Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wiring and Lighting going in

With all this bad weather we've been having it's been very hard to do much on the van as the majority of stuff I need to do requires me to be working outside - there aren't many jobs left that I can do purely sat in the van with the doors closed.

There was however one job left to do on the inside and that was putting in the new lighting and routing all the new cables for the various new electrical items I'm fitting, and so as it poured outside I got on with this on the inside.

First off was cutting the holes in the roof panels and cupboards etc. for the new lights and switches.

I decided to put two circuits (and so two switches) in for the lights - one circuit for the lights in the pop-top area and one for the lights in the main downstairs area.  In order to make things as flexible as possible lighting wise I got lights that each had their own individual switches on them, and got three position switches for the main switches - with the three positions being 1) all lights off, 2) all lights on, 3) lights individually switched from the switch on the lights.

With this way of setting things up it meant three wires had to go to each light fitting, and so I then had the fun task of having to route all the wires from where I was putting the switches to the individual lights.  This wasn't a very fun job as I had to feed wires though small box sections of the van, under roof and side panels, and through areas filled with old fibreglass insulation.

The van already had one florescent light in the main area with power wired to it, and so I decided to piggy back off that and put the main switches next to this and then route all the wires out from there.

As I was trying to be clever with the switching of the lights (both from main switch and individually switched) it meant I had to wire a blocking diode in to each of the lights in series with the power coming in from the "all lights on" switch as otherwise all the lights would have been directly connected together resulting in all lights coming on whenever any of the individual lights switches was toggled.

I could then fit the actual lights, and was very happy to find that all worked exactly as planned once they were all connected up.

There are going ten of these downlighters fitted in the van with one above each seating spot and one above each place that there is likely to be a pillow in the beds.

As it was STILL raining I carried on with all the rest of the internal 12 volt wiring that needed doing.  This included the main wire from where the leisure battery will be in the engine compartment to the kitchen unit where the main fuse/distribution block will be, from the kitchen unit to the front to another fuse box where the radio, a new cigarette socket, and the lights will be connected, and to both sides of the rear seat where I am going to fit cigarette sockets.

In order to make powering the radio flexible I fitted a toggle switch at the front so that the radio can be switched between being powered by the main van battery and the leisure battery.  Having fitted this I figured the front 12v cigarette socked should be switched too (we quite often have a car DVD player or such with us and I don't want to flatten the main van battery) and so I re-jigged the wiring so that that was done too.

During a brief break in the rain I managed to get in to the engine compartment and fit the split charge relay and all the wiring for it.  The split charge relay I used is supposed to be an "intelligent" and so when the engine is running will only charge the leisure battery once the main van battery has been optimally charged before starting to charge the leisure batter - thus making sure you can always start the van.

Final bits of wiring I did was putting in all the loud speaker cables for the radio.  I'm putting in four speakers - one in each front door, and one in each side panel by the rear seat - and so again I was having to route wires though small gaps and along box sections of the van body.  Much of this was achieved by first feeding though a long stiff bit of mains cable, and then attaching the speaker cable on to this and pulling it through.

I already had the speakers fitting in the front doors and so with the wires all in I connected it up and for the first time could have music in the van - it sounded good!


  1. Blimey. I've only just caught up with this post - what a mission! Makes me doubly glad you had already done all of this in Nistelrooy. Definitely not a job I would have the patience for!

  2. I didn't realise this was you! Fantastic job on the wiring and enjoy the blog generally.I have met you at Techenders etc (SickBayDays)

    1. Thanks for the comment. I really need to get back to updating the blog - I was doing well then life got in the way! Have been enjoying your blog too - especially your write up on Techenders. See you in April!