Much of the focus this week has been on the electrical system. Not the actual wiring for the camper, i.e., lights, appliances, charging points, etc. but the central power system itself has been mostly completed; three 206 Ah lithium batteries are installed and connected, Lynx power distribution unit installed (and mostly wired), power switch installed, solar power is connected, etc. Wiring in a van is quite different from working on house wiring. In homes things are very standardized but I'm finding in the van I'm constantly having to find ways to adapt things to get them to connect together. The challenge of course is to do it in a sound and safe way that will work long term in a moving vehicle. There are standards that are established but small things differ from one component to another. Also, the spaces are very tight in a van and in the power system equipment the wiring is very heavy duty. It's like working with wires heavier duty than for ovens and clothes dryers (but it's stranded wires in a van) in tight spaces. It's not easy to get a wire that's as thick as your thumb to bend to reach a particular location without putting stress on one component or another. Cutting wires is a big deal because it means putting new lugs as connection points onto the end of the wire. All-in-all I think it's gone quite well thus far. I have to give thanks to Nate Yarborough at www.explorist.life for all of the information he has on his website and his answers to questions that DIY people ask. I certainly didn't figure this out on my own! I'm using one of his system designs that met our needs and am configuring it to fit into our space.
As with other systems, things didn't go as how I planned them a few months ago. Everything is incredibly integrated. I had planned to install the inverter (the device that converts the DC electricity for the batteries into AC current to run regular house type appliances - it's the big blue box in the right hand photo) in one of the bed/benches above the wheel well. It turned out that to do that the bench would have to be 1.5" taller. That doesn't sound like much but between the cushion (which is also a mattress) and the bench, the seating surface would have been too high to sit comfortably. In the end it'll be okay because it just means the storage area changes form and location. In a way it's even better because the angled space off the back wheel well would have been dead space, now I have the heavy wires running through that space so it is being put to good use.
Calvin here - after spending almost 33 years in education as a high school teacher, elementary teacher, and elementary administrator, it was time to retire! I did so happily and with no regrets; it was a terrific and fulfilling career. I do enjoy building projects as the design and building process is very therapeutic and you see a completed functional product in the end. Now to combine the build with another of Angela's and my passions - travel - is something we're really looking forward to.