This blog post is an index of ALL of the DIY solar wiring diagrams for campers, vans & RVs you can find here on EXPLORIST.life. There are several options below to choose from. There are varying sizes of systems and this list is constantly changing and expanding to fit your needs. All of the diagrams below feature:
- Lithium Battery Bank Storage
- Ability to Power Devices via Shore Power
- Ability to Charge the Battery Bank via Shore Power
- Ability to Charge the Battery Bank via Solar Panels
- Ability to Charge the Battery Bank via Vehicle Alternator
- Ability to Run both 12V and 120V Appliances
- Applications for DIY Campers, 30A OEM RVs & 50A OEM RVs
Mid-Sized Solar Wiring Diagram
MID-SIZE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- 3000W Inverter Charger
- 400+ Amp Hours of Battery Capacity
- 400W-1400W Solar Array Capacity
- Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Camper Vans
- Expedition Rigs
Small Solar Wiring Diagram
SMALL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- 2000W Inverter Charger
- 200+ Amp Hours of Battery Capacity
- 200W-700W Solar Array Capacity
- Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Camper Vans
- Expedition Rigs
30A OEM RV Retrofit Solar Wiring Diagram
30A OEM RV RETROFIT ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- 3000W Inverter Charger
- 400+ Amp Hours of Battery Capacity
- 400W-1400W Solar Array Capacity
- Optional Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Class C Motorhomes with 30A OEM Shore Power
- Travel Trailers with 30A OEM Shore Power
50A OEM RV Retrofit Solar Wiring Diagram
50A OEM RV RETROFIT ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- 3000W 2X120V Inverter Charger
- 400+ Amp Hours of Battery Capacity
- 400W-1400W Solar Array Capacity
- Optional Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Class A Motorhomes with 50A OEM Shore Power
- 5th Wheel Campers with 50A OEM Shore Power
- Toy Hauler Campers with 50A OEM Shore Power
24V 6000W 120V/240V Split Phase Solar Wiring Diagram
24V 6000W 120V/240V SPLIT PHASE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- Dual 3000W Inverter Chargers
- 400+ Amp Hours of 24V Battery Capacity
- Up to 2900W Solar Array Capacity
- Optional Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Class A Motorhomes with 240V Loads
- Class A Motorhomes with 240V Loads
Budget Small Solar Wiring Diagram
BUDGET SMALL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM FEATURES:
- Renogy 2000W Inverter Charger
- 200+ Amp Hours of Battery Capacity
- Up to 520W Solar Array Capacity
- Optional Alternator Charging
- Shore Power Charging/Passthrough
- Ideal Use Cases:
- Camper Vans with minimal electrical needs
- Schoolies with minimal electrical needs
12V Camper Van Branch Circuit Guidebook
7 PAGE 12V BRANCH CIRCUIT GUIDEBOOK FEATURES:
- 12V Lights – Various Configurations
- Single Maxxair Fan
- Dual Maxxair Fans
- 12V Outlets
- Combo 12V USB Outlet / 12V Outlet
- USB Outlets
- Water Pump
- 12V Refrigerator
120V Camper Van Branch Circuit Guidebook
120V BRANCH CIRCUIT GUIDEBOOK FEATURES:
- Driver Side Outlet Wiring
- Passenger Side Outlet Wiring
- 120V Air Conditioner Wiring
- 120V Hot Water Heater Wiring
- Dedicated Outlets for High Powered Appliances
If you are looking for old wiring diagrams you can find those here:
As 48V components are becoming more readily available, have you explored installations at all and what a 48V system would look like? Victron Multiplus 48V is (soon will be) UL1741 certified. Pros/Cons?
Here are my thoughts on that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEW-ZaOOlq0
In my 3Kv RV wiring I would like to add second DC2DC charger, do you have a diagram for this?
You can simply copy/paste the entire alternator charging leg of the system over one space on the Lynx Distributor.
Great diagrams and thanks for all you do. I am putting solar in my barn and of course have to go through the permit process. What software did you use for these diagrams? It would be great to submit my permit application with great diagrams such as yours Thanks!
I use microsoft visio for all of my diagrams.
Amazing site and YouTube channel. I took your advice and purchased from your site all the products except 2 things. My Victron 12v /3000w / 120 inverters. So how do I wire them up together?
Here is a playlist of full installs that will show you how to wire everything according to the diagrams found on the page you left this comment on: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmvhcyi4n0TUU8FUc6LE38TBkdSLjdw_5
Hi Nate – I have your 12v wiring diagram- and im having a problem with a simple wiring install; all my 12V overhead lights i want on a dimmer (with on /off) and a simple on / off switch in another location. I followed your diagram- but it is still not working. could this be the type/ model of switch on these LED lights? any help would be great- thanks
This should help: https://youtu.be/WRQuVMFlric
Nate, I’m a subscriber to your channel, thanks for all the work you do. What program do you use to make your diagrams? I’m looking to make one for my system so I can ask/pay for advice on its setup, design, components. I can always hand draw or use an MS Office product but thought there might be something better.
Hey Adam! You should check out the 13:27 timestamp in this video: https://youtu.be/ZHFxLUOG8UE?t=807
Hi Nate! I read that you Highly recommend a dual pole solar cutoff switch , but don’t see any in any of the diagrams? And I wonder if I am to use one, I should install it down stream of the inline solar fuses if I was to add these as well??
Thanks so much for your help.
The dual pole solar disconnect is in literally every diagram just upstream of the charge controller. This is the disconnect I’m recommending now-days: https://shop.explorist.life/shop/all-products/switches-disconnects/solar-isolator-disconnect/
Thanks for this amazing resource! We are starting from scratch, building out a new “mini” camper van (Mercedes Metris) for weekend/week long trips. We believe we can skip the inverter for now (although we may add it later) but definitely want all the charging options (shore, alternator and solar) and we’d like 2 separate solar inputs (roof-mounted and portable panels from the ground). Can you recommend a diagram that would work for this application?
Sounds cool! I don’t have any diagrams without an inverter.
I have a commercial application in need of a full electrical build. Can I purchase a custom schematic for my needs? As well as a list of all the equipment I’ll need. Most of the diagrams you have are great, but I’m afraid my running needs will be bigger/different. The closest I saw was the 24v 6000w 120/240 diagram. Unsure if a 30a or a 50a build would be better for the 120 AC aspect. I know I don’t want to do a 24v for the DC aspect, I want to stick to 12v.
SAMPLE OF MY POWER NEEDS:
2- 15000 BTU A/C units, each needs115v 15a 1725 w
1- electric water heater 120v 16.67a 2000w
1- commercial blower 120v 19a 2280w
1-Shop Vac 120v 9a 1080w
Each with its own GFCI outlet and 20a breaker
2- rv 12v fans
1- rv 12v water pump
6- 12v 45” LED Strip high power/lumen output 4 watts/foot .03a/ft
Imagine everything running full power for 8-10 hrs daily.
Things I think I’ll need,
2- 3000kva power inverter chargers
maybe 16-18 lithium ion 100ah batteries, brand to be decided
1 AC distribution panel
1 12v dc fuse panel or a combo of both AC/DC
1 solar charger(definitely will use all day everyday)
1 shore power automatic transfer switch and shore power connections/outlets
1 alternator charger (possibly unable to use this)
minimum 4- 100w solar panels, will add as many as I can fit on the roof after install of the fans and A/C.
1 kill switch
1 Bluetooth monitoring unit
tons of wires/fuses/terminals/heat shrink and such, and everything else you would recommend (lynx, busbar, shunt, etc.) for such a build. I also have a second build that would need way less, as it will be in addition to a 8k watt Diesel Generator. So that I could probably figure out based on the full electric build. Both builds would be on new Mercedes sprinter vans, high roof, 170 wheelbase, so you have an idea on space available. I can explain to better detail why I need such power if we could talk directly.
I am currently not offering custom wiring diagrams and parts lists, but I already have one publically available that will meet your needs with 2x 3kva Inverter/Chargers -> https://www.explorist.life/24v-6000w-120v-240v-split-phase-camper-solar-wiring-diagram/
Where are all of the older diagrams? The link to those is not working. I’m looking for a simple solar setup without an inverter. Thanks for all of the great videos!
Hey Anthony! I’ve never published a full system diagram without an Inverter.
I did purchase a diagram from you.
The Diagram has no accession number that I can see but it is described by you as
The diagram includes a Victron Lynx Distributor 1000
I also ended up with a Lynx smart BMS 500
My Question is …
What side of the Distributor does the BMS attach to ( or does it matter ) ?
Thanks, and best Regards
My diagram does not utilize the Lynx smart BMS. Battle Born Batteries like shown in that diagram are also not compatible with the Lynx Smart BMS; so I would recommend not using it.
Hi Nate, I’m using your diagrams to setup my 5th wheel which came solar prepped with 60V 4Gauge cable battery cable it seems. Any issues pushing 800watts across this? I’m planning for parallel so : 20v 40amp
Or should I replace this now?
There is no problem pushing 800W of solar panels across 4 AWG wire, but your solar array voltage is too low for an MPPT charge controller to operate optimally. The solar array should be at least 20V higher than your battery bank charging voltage to get the most out of your MPPT charge controller; so consider wiring in series or series-parallel to boost the voltage and lower the array amperage.
Thismlooks fantastic. I am still looking for a van. While I am doing that, I am trying to learn as much as I can so I can hit the ground run in the late winter to spring.
Looking to install 3000 watt inverter,600 watts solar,on a 2021 imagine grand design.I am using Victron system
You’ll be looking for either the 30A or 50A OEM RV Retrofit on this page you just commented on.
Hey Nate, I’m starting from scratch on a new ProMaster build and just about have everything to get started. I’m using a Victron 3000 12v Inverter/Charger, a 150/100 mppt (Overkill), Lynx Power In: fixed to take fuses from your instructional video, BMV-712 smart battery monitor, Victron DC-DC 30 and an Arterra 8930 50 amp combo fuse box.
1). I want to buy one of your wiring diagrams is this the correct one? 3000w INVERTER | 400-600Ah | 400 TO 1200W SOLAR -CAMPER SOLAR KIT.
2). I cannot get the lithium batteries at this time but want to use Six 100Ah Renogy AGM batteries, can I configure these batteries to the 12/3000 Multiplus Inverter Charger?
3). I am also using Six 100 watt Renogy Solar Panels connected in Series Parallel, Do you think this is the best configuration for the MPPT 150/100 charge controller?
I want to use one of your wiring diagrams to make sure I’m using all the wire sizes and fuses. Anything you see that would help me put this together as easy as possible would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for you great videos and instruction, you have the best information about this on the internet.
You made that easy on me. 🙂
Hi Nate, I have learned lots from you and am new to this so I am learning every day. I am using BB and all Victron components. I have a question about grounding the case for my Multiplus 3000W and the case of my MPPT 100|30 charge controller.
I notice in your wiring diagrams the negatives from the Multiplus and MPPT go to the Lynx which is connected to the BMV712 shunt which has a chassis ground. Cool.
I also notice that the ground for the Multiplus case also goes to the Lynx, and presumably also gets grounded via the shunt ground to the chassis.
Q1: Is the case ground for the MPPT connected to the case ground of the Multiplus (they are side by side in your diagram – daisychained??) which then gets grounded at the Lynx or does the MPPT case ground have its own chassis ground near the Multiplus? I can’t tell if they are connected.
Q2: I have a non-isolated Orion 12/12 30A charger. It only has one negative as compared to 2 negatives on the isolated version. All of you diagrams have the isolated version. Should the single negative from the non-isolated Orion go to the Lynx (and shunt) as well?
Q3: Kinda related. The support frame for my electrical components / batteries is made of 80/20 aluminum which I also plan to ground. Should I ground the 80/20 on its own chassis ground or should I ground it to the shunt and use its chassis ground?
Thanks and I really appreciate any feedback… Jim
1: MPPT to Multiplus, then Multiplus to Lynx. The 2 lugs on the Multiplus are stacked.
3: Ground the Lynx Distributor/Shunt to the chassis and then simply attaching the 80/20 to the chassis via bolts/screws is enough of a ground for that as far as I’m concerned.
I bought the PDF wiring diagram for the system I want to build. That simple diagram, and all the videos that go long with it, really reduces my anxiety about this project. AND the detailed parts list with links to sources is fantastic. With this level of instruction I could do anything – brain surgery, build a space shuttle, anything. Thanks for all of this.
I am wanting to upgrade my 200w Renogy Kit I have had on my Fifth wheel trailer for about 5 years. I am wanting to replace them with 4 200w solar panels, a 60 amp charge controller, and a 3000 watt inverter. I will wire and designate 3 separate plugins in my trailer for 110v from my inverter. I will upgrade the battery bank to 4 12v lithium ion batteries 100ah each.
I want to connect my 12v system from my RV that runs the converter to the battery bank. Should that be an issue with anything or should I have any shut off’s anywhere? I know I need fuses between the solar panels and the controller and between the controller and the battery bank. Also I will need a fuse between the battery bank and the inverter. Any diagrams that you could send me would be appreciated. Fuse types and sizes would help if you could send me them also. Thanks.
I’m not sure if you have a camper with 30A or 50A, but there are retrofit diagrams and parts lists for each available on the page you just commented on. Either of those should get you pointed in the right direction: https://www.explorist.life/solarwiringdiagrams/
Like your work,great stuff thanks
I have a travel trailer.40 amp mppt charge controller and 2 100 watt panels that I place out for power.
I was also thinking of installing 2 100 watt panels on my trailer roof. If i wire them series parallel will the two panels on roof continue to charge if i have the portable ones put away?
Yep! They sure would!
Nate, do you do custom wiring diagrams? I’d like to have one for my components. If so how much would that cost me?
I am currently not offering custom wiring diagrams, but you can keep an eye on this page for if I open that back up: https://bookme.name/EXPLORISTLIFE/custom-wiring-diagrams Alternatively, my publicly available wiring diagrams at https://www.explorist.life/solarwiringdiagrams meet the needs of 95% of campers.
Hi Nate. We are just starting our research on this project. My question for the 30a OEM RV wiring, we have a generator in our class C, would that be connected in this?
Yep! You would be looking for this one: https://www.explorist.life/30a-camper-inverter-with-solar-and-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
I signed up for your newsletter. Thank you!
Which wiring schematic is for your Mother’s Cirrus truck camper please? I have a truck camper as well. Thank you.
Best wiring practices have changed since making the video, but here is the most up to date diagram for a 30A OEM RV Retrofit: https://www.explorist.life/30a-camper-inverter-with-solar-and-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
Good day Nate
Firstly, great YouTube vlog! Awesome info!!!
I need a bit of advice with my system if possible.
I ran a PWM controller with a 100w panel on an auxiliary battery that is connected to the starter battery with Cyrix. This only runs a small fridge and worked really well for the past 2 years.
Yet I decided to upgrade the system.
2x100w panels in series with a Victron 100/20 controller. Rest of the system stayed the same.
I now get a spiking in the system constantly (unfortunately I can’t attach screenshots).
I have checked and double checked for poor connections and errors but all is 100%.
Am I missing something?
If you’re talking about voltage spiking on the solar array side of things, if it works most of the time, it could just be the MPPT sweeping for the most ideal power voltage. If that’s not the case. Triple check all of your connections and then give your charge controller a factory reset and see if a setting was wrong.
hi nate! im having a delima. i assume that your parents camper had something like a converter/charger built-in (june 8 2018 video). i have already bought all my solar equipment for my cargo trailer conversion, and now bought a converter/charger (progressive dynamics 4135) to add to the mix. kinda like the reverse of what people do after buying a camper and then adding solar. i cant find a diagram like this on your website.
renogy 40a mppt controller
renogy 2000w inverter
renogy 400w solar panels
progressive dynamics 4130 converter/charger
i decided to add shore power last minute, for occassional charging and ac/dc use. but cant seem how to figure out how to wire the converter/charger so that i will have 110v recepticals that run off both shore power when plugged in, and solar power when disconnected. id also like to not cycle my lithium batteries once theyre charged, while plugged in. shouldnt i have enough equipment? surely i wont need any more? thank you
The best and easiest way to do that is with an Inverter/Charger (instead of using a converter) like I have on this diagram: https://www.explorist.life/2000w-520w-60a-budget-friendly-camper-wiring-diagram/
I recently purchased two of your wiring diagrams – the 50amp OEM Retrofit and the 24V split phase. I’m working on a 50a 12v split phase setup with two 2000W multi-pluses from Victron.
My question is: on the 24v wiring diagram, you have 6/3 wiring going from the a/c power junction box down to each multi-plus inverter / charger. In looking at the diagram, the L1 wire shows the hot (black), neutral, and ground connected to the a/c busses as I would expect. However, the L2 wire only shows the hot (red) connected. Is this by design or an oversight on the diagram? If it is by design, can I get away with running a single 6/3 wire from the a/c box to the inverters and splicing the neutral and ground to each of the inverters?
There are only 3 wires going to each multiplus. The one for the L2 Inverter will use 6/3 wire but you should just put a bit of red heat shrink on the ends of the black (hot) wire to denote that it is for L2.
Wonderful information, thank you for all you do. We are designing our system using 640w solar (Renogy 160w panels x4) in series connecting to a 150/45 Victron controller. We have calculated we will use 10AWG wire with 7.92amps running through it (the Imp of a single panel) over about 20ft. We also calculated that would mean we need a 15A fuse on the positive wire before connecting to the solar charger. Is that correct? Your information says to size up (originally calculated 11.88amp fuse) and the 15A is below the maximum fuse size for the wire gauge per the chart provided. Could you verify if this is a correct set up up until the solar charger? Other diagrams we’ve used have a lot larger fuses in similar set ups. Thank you!
If the panels are wired in series, you likely do not need a fuse. More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1P31hxlD3I&list=PLmvhcyi4n0TUjVGA_O5aI5SQrS1kKLgEF&index=15
But you will need a solar disconnect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOXnWXvLXko&list=PLmvhcyi4n0TUjVGA_O5aI5SQrS1kKLgEF&index=15
@Nate Yarbrough, Thank you for your quick reply! You’re completely right, the solar panel has a max series fuse rate of 15A so we do not need a fuse. But we will instead add a solar disconnect per your video.
I’ve looked at most of you video’s and they have been most helpful, Thanks for them. FYI: I got to you because the Victron site mentioned that you are an ambassador for them which for me validates your expertise. I am installing solar on a 25 foot travel trailer whereas you video’s seem to focus on motorized RV’s or build outs of RV’s.
I do have some issues that I cannot find where you might have covered them. One is using you wire size calculator. I know my wire length is going to 12.5 from panels to inverter for a total of 25 feet. I have to assume that I need the data for my panels to determine the other information, volts/amps. As an example my system consists of three panels; I am using the REC 330 watt panels whose specs are: Vmpp=34.6, Impp=9.55, Voc=41.0 and Isc=10.33. How does one use that information to fill in the the fields in the calculator for amps and volts? An explanation in the calculator would help.
I would also like a one time consult via your private group, can I join for a month to have a review of my system and get suggestions for improvement without having to have continuing membership?
Here is a tutorial that will teach you how series vs parallel vs series-parallel wiring of solar panels affects the array voltage and amperage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ5zCY5EBeQ
My private group is a month-to-month kind of thing. It auto-renews monthly, but you can cancel any time and not be charged for the next/subsequent months.
Your an invaluable resource man! Ive watched most of your videos, the content is fantastic and easy to follow.
Have you ever used the Growatt 24v 3000w style all in one systems? they seem to be a great budget solution for travel trailer use . As much as I would like to do separate Victron.. it would be over 3x the cost. would you ever consider doing wiring diagram and a video doing a build with one of these units?
Glad it helps! There is a good chance I won’t do a system like that. Not anytime in the foreseeable future though. Hopefully, the skills and concepts I teach coupled with the diagrams I have already published will help you put together whatever kind of system you are after. If pinching pennies is the goal, here is the least expensive system I can recommend at this time: https://www.explorist.life/2000w-520w-60a-budget-friendly-camper-wiring-diagram/
If I start introducing too many different manufacturers, people start getting analysis paralysis and it makes teaching this stuff exponentially harder. Victron provides me with TONS of training and access to their engineers and R&D team to help me learn as much as I can not only about their products, but about system design in general, and that in-turn, makes it so I can more effectively teach this stuff to everybody.
Hi Nate – We recently purchased a new Jayco Eagle TT and I contact BB to put a system together for us. Our TT has 50a service. So they recommended we buy two (2) two-thousand watt investors instead of one 3000 watt so that all the ac plugs work in the rig. Do you or would you be willing to post a wiring diagram showing 4 100ah batteries and two 2000W Inverters connected together for a rig with 50amp service? Thank you!!!
Here is a diagram for a 50A OEM RV Retrofit: https://www.explorist.life/50a-camper-inverter-with-solar-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
And here is a diagram for a dual multiplus setup: https://www.explorist.life/24v-6000w-120v-240v-split-phase-camper-solar-wiring-diagram/
Hi Nate, the second diagram for a dual Multiplus setup is for a 24V right ? would it be possible to still run 4/0 wires in a 12V setup using two of the 12V 3000W Multi ? thanks
I do not recommend a 12V battery bank for 6000W of inverting power.
I have a couple questions regarding the breaker I should use between the panels and the charge controller. I eventually plan on having 1000w of solar on the roof and using your MPPT calculator in addition to Victron’s I have purchased the 150/70 MPPT. Now, also according to your calculator it says that I can expect to see 58.8 amps going into the charge controller (using specs from the panels im looking to get).
SO, with the potential of 58.8 amps running through the cable from the roof to the controller and using your fuse calculator, I believe I’ll need to step up the cable (probably going to run 2awg) and also expect to use a 80a breaker. Does this seem correct? Thanks for your help.
Basically, with an array amperage that high, you will need to use something like this: https://amzn.to/3bfy0D6 I do think something has gone wrong in your solar array planning, though… That array amperage is REALLY high. I always shoot to have array amperages under 30A so I can simply use MC4 connectors, fuses, and a single breaker. I would HIGHLY recommend re-working your solar array plan so that the array is under 30A. This will likely mean wiring in series or series-parallel depending on the specific panels and number of panels you are trying to use.
@Nate Yarbrough, Interesting. Its five 200W panels in parallel. Newpowa model on amazon. Perhaps I listed something wrong using your handy calculator?
I would very much recommend re-plugging those numbers back in as wired in series. You will get MUCH better performance with those panels wired in series (and can use 10AWG for all of the wires if you go that route). See the 5x200W solar panel wiring diagram example in the ‘Solar Parts List’ section of this page: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit/#solar-parts-list
Nate: I called BB batteries and ordered my system using your 30 amp solar/alternator schematic. Since I dont plan on using more than 400 watts of solar, BB recommended that I buy the lesser 100/30 charge controller, rather than the 150/100 as spec’d on your diagram. Will this be a mistake or problem down the road? I plan on subscribing to your monthly consulting service once the eqpt arrives and weather clears so that I can start building. Thank you! ~Dave Blood, Camino, CA
I have the 100|30 recommended in the “400 Watts – 4x100W Solar Panels – 12V Battery Bank” solar parts list at the bottom of this blog post: https://www.explorist.life/30a-camper-inverter-with-solar-and-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/#solar-parts-list Under the “Solar Charging Parts List & Wiring Diagrams” header.
Hi, I would like to join your private group but the link does not work. Also, I am interested in the budget friendly guide with the renogy 2000w inverter but, I will be using a 3000w inverter. Will that change anything else other than the cables from 2/0 to 4/0? Thanks!
Private group link: https://community.explorist.life
The wires, lugs, fuses, and busbars would all need to be different (bigger) similar to this 3000w system: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit
@Nate Yarbrough, oh okay, I will review the one you sent instead. thank you! Do you review wiring diagrams in the private group?
I do indeed review diagrams, but… The need to be based off of the same designs and principles as shown as the diagrams found on this page AND you must have specific questions about your diagram that I can answer. The more specific questions you have for me, the better I can help.
@Nate Yarbrough, makes sense. I just plan on combining the budget friendly wiring diagram and the one you provided since I am using renogy products. Thanks for the help!
Hi Nate, This might be a simple answer but would rather be safe then sorry.
I currently run a 20A renogy dcdc charger to charge my 100Ahr lithium battery, which runs my 40lt fridge which is 55w@12v.
The problem I have is I don’t do big drives so my dcdc charger doesn’t get times to charge up battery, I also have a 300w solar blanket but don’t want to pull it out every day to top up battery.
So I have been thinking why not pick up a cheap 48v house solar say 250-300w and run that on roof of vehicle through a MTTP 40w charger.
I’m pretty sure this will work?
but I wanted to know if parked up could I put both solar to battery to charge at same time or couldn’t this be done as they are different volts?
You can have both solar and DC-DC charging connected to your system at the same time, but they won’t ‘combine’ charging. Victron components will be able to ‘combine’ solar and DC DC charging in the near future, but to my knowledge, that’s not something Renogy is working on.
I wish to build out a 7×16′ cargo trailer with both 12v@120v power. I don’t know what size solar panel/s I need, hoping for a suggestion. I’m retired, and would like to travel this coming spring thur late fall 2021. Thank you in advance, any help would be great. Skip Brooks
Battery Bank Amp Hours (at 12V) x 2 = Recommended watts of solar. However you get to that number, doesn’t REALLY matter (try to avoid mix and match solar panels). Here is a list of solar panels in various sizes I like: https://www.explorist.life/best-solar-panels-for-a-diy-camper-van/
First off let me say you are freaking awesome sir. I’m subscribed to your YouTube. I’m a builder with very little electrical knowledge and even less solar ( all of which I have learned from you). I am building a very simple setup in a 1989 ford e150 for myself and my awesome border collie Harley Quinn ( no my son named her lol ). I will have a charging station for my phone laptop and go pro, a vent/fan in the roof, and a small refrigerator (dorm room sized)(may or may not depends on worth versus cost. I’m just fine with MRE life lol.. I will be using propane for heat and cooking and have no plan for air-conditioning (If ya have an idea I’d love to know your opinion).
My two options I’m thinking of for power:
Two 325w panels (mounted on the roof)(seems like to much but??), breaker box, controller (guy suggested 40 amp?), battery(guy suggested 2x100amp/h lithium batteries or he was going to combine two to make one?), inverter(he suggested 1000w Epever), and all the wiring of course…… total cost around $1500.00.
my second choice would be a portable system, like a …….
Bluetti – 2400Wh/1000W Power Station: Super Long Lasting 2400Wh Power Station with High Load Continuous 1000W Inverter (1000W≤load<1200W@120S; 1200W≤load@1s) This Power Generator Can be Recharged from the Sun with Solar Panel ,
Input Voltage must be 16V～68V) or by wall plug.
this set up is $1700.00 without panels
Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station ….
1002Wh(46.4Ah) lithium battery capacity, 1000W Rated Power and 2000W Surge Power.
Multiple output ports: Two USB-C, two USB, one DC carport & three AC outlets (with the pure-sine wave) Efficient solar charging with MPPT built-in.
this set up is $1000.00 without panels. also they make a all the way down to 160w ones.
I'm not sure how much panel juice I need for either of those my assumption is around 200w total for the smaller one and and 500w total for the bigger one. info on me… I'm a minimalist and my comfort needs are low. so I guess my question is based on my needs would all three work?? what would you suggest?? and if I get the portable ones could you suggest a panel w/specs watts/amps/volts?? and if you suggest going ahead and installing a fixed setup I would love your opinion on the power diagram
I would probably recommend either the Bluetti or the Jackery (You’ll have to decide if you need more vs less power by performing a power audit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a406IxiU-Xg Just focus on the Amp Hours Used Per Day output when you get to the bottom. )
I would be wary of somebody saying they could install 200Ah lithium batteries, a 40A charge controller, 1000w Inverter, Breaker Box, and all of the wires for $1500, so I would not recommend that route. Lithium Batteries by themselves cost that much or more depending on the brand he’s using.
For panels… here are the panels I recommend, in general, but you’ll have to see what the max voltage input for the two units are and design the array to stay below that threshold: https://www.explorist.life/best-solar-panels-for-a-diy-camper-van/
Looking into adding solor system on a 95 lance 11.3 trk camper and being able to run a CPAP machine all night
Sounds like a great project. Hopefully you’re finding what you’re needing here. 🙂
Hey, I purchased the Aims 4000 watt split phase 240/120 inverter charger. I’m going to implement this in lieu of the Magnum you show on your 50 amp OEM RV retrofit diagram. It comes with a built-in transfer switch and battery monitor that is Bluetooth capable.
I’m also going to omit the alternator charger portion for now.
Can I still safely use your diagram with this equipment while omitting the battery monitor and leaving room for the alternator charger on the lynx distributor if I so desire to add it in later?
Thanks for your help, I always learn a lot from you and really appreciate you putting out all this great info.
If you want to stray away from the parts list and components on the diagram, you’ll have to do your own due dilligence on the part you want to swap out. For example… the Aims only has a 40A transfer switch and the AC input and output terminals are only rated for up to 8 AWG. So, if you are planning on installing this in your camper with 50A shore power… the 6 AWG wire from your shore power connection will not fit. This is the biggest reason I did not use that unit in that diagram.
You should not omit the battery monitor. That would be like driving a car with no fuel gauge. I consider the battery monitor a piece of essential equipment.
Alternator charging can indeed be left off until it’s desired.
After further investigation I must agree with you on the battery monitor and will be adding those components.
So, will I not be able to pass through 50a shore power with this inverter? Will I have to change my input shore power to 30 amp?
This would be a discouraging discovery.
Thanks for taking the time to help me.
Ultimately there would be quite a bit that would need to change. It would have to be 30A Shore power, but 120V/240V 30A shore power, which really doesn’t exist. Ultimately, for that reason, I cannot recommend that inverter for a 50A OEM RV replacement and is the biggest reason I did not include it in that diagram. My recommendation is to unfortunately send that inverter back and go with the components I have spec’d in the diagram.
Hi Nate, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Can you clarify the installation of the Victron Orion? It is listed here as connecting alternator to house battery. I have read from others that it should be connected battery to battery. What is the best way to do this? Thanks
It is to be connected to the battery. You’ll notice that in my illustrations, it is connected to the battery as it also is in the Victron supplied instruction manual.
Will the 3000w inverter paired with only 300ah of Li battery cause problems? I’m trying to avoid the cost and excess weight of an additional battery if possible.
Thanks for all of your info.
The 3000W inverter is indeed only compatible with 4+ batteries.
Is a lynx distributor necessary or can you also connect your 12v cabels at the same plus and minus pole of your battery where you connect the thicker cabels coming down from the mppt charge controller?
I only have one huge 300Ah battery.
It’s best to use some kind of busbar to make all of those connections so there aren’t multiple connections at the battery. The Lynx is the best option for this.
are these diagrams for 24v ?
All of the ones with smaller than 3000w Inverters have 12V battery banks. This is the only diagram I have that needs a 24v battery bank: https://www.explorist.life/24v-6000w-120v-240v-split-phase-camper-solar-wiring-diagram/
Would like to learn more two wire my RV with solar
Great! You’re in the right place. 🙂
Regarding the drawings I did not receive it can you send it to me
And can we communicate throw what’s up if your mail not working
Please try my email again. Nate@explorist.life I get emails every day, so I do not think my email address is non-functional. I do not have whatsapp.
Do you have any diagrams for smaller set-ups? I’m bringing my Delica back to the states with me in March and getting a small solar set-up is high on the list of what I am looking to do when I get back.
These diagrams seem very useful, but a bit overkill for what we will be trying to do!
The smallest diagram I have is this one: https://www.explorist.life/2000w-inverter-200-400ah-lithium-200-to-700w-solar-camper-wiring-diagram/
Any smaller than that and I usually recommend getting some kind of Goal Zero all-in-one unit.
I order a diagram and pay 10 $ but I can’t download it because there is problem in your site
Send me an email at Nate@EXPLORIST.life and I’ll re-send it.
can you explain why on your 30 amp electrical diagram (I just purchased) on the 120v shore inlet of side the inverter you have a 10-3 and the outlet is a 6-3 what is the reasoning for the upsize in wire? Thanks in advance. The line diagram is very nice easy to read and understand. thanks
Sure! I explained it in pretty good detail in this video at the 35:17 mark: https://youtu.be/JMqtVBN26NQ?t=2119
That upgrade only needs to be made if your breaker box is capable of handling more than 30A; so please verify that before making the change.
I redid the math and the calculator and I found the last few missing numbers. I also changed the wiring of the panels. So that question got answered 🙂
My second question stays the same – with a little bit of a different look to it:
The numbers I got out this time where these:
Max V/ Panel = 48.68375 Volts per Panel
Max V = 146.05125 Total Volts in Array
Max A going into the MPPT = 10.14 Amps
Max A coming out of the MPPT = 68.75 Amps
The recommendation is the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 150|70.
I wonder why that is so? Why not the 150/35 or the 150/45? Or anything with a lower second number? Because I thought that for the selection of the MPPT the incoing Amps, so those coming from the panels, where the ones that mattered?
PS: You can ignore my previous comment (:
The 2nd number in the SmartSolar MPPT xxx|xx is for output amps. Not input amps. More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxziHKvTRh8
I’m about to buy a 30′ campers and make myself the most autonomous. I looked at mobile-solarpower.com and I stopped on the RV/Cabin 24v system which includes the Mpp Solar 24v, 2.4kw. I will add 1200w of solar panels and 2 Lithium batteries 12v, 100ah. This was my initial plan until I saw the LEOCH. I like the idea of having a portable system with the same battery power. Now as I’m new to solar system 😉 I have 4 different options and I can see a little bit the differences but maybe I don’t see everything and I would like to have your opinion.
So the 1st option : is the original system mentioned above, 3 solar panels of 400w connected to the 24v Mpp Solar connected to the batteries (2) and to the campers (i.e. no portable system).
The 2nd: is 3 solar panels of 400w that goes to 24v Mpp Solar, which is connected to Leoch (which replaces the batteries) and campers.
The 3rd : Only having 2 panels of 300w (600w max allowed by the Leoch) directly connected to the Leoch that goes to the campers but I lose half of watts (which I don’t like very much).
The 4th : is to have 2 separate systems: 2 panels of 250w connect to the Mpp Solar 12v, 1kw ( instead of the 24v) connect directly to the campers, 2 other panels of 250w connect directly to the Leoch which connects to the campers. (I put 250w because the mpp solar 12v doesn’t take more than 500w and I wanted my panels to be all of the same capacity).
Knowing that :
my main goal is to settle down in my camper and having more power in case of future projects.
My current usage right now is 600w.
Where I am moving there will be 11h of sun everyday (no winter).
So I think I don’t need a big battery bank.
Which of the 4 options are more suitable for my situation?
I don’t know much about the systems you are talking about, so I would recommend option #5, which are the systems I have designed for that purpose.
1: If your camper has 30A shore power: https://www.explorist.life/30a-camper-inverter-with-solar-and-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
2: If your camper has 50A shore power: https://www.explorist.life/50a-camper-inverter-with-solar-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
I just used your Calculator for the MPPT Charge Controler and I’m a bit confused about the result:
The numbers I got out were these:
Max V/ Panel = 48.3875 Volts per Panel
Max V = 96.775 Total Volts in Array
Max A going into the MPPT = 16.9 Amps
Max A coming out of the MPPT = 76.39 Amps
-> The recommendation then was the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 150|85
-> following the Amazon-Link I found the “victron smartsolar 75|15”
While being confused about these two different results I wondered how the recommendation ended up to be the 150|85. Why not the 100|20?
To be honest I also had a problem filling in all the data needed – because I couldn’t find quite a few of these points in the solar panel spec. I will just add all the Information I could find – and hope that maybe you know what I’m doing wrong 🙂
So here comes a list (the info is German, so I tried my best to translate it):
Pmax – Max. Leistung[Power/Output?] = 110 W
Voc – Voltage open circuit = 39,5 V
Lsc – Kurzschlußstrom[Short-circuit-current] = 3,46 A
Vmp – Max. Systemspannung[Voltage] = 33,50 V
Imp – Max. Strom[Current?] = 3,28 A
Ptol – Leistungstoleranz[Demand/Output allowance?] = +/-5%
Solarzellen[the cells] = ActiveWire Flex Solarzellen (> 20% Effizienz)
Ausgangssorte[… type?] = +/- Kabel (1,5 M)
I would love to here from you because I really need to find the right answer(s) and you have given great ones already! I I truly don’t know any platform about electricity that is that easy to understand than yours! Keep up the great work! 😀
The 2nd number of ‘SmartSolar MPPT xx|xxx” is the amps coming OUT of the charge controller; that is why the 100|20 would not work seeing as you have nearly 80A output from the charge controller.
Hi Nate, I see on your wiring for the 30 amp OEM RV solar retrofit. There appears to be no battery disconnect switch. Also can you explain why the chassis ground goes from the MPPT to the Multiplus instead of just going to the chassis ground. I’m new to all of this and learning much each day. You have by far the best wiring diagrams I’ve seen.
I simply forgot to add the switch. Oops! I’ll revise this after Christmas. You can see where the switch would go in this diagram: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit
The equipment ground just needs a solid path bath to the battery bank. If the chassis is used, it makes the path less direct, that is why I run it how I have.
HEY NATE! looking to build a 600ah system – your diagram is excellent but wondering about the actual panels – the top of our 170 sprinter only has enough room for 3 large panels – but all the ones I have found in the 350-400w range have high voltages (such as the maxion 3 – I am finding this to be true for most higher watt panels). Using your calculator – wiring all 3 in series – I come up with about 252 max voltage and 93 amps our of the controller.
This seems to be a little too high for the 250/100 Victron controller – any suggestions – different panels or controller?
Wiring the panels in parallel to lower the voltage to a more appropriate level would be the best option for that setup.
I’m using lithium batteries. Is a temperature probe needed when using the Victron 712 monitor or should I get it without the probe?
Either way. If the batteries are inside of the heated/air conditioned space; it’s less important to have the temp probe. If the batteries are outside of the heated/air conditioned space, it’s more important.
I’m about to start my install, 840w (4 panels) with 400ah BB batteries, waiting on delivery. I’ve been binge watching your videos, great resource, thank you for sharing your wisdom with solar.
Nice! Glad it has helped. 🙂
Are the diagrams for the camper vans 12v and 24v friendly in terms of wire gauge??
As of writing this reply, all diagrams on this page are for 12v battery banks.
Do you have 48 v dc wiring system using the Quattro 48/3000/35 ? Please share if you have one. Thanks!!!
At this time, I do not have a diagram for those specs. Sorry about that!
Hi Nate, I’m looking at the Victron MPPT 150/35 you recommend on Amazon for $295. I’m seeing a Renogy MPPT 40a with bluetooth module for $140. Is the Victron worth the extra money in your opinion? If so, why?
The Victron SmartSolar MPPTs have better reporting of data than the Renogy charge controllers, in my opinion. If you are trying to save a few bucks and need less than 30A to handle your solar array, maybe look into the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100|30. That’s more comparable in specs to the renogy you’re looking at with a lower price than the 150/35: https://amzn.to/2MiAdF9
Hi, I thinking about building a light weight foldable, portable system with 10 x 160 watt flexible solar panels tied together, 2 series x 5 parallel. But use far less battery then what you show in the above examples for the following reason. When the cells are operating in the day is when I will need the most power (i.e. appliances, computer, power tools etc.) I was thinking of 2x100AH battle LI batteries for a total 200AH. If I average 1000 watts of the solar throughout the day, I should have 600 watts left to charge the batteries. Then use the batteries at night. Basically, sufficient solar wattage for both day electrical use and charging batteries from previous night use. Is there a reason why your above examples have very little solar wattage (it looks just barely sufficient to only charge the batteries)?
I recommend sizing the battery bank to match daily energy consumption needs and then sizing the solar array to refill the battery bank within 6 hours (1 day).
I’m in the beginning stages of planning and building an off-grid teardrop trailer. Wanting to keep it simple, but realizing a power system with enough juice to power a 12v fridge freezer, a few LEDs, and a water pump is necessary. This has been the best explanation I’ve found thus far. One question: how would chassis ground work if the trailer is completely aluminum?
Chassis ground will be the same on aluminum framed campers. Just chassis ground to a substantial chunk of metal connected to the rest of the body/frame of the camper.
I am using a YueQing pure sine wave inverter 3000w there is no AC in port for the shore power to go in i think. How do in hook the inverter power up to the main breaker of my 5th wheel where the shore power is going?
If there is no AC In, it is just an inverter and not an Inverter/Charger like what’s on my diagrams. It can be done, but you’ll have to refer to the user manual and understand how it plays into the system because I do not have any diagrams that are Inverter only. Here is the closest thing I’ve got to retrofitting a Inverter Charger into an OEM RV: https://www.explorist.life/30a-camper-inverter-with-solar-and-alternator-charging-wiring-diagram/
Can I just hook up the inverter to the same breaker as the shore power is and add a 30a breaker on the wire coming from the inverter so when the shore power is operating i can turn off the breaker to the inverter?
What is your take with 2 Sunpower 435 watt solar panels with 2 105A 12 volt Lithium Phosphate batteries. Max Voltage is 73 volts and 5.95 amps. I would also like to be able to charge by AC. Any recommendations.
Of course! My recommendation is to follow the diagram that is most appropriate to your setup found here on this page. 🙂
Hello, Nate excellent videos and DIY info, the best I’ve seen out there. I watched the video “How to Wire Solar Panels in Series Parallel” @ time 3:12 you show that you can’t have a parallel connection with different number of solar panels. Im assuming that you cant do this because the voltages are different?
What Im trying to do is have 2 panels (12) fixed to the roof(series) and have one mobile one on the ground so I can move it around. Im also assuming if I get a single 24v mobile panel I could wire the system in parallel??
Hey Todd! I just released a blog post talking about that concern specifically. Here is a link to that: https://www.explorist.life/using-mismatched-solar-panel-sizes/
Hi.. I’m just digging into your site and have lots to learn but If I want to do a 200/400 system and either a 2k or 3k inverter would your wiring kit still work for that or is it only going to work for the loads you outlined?
If you check the description on the product page, it tells you what types of components the kit is set up for. If you want to stray from those components, you will need to do your own due diligence to determine if the kit will be compatible or not.
What’s your take on 4 x 100W solar panels vs 2 x 200W solar panels? Other than price, V, and space I see no major difference when matched up with a 100V/50A charge controller
Either way. It doesn’t really matter.
Morning Nate- I’ve been looking through your wiring diagrams for a non solar 200-300 AH lithium battery bank system (with alternator and shore-power charging). Is there an easy/appropriate way to “trim” the solar from one of your existing diagrams and parts lists to arrive at a final product?
For the diagram, yes! Just ignore everything from the positive and negative busbar to the charge controllers.
For the parts list, not really, you’ll have to go through and count how much of what will need to be removed from the parts list.
I have a question about your parts list. My set up is: solar-600w, 4-100ah battle born batteries, 3000w inverter. Using air fryer at times Stove top 2burner, fridge/freezer lights, plug in for laptop other Devices.
I feel like we will need a few items not on your solar camper parts list, for example a bus bar? If so what brand do you recommend?
Sure! So, You’d be looking at this diagram: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit/
The Victron Lynx Distributor in the parts list is the furthest left blue box on the diagram and actually IS the positive and negative busbar. There is a positive and negative busbar with 4 fuse holders contained in that nice pretty blue box.
Hi, Nate et al! Question about PV panel sizes… We are planning our solar/battery set up, and it’s similar to the 200Ah-525W diagram that is on your site. Can we use two 380W 72-cell panels instead of three 175s? Trina has a 380W panel with 12v DC charging compatibility, but will the 150/60A charge controller cause a problem or result in power loss?
We are winter/ski people so more production is OK, and hoping to add another 200Ah battery down the line. Is this a good choice?
You can, indeed, use 2x380w panels. You would just need to size your charge controller appropriately for the array specs. Tutorial – How to size a charge controller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxziHKvTRh8
I will be doing a DIY soon and while your wiring diagrams are a gold mine I don’t think I’ll be starting off with Lithium due to cost how can i apply your diagrams using AGM battery bank? Do you have diagrams from your AGM system? I am looking to have around 800-1000 watts
All of my diagrams will work with AGM batteries as well as Lithium. 🙂
Hi– I’ve read through a bunch on your website–super helpful; thank you! I’ve got a question that I didn’t see answered.
Can I add “shore power” to my vehicle so I can run the vehicle A/C off the campground pedestal? I keep finding info on charing batteries, etc. but I’m looking to do something more basic. At least I think it is. 🙂
If it is your engine run air conditioner, shore power would not help because the compressor on your vehicle engine is run off of the crank spinning which requires the engine to be running.
Hi ? I’ve been following you on YouTube and your site. I’m wanting to purchase a wiring diagram but unsure which one would be suitable for the products have.can you guide me please?
I’m located in Australia so unsure if that makes any difference.
But I have
The victron Quattro 48v 5000
Victron Orion tr
712 Battery monitor
Victron mppt 100/50
8x 350w 12v panels
This is for a 40ft bus ?
Which is a 24v system
Our bus is set up with 12v
And 240v (wiring up still)
I am hoping for 4x lifepo4 100ah batteries (but unsure if this will work) or if I need to look at other battery in 48v options.
Is there a wiring diagram that would suit our application?
Any help appreciated ?
Hey Jacqui! That’s going to be a great setup. 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t have any wiring diagrams available here on EXPLORIST.life for a setup like that. For diagrams, the best I can offer is my custom wiring diagram service and you can find out more information about that on this page: https://www.explorist.life/consulting.
Hi, On one of your wiring diagrams it shows three 300W 24VDC solar panels powering a 12VDC system. Please explain?
All of our diagrams feature MPPT charge controllers which regulate a high voltage from the solar panel array down to a usable voltage from the charge controller. For example: the Victron SmartSolar MPPT 150|100 can take up to 150 volts from a solar panel array and regulate it down to the 13-14v it takes to charge a 12v battery bank. More info about how a charge controller handles this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxziHKvTRh8
Trying to fit the maxium solar on my van (the vent breaks the space up). Question: Is it not advised to use different size panels?? Also, is it best to stay with the same brand? Do not see this addressed anywhere on your site. Thanks
You CAN use different size panels, but all like-sized panels need to be connected to their own charge controller. So, for this reason, it’s best to match solar panels.
I have 4x100W Solar panels and 300Ah of LifePO4 Batteries. One major change for my system is that I have a 3000W inverter (due to a lot of Watts coming from an electric water heater). So with a 3000W Inverter (9000W @1s, 4500W@3s, 3600W@10s) do I size the fuse for the continuous 3000W (3000W/12V=250A) or for maybe 3s Surge 4500W/12V=375 rounded to 400A. I dont see the continuous Amp draw of the water heater plus other draw that may be running at the same time (120V mini fridge, Small 300W blender, etc) exceeding 3000W. A lot of generic sizing online suggest 400A Fuse with 4/0 wire for a 3000W inverter. At 3000W 250A fuse and 2/0 wire could work but at 4500W a 400A fuse with 3/0 (385A max is cutting it close to 375A) and max surge is 9000/12=750A which max’s out ANL Fuses and exceeds 4/0 wire max amps. So do you size your fuses and wire for the rated output of the inverter or for the surge and Do you ever size fuses and/or wire off of max possible surge.
(Apologize for rambling)
I think this may help: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit/
Hi Nate, how are you? jus a quick question, we are using your spreed sheet for the power audit, but we are in Australia, so our appliances are 220, how do we do? any way to change it ? thanks!!
Nothing will need to change as far as the power audit goes. Any place it says 120v, just substitute it with 240v. The math stays the same.
Do you ever recommend 3000W Victron Multiplus inverter chargers?
If using it, would you not need a dongle?
I do recommend 3000w Multiplus units. I just released a diagram featuring them: https://www.explorist.life/3000w-inverter-400-600ah-400-to-1200w-solar-camper-solar-kit/
You’d still need a dongle for bluetooth connectivity.
I join the chorus of thanks from those above for your excellent diagrams and your willingness to answer questions.
One thing I am wrestling with is the need to run individual negative wire runs back to the DC distribution centre. The negative bus of the distribution box is connected to the main negative busbar and then to chassis ground. I have about 10 dc circuits going from the driver side where my electrical closet is to the passenger side where the kitchen is. I was thinking of consolidating all my negative runs to a passenger side negative busbar terminated to a passenger side chassis ground.
I may be very naive, but I am not seeing a downside to this – less total wiring and number of connections. I am not sure if the ground conductor composed of the chassis sheet metal would introduce appreciable resistance vs a properly sized copper wire back to the distribution centre bus.
You could definitely do that. That’s more of a personal preference on which way you want to do it. No real right or wrong answer to that one.
I understand that the 12vdc system grounds to the chassis.
Does the 120vac system ground to chassis or is the ground run separately without ground to chassis?
Nope. The grounding on the 120vac side of things is done inside of the inverter.
Late Spring 2020 is when I will have our new Transit AWD van. For our power needs I’m looking at GZ Yeti 1400/3000 unit to power the van. I’ve seen a few videos that show the basics how to Integrate the GZ using a 12v fuse block, setting an outside shore power connection and connecting the car power using their Charging Link. How do I contact you when I’m ready for a custom wire diagram and a consult?
Nice! You’ll be able to get ahold of me here: https://www.explorist.life/consulting
Hi Nate! I’ve seen you recommend a 175w Newpowa solar panels. They have a dimensional drawing that says those are over 58″ long. Without a roof rack, the OEM sprinter rails can really only accommodate ~51″
I tried the Richsolar 190w panels that are ~58 3/4″ wide and even fabricated custom mounting brackets. I hated the look of them hanging over ~2+” on either side and the sides flare about above the roof rails toward the front, so the bracket ends up resting on the painted van (rather than the rail) which is no good.
I guess most people mount them on crossbars that are mounted to the rails? That raises them up quite a bit and probably causes a fair amount of drag which decreases gas milage.
Oh, after writing that I realized if I bolt the two Richsolar 190w panels together and turn them sideways then the width of the double panel is about 53.6″ which fits perfectly on the OEM rails.
We have the 175w Newpowa solar panels on our van and are fine with the overhang. I recommend that everybody take measurements of the solar panels and verify they will work for your own needs.
Hey Nate, thank you so much for the detailed information, your blog is incredible!
I am trying to use your link “CLICK HERE TO ADD ALL AMAZON PRODUCTS TO AMAZON CART” for the LI-BIM and all of the additional parts needed and the link is broken, only adding the Momentary switch to Amazon. I want to let you know, since I want to use your affiliate links to say thank you, for providing such detailed information.
Really appreciate the work you put into your site to help others!
Hey Kevin! It’s doing that because that’s the only part available to purchase from Amazon in that section. The Li-BIM is included in the Battle Born Kit and all of the other fuses and wires are totaled up at the bottom of the parts list.
Makes sense, just wanted to make sure so you guys get the credit that you deserve.
One more question for ya, for the AC Shore Power set up, your diagrams show a 10/3 romex wire and a 6/3 romex wire. What’s the reason for using a 10/3 vs a 10/2 and a 6/3 vs a 6/2? I’m struggling to find more information on this.
“10/2 w/ Ground” & “10/3” & “10 Gauge Triplex” are all, pretty much the same thing. It just depends on what the manufacturer decides to call it. They all have 3, 10 gauge wires inside them.
Read through all…impressive!
A truly basic question…which type of controller do you prefer, PWM or MPPT?
As you’ll notice… literally every single charge controller on ALL of my wiring diagrams are MPPT. 🙂 🙂
In your 1200w system, you chose a 2000w inverter/charger instead of 3000w. Is there any special reason?
Yep! I did it like that because more people were requesting 2kw inverters than 3kw inverters.
Are these diagrams available on hard copy?
Currently, no; but I’m actively working on it and hope to have them out within the next month. I’ll notify the newsletter when they are available.
This is an awesome resource. Thanks so much for putting it together. I do find the page difficult to navigate because I can’t hide the other options. I wish each option (e.g. 525W solar, 300AH batteries) where it’s own page. I keep getting confused!
Thanks! And I agree. I’m currently working on breaking everything up into individual pages.
thanks for the great blog, it really helps a lot to get into the topic 🙂
My planned project specs: 1 panel 180W; MPPT 75/15; AGM 100-150 Ah; no AC needed. The MPPT 75/15 has additional load connectors. In your diagram ‘300W Solar | 200Ah Batteries’ the loads are connected over the switch directly to Vbat+(no connector on the MPPT controller).
Question a) Would you recommend ignoring the Load connectors on the MPPT controller and install the system like you showed in ‘300W Solar | 200Ah Batteries’? If not, cables/fuses between Battery and MPPT must able to support peak power of the consumer devices, correct?
Question b) Can you explain the 15 A Solar disconnect? Why is necessary, what could go wrong?
Thanks again for the great blog and your videos.
With kind regards,
Hey Felix! I would, indeed, totally ignore the ‘load’ outputs on that charge controller for your purposes and just wire the same way as listed in the wiring diagrams you’ve found. If I may, though… make a recommendation to use 2 panels instead of just 1. Consider using two, 100 watt panels instead of 1, 160 watt panel as the MPPT will be able to work better off of the increased voltage.
The disconnect is required by ABYC code for ungrounded solar arrays and is simply there to cut power from the panels in case of unforeseen malfunction or maintenance.
Hello, thanks for all of your valuable info. I found these batteries online and was wondering what you thought of them as opposed to the ones you recommend.
The ‘actionable’ differences are: Battle Born is out of Reno Nevada, so when you need support, you’ll be able to get ahold of them easily. Battle Born also has a 10 year warranty on their batteries. Battle Born also supports me and this channel which allows me to put out all of the free-to-you information I provide. There are loads of differences within the actual lithium cells and the BMS, but if you REALLY like; you can dig through the spec sheets however detailed you’d like to get. I’ll leave that up to you though.
I considered batteries like that, Rodney. They’re about 30% cheaper, but what I’m really drawn to is how small their foot print is. I’m a little suspicious. The 12V100AH with BMS option weigh in at 10kg each. That’s at the high end of specific energy for LiFePo4 batteries. And that doesn’t factor in the weight of the BMS.
LiFePo4 is one of the safest chemistry, so I’m not too concerned about fires.
But at the end of the day I decided I don’t want to be the guinea pig. If other people have good success with these batteries, then I’d use them. I just don’t want to be the one rolling the dice.
You provide a great source of information; thank you for that.
I see in most of your schematics that you wire the solar panels in series (rather than parallel). Is there a particular reason for that?
Yep! Sure is. Check here: https://www.explorist.life/solar-panels-series-vs-parallel/
I am looking for a 12 dual battery bank switcher.
The idea is that bank A would be the primary. As voltage drops below a certain level, the switch automatically flips to battery bank B. Once Battery bank A voltage goes up above a certain voltage, then the switch automatically switches back to battery band A.
Ever come across such an item?
I have never come across something like that but I’ve never looked as I can think of no reason I would ever wire a system like that.
Hello Nate! Great material! The best there is in the internet.
I read all comments but still have a doubt on the limits of such a system. I am building a motorhome and my electric project is considering solar panels totaling 400W, a 3000 to 4000W inverter and two 190A stationary batteries each. The fridge will be 12V. My question is regarding the use limitation of for example a 2000w electric induction cooker? Or a 1500w electric fryer?
From what I researched the current will not exceed 20A because this is the recommended circuit breaker.
Is it possible? How long will it last?
I think what you are looking for is how to perform a power audit. Here’s a tutorial for that: https://www.explorist.life/what-size-of-solar-system-is-needed-to-power-a-camper/
Hey Nate or anyone,
I have my whole D/C and solar set up and was testing out the main disconnect which works in shutting the power off from the battery.
My issue is when I turn the main disconnect back on I have a low voltage output from the battery (1.5-3v) and nothing can turn back on.
If I disconnect from the battery and reconnect I read 12v from the battery again.
Any ideas what I am doing wrong?
Thanks in advanced!
It VERY much sounds like there’s a bad connection somewhere, maybe a lug, a bolt, or something like that. That’s where I’d start.
Hi Nate we spoke at the van expo in Dillon. I am looking at running 2 100 w panels to charge my house batteries in an RV. I have 2 6v batteries that are daisy chained together. Looking at your diagrams do I run the positive and negative wires from the charge converter directly to the bateries? Thanks
Generally speaking, yes. If you have a battery monitory and shunt in the system, the negative wire would need to be on the ‘load’ side of the shunt.
Hi Nate, I was wondering if you have a pure DC set up instructions set? I will just have a very simple set up with 12V fridge, lights, etc. Thanks. Karen
Key Karen! Appologies. I do not have one of those. Perhaps an all in one kind of setup like a Goal Zero or a Jackery would be more suited for that small of a setup.
Thanks for all the valuable info. For 600W solar (2 panels of 300w each) you gave the following link but it seems that the link is for 2 panels that produce 300w in total. I need two 300W pannels, 600W total. Do you know where I can find that?
The link looks accurate on my end. 2 x 300w panels.
Hi Nate, When plugged into shore power, does the systems above automatically know and run your appliances off the outlet directly? Or is it charging the batteries which are still running all the appliances in the van? Is there anything you need to do when you plug in? i.e turn off the main disconnect switch or toggle anything on the inverter/charger itself?
Hya Nate & EXPLORIST.life
Thanks heaps for all your great content. Three quick questions:
(1) Are above ‘Solar W’:’Ah Battery (bank)’ arrays recommended ratios, that is, rules of thumb when calculating one’s power requirements?
(2) Given that I’m in Switzerland (230V, 50Hz), do I need to half the numbers for fuses, breakers & wire gauges – with respect to formula
[Power = Voltage x Current] –> Amps = Watts / Volts?
I’ll certainly come up with more questions soon.
Lemme know how I can repay the service.
I’ll definitely add your entire playlist to my ‘RE(in)VANnPTION’ channel in due time.
The systems above are some of the more commonly sized configurations I’ve been asked about, so yes, they are recommended ratios. To calculate power requirements, though, I’d recommend performing a power audit which you can find a tutorial for, here: https://www.explorist.life/what-size-of-solar-system-is-needed-to-power-a-camper/
For 230v, everything could stay the same except the inverter. You’d just want a 12v to 230v inverter. Victron makes these as well.
Do you not need to ground the 110 system? Is the 2/0 gague coming out of the inverter to the bus bars grounding that system? Or does the breaker box need to be grounded?
120v grounding is taken care of inside of the inverter (At least the Victron Multiplus. If you’ve got a different inverter in question, consult the installation manual) and all ground wires for this setup are shown.
In the process of hooking up all of the stuff on your diagram (300 watts solar, 200 ah batteries). One question. I don’t understand how to hook up the Dinkle solar gang box. Do I need two boxes? One for ground and one for neutral?
Been following you since the Adventure in a Backpack days. The evolution has been fun to observe. Good job.
I’m working on an easier solution for this as I’ve been getting a ton of questions for it. Stand-by.
Hey! Great stuff! Can you give me the link to the 15 Amp Solar Disconnect Switch. It seams to not working anymore from you list.<Thanks
Give this a shot: https://amzn.to/2xFMdWF
My needs are much smaller as I am building a 5×8 cargo trailer conversion that should only be off grid for 2 nights max or otherwise be plugged in.
I am having trouble downsizing the diagram to my 100 watt solar with a 125 Ah battery.
My peak usage which would be during sunny days, because of the heat, would be 106 Ah per day.
I don’t recommend a DIY system for a system that small. I think a Yeti 1400 is the way to go in your case: https://amzn.to/2XDatDx
First off thank you for putting all the time and effort into making these diagrams and videos. I recently bought all of the materials on your list to do a solar build in my 98 Roadtrek 190P. The updated diagram looks much better, however I had based my build on the last iteration (the one with 3 disconnect switches). I do have screen shots and have been piecing it together based off of those, however it would be super helpful to see a more detailed version of the last diagram. Would this be possible?
Nice! The old diagrams can still be found through the link at the top of this page.
Do you happen to have a wiring diagram for 200 watts of solar with 100 AH lithium battery? Im only building a DC system. trying to keep it simple. I was using the 300 watt diagram as a reference but I get lost when it comes to the fuses and required wire gauge.
You can use the same sizes wires and fuses from the 300w system on a 200w system. They will be slightly oversized, but there is no harm in that.
Hi! As everyone above has noted, amazing stuff. Quick question – how did you mount/house the 15A breaker? Did you get an actual breaker box of just leave it out in the open and screw it to the wall?
It’s mounted to a “Din Rail”. Look for the “Din Rail” in the shopping list below the diagram.
Thank you so much for making this. It’s great!
I’m in the process of building my system and plan on buying components over time.
I was thinking of purchasing batteries later and running my 12v lights and sockets off 12v output of the charge controller. It looks like i’m within the amp rating.
Any reason this wouldn’t work?
I think the main thing I can see that not working on is that you would have no power when the sun is down.
Hi Nate, thanks for sharing all this incredibly helpful info! One question about the breakers on the AC side of the new diagrams. When I click on the amazon links for those AC breakers, it takes me to a product that is clearly a DC breaker. Is that right, or can/should those breakers be AC-specific? And the 50A AC breaker appears to be a 2-pole breaker (but the amazon link is a single pole DC breaker). Should that one specifically be 2-pole, or is 1-pole ok?
Products have been switched around on amazon. I’m working on changing them around; but yes… AC circuits need AC breakers.
I’m having a hard time understanding how the bus bars are connected and how to incorporate the copper plate. Do you have a more detailed outline of those connections? Or a video?
Not yet. Working on it. 🙂 Be sure you are subscribed to the email list and I’ll send an update when it’s complete.
Could you recommend an alternative to the “LANGIR 500VDC 2P Solar Photovoltaic Din Rail Non Polarized DC Circuit Breaker Control Circuit C Curve With TUV Certificates (15A)”? That item is out of stock.
Try this one: https://amzn.to/2IU3YGZ
In your earlier diagrams you had the battery positive from the solar controller to the posit bus bar after the battery cutoff switch. Looking at your new diagrams the positive lead has been moved to the battery side of the cut off switch. I understand that this allows the solar to continue to charge the battery even if you’ve cut power to the rig. Is there any other reason or benefit in making this change? Thanks
Correct. That’s the reason.
thanks a lot for the great resource – very useful.
Quick question in comparison with the old diagram: Why did you use a double poled circuit breaker (instead of single) on the solar panel-charger wires? Is the neutral side not redundant (unless you’re worried about pole reversal)?
Without getting into the nitty-gritty theory: it’s required by AYBC code compliance.
Hi Nate. Your videos, diagrams and content as a whole are absolutely outstanding! Truly top-notch! Thank you! Quick question: the 2-pole PV breaker you have linked in your diagrams isn’t currently available. Can you point us to a suitable replacement? I can’t seem to find one with the exact same specs.
Also, although it may not meet the AYBC code, would placing a single breaker (e.g. a Blue Sea C-Series toggle breaker), placed inline of the positive lead from the solar panels be sufficiently safe?
Thank you again, so much!
The PV breaker should now be updated inside of the diagrams (not the lists, yet)
Re: Single pole breaker… You can use whatever you like, but I do make these recommendations for a reason. 🙂
Do you ground the inverter housing to the grounding bus bar or use a separate ground?
It’ll go to the grounding busbar.
I know you said you’d show the wiring for the (2) fans in that install video, but I can’t find it anywhere and the chart only shows one. Did you wire them separately or are they on the same line from the fuse block? In my head, it doesn’t matter, as running them parallel saves wire and the power is still available from the 1st fan to 2nd even if the 1st isn’t running. Is this correct?
Right! They are on the same line wired in parallel like you can find here: https://www.explorist.life/how-to-wire-12v-plugs-fans-and-accessories-in-a-diy-camper/
Planning a 200 amp hour Battle Born, 200 watt or so system for our pop up camper. Max daily usage approximately 55 amp hr (12v frig, heater, lights, fan, charging accessories). Will only be using AC to charge laptop/phones, maybe run a blender so thinking of using a Progressive Dynamics Charger/Converter (not sure what size is best) instead of the 2000 watt inverter. I assume the converter would just replace the inverter in the diagram and the rest would remain the same. Would appreciate you pointing out any flaws in my thinking.
There would be a bit that would need to change and I pretty much never recommend using a converter instead of a inverter charger as it makes for more wiring. Feel free to do that, but don’t assume that my diagram will be accurate if you start changing components.
Hmm, thanks for your input. Not sure what other options I have. I don’t need a 2000 AV inverter for anything. Maybe a lower watt inverter charger or just a straight charger? Don’t see us plugging in much on the road accept when solar gets behind. I must say I have learned a ton from your site, but have more to learn,
I think I have posted my question in the wrong place. I will try again here and hopefully you can amend accordingly
Great content. It will be helping me a lot in my build.
I wonder if you have got/ will get a chance to cover plumbing in your campervan. I am eager to find out what sort of pumps/gears you used. Many thanks
We will indeed eventually cover a plumbing section, stay tuned!
This is really awesome. I had already bought my gear and spec’d most of it out, but was looking at different diagrams before I start actually installing anything when I came across this. I love the layout and you are running a very similar setup to my stepvan build.
My only question is about the wire gauges you chose for the smaller stuff. The MaxxFan only tested at 2.5A on 10 and the LED lights are a lot less than that. Did you NEED 12 awg wire, or was it just easier to run one size?
I had orriginally spec’d 14 awg for my fan and LED’s and was going to use 4 awg to my fuse box (supports 60A @ 20ft).
I have a 400w Renogy solar running the 40A MNPT controller with 400ah AGM (2 x 200ah) betteries, 200A isolator, 175A alternator with 2 drive batteries.
I just used 12 AWG as examples as that will cover MOST smaller 12v loads like light, fans, etc. I have another blog post here that covers sizing wires if you want to use smaller or double check wire sizes: https://www.explorist.life/what-wire-to-use-for-diy-camper-solar-system/
Nat, Love your info and your page! Do you have a 24v alternative diagram? Looking to setup a trailer that has more 120vac equipment and 24v inverters are way more efficient. Thanks in advance.
As of replying to this message, I do not. I do plan on expanding this page to 24V systems soon, though.
Is there a reason the chassis grounding wire is so thick? 2/0 seems like a lot. The rest of the chassis grounds are no where near that large.
I love the diagram and my set up is exactly like it.
The ground needs to have the capacity to carry the max capacity that the biggest device in the system can produce. So, for example… If the Inverter calls for 2/0 wire, the ground needs to be 2/0.
Also, the 2/0 from the busbar to the ground is the return loop for the alternator charging, so it needs to be adequately sized to carry alternator current as well.
I have been using your diagram to set up my system…very helpful. I had similar question about the chassis ground wire size so appreciate your response. My next question is as follows: if I ground the inverter box to the negative bus bar and then run a 2/0 cable to the chassis can I attach that chassis ground to the existing chassis ground (where the 8 gauge bare copper chassis ground from the AC panel is attached)? It seems like this would be okay but want to make sure I am not creating some sort of circuit by attaching both to the chassis. Thanks and love your site!
The ground wires required are noted in the wiring diagram. Additional ground wires are not necessary.
Your wiring sizing for grounds for both the inverter and solar controller isn’t exactly correct. While using bigger wire won’t hurt anything, you don’t need big wires for this. Those ground connections are safety grounds from the metal on the devices themselves not DC grounds. So if by chance the inverter or solar controller becomes energized you wont get shocked. It also helps reduce RF noise that could impart TVs and other electronics nearby. I simple 10 or 12 gauge would work fine.
Jay. The ground size wire choices in this diagram are based on ABYC code. Although it’s unlikely you’d get shocked if an internal short were to happen; the chassis then could be carrying the full short circuit current of the battery resulting in catastrophic meltdown with improperly sized chasses grounds.
Again… my wire size choices are based on ABYC code:
“Install a DC grounding conductor sized not less than one size smaller than the DC
positive conductor and have a capacity such that the DC positive fuse has an amperage
rating not greater than 135% of the current rating of this grounding wire. As a
practical matter, this wire will be much larger than the AC grounding conductor. This
requirement is the latest addition to the standards when it was discovered that faults in
the DC side of an inverter or charger could provide sustained high currents that could
start a fire from overheating the AC grounding conductor.”
Looking to do pretty much the same set up as in your interactive diagram. The only different things will be that’ll be hooking into my RV’s main breaker box, and I’m using a 300 ah lithium battery bank, and probably wiring my solar panels in parallel series groups. I also have the 150/35 victron charge controller.
Can I just follow your diagram as is, or will I need to size up some of the breakers/fuses?
You’re going to need to change quite a few things from the diagram you’re mentioning. We will be rolling out new wiring diagrams soon, but in the meantime, I think some of the articles you can find on this page will get you started with designing your own system to your own specs: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar
Cheers, Nate. One more question: When doing the install on your mum’s truck camper, were you able to wire the 2 awg DC wire from battery positive directly into her camper’s DC fuse/breaker box? Like, did it fit without having to reduce the size?
I truly do not remember one way or the other and I hate to make a guess on that, so you’ll just have to check it out on your own setup.
I have gotten your system and installed it as specked. All was great.
How ever I have had a little bit of trouble with the LI_BIM 225 isolator charging off the truck. Your diagram showed the alternator cable going to the coach side of the isolator. I down loaded the quick guide from Precision circuits and they show the alternator cable going to the chassis side.
I receive no reading of volts-watts coming into the smart controller either way I wire it. My ignition wire is only hot when the veh.is running. I have not hooked up a manual switch as of yet.
Most of our diagrams should be treated as ‘rough’ in terms of wire placement and do NOT superscede what’s in the manual or marked on the unit itself. Sometimes, the pictures I have may have the positive and negative flipped from what’s actually on the product, so it’s VERY important to do your due diligence in this regard and follow manufacturer recommendations. Chassis = Alternator, Coach = House Batteries.
The manual switch is not 100% necessary, it’s just to force-combine the circuit in case you need to emergency jump your start batteries from your house batteries. Also, if your house batteries are higher than 13.4, the isolator will not combine the banks.
Once you get those wires in the correct place, I’d recommend going for a drive with your VictronConnect app pulled up and on your phone and mounted to the dash to see if there is charge coming in at any point.
My tech support is fairly limited when it comes to troubleshooting that particular device. I’d highly reaching out to Battle Born and they should, at the least, be able to point you in the right direction on that one.
Thanks for this great resource – I have it bookmarked as I work on a Dodge Campervan conversion (with solar and poptop!). My setup will be modular, so that I can remove water, solar, battery(lithium)/inverter and fridge ‘modules’
so I can use it as a full passenger van without campervan bits getting in the way.
I wondered if you had any insight on how to leave currently wired 12v outlets (there are a few front to back, some of which are only powered when the engine is running). Do you think it is possible to make them switch over to the battery system? The Li-BIM wiring diagram from Precision makes it look like this might be possible, although I’m guessing there will need to be a double pole rocker switch somewhere to make it happen.
Otherwise, do you know if there is a way to use the ingnition cable (used by alternator and Li-BIM) from the motor to enable automatic switching for my setup?
I’m guessing you’re otherwise going to say take all the 12 outputs off the main battery and put them on the coach battery. I can’t do that because the build will be modular, and the battery won’t always be there. I realise this means quite a bit of double wiring/fusing.
Apologies if this is a rather silly question, but I’m finding it rather vexing!
Also wondering if you have experience of upgrading alternators to increase charging capacity.
Hi Nate, thanks for the very thorough diagram and other insightful blog posts! I’ve purchased nearly all the components but have a questions about the wiring quantities. For example, the Red 2/0 wire is listed twice; once as 5ft and again as 25ft. Is this correct? You’re recommending 30ft total and this is the best method to purchase that quantity?
Oops! I tried to consolodate all of the wire lengths, but yes. Just buy 30ft of it and cut as necessary.
Amazing site you guys put together here and hours invested!!! What a wealth of information!
A couple more questions revolving around chassis ground. I read the comments above and I am still unclear as to the placement(s) of the chassis ground wiring? I plan to build a system similar to yours except without the alternator portion (i.e. only shore power and solar to charge LiFeYPO4 battery). In my wiring diagram all the negative (black) wires, as in your wiring diagram, come back to the negative bus bar –> then lead to the negative terminal of battery. In your diagram I see wire to the ground chassis leaving the negative bus bar. Is this ALL that is needed? My inverter/charger (Xantrex Freedom XC 2000) also calls for a DC ground in addition to the negative DC cable. Is this necessary? I see you do NOT have a DC ground from your inverter (Victron unit).
How is the ground chassis location chosen and connection made? I.e. where exactly does one drill into the vehicle frame. How is the surface prepared (I assume remove paint) to ensure an appropriate connection? Then simply bolt a lug into the frame?
You can make that ground connection to anywhere there is metal. We, personally used the wheel well. Just a bolt through with the paint cleaned off. Once we installed the lug and wire, we repainted over the top of it to seal the metal from rust.
If your busbar is grounded, you can then ground the boxes of all of the components that requires it to that busbar. So, the busbar is grounded, then each of the negatives AND ground wires will also run to that busbar.
Hey Nate – This is by far the best resource I’ve come across. Big thanks! I’m building out a 200 watt, one 100 lithium amp hr battery, with 2000 watt inverter. Will the rest of the components you have outlined be an issue with a smaller system like that? I plan to expand in the future but just trying to think of any drawbacks for the time being.
Hey Mike! Yes and no… The charge controller will be a bit oversized, but ultimately that’s no problem if you are planning on expanding eventually, although adding panels retrospectively is kind of a pain in the butt. I’d REALLY recommend adding the full wattage from the start. If you can’t; under-sizing your panels at this time will do the system no harm as it stands.
You can hold off on more battery capacity if you need to, but know that the batteries can’t be discharged faster than 100 amps continuous or 200amps for a surge, so anything you’re planning on running that’s more than 1200 (coffee maker, instant pot, etc) watts is going to be a no-go until you get that 2nd battery.
Thanks so much for the great info, you’re site is super helpful. I’m installing my electrical on a ford transit and was wondering if you have any details on actually connecting the system to the car battery. I’ve seen alot of great install info, but not much on actually connecting it to the battery. Looking at using a terminal fuse on the (+) car batt terminal >B2B charger>busbar>house batt. And connecting the (-) terminal of the car batt to a chassis ground. Sorry if you’ve answered this before, and thank you!
Could I get some clarification on your question? All of the information to connect everything is in the diagram above. Shy of saying: Step 1 – Loosen bolt on battery, Step 2 – remove battery terminal from battery post, etc… I’m not sure I’m following. Let me know the part you are actually struggling with and I’ll see if I can help you out.
Hello, very much appreciate your detailed diagram! My question is, Is it optimal to use a shore power breaker and auto transfer relay? I know the Victron Multiplus inverters auto transfer to shore power when the juice is supplied but would another breaker between shore and charger be redundant or just being extra safe?
An extra breaker between the shore power plug and the charger is just redundant. I talked a bit more about that here: https://www.explorist.life/how-to-add-shore-power-to-a-diy-camper/
Hey nate, great stuff. Arent you missing a Victron BMS to protect the battery?
Thanks! Nope, those Battle Born Batteries have an integrated BMS already built in.
ok so the battery it self also protects it from low voltage and high voltage? Because i see many victron batteries with victron battery protectors after the solar charge controler for example or on the dc load side of the battery.
Correct. Not all Victron Batteries have an internal BMS, which is why there is an external BMS.
As always, incredibly helpful!
Just as a product consideration for making lighting connections and other 18 to 12 awg wires… the Wago connector. (https://www.amazon.com/Connector-Assortment-Compact-Connectors-PCT-212/dp/B076ZNGR46/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?keywords=wago%2Bconnectors&qid=1551910630&s=gateway&sr=8-4-spons&th=1) (I do not have any affiliation to this product.) An electrical engineer I’ve done work for in the past got me to use them for lighting control installs and they have been fantastic to work with. They are finger safe when live, forgiving if you need to assemble and disassemble multiple times, well made and relatively cheap.
Hey, great! Those look like a VERY easy solution. Thanks for the lead!
IMHO I would add in something like this to your diagram https://www.amazon.com/Charger-CHGeek-Waterproof-Voltmeter-Motorcycle/dp/B07F84VVB4/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Quick+Charge+3.0+USB+Charger+Socket&qid=1551719299&s=gateway&sr=8-2 in place of the 12VDC socket.
Feel free to add whatever 12v devices you like into your system. Wiring that device would be the exact same as wiring the 12v socket.
I do not want to mount the solar panels on the roof. Do you know of a sidewall plug that is made for 10awg that I can use instead of the roof gland?
By the way, great work on this diagram!
Yes! I would recommend something called the “Anderson Powerpole” line of components.
Cool! I will look into that.
I had one more question. What is the purpose of the 250a fuses? That seems like a big fuse. I am planning a 200 Amp hours battery bank.
The 250 amp fuses protect the wire that the fuses are attached to. For info about how to determine what size of fuse you need, check this out: https://www.explorist.life/what-size-fuses-to-use-for-a-diy-camper-electrical-setup/
i have learn so much from you today,,i plan to build 400 watt 2 lit bats at 100 amps,,and i will buy them thur your site and use your diagram to help me install,,thank you,,i think you should CHARGE everyone who uses your plans $5,,you be rich,,,you could buy you a nice used car,,haha,,thanks,,James
Haha! Thanks. Glad you’re finding all of this helpful. 🙂 🙂
On your diagram you show the battery monitor connected to something. When I click on the link, I don’t see anything on the next page that looks like what you’ve connected the battery monitor to in the first page.
Can you tell me what the battery monitor is connected to in the diagram?
Of course! That’s called a shunt. You can learn about that here: https://www.explorist.life/how-to-install-a-diy-camper-van-solar-battery-monitor/
What is the purpose of the on/off switch wired to the LI-BIM?
From my understanding the purpose is to bypass the BIM and directly connect the coach and chassis batteries in order to jumpstart the van in an emergency situation, is that correct?
Thanks for all your work on this site, it’s amazing!
Yes! That’s exactly what it’s for. It’s totally optional but is nice to have. We actually used it the other day when the temps were in the negatives and our starting battery needed a little ‘help’ with some thick diesel.
I am converting a 2019 Ram Promaster 3500, extended 159″ highroof. 220 amp alternator, 300 amp/hr Li from Victron, 12/3000/120 inverter/charger, 100/30 mppt, 1240 watt solar, Battery Monitor, Colour Control GX to name the main parts. What I wish to ask is regarding ones ability to charge from the Alternator at the highest and most efficient rate possible without causing damage to the alternator itself. There was a mention about a battery to battery charger in one of your replies, and I wish to ask if you could expand and possibly provide a part or model from Victron or someone else which would do the trick.?
Thanks for the great work you have done. I will use your links for all items I am buying online.
Hey Stephen, Awesome! Sounds like a cool project! Sorry for the delay, but I was actually in the middle of writing some more blog posts that would answer your question more thoroughly than I could in a reply. Take a look over these two blog posts and see if they clear up what you’re looking for and if you have any more questions, feel free to reach back out as always.
Thanks a lot for this diagram it helps me a lot with putting up my own circuit for a future camper van.
I just do not understand what makes you choose to put 30a breakers, 50a breakers etc.?
Which factors do you base that on?
Best regards, Bjorn.
Of course! It’s a bit confusing for sure. We just dropped a new blog post that should answer all of those questions for you. Check it out here: https://www.explorist.life/what-size-fuses-to-use-for-a-diy-camper-electrical-setup/
Thanks for putting together this useful diagram. Do you have a layout of this setup without the solar and alternator pieces. I am installing a 12v system in my cargo work trailer. I will be charging the batteries with shore power (generator or 120v receptacle). I would like to take this to a job site and use the trailer without the generator running. I will eventually add a solar setup to this trailer.
I don’t have a diagram for that in particular, but you see where the alternator feed and the solar feed connect into the busbar? Just don’t do any of that. The rest will stay completely the same. You’ll have to go back and re-count wire lug sizes, but this diagram will give you a fantastic starting point for you to make your own changes as necessary.
Nate, you mentioned in an earlier blog that you were going to do a video on recharging house batteries from the vehicle’s alternator. Have you done this yet as I have not been able to find it. Also, my SUV has a 6 pin recepticle for trailers and my trailer that I am converting to a teardrop currently has a 4 pin plug. Is it as simple as converting my plug to a 6 pin plug with the extra pins providing power to connect to an isolator in front of my house battery? And, how does the isolator’s ignition post work with this setup? Probably too many questions to answer in one response… Thanks, love your site and great blogs.
I haven’t made the video just yet but I JUST released two blog posts that talk about charging with the alternator:
I don’t mess with 6 pin connectors as they only charge at a few amps and are generally not adequate for ACTUAL charging with the alternator.
The Isolator ignition wire is connected to a wire that is ‘hot’ when your ignition is on. The isolator would be mounted in your pulling vehicle with a heavy gauge wire ran back to the trailer. Consider making the removable connection from the vehicle to the camper with adequately sized Anderson connectors.
Thank you so much for the clean easy to digest and follow info on this subject. I am doing a conversion on a promaster and the electrical system was my biggest unknown. Your diagram is almost an exact fit for the system I want to build. I wanted to max out the solar on my roof so I have already purchased 8 x 100w reneogy compact solar panels and plan to purchase 4 of the battleborn batteries. The difference in my system would be 800w – 400aH. I plan to just buy everything on your list and follow the diagram but I have a couple questions:
1. I calculated that I would need to buy the Victron 150/60 charge controller instead of the one listed, is there any other wire gauges, fuses…that I would need to size up due to the 800w – 400aH? or any other changes to the diagram?
2. When I looked at your 400aH bundle on Battle Born it also has the Victron Digital MultiControl. I don’t see this on the diagram above. Do you recommend this? If so where does it go and what is its function?
No problem! 😀
I’d recommend double-checking your math on the charge controller as I think both the amperage and voltage will be too high for the 150/60. My calculations are telling me you’ll be looking at the Victron 250/85
Matching a solar controller to your panels is pretty confusing no doubt. If it helps, I just released a calculator to go along with a newly revamped instructional blog post about sizing your charge controller to your solar panels. You can find that here:
In regards to wire and fuses, yes… you will need to change wires and fuses from the charge controller to the busbar. I’ll get to another wiring diagram at some point, but in the meantime, here are two new resources that will teach you how to size wires and fuses.
Regarding the Victron Digital MultiControl: That allows you to control the inverter remotely. You can turn it off, on, charge only, or just generally check the status of your inverter. Yes, it’s nice to have, especially if your inverter is mounted in a space that’s hard to get to. The wiring on that is simple a data cable, but you can see the instructions here: https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Manual-Digital-Multi-Control-GX-Panel-EN-NL-FR-DE-ES.pdf
Nate, with regard to the Digital MultiControl, how does it differ from the Color Control GX? The Battle Born site has a variety of controllers and being new to this i find it confusing. There is also a Magnum remote control, battery monitor and solar remote display. How would i know it i need these and what are they used for? Perhaps there is a review of these devices that would help. I apologize for extreme ignorance but i am trying to learn. Love the site and all the helpful information. You and Stephanie make a great team.
The Digital MultiControl is purely for the controlling the inverter. The Color Control GX is more of an overall system overview kind of device that you can plug your inverter, charge controller, BMV, and more into that will give you even more monitoring features if that’s your kind of thing.
Will definitely be doing more reviews and comparisons in the coming months.
Basically copying your diagram. Been a fan for quite a while.
Do you recommend the LiFePO4 Battery Isolation Manager over the Sterling Power Alternator Protection Device for 12V Alternator? Or am I confused on their purpose? Both from Battleborn.
Hey Klutch! We just released a blog post talking about that exact topic. You can check it out here and it should answer your question: https://www.explorist.life/how-to-charge-diy-camper-van-batteries-with-vehicle-alternator/
I love that you posted this diagram! You posted exactly as I was starting to plan a solar set up for my bus and we are starting with this, almost exact, set up. I have one addition that is troubling me. I am adding a tankless hot water heater that requires a two pole breaker and 6 awg wire. I am just not sure how to run the wires through the circuit breaker when there are two poles….any ideas?
I feel like that’s going to be a massive 220v hot water heater and will be mostly incompatible with anything on this diagram. Which water heater are you trying to install so I can advise a little better?
Sat through about 5 of your vids last night. Really good stuff. I’m a total van solar novice. I’m retro-fitting a Mercedes 2500 passenger van. My biggest question is: By using an isolator (and wiring like you’ve shown us here), can I utilize all the current wiring/electronics in the van when I’m using solar power w/o draining my vehicle battery? Hope that makes sense. Basically, I want to be able to leverage the current van set up, add to it will other stuff, and not drain my vehicle battery if I’m not driving or plugged in. Thanks.
The isolator simply seperates the starting battery from the house battery. If you are using items that are connected to the starting battery, the isolator will not help solve any problems. The isolator will keep the starting battery from draining as you are using items connected to the house battery.
Hi Nate, thanks for all the hard work you’ve put into this. I’ve found it extremely helpful. I’m doing a very similar system but with 2 155 amp hour AGM batteries. So far I’ve followed everything you laid out. I’m looking at installing the Battery Isolator and since I’m not using Lithium Ion Batteries I’ll be going with either the Battery Doctor or the Keyline Charger. So far people seem to be using 2 inline 100 amp fuses and I was wondering if that seemed right to you or if sticking with 2 250 amp fuses were still the right move. Also if I still needed to use 2/0 wire as some kits are coming with significantly smaller wire. Thanks again for taking the time to respond to so many peoples questions. You’ll Rock!
Hey Peter! So, I actually just released a few blog posts that will help clear some of your questions up. The first two deal with isolators and charging via the alternator:
And the next two talk about sizing fuses and wires:
I’d still recommend the 2/0, but the ‘why’ is covered in the above blog posts.
This looks like a total conversion (not that I am opposed to that!). I would have to integrate this into an existing system that is already in my trailer?
In addition to your absolutely beautiful diagram, do you have a normal electrical schematic? (being an electrical person myself!)
Sweet jobs and NICE documentation!
This wiring diagram, in particular, is aimed at a from-scratch build, but can be pretty easily adapted into an existing system.
I don’t have a ‘normal’ electrical schematic, sorry! Hope the one that’s posted helps nonetheless.
Thanks for the amazing diagram. I’m wondering if you have or will be doing a diagram for a travel trailer specifically? Our trailer is only 30amp and we want all outlets, etc powered. How do I connect to an already existing 12v and 110 breaker box. Do I just run the shore power through the inverter (3000w multiplus) and then to the existing 30amp breaker? Do I need a separate breaker box like you have in the diagram? Do I need an automatic transfer switch or does the inverter do that on it’s own?
I will be doing a wiring diagram for an existing system eventually, but as it stands right now, it’s not in the immediate plans, BUT… if you haven’t seen it already, we have a video where we installed a new solar system into a truck campers existing system. You can watch that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht1kl37pJ2E
You won’t need a transfer switch as the inverter has an integrated transfer switch. That video should answer the rest of your questions though.
Enjoy your site but have a question. On my home built teardrop I am using a WFCO converter / charger. When I plug into shore power it will charge the battery. All lights and fan are 12v only. I would like to add a 100 watt solar charger or larger to this system, for use when boon docking. Do you have suggestions on how I could install solar but still keep my WFCO converter in place?
For that, you’d simply be installing the panel(s), charge controller, wires and fuses and hooking directly to the battery/busbar.
I love the interactive image and your videos are top notch.
My question is about the load bus bar. You have a 50 amp load from the charger controller, a 250 amp load coming from the batteries and 250 amp coming from the inverter/charger. Is there any chance of back feeding the charge control circuit?
The buss bars are 3/8, the 5/16 lugs don’t fit.
Hi Nate, I keep seeing people (on Facebook) who want to switch & Dim lights from 2 location Most people reply that there is no such thing as a 3 way dimmer for 12V, But one could do 3 way switch on to a dimmer which is not as good but you can turn it off from your bed, This is the way I do it using SPDT ON/ON switches. Basically you connect the power to the center pole of the first switch then run 2 wires from the 2 outside poles to the 2 outside poles of the second switch and from the center pole of the second switch to the dimmer input and the out put of the dimmer to the light, also run a common to the dimmer & Light
Yeah, I’ve seen that requested a bit too. I’ll be sure to add how to do that when I make a ‘how to wire switches’ post.
Total 12v electrical novice here.
I really like your system and how clearly you laid it all out.
My question is about powering something like an Raspberry Pi and some led strings, how do you set the amperage that your delivering to these devices so as to not over power them?
I believe a raspberry pi runs at 5v (via USB?). If that’s the case, I’d just install a 12v USB outlet near it and just go from there. For led lights, as long as they are 12v led lights, they can be wired in without any kind of extra step down converters.
A component will only draw as much power as it needs to operate. As long as the voltages match, you’ll be good to go.
Been Following your content for a while now. Been learning a lot, thank you! I am going to set up a 350 Watt set up on my boat. Question- I will be using a generator to charge the batteries on cloudy days so is it wise to add a fuse in the shore power in line in case of voltage surges?. thank you in advance.
Your generator SHOULD have a breaker installed that protects the 110v out.
Need your help I have 300 watts solar panel renogy 40amp charge controller and battleborn lithium battery what are the parometer setting second what is a good isolator to charge my battery my van is ram promaster 2500 Third I have a renogy 2000 inverter mistake did not get inverter charger what can I do to use Ac units at home
Here is a link to the Battle Born charging paremeters: https://battlebornbatteries.com/charging-parameters-chargers-recommend/
A good isolator for Lithium: https://battlebornbatteries.com/shop/lifepo4-battery-isolation-manager/?afmc=explorist_bb67
Re: Inverter… I VERY much like an inverter/charger, but ultimately that’s up to you with what you were hoping to accomplish with your system. If you never will need shore power, an Inverter by itself will be fine.
I would like to do 15 amp shore power hookup instead of 30 amp. Would i need a different cable besides 10/2 could i use the 12/2? also should there be a breaker before the shore power hits the inverter or is it not needed?
Thanks! Ultimately, you can do whatever you like, but I don’t think that’s the place to save a few dollars. Even if you are never going to plug into 30a, using 10/2 will allow you to use a longer shore power cord if needed. You don’t need a breaker on that line as the breaker is in the campground power pedestal or in the breaker box in the wall.
Hey Nate, you may want to consider replacing the twist-on connector for shore power with a Smartplug. They claim 20 times the electrical contact vs twist-on, so it should handle a fair bit of amps. Great chart otherwise, you’re creating great stuff here.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I will leave the current recommendation as the smart plug is nearly 5 times expensive with no added benefit. 20 times the electrical contact means nothing to me, personally, as an inlet rated at 30 amps is still 30 amps regardless of how much ‘contact’ it has. Feel free to use whatever you like in your own setup though.
wow you have done a great job with this wiring diagram post…great work and i thank you. my request would be for an rv (an older 35ft Diesel Pusher imported to Australia) I want to be totally off grid and be able to run one of the roof top aircons off the batteries. am thinking of 1400w of solar and 6 or 800 amphours of lithium with a 3 or 4000w inverter….but heres the rub; as its in Australia we run 240v and whilst the RV has been converted to have some 240v outlets in it, i still need to keep the 110 circuits/inverter for the fridge aircon microwave/convection oven and ofcourse it has a 110v LP Generator and i cant change them all over so the new system needs to run the 110 and a new 240v inverter. how would you approach this big build ???? your thoughts appreciated. my best lance
Nice! That’s going to be a hell of a project, but for sure doable. I would actually advocate for wiring the batteries into a 24v battery bank since you are trying to run an air conditioner. After that, You’re going to need TWO inverters. One for 110v power and the other for 240v power. The 110v inverter will need to be the big one as it’s powering the air conditioner. The 240v inverter can be smaller as it’s just powering plugs. You’ll need both of these to be inverter/chargers. The 110v inverter charger will provide ‘shore’ power from your 110v generator. The 240v inverter/charger will be your actual shore power connection. From there, you’ll just need a 24v to 12v step down converter for all of the on-board 12v appliances.
I’m also planning to run an air conditioner with 400ah lithium and 600watts of solar. If I did wire the batteries for 24v I suppose I need a stepdown for my 12v fuse block? How would using a 24v battery bank change the diagram regarding the alternator charging? Are there any other special considerations I would have to make when following your diagram if I did go for a 24v battery bank?
Hey Patrick! Nice! You’d need a step down for sure before your distribution block.
You’d also need a b2b charger or a buck-boost between the alternator and the house batteries.
Nate, awesome stuff. One question, is a battery monitor and shunt required?
Technically, no… but would you drive your car with no fuel gauge or speedometer? It’s the same principle. The battery monitor and shunt tells you how much battery storage you’ve got left as well as how much power you are actively gaining or losing.
With a Victron Quattro would your still use a shunt and battery monitor?
Hi Nate, Amazing info. Thank you for sharing and making DIY solar installers lives easier. Question, I see your solar panels are wired in parallel. What are your thoughts to wiring them in series and parallel? I am installing four 200 watt panels and the tech at the company recommended I wire them in series and parallel at the end. Also, and chance you’d do one of these specific to RV’s?
Thanks for all your hard work. I will definitely spread the good word to all my solar friends.
Thanks Allen! These solar panels in the diagram are wired in series and for 95% of applications, I recommend wiring solar panels in series. I could get into the ‘other 5%’ but it gets confusing pretty quickly… and 4×200 solar panels falls into that 95% that I’d wire in series.
A wiring diagram specific for an RV is indeed in the future!
Nice set up but now I’m even more confused. Vehicle: 2018 Transit 250 w/150A alternator. I’m installing 3 200W panels I bought from Continuous Resources and they recommended a Victron Smart controller 150/35 installed in series with 10AWG from panels to controller with a 15A breaker and the 6AWG from controller to battery with a 40A breaker. The controller and breakers seems light compared to yours, yes/no?
I’m also wanting to be able to charge the house batteries with my alternator and trying to figure out the best system to use so as to protect house batteries and vehicle electronics. I’m planing on installing a 15A shore power input and a 2000W inverter charger. I’m still debating on batteries being about 400Ah AGM or 200-300Ah Lithium(cost is a killer). I’m a retired auto mechanic (12 years ago) so I understand the 12V system but incoperating solar and 120V has got me lot. Could really use some input.
Can you help me out?
Hey Jerry! Thanks!
Regarding your first question… I make these diagrams to be as comprehensive as possible. There’s likely 1,000 different solar setups out there, and most of them are correct. My goal with these, is to make them as comprehensive as possible so there is no question as to what works with what parts. I hope that makes sense.
It is worth noting though… that 600 watts of solar panels will put out 47 amps at 12.6v, so… not saying they are wrong… but you may check the manual for that particular charge controller as I think it’s only rated up to 500w.
Regarding the second question: If you follow this diagram exactly, you’ll have alternator charging, solar charging, and shore power charging as the inverter is both an inverter as well as a shore power charger.
Finally, for lithium vs AGM, I’ll point you in the direction of this blog post we wrote last year: https://www.explorist.life/choosing-a-solar-battery-bank-for-a-camper/
Hope that helps!
First off, your schematic is very useful and I appreciate all the time you’ve put into it.
Couple of questions
Would you recommend adding a breaker between the 30 amp shore power and the inverter? Seems like ever other positive wire is on a breaker, why wouldn’t this one also be?
I bought the exact same inverter/charger as shown in this picture (I believe this is the same as yours) and I was wondering if I could wire up 2 types of shore power plugs. One of them a standard 15amp and the other would be 30amp like your diagram shows. Any thoughts on that?
Why do you use ANL Fuses for the 250 amp fuse instead of the resettable circuit breakers? Just cost? Seems like the CB’s are ~$30 vs ANL which is ~$12 (with fuse holder).
Do you think the breaker box for the 110 system is really necessary? I’m not very familiar with these systems but the 12 volt don’t have any sort of breaker box to surround the breakers.
I’ve got a basketful of amazon goods I’m about to buy 🙂
Thanks for all your help
Hey Evan! Glad it’s helping!
I’ll just run down your list of questions:
There will be a breaker protecting that line in the power pedestal or the wall you are plugging into (Think household breaker box).
Great idea… but let me suggest something easier. Run the 30 amp cord like I recommended then get a 30a to 15a adapter like this: https://amzn.to/2MnZF8c for when you need to plug into a standard 15 amp outlet
Mainly because I can’t find a reliable source with adequate reviews on a 250 amp resettable breaker that I really liked. :/
The box is necessary to hold the breaker. It’s the only way to mount the breaker in the system, unfortunately. I think it’s silly to have to use such a gigantic box for 1 or 2 fuses… but that’s one of those stupid problems…that’s a problem nontheless.
Hope that helps!
FIrst off, awesome stuff!
I just purchased a 19 promaster 1500 136 hi roof, plan is to travel/ski/sell out of the van, weekend getaways
I’m trying to power: 12 v lights, maxx air 7500, dometic 60, charge computers, induction hot plate
plan is to go with: 1 lithium battle born, 30 amp controller, 175 watt solar panel, 2000 watt pure sine inverter, webasto 4kw heater
a few questions that will hopefully help others as well
1. for my system, are all of the breakers and shut offs the same…30am, 50amp 250amp, 300amp disconnects?
2. is what i’m proposing enough juice? i know i can always add another battery, but they are $950
3. is it necessary to tie into my van inverter?
thanks so much!
Hey Chris! Glad it helped! That sounds like an awesome project you’ve going coming up. Let me run-down your list of questions:
#1: You could absolutely go with the same wiring, breakers, and switches. It would be slightly overbuilt, specifically on the solar panel to busbar side of things, but that would allow for easy expansion down the road if you wanted.
#2: Really, that all depends on how much you plan on using everything. I’d recommend running through our power audit if you haven’t done so already. You can find that here: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar/#how-to-perform-a-solar-power-audit
#3: I’m not sure I understand that question. Perhaps rephrase?
i meant alternator not inverter…late night research is tough
No worries, I thought that the case but didn’t want to assume. Tying into the alternator isn’t necessary, but is a good ‘just in case’ for cloudy days, or if your power demands simply are greater than your power storage/generation. It can always be added later if you are unsure.
First, thanks for all of the work you have put into the solar/electric schematic.
Second, I am in the middle of a Promaster conversion, rough wiring in, insulation in, walls/ceiling in, cabinet boxes in, plumbing rough in in, working on cabinet fronts and finish. When spring comes to Maine I will be doing the electric…solar, shore and engine charging. Three Li batteries, 12 and 120 volt systems.
I am looking to “steal” most of your system details.
I was looking through your parts list for solar/electrical and was surprised to see you call for romex type wire instead of a marine grade stranded wire. I have used stranded wire for the rough in and I am curious as to your thoughts on this. With your “do it right once” mantra I am thinking you would opt for stranded wire as it seems more in keeping with using the best quality materials.
No problem, glad you’ve found it helpful.
Regarding the solid Romex wiring, I really don’t have a strong opinion in either direction in terms of the 110v wire runs. I know most RV’s use Romex, which is why I leaned in that direction but I don’t have a really really good and compelling reason other than that.
I do know that the Yacht builders code forbids romex for vibration reasons, but that code is significantly more stringent than RV code, but I’ll look more into it and update the diagram as necessary.
Where did you guys get the lithium ion battery?
Hey Tim! All of the items on the diagram are clickable so you can click them and find out where to buy them. Here is the direct link to the batteries though: https://battlebornbatteries.com/shop/12v-lifepo4-deep-cycle-battery/?afmc=explorist_bb67
Howdy ya’ll! Super great digram! Question though, how/where did you tap into the ignition wire for the BIM? I am not able to find ANYTHING that’s remotely helpful.
We used ya’lls diagram to a T and it’s been SO helpful.
Hey Lauren! I can’t remember exactly which wire it was, but you’ll need to splice into really any of the wires that are ‘hot’ when the key is clicked over. A good spot to start looking for this is behind the fuse box with your multimeter. Another good tactic for looking for a ‘switched’ or ‘accessory’ power wire is to find an aftermarket radio install manual and it will typically give you a wire color that will work for the ignition wire.
Hi Nate! Thanks for taking time to put these together! It’s been the most helpful tool I’ve been able to find so far. My only question is, where the fuse box for 12 volt items like LED lights? Am I overlooking it or was it left out or incorporated in a different way? If I wanted to add the standard fuse box a lot of people use Would I just use 2/0 gauge wired for the positive and negative input? And 12 gauge for the appliances?
The big black box on the bottom right of every diagram includes the 12v fuse block. See where it says “12V DC Circuits”? This video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiufFMKolpY&list=PLmvhcyi4n0TU6HlMaQiCUwC20DBlyv6s_&index=4 and this blog post: https://www.explorist.life/how-to-wire-a-power-distribution-panel/ should help.
Thanks for the amazing work on the research and for compiling article and excel sheet! It helped me out a lot and clarified a lot of questions I had. However just one thing I still dont quite understand. If yo would wire 4 12V 100w panels in series you would have 100W at 48V, to save space on the roof and get more power wouldn’t it be better to use 2 200W 24V panels? to get 200W at 48V?
Thanks a lot!
If the panels are feeding into a 12v battery bank, the voltage of the panels “doesn’t matter” if you are using an MPPT controller. 400w of panels at 24v, 400w of panels at 48v, and 400w of panels at 18v will all produce the same amount of power at 12v coming into the batteries.
…don’t think of the panels as ’12v panels’ because in all reality, 12v panels are really something like 17v-21v.
This is explained in a bit more in depth here: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar/#charge-controller
Nice looking diagram. What type of connectors are you using for your lights? Is it a step down connector?
Step down connectors are indeed ideal, but I typically just use butt-splice connectors. They are easier to find, less expensive, and more versatile. Step down connectors are the most-correct, textbook way to do it though. The diagram has been updated to reflect this.
What did you use to create the diagram?
I used photoshop for the actual design and an image map software for the interactive features.
I really appreciate all the work you do and the wiring diagrams! Thank you!
So, I think I figured out that the “green Christmas Tree” thing is only needed if you use lithium batteries. Right?
In your picture above, you show two black wires with yellow ends, by the shore power. Are they two different things? What are they called? Do I need both?
Can I connect to the alternator if I am going to use the Yeti Generator instead of the DIY Solar System? If so, Since I would not use the “Green Christmas Tree” thing, Would I need something else instead, and what would that be?
Sorry, to all those of you who are very smart but I don’t have much knowledge of how anything electric works and I am just learning. So, please be patient with me. Thanks!
The green Battery Isolator is only for lithium batteries and if you are going to be charging directly off the alternator (which you won’t be doing with a Goal Zero Lithium Setup.
To charge from the alternator into a Goal Zero unit, you’ll be looking for a 300w plug-in inverter and an extension cord to your goal zero to charge the same way you would as if you were charging from the wall.
Hi, Nate! Also thinking about the Yeti, but I really want to be able to charge from the alternator. They keep saying they are going to put out an alternator charging kit, but it’s been “unavailable” on their website for ages. They do have a ‘cigarette-style’ charging cord available, but am I right in assuming that this would charge the battery much, much slower than using a b2b style hook-up?
The Yeti “Link” is the item you’re looking for. It’s not available on amazon, but it appears to be available on their site.
As per your diagram for shore power to inverter AC side input you go directly from sure right into input on inverter with not breaker in between. Can you explain why you don’t use a breaker panel incoming like the outgoing side. I’m a bit stumped as to how I should safely install my pure sign wave inverter. I see you rocking FD shirts on some of your YouTube vids. Brother fireman here if u are.
The breaker for shore power will be found in the campground power pedestal or in the breaker box in the wall the shore power is being plugged into. So, it is indeed protected, but it’s not a part of the camper wiring. Same reason there is no breaker on the wiring of, say, a toaster or a vacuum.
I bought both 2x 200w (newpowa) and 4x 100w (hqst) which would be better to install in series on my van (pairing with a victron 100/30)?
Your blog noting the advantage of writing in series with getting the voltage high enough get the charge controller to start charging sooner in the day promoted me to put the brakes on installing the two 200w and purchase the four 100w instead. Am I right? Are there any disadvantages (other than more hardware) I’m not considering?
Doing either 2 x 200w solar panels in series…
2x pairs of 100w solar panels in series with the two series strings wired in parallel will yield similar results.
2 x 200w solar panels in series will be the simpler option that will require less hardware.
Can you explain more about your ground wires? It appears they connect to the chassis of the van. I have a bus I am working on converting and I am unsure of what and how to ground things. I have a Victron solar controller and inverter similar to what you have in this diagram.
Should I be using the ground lugs on the outside of these?
Where do they connect?
Any advice would be great! Thanks!
The ground wires can be connected to either the chassis of the vehicle OR the bus bar. They are, pretty much, one in the same as even your busbar is connected to chassis ground.
Is the ground from the busbar there to complete the circuit for alternator power? I’m running a negative cable back to complete the circuit and was wondering if there is any other need to ground the negative busbar or any possible downsides to doing it should all my circuits be wired.
That is indeed what it’s mainly for. I can’t think of any downsides to not grounding the busbar… but if you run into any issues, it’d be pretty easy to add after the fact if needed.
Thanks Nate! You provide a great service.