that has a cold winter plan on doing your build inside or during the summer.
Power needed-Evaluate how much you need to meet your needs. You could save a lot of money if your needs don’t require a lot of power. Yet if you want all that power you will need to make sure your system is designed for it. As much as you think you need it probably isn’t enough. Always error on the high side and hope you don’t need it. Until you really need it.
So do a simple calculation based on watts or amps. Each appliance you purchase will have a rating that will say how much power it uses. See this example to figure out your needs.
Originally we wanted air conditioning in the van because of the dogs.
This made it almost impossible to figure out how much power is needed due to many factors like how hot it is and the amount of insulation and also solar gain through the glass. Air conditioners for RV’s use so much power that a roof unit might be good for one or two hours off grid at most. Given that, we needed to find a more efficient way to cool the van. Being in the building industry my hope was to use a residential mini-split heat pump. The main issue was 240 volt was mostly what they run off of. There are a few brands that make a 110-volt unit, yet they are not as efficient. Without investing a few $1000 more to completely revamp our electrical system we decided to follow the weather and not be in too hot a weather or for that matter too cold and for go an air conditioner all together but use roof fans, proper ventilation, and reflective window coverings.
If we so decide I have created a space on the back of the van for a 110-volt mini-split heat pump and pre-wired for it.
Our power demands
Fridge and Freezer
Fans-Toilet and roof
Espar heater Power
Outlet for charging electronics
Water tank heater
Fridge- switches between the two based on it your plugged in or not.
Espar- electric back up heat
Items used on the outlets
Induction cooktop- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004BFVWKW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09__o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
After doing the research and having already hooked up my old system I thought I could tackle this on my own.
I had collected multiple schematics and based on them ordered what I thought I needed. I talked to multiple sources about how they did their setups and decided what was right for me.
It actually is really easy but one mistake and you could destroy some very expensive equipment. I opted for hiring a professional company. Going to the right shop they said everything was good except I ordered too many things that were redundant and was missing a key piece of the puzzle, which they happened to stock.
I figured on half a day of their labor since everything was mostly installed. All that was needed was to connect the wires from one to another. Two trips and 1 ½ days later we were up and running. Everything but my alternator charging system! That wasn’t going to stop us from leaving on our trip, it was just going to limit how many cloudy days we could have without plugging in to recharge the system.
Not having the backup alternator hooked up left me feeling uncertain. So I decided for a few hundred dollars to install a back up system.
We ordered our van with a second 100ah battery in the engine compartment.
So I decided to connect to it with a 1500 watt pure sine Aim’s inverter
We use it to charge a bark collar for the dog
Our Wi-Fi hot spot
Laptops or really anything since it gets its power fro the engine while driving.
No way to monitor how much power we are using but it does have and alarm and will shut off when too low.