DIY Van Conversion | Electrical

Van Conversion
12.19.19
Disclosure:

I am not a van conversion professional or professional handyman. This is a documentation of my experience and you should make your own decisions on how to build your own van, and seek professional guidance if you are unsure. This blog post also contains affiliate links, so if you click a product link and buy from the merchant, I will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through my product links is the best way to say thanks if this blog post was at all helpful to you.

This is not a complete electrical DIY resource. This was my first electrical project. The wiring diagram I used can be found here. The person who created that has since updated their wiring diagram page which can be found here. There are many other electrical wiring resources out there. The post below is meant to be helpful as a supplement to something like this and mainly describes what I used and how/where I mounted/built structure for the electrical system.

Electrical System

Solar Install

Preparing one of the rear panels for mounting with the Renogy mounts and VHB tape:

Dry fit:

Dry fit with the front panel using the tilt bar mounts, which worked better for horizontal placement, and allow me to tilt the front panel toward the front of the van:

I then removed the VHB tape peel and stuck them on, sealing them with the Dicor Lap Sealant. I used the zip tie mounting squares to secure the wiring.

I wired my panels in series using the 10AWG and Solar Cable Connectors. Here the front panel is tilted to 45 degrees:

I used a hole saw to cut a 1″ hole in the flat area at the front of the van and fed the cables in, through the roof entry port. I attached the roof entry port using VHB tape and sealed it with Flex Seal.

From there the wires run down to the Solar Charge Controller located inside the countertop. The + wire runs through the appropriate fuses. From there the wires run down and connect to the bus bars. There is also a ground wire that was not yet installed at the time of this photo:

Shore Power Install

First, I used the 2 7/8″ hole saw to drill the hole. I used a file and a paint marker to finish up the raw metal exposed on the edge of the cut.

Next, I used the shore power plug as a template and marked the 4 holes for the bolts. I Drilled those holes with an 1/8″ drill bit. I then pulled the 10/2 wire through the large hole and wired it to the plug. Then I siliconed it up and pushed it in place. While holding it in place, I tightened the bolts by reaching through the driver’s door. This would have been impossible to do alone if I couldn’t have reached both sides through the drivers’ side door.

To supplement the silicone (brown) I also went over this from the inside with flex seal. This photo shows my first install with 12/2 wiring by mistake. It was later replaced with 10/2.

This will later run through a hole in the wall and up to the Inverter.

Rough Wiring

The ribs on the Promaster work great for running wiring behind the walls. I used the label maker to label each end of the wire so I knew what it was for when everything was hidden from view and I was finishing up the electrical.

I used post-it notes to label where each device or outlet requiring power was going to be, which helped me run the wiring correctly.

Here is the rough wiring as it got more organized. My wiring all runs to my electrical hub located behind the driver’s seat:

Main Electrical System + Housing

With all that wire hanging everywhere it was time to build the housing for the main electrical area. I started by laying everything out rough.

Once I had an idea of the space needed I started building the kitchen cabinet, and then the frame for the batteries.

I left room between the batteries to run the wires up to the car battery from the Battery Isolation Manager. I ran them through a metal ring drilled into the wood that also keeps the batteries strapped down using 1″ NRS straps.

The battery monitor was attached to the sink-front fold-out drawer.

I repurposed some of the plastic from the bottom panels of the doors to be a shield between the water jugs and the electrical inside the cabinet. I attached it with velco so that it is removable.

Battery Isolation Manager

The battery Isolation Manager is wired to the car’s battery, as well as the ignition, ground, and a momentary switch. I took off the foot area to run the wiring to the momentary switch and ignition on the dash. You can see the momentary switch installed on the dashboard where the two red wires are in the image. This momentary switch will allow me to connect my house batteries to the car to jumpstart it should it die. I used the diagram provided with the Isolator as a reference for this. to wire to the ignition I used an “add a fuse” to connect one of the fuses located behind the panel that is off in this photo.

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