"Fires in the northland * floods to the south
Put the pedal to the metal * and let it all hang out"
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Here is the battery box I built, with 3 - 12v marine batteries each 105 amp hours. An amp hour means you can run something that draws 1 amp (or 12 watts) for an hour. I will have 315 amp hours in my system, so if I wanted to know how much energy I was using to run a 60 watt lightbulb on my 12v power system, it would use 5 amps in an hour, or 5 amp-hours. If I wanted to use a 500 watt heater, it would use 41.6 amps per hour. (500 watts divided by 12 volts) So I could only run my heater for about 6 hours before my batteries were dangerously low. Amps X Volts = Watts so Watts divided by volts equals amps.
I highly recommend the 'Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual' by Nigel Caulder. It is not a cheap book, but if you own or are building a boat, RV, or Freedom Van it is a great investment. It has detailed information and drawings, diagrams and pictures on all critical systems; 12volt and 120 volt electrical systems, solar panels and wind generators, propane heating and refrigeration systems, plumbing, troubleshooting, and diesel engine repair, among others.
They can explain all this better than I can.
My batteries will be connected in parallel, with the positive terinal of one connected to the positive terminal of the next, and negative to negative. This will give me 315 amp hours at 12 volts. There will be a positive cable attached to the van's starting batteries, and running through a battery shut off switch to the positive terminal at one end of my 'house bank' of batteries. Cheap Battery shut off switch from Harbor Freight (the nice ones are $50.00 at West Marine, this was $5.00. Hope it doesn't burn shit down.)
This will let me charge the house bank with my alternator when the switch is on, and turn the switch off when I quit running to avoid draining my starting batteries while I run lights or heat up water in my hot pot. All interior lighting and electrical (inverter) will be run from the house bank. The house bank will also be backup power to help the van start if for some reason the starting batteries should die. Just turn the battery switch on, and crank 'er up. (as long as I didn't leave my heater on all night, then I'd be SOL.)
The battery shut off switch, inverter and terminal strip will be mounted to the sides of the battery box, aft of the seats. My drink holder gets mounted to the front of it! :) I don't have the top on yet, but it will be hinged on the forward side so it opens to the aft, so I can maintain the batteries or add electrical components. There will be another smaller box on top that will double as a seat and center console compartment that opens toward the front. I've got to have someplace to keep maps!
Time is running out. I probably won't get a chance to mount the solar panels for my back up charging system, but I will take them with me. Maybe I can do it in Washington (for all the good they'll do up there).
I am a militant hippie, an conservative liberal, a practical dreamer, an empath who is fundamentally selfish, a butch femme straight chick that likes auto repair and a multiverse of other contradictions who is still stuggling to be a responsible master of our destiny.
I use lots of nasty chemicals on this blog. It should go without saying, but it is always the responsibility of the individual to READ THE LABEL and use products safely. These are my experiences. You should always take what I say with a grain of salt. If you want real tech support, visit the product's website. They have lots more highly paid lawers than I do. I will not be held responsible for someone else's stupidity, only for my own. And for chrissakes, keep your kids and pets away from this stuff.