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Old 03-29-2012, 06:37 PM   #1
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Default Total Electrical Upgrade

I'm planning to upgrade the electrical system in my van and have most of the parts I need. New fuses, wire, AC panel, DC panel, Converter / Charger, Inverter and automatic transfer switch. This project could end up costing about $1,000 by the time I get new AGM batteries even though I'm choosing the most economical items I can find.

The heavily modified existing charger is a 1970's model in the van and it includes the DC panel. It is overdue for an upgrade.

The limiter fuse, circuit breakers, fuse holder, Progressive Dynamics PD4045 45 Amp Inteli-Power Mighty Mini Power Center converter/charger and the Xantrex Prowatt SW Inline 15 Amp Transfer Switch were all ordered from Best Converter. http://www.bestconverter.com/ The Pure Sine Wave inverter came from Canadian Tire. http://www.canadiantire.ca The Xantrex Prowatt SW Inline 15 Amp Transfer Switch for the Inverter is larger than I thought it would be.



I got 50 ft of 3-wire 10 gauge flexible wire rated for 30 amps from a local marine store for about $80. I'll cut it into the lengths I need but will keep the heavy insulation on it. I'll make up a spare shore power cord from what is left over. I need the 10 gauge wire because the new AC panel will be near the front drivers side just behind the drivers seat and the old panel is in the rear passenger side and is only accessible through the rear doors. I'll be installing a Roof Top air conditioner so I'll probably use the 10 gauge wire for that run also. It is marine grade wire and flexible so it should not be affected by any vibrations from driving.



I'm hoping to use the short run 2/0 gauge cable that I've had for a while with the new inverter. It is very thick cable.



My garage is not heated so the warmer weather means I can now get started on this project. I'll post updates as I make progress,
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN0210.JPG (428.5 KB, 2328 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0213.JPG (243.7 KB, 2329 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0214.JPG (182.3 KB, 2328 views)
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Sounds good. I'll be looking forward to reading about it.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

This is turning out to be a much more difficult and time consuming job than I thought it would be. I have started though and some of the hardest stuff is done.

The most difficult thing so far has been running the 30 amp cord from the front, just behind the drivers seat, to the rear passenger side. The well insulated 3 x 10 gauge wire cord is 5/8" in diameter. DW helped with the pushing and pulling.



I decided to remove the old electrical panel and instead run the 30 amp cable all the way from the inlet to the new converter/charger.





I'll trim off the excess butyl rubber that I used to form a gasket.



The new converter charger will be installed where the old one was.





I've cut lots of holes for ventilation and also for access. I kept the 6" diameter hole cutout and will use it as a removable access hatch.



I have also run wire for a 110 volt circuit and made some brackets to attached to the van floor to hold down the 2 AGM house batteries.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN0238.JPG (166.3 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0243.JPG (233.4 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0246.JPG (196.3 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0247.JPG (182.5 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0210s.JPG (283.6 KB, 2186 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0227.JPG (315.6 KB, 2187 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0230.JPG (265.6 KB, 2187 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0254.JPG (231.5 KB, 2187 views)
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Apparently some can see your pictures but I don't even get a clickable link. I can see the pictures in the photo gallery but yours don't seem to be there. At least it SOUNDS (or rather reads) like a good project.

Any ideas?

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Old 04-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

My photos are attached to the post. They're not in the gallery. Maybe they are just slow to load because they big.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

No, they're not loading or anything. The line that looks like it should be a link is just a light grey (?) on the blue background. It's not "clickable" and "mousing" over doesn't do anything.

Oh well, thanks anyway.

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Old 04-18-2012, 01:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

To anyone - let me know if you see (or don't see) the photos in the posts above.
To fleamarketeer - do you see other photos on the forum? There are lots here. I can recreate what I think you see when "load images automatically" is turned off in Firefox. Same when "show pictures" is turned off in Internet Explorer.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

I'm new to the forum, using a mac with firefox and the photos are loading beautifully for me.
Thank you for the detailed instruction.
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Subscribed to watch and learn... just realised I need to know this for whether I do my own conversion or get an older one. Photos showing great here, XP + firefox.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
To anyone - let me know if you see (or don't see) the photos in the posts above.
To fleamarketeer - do you see other photos on the forum? There are lots here. I can recreate what I think you see when "load images automatically" is turned off in Firefox. Same when "show pictures" is turned off in Internet Explorer.
Pics are visible here. Also on either XP or Win7, with Firefox or Google Chrome or IE7 as browsers.
Maybe it's the anti-virus software stripping/blocking the .jpeg files on open?
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

It all finally came together. Everything works too!

Lots of wires. I labeled the old wires when I knew what they were for. I used a buss bar for common negative connections such as lights, fan, etc. with 8 gauge cable running to the neg battery post.






The entire positive side runs through a fuse first. I use a two battery bank switch that lets me choose to run off the house batteries or I can combine the two house batteries with the two engine batteries when charging. My new converter charger is "smart". The built-in Charge Wizard automatically selects one of four operating modes: BOOST, NORMAL, STORAGE, DESULFATION. Storage or float is 13.2 volts. The battery bank switch also has an "Off" position.








My house batteries are not the same age or brand because of my budget. They are both AGM type. I'm not too worried about them being different as for most of their life they will be on a constant float charge at 13.2v and it is my practice to keep all of my batteries fully charged and I don't deeply discharge them. I'll see how this works out for me. Preferably, paralleled batteries should be of same make, model and of similar age.


The new automatic transfer switch for the inverter is a great addition. I prefer to run my fridge on AC through the inverter when driving and this lets me do that safely.


The new inverter is behind the drivers seat and it is near the house batteries. I removed the mirrored closet door while working on this project for easier access to the closet.




I tidied things up. It's an old homemade van conversion so I don't fuss too much about how it looks. I don't mind drilling holes!






I added vent holes and some new lights. DC lights in the kitchen area and one for reading up in the drivers area for when the seat is rotated. I added an AC florescent light in the kitchen area as well. It can run off the inverter when I'm not hooked up to grid power.




The closet door is back on. My seats are in great condition but I still like to use these seat covers. I've had them for many years. They have large pockets on the the back for storing stuff.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Automatic transfer switch.JPG (312.1 KB, 1951 views)
File Type: jpg closet door back on.JPG (297.1 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg closet door off.JPG (299.4 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg DC buss.JPG (266.6 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg DC fuse.JPG (263.2 KB, 1951 views)
File Type: jpg fuse cover.JPG (273.6 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg inside closet.JPG (300.6 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg inverter close to batteries.JPG (217.8 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg more wires.JPG (288.5 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg new AC and DC lights.JPG (238.4 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg new converter.JPG (258.7 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg new light and vent hole.JPG (278.8 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg one battery.JPG (321.6 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg removable cupboard base.JPG (315.0 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg seat covers.JPG (268.9 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg two batteries.JPG (342.1 KB, 1950 views)
File Type: jpg wires.JPG (266.6 KB, 1950 views)
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

What's the "max amperage to blow" rating on the DC fuse in the positive circuit to the batteries?
pic "DC Fuse". Was there a breaker option at a suitable amperage rating for that application?
My question is a "just in case" you blow it, you're dead in the water for anything on that circuit
for usage off coach batteries. Correct?

Looks good. No wonder we haven't seen you on here much lately.

Here's another "how to" webpage I found while looking for something else, about RV electrical
that looks interesting, and is written in "layman's terms".
It has some easy to understand diagrams, too.
http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Thanks Mike.
The master fuse is rated 175 amps. I wanted 150 amps but the store had 130 amps or 175 amps.
We think alike about part failure. Before I installed the fuse I made a metal bar out of 1/8th inch thick flat stock with holes drilled to match the fuse to temporarily replace the fuse if ever necessary. The "spare" resides in that battery compartment.

Tech notes:
I used 6 gauge wire on the positive and negative cable to the new 45amp converter/charger.
The battery parallel cables are 0 (1/0) gauge and are one foot long. That was the largest gauge wire the local shop had in stock.

(edited)
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Tech notes:
I used 6 gauge wire on the positive and negative cable to the new 45amp converter/charger.
The battery parallel cables are 0 (1/0) gauge and are one foot long. That was the largest the local shop had in stock.
You need a to get a Princess Auto in your locale. (there's one in Moncton, I think?)
The one nearest to me has spools of welding cable, they will cut to length.
And all the connector doo dads as well.
Electrical Heaven.......

When things settle down here a bit, maybe we'll swing by and inspect your work.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

A note about the Progressive Dynamics PD4045 45 Amp Inteli-Power Mighty Mini Power Center converter/charger.

I have very good hearing. The PD4045 emits an irritating noise when there is no load on it. My wife doesn't hear it like I do. If there is a load of 1 amp or more (like 1 light) it is silent. I call it a buzzing sound which is not the best description.

There are numerous reports of this on the web which I found out about after my purchase. Some guys have received as many as three replacement boards from Progressive Dynamics with various degrees of success. One guy's replacement was louder than the one he had! Others have had success with the replacement board. Apparently, Progressive Dynamics is aware but unable to completely solve the problem in the design.

I like the compact design and features of the Progressive Dynamics PD4045. I'll get them to send me a new board and report back as to whether the noise problem is solved.
More technical info on this problem: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...5.cfm#16406975 and https://www.google.ca/search?q=PD4045
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

I think you'll like this area if you stop by Mike. Local seafood shop just re-opened after winter and we had our first lobster rolls for the season two days ago. Some nice easy hikes, nice beach/sand dunes. Plan to stay at least a few days. I like playing the role of tour guide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
...................You need a to get a Princess Auto in your locale. (there's one in Moncton, I think?) ............
Yup. I love that store but it was a choice between a 10 minute or 80 minute round trip. The 0 (1/0) gauge is thick stuff. I would have matched the 00 (2/0) gauge that runs from the battery to the fuse then to the switch if they had it. I ended up going to Napa.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Ha. Was going to suggest Carquest or NAPA. Funny they only had short cables?
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

They had rolls of it but the 0 (1/0) gauge was the largest gauge in stock. The 1 foot length was what I wanted.
(original post now edited for clarity)
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

I turned on the inverter this morning to check the battery voltage. It showed 13.2 volts which is what I had hoped. That's all four batteries combined via the switch. (two house batteries & two engine batteries) It is going to be nice and easy to keep all the batteries maintained.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Total Electrical Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
A note about the Progressive Dynamics PD4045 45 Amp Inteli-Power Mighty Mini Power Center converter/charger.

I have very good hearing. The PD4045 emits an irritating noise when there is no load on it. My wife doesn't hear it like I do. If there is a load of 1 amp or more (like 1 light) it is silent. I call it a buzzing sound which is not the best description.

There are numerous reports of this on the web which I found out about after my purchase. Some guys have received as many as three replacement boards from Progressive Dynamics with various degrees of success. One guy's replacement was louder than the one he had! Others have had success with the replacement board. Apparently, Progressive Dynamics is aware but unable to completely solve the problem in the design.

I like the compact design and features of the Progressive Dynamics PD4045. I'll get them to send me a new board and report back as to whether the noise problem is solved.
More technical info on this problem: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...5.cfm#16406975 and https://www.google.ca/search?q=PD4045
I phoned Randy at Best Converter. He knows about the no load high pitch buzzing issue. He suggested I wait a week or so to see if the noise goes away. Other customers have done this according to him. He called it a "break-in" period. I'll do that.
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