It’s magic! You can take 12 volts DC from a battery and turn it into 120 volts AC ready to power all your devices. In fact, the more you know about how electricity works, the more impressive that magic becomes.
The magic all happens in a device called an inverter. They come in different sizes – from something that might just power a small stereo all the way up to something that can run a whole house worth of devices.
Continue reading “Making 120 volts from 12 volts”
If the battery is the heart of the van, then the electrical cables are its circulatory system. They take power from the battery to where it’s needed, either at 12 volts or via the inverter, which converts 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC to run regular household appliances. Continue reading “Running electrical cables”
Without the battery, the van won’t have light, heat, cooking facilities, a water pump, or any of the other things that turn it into a useful place to hang out.
We chose to use a Lithium Ferric Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. Lithium batteries can take a charge much faster than lead-acid batteries. They also don’t mind being left in a state of partial discharge, and they can be discharged to around 20% capacity without impacting their service life. Continue reading “The battery is the heart of the van”
It might look like a mess, but the cardboard boxes in the picture above helped me to work out the design of the battery box and electrical area in the back of the van.
I cut cardboard boxes to size for each of the main components, and also traced the shape of the smaller components like switches, gauges and connectors. Then, I tried different placements in the van. Continue reading “Will it fit? Will it work? Cardboard boxes to the rescue!”
Most solar panels are designed to sit on the roof of a house, not to be driving down the road at 70 miles per hour. The panels themselves can take much higher wind speeds, but it’s all in how you mount them to the roof.
Continue reading “Mounting solar panels to the roof of a van”
It starts innocently enough – a space in the roof, a wooden template to get the right hole spacing, then out come the power tools and all of a sudden there’s a 14″ hole in the ceiling. Continue reading “Adding a fan, voiding the warranty”