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VAN LIFE ELECTRONICS Start to Finish | DIY Vanlife Solar Battery Wiring (2020)

Jun 06, 2021
I'm showing you 10 different van and bus

life

electronic systems so you don't have to do any electrical calculations yourself. Let's get into it. I show you how to connect all your cables so you can make your own

electronics

right now. I'm also giving you a few different sets of linked Amazon products that you can purchase together in the video description below as an

electronics

kit for your van or bus, ranging from a cheap van

life

to an expensive big rig. This is Bridget Seto. She is a woman who lives alone full time in a van, she bought the renergie

solar

kit.
van life electronics start to finish diy vanlife solar battery wiring 2020
By doing so, she can help eliminate the guesswork about what she needs. She has a large 12-volt lithium iron phosphate

battery

with a total power of 200 amp hours. This is for 100 watts or power. panels totaling 400 watts for her

solar

panel. It also has a 2-

battery

1260 Stirling battery charger so you can safely charge your house battery with your truck's alternator in the middle, you'll see your fuse box bumping into its positive and negative terminal blocks. of this easily powers 12 overhead LED lights a maxxair ceiling fan wall fan composting toilet fan atomic attic cooler a professional chest warmer a computer charger and your phone charger I have like this a 300 watt inverter that basically can take like my hair straightener or my computer at the same time and that's it, but it's perfect for me.
van life electronics start to finish diy vanlife solar battery wiring 2020

More Interesting Facts About,

van life electronics start to finish diy vanlife solar battery wiring 2020...

I can't use a blender like a lot of people. I can't do it, obviously, I'm not like a microwave. I can use a hair dryer, but I don't need it. Any of those things, everything you plug into your vehicle's cigarette lighter is basically rated for 12 volts. I'll help you create your own self-sustaining 12-volt system in the back of your truck so we can turn it into a livable home that's not boring. As heck, keep in mind that 12 volts is not enough to electrocute you and kill you, although some of these batteries have enough current for that, if you accidentally touch the wires, chances are you won't feel anything at all.
van life electronics start to finish diy vanlife solar battery wiring 2020
This scheme I am guiding you. It is assumed to have solar panels and a battery isolator installed as power sources. These electronic components are actually very simple. Every truck I show in this video that I've ever seen has a setup very similar to this schematic, here's how you'll make yours. I'm going to show you how to connect everything except a battery isolator to your system because that will be the topic of one of my upcoming videos. I'll link it here once it's available for pretty much all you're going to have is two wires, what we call positive, which is usually a red wire and negative, which is usually a black wire going to and from each device to connect a cable to another, you can use a cable splice, you put a cable. crimp on one side and then put the other wire on the other side then crimp that one to connect a wire to a stud and screw it like on a battery terminal you will crimp a wire into a wire grommet and then slide the ring on the screw it on and screw it.
van life electronics start to finish diy vanlife solar battery wiring 2020
This is Mike's setup. He has a 12 volt sealed lead acid AGM battery with a total of only 90 amp hours. It has a small solar panel on top that provides 100 watts of solar energy to its batteries. This works through a PWM. The solar charge controller is the least efficient type, so keep in mind that this isn't much and won't power many things all day, but it works on the little you are running. However, it can power your roof all day and night. It can also work. your LED strip lights, a sound bar, a phone charger, a laptop charger and a TV for an hour or two, you can use those things, but not long at night during the day, your battery can power musical equipment like a small amplifier, an electronic drum set and he plays his little gigs in the back of his van, it's not very loud but it's cool to see.
The first thing you need to do is connect your battery to the solar charge controller and place an appropriate size to fuse in the middle and I will cover a few sizes. Later, to remember to connect the battery first so it can turn on and calibrate the charging system, some MPPT charge controllers must first detect what type of battery you have before sending power to the battery, determine which terminal is positive, and connect a fuse online. This is the only fuse location that will protect your entire system from damage. I use the 30 amp fuse for mine because my charge controller is rated at 30M, then connect a red wire using a splice and run it all the way to positive.
Side of the charge controller marked as battery Now that one side is ready, all that's left to do is run a black wire from the negative side of the battery to the negative side of the charge controller. Now you can connect your solar panels for the solar panel only. You will need special cables with MC for connections to connect to the panels. The link is in the description. If you connect a breaker anywhere in the battery or panel circuit, you will be able to disconnect them for maintenance and troubleshooting if you If you have multiple 12 volt panels, you will want to connect them all in parallel, which means you will connect all the negatives on one side and all the positives in the other.
It will do this using MC for the branches and finally we will connect. charging in a way that allows you to continually add electrical appliances to your systems, since you most likely won't wire everything at once. You will need to purchase a fuse box. I recommend that you get one with at least six terminals from the The positive side of your house battery has the same size wire that you used to connect everything else so far to your fuse box. I do not recommend connecting anything to the charging terminals of your solar charge controller as doing so will cause your system to work less efficiently and your battery will suffer and possibly cause many problems in the future;
All the terminals from the fuse box will connect to all the positive connections on your appliances and then run a black wire from the negative terminal of the house battery to what is called the negative terminal. block, we are going to use this to wire all the negative connections of your appliances, just remember that several lights connected in a row should work in a parallel circuit, almost everything else should work in a series circuit for your inverter or appliances that have a high initial power surge, like a refrigerator, you'll want to connect it directly to the house battery.
Otherwise, these appliances may not get enough power and the system may peak and shut down undesiredly, so simply connect them directly to the batteries so they can draw what they need. To add more appliances over time, all you need to do now is run a red wire to the fuse box with an appropriately sized fuse, which I'll discuss later, and then run that red wire to wherever that appliance is in the van. where it really could be. we

finish

along the wire, then we run a black wire from the appliance to the negative terminals and then we

finish

with that appliance.
Please note that the wire colors are just so you know which wire is if something happens. If it fails in the future, you will be able to fix it much more easily and resolve the problem. You see a ton of wires everywhere in mine because I just added a lot of appliances to my truck, but I assure you my system looks exactly the same. like the schematic, otherwise, it's that simple, if you still find all this too difficult and don't want to do any of this, you can buy one of the zero targets that I list in the description, it's a plug and play option, a box big one that has all this already connected with a lithium battery inside and you just plug in solar panels and you're good to go.
The only downside is that you are limited when it comes to upgrading and they can be a little more expensive for what you get, so this is from Joe. truck setup, uses multiple D Walt tool batteries to power everything, yes tool batteries like the ones you use for your power drill, charges them with a 25 year old 300 watt inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter your truck, each has only three amps. hours but that's enough to power your USB fan all night to cool you down while you sleep or a 200 watt Dewalt light for you to use if the battery overnight on a single charge is enough to power your USB fan for two nights , the tool battery also has a plug-in adapter so you can connect multiple USB cables to charge your phone.
He says it is enough to charge his phone five times, although he normally charges his phone while driving. The truck needs to be on so the inverter has enough power to charge the tool battery if you turn off the truck the inverter makes a loud grinding noise you can get all of this stuff at Home Depot or Lowe's while I was here he also gave me one Their truck burger, amazing, a little note for the truck people. Put it down on the floor and the cold air will settle at night at the bottom and this fan will suck it in and push the cold air up.
Now I will tell you about the different things you will need. to create your power system so that the batteries differ between lithium and lead-acid, so that deep cycle lead-acid batteries cost less upfront but only last one to four years. There are two main types: flooded and sealed, flooded are about half as expensive but require monthly maintenance. If you have to maintain a water level in the battery cells, you also need to vent them outside because they release explosive hydrogen gases over time. AGM and gel batteries are sealed and retain water in a different way, making them spill-proof without maintenance or venting.
The gel batteries required take longer to recharge and produce less energy if you use lead-acid. I recommend purchasing AGM batteries for all LED acid batteries; You can discharge them to 50 percent, which means you will only be able to use half the amp hours of what you bought if your battery has one hundred amp hours. You can only use 50. Using more than this can drastically reduce battery life. Lead acid also has something called a memory base. If you leave the battery in a discharged state for too long, it will tend to If it wants to stay at that point, it may never be able to get a full charge again, which is why lithium iron phosphate batteries cost more upfront, but Now they can last a whole decade or more for a 100 amp lead acid battery, the total life capacity could be about 30,000 amp hours, but for a 100 hour lithium battery, the total life capacity could be up to 300,000 amp hours. 100 usable amp hours of lead acid would weigh about 144 pounds, but 100 usable amp hours of lithium would only weigh about 31 pounds.
This is because it can actually use up to 90 percent of lithium batteries. If your lithium battery has 100 amp hours, you can use 90. Total costs per 100 amp hours of lithium can cost around $950, although the same amount usable in lead acid alone would cost less than half of this, around At $400, the lithium battery life makes it cheaper in the long run per amp of power. Used lithium batteries also do not have memory like lead acid batteries. When purchasing your battery online, shipping could be very expensive due to the weight, so I suggest you Google your local battery or RV stores.
These stores are practically everywhere. I always call them first and have found that these places are usually very knowledgeable and happy to discuss what you should get for your needs if you want a weight. cheapest lithium battery, you can buy them used, there are warehouses full of use, lithium batteries for sale that were used in electric cars or emergency medical equipment, these lithium batteries will still work very well, just with a reduced lifespan , but with similar production levels for lead acid. Please note that connecting multiple 6 volt batteries in series is superior to connecting 12 volt batteries in parallel because 6 volt batteries have longer life cycles as they only have 3 cells and can contain more lead per cell, their output It is higher for longer.
You will need to purchase these and wire them in multiples of two so that you can output 12 volts if you want to calculate how many amp hours you have. By the way, remember that series

wiring

doubles the voltage but the amp hours stays the same and parallel

wiring

doubles the amp hours but the voltage stays the same. This is the microphone settings. The microphone is what we call a weekend warrior. Just camp for a fewdays in a row to have fun. Runs at 100 amps. Our 12 volt AGM lead acid batteries give you a total of 200 amp hours.
Remember. This means you can only use about 100 of those amp hours you have on 100 watt solar panels for a total of 200 watts going through a 30 amp PWM solar charge controller, which is the slowest type, but still not having trouble working - fantastic Dometic fans. The refrigerator and LED strip lights all day and night, but just because it is not full time, this setup would be inadequate for full time use. The refrigerator would drain the battery over time, so by reading the battery charge capacity, how do you know if a battery is working? full or empty, you can get a power meter from the victim and connect it to your system, this will tell you the capacity and percentage of your battery.
If you can't afford to get one of these $200 meters you can get a cheaper imitation, otherwise you will need to look at the battery voltage on your charge controllers, show the meter in the middle of the MT 50 no that's right, by the way, don't use it, first turn off the charging and turn off all your appliances, then read the voltage, you won't. be accurate unless you do and honestly to get the most accurate reading you're supposed to wait four hours but we don't have that kind of time so twelve point seven and up is 100% or does it mean you're charging twelve point five is 85. % and twelve point two is approximately 50% 12 point zero is 25% and 11 point eight is completely discharged some batteries may be damaged and cannot remain in a total of twelve point seven for lead batteries -Acid flooded, you can use a hydrometer to test the water inside.
This is the most accurate way to tell which charger contains the acid battery. You just can't do this with most batteries, so I set up my battery meter while making this video. I always thought I had to put my fan on medium along with my Dometic refrigerator drained the battery for quite a while during the night, but when I look at it I discovered that it only uses 5% of my 230 amp hour battery after waking up for The morning after installing this, I now know that I can play multiplayer video games like Borderlands 2 or Grand Theft Auto 5 on a 4k screen with ultra graphics all night before going to bed and still only use 20% battery after about 4 hours , but that's so a different video of mine appears during the day.
I can edit 4k on my powerful Dell XPS 15 all day long because the battery charges faster than I'm using it. This is Joe's setup. It's just a weekend. Camper Joe has sleep apnea and needs to run a CPAP machine overnight so we can stay alive and breathing. Most of these machines only use between 2.5 and 24.5 amp hours for eight hours of sleep. This equates to between 20 and 35 amps total overnight. You would need at least 40 to 75 amp hours total battery, so to be safe, Joe actually has a 12 volt 75 amp hour lead acid battery. He charges using just a battery isolator, which is fine, it's a safer and faster charge than just a solar battery isolator that connects to his

start

er battery. to his house battery and charges it only when his truck is running, so the

start

er battery doesn't drain when the truck is off.
His house battery also powers the door lights, phone charger and four LEDs, none of these draw much power so the system works well for him, but I only recommend the smaller battery if you're short on time complete to have a safer battery overnight for life support, you may want to consider how a larger lithium battery for solar panels to capture energy from the sun, does not directly power your appliances. Store this energy in batteries and then connect your lights and coffee maker to the battery or your solar charge controller. Most panels will be at least 80% efficient for 20 years.
To connect the solar panels you will need a cable with a special mc4. connector and a luggage rack of some kind. In fact, I only used Z brackets to hold my two panels in place for added stealth but to reduce panel life. You could get some flat, flexible panels that simply attach directly to your roof. You will find an example of purchases. in the description to attach rigid solar panels you will first need to drill holes in the roof, unless you have a mounting system of some other type you will need at least one hole to run the MC 4 cable through to connect them.
The solar charge controller to drill the hole and seal it you will need a metal drill bit the size a little bigger than the diameter of the MC 4 cable, drill it and then paint the edges of the holes so that it does not rust. I will route the wire using a rubber grommet so the sharp metal doesn't rub the insulation of the wires over time which would connect the wire to the frame of the truck and cause electrical problems down the road above the grommet and we will seal it with wire. Whether it's 100 from silicone or RV roof sealant, which is what we trust most, you don't want your roof to leak.
I have old videos of me installing my solar panels on the roof. In fact, I'll link to it in the description. This is Chris' setup. He has two lithium iron phosphate batteries of 12 volts and one hundred amp hours each, giving him a total of 200 amp hours connected in series. He can use one hundred and eighty amp hours since it is a lithium battery. Each one costs around $950. Loaded with 165 watt R energy solar panels giving you a total of 330 watts of solar power, the charge passes through a blue solar 30 amp MPPT solar charge controller when the van is running, the alternator The van can charge the house batteries through one battery to another.
Stirling 1260 charger cuts off charging if the truck is not running so as not to drain the starting battery. It also stops charging if the house battery is full if you are using your alternator to charge a lithium battery. you'll want to want one of these, it doesn't allow the high amperage of the alternator to damage the lithium battery which would greatly reduce the life of the battery now with a lead acid, it's not as susceptible to damage but still was less than a life over time without a charge controller between the alternator and the battery Chris has no problem running the overhead lights, a max air fan, phone chargers and a Dometic refrigerator all day and the evening.
It also has a victor on the power monitor to show the percentage of battery power. Please note that a normal battery monitor only shows voltage to see the battery percentage. You will need one of these MPPT first PWM solar charge controllers, so the job of the solar charge controller is to well regulate the power that goes from these solar panels to the batteries. The charge controller can improve the life of the battery and charge it very quickly. A faulty charge controller can drastically decrease battery life and not meet the daily charging needs of the battery, so PWM or pulse width modulation type charge controller slowly reduces the amount of power. applied to the batteries, the batteries approach a full charge.
I do not recommend them for the useful life of the truck. I have seen too many reviews that say they are too slow for the person's needs. MPPT or maximum power point tracking is best for In my opinion, MPPT controllers are capable of converting excess voltage into amperage. The charging voltage can be maintained at an optimal level while the time to charge the batteries is greatly reduced. PWM controllers are also more efficient when it comes to power loss. The only downside is that MPPT can cost twice as much, but like I said, PWM controllers may be too slow for your needs, so when you connect your load to the solar charge controller, the hydraulic device is like your refrigerator or inverter should connect directly to the battery and bypass With the charge controller together, you could technically connect everything directly to the battery for a more efficient system, but the solar charge controller would not be able to display the load amperage and power usage numbers .
This is my personal configuration. I have two new flooded 6 volt cables. -serious wired acid batteries to make a 230 amp hour 12 volt battery because it is a flooded battery. I need to top up the water monthly so I got a battery kit with proper flow. I press the pump to inject distilled water into all the cells of my two. 6 volts at the same time and automatically stops flowing when they are at the correct level. I recommend you get this kit if you choose flooded lead acid batteries to power my batteries. I have two 150 watt panels connected in parallel giving me 300 Watts total for my 30 amps up or up here, however you say that solar charge controller.
I can also charge my battery very quickly using my alternator every time I run my engine through my blueseed battery isolator it seems fully charged overnight about 20-40 minutes of driving I don't think I will ever get below 75% charge , although I can run my LED lights, light strips, TV with Roku Max air fan and air purifier, two phone chargers, and speakers all day and night. I also use a 40 quart Dometic refrigerator. a powerful laptop for video editing, although I usually go to Starbucks to watch my videos, a sink and a pump to fill my clean water tank from a bucket on the floor with a wire sizes hose, so the wires come in different sizes called gauges, the smaller the number.
Using too small a wire in any situation can cause the wire to heat up, melt, or even start a fire. The important part is knowing your amperage ratings. You don't really need to worry too much about voltage drops as we are working in small van spaces and the cable lengths we are using won't be long enough to cause a significant drop in voltage, so depending To determine how many amps will flow through the wire, use this table to determine how large gauge you will need. I recommend at least 6 gauge to connect all your solar panel batteries and solar charge controllers together, since 6 gauge is rated up to 70 amps, you will probably never use more than this at a time in your truck.
That's like playing video games on seven laptops at once when you connect your home appliances like lights, TV or refrigerator to the battery or charging controller. I recommend nothing smaller than 12 to 14 gauge rated at 20 to 25 amps, just so you know what 12 volt electronics typically use. less than 3 amps will be your TV LED lights fan speakers phone chargers and Nintendo switches 12 volt electronic devices that use more than 3 amps of power will be your refrigerator your laptop charger your electric stoves coffee makers warm blankets on game consoles normal games so the The truck behind me actually had a problem with the wiring.
Let's talk about that for a second in theory. If you have 610 watts of power divided by a 12 volt battery bank, you should have 50 theoretical amps coming from the solar panels. The problem was basically that. We had a 30 amp charge controller which is not even enough to handle it. We changed the controller to a much better quality 50 amp charge controller and it works great except for the fact that now all the wiring is made for a 30 amp charge controller. The charge controller is not a 50 amp charge controller, so at some point I have to go back there and rip out all the wires and run heavier gauge wires, you know, so that all the power that's on the roof goes down to the batteries.
Basically, we're only using half of it because we have a bottleneck, you know, with the controller with the wiring. This is Duane's setup. He has six six-volt lead-acid AGM batteries in total, all in a line in the middle of his truck, each 200. Ham Radio Powers runs them in three sets of two, each pair wired in a series that it doubles the voltage but not the ham powers, then all three sets are connected in parallel which doubles the ham powers but not the voltage, this gives you a total of six hundred amps. hours and a usable power of three hundred amps, as it is LED acid, it powers these batteries with approximately 380 watts of solar energy connected to a 30 amp PWM solar charge controller.
He can power a 3000 watt inverter, a 90-quart 2-zone refrigerator, a Bose speaker, a mini oven.and electric grill Keep in mind that any electronic device used to heat things uses a ton of energy, your grill and mini oven drain your battery quickly, but since you only use them for a few minutes at a time, it turns out that you also have a RV air conditioner on your roof, but you only use it when plugged into the shore power outlet. It's the surge and the AC starting that's really the big problem - the inverter would handle the surge, but I don't want to do that to these.
The batteries are AMG, yes, if they were lithium they could be a few sizes, so if only it protects the electronic systems from freezing or the cables from heating up or catching fire due to overcurrent, if for some reason reason too much current flows. a wire with a fuse in a circuit, that fuse will break and open the circuit to stop the flow of electricity. Some must be rated low enough to break when there is too much current for the wire's rating because the wire may catch fire or if there is too much current for an electrical device in the circuit, the fuse must break before further damage occurs. the system.
If 14 gauge wire is rated at 20 amps, you can place a 20 to 25 amp fuse in the circuit. To protect the wire, if the refrigerator is rated at five amps, you can place a seven amp fuse in the circuit, so low and normal use will break the fuse too much and cause damage to the system or even a fire in case overcurrent. this is bryan's setup. You have 15 Nissan Leaf luteum iron phosphate batteries each cost about $85 and are 55 amp hours with 8 bolts so you have to connect them in sets of three to make 24 volts so you have 5 sets of 3 batteries that give you 275 amp hours at 24 volts.
However, you are using 12 volt appliances, so you have a converter that converts 24 volts to 12 volts. By doing so, you double your amp hours to make a total of 550 amp hours at 12 volts. You also lose some energy in this conversion. Processing the 15 batteries cost him around $1,275 in total, which is actually a quarter cheaper than any other lithium battery. This is because they come from a company called Tech Direct that reuses Nissan Leaf batteries after they have been used up. to about 50% of their original life, but remember these are lithium batteries so they still have 4-5 years left.
You charge them with 1600 watts of solar energy, which is 5 panels of 320 watts each. They run on a 60 amp MPPT load. controller all of this easily powers a 6000 watt pure sine wave inverter a water pump phone chargers around 14 LED ceiling lights a propane heater for maxxair fans a microwave and your residential refrigerator all day and night you can too run a mini air conditioner well into the night but not all night, so the size of the inverter converts 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC so you can power appliances such as a hair dryer, coffee maker or a laptop charger, although you can get some 12 volt DC laptop chargers.
I recommend that you try to find and run everything in your truck on 12 volts DC as much as possible because an inverter does not convert electricity perfectly, loses some energy through heat and further drains the battery, but sometimes certain equipment is too difficult to find. 12 volts DC, so an inverter is rated in watts. To find out how many watts you need to size your inverter, simply look at the AC items, such as the appliances that use the most power in your system, and get their power rating so then you only have to shop. an inverter whose rated power is a little higher than the power of the elements, keep in mind that if you are going to use several elements together, you will need to have the power of the elements together to size your system, do not buy an inverter that is too powerful .
For your needs, although you will waste more energy due to heat, get one that is rated just above what you need. This is Jessica's setup, she has the biggest bench of everyone in this video, she needs it because she wanted to run the air conditioner all night. long, so she has a total of 28 Nissan Leaf lithium iron phosphate batteries. These are the same type of batteries I showed Brian using on his bus earlier. Here you only see half of the 28, that is because since then she has 14 more of this original Nissan Leaf 14. batteries weren't enough to power his air conditioner and refrigerator all night, he says it would cut out around 4:00 in the morning during the 28.
He connected them to bus bars in four groups of seven, giving him a total of 220 amp hours at 56 bolts, but when 56 volts are converted to 12 volts, you multiply 220 amp hours by 4.6, giving you a total of 1012 amp hours and 910 usable amp hours powering these lithium batteries with 5,315 watt solar panels, giving a total of 1,575 watts. Going through a three-part MPPT solar charge controller which also works as an inverter and short power charge controller, it can run a full refrigerator, a full washer and dryer, a TV, some laptops, a toaster, a coffee maker, a water pump for a shower and a sink. from a water heater to maxxair fans, computer screens and phone chargers for all those who want to connect their electronic system but still feel like they need more help or have questions, check out my consulting link in the description.
I offer paid consultations to those who By the way, I don't understand everything in this video so far, if you are still watching this video, tell me you watch it until the end in a comment below because I read everything and we will give your comment love to show it to you. I'm here, I'll also tell you if you ask any questions, I publish many videos on how to live life in a van and personal blogs about my life. If you want to see how to install a battery isolator system to charge your home battery with the alternator, Click here, consider subscribing to this channel.
Thank you all very much for watching it. See you in my next video.

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