I’m keeping it simple for now and just built a little box/shelf thing to support the battery and inverter underneath my bench. I wanted to get everything mounted near each other to figure out exactly what kind of lengths I’d need for the cables.
After a few days of sourcing parts from multiple stores, I finally have everything I need to hook up the inverter. You’d be surprised to know that there is no “Van Conversion” section at the big box stores. After a little searching on the interwebs I found one RV Repair Shop with a decent inventory and a boating supply chain I had never heard of before.
I became quite familiar with this store and the majority of their Maryland locations. Their return policy is wonderful. My first trip there I bought a bunch of 8 AWG and 1/0 cable. The instructions call for 4/0 cable in order to meet the ratings listed. Whoops!
A quick trip back to the marine store and I was able to swap for the stuff I needed.While staring at the assortment of lugs I realized I needed to do a little more research on exactly how to connect all of these components. They have to be the right size for the cable and then the loop end for the various studs on the inverter, battery, relay and switch which are different sizes.
When buying the 4/0 lugs i needed (4)5/16″ loop ends and (6)3/8″. So I bought a 10 pack of 5/6″ and drilled out 6 of them to the larger 3/8″ opening. That decision saved me about $27 by being able to buy one 10 pack instead of five pairs. I know…blah blah blah.
This is probably a good time to mention that they don’t sell solder and flux at this store. Seems strange to me that they have everything else to make cables. Including torches and heat shrink…but not solder? Ok…to the big box hardware store I guess. They’ll have that stuff for sure.
Wandered over to the electrical isle and started to peruse. A few minutes in and an employee tells me what im looking for is down by the exit. He was really grumpy too. Like irritated that I was spending so much time looking at cable cutters. When I was talking to him, I couldn’t get over how it felt like my presence was a major inconvenience for him. Granted, he did have a bunch of stuff that he was restocking and this might have been his way of supplementing income for a crappy retirement plan or something. Let’s cut him some slack.
Finally the guy points me in the right direction and sure enough…there’s the torches and the solder. They even had the nice nickel bearing stuff. Oddly, however, no friggin flux in sight! Why wouldn’t it be right here? Crap, I guess its back to the electrical isle. The elder grump butt was still there. He seemed in better spirits now.
“Can’t seem to find any flux” I told him while mesmerized by the size of the pores on his nose.
“You’re looking for what now?” He hollered while scratching the inside of his ear with his pen.
“Where do you guys keep the copper pipe for plumbing?” We’ll just cut to the chase.
“Oh thats back across the store from where you just came”.
I’m not even going to get into how long it took me to find the stuff in between two end caps. This sort of hidden bay in between isles. Oh well, we got what I need. Let’s GTFO.
It was a fun night of music and soldering. And was definitely an all nighter. Hadn’t had one of those in a long time. At least not by choice.
Once a cable was cut to fit, I’d solder on the lugs and then seal it with some heat shrink…these cables will last longer than the van.
So do that like 12 times with various sizes, and we finally have power!
Now to test the system out real quick.
After punishing myself for a job well done with a half hour of the digital hell known as Cuphead, I decided it was best I go and get some sleep. Need to start thinking about a kitchen and bathroom next. More on that next time.