Campervan Conversion Electrics

Split-charge relay

More than 50amps can flow between the engine battery and your leisure battery, so always get a relay that is rated at 50amps or more.   Preferably 75 or 100 amps.  Many relays sold on eBay are 30amps and designed for systems on cars, and not for connecting heavy duty batteries.


  1. Inverter
    Hi Darren
    I have just purchased a van fitted with a Sterling battery to battery charger connected to a leisure battery which in turn is connected to the inverter, this is separate to the 12v split charge system on the van, so in fact I have two leisure batteries. Would it be possible to go from the inverter straight into the hook up socket on the outside of the van as though I was on mains power? I do a lot of wild camping & the fan on the combi boiler soon flattens the leisure battery, if I turned the onboard battery charger off would this set up (via inverter) still run the combi fan? Many thanks


    1. Hi
      I’m not sure I understand


      I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
      I’m not sure why you would want to connect the inverter to the main hookup.
      Can you give a drawing explaining what you have?


      1. Inverter
        Hi Darren
        I’ll try & explain better I always over explain I think. I have the normal split charge system & the battery is located behind my driving seat. Some distance away I also have an extra leisure battery fitted in the rear of my van charged via a Sterling battery to battery charger, this is connected to a 2500w inverter, can I go from the inverter (ie plug a modified lead with a household plug into the 3 pin socket on the inverter) then put the other end of the lead into the side of the camper (the blue 16amp inlet)?
        So when the 1st battery is getting flat I could use the 2nd one as though I was on “hook up” Hope this makes sense. Many thanks – Steve


        1. Hi Steve
          Yes, in theory this

          Hi Steve

          Yes, in theory this would work. I would be careful to not run anything with a high load on this configuration. But should work fine.


          1. Inverter
            Thanks Darren much appreciated

          2. Inverter
            Hi Darren
            Just another question regarding above. If I am plugged in using the inverter as a hook up so to speak, if I turn off the battery charger will I still be feeding the 12v side of the system as well. Thanks in advance – Steve

          3. Hi Steve
            Hard to say without

            Hi Steve

            Hard to say without seeing it, but I would say yes. In fact I would recommend turning off battery chargers when using this configuration. It will save your battery power.

  2. 3 Leisure batteries charging relay
    Hi Darren, i really need your help and cant find the answer anywhere.

    I need to know if I parallel link 3x 140amp leisure batteries ( i need ALOT of power! 🙂 can i use a 140amp splitter relay charger? This is my first time trying to convert a van but I’m worried that by parallel linking the 3 batteries (420amp) thats its to much for the relay! or does it not effect it like that??

    Really appreciate your advice mate!




    1. Hi Chris
      Yes the 140amp split

      Hi Chris

      Yes the 140amp split relay will be fine. I have a similar setup on my van and it works great. Do fit fuses between the batteries. Try a MegaFuse, 100amp should be fine.
      Even if the batteries we are completely flat the relay wont pass 420 amps. The engine has a regulator which will take care of this, which you are borrowing via the engine battery.




      1. Thanks Darren, much
        Thanks Darren, much appreciated, have fitted it all , just order higher fuses like you said, van is nearly fully converted and ready for the road, leave on Monday! thanks mate!!


  3. Inverter beeping

    Can anyone pls help. Just converted Renault Master and put in a 2000w pure sine inverter. The inverter is connected direct to two 110aH Leisure Batteries and from the inverter there are two sockets and the malaga heater with 230v option.

    I have not used the heater yet and only run an ipod player but still the inverter starts beeping and cuts off?? The van is stationary and nothing else running but still the inverter starts beeping.

    I have a solar panel feeding the two batteries and the indicator light shows half to full charge most days??

    Any advice very welcome



    1. Hi Neil
      The inverter would

      Hi Neil

      The inverter would normally beep if there is not enough power in the batteries to function. But the iPod charger will use very little power, and it sounds like you have enough power in the batteries.
      Does it do the same if the engine is running? Assuming you have a split-charge relay which charged the leisure batteries from the engine when running.


  4. Inverter connection
    Hi I have been asked to look at the electrics on a VW camper and have found that the electric hook up is connected into a garage consumer unit to run most of the lights and sockets ok so far, but also connected into the consumer unit is an inverter, This is totally unsafe as when the mains is hooked up 240v can flow back into the inverter but more importantly if the plug is removed from the inverter there is mains voltage at the terminals of the plug. My question is does a change over switch exist that can be fitted to make this situation safe, I would appreciate any help many thanks. Gerald


  5. Full Electrics

    Thanks in Advance!! I really need help. I have just bought a minibus to convert, I really need help with the electrics in simple terms. Please can someone tell me exactly what I need??? I plan on running a fridge, tv, kettle and lighting. I would like a mains hook up and 12v. Please Help? I am trying to price it all up but not sure what I need! I have also thought about buying a cheap caravan and transferring all the electrics and interior?




    1. Full electrics
      Hi Rachel,

      I am currently converting my Iveco 59.12 minibus I’m new to this, however i have searched the internet on other conversions.

      Your 12v set up is easy enough (just do it one wire at a time)look on web sites on how to convert a van, i bought a Haynes manual of of Amazon (build your own motor caravan) think its best to buy the 2nd edition as it covers in more detail on electrics. Its invaluable at around £20 well worth it.

      Your 240v hook up you will see you will need a garage type consumer unit with 2 or 3 trip switches and RCD built in to the one unit the RCD is VERY VERY important as it protects against any shorts as it will trip out. You will also need some sort of switch panel I’m going to use a Zig unit cf8 as it has a charger built in to it and some fuses. I think I’m right in saying you will also need to protect every electric item with in line fuses, make sure they are the right amperage for each item.

      Also maybe a good idea to fit a manual electrical shut off switch, just out side the sealed battery box.

      Just one more thing you say you might strip out a caravan for electrics just bare in mind i don’t think anything will be marked up (labeled) as to where which wires go to what unless your willing to trace each wire back yourself and label with masking tape before removal.

      On new items such as consumer unit, switch panel etc will come with fitting instructions. These are useful websites for new and second hand parts,magnum motor homes, O’leary motor homes,UK classic car carpets, W4 limited, CAK tanks (for water tanks etc), and your local sheet wood suppliers for lining the van with plywood.

      For insulation i looked on Amazon i got a 1.4mtr x 50mtr x 4mm thick roll of foil insulation for about £130 (i have only lined the ceiling at the moment and its so much warmer already (seems to be very good stuff). Oh i also got a roll of 50mm x 45mtr roll of aluminum foil tape to join and seal the edges of the foil insulation.

      Lastly once you have your conversion PLEASE VERY IMPORTANT FOR SAFETY get it all checked by a qualified person, such as auto electrical person (for electrics) and a gas fitter for (gas).

      Good luck with all.


  6. 230v relay
    Hi Darren,

    Working on converting a 1998 Sprinter. Curious about 220v. From inverter to the plug, do I need to put either latching relay or DPDT? At the moment it has no fuse.




    1. Hi Vadim
      Are you connecting

      Hi Vadim

      Are you connecting the inverter directly to the leisure battery?




      1. Hi again Darren,
        Thank you

        Hi again Darren,

        Thank you so much for the reply.

        Yes, that is the idea, i was not sure there was another way. At least that is what I saw on other plans.
        The inverter is going to be connected to the battery and from the inverter it is going to go to the 230v outlet.
        What is the other option?
        I guess i can just put a regular 220v breaker?

        What do you think?


        1. Hi Vadim
          No, that is the best

          Hi Vadim

          No, that is the best option, just checking you were doing that.
          You can put in a 220v breaker. The inverter should already contain safety switch and equipment. It will cut off if it cannot delivery the power, or if it senses a problem.
          Add a breaker for piece of mind, but you don’t need too

          All the best



  7. Leisure battery fuse
    Good Day. You suggest a fuse when connecting the vehicle battery to a leisure battery, but I can’t seem to find one that has a big enough connection for the 16mm cable that you recommend. If you use one of the inline fuses you can find online, they all have much thinner cable which surely negates the benefit of using 16mm cable between batteries?



  8. VW LT conversion Wiring Help!
    Hi all, Great forum.

    I’m going to convert a VW LT to use for 12 weeks a year to use around the UK. Times are tough so I’m getting on my bike.

    I’m really confused by all the electrics side of things and I’m completely new to this.

    The conversion hasn’t got to look good just be really practical. it doesn’t need permanent light fixtures and I probably wont have a waste system on board. Just insulate it/re plyline it/get a heater system/a bed/ some storage units and electric.

    What I’ll need electric for is (all with standard plugs):

    1) A Lamp
    2) A portable fridge
    3) A microwave
    4) A laptop

    So in total 4 -6 plugs.

    I’d rather not have to use a hook up and run all this from leisure batteries. Only in the evenings for 3-4 hours at a time.

    Can anyone help with how to get this set up? How many leisure batteries I’ll need. How to get set them set up so the end result is 4 -6 standard plug sockets? And if possible a reference to a good book or diagrams explaining this kind of thing?

    I’m just trying to price it up so any info on price and where to buy would be greatly appreciated too.

    Many thanks


  9. mitsubishi express van
    Hi there. ive recently bought a mitsubishi express van and i want to convert it to a camper. i need to get electric in to the back what is the best way to do this? thanks phoenix


    1. If you want a simple solution
      If you want a simple solution you can pass the following through the window:

      If you want a better more permanent solution then buy a kit like this one:

      You can do it cheaper by getting the parts individually. A garage consumer unit is normally fine to use.


  10. Van wires and isolation relay
    Hi, very impressed with your resposes to peoples questions – nice one!

    Perhaps you can assist me with two questions too?

    I am at the stage where i have bought all my kit to install my 12v system appart from the wire. I understand about losing amps through the wire over distance for the 12v appliances and the corresponding cable rating for the appliances. However, the wire(s) needed for the circuits for the 12v charger/relays/meters etc are a complete mystery to me. Is it best to go for the thickest cable for these components or do they all need to be the right rating for what they are connecting? Feeling a little lost.

    Also, do you know where I could get an isolation relay from in order to isolate the 12v circuits for when driving? I already have two relays, one for the charge and one for the fridge but the diagram i am basing my wiring on shows the iso relay has a different design (internally……)


    1. Hi Peter
      Having wire that is

      Hi Peter

      Having wire that is too big is not a problem, it will just cost a little more and be more difficult to route. Too small a wire and you’ll have voltage drop. So go slightly too big.

      The cable you need depends on your appliances.
      As a general rule

      For battery to battery – 16mm
      For battery charger, fridge – 8mm
      For battery meter – 2mm is fine as the current is so low

      Not sure about the isolation relay. What does it isolate? When driving the 12v circuits would typically be powered by the vans alternator whilst it charges the leisure battery. That’s quite normal and recommended.


    2. conversion electrics
      A couple of things before i get to my post…

      Firstly I hope im posting this in the right ‘section’ and in the right way so to speak…
      Secondly…Hello all and Ive been very impressed with this site and the level of knowledge and assistance given to those of us with a lesser knowledge of conversions!!

      Ok…After many hours of reading, and reading and reading a little more Ive finally started converting my 2002 mk1 mercedes vito.
      I think 🙂 ive pretty much got my head round the electrical set up, but if a few of you could read thru the following and offer your comments advice it would be much appreciated.
      VAN USE: NO wild camping and when on site will use electrical hook up into tent as still intend on using tent.TV and Xbox will predominantly be used whilst vehicle is moving, once on site they better be out exploring/playing and not on XBOX!!

      EQUIPMENT TO BE POWERED: 9 X 12V LED lights, 12/230v coolbox, XBOX, 19″ TV,
      SETUP: starter battery to 110a leisure battery via 50a split charge relay (can anyone recommend one) fused either side of relay, connect 1000w inverter (mod sine wave) to leisure battery via ‘O’ rings also 16mm tails connected by ‘O’ rings to leisure battery to feed a consumer unit (can I use the type normally used in garages/sheds etc…) for the 12v to feed the lights (0.75mm flex to wire lights) and coolbox. Inverter to supply TV and XBOX.
      Will have a leisure battery charger to keep leisure battery charged whilst on site.

      I hope Im at the very least on the right tracks with what ive explained above, but would appreciate help/feedback etc…..

      cheers in advance



      1. Hi M
        Nice to hear from

        Hi M

        Nice to hear from you.
        Your setup sounds good.

        Here is a good relay. 60 amp and voltage sensing, so easier to wire as you don’t need the trigger wire.

        If you don’t intend on traveling in Europe then a garage consumer is fine. If you do intend on going to Europe a double pole consumer unit is recommended, as in Europe it’s possible to connect the mains plug the wrong way around, and therefore possible to make the van body live. Here is a unit for use in Europe, it also has a light to indicate when there is a problem.

        For UK only use, a garage consumer unit it fine.

        Everything else sounds good in your setup.


        1. Hi Once again….

          Hi Once again….

          Darren thanks a lot mate for taking the time to read my post and recommend the relay and CU, Ive added those to my shopping list.
          Im sure at some point I’ll be posting again to ask for further advice, until then keep well and have fun




  11. wow!! confused!!
    have been reading through all of the comments, and this seems to be the place to ask, i have bought a big citreon relay tri axel minibus, and am planning on shoving a caravan in the back lol. now my confusion comes from the fact the caravan will already have sockets etc and hook up. all i want to do is transfer this straight over, messing about with as very little as possible. so i will need:

    leisure battery 3 or 4 wired up through a inverter? runing to a fuse box, splitiing the power between the sockets and lighting.will the external hook up connect directly to the leisure batteries?? and then i will also want power to run from the vehicle engine to charge the leisure battery, using a relay is that correct??

    i have so many thoughts running through my head at the moment and cant seem to figure it out, any help is extremely appreciated in my time of need lol

    many thanks


    [email protected]


    1. Hi Kris
      Sounds like an

      Hi Kris

      Sounds like an interesting project.

      You have it right.

      Have your leisure batteries, have then feed a 12v fuse box. From there you can connect anything 12v with a fuse. The inverter will allow you to power 240v items from the 12v system, but limit this to small items like mobile phone chargers, etc.

      The 240v hookup system is completely separate to the 12v system. It comes in via the cable and goes to a consumer unit then to the 240v sockets on the walls.

      You can use a leisure battery charger to charge the 12v leisure batteries from the hookup.
      You can also (and should) use a split charge relay system to charge the leisure batteries from the engine battery.


  12. I really need some help!
    I really need some help!

    I’ve recently bought a VW type 2 camper van which looked and sounded like it was all sorted and ready to go with leisure battery, 240v hook up & nice interior (including 4 interior lights in the living area, water pump, heater, fridge & stereo).

    I’m a complete newbie to both mechanics & vehicle electrics, so you may think a VW campervan may not have been such a great investment, but hey – I intend to learn & unfortunately you’ve caught me in the very early stages of that learning curve! 😉

    When I bought the van, the guy told me the leisure battery was pretty much dead & gave me money to buy a new one (not bought yet until I get my head round the wiring). I also think he did most of the wiring himself.

    The LB is on the left side of the engine bay, main battery on right side.

    My issues:

    1) there is only one wire coming off the leisure battery +ve. It goes (unfused) to the main battery via a relay (30amp not 50amp as Darren recommends!)

    2) there are several red wires coming off the main battery +ve, including one that’s fused (30A) that goes to the above-mentioned relay. 

    3) Also a few wires connected to the -ve terminal on main battery

    The leisure battery is currently disconnected.

    However, the interior lights, water pump and I assume heater, stereo etc, still work, hence drawing from the main battery.

    As I say, I’m a newbie and didn’t know what I was looking for when I bought it.

    My brother in law says the leisure electrics shouldn’t work with the leisure battery disconnected. 

    The wires are too short to have been originally connected to the lb & then moved across, so I’m assuming he’s made a right balls up of wiring everything up. 

    But as I have no idea, I’d really appreciate any help!

    Thanks guys & apologies for such a long post.


    1. Hi Sean
      1. 30 amp relay

      Hi Sean

      1. 30 amp relay should be fine. 1 wire could also be fine. Can you see the make or type of relay?
      2. Sounds like the fuse for 1 is there, as you mention it here. It’s quite common to have several wires coming off the battery.
      3. It’s fairly common to have multiple wires coming off the negative battery also.

      The fact that the electrics still work with the leisure battery disconnected sounds odd. Is there a switch somewhere that switches the power source from the engine to the leisure battery?

      Only the later above issue is of concern really. Do you have a multimeter, you can trace the wires to the correct power source and see what is happening.
      Can you call the previous owner and ask him why the electricals are still working without a leisure battery?

      How many wires are coming off the leisure battery?
      Is there a fuse box coming off the leisure battery? It might be inside the living area.


      1. Relay
        Hi Darren, thanks for the reply.

        I posted this message yesterday but it hasn’t appeared so I’m trying again.

        The relay is a Durite 0-727-12 12v 30A like this one

        As far as I know there’s not a separate switch. I’m fairly sure I asked him that when I bought it – it was a few weeks ago but I think he said it should switch over when the engine stops.

        I rang him this evening to ask the question ( plus a few others while I was at it) but his phone rang a couple of times then he blocked me! 🙁 I thought maybe he was at work & might call back, but he hasn’t.. I have an email address so could try that.

        I do have a multimeter. My brother in law suggested I do as you say. What’s the best way to proceed? Should I disconnect all wires off the positive on main battery, connecting 1 at a time back on, then seeing if I can find what it operates? I’m not sure how else to determine what does what..

        There’s just one wire coming off the leisure battery. It goes to the main battery via the relay. 

        I haven’t seen a fuse box coming off the leisure battery, but will have a good look round for one.

        I can post some pics of the engine bay with wires & relay if that helps?

        Thanks again

        Sean 🙂


        1. Hi Sean
          You should have three

          Hi Sean

          You should have three wires connected to the relay. The positive in, out, and the trigger wire which normally comes from the alternator. Any less and the relay sounds incorrectly wired.

          The leisure battery should have a big cable from the relay to it (the power feed) and at least one other wire (maybe several) coming from it to the 12v appliances or to a fuse box. Anything less and it sounds incorrect.

          It does sound like the wiring is wrong. With a multimeter I would use the conductivity feature to trace where the wires go.


          1. Hi Darren,
            The relay does

            Hi Darren,

            The relay does have 3 wires coming from it as you say.

            Also, the leisure battery has one cable from the relay to it but that’s it – no other wires coming from it.

            I’m not sure what I’m doing with a multimeter, but I’ll Google it and look into the conductivity feature, and let you know how I get on 😉

            Thanks again,


            PS I have taken some photos, I just need to download them from my phone and I will post links to them

          2. Hi Darren,
            Here’s some pics

            Hi Darren,

            Here’s some pics as promised.


            Leisure Battery

            Main Battery

            Let me know if you need any clarity or if you need me to take more.

            Many thanks,


          3. Hi Sean
            Relay looks OK.

            Hi Sean

            Relay looks OK.

            Most of the wires coming off the main battery should be coming off the leisure battery.
            I would use the multimeter, trace each wire coming off the leisure battery, find out what it does, and it it powers something inside the camper (lights, fridge, etc.) change the wire from the main battery to the leisure battery.

            Some wire from the main battery might need to stay on that battery. Maybe an alarm or similar.

            Once you’ve done them all you should have a working leisure system.

            Before you do anything though, make sure the relay is charging the leisure battery.
            Check the voltage of the leisure battery now. It should be about 12.7v.
            Start the engine. The voltage with the engine running on the leisure battery should be 14.4v.
            If you get those readings the relay is working.

          4. Thanks Darren,
            I’ve enlisted

            Thanks Darren,

            I’ve enlisted the help of a specialist as I’m not competent enough to sort it myself.

            For the sake of around £100 I’d rather it was sorted properly by someone who knows what they’re doing and I hopefully won’t have sleepless nights in the van worrying about it!

            I won’t post the link to his site in case anyone thinks I’m spamming but if anyone’s interested and is in the North West, let me know and I’ll send you his details 🙂

            But thanks for your help and your time Darren, very much appreciated!


  13. required power for small camper
    I am converting a small toyota lightace van and mostly will be using a cooler box,a pump and a 12 volt water heater,what type of leisure batteries you recommend ? thanks a lot your answers are very helpfull


    1. I’d recommend the biggest
      I’d recommend the biggest leisure battery you can fit. 110AH is the best. The make isn’t really important.


  14. Camper Re wire
    I have a 79 type 2 bay that I would like to install a new leisure battery system on using a 12/240v invertor etc only going to want to have a couple of sockets, 4 lights, prob charge a laptop that sort of thing, does anyone know if it is possible to get a very basic wiring diagram to show me how to do this? Any help would be greatly appreciated, many thanks in Advance.


    P.s I take it with the invertor it allows you to plug things in the socket still but it just uses the leisure battery for power when not on a mains hook up?


  15. Extra 12v Cigarette Socket
    Hi there.
    Just wondering if its possible to wire an extra Cigarette Socket off my existing Speaker circuit? Surely, it would do the job, but would it be more efficient to loop straight from Cigarette socket in the front?


    1. The speaker circuit doesn’t
      The speaker circuit doesn’t carry a full 12volt supply, so I assume you want to re-use the existing speaker wiring, once it’s disconnected from the stereo?

      Speaker wire typically isn’t right for carrying high loads. I wouldn’t use it. I would run new wire from the existing cigarette socket. I would use fairly thick cable as well. 2.5mm or more, depending on what you intend to run from it. A mobile phone charge doesn’t use much power, but a laptop charger does, and I would use maybe 4mm cable for that.


  16. Use of 3-pin sockets in a VW bay
    Does anyone know if it is ok to use household 3-pin sockets that are fed from a 12v supply?
    I’m not expecting to power energy-hungry appliances, but would like to charge iPods, mobile phones & laptops…


    1. Yes that’s fine. You can
      Yes that’s fine. You can feed you sockets from a 12v inverter.


      1. Many thanks!
        Many thanks!


  17. magpiesandelderberries May 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    leisure batteries and lutons..
    Does anyone have any advice/ experience of converting luton vans? Particularly how I go about wiring the leisure battery and relay etc. through from the cab to the box? I am about to start insulating it and i need to work out where to leave a gap/hole for the wires.. Also how many leisure batteries would be necessary to power a lap top and a few little lights? Needless to say this is my first conversion so any input would be really appreciated!
    Many Thanks,


    1. Off the top of my head I
      Off the top of my head I would recommend running the battery cable underneath the chassis and then brining the cable up through the floor of the luton back, into some furniture when you are housing your leisure batteries and fuse boxe. You should be able to drill through the insulation to put the wires through.

      To use a laptop for a few hours a day, and a few lights, a 1 x 110ah battery is fine.
      To use the laptop for more than a few hours you’ll need a couple of batteries.
      Solar panels make the batteries last longer in sunny weather.


      1. Thanks for such a quick
        Thanks for such a quick reply!, what would you recommend using to cover/hold the wires underneath ?


        1. I don’t think so. You only
          I don’t think so. You only need 1 16mm cable, which is big, like the one going to your engine battery. It will already have a rubber sleeve around it. So I would just run the cable as it is, supporting it along the route underneath. Make sure the cable doesn’t rub against the chassis. Use rubber or plastic clips to hold it.


  18. mini tour bus.
    im going to bed buying a lwb vw crafter that im going to convert into a sleeper tour van to drive bands in.Im gonna have 2 tvs, xbox, couple of sockets, spot lights and strip lights on seperate switches,dvd/cd player, and possibly a fridge.As I will need power as often as possible I will be needing a mains hook up as well. So I guess Ill wire a leisure battery from the van battery through a split charge relay,and connect the mains socket to a charger to charge the leisure battery? will this provide me constant power when im plugged in? and can i run the power for the sockets, tvs and xbox all from one inverter?
    anything else id need to consider?
    any help would be great as this will be my first project.


    1. Hi Adam
      “So I guess Ill wire

      Hi Adam

      “So I guess Ill wire a leisure battery from the van battery through a split charge relay”

      Yes, that’s the right way to do it. I suspect you’ll need several leisure batteries, probably 3 or so, to ensure many hours of battery use.

      “and connect the mains socket to a charger to charge the leisure battery?”

      Yep, connect a leisure battery charger to the leisure batteries, to charge when on hookup.

      “will this provide me constant power when im plugged in?”

      When on hookup, you’ll have constant power to your main sockets, and you’re leisure battery will charge.

      “and can i run the power for the sockets, tvs and xbox all from one inverter?”

      You can, but you’ll need a big inverter. Buy an inverter than will manage all of the appliances at once. Maybe 1000W? This will flatten a leisure battery fairly quickly, so you’ll need several.

      See the thread below by paddy to see how to run the inverter power through the sockets.


      1. thanks for the reply.
        as ive

        thanks for the reply.
        as ive decided im going to fit a dvd home cinema instead of going for the car stereo ive changed my mind on what i think ill do.
        just wanted to see if you think this will work.
        have leisure batteries hooked up through a split charge relay, then from the batteries straight into an inverter, then straight into a 240v fuseboard. from this fuseboard have 2 circuits, one for the led lighting and one circuit for sockets powering the tvs dvd and xbox. then from the mains hook up have another 2 way fuseboard, one circuit conected to a battery charger, then the other connected to a change over switch to directly run the lights and entertainment in the van. this just seems easier than messing around with 12v and 240v especially as i have no experience with 12v electrics. im guessing if i have led lighting i would need a pure sine inverter? would there be a cheap way to monitor the charge in the leisure batteries?
        can the vans inverter handle running all of this when driving?
        and ill also need power to a trailer, which i have no idea about. can you point me in the right direction of where to look?

        thanks in advance for your help, im trying to think about things the way they seem like they will work in my head, just not sure if it work in practice.


        1. * vans alternator
          * vans alternator


          1. ok im stressing myself out
            ok im stressing myself out pretty bad over this picking up the van next week and want to get started straight away. I was told using everything at 240v would be a very inefficient way of doing things. is this the case?
            looking at the battery to battery chargers they charge at 50a. this would charge the batteries very fast, so looks like it might be the way to go.
            so now im thinking

            battery to battery charger
            2 x 110ah batteries

            2x 24 inch 12v tvs 2x 40w 6.7 a
            12v car dvd player with car speakers 4x 45 w maximum 15.9 a
            10 led downlights 10x 2 w 1.7a
            2 led rope lights 10 w 0.83 a
            6 led lights for in the bunks 6×2 w 1a

            then through an inverter for
            xbox 190w
            1 240v socket.

            i know how to calculate the amps used on the 12v but how does it work going through the inverter? im guessing if i have 2x 110ah batteries id get about 10 hours from these batteries? so if it takes 4 hours to charge would i need a hook up at all?

            however most of the useage off this equipment will be when driving as the band will be in the back.

            i just dont want the cost to get out of control but if i can do away with the 240 hook up it would keep everything simple and be more straight forward to install.

            does this sound like my best option?
            thanks in advance again as youve been a massive help.

          2. Considering how much 240
            Considering how much 240 stuff you want to run, I would keep it all 240v.
            The battery to battery chargers are quick and efficient.
            The inverter is about 90% efficient, so allow 10% of drop off.
            If you are using this equipment mostly when driving then I wouldn’t worry about the 240v hookup yet. You can always add it afterwards. The batteries will charge when driving, and the equipment will run off inverter, powered by the vans alternator.

          3. i understand it will all be
            i understand it will all be ok when driving, but as i will have bunks everyone will be sleeping in the van too. meaning they will need lights and power in the evening too. at least enough power to have their bunk lights on.
            what is really confusing me is knowing how many amps i will be drawing from the battery when going through an inverter.
            at first i thought it was as simple as …..

            xbox – 190w / 240v = 0.79 amps.

            but as it is running from a 12v battery supplying the inverter this isnt the case?

            sorry im not picking this up too quick.

          4. If the xBox is 190w, then it
            If the xBox is 190w, then it will still draw 190w on 12v. Watts are constant.

            So it’s the same calculation, only using 12v.

            xbox – 190w / 12v = 16 amps (@12v)

        2. Hi Adam
          Yes this will

          Hi Adam

          Yes this will work.
          As you will be powering a lot from the inverter, get a pure sin inverter, as this will give you maximum efficiency.
          There are several devices that monitor leisure battery charge. The simplest is an analogue needle display for £10, the best are electronic for £100.

          “can the vans inverter handle running all of this when driving?”
          When driving I assume you wont be using any of the electrical gear. Just charging your leisure batteries?
          For the best in battery charging think about a battery-to-battery charger, like the Sterling one

          This will charge you leisure battery more quickly and efficiently than a split charge relay.

          Try these for wiring a trailer


  19. T4 electrics from scratch -diagram
    Just about to convert my T4. Do you know of any diagrams that wld show/explain stages. Possibly a list of components needed. Would like lights, ignition for cooker, run a fridge, us van stereo. 240 socket. Also to have a hook up. I am a very capable diyer but pictures are easier than words for me.
    Thanks your forum is really helping.


  20. same outlet different supply??
    hi peeps, im extremely new to this so bare with me!! ha… is it possible to feed the 240v sockets from the mains hook up, and then be able to feed the same sockets from the inverted 12v supply? how do you charge the leisure battery from the alternator? do you just link the leisure battery to the main battery? thanks for your help ; )


    1. Hi Paddy
      Lets go through your

      Hi Paddy

      Lets go through your questions:

      Q: is it possible to feed the 240v sockets from the mains hook up, and then be able to feed the same sockets from the inverted 12v supply?
      A: Yes, by having a big switch that would switch the input for the sockets from the mains or the inverter. You would need a big switch, with a high power rating, and some electrical experience to do this safely. Whilst it’s possible, it’s not the easiest job.

      Q: how do you charge the leisure battery from the alternator?
      A: You have a split charge relay. When the engine is running the relay connects the leisure battery to the engine battery, so that it can charge from the alternator.

      Q: do you just link the leisure battery to the main battery?
      A: Sort of. You use the relay to connect the batteries together, and the relay only connects them together when it senses that the engine is running.


      1. hi darren, thanks alot for
        hi darren, thanks alot for your quick response and taking the time to answer my questions.. youve cleared alot of things up for me. i’ll be in touch again very soon when i need to tap into your knowledge again.. thanks again mate..


      2. hi darren ive got a load of
        hi darren ive got a load of questions for you mate, cheers in advance ; )
        1. what size cable would i need for the
        a) mains hook up.
        b) lighting (2 lights)
        c) sockets (2)
        d) link between the batterys

        2)what type of switch do i need, to switch between the mains supply and the inverted power supply?

        3) is the earth and neutral common? if so shall i wire the circuits in 2 core flex? or should i wire them in 3 core flex and link the earth and neutral in the fuse board?

        4) is there a “tidier” way of charging the leisure battery from the mains than using a charger with big crocodile clips?

        cheers darren sorry to be a pain, any help will be greatly appreciated…


        1. Hi Paddy
          I’m not an expert,

          Hi Paddy

          I’m not an expert, so these answers are best on my experience and knowledge.

          a) 2.5mm
          b) 1.5mm
          c) 2.5mm
          d) 16mm

          2) The switch in the link below is nearly right. It can cope with high power. The problem is that this switch has an ALL setting which will connect your leisure battery to the hookup, which is really bad. You could disconnect that part of the switch inside, or try and find another 2-way switch, that doesn’t have an ALL setting, but I couldn’t find one.

          3. Earth and neutral are common on the 12v circuits, but separate on the 240 volt circuits. Use 3 core and wire the earth of the sockets to appropriate neutral, so negative for 12v, and earth for 240v.

          4. Yep. Just cut the croc clips off, and crimp on the some round terminals, then screw then onto your battery terminals.


          1. Darren thanks again for all
            Darren thanks again for all your help mate, youve saved me hours of research!!! can you check out this switch for me please to see if it looks right? cheers


          2. Yes, that’s a good switch.
            Yes, that’s a good switch. Better than the one I found. Looks much better, and is rated to 25A. Perfect.

  21. wires for 12v auto (fag) socket
    hi i was wondering if anyone can help me i am planning to wire a
    12v auto socket
    led lights and a switch
    to my leisure battery power supply can anyone tell me what wire i need to do this, they will be wired into my power box which will be fused just don’t understand what size amp the wire should be, I would like to use the 12 auto socket to charge netbook,camera etc

    Many Thanks


    1. Hi Michelle
      Lights are low

      Hi Michelle

      Lights are low powered, and only require small cable. 2.5mm cable should be fine for the lights.

      The 12v auto socket will require some bigger cable. I assume you will plug an inverter into the 12v socket? If so I would recommend getting som 6mm cable. This will ensure you can run fairly power hungry items.


  22. 24volt split charge to 12volt
    24volt split charge to 12volt how to do this


    1. You need a 24v to 12v
      You need a 24v to 12v convertor.

      12 Volt shop has some good ones:

      eBay is cheaper though

      You need to work out how much current your 12v device will use, and buy an appropriate one.

      The 12 Volt Shop one does 18 amp, the cheap eBay ones do 5 amps.


  23. t4 electrics
    hi ya just starting to convert t4 would just like to now wat cable to use for sockets(probably one double) and lights ,can u have the lights and sockets work off both a leisure battery and inverter,and mains hook up.Do u wire these up like a house hold circit to a fuse board and then the board to leisure bat,im a novice at this so forgive me if questions sound silly thanks


    1. electrics
      You cant use normal house electrical wire you need to use flexible cable sort of like the wire on extension leads the thickness depends on lenght of wire, i would use about 2.0mm for no more than 4 meters that will make sure you have about 19.0amps of power in it. For the lights i would wire them sepeate as you can buy 12v lights and doesnt use much electric. for the sockets yes you will have to use an invertor and yes its all comes from a fuse box


  24. Solar Panels
    I have a 100w solar panel that charges 2 110ah leisure batteries I would now like to connect my vans starter battery to boost the charge but cant find out how to do it anywhere. any help would be great thanks


    1. Do you want to charge the
      Do you want to charge the leisure batteries from the engine alternator?
      It’s fairly straight forward. I would buy a 100 amp + relay kit, which should include all of the bits you need and instructions.
      What country are you in, I will recommend a product for you.


      1. battery
        i will be charging from alternator as well as solar panel i live in uk


        1. This is a really nice relay
          This is a really nice relay kit on eBay. It is 100 amp, which will handle a lot of power, if both the leisure batteries are low. It comes with lots of good cable

          Here is a cheaper kit, but it’s easier to install. The cable is not so good, but should work OK

          I’d go for the first option if you can.


          1. sounds great
            that sounds good but how do i wire it all up do i connect the solar panel through the regulator to the + and – on leisure batteries and then the relay to the + on the leisure batteries

  25. t2 heating
    I’ve just bought a 1072 t2 campervan and the heating is rubbish except for esbacher blown heating is there any way to heat the cabin whilst driving


    1. The heating is notoriously
      The heating is notoriously bad on these campervans. As they are air cooled it’s not easy to get heating from them. There are some ways though. I think it’s best to ask around in the T2 forums.


  26. T4 electrics
    I have just bought a VW T4 that has some electrics installed by the previous owner. Currently there is a leisure battery that is charged when the van is running and that is just used to power the lighting.

    There is also 240 electric hook up installed that provides power to a three pin plug socket in the van. I believe that currently the two systems are separate.

    Eventually I want to be able to use 12v and 240v appliances from the leisure battery in the van and charge the leisure battery while on electric hook up as well as the engine running.

    I’m just trying to get my head around what is required. Would all the power need to go through the leisure battery then distributed via 12v sockets and an inverter for 240 appliances? So the wiring that’s currently in the van for the 240 socket would need to be wired through a charging system into the leisure battery then back out through an inverter back to the 240 socket?


    1. To achieve what you want it’s
      To achieve what you want it’s fairly simply.

      1. Get a leisure battery charger. Ctek are popular.

      You wire this into the consumer unit (fuse box), if you have one fitted. If you don’t just plug it into the 240 volt socket in the van.
      Now when you connect the hookup you have 240 volts at the sockets, and 12vs charging the battery, and also endless 12 volts of power at the lights and anything else that is wired into the battery.

      2. To get 240 volts from the leisure battery, buy an inverter. Connect this to the leisure battery, and you have 240 volts when you need it. Make sure you get one powerful enough to power what you need. Laptops need about 100 watts. Normally the inverter has crocodile clips that clip onto the battery.

      No more wiring is required than that.


  27. iPod/Battery Question
    This forum seems to have the electronic experts I need for a problem that has stumped me for a few years. this is not a “van” question – I apologize – I can’t find assistance elsewhere! I captain a 40ft dragon boat and I want to install a quality, waterproof sound system on board that will allow me to play music via my iPod. I have found an inexpensive, two channel marine amp and a set of Polk Atrium 80w waterproof speakers. I need to drive the speakers for approximately two hours. What size battery is necessary to accomplish this?

    -Mark in Tampa


    1. What is the power consumption
      What is the power consumption of the amp? Do you have a link to it?


  28. VW T4 electric help
    Just after a bit of help. I am currently confverting a T4 into a camper. Have wired up split charge relay, consumer unit etc to my van and earthed it through the floor of the van as the instructions said. However when tested the van is not acting as an earth through the floor.
    Any Ideas???????


    1. That sounds odd. How are you
      That sounds odd. How are you checking the earth? With a multi-meter between the battery negative terminal and the floor?


  29. connecting to 16A hookup on camp sites
    Hi guys

    Appreciate a bit of help please if you can.

    I’m disabled and I use a mobility scooter which lives in my small panel/box van, when at home I just put the mobility scooter’s 300W charger inside the van and connect it to the mains via an extension lead, closing the back door on the extension lead carefully as I use a communal garage and need to keep the van locked and secure.

    So I’m thinking of going on holiday and I’ll need to charge my mobility scooter in campsites and I don’t have a lot of money to get a professional to fit a hook-up socket on the outside of my van and a consumer unit/socket on the inside. I can’t find a way to get a lead in to the van more easily and keep the van locked.

    If I fit a 16A plug on my extension lead, do you think I could employ the same method I use at home on campsites without running in to any difficulty? All opinions welcome!

    Thanks for your help


    1. Yes, you should have no
      Yes, you should have no problem doing it the way you suggest.
      Just be careful you don’t damage the cord when closing the door.


      1. Thanks
        Thanks Darren, I’m gonna give it a go, I may put some sort of sheath around the cord where it closes in the door and see if there’s such a thing as a trip to go on the end of the lead inside the van maybe, not sure. Thanks again.


    2. conecting to 16a hook up
      Hi, hope this is still relevant for you but you can get a camping hook up from Argos for about £25.00. It comes with a GFI/RCD unit and 3 240 v sockets. Perfect for what you need without messing about with your own cables which you can still use at home.


  30. VW T2
    Hi, i have a 1973 VW Baywindow camper. I am a beginner when it comes to electrics, as i’m a clanky! I want to install a leisure battery and run Playstation3, TV, internal lights, CD/DVD player, fridge off it. Is this possible or would i have to run some off the leisure battery and some off 240V hookup. All i am thinking of is when i do not stay on a site with hookup, i won’t be able to use my 3-pin sockets.
    thanks in advance.


    1. You can run all of this from
      You can run all of this from a single leisure battery, but it will go flat fairly quickly. Maybe a few hours. You can install multiple leisure batteries. I have 3 x 110AH batteries, giving 330AH of battery power.
      From the batteries you can then install an inverter. This will take the 12 volt from the battery and change it to 240 volts for the mains powered equipment like a PS3, etc. The inverter has a 3-pin plug on it.
      If you are installing a hook up as well get a battery charger to charge the batteries. You can also charge the batteries from the engine alternator and solar panels.


      1. Hi mate. This is just what I
        Hi mate. This is just what I am looking to do. I am a novice too but have got my head around it all but one section.the battery charger bit. I have a leisure battery powering majority 12v gear. The only 240 is the fridge but that’s 12 also, so what I want to do is go from the leisure battery to all of the bus. When I go where there is hookup I would like that to go straight into the leisure battery and keep it topped up whilst everything draws from it. What are your recommendations and can you explain the charger idea. Are there any downsides in this configuration, I.e. wrecking the leisure battery life. Your help will be much appreciated.


        1. How are you connecting the
          How are you connecting the 240 volt items to the leisure battery? Through an inverter?
          If yes, you are using an inverter, then you can just plug the battery charger straight into the leisure battery.
          When you connect the battery charger to the mains, it will start pumping 14.4 volts into the leisure battery, which will charge it.

          Now, you have to be careful. Leisure batteries output 12.8 volts, and many appliances connected to them dont expect the voltage to be higher. But the battery charger, when charing from the mains, will output 14.4 volts. But if you are using the inverter then this will be fine, as it knows the voltage might be 14.4v.


  31. t4 conversion
    hi there i have just purchased a t4 and im going to try and convert it for next summer i have no idea about elecrics so i was looking for some help on what i need i will be staying at sites with 240 hook up and sites with out the van will have a t.v lights a sink with pump and would need sockets to charge phone and laptop etc.
    i know i will need leasure battery with the 240 hook up will i have to switch over to it or do you just plug and go to be honest im just trying to figure out how all this works.
    i will be getting a electrician to do all the work was wanting to know what i would require and how this all works thanks in advance dave


  32. mains inlet
    hi darren ,hope you could give some advice ,just got a t5 camper which has been professionally fitted however the mains inlet is in a cupboard ? how would i hook up to this whilst keeping the vehicle secure ?could i get an extension and run it to the rear fog or something ,thanks for any advice ,not to keen to start making holes thou lol .


    1. Hi
      This seems strange. The


      This seems strange. The mains inlet should be on the outside of the vehicle.
      Did the conversion company do this on their own, or was it something you discusses with them?
      I would discuss it with the conversion company. I would have a discreet hookup port added to the outside of the van wall.
      I know on T4s you can pop out a reflected on the bumper and put a cable in there. Not sure about the T5 though.


  33. dj eqiupment in my vw t5
    hi i have a vw t5 i want to power 1 laptop and 2 technics 1210 decks and a mixer plus amp .could i just use a 12v to 240v inverter from my cig lighter or do i need something else please help me as i am new to all this thanks 🙂


    1. That is almost too much
      That is almost too much equipment to power from an inverter and batteries.
      You will need to have several leisure batteries (£90 each) and a high quality inverter, maybe £100.
      You will also need someone of charging the batteries, probably a split charge relay from the engine.

      If you are not familiar with vehicle electrics then contact a campervan/motorhome workshop who should be able to help. Or a mechanical electrician.


      1. so wat could i power of a 12v
        so wat could i power of a 12v to 240 v inverter?


        1. You can get inverters that
          You can get inverters that can run 1500W of power. That’s probably enough to run everything. The amp is probably the biggest draw of power. But the bigger problem is that you will run batteries flat quite quickly if your try to run 1500W of power from it. You could install several leisure batteries. I have 3 leisure batteries in my camper.

          Try and find the power (watts) rating for each of the items you want to run, and post them here.
          Then tell us how long you want to run everything for.


          1. hi thanks my laptop output is
            hi thanks my laptop output is 65 watts and my amp is 280 watts could do away with the decks at the moment plus my speaker would be 150watt do you take that into account thanks

          2. You have to take into account
            You have to take into account everything that draws power.
            65 + 280 + 150 = 495 Watts.
            So you will need a 700 Watt inverter, at least.
            To run this on 12 volt batteries you need (700 / 12) 58 amps per hour.
            12 volt batteries should only be depleted to half. So a 110 amp battery should only be run down to half, which is 55 amps.
            If you have a 110 amp 12v battery you can use it for 1 hour before it is half flat, and unable to be used more.

            So you need 1 x 110 amp battery for each hour of use for this equipment you have listed.

          3. ok thanks so wat if i was to
            ok thanks so wat if i was to let the engine run while djing in my van.if if i got a 12v to 1200 watt inverter would that work and run ok thanks

          4. Yes, that would probably be
            Yes, that would probably be fine. But it’s probably easier and cheaper to buy a cheap generator. Plug a 4-way adapter into the generator, then you’ll have proper mains power without having to change anything on your van.

          5. ok that will help thanks alot
            ok that will help thanks alot mate

  34. Do I earth to body on 240 v
    Hi, I,m about to wire in a 240 circuit in my van for lights and sockets
    My question is do I need to earth to the body from any of the sockets? I have socket on side of van which runs to an rcd caravan fuse box from this I will power lights and sockets from the 2 fuses on the fuse box.


    1. Hi
      The RCD should be fused to


      The RCD should be fused to the body of the van.
      Each socket should then be earthed to the RCD. This will ensure that all sockets and the van body are earthed.


      1. thanks thats what i needed to
        thanks thats what i needed to know


  35. Mitchell McMillan July 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hi i am converting a E250 ford van
    Hey these topics have been very informing thanks.
    I am in Aust at the moment but will be heading over to the US for a road trip and planing mods we need to do on the van. I was wondering if anyone new what we would be looking at for our electrical. Items that could be connected at one time.
    The van would have 12v 3 led lights, and a something like a 12v waeco cooler
    I would need a inverter to run a laptop, ext hard drive, camera battery chargers, car radio.
    What size 2nd Battery?
    Would i need a stronger alternator?
    What size inverter?
    Should i get a serge protected power-board?
    Is there anything else i would be missing?


  36. eletrics 240 and insurace
    hello i am currently in the final stages of my merc sprinter 413 convershion . have most of the 240 and the 12 volt wiring in place and ready to hook up . just wodering about regulations like

    1) do i need to cover / sheeth /use trunking to cover all 240 volt wires inside thevan ie behind pannels and such

    2) i belive ineed to get my 240 volt system sighned of by an aproved eletrician can you help in recomending a company or witch type of company will do this type of work .

    3)if i dont regestrer my van as a camper will i still get insurance and can you recomend a company

    thanks very much what a great sight hope to see yous on the road soon dave


    1. Hi Dave
      Nice to hear you’re

      Hi Dave

      Nice to hear you’re nearly finished.

      1. I use trunking behind the scenes, just to keep things safe. Not sure about the regulations though.
      2. You don’t need to get it signed off. Depends on your insurance.
      3. You don’t need to re-register. In fact there are few benefits in doing so. For me there are none, so I didn’t. I got full campervan insurance (contents, etc.) even though it’s still registered as a van via Very helpful people.

      Please add some photos to the Photo Albums here when you get a chance.



  37. Wiring a leisure battery
    Can anyone help, i am a complete beginner when it comes to auto wiring etc. however i have bought a T5 van which already has a leisure battery wired in using a smart relay system. it is wired as follows- Starter battery to 10a fuse, fuse to relay, relay to leisure battery, leisure battery to power inverter. Now i want to wire in the recently purchased 600 watt power inverter to the leisure battery so that i can power a portable dvd player and a small portable fridge via a normal 3 pin socket less than 600w in total. I have wired the inverter as per the manufacturers instructions i.e direct to the leisure battery terminals but the inverter starts bleeping indicating that the charge to it from the leisure battery is low, i think that the low power warning beep is due to there not being sufficient charge in the battery. My concern is do i need to fit any other components to prevent the battery from discharging? and or any uprated fuses, wires etc.


    1. Your system sounds
      Your system sounds correct.
      Does the inverter start beeping as soon as you turn it on, without anything plugged in?
      If so either you have wired it in incorrectly or it is faulty.

      If it beeps only when you plug something into it, it sounds like the draw is to high. i.e. higher than 600 watt. Try pluggin in something low powered.

      If you check it with the engine running, the inverter will think the leisure battery is fully charged, as the alternator will be providing 14 volts to the leisure battery. Maybe your leisure battery is not holding much charge and needs replacing? You could check with a multimeter. The fully charged leisure battery should read 12.7 volts when charged.


  38. 12v lights
    I want to put 3 led lights in line onto one switch ,is this ok or do I need to switch them individually,should I put an inline fuse between switch and power supply.
    Also main 240 hook up,should I run an earth wire to the body of the van from the trip/consumer unit.
    I read that the leisure battery should be as close to the main bat as is possible how much difference would this make as putting the battery towards the back would be so much easier.I have a VWT5 hope to change front doublen passenger seat into a single so do not think Battery would fit.


    1. 3 lights on 1 switch is fine.
      3 lights on 1 switch is fine. Wire the lights in parallel. There should be a fuse between the battery and the switch. The fuse should be rated slightly higher than the current of all three lights combined.

      A mains consumer unit should be earthed to the van body. Most people bolt a wire to the van body near the consumer unit.

      Yes, the leisure battery should be as close as possible to the engine battery. This is because the longer the cable, the more voltage you will lose. Don’t worry though, you can locate it further away. The batteries should be connected with heavy duty cable, like those on your engine battery, normally 16mm cable.


      1. 12/240v electrics
        Thanks for recent reply My set up is relativley simple in my T5 i have put in a mains hook up wired to small consumer unit from this I will run three 240 sockets and to a ZIG cf8. I have a 110 leisure battery .There will be no plans for a fridge.pump etc at this stage Do I have to wire starter battery through the ignition switch or can I wire direct with a 25a fuse to cf8 conector 1 and 2.
        The zig instuction have confused me The page before the wiring diagram states If your car does not have a 12S supplimentary plug you are strongly advised to fit one, then the W/Diagram states the 12S MAY BE DELETED IF WIRING A MOTOR HOME.
        Thanks Gordon


  39. mains hook up
    we want to fit a 240 mains hook up in our campervan which is empty at the mo..we live in leicestershire does anyone know of anywhere that fits them and roughly how much this costs? we appriciate any help



    1. Just fitted mains hook up to
      Just fitted mains hook up to my T5 cost me £15 from ebay and one hours work if you can wire a household plug then you can wire the mains hook up cutting the hole in side of van was scarry to think about but I found it easey to do just needed to work out where you wanted it make sure clear of any obstructios inside van not near fuel I then drilled four holes at each corner and started cutting with grinder I am well pleased with results. Lead inside is then run to a small consumer unit again of ebay £40 new. Oh I sealed around the caseing with waterproof gutter sealant.Main thing is to measure twice ,cut once.


      1. in T5’s most people put the
        in T5’s most people put the commando socket under the bonnet running the wire through spare grommets in the bulkhead so they dont have to mess up the lines on the bodywork, saw one yesturday behind the removable spotlight trim panel in the front bumper.


  40. electrics…..
    Hi there,

    I have got as far along in my camper conversion as needing to install some electrics, and I have some questions, any help on which would be very much appreciated.

    1) I was planning on getting a Zig unit, as I don’t think I have the knowledge to build the neccessary relay etc and so this seems like a sensible option. Are they as easy to install as they look?

    2) Is there any way you can charge something like a laptop using the sockets on a zig unit/can you wire a 3 pin socket into one of the ports?

    3) would 1 12v leisure battery be sufficient for the following:
    – 2-3 LED lights
    – amplifier
    – charging of phone / laptop

    Thanks for your time/assistance!



    1. Van Electrics
      Hey there. Have you finished your electrics? I have spent the last couple weeks installing a home build ‘lecky system in my shorty T5. It uses split charge, solar and external AC to charge a ‘Utility’ and ‘Reserve’ battery in the back (located in the LHS wheel arch. I can automatically switch between External (mains) or Internal (Inverter) and can easily charge 240Vac items or 5v (USB) with the mix of sockets. I have made up lots of circuit diagrams and would be happy to answer any questions you have after all I have probably asked the same thing at some point in my time within the reems of cable and relays!


      1. Van Electrics
        I have a Zig cf8 unit ,what size cable should I use from Starter battery can I connect to a split charge relay then on to the zig unit or do I simply connect to zig unit with fuses of coarse then onto leisure battery.have put in 240v ring curcit for sockets with consumer unit and wirring ready f 12v lighting and swtches.
        Its just the battery bit that seems to confuse as have read so many conflicting advice


      2. Camper wiring
        Hi Richie,

        I really hope you can help and contact me back. It sounds like you have done exactly what I want to achieve.

        Bottom line is I want electric hookup when i can plug in either at a camp site of directly to household socket somewhere. This will power 240v electrics in the bus for running things like DVD player, charging laptop/mobile etc, microwave oven etc etc.

        However, I also want leisure battery with an inverter or something so I can run these things when NOT plugged in to external power supply. This is the bit that is confusing me…

        Can you help? I understand the leisure battery set up – but then not sure how to install 240 sockets…and then to integrate the hookup.

        Hope this makes sense.




      3. Interesting…

        I’m currently trying to get to grips with the vast range of products available in this area, and the lack of comprehensive information associated with them – I’d really appreciate a look at your schematics if poss.

        I’m building a (large – 12m!) coach/camper conversion, with the intent of charging the leisure bank(s) from solar, mains when required, and engine when running. I understand that broadly I need to use a split charge relay (or several), but I’m unsure of what happens when you start combining them together to cope with all 3 potential charge sources.

        If you could email me any info over, I’d be really grateful, or if anyone else would like to chime in, it might help others too.



        1. You can easily combine all
          You can easily combine all three power sources. I have done exactly the same thing on my van.

          For the solar panel you should connect it to the batteries via a controller. The solar controller only feeds power to the batteries if they need it. So if the engine is running, or the mains charger is charging, then the controller will see that the voltage on the batteries is high, and not try and charge the batteries.

          It’s very unlikely that you’ll have the engine running, and the mains charger running, but if you did the mains charger would see the high voltage from the alternator and not try and charge the batteries.

          I have connected all three power sources to the same battery. I have 3 batteries in the the battery bank.

          The key thing to remember is that a charger will only try and charge the battery if it needs charge. If the battery is full, or appears full because something is charging it, it will not try and charge it.

          I also keep my mains charger permanently connected.


          1. Okey dokey…
            Sounds like I’m overthinking the problem then – thanks for the advice. Can I just double check what you’re saying then?

            Essentially, all I’d need is:

            – A split charger (to deal with the alternator charging the starter & leisure batteries)
            – A solar regulator (hooked directly onto the leisure bank)
            – A mains charger (again, connected in line with the leisure bank)

            And that’s it? Do I not need to add in any diodes to deal with the mix of kit, or will the 2 chargers and solar regulator just cope natively with being common to one another?

            Thanks in advance.

          2. Yes, the setup you have
            Yes, the setup you have listed will be fine.
            No need for Diodes or switches.
            I can’t guarantee your system will work like mine, as things are different. But it probably will.
            Each charger will only charge when necessary.

          3. Confirmed!
            ‘It probably will’ sounded slightly less assured than your previous reply, so I got a second opinion from one of the tech guys at Sterling Power 😉

            They confirmed that this should indeed be the case, so away we go…

            Thanks for your help!

          4. Good stuff. Good luck 🙂
            Good stuff. Good luck 🙂

  41. Microwave oven
    Hi, Can you tell me if I can run a microwave oven direct from electric hook-ups on site. I am doing a van conversion and will be all electric. No gas.
    Thanks, Tony.


    1. Yes, as long as you don’t
      Yes, as long as you don’t have a really big microwave.
      Campsites in the UK are 16A or 10A. 10A = (10A x 240V) = 2400W. A 800W microwave uses about 1200W of power, so that’s easily inside the 2400W the hookup gives.
      Some campsites, more so in Europe give 6A, which is (6A x 240V) = 1440W, which should still be OK.


  42. conversion van
    Hello,I am considering buying a checrolet 2002 express conversion van.It does not have any external hookups.How difficult is it to have someone install air,electricity hookup and water and where could I find someone like that?


    1. It’s pretty straightforward
      It’s pretty straightforward for a professional to install these services.
      I would recommend finding someone local to you. Just incase something needs looking at after the installation.
      Where abouts do you live?


  43. Bambi Autohome
    just obtained a 1988 bambi and want to instaul elecricity for a hookup but have no idea where to start help pls thanx


  44. Zig CF8 and Solar Panels
    I’ve got a Granvia campervan with 230v hook-up and 12v 110 amp leisure battery with a Zig CF8 control panel.

    Is it possible to incorporate solar panels and a regulator into this setup?

    Do I just connect the regulator to the battery?


    1. Hi
      Yes, you can simple


      Yes, you can simple connect the the solar panel to the regulator, and then the regulator to the leisure battery.
      It’s quite a simple thing to add.


      1. Solar Panels
        Thanks for that Darren.


  45. Advice on Wiring
    Hi There,
    I am currently converting my van into a motorhome and I was wanting to know about wiring of the 13 amp sockets into my van and I was told that the wire is the same way you wire a house by using the ring main is this correct? and I read that you use 1.5 flexible cable but, I have been told you use 2.5 so am a bit confused?? and I know that you use 2.5 from the hook up to the consumer unit so could any one tell me the right Way I also need to know about the 12 vaults system how to wire the micro switchers from the taps to the shower and toilet I have a feeling that they are all connected on the same circuit but am not quite sure so could you help me with this as well.
    I will be getting it all checked when it’s finished thanks from Neil.


  46. HELP electrics dont work!
    Hi everyone, please help!
    Ive just brought my first ever renalut traffic camper 1990, all seemed to be great until we tried to get the electrics working. Im puzzled by a number of things and if anyone knows the answer to any of them id be really greatful:

    1. The leisure battery is in the engine by the car battery,and a fuse board with it (all fuses have been changed), we have a zig panel with the option to change from car to van. With the ignition off, no lights are present on the board, even with the igntion turned to the first stage, nothing..only when the igntion is fully turned on and ready to start the van does the light on the panel come on, and lights/electrics available….
    so firstly 1. is this normal? I cant see you always need the igntion on?
    2. You only get any power when the switch is in the van setting..i get nothing if it is switched to car setting (not even a light on the panel to say its there?

    Another problem is the mains..after plugging the mains cord in and into the house, switiching on the mains board we get nothing… am i missing something silly? I thought it may be a fuse, but ive checked the fuses in the panel and they seem fine, the only other fuse place is under the steering column and I have no idea whether they relate to anything or not… could it be the mains box?

    Thanks everyone hope you can help me 🙂


    1. Hi
      What model of Zip do you


      What model of Zip do you have. a CF8 or a CF9 maybe?


  47. ZIG CF8
    I’ve bought a second-hand Zig CF8. I’ve connected the 95ah engine battery to it and also the 85ah leisure battery so that both will charge when driving. I have a sink microswitch and Whale submersible pump running thru the Zig also. Will be adding a couple of 12v interior lights soon and that’s about it (very small van!)

    1/ I keep reading about split charge relays. Don’t need one if I have the Zig …or do I?
    2/ If I connected up the 240v mains part of the Zig for campsite use, does this charge my engine battery or just the leisure?
    3/ If I add two 12v lights (each has it’s own on/off switch) can I put them thru just one of the Zig’s 10amp fuses or should it be one fuse for each lamp?




    1. Hi GDog
      There is a manual

      Hi GDog

      There is a manual here for the CF8 that you can download

      1. When the engine is running, set the Touring button to the up position, and the leisure battery will then charge. Turn the switch to the off position when the engine is stopped. You don’t need a relay if you follow this rule.
      2. Just the leisure battery.
      3. If each light is 5amp or less you can put them both on the same fuse.


    2. Zig Unit
      It’s quite specific that you DO NOT use a split charge relay with the zig unit. As another poster has descriped, there is the functionality in the unit already. Using a split charge relay as well as your zig is unsafe.


      1. Zig/split charge
        Im glad I just read this post as I was about to order a split chage relay myself to go with the Zig unit,I have a cf8 does this mean I simply connect main battery to the zig with an in line fuse and of course the leisure battery, so long as I remember to switch to touring when on the move.


  48. zig
    hia just to make sure i got this right, a zig unit is powered by 240 mains and turns it into 12 v,, i am goint to wire my van and need to know this ,,,or will i need two seperate systems .i.e. one 240 v system and a seperate 12 volt system ,,,

    thanks waynewanno


    1. Hi wanno
      Typically a Zig

      Hi wanno

      Typically a Zig takes 240 volts and then supplies 240 volts and 12 volts to the vehicle. It often gives output for a water pump and leisure batteries as well. Depends on the model though. Which do you have?


      1. zig
        havnt got one yet m8 trying to find out as much as i can before i decide witch one is for me ,,il be doing more random parking than sites so will be relying more on 12 volt ,,tho will hook up to electric also,,,thanks for help anyway much appreciated the more the better,,,,,,,,,


        1. I also use 12v more than
          I also use 12v more than 240v. With my new camper I am building it to run purely of 12v. Solar panels on the roof and several leisure batteries. I will be installing a 240v hookup though. This will power a 240v socket for my laptop when in campsites, and I’ll also use it to power a 240v to 12v convertor which will power my 12v systems when on the hookup. This will save the batteries when in a campsite.
          Zig units can be expensive and it’s often easier and cheaper to make your own alternative.


          1. zig
            yes this is my first project so thinking from scratch, will be fitting liesure batteries so just need to set up 240 inlet with charger by looks one of the smart chargers to keep batts in good condition,, will get there in the end im sure fingers crossed,,,,just didnt know about zig weather i had to install 240,,,and 12 volt lights and sockets along side each other,,, cheers,,,

          2. to Zig or not to zig…?
            Hi Darren,

            You seem to have a lot of knowledge/experience regarding whether to use a zig unit, or split charge relay. Are you still of the view that best to use split charge relay and install seperate charging facility from mains hook up, rather than use a zig? If so, could you explain in more detail what components are required for getting teh mains hook up incorporated to charge batteries and for general 240v use? (I assume if you keep it seperate, you’d need both a 12v circuit and a 240v circuit). Also, are there any other disadvantages to zig other than cost?

            Many thanks!

          3. I generally would recommend
            I generally would recommend fitting the separate components, rather than a Zig unit. This is generally because the Zip unit is compact, and the components used in it are not always very good. Also the main factor is that the battery charger used in Zip units is often not very good, and gets very hot.

            If you are confident with electrics I would suggest building your own. You can spread it out, to avoid heating problems, and spend more money on the component that matter to you.

            Zig units vary. I’ll cover the component areas

            Split charge relay – Only cost a few pounds and are better fitted close to the engine battery to reduce voltage drop.

            240v battery charger – Cheap ones are available, but you can spend more on one if you wish. Better to fit in a well ventilated area to reduce heat, and close to the leisure batteries to increase efficiency.

            12v supply – Supplies 12v to the vehicle when on hookup. Many people just use the 240v battery charger. It will likely generate 14.4 volts, but most 12v appliances are built to deal with this. You can fit a separate 12v power supply if necessary, but this means more wiring and switches as you’ll need to change the supply when on the hookup.

            Fuses – Zig units have the fused in the panel, which isn’t very efficient, looks bad and they tend to use the cylinder fuses, rather than the preferred blade fused.

            Water pump switch – Zip units often have a switch for the water pump on them. This is just a simple switch to cutoff the water pump. I prefer to keep this switch near the sink area for convenance.

            By installing the separate components you can have the switches and power supplies in the best places in the vehicle, with reduced wiring, rather than all in one unit with lots of wiring.
            If a component fails you can simply replace it, rather than the whole Zig unit.

  49. advice needed on plug sockets
    hi i have just aquired a camper van never done this before so excuse silly questions! should my plug sockets work when wild camping or do they only work on mains hook up? also should the fridge work all the time? asking as we went away and neither worked when on leisure battery, so before i start pulling it apart thought i had better check on here with the experts
    thanks em


    1. Hi. What sort of campervan
      Hi. What sort of campervan do you have?
      On a typical campervan, the electric sockets only work when on a mains hookup. You can buy an inverter to plug into the leisure batteries, but you have to be careful what you plug into this, as it can drain the leisure battery quickly.

      Most fridges are 3-way. They run on 12v, when you are driving, as it uses the engine alternator to provide power. 240v for when on the mains hook-up. And gas for when free-camping. Campervan fridges do not generally work on leisure batteries, as they draw too much power and flatten the battery quickly.

      Can you find a switch or a model number on your fridge?


      1. sort of van
        Hi darren its a talbot merlin, the gas is disconnected from fridge so no fridge when free camping then! is it difficult to connect gas to fridge? at least that explains it, and will have to wait till i get to campsite to find out anymore. do not want to buy inverter as i can see kids plugging in ds’s then sitting in darkness lol. i think i might get a solar charger for phone etc that should work
        thankyou for your help


        1. It is fairly easy to connect
          It is fairly easy to connect gas to the fridge. You can use a separate gas bottle to power the fridge. For that you just need a bottle, regulator and rubber hose to connect it to the fridge.
          If you want to use the existing gas bottle and systems you will need a manifold, that splits the existing gas supply into several, for use with the cooker, fridge, etc. The manifolds require metal piping. Maybe there is some piping or hose near the fridge already?


  50. Renault Trafik T1000
    I have two strip interior lights which run off both a 12v leisure battery and I am assuming the 110v mains. I do have a box which has various switches i.e. mains/car battery etc.

    I recharged the leisure battery at the weekend, popped back on the caps, tested the lights and they worked. All of a sudden both of them went off and I can’t seem to get them back on.

    The inside of one of the lights does look a bit mishmash in that the wiring looks a bit iffy. Would both lights fail to work if one light had a problem with its wiring?


    Hi, I’m just converting my van and I’m struggling with the fridge electrics. What should my fridge be hooked up to. The Zig unit says not to there, so where should i do it?
    any help would be appreciated


    1. Hi Jake
      Does your fridge have

      Hi Jake

      Does your fridge have 240v and 12v connections?
      The 12v connection should be connected to your split charge relay system if you have one. Normally that is the only 12v powerful enough to power it.
      If you Zig unit provides 240v when connected to the mains then you can connect your fridge 240v connection to that, and run it when plugged into a campsite.

      Hope this helps.


  52. Hey, got a question about
    Hey, got a question about interior lights.
    i have a campsite socket mounted on the side of my vehicle, can i connect my interior lights directly to this?
    is there any diagrams on how to connect up interior lights?
    i only want them to work when connected to campsite electrics.


    1. What sort of campervan do you
      What sort of campervan do you have. Is it a professional conversion or one you have done yourself.
      Do you know how the interior lights are wired at present?


      1. Its one i am currently
        Its one i am currently converting myself.
        nothing is wired atm im still stripping out the van.
        i was thinking of somehow wiring them to the campsite mains socket only or wiring them to a plug and just plugging them into my electrical system.
        nothing is done yet so im up for suggestions as to how to do the lights?


        1. You could simple connect the
          You could simple connect the light circuit to the socket. Always use a fuse though.
          Or you could put a plug board inside your van, from the socket. Then put a plug on your light circuit and plug it in. Very simple and easy to use/unplug etc.


          1. do you mean just wire the
            do you mean just wire the lights up to a plug socket with correct fuse?

          2. You have 2 options.
            1. From

            You have 2 options.

            1. From you campsite mains socket add a small fuse box. From that you can add whatever circuits you like. You can add your new light circuit. It’s important to have a fuse box, and it makes it easy to add new connections, such as lights, a socket, etc.

            2. From you campsite mains socket add a 4-way adapter. Connect a standard mains plug to your light circuit, then plug it into the 4-way adapter.

        2. try looking up sbmcc on the
          try looking up sbmcc on the internet a great sauce of information on self build


  53. New electric System For Custom built Camper
    i am converting a toyota previa into a camper, i have everything sorted apart from the electrics, i can wire up my electrics for mains hookup at site, but i wanted to know could i use the car battery that powers my stereo and sound system to be charged from the site hookup? and what would i need?


    1. The best thing to use is a
      The best thing to use is a Zigg unit. A Zigg takes power from the hookup, distributes it around to the sockets in your vehicle, and charges your battery at the same time. They can be expensive.
      Or you can buy a leisure battery charger and just plug it into the hookup power and connect it to the bettery. I don’t think it’sa good idea to have the stereo on whilst the battery is charging though, maybe too power.
      The Zigg unit is the safest option.


      1. thanks for the info, recently
        thanks for the info, recently been talking to local camper conversion company and they said same as you, but they said it would be ok just to get a multi stage battery charger with smart switch off, then i could leave it all connnected and the charger would determine if the battery needs charging and what type of charge to send it.
        i shall have a look at both options the Zigg unit and the multi stage charger.


  54. electrics
    I just baught a leisure battery which is 85ah,split box, fuse box and 4 lights. I have no idea how to wire all this up and what size of cable to use. I will have lights, TV, 12v cooler box or fridge, car stereo, and charging point for phone. Can anybody help with a step by step guide



  55. What things can you run with solar panels
    I am wanting to get a single but fairly large panel for home and just wonder what all things can be run off of it. i.e heaters, lamps, small hot plate. Also what kind of connections do you have to have to connect the panel to your appliance?


    1. Solar panels generally have
      Solar panels generally have to be used as part of a battery system. The solar panels are always charging a battery system. You connect your appliances to the battery system.

      What you can run depends on the size of the panel during daylight hours, and the size of the batteries during darkness.

      Lights are OK, heaters draw too much energy to make it worthwhile. Gas is generally much better for heat.

      Small power appliances such as TV’s can be run if you have several batteries.


  56. power in my bus
    hi ive just got a 66 spitty and hav a leasure system in it that is not finished
    hav leasure battery and rcd box and mains hook up connector want to fit double socket inside also hav to lighter sockets unsure about how to wire sockets and would they run off leasure battery would want to plug my mac book pro into it and blender (220-240v /500-600watt) ? help is needed please


  57. vw camper wiring
    hi i am a vw camper virgin strugling to find what wires go where on rear lights as no lights in van when bought
    any help would be great ta


  58. Charging leisure battery from hook-up
    I’m just starting a van conversion, I’m fairly confident in installing the leisure battery with a split-charge relay. The only thing I haven’t found any info on is what wiring I would need to be able to recharge my leisure battery from a mains hook-up.
    Any ideas?


    1. The best option is to buy a
      The best option is to buy a dedicated leisure battery charger.
      Once fitted, as soon as you connect to the mains the leisure battery charger will start to charge the leisure battery.
      These dedicated chargers will make the leisure battery last longer.


      1. could you just run a flexible
        could you just run a flexible 2.5 mil cable from the power supply to the charger then?

        The reason I ask is that I wil be having my fuse box near the front of the cab but will charge the van from the rear and dont want the expense of an 10 mil cable to charge the leisuer battery with



  59. how do i power a toaster oven?
    Hello! Great site.
    I am wondering what kind of battery setup I will need to power a toasteroven in my camper van. The oven is 120v.
    I am new to van conversion and am really looking forward to getting my van winterized and ready with a kitchen.
    Thanks a lot, Janelle


    1. Hi Janelle
      Using electricity

      Hi Janelle

      Using electricity to power cookers or heaters is a bad idea in a camper. This is because they use lots of power. Gas is generally a better option.

      However, if you want to you need to know who much power the toasteroven uses. This should be on the bottom of the oven. It should be written in Watts. Maybe with a big W, e.g. 100W

      Let me know this and we can work out what batteries are required.

      Also, are you in the UK or USA? 120v is used in the USA, but we us 240v in the UK. So this might be a problem when buying equipment to fit in your campervan.


      1. Thanks
        Thanks for the info. The oven uses 1500 watts. That seems like a pretty high number! I’ve been looking at eliminators but think the only way to power it might be deep cell batteries? I’m in Canada.
        Any ideas at all would be helpful. Thanks again!


        1. 1500 watts is a lot of
          1500 watts is a lot of power.

          We need the current (amps).
          So 1500W / 120V = 12.5A.

          So when the oven is on it will draw 12.5 amps of power.
          A 85AH (85 amps for 1 hour) battery will give you (85 / 12.5) = 6.8 hours of use. I suspect this will be closed to 5 hours of use in reality as energy is always lost.

          So a fully charged 85AH leisure battery will give you 5 hours of use. Of course it’s difficult to fully charge a leisure battery, so aim for 3 or 4 hours of use.

          You will also need an inverter. Get a 2000W model to ensure it works OK with the oven.

          Plug the inverter into the battery. Then plug the oven into the inverter.
          Check the temperature of the inverter when the oven is on, as it is likely to get very hot.


          1. Your calculation is wrong
            The 12.5A calculated is at 120V. The 12V current will be much higher.
            1500W/12V is 125A. If your inverter is 85% efficient the battery current will be about 150A. You’ll need to specify a battery bank and wiring that can cope. This is done regularly in yachts but unless you have a large van I’d give up on this idea and find yourself a gas grill.

          2. 1500 Watt oven in a campervan
            Not a realistic proposition. In fact you are going to get more heat from the invertor and the feed wires than you will get from the oven. The oven will never get up to temperature due to the voltage drop with such a high demand on the supply. The battery and generator setup is unrealistic for a campervan, unless you can pick up a specialist truck set up for video work or similar. But that would be a sizable lorry and a lot of kit. Not really suited to campervan use. The cost of such a setup new would seem unrealistic. Gas is more efficient and controllable as a heat source.

  60. Wiring a van
    Hi There

    Please can someone advise what cabling I need for my van. I will be installing a leisure battery (which is located in the engine area) and will be running small loading appliances such as lights and a socket to charge a laptop and mobile phone etc. I will also have a water pump. Do I need to run a negative cable from the leisure battery or can I just connect a cable to the metal frame of the van? Also what size cable do I need?


    1. Hi
      1. You can (and should)


      1. You can (and should) use the metal frame of the van as the earth/negative. However, you will likely find places that cannot earth directly to the van, such as a light mounted on top of ceiling. So run an earth cable to those fittings that need an earth.

      2. You need to establish how much power you will draw from the battery, and fit the right sized wire accordingly. Wire that is too small will melt, and possible catch fire, when excessive power is drawn through it. A wire that is too big will cause power to be wasted as it passes down the wire, especially on long distances such as the length of a van.

      You need to add together the power ratings of all of the appliances that will be used simultaneously. E.g. 3 watts for a light and 20 watts for a laptop = 24 watts.
      24 / 12 = 2 amps. We add 35% for safety reasons, so that becomes (2 * 1.35) = 2.7 amp wire.

      The following web page has excellent information about selecting the best wire. On it there is a chart that further helps explain wire selection especially about long lenghts of wire.


      1. ELECTRICS
        Thanks Darren thats really helpfull.

        BTW Simon P (T4 converted camper) from El Palmar says Hi!



        1. Email?
          J, do you have an email address for Simon? If so please can you send to me via the contact form.



          1. cable size
            sorry just read this email now, I go out with his daughter so will get email to you ASAP, he is back out there for the winter.

            Re electrics I guestimated the following:
            Laptop: 24W
            Fridge: 90W
            Lights * 4: 12 w
            Pump: 75w
            Stereo: 20W
            This totals 225w Plus 35% = 303 watts

            Ohms law gives me 303/12 = 25Amps

            This seems very high. I realise the voltage is low but does that seem right to you? According to the chart on the site you emailed me that would require 8 mmm cable!

            Thanks for the advice on the Sofa and bed too.


          2. That does seem right.
            That does seem right. Although check your laptop rating, my MacBook is 60W.
            We are talking about the wire that will run from your engine bay to the living are of your van, and power everything in it. It’s unlikely you’ll use everything at the same time, but you might, and you might add more appliances in the future.

            I always suggest running the power wire to a fuse box located somewhere convenient in the living area. Maybe inside a cupboard, because you will need to get to it from time to time.
            From the fuse box connect each appliance to the fuse box, with an appropriate fuse.
            Using a fuse box means only one wire runs from the engine to fuse box. And you can easily add more appliances to the fuse box in the future. And everything is fused and isolated.

            Your fridge and pump draw a lot of power. Is the fridge a low-power one, or a standard caravan fridge in 12V mode?

            Would be great to hear from Simon.

          3. just sent you an email with
            just sent you an email with simons email address.

            I dont have a fridge and might not even get a pump as i have just bought a cool hand pump off ebay. I thought I better cater for an electric pump in case i need a shower fitted in teh future. would just run this out the back of the van. No idea about fridge to be honest any advice appreciated.. sorry i seem to be taking a lot of your time. I do appreciate it though

          4. Thanks for the email.

            Thanks for the email.

            It’s better to have the extra thickness/capacity of the cable for future use.
            8mm isn’t that big. Think how big a 240V cable for a 100W light bulb is, it’s pretty big. And you’re considering 300W.

            Gas fridge is generally better. Gas is cheap and easy to carry.
            There are modern electric fridges that use a tiny amount of power, but they’re very expensive.

          5. will I need a vent for a gas
            will I need a vent for a gas fridge though?

          6. Yes, you need to vent the
            Yes, you need to vent the area behind the gas fridge, to escape the carbon monoxide

          7. do you mean i need to have a
            do you mean i need to have a gap at the back of the fridge or I actually need a pipe that goes out of the van?
            sorry I am sure this is a silly question


          8. A vent
            You need to have a vent in the wall, behind the fridge, that will allow the burnt gases from the fridge escape to the outside.

            The links below show you example vents. The first is a bit big (it’s for a gas heater, same principle though), and second is a bit rough.

          9. Vent for gas fridge
            You don’t need a pipe as such, but you need to panel between the back of the fridge and the side of the van to direct the exhaust gas from the fridge burner out of the vent. Of course you may get fed up re-lighting the fridge as the gas fridges have a habit of going out. If your fridge has an electric facility (12/240v) you will find that a more useful way to operate it.

      2. “2. You need to establish how
        “2. You need to establish how much power you will draw from the battery, and fit the right sized wire accordingly. Wire that is too small will melt, and possible catch fire, when excessive power is drawn through it. A wire that is too big will cause power to be wasted as it passes down the wire, especially on long distances such as the length of a van.”

        Sorry Darren, you are completely wrong about the wire being too big. The only problems with larger than necessary wire feeds is cost and fitting. Smaller wire is easier to install. Larger than needed wire will not cause any electrical problems whatsoever. In fact longer runs of wire such as “especially on long distances such as the length of a van” need heavier wire to avoid resistance due to the feed length.
        In practice, without getting involved in calculating the wire size to accomodate the actual current, if you look at the wire sizes feeding your flashers and indicators on your vehicle and then use wire of similar sizes you will have no problems at all. Wire sizes in motor vehicles have to allow for vibration not just electrical current levels. Hence the wire sizes are always bigger than the electric load suggests. One reason why very modern vehicles seem to be getting more electrical problems once they are just a few years old is that manufacturers are finding ways to economise on the circuitry. It seems like skimping to me.


  61. Solar Hanomag
    Hello there!
    I have a recently aquired 1971 Mercedes Hanomag L206D! I Installed 2 175W Suntech solar panels like a catwalk on the roof, I have that hooked to a Solar Boost 30 amp (oversized, I know, but free) charge controller and two optima D34 Yellow Tops in series so I have a 24 V DC system. Found a great little swamp cooler and some low current LED rope lights. I can run both all day and all night. I could probably run a couple other appliances depending on thier power for a short while, I estimate that the system can produce up the 1 kWh per day. I am about to gut the interior and add a small kitchenette and a few small cabinets. I’ll post pictures!


  62. inverters
    I want to run PC type speakers (Logitech) powered from from the 300watt inverter, but get a terrible and anoying “hum”
    This is just a cheapo inverter and I would be grateful if anyone can point me in the right direction, to be able to use my Ipod this way when camping would be the “icing on the cake”
    Best regards


    1. Reducing noise on modified sine wave inverters
      You can try using a capacitor that is rated for the output voltage.


    2. Camper Van Conversion Electrics | Camper Van Life
      I used to be able to find good advice from your content.


    3. Hi Stuart. Probably the
      Hi Stuart. Probably the reason for the speakers buzzing is that your inverter isn’t a pure sine wave type. These are more expensive but deliver the electricity the same way your house electric works. Hope this helps!


  63. David in Washington September 5, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Electricity for Fridge/Microwave
    We are trying to build a campervan and get electricity to the rear of the van to run microwave/fridge, etc. I’ve found that the inverters would work perfectly IF they had a battery backup built in. Does such a thing exist?


    1. Leisure batteries
      Hi David

      I am not aware of inverters with a battery backup built in. Instead you need to build a leisure battery system. Then run the inverter from the leisure battery system.
      Charge the leisure batter from the engine, using a split-charge relay.

      Be warned though, that microwave ovens use a lot of energy, and you’re likely to need more than 1 battery to hold enough charge to run the oven for some time.


    2. You can hook up batteries and charge them while you drive
      You can hook a three way switch up to your battery leads, so long as you have a beefy enough alternator, you can charge up the three batteries at once. What I would do, is hook up two 12 V deep cycle batteries, preferably optima yellow tops, in parallel in the rear of your van. Set up a switch that is load break rated for whatever the output of your alternator is. After you start you start your vehicle, switch from your starter battery to the two backup batteries in the rear, try not to run them all together in parallel. The alternator has circuitry to correclty charge a lead acid battery at ONE state of charge. Charging you backup and starter batteries will confuse this charging circuit. You can get s switch at marine supply places


  64. carver p4 gas heater
    hi i just got a transit conversion does carver p4 heating system on board but we cant seem to get it working ie getting the lights on at switch to control the settings,,unsure if its just wired up for on site (240),all the wiring seems to be in place and conversion looks pretty new any comments would be freat many thanks stevie


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