Posts by OffGridKid

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    yeah i have a multimeter, its reding 12 volts from the battery, but someone told me a battery reads 12 volts even if its dead anyway! ive just tested the inverter in my car by plugging it into the cigarette lighter, it works no problem. I then tried hooking it back upto the van system and as before it powers up ok from the leisure battery but no power on the lights or sockets. It seems to me that the battery may be not giving enogh power for the lights but enough power to boot up the inverter, i just dont know!

    Do you have nothing to check the state of charge of your battery?
    Buy a cheap multimeter from maplins or ebay, only about a fiver, and absolutely necessary for a solar system.

    but there is no power to the sockets also. The lights are 240volt led's i guess they have built in transformers.

    Sounds like it might be the transformer for the LED lights that's causing the problem then. Try it without them connected. Is it a separate transformer, of built into the bulbs? ie, are they just bulbs that fit into a standard household light socket?
    Best thing is to get some 12volt ones from a caravan shop or online. If they have a separate transformer they may be 12volt ones anyway.
    Will try to post some pics of power tools running off my batteries.

    ok well the battery has been connected to the solar panel around six months now, i guess the next question is, is the solar panel doing its job, i have a green light indicating solar power on my regulator, that's all i have to go by that indicates power from panel.

    most inverters cut out if the battery volts drop below 12v so that it doesnt totally flatten the battery, the battery should be ok, but if you havent charged it at all, it may not have been fully charged from new as batteries dont store as well fully charged.

    yeah good points, i automatically assumed that i needed one but now im looking into it im not one for all the electrical mod cons anyway, my ethos is KIS, Keep It Simple. My sparky mate seems to think that these cheap inverters arn't designed for this kind of use, only for using in cars etc to power laptops and phones. I dunno but ive quickly begun to detest inverters, its the only major problem ive come across so far in my van conversion.

    I am not a fan of inverters as most things these days can be charged, converted or got in a 12v versions. They use up power themselves and folk often expect domestic performance and time. That said if you want one then it is up to you.

    You say the ones you got were from e-bay and low cost, maybe that is the issue. I am not one for spending over the top either but sometimes a good known brand is worth paying for. Is there a trip switch to reset? Is the battery healthy? Is the inverter running something else while it is on you don't know about? Having gone through 3@ £25 = £75 I would be looking at why you need one and is there an easier 12V way to get what you need.


    ok yeah, not sure if the inverter is knackered now, its running, maybe just the fuses are gone, il have a look today, so you mean plug in each appliance, like laptop, monitor speaker etc etc, thing is ive had none of those plugged in anyway as im still building the van, only thing ive had is the consumer unit which powers the led lights.
    it goes solar panel-regulator-battery-inverter-consmer unit-led lights

    I'd try (your next?) inverter straight off a battery without the solar connected, and plug each device that you use direct into that, without going through your wired system. If you try each item on it's own, then you should find out which is causing the problem. If all items work ok on their own then you can start adding the solar, then the consumer unit. There must be a problem somewhere, it's just finding which device it is.

    hi thanks mate, how do you do that with the power tools,i mean connect them to the battery bank, do you have a photo so i can seethe setup

    I once saw a portable DVD player kill an inverter, it was a Ring inverter too. In fact I don't buy Ring ones now as I've had 2 die on me. I can only assume it was the power adapter that caused the prob with the DVD. It wasn't mine but was my inverter :curse:
    I'm not able to charge my power tools from an inverter. Guess you need a much bigger one than I have, and maybe a pure sine-wave one too for the more hi-tech chargers. I use cordless drills and a small circular saw straight off my battery bank. Some are 12v and some 24v. I made adapters that fit into the battery slot, or attached wires directly to the drill. Works great, except for needing the wire :o

    hi richy, yeah im with you on the tv, scrapped mine years ago and have never looked back, the links take me to ebay but not to the items, il have a search anyway as i can see the item description, cheers. I have a seperate leisure battery in the back of the van so wont be hooked up to the van battery. I wonder if i could run my monitor speakers on a 12 volt adapter, theyre the dj style ones not little computer ones.

    Hi Grendel thanks for contributing. So if i put on a multimeter read and it reads less than 12 volts, does that mean my battery is run down. Not sure what type of battery it is, but it's a brand new leisure battery and surely cant be run down from just the led light tests that i have already used it for. The inverter is cheap but defo not cheerful, cant see a reset button just an on off switch, it sounds like its running ok but just not providing power.

    is there a reset button on the invertor, they are quite good at tripping out, plus if the battery volts drop past a certain point it wont work either, with a lead acid battery the voltage is a good indicator of the charge level, just google for battery voltage / charge, at 11.9v you only have 40% charge remaining.

    ok thanks OBD, i have a pretty basic lifestyle in so definately no microwaves,frigde and defo no tv's, as i already live without all of those things in my house. So i will be running;
    a three bulb led light(3 watt)
    an under unit led strip in the bedding area (not sure how many watts that is)
    two monitor speakers which both have an individual power requirement
    mobile phone.

    power tool battery packs,my makita ones say 220-240 volts. Like you i need to get used to using more hand tools, but i just thought a cordless drill and maybe cordless jigsaws/circulars could be an option too for chopping pallet wood.

    ok, didnt realise that was an option, but does that mean i cant use certain appliances like charging up power tool batteries, laptop, running monitor speakers etc?

    not really sure what the problem is, but Im wondering why you need an invertor to run 12v lights? I realized last van that instead on an inverot to run my laptop 12v socket with a universal power supply 12v fitting is a better idea, less power.Good LUck.

    Hi, some of you may recal a post which i made a few weeks back with regards to my electrical system in my van and two inverters which failed to do the job, here is the original thread.…ers?p=1361573#post1361573

    so anyway after asumng that the first two inverters of the same brand were a bit dodgy, i bought another one off ebay, pretty much cheapest i could find at around 25 quid brand new, another china import probably. So i got my sparky mate up to fit it and hey presto, i have light and power. I left on the lights for a few hours to see how it went, no probs, until yesterday, i came to switch on the inverter, starts up no problem, hit the light switch and NOTHING! im really running out of ideas here as to what the problem may be, i dont know if this inverter is still ok now, it's still booting up and running, maybe il check the fuse in it today, but it's definately not providing power. The electrics are sound as i plugged in the power from the house and no problem. Is there anyway i ca test the charge on the battery? it is brand new and only had minimal use with the led lights n the van, nothing really.

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?? annoying!

    oh by the way do you have any links to Altium inverters, i can't find anything on the net, do they come under a diffent brand?

    hey no i didnt know that so thanks for teaching me something new, i do have a seperate leisure battery though.


    Hi folks, ive recently had major problems with the inverter which i bought for my van which im currently converting. I bought it back in february of this year on ebay, it was a 800/1000peak watt inverter by Streetwize and when my mate installed it all was well, as all the electrics in the van, it was working fine, silent, and all plugs and lights in operation.

    As i wasnt using it much i switched off the power at the inverter and consumer unit. Then a couple of months later i switched it on, it was very loud, sounded like something was taking off! not silent like before, and no power at all on the lights or plugs.

    So anyway to cut a long story, i sent it back and got another one, brand new. Connected it all up and same again, loud inverter and no power. Then after switching on off button a few times smoke and sparks came out of it, so that was the end of that inverter!
    So my sparky mate came up and did a few tests, the electrics work fine when hooked up to the house mains, the battery is working fine, so we came to conclusion that the problem had to be from the solar panel to the inverter.

    The set up goes, solar panel 165 watt - cheap 10 quid regulator(which shows green light for solar)- battery-inverter-consumer unit - 4 plug sockets, 1x 3 way led,2 x light switches, 1 x strip led, and no appliances.

    Any gueses as to what the problem might be?i fear that if i buy another inverter, whatever brand it may be, then a repeat of the first two may occur. Could it be a fault with these inverters, solar regulator not doing its job properly, battery problem? could anyone recommend a decent inverter?


    thanks Ian i appreciate your maticulous research, the only concern with the stove i am about to install is that ive ended up putting the flue outlet fairly close to one of the vented skylights, its gonna be a couple of feet away, i know from completing domestic gas qualies that this kind of thing always comes up. Could always blockoff the skylight when the stove is in use but just not sure how this would affect insurance etc. ive cement boarded the area around the fireplace, heavy stuf but worth it i think. Oh and of course my electrics are a concern at the moment as we have already discussed on another thread. When i did my domestic gas course a few years back i dont recal a mention of motorhomes etc, maybe it comes as an add on qually like the caravan/boathouses.

    Hi all, id just like to ask whether anybody is aware of any building rgulations on a self build camper van, a bit late in the day as im already more than half way through doing mine but having put a question on here about electrics in a van, one member pointed out to me that insurance companies wont insure vans that dont have proffesionally signed off electric work? Then that got me thinking about everything else that is regulated, wood burning stoves for example, do they need to be signed of by a heatas engineer? does gas have to be signed off by a gassafe engineer?

    As far as i was aware there were no building regs on vehicles but if the insurance companies are asking for things like this then i really need to make sure im doing this selfbuild right otherwise could end up with an expensive off road van!

    Anybody had problems with insuring their van due to diy electrics,gas,woodburner installations?


    well to be honest mate it looks like im gonna have to tell a few porkies with the insurance company anyways, i mean whos gonna insure me with a woodburning stove inside anyway? besides theres no way im gonna start hunting for a sparky to sign off the work, thats gonna cost money too, and just like in the gas industry, like you said whos gonna put their number and career to someone elses work. Are you telling me that every camper van insurer asks to see a copy of the elctrics work thats been signed by an electrician? how do all the diyers get round that?

    Ian as i said it was a belt & braces job, because the people were paranoid cos they couldnt get their heads around the fact it was sitting on 4 big chunks of insulating rubber.

    And offgridkid, if you put in 240v your insurance company will want it signed off by a qualified sparky & its hard enough to
    find one to sign for someone elses work, as they are basically taking responsibility for something they didnt do,
    with no earth its no chance !!

    haha scaredy, dont wanna end up like Wiley Coyote, by the way do you have any info on my second question about wiring up the solar regulator, the 3rd terminal 'load' has me baffled, is it to connect directly to the appliance without the battery, thats what my mate thinks but again he has no experience in solar panel wiring.

    If you are not wired correctly or have a fault you will do a Wile E Coyote lightning impersonation at some time when stepping out the van.


    tanks for that Revel, il get back to my mate and we can have a rethink, although he is adamant that earthing to the chassis is just as unsafe as not earthing at all. He also did mention the earth spike. Any advice on wiring up the solar regulator, im not sure where the 3rd terminal wires upto, was my mate right about that is it for loads that go direct from the solar panel to the appliance?

    cheers for the info Ian, you're right my mate never had experience or qualies in this department but earthing to the chassis does not earth the van, and he did say that both methods, unearthing and 'chassis earthing' are unsound. Il send him this info and we shall have a re thnk, he left the earth in each socket etc taped up so we can always revisit.

    Hi folks, it's been a while since i visited here, im still battling on with my van conversion, maybe i should have asked this before my mate did the elctrics but a couple of important questions to ask.
    a) is it pssible to safely earth electrics in a van, my mate, who is an ex sparky(never done vans before) has wired my van, it was a pretty simple setup, solar panel down to a battery and inverter, consumer unit and with rcd trip out and a few plug sockets ,couple of light switches,one reading under cabinet led light and a 3 way led light. He did not earth the system because he said that there was no point because a van cant be earthed. He said you can earth to the chassis itself but this is not safe as it can make the chassis live bearing in mind the whole luton box is metal. Does anyone know any different? i guess the only safetly backup i have is the trip out on the consumer unit.

    Secondly, i was a bit baffled by the solar control box regulator too, its a real cheap simple one but im not sure if i have another wire connection to make. There is one pair of terminals for the panel, done that, another for the battery done that, then there is a third pair of terminals for load, thats whats confusingg me? My mate seems to think that this is only to be used direct to an appliance, ie, straight from the solar panel without using the battery, any ideas on this? There are alot of icons/guages on the solar regulator but non of them seem to be lighting up as i expected except the green light ndicating the solar panel, i thought there might be gauges lighting up to show the battery charging but to be honest the battery is fully charged and im not using any power yet.

    couple of pics to get a clearer picture of setup

    cheera for reading


    well i joined up to learn about nomadic living and campervan builds as im doing one myself, and ive got to say ive had some great advice on that forum, plenty of folk willing to help, hopefully i can do the sme for other people when ive completed it. Not sure about some of the other aspects of the site, personally i think one has to be doing something practical for people to engage their interest on here, i.e, building something,creating an event, art music etc.

    plus dont have a totally flat roof, its a fibre glass luton stuck to steel rbs so inbetween the ribs there are dips, but anyway it is the bolts that are fastening the angle to the panel that im stumped on, how did you fit yours with sika again?

    Because of the problems your experiencing I went for the sikoflex option and never looked back...ez pz lemon squezy