Electric ideas Help!

Submitted: Monday, May 20, 2013 at 12:42
ThreadID: 102311 Views:3034 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Hi everyone,
I need help!!!
I have now decided on the camp trailer I’m buying and have told the guy not to put the electrics in it as I wanted to do it myself so I can save some money, get what I want and I know where the problems are and how to fix them when they happen on the road. I currently have a duel battery system in my 4wd on a Redarc smart solenoid. I will be running a 90lt fridge in the 4wd. The main issue is that the fridge/freezer only lasts about 2 days from fully charged and I really want to be completely self sufficient. So I think I will add another battery in the 4wd. I’m thinking the set up should be:
3 batteries in the 4wd one crank, 1 deep cell (already in there) and 1 deep cell (to be added) to help with the dual battery system all to charge from the alternator/ solar and a mains plug (from the camp trailer) when at a camp site or generator.
And one battery in the trailer to run the LEDs and USB ports inverter etc.
I want to be able to add 3x 60w solar panels on top of the trailer to charge all the batteries when in the bush or if the charge drops to low I can put the generator on the mains inlet to charge them all.
As you might be able to tell I’m not 100% on the wiring and the best way to set myself up. Plus a little confused! This is the part I need your help. I was looking at getting an auto electrician to help but everyone says it’s easy to do and I’m trying to save where I can but I’m not sure on a wiring diagram or the best way to go?

Any help would be great Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Lisa M (NSW) - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 18:19

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 18:19
Hi jersey bean

Have a look on the campertrailers.org site, there is a heap of wiring diagrams in the tech tips section, hopefully you will find what you need.


AnswerID: 511457

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 20:31

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 20:31
The success of your multiple batteries will depend largely on the output of your alternator and it's ability to effectively charge all batteries while travelling.

I have a 100Ah auxiliary battery in the rear of my rig, to run the 40l Engel fridge.
I also have 2 80Ah batteries in the camper, supported by a dc-dc charger, to run a 65l upright Waeco compressor fridge, LED lights and the water pump. This fridge has proven to be relatively "hungry" on battery supply and I need to keep my eye on the system to stop over discharge of the camper batteries.

All batteries receive a charge from the alternator when travelling and the camper batteries are assisted by an 80 watt solar panel system at camp. This solar system connects to the dc-dc charger's solar input port which utilises MPPT technology to provide the best output to charge the batteries.

The starting battery is protected from over discharge by an isolator between it and the auxiliary battery. The additional camper batteries are paralleled with the vehicle auxiliary battery when the camper is connected, but generally, when stationary at camp, I disconnect the cable from the vehicle to the camper so in effect, I have two separate systems. One (auxiliary battery) running the Engel and two camper batteries (160Ah) running the Waeco and other 12 volt requirements in the camper.

Derek Bester has some excellent wiring diagrams on his web site for your reference.
Derek is a business member of ExplorOz and provides both sound advice and good product solutions for consideration.

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AnswerID: 511468

Reply By: Mick O - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 22:09

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 22:09

if I can give you one piece of advice, no two...do your research and don't scrimp. Quality costs but spending to get quality in the first place will save you from spoilt food and warm beer (and even greater expense) later.

You will get a thousand impassioned opinions on this site and many others but the most important thing for you to do is have a thorough understanding of your needs and what it is that you want to achieve (ie; how many fridges/freezers you wish to run, what other accessories you intend charging/running, how much space you have for solar panels, can you afford two DC-DC chargers etc etc), your budget and what is available. Personally I balance cost against customer service and "go local" with purchasing products where I can. First, have a look at John's "Electricity for camping" blog on this site.

Here are two blogs of mine that may also offer some advice. In the ute build, scroll down to the section on the electrics.

Redarc review

Ute Build

It may seem daunting but take a breath, do some reading and you'll be amazed at what you can learn.

Good luck with it all. Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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AnswerID: 511480

Follow Up By: Mick O - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 23:01

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 23:01
Just did something I've been meaning to do for two years and pulled all of my stuff on my DC system into one blog. That should make it easier.

DC Electrics

P.S. If you have a look on the REDARC Website you'll find plenty of wiring diagrams that may be of assistance to you.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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FollowupID: 789737

Follow Up By: Jersey Bean Explorer - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:49

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:49
Hi mick Thanks for the great advice and information on your blog. After taking all this in and looking how neat your setup looks I'm going to get it done professionally. If anyone knows of any recommendations of a good auto electrician around Newcastle that would help. Cheers Simon
FollowupID: 789928

Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 22:16

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 22:16
If you haven't got much experience in doing 12v electrical I would highly recommend pay the money and get it done correctly.

Most people who do it professionally have the expertise, equipment and the right quality parts on hand.

FYI... there is good quality and bad quality insulation tape, heat shrink, cable ties and terminals and the difference between the two are quite noticeable...... and the same goes for cable crimpers..... do you know what's what?

AnswerID: 511481

Follow Up By: Jersey Bean Explorer - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:51

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:51
Thanks for that I know a little but your right going to get someone to fit in.
FollowupID: 789929

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 23:04

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 23:04
The money to get it done properly the first time amounts to very little per year if you keep the camper for any length of time.

Things always fail when you're about to leave or whilst on the trip, if you use someone reputable and something goes wrong chances are they can point you in the right direction to fix it yourself or through someone else..... and if it's their fault cover the costs.

FollowupID: 789930

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 00:17

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 00:17
A couple of good books for you would be

Solar That Really Works

The Camper Trailer Book

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AnswerID: 511490

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