Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Vanlife: Improved electric system

The van came with a big box of batteries and wires in the middle of the space behind the driver's seat.

This box was a bit of a mess and contained two different sorts of batteries in parallel. There was a Redarc SBI12 relay that lets the auxiliary battery charge from the alternator but it avoids flattening the starter battery by only connecting when the motor is running and the alternator voltage is good.

Mysteriously though the 60A fuse was blown...

I ripped all the old stuff out and have been gradually re-using bits and getting things going again.

This week I figured out the correct wiring for the Redarc SBI12 and confirmed that it's working correctly. This will be particularly important if I'm out and not getting enough sun to run the fridge.

The 12V cable from the starter battery emerged from a hole in the floor and this morning I paid a few hundred dollars at an auto-electrician to run a new cable and remove the old one. Also I've mounted the old switch box in a plastic case screwed to the wall. All looks much neater now.

There is still room for improvement but it feels more spacious and I'm happy that I now understand how everything is wired.

The auto-electrician put the van up on a hoist which let me take a good look underneath for the first time. There's a few mystery wires hanging down and I can see the replaced differential but otherwise it looks pretty good for a van that's done 378,000Km.

In other news, I've purchased a 12 inch TV that runs on 12V for the van. $130 on eBay. It seems to be a Leadstar D12 and has the ability to play from USB or SD card and can record off air. Having HDMI in means that it might be useful as a portable screen for a Raspberry Pi project.

The TV is re-chargeable but I read reviews saying that it only runs about 2 hours. It came without the Australian band plan but I scanned in Czech and it seemed to find channels. The seller has sent me new firmware which I'll flash shortly.


I took the TV but never used it and will keep it for Raspberry Pi use.

No comments: