Camper Trailers Tech Tips

Avan electricial add-on ideas



electricial add-ons

To keep an eye on the battery I mounted a digital voltmeter along with a switch mounted in a brushed aluminium enclosure I made in my workshop. The enclosure was then mounted via a couple of small self tappers on top of the front shelf just behind the middle storage bin. In this position it can be seen from virtually anywhere within the camper. The wiring is plumbed into the cables feeding the front light. These digital voltmeters are available from most caravan accessory places for around $30; or, like me you can source one from China on ebay for around $5.

The single 12volt socket mounted in the cupboard at the foot of the bed was inadequate for our usage as most electrical items we have are 12volt and of course the plug tends to disconnect on occasions when lifting the bed. To solve the problem I mounted a twin surface mount socket over the original socket cutout and oriented it east/west so accidental disconnects are no longer a problem. These sockets are also available on ebay in a plethora of configurations from quad sockets to twins with twin USB sockets and even one with a built in digital voltmeter.

I invested in a TV signal finder and mounted it in front of the three drawer cupboard just inside the door with Velcro so I can see it when adjusting the antenna. That saves me running inside all the time to check the LEDs or having to disconnect it once the antenna is adjusted if used outside.. This one works on a nine volt battery which goes flat pretty quick if I forget to turn it off (every time so far). To solve the problem I bought a 9 volt battery clip with flying leads from Jaycar, clipped it to the signal finderís battery clip and soldered a 150 ohm resistor to the end of the positive lead. Rather than hardwire the unit I soldered a 12 volt plug to the end of the exiting leads and mounted a dual lighter/USB socket just underneath the signal finder to plug it in to. Using the USB sockets I can also charge mobiles and tablets from there as well. When attaching the battery clip to the signal finders clip the exiting wires will be reversed so negative Ė red and positive = black, just something to remember if you wonder why it ainít working.

Running out of water in the middle of nowhere isnít much fun so I invested in a water flow meter. Easy to use just fill the tank and zero the meter. The meter reads off the litres flowing through the tap/pipes, very accurately I might add, so you know when you are getting near the bottom of the tank. Available on ebay for around $70-$80, or from Futurlec for $35, which is where I sourced mine.

The inside lighting is abysmal and the standard incandescent bulbs tend to eat up the amps. You can replace both the bayonet and festoon bulbs with LED substitutes but itís pretty much a waste of time due to the relatively low height of the lights. Instead I installed an LED bar light on the rear roof section about 600mm from the apex. The cables were run through a square plastic conduit down to a miniature switch I mounted in the standard light fitting. The standard lights arenít used anymore as the overhead LED provides more than enough illumination anywhere inside the camper.. The roof angle, white backing and height of the light mean only a small unit is required and the power consumption is next to nothing.

Manufacturers donít appear to understand the vagaries of voltage drop over lengthy cable runs and as a consequence tend to run puny wires from the fridge to the seven pin plug. I tore the original wire out, replaced it with 50 amp figure eight from Repco, connected it to an Anderson plug at the front and the other end to a Fridge Switch mounted behind the fridge which in turn is connected to the fridge. Obviously an Anderson socket is required on the vehicle also. Fridge Switches are also available on ebay for around $65 and are worth their weight in cold, if youíll excuse the pun! The Fridge Switch senses movement so when the vehicle is in motion the Fridge Switch activates. Stationary and the Fridge Switch deactivates. Saves on flat batteries and also saves having to wire up to the vehicles accessories loom.

On the rear bumper I mounted a Merit socket for the solar panel and an Anderson socket for the genny. There is also a Merit socket mounted at front so regardless of camper orientation to the sun I can place the solar panel in the best position for best effect. PVC drain pipe can be heated with a heat gun and fashioned into pretty well any shape you like. Just cut and flatten the PVC sheet, sketch the shape, cut, heat and bend. Corners can be sealed with silicon to weatherproof.



The solar panel is a semi flexible unit I bought on ebay; however, three corners were damaged in the post making it unsuitable for a roof mount so I straightened the panel as best I could and mounted it to a piece of 9mm lacquered marine ply. It weighs considerably less than a fold up panel and is stored on a couple of brackets I installed under the bed over top of the pull out drawer.


thanks to Tony Hothersall for sharing his ideas



january 2016