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    Simple electrics

    Hi

    I've recently acquired a Doblo estate and plan to use it as an occasional camper. Will soon start making up a boot box arrangement. A bit different as when driving it will need to fit a tandem bike - this will come out for sleeping.

    Anyway, I could do with some advice on simple electrics - physics O level was a long time ago, and wasn't paying attention all the time.

    First off, I'd like to install some LED lights, mainly for reading, and some general illumination. Given we'll mainly be using the camper in Scotland in the summer, the load will be light as the evenings are long.

    Can I just plug these into the cigar lighter sockets? (There's one between the front seats and one in the boot). Would this risk draining the battery? In which case I presume a need a leisure battery.

    Can a leisure battery be plugged in direct the power supply, or is some kind of adapted needed? I'd imagine I need to manually unplug the leisure battery at the campsite, and connecting the lights directly to the battery? Or is there a clever (inexpensive) gizmo that can switch over? (I'm wary of any complicated wiring, especially as this needs to be a temporary solution, that can be all taken out when in normal car mode, non-camping, mode.

    Secondly, and this may be more long term, I've been looking at keeping stuff cold. A decent fridge, as opposed to an electric cool box, is quite an investment, and we'll probably see how we get on with a traditional cool box with ice packs before splashing out. But if we put in a leisure battery for lights, it might be sensible to have one powerful enough for a fridge. Any thoughts on powering a fridge in this situation?

    Thanks in advance!

    #2
    Lights:

    These days we stay mostly on camping pitches with electricity, despite that our lights are independent

    http://littlesun.com/shop/ in the roof tent or the bell tent

    and

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feuerhand-S.../dp/B0048SVPZ4 underneath the tarp...because of its warm light..

    Thinking currently about this one

    http://ucogear.com/original-candle-l...-plus-led.html

    as an alternative to our Feuerhand...might get one...

    Advantage is their mobility...light where one does need it...

    Comment


      #3
      Possibly the easiest way to add LED lighting when starting with a clean sheet is to fit small bayonet sockets like the ones in many car sidelights etc. and use LED bulbs with matching bayonet fitting. E.G. 12 volt SBC type. Plenty available on ebay and car spares shops.
      If you are only likely to use the LED lights fairly sparingly and in particular are moving on frequently your vehicle battery ought to be able to cope.
      Jim.
      Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

      Comment


        #4
        Or don't bother at all with complicated electrics. Get a few LED lights that run off batteries, like an inspection lamp or two.

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rolson-9000.../dp/B00CP602VO

        If you are using a campsite and want to pay for EHU, you could run a compressor fridge and table lamps from a camping EHU socket.

        http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Electric-H...-/351764690106

        Or, you could install a 3-way fridge that uses gas when sited. You will run even a 120A leisure battery as flat as a pancake in a few hours with a 12v fridge, it's simply not possible. The 12v side of a camping or MOHO fridge can only used when actually on the move, and on a relay charged from your car battery. And isn't particularly impressive on 12v, on most fridges. I don't bother with the 12v side of mine, but simply pack it with chilled and frozen food, which keeps all cold until I get where I'm going.

        I don't have any 12v plug sockets in my caravan. I do use the car 12v plugs (cigar lighters) to charge my mobile phone and my kindle when not on EHU. They charge really quickly and don't run down the car battery so I've noticed. The little tv I have is also charged this way, although the Li-ion battery does take longer to charge and has to be plugged in whilst driving around.
        Last edited by jayjay; 07-08-2016, 22:30.

        Comment


          #5
          Just the sort of information I need, thanks folks!

          Traditional cool box (already owned) with ice packs it will be.

          And for lighting I think I'll ignore the car electrics except to charge things while on the go. I like to avoid nonrechargable batteries, so I'll investigate lanterns that can charge from the 12v supply. And probably won't be able to resist a luminaid packlite or similar!

          So easy to get tempted down the route of kit, and projects when there are simpler solutions …

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by trebso View Post
            Just the sort of information I need, thanks folks!

            Traditional cool box (already owned) with ice packs it will be.

            And for lighting I think I'll ignore the car electrics except to charge things while on the go. I like to avoid nonrechargable batteries, so I'll investigate lanterns that can charge from the 12v supply. And probably won't be able to resist a luminaid packlite or similar!

            So easy to get tempted down the route of kit, and projects when there are simpler solutions …
            Your idea of charging re-chargeble batteries from a 12 volt supply is curious and will INCREASE electrical consumption! Why not plug a 12volt device directly into the12volt supply to avoid the charging losses?
            Jim.
            Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

            Comment


              #7
              Like the luminAID...

              We went from a cool box with either ice or freeze packs.....did work well as we put some frozen food into it....then it needed a continous supply of either ice or refrozen freeze packs...

              Then a cool box with just a Peltier element in, 240/12V....not cold enough in Summer in the south of France...

              Currently we have this (but without the gas option, so only 240/12V)

              https://www.obelink.co.uk/mobicool-a...gory_id%3D4260 mind you, this one does not go as low temperature wise than this one

              https://www.obelink.co.uk/mobicool-c...gory_id%3D4260 at 12V it only works with the Peltier element....

              Very very pleased with it...! 12V and 240V Operation...12V and Peltier during driving absolutely fine, as the air conditioning is always on...at 240V no problem to freeze things...

              Our car does switch the 12V sockets off after 10 minutes of shutting down the engine......
              Last edited by NiedrigerIQ; 08-08-2016, 10:44.

              Comment


                #8
                basic ring circuit ....

                Some years ago I did my own DIY conversion of a LDV van including basic wiring for lights and services along the lines below. Fridges generally draw quite a lot of power, say about 10 amps, so appropriately beefy single-strand cable should be used, lighting circuits, especially for LED, can be slimmer wire. Where wires run through metal use rubber grommets and always have a fuse for each circuit and an isolator between the battery and the fuse box.



                Putting "leisure battery charging circuit" into Google Images gives you this http://tinyurl.com/js2abzr A bit more complicated at first sight but not rocket science. A manual switch is simpler than a relay but is easily forgotten, a relay ensures that the circuit breaks when the ignition is off so that your starter battery is protected from being flattened.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mikeroch View Post
                  Some years ago I did my own DIY conversion of a LDV van including basic wiring for lights and services along the lines below. Fridges generally draw quite a lot of power, say about 10 amps, so appropriately beefy single-strand cable should be used, lighting circuits, especially for LED, can be slimmer wire. Where wires run through metal use rubber grommets and always have a fuse for each circuit and an isolator between the battery and the fuse box.

                  [ATTACH=CONFIG]11615[/ATTACH]

                  Putting "leisure battery charging circuit" into Google Images gives you this http://tinyurl.com/js2abzr A bit more complicated at first sight but not rocket science. A manual switch is simpler than a relay but is easily forgotten, a relay ensures that the circuit breaks when the ignition is off so that your starter battery is protected from being flattened.
                  Sound basic idea Mike. But single strand wiring is not normally recommended for vehicle wiring being less able to flex under vibration etc. than multi strand especially as it age hardens.
                  It is normally accepted that multi strand (3mm or 0.012in strands) cable should be used.
                  Jim.
                  Last edited by Twolitre; 08-08-2016, 11:28.
                  Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hiya.

                    I don't know what your fridge requirements will be, but it was always my intention to eventually upgrade to a really good quality Waeco/Dometic Compressor cool box/fridge. Theses actually draw 0.37 a/h. Yep, less than 1 a/h! And they chill to beyond freezing in necessary.

                    They are damn expensive mind. Start at about £350 I think. But they are a sensible alternative to gas fridges.

                    However, I wouldn't run even one of these constantly without a decent 110amp leisure battery and dedicated charging circuit, just to be on the safe side. It's easy to replace rotten food, but harder to get a jump start in the middle of nowhere.....

                    Panda
                    These broken wings are gonna leave me here to stand my ground........

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by trebso View Post
                      I like to avoid nonrechargable batteries, so I'll investigate lanterns that can charge from the 12v supply. And probably won't be able to resist a luminaid packlite or similar!

                      So easy to get tempted down the route of kit, and projects when there are simpler solutions …
                      I agree! It's easy to overthink things.

                      I have two little solar powered garden lights on spikes that charge from daylight (not sunlight!) during the day, and provide light during the evening. If I want to turn them off, I simply tip them upside down onto their solar charging panels. It fools them into thinking that it's daylight!

                      The Rolsons are powered by 2AA rechargeable batteries. Only two per year, as they are LEDs and extremely cheap to run. Although Duracell last longer! 2 per year is hardly contributing to pollution. Although it would depend on how much they are used in a year. I'm rarely off EHU, so these mostly get used as torches.

                      I also have a candle and a torch app on my kindle! Ok until the battery goes flat!

                      Heating in the winter or on chilly nights might be a problem without EHU. Even in that case, there are several alternative options.

                      My most fascinating experiment to date. I had read about people putting a plastic bottle of water on the dashboard to heat up and so I tried it! My goodness, it gets handhot, so around 25-30 degrees after a around four hours. No good to use as drinking water, but it saves boiling water and using gas if you are off grid for washing and washing up!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Multi stranded cable should always be used for both 240v and 12v.

                        For 12v, this is a good website for advice.

                        http://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/single...all-cable.html

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Pandabloke View Post
                          Hiya.

                          I don't know what your fridge requirements will be, but it was always my intention to eventually upgrade to a really good quality Waeco/Dometic Compressor cool box/fridge. Theses actually draw 0.37 a/h. Yep, less than 1 a/h! And they chill to beyond freezing in necessary.

                          They are damn expensive mind. Start at about £350 I think. But they are a sensible alternative to gas fridges.

                          However, I wouldn't run even one of these constantly without a decent 110amp leisure battery and dedicated charging circuit, just to be on the safe side. It's easy to replace rotten food, but harder to get a jump start in the middle of nowhere.....

                          Panda
                          Current is Amps. a/h is capacity of batteries etc??
                          Jim.
                          Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Traveller26 View Post
                            Multi stranded cable should always be used for both 240v and 12v.
                            The advice I was given was that solid cable was OK if it was not going to be flexed / was running in ducts.... all house wiring tends to be solid for this reason. Cables that are to be flexed or are subject to serious vibration should certainly be stranded, but I take your point, cars jiggle about, houses don't!
                            Last edited by mikeroch; 08-08-2016, 11:40.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by mikeroch View Post
                              The advice I was given was that solid cable was OK if it was not going to be flexed / was running in ducts.... all house wiring tends to be solid for this reason. Cables that are to be flexed or are subject to serious vibration should certainly be stranded, but I take your point, cars jiggle about, houses don't!

                              Solid cable is fine for houses, vehicle cabling should always be fine multi stranded, 0.2 or 0.3mm strand

                              Comment

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