VINTAGE CARAVAN RENO - OUR 12V/BATTER/SOLAR SETUP
Updated: Apr 20
In what will hopefully be the first of a series of videos showing off our caravan build, Nathan goes through our electrical setup on the van.
We wanted to be able to power all the items we felt we needed while being completely self sufficient with our power needs. We hope that we'll never actually need a powered site on our NZ travels, and so far it's all running perfectly so we're very happy with the whole setup.
Nathan did absolutely all of the 12v himself, with only the 240v sections completed and signed off by a qualified electrician. He's done an absolutely fantastic job and I'm super proud of him. When we left home to travel 4 years ago he had none of the skills required to do this, but over the years of various diy & improvements he's become a bit of a pro!
Look out for cameos from Rosie, Ryan, and Ryan's art wall in the video. Plus you'll get a bit of a sneak peek on the progress of the rest of the caravan.
And just to reiterate what Nathan covers in the video (& maybe a few things he forgot) our van has:
- An 80L upright 12/240v fridge/freezer
- A rangehood with light
- LED lights above kitchen, master bed, and in both bunks. All 4 lights have regular white lights + a blue night light.
- strip LED lighting in the kitchen
- USB charging ports by the master bed, in both bunks, and in the seating area
- 240v plugs by the master bed, in the kitchen, and in the seating area
- A 700w REDARC Electronics pure sine wave inverter for using 240v appliances when off grid. We mainly use it for our stick mixer, and to charge electronics like our laptop & drone. We had this particular inverter in our car when travelling in Australia, so it came over to NZ with us when the car did and we decided to move it into the caravan.
- A 12v water pump for our tap/sink
- A water gauge for our fresh & grey water tanks (A requirement to become Certified Self Contained in New Zealand)
All of which is powered by:
- 2 x 120ah AGM batteries
- Managed by a fantastic Redarc Battery Management System (the Manager 30). We had one of these in our Cub Camper in Aus and love not only how well it works, but how easy it is to see the state of your overall system.
We've been lucky enough to partner with the guys at Redarc for a number of years now and we genuinely can't speak highly enough of them. Not only are their products top notch, but they have a fantastic technical support team. If you've got any questions about how much solar you need, what products you need, or help with installation/after care just give them a call - in our experience they've always been super helpful and extremely knowledgeable.
Setting yourself up with a fantastic battery/solar/12v system to be totally off grid isn't particularly easy, and it isn't cheap. But for us it is completely worth it not only in the saved cost of not needing to stay in caravan parks on powered sites, but more so for the complete freedom of being able to camp absolutely anywhere and not have to worry about your batteries going flat and your fridge getting hot. Oh and not annoying the neighbours with a noisy generator😉
We're by no means experts, every part of this build has been a huge learning curve, but we're really happy with how this aspect of the reno has gone. So as usual if you've got any questions, just ask😁👍