How to Wire your Camper van Conversion.

Many people plan their Campervan Wiring piecemeal, they start with a Habitation (Leisure or Living area) battery then add a split charge relay. Then a mains charger, then Lights, gas heater controller, water pump, etc.

Each item has it's own wiring, switches, fuses and control so by the end of the work you have several completely independent units with switches all over the van and no integration.

If you plan carefully from the start you have a sophisticated single control system that will actually be cheaper than a piecemeal solution and add value at sale time, because:

                         The wiring is much simpler to install and understand.

                         It has the look of a Professional Installation by someone who knew what they were doing.

                         It looks expensive, giving the impression you did not penny pinch, but did a quality job.

                         Saves space.

                         Easy to operate.

 

As an example this Control Panel below contains most functions at just over £60 :

At the other end of the scale you can buy a very expensive unit with a portable LCD Display screen which can be placed in a pod in the dashboard or in the usual place above the door. It will tell you Solar charge to both habitation and Starter battery, Water tank levels (and temperatures so you can check if they are close to Freezing while Skiing in Austria) warn you if you attempt to drive off with mains hook-up attached, the step is out, the roof open, Fridge still running on Gas, etc.

It displays the current being taken from the batteries along with an estimate of the time before the unit begins gradual shutdown of the 12v consumers to protect the batteries from discharge damage. It also controls the fridge operation.


While this unit is far in excess of what most require, it shows what is available at the top end of the market. 

 

When wiring your Camper Conversion, think big from the start, you don't have to include everything in your list but plan for it from the start. It will save money in the long term.

 

We not only sell most systems from the UK, Germany, Italy, etc but we also repair them. We know what is on the market better than anyone. More importantly we know what works and what breaks.

 

Things to consider in your plan:

1. Most Campers do not get used every week so Starter batteries can get a bit depleted. Consider a unit that will charge your Starter and Habitation batteries simultaneously.

2. Consider a unit that has a Solar Input port that will automatically distribute the charge to both batteries so you don't have the complexity of wiring it to both. 

4. Water pump control : If you have a water pressure switch based solution you will be able to use standard taps without a microswitch which simplifies the wiring enormously and means you save money on the taps. However in this type of system you need a pump isolation switch to deactivate the pump when the tank runs dry or for maintenance.

5. How will you control the Fridge when running on 12v/Gas/230v mains? Modern Fridges require 2 x 12v supplies, one to the 12v heater element when running off the Alternator and a continuous 12v 'control' supply for the module that controls the temperature when running on Gas and 240v. Without this 12v control supply the fridge will not work on Gas, 240v or 12v Alternator. Ok so I know you are only building a day van and don't want a Fridge but think about the next person who buys it. Including it in the plan now will cost just a few pounds but add a lot more to it's resale value.

6. A Space Heater, such as Propex, will require 12v supply for gas ignition and the blower motor. You might also want to consider thermostat control of the Blower is this can save 12v power significantly by switching to slower speeds when up to temperature.

7. Kitchen sink Water Heater

8. Tank level display

9. Battery condition/Life left/Alternator Charge current/mains charge current. Don't underestimate the importanace of this as it is the only way of calculating what power is left in the battery and if everything is working as expected. Diagnosing issues requires information up front. If your systems supplies it you can stop faults developing and fix them before they become a major issue.


Buying the right integrated unit will always be cheaper than multiple separate units as well as much quicker to install. It forces you to think about cable runs in a organised way, producing a neater more reliable assembly.


The CBE kit (for a supplier try Grass Hopper Leisure http://www.grasshopperleisure.co.uk/cbe-pc100-complete-kit-315-p.asp) is well made, light weight, compact, cheap and fully functional. 

Prices from around £300 for a full kit : the Display, charger, controller, 230v RCD, etc.

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