Electrifying Black Betty

So, as I said in my last post, we have done a few things to get Black Betty a bit more up to scratch. I spent 2 days with my dad (he’s a sparky) “Electify-ing” BB. She did have an anderson cable for charging, but it was 4mm2 cable, she had a battery but it had dropped a cell and was not accepting any charge, and she had 2 ciggy plug outlets but they were wired up with wire as thin as hair, I was not happy plugging in the new BIG fridge into these outlets so we made some changes.

The Workshop

The Workshop

I used 16mm2 cable for the Anderson charging cable, through a 50A circuit breaker straight to the new Ozcharge 120Ah AGM Deep Cycle battery.

Old charging cable left, new on the right, more then 3 times thicker

Old charging cable left, new on the right, more then 3 times thicker

A separate ‘heavy duty’ circuit of 6mm2 cable with an inline 20A fuse to a merit/ciggy plug power outlet for the fridge then 16mm2 cable from the battery to a fuse box for the rest of the circuits.

Heavy Duty sockets for the fridge up front and the fuse box in the distance

Heavy Duty sockets for the fridge up front and the fuse box in the distance

I put the fridge/charging on their own circuits because I plan to add an isolation switch eventually so I can kill all power to everything but the fridge and charge cable for when we are packed down and hitched up.

Off the fuse box I have a power circuit and a lighting circuit, all power cable was replaced with 6mm2 and the existing power outlet at the foot of the bed was replaced with a triple outlet, 1 ciggy, a dual USB and backlit LCD Voltmeter.

1 ciggy (for anything) Dual USB (For the iDevices) and the Voltmeter (to keep an eye on the battery)

1 ciggy (for anything) Dual USB (For the iDevices) and the Voltmeter (to keep an eye on the battery)

The lighting circuit has 2 zones, what I call the ‘trailer’ area in the back, and then the ‘front box’. I used strip LED’s and little inline light switches, I put up the LED’s in a way that they are behind some of the steel box section so that they illuminate the area extremely well, but are never shinning in your eyes. I had planed to use 2 x 1mtr strips in the trailer section but after wiring up 1 x 1mtr it was clear that a second metre wasn’t necessary.

1mtr Strip in the trailer area

1mtr Strip in the trailer area

In the front box I used 2 x 50cm strips, one on each side because this box can be accessed from either side of the camper, again, I put them up in a way that they do not shine in your eyes.

1 of the 50cm strips, the inline switch in the RHS of the photo. Duplicated on the other side of the front box

1 of the 50cm strips, the inline switch in the RHS of the photo. Duplicated on the other side of the front box

And switched on

And switched on

All in all I am VERY happy with the result. I still need to make up 2 x 1mtr LED strips on a bit of ally terminated with ciggy plugs that will be used 1 over the kitchen and 1 in the tent section, stuck up with magnets. Other then that I have plans to match up the rims and tyres with Peter Prado and make up a fridge slide similar to one of these:

Right – that should keep the blokes happy for a while!  If anybody has some other camper trailer modification ideas I’d love to here them!

 

 

 

Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Electrifying Black Betty

  1. Andrew Wilson

    Hi Matt,

    Interesting post! Some cool upgrades there which are bound to keep everything ship shape.

    Due to all of that DC stuff you were doing in there I thought I’d let you know about some devices I use at work for 12V systems. I use a battery monitoring device called a Victron BMV-600s

    http://www.victronenergy.net.au/battery-monitors/bmv-600s%20and%20bmv-602s/

    It is unreal, it’s like a fuel gauge for you battery. It shows real time current (+ or – depending if your supplying more than you are drawing or vise versa) it shows state of charge in percent, Ah remaining/consumed, time to go at current level of draw, voltage etc etc etc. have a look at the link, its been a very good investment for my projects.

    I was also wondering how you were managing your battery charging? I assume you would be running a dual battery set up in the car and I noticed you had a solar system too (on Karen). We have started using DC to DC chargers as they offer a ‘smart’ solution to charging. Basically they charge the battery correctly, the same way a quality plug in wall charger would work, I’m sure you of all people would know that alternators are not great at charging batteries. I haven’t read your posts about upgrading the Prado so I’ve probably made myself look stupid!!

    We use the CTEK D250S Dual and I highly recommend them and as an added bonus for you they have a solar cell input as well.

    http://www.ctek.com/au/en/chargers/D250S%20DUAL

    Anyway the upgrades (and the camper) look great!

    Speak soon

    Andrew

    • Hey Andrew.
      That monitoring device is the bees knees aye! Very cool.

      I decided against the DCDC charger in the camper ($$$) knowing full well that when we are on the road the alternator/solar would be smash charging the battery but also being realistic that these days we will be lucky to get away 4 times a year.

      When the camper is at home it will be plugged in to a 7 stage 240v charger for conditioning.

      Not perfect, but sufficient. Peter Prado is not quite as lucky, he doesn’t have a DCDC charger or get plugged in at home. For this reason though I went with a SuperCharge Allrounder that is supposed to be a ‘hybrid’ battery that can handle a bit more charging like a crank battery but cycle a little deeper. So far so good.
      Hope you guys are all well.

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