We bought five different types of LED lantern to test out which worked best in the van.
We found that we needed a couple of small lanterns for when we want to get up in the middle of the night rather than switching on the main lights inside the van. Because they are portable, we also use them outside the van when we’re hanging out after dark.
Here’s a list of what we tried, and which worked best for our needs…
Continue reading “LED lantern comparison – we did so you don’t have to”
We didn’t want to always be fussing with multiple switches on the electrical system. The goal was to make it “like a laptop.” In other words, you just use it. If the state of charge gets below around 40%, make sure you park it in the sun to let the solar panels recharge or plug it in to a wall outlet.
Continue reading “Turning electrical complexity into simplicity”
How much battery power you need depends on the number of things you want to power, and how often you need to use them. It’s pretty easy to calculate the load you’ll put on the battery, and from that how much power storage you’ll need.
Continue reading “Calculating battery size”
The Crew van comes with a row of lights along the ceiling. They come on when a door opens, and turn off about 20 minutes later. They’re not very bright and they are not very attractive. We wanted some other options for the space we’ll be living in.
Continue reading “Lighting: living lights, work lights, party lights”
LED spot lights, LED light strips and “party lights” all contained in corner-mounted coving panels.
Continue reading “Ceiling coving and lights”
We wanted to recess the outlets in the van so we didn’t catch things on them, and also because it creates an interesting look. A side benefit that we found out later is that the plates we used make it much easier to access the wiring without removing wall panels. Continue reading “Switch and outlet plates – it’s the little things…”
We’ve fitted the fabric and bamboo walls into the van. They are held in place with flanged l-track. The van is starting to look more civilized. Continue reading “Walls are in!”
Mercedes don’t make it easy to “borrow” their cable runs that go from the van body into the doors. We wanted to put power cables through into the rear doors for powerful work lights. It was more effort than it should have been. Continue reading “Running cables into the back doors”
Crew vans come with interior (courtesy) lights in a line down the center of the ceiling. We removed the headliner, so they were dangling loose for a while. We didn’t want to cut holes in our new ceiling for them in the same place, so we moved them.
The biggest issue we thought we’d face is that the light closest to the front of the vehicle has a three-way switch on it: On-when-doors-open, off, on-all-the-time. Without that switch, the lights just wouldn’t function.
Poking around in the van when we were running cables, we found that there’s an identical plug sitting loose behind a light-shaped cut-out in the metal above the rear doors. Continue reading “Moving the factory interior lights”