The two weeks in New Hampshire for Porcfest and my first Forkfest was exactly what Rosie and I needed. It was a much needed break from “This new world we live in” and a great experiment in daily life routines while living in a van.
Maybe “daily life” is the wrong description. I was at a festival, after all. If I got into any real trouble there was plenty of people around and there’s public bathrooms with plumbing and showers. I had a surge protector plugged into an extension cable for power and a hose with water pressure for dishes and the like.
The main thing I learned was that I didn’t like having the sink in the middle of the van. It made it difficult to bring wet items in and out without making a mess on the floor. So everything’s gotta go, even the kitchen sink!
My sink was only half installed so I would pull the hose into the kitchenne and sort of drape the nozzle in the sink. Then I put a 5 gallon bucket underneath to catch the gray water. In a pinch this was perfectly fine for this last minute camping trip but obviously not optimal for long term sustainability.
With AnarCon right around the corner I won’t be able to rely on power and water being provided at a camp site. So that is my motivation as I write this. Get Looloo powered up and hydrated for off grid use over a long weekend. I only need to last 50-60 hours so this shouldn’t be too difficult. And if all goes according to plan, I’ll be able to charge my house battery off of the vehicles alternator until I can afford a proper solar charger setup and shore power input. More on that later.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been accumulating the components and parts needed for a basic electrical system. I picked up a little 1000w inverter and a 105 amp hour battery to act as a place holder for the battery bank.
I know this isn’t a ton of power but it will be just fine for operating my computer and charging up phones and cameras. If you’re considering doing a build yourself and planning to use any electronics like computer monitors, TV’s or anything audio related, you’re going to want to invest in a PURE Sin Wave inverter. That’s why I wound up going with a modest 1000w. The price jump from 1000w to 1500w alone was enough to make my wallet run for the hills.
That being said, everything I am building right now is experimental since I’m trying to future-proof as much as possible. It took a couple weeks but I was able to gather all of the 4/0 cable in town as well as a 10 pack of pretinned lugs. Went with the 5/16″ ring end since you can easily drill them out to 3/8″ but we’ll get to that in a more in-depth explanation of the electrical system. Mainly because Im still learning every day.
Kind of like how I learned that you can include stuff like this to avoid killing your vehicles main starting battery.
At this point I’m itching to get to work installing it all. Being an engineer and a maker on a budget I’ve learned to keep my receipts and always plan ahead as much as possible. I’m doing the majority of work from my parents barn which is 40+ miles from my house if I avoid the toll roads. Between that and running back and forth to the hardware store and marine supply store, there’s little time to load up the van and setup a workspace everyday. This project is going to be an all nighter.