Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Let There be Power & Light

There are always improvements that can be made with a home made camper. Over the summer, Greg added a house battery and just this week an LED dome light connected to the house battery. Prior to the LED dome light, we used a work lamp connected to the house battery via an inverter.  Now we have power and light even when boondocking! Solar is next!

Greg added a deep cycle 100 amp hour battery and AC charger to Humphrey the Wayward NV Van. The charger plugs into the back AC outlet and charges the battery as we drive. The battery is in a plastic battery box. Greg ran wires up to the kitchen unit and attached a power strip. He runs a CPAP at night and often a DC fan.

The white dome light is the new one attached to the house battery.
The black light is connected to the starter battery. It has new LED bulbs

The newly installed LED dome light is dimmable and 1.9 watts. He ran wire from the house battery to the "kitchen" area. It's a fantastic and bright light. We are both pretty pleased with it.
This new dome light is low wattage, so we don't need to worry about how much energy it is using. Greg also replaced the van's normal dome lights with led lights that are also low wattage. These run off the normal starter battery so it's important that they not run down that battery!

On the 12v LED dome light, Greg had to use some popsicle sticks and hot glue to make a surface on the lamp that was flat enough that he could use 3M super strong double sided tape to stick the lamp light up to the roof. Here is a link to the light on Amazon: Dome Light Link
Green LongLife 9090101 LED Dome Light Fixture Single 921 Wedge 230 Lumens 12v or 24v Natural White.)

New power strip on the side of our "kitchen"
Greg also permanently attached a power strip to the kitchen unit. There is also a 12volt cigarette outlet for boondocking and if we have 120v that can come in here also.

Greg wrote:

I use a NOCO Genius G3500 6v/12v 3.5 Amp Battery Charger and Maintainer to charge my "house" battery in the van (see image below).  I purchased this charger because it uses low enough watts that I can plug it into the van's built-in stock electrical (alternator/inverter) system and I can charge the battery while we drive. (The van has a standard 120v outlet in the back-area.)  The charger has a computer in it that determines the best modes to charge the battery most efficiently.

It takes about 4-5 hours to charge my 50% used up 100 amp hour battery ... maybe less time.  (I try not to go under 50% used in order to reduce ware-and-tear on the battery.) I remember I was impressed at how fast I was able to charge the battery while driving.

I mounted the charger in the back of the van where I can see the little charging status lights if I look back while I am driving.  I can see if it is 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% charged.  When it is fully charged I can turn off the van's built in 400 watt max inverter.

Noco Genius G2500 Battery Charge.
You can get details on this charger from Amazon by clicking HERE.

I installed the charger's quick connector (the wires on the bottom left in the photo above) on the battery poles so it is easy to connect/disconnect the charger when needed.

When we are parked in a place (or at home) with standard 120v outlets available, I run a long large gauge yellow electrical extension out of the van to the outlet and charge the battery with that connection.

I didn't want to drill holes or mess with the van's stock electrical system in order to setup a house battery system and this setup is working perfectly. I am really happy with this battery/charger/wiring setup so far!

The battery we use with this setup is a VMAX Solar - Vmaxtanks VMAXSLR100 AGM Sealed deep cycle 12V 100AH.  You can find it at Amazon by clicking HERE.

Now we just need to head out on a road trip somewhere sometime soon! 

Update:  We switched to the G7200 Noco Genius battery charge after Greg realized that the Nissan NV's built in inverter could handle the wattage that the G7200 consumed (150 watts).  That should cut the time it takes to charge the battery in half.


  1. Having a handy MacGyver around is priceless :-)

  2. Yes, I agree Ingrid and you would definitely know too! Looks like you are enjoying Texas!

  3. That is really innovative and smart. There are a lot of means with which we can whip up good wiring for our appliances, though drawing them out can be easier said than done. What's important is we do it in ways that avoid electrical overloading and potential power surges. Good luck on that one! Thanks for sharing!

    Kellie Taylor @ Aim Dynamics


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