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Installing power outlets in a conversion van

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  • Installing power outlets in a conversion van

    I'm completely new to the whole mp3Car scene, so hopefully this question won't come across as too entry level for some of you.

    I'm purchasing a conversion van in the next couple of days and I'm really wanting to take a few steps to make it into a mini-RV.

    I'm going to have a secondary leisure battery installed, which seems like a really straight forward processes. But what I'm wanting to do after gets a little mucky.

    I am wanting to install 3 electrical outlets (exactly like the ones in a home and in RVs) two in the ceiling (one which will power a TV and one for misc devices like cell phones to charge) and one on the side wall of the vehicle (which will power a mini-fridge).

    How is the best way to handle this? Would installing three power inverters make a difference or do I need to have power running from the battery, to a fuse box of sorts, and then to the electrical outlets?

    Any help in the form of advice, tutorials, documents, parts, etc.. would be very helpful.


  • #2
    Most use a single (centralised) inverter with normal (legal) AC distribution.

    To avoid AC distribution (but most have that anyhow for powered sites), you could have separate inverters into DC feeds, but that means heavy DC cabling (ie, 10 to 20 times the AC currents) with likely less efficiency than a larger inverter. (A large inverter with a 2nd as spare (else a generator) is probably better).

    The only time a separate inverter might be worthwhile is for high inrush-current devices like older monitors etc (ie, on a different inverter/UPS to sensitive loads such as computers etc).

    But generally, a centralised inverter close to the battery, probably with RCD.
    And some interlock else separate distribution so as to NOT connect an AC source (if provided) to the inverter outputs.

    The AC wiring shall conform with AC wiring practices & regulations. At least in principle - some places may not have suitable regulations - they may focus on utility supplied AC or require earthing etc. (I recommend earthed distribution for 3-wire loads to enable fault clearing (operation of fuse protection), but the "earth point" need only be a single Neutral-Earth connection as per AC distribution/fuseboxes. (There is no need to "create a hazard" by using a ground-earth - the system is likely to still be "floating" AC.)
    Irrespective of whether it is a 3-wire earth distribution or a 2-wire (double insulated?) distribution, RCD (Residual Current Devices) can be used in the normal manner.

    Note that I am describing a typical system as might be connected here in Aus (an earthed 230V AC system) for UPS, inverters with mains bypass, and standalone inverters. Regulations may vary elsewhere.

    And consider using "true-sinewave" inverters rather than modified square/sine-wave inverters. Whilst most equipment these days runs ok from modified sine, true-sine may still mean longer lasting & and quieter loads, and maybe less interference (EMI/EMC)


    • #3
      I would start looking at RV Forums as they tend to deal with these questions more often than us.
      Originally posted by menudude
      thank you all for your help minus the useless post by sjlucky...