Aircooled Crazy Ramblings of an obsessed man

Wiring your van for leisure use

A lot of camper vans are wired with a starter battery and a leisure battery. The starter battery you only really use when your driving and the leisure battery when your camping. The reason this is done like is because;

a) You don't want to leave yourself without enough juice to start the van and using the starter battery as a power source could drain the battery enough to stop you starting the vehicle again.
b) Starter batteries are designed for short high drain bursts for starting the vehicle. Using starter batteries for leisure destroys them. (Allegedly - an email from a respected electronics company says otherwise)

So what can you do? Well I guess there are a few different ways of cracking this but this is what I did.

I bought 2 x 100 Amp Hour AGM batteries, a Battery Brain and a battery charger. The 2 batteries are designed for Leisure and starting so no problems with destroying a starter battery with long drains. There are 2 types of battery that can be used as dual purpose batteries. AGM batteries which use carbon fibre matting and thicker plates to ensure the plates are covered with the acid at all times and Gel batteries which use an acidic gel to cover the plates. The AGM batteries are much cheaper than the Gel batteries. I used Elecsol 100 Amp batteries. They fit nicely in the under seat battery compartments on a T3/T25. If you decide to follow my example then make sure you buy 2 new batteries of the same type because batteries of different age and capacity can pull down the weaker of the 2.

The Battery Brain is a device which monitors the voltage of your battery(s) and cuts the power when it reaches a voltage where the vehicle will still start. With this box of tricks you can link your 2 batteries in parallel, use both batteries and not have to worry about starting your van.

The battery charger is a modern 240v charger which uses a variety of techniques to keep your batteries in tip top shape. I bought an Elecsol ABC1220M and mounted it under the front seat. When I am camping with hookup I can keep the batteries topped up or when parked up in the garage I can just leave it running to keep the batteries at their peak for extended periods.

This is the Elecsol AGM Battery I used in this project.

The space under the front seats in a T25/T3 is 310 wide x 175 deep (front to back) x 190 high.

The Elecsol battery is 278mm wide x 175mm deep x 190mm high in size.

They cost around the £100 mark each. They weigh 19.5kg each.

You can get more info from
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Battery Brain

The Battery Brain connects to your vehicles Battery and continually monitors it's charge. Were the charge to drop below the minimum required level (11.8v) to start the vehicle, Battery Brain effectively disconnects the battery.

It basically ensures that there is always enough charge to start the van and you will never be stranded.

You can get more info from
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ELECSOL ABC1220 Battery Charger

I did a bit of research and decided to buy the ELECSOL ABC1220 Battery charger after the old Westfalia charger in my van died.

Max charging current: 20amps
Dimensions (LxWxH): 190 x 118 x 58 mm.
Weight: 1.2kg.

short circuit protection, overload protection, reverse polarity protection, advanced SMD Technology, stylish aluminium housing, four stage charging fully automatic.
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