First, decide where you want them.
Then, install it!
What I did
Electrical system in theory
First I researched a lot, like A LOT. Trying to understand the whole process of getting this part done. There is so much information and you have to do this right. You can make it as easy as you want but you cannot make a mistake. I quickly decided that I wanted lithium batteries and a small inverter. I also made a list with all the electrical components and electrical products I wanted in my van: lights, waterpump, fridge, usb contacts, wall outlets, switches, magic bullet. It is also important to know how much current and power each element requires.
After figuring this all out I realised I still wasn’t going to be able to do this confidently by myself. Luckily I have a friend who has a bachelor in electrical engineering, so i reached out to her and she was happy to help. Plus, she gave me some tips on what to look out for.
The next step was going to the victron energy dealership: de stroomwinkel. The man helping me was nice and helped me figure out what exactly I wanted and how much I would need. The great thing with their store is that if you buy the whole system they will give you a big discount. As well as you won’t have to buy all the wires and smaller but key components. Plus they give you the electrical diagram which makes it a lot easier putting all the components together at the right place. This was very helpful and I would definitely recommend going to ‘de stroomwinkel‘ if you want something similar and live in the Netherlands.
One of the things I wanted when I first started researching was solar panels. However, because I have a rooftop, solar panels could be to heavy. I started looking for lighter panels, but those are a lot pricier. When I was at the stroomwinkel, the guy recommended going for more battery power instead and an efficient dynamo charger instead of solar panels. Also because the sun energy efficiency isn’t optimal. Thus, for now I won’t have any solar panels, but when I have saved some money again this is still on the agenda!
When I received everything at home I measured how much space I would have in my van for my electrical set up. Then I made this exact space with tape in my living room to see if it would fit. And fortunately it did!
The actual electrical set-up
I did this part a little bit later, after I had build the bed and bench, so I would know how much space I had for the electrical set up.
I started with all the components I got from Stroomwinkel. They included an electrical diagram so I put it exactly like that on the table to get a good overview of the whole system. My dad helped me with putting all these elements together, super nice and necesarry.
Then it was time to start:
- cutting the wire,
- removing a bit of the isolation, and
- connecting it with fuse boxes and the inverter charger / batteries / dc dc inverter and more.
What I 've learned
Ask for help. This step sounds scary, and it is a little bit. You can’t make any mistakes, so asking for help is the best way to do it if you don’t have the knowledge yourself. Ask advice from professionals (in my case the stroomwinkel). You can also ask advice from family or friends.
Learn by doing. Take it step by step, each step trying and learning new things. Take your time and you will learn along the way. It is not too hard, you will get there!