A conversion with no knowledge, but with the best of intentions.

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  • Thanks all. We ended up getting a few packs of the £7psm cladding from wickes and tried it out on one section. It looks rather good, but it's a bit too white for my liking so we will definitely stain it at some point. I've put a load of extra battons up behind the cladding where the kitchen units will go. And a big chunk of OSB where I'm expecting to mount the TV and another unit.


    We are toying with the idea of using different materials in the front end of the horsebox. Someone suggested plasterboard....but I've not seen one conversion where plasterboard has been used, I'm guessing this is mostly because of the weight? I love the idea of a pallet wall, just need to find an easier way to prep it 1st.

  • Don't use plasterboard, seriously, it is too heavy and too weak.


    You can buy thin plywood with a smooth polyester coating on it, this makes a great smooth surface to paint or wallpaper to, horsebox conversion places are a good source of properly priced decent thinner plywood. Or wood veneered thin ply if you like that look. 5 to 7 squid a m2 will get you lots of options to choose from.


    Lightest ply is probably Italian 3 ply poplar ply, used in model plane making, it is cheap enough too, this can be varnished to seal it and then put a nice finish on that. Downside is it isn't that stable, so will twist unless you have plenty of supports. Pretty much any thickness down to 2mm is available, and other than Depron, I doubt you will find anything lighter, or weaker. 5 mm poplar ply costs about 4 quid a square meter here in France, I imagine you could get it cheaper in the UK as all manufactured wood seems cheaper there. I use the 8mm a lot in conversions.


    Caravans often use 3mm to 5 mm or so hardboard with a printed wood or white finish, not sure of the cost, but I imagine cheap as chips ( as long as you don't buy it from a caravan shop) , dimensionally stable and pretty light.

  • Prototype window built! Cost around £20~£25 which is quite a bit cheaper than an "official" horsebox window and much cheaper than a caravan window. The design can be improved upon and I still need to add some seal or gasket strip and a bit of filler here and there. But a few of these will get us through the summer :).


  • Oh! Forgot to add these! Few more pics of the window in its designated place, the cladding (which is a bit too light in colour....think I should darken it and make it look warmer) and the stud/frame that is going up for our tiny shower, the compost loo and our son's room.






  • Little bit more framing of our sons room and our 1st piece of home made furniture (kind of).






    Still procrastinating with the electrics and water though. But the next step needs to be power, I'm redesigning the electric at the moment though, simplifing it quite a bit. Originally I had 2 electrical systems that were isolated from each other but charged from the same alternator, mains supply and so on using big clunky switches. Would of been cool, but far too convoluted for what we really need. I


    think I know what I'm doing, but just in case, is there anyone on here that wouldn't mind double checking my schematics?

  • Don't worry, not going to go anywhere near plasterboard. It was suggested by my step farther in-law who is an old school carpenter/builder that is very set in his ways. Not seen a single conversion or read a single thread that's recommended plasterboard.

  • Here is a semi-finished version. The idea is to have analogue amp meters on all of the charging devices and on the outputs to keep track of what we are using. I'm also going to have some kind of monitor to measure the power left in the battery, push button or analogue, haven't decided yet. And I think it may be a good idea to add a couple of LED's to indicate if my sockets are plugged into the inverter or the hook up. There's also a split charge relay which I've forgotten to add.


    Edit:- Slight error in that the shunts should be AFTER the isolate switch.


    Edit 2:- And I've got the solar + and - the wrong way around on the battery! I was in a rush :).


  • That's pretty much identical to my set up, except


    1. I used a 3 pole 3 way (On A - Off - On B) to select whether the internal sockets were running from the inverter or the hook up. (I also put a 240v socket outside under the floor in case I want mains outdoors..


    2. I put big isolator switches in the +ve lines from battery to solar controller, and from battery to inverter...


    3, My charger isn't wired in, for flexibility of use.


  • 1. Something like this? https://www.rapidonline.com/ba…off-on-cam-switch-50-2904


    2. Noted, will add those in.


    3. So rather than going straight into the charger, have that going to a 3pin socket and fit a plug onto the charger?

  • 1. yes, just like that, but common the earths! Also, if that switch is like mine, it's actually 2 separate 3pole 1 way switches, and you need to common one side of each together for the output...


    2. good call


    3. My charger's not wired on the 12V side either.. I can take it right out to help people out if necessary... It will get plugged in and clipped to the battery if I ever need it.....

  • The mains charger is causing me a bit of confusion because there is such a variation in prices for chargers that seem to more or less have the same spec. I'm looking at a 30a mains charger on ebay which is £69.99. You can find what looks like the same charger (but re-badged) for double or almost triple the price. And if you start looking at the key brands they also cost a lot more. My instincts tell me this isn't a item to really cheap out on if possible, but does it matter that much? I will probably be using it quite a lot.

  • Be careful with chargers that will be permanently connected. The money is spent on controls for the charge rate(s), to be able to "float" etc a simple flat rate battery charger will fry those expensive batteries if it just keeps pumping too much current into them. Marine stuff will give you an idea of what's suitable.
    You can get good combined charger/inverters from the likes of Mastervolt and Victron. (not cheap new, though)
    Rodders.

  • I cant see the drawing and post at the same time, but you have one seperate socket fed of the inverter correct?
    You have the load of the solar controller connected to the battery and it shouldnt be.
    Imo you are going over the top with all the ammeters.
    You shouldnt have a 32a breaker on the charger supply.
    You should use a smaller rcd, ideally get a rcbo instead. Youll only get a small amperage supply from a caravan site so ideally you would make the socket breakers smaller so they trip rather than the site supply.
    You have earthed the 0v from the battery to the chassis. I would install a cable from the battery 0v to the charge controller to avoid any potential corroision / earth issues.

  • And for clarity i would use either green or orange for earth, you are using both, and change the red to brown for the 240. That way if you keep a drawing and anyone looks at it in the future they should be able to differentiate the ac and dc immediately

  • Rick's right!!!


    There should be no connection at all between the battery and the load.... the + and - feeds to the lights etc should come only from the Load connections on the solar controller... A lot of solar controllers are actually common positive!!

  • I cant see the drawing and post at the same time, but you have one seperate socket fed of the inverter correct?
    You have the load of the solar controller connected to the battery and it shouldnt be.
    Imo you are going over the top with all the ammeters.
    You shouldnt have a 32a breaker on the charger supply.
    You should use a smaller rcd, ideally get a rcbo instead. Youll only get a small amperage supply from a caravan site so ideally you would make the socket breakers smaller so they trip rather than the site supply.
    You have earthed the 0v from the battery to the chassis. I would install a cable from the battery 0v to the charge controller to avoid any potential corroision / earth issues.


    Thanks for pointing that out, should of known about load from the MPPT going to the battery was wrong. And I know I'm going a bit OTT with the Ammeters, but it's more of an aid for my girlfriend so I don't keep getting phone calls at work asking questions about whats charging what. I was considering changing the rcd to something smaller, 64a seemed a lot but that's what it came with. 32a should do it I'd imagine?


    And with the colours, I am massively colour blind, I thought I was using just green for the earth! :)

  • I think caravan site supplies are 10 amp. Therefore your main breaker should be the same, and everything else smaller as youll soon piss a site owner off if you keep getting them out to reset because you are tripping their supply and not your own.


    The mppt controller should give you a charge and discharge reading depending on the version you buy so everything is on one display.
    You dont really need to know how much current the battery charger is kicking out, if it's on itll sort itself out.

  • Wiring redone. Removed some ammeters, added some indicator lights to show me whats flowing into what, changed and moved some other bits around.....can't remember all of it. Sorry it's a big drawing, you'll probably have to do a fair bit of zooming to see what I've actually done here. Was going to try and do a mains ring, but for various reasons it won't work because it'll look shit. It maybe it wont...I'll have a rethink. Apart from that, I think this is it.


  • I cant see your drawing clearly unlike your last one, however from what i can make out:
    You have a 16a rcd in your cu. If you want one with a current rating then you need a rcbo. An rcd cuts out when it detects imbalace in the phase and neutral lines, combine this with a mcb then you have a rcbo. Your phase is now coloured green and your earth is orange (i know you explained colour blindness) Im not sure if ive got it right but i assume the box you have drawn under the charger at the bottom is your hookup inlet. If so, this should go to your 2 way 2 pole switch. The inverter should go to the second poles of the same switch. From there you would go to your consumer unit. As is you have no protection on the 240v side of your inverter.
    Solar controller load should be fused at its rated output, the 12v fuses are too big. 240 breaker ratings are also too high.
    Ill draw something up for you, what i think you are trying to do...

  • Attempted to do you a couple of quick drawings this morning at work. The CAD program is playing up so had to use autosketch which cant save as a jpg, so had to print it then scan it to be able to post it. As a result the pic is a bit shit and comes out really light (sorry!) but you get the idea. I think i put everything in you wanted except the ammeters and the neons. One drawing for 240vac, one for 12vdc