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Electrical: What works best in camper vans?


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3 replies to this topic

#1 radin2son

radin2son

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 04:20 PM

Let me start with this. I had no idea there was a 12 or 24 volts option for camper vans.

I thought everything was 12 volts in campers. I recall, during the SMB orientation being told that the lights, water pump, carbon monoxide detector, inverter and refrigerator all were 12 volts and operated on 12 volts even when connected to shore power. The inverter has to be turned on to run the microwave other appliances and activate all electrical outlets whether or not you have shore power.

But will they also work with a 24 volts set up? The refrigerator (Norcold) we have will because it is a 12/24 volts unit. Will a refrigerator be more efficient in terms of power draw and keeping things cool on 12 or 24 volts?

KMG, you are excused from this unless you want to add what you consider the most efficient lighting, inverter, fans etc. Others can jump in with choices for what you run or not in your camper van.

#2 radin2son

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 01:27 PM

This post is based on “You can pay me now or later.”

AGM deep cycle RV batteries have a life span of 3-7 years, 5 years if sealed. We have had our SMB campervan for 6 years. The AGM batteries are sealed, so we may be depending on them at our peril. They still hold a charge, but we didn’t think it was worth tempting fate and have to replace them on the road.

SMB places 2 12V batteries in a tray mounted to the frame under the sliding door. Only access is to drop them down. Combined weight is 112 lbs not counting the tray and 4 bolts. Next you have to get the van up high enough to do this. Took hour and a half for Sandy’s West to do this.

Additionally, these batteries generally are not kept in stock and have to be ordered. Quick delivery by Interstate Batteries. Each battery runs $355.

We also replaced all non-LED lights with LED lights to reduce battery drain.

Added benefit is establishing a relationship with a reliable service center.

More trips are off the grid and we will rely on the house batteries. Next trip is the north rim of the Grand Canyon just before it closes for the season the end of October. It will be very cold, just right for the old batteries to give up the ghost.

Edited by radin2son, 04 October 2018 - 01:42 PM.

  • andy_george likes this

#3 radin2son

radin2son

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  • Current Vehicle:2012 NV 2500 poptop Sportsmobile (SMB) and 2017 VW Tiguan Limited fwd

Posted 08 November 2018 - 02:12 PM

New house batteries held a charge far better than old; no surprise. Since we only run a refrigerator, water pump and LED lights, there is no need for us to invest in solar.

When we decided to go with new house batteries, I asked about lithium batteries. Some RV manufacturers are going this route, but I was told it is too soon (let others experiment) and too expensive. In the long run, they will last longer, but no guarantee. Better to stick with what we have.

#4 andy_george

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 04:15 PM

Good thinking. Lithium seems to definitely have advantages, but let others experiment while you wait for the price to come down over time






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