Preparation is everything

This week has been focused on completing the one or two bits and pieces in our lounge that we just didn’t quite get done before our friends visit last week: Elaine was busy taking up the new curtains (two pairs) and I was routing a spare oak flooring plank to make a neat strip for under the lounge door.

I’ve also been busy fitting a gas alarm and an 800 watt inverter to the ‘van. Both required to be connected into the ‘van leisure batteries. Here’s a bit of background: ‘vans have at least two batteries – the vehicle battery and one or more leisure batteries. Just like in your car, the vehicle battery is used for starting the ‘van and running the ‘van’s electrical items like the headlights, radio, etc. The leisure battery (in our case two 110 Ampere/hour batteries in parallel) powers all of the ‘van’s accommodation electrics – and hence it is this battery that the inverter is connected to. Ah, may be this is a good point to mention that an inverter transforms DC power into AC power, or more simply in our case, 12 volts (DC) from the batteries into 230 volts (AC) to power most 3 pin plug devices up to 800 watts.

There was a bit more to fitting the inverter than simply screwing a connection onto one pair of battery terminals. The first thing to consider was the location of the inverter inside the ‘van. Obviously it needed to be accessible to allow us to easily plug into it. However, the cable run from the battery to the inverter should be as short as possible because 800 watts driven from 12 volts draws 800/12 ? 67 amps of current (actually it can draw 100 amps because this inverter can provide 1200 watts peak power). Perhaps this is a bit technical, but with such high current possible, this means that thicker conducting wires are required, which need to be even thicker for longer cable runs. Keeping the cable run to less than 1m was therefore desirable and I finally managed to locate the optimum position for the inverter. The next thing was to drill through the floor of the ‘van to pass the cables into the battery compartment. I was then able to attach the inverter cables to a pair of battery terminals and the job was done.

Next was the fitting of the gas alarm. This was a lot easier. The gas alarm that we bought alerts on the detection of carbon monoxide and LPG. LPG is used for all our cooking and heating.

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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