Today, after a two month long wait, I received my Lithium battery cells form China. I’ve done period purchases through Alibaba and AliExpress now for the last 2 years, mostly below $20.00 each and haven’t had any issues so far. That gave me the confidence to try a $750.00 buy on Alibaba for eight 3.2V – 272Ah Lishen Lithium battery cells. I spent another $200.00 or so on other components, to make it all work. That included a good Multimeter, a small power station to top balance the batteries, heavy wiring, bus bars, switches, BMS’s and lots of lugs, bolts and nuts.Continue reading My Chinese Lithium Battery Cells. Yeah!
Much of the ceiling has been covered by 1in – 1-1/2in insulation and it’s time to cover it up.
I plan to use a 4′ x 8′ (~120cm x ~240cm) sheet of 3/16″ (~5mm) thick plywood covered with an automotive tweed fabric, which I also use on some of the walls and around the windows of the van. On some parts, the sheet is trimmed to fit between the cabinets; other parts are the full 48″ (~120cm) wide. That means, I have to use some narrow filler boards to span the entire ceiling. These boards will also support the edges of the panel.Continue reading Van Ceiling Panel – Part I
With the Van Build coming to an end, several important projects need some attention. Today I’ll start working on the battery bank of my solar system. Originally, and that was at the beginning of the van build, I installed two 6V Golf cart batteries. This netted me only ~100Ah at 12V nominal. Sufficient for only the most basic usage. At the time also more than sufficient, with only a minimal number of trips planned.
The main reason however, was that only 3-4 years ago, Lithium battery technology was hardly existent and very expensive. As I look back now, much has changed. We know now, that charging a Lithium battery at below freezing temperatures, is a big No-No, cell balancing must be part of the setup and many more issues are better understood. The development of low priced BMS’s (Battery Management Systems) has also made the DIY setup a possibility.Continue reading Building A DIY Lithium Battery
After fitting and testing the gray water tank, I do the final installation. I also add a vent pipe, close an unused opening and add a 12V valve to the dump line.Continue reading Gray Water Tank
Still have a small piece of window, next to the storage closet that needs to be finished. I’ll install a window frame/sill made from Hard Maple and add a plywood cover around it. Later I will use an automotive tweed to finish it. The corners of the frame are made differently than those of the window at the Murphy Bed , but give a similar result.Continue reading Window Sill & Cover
I continue the installation of the Webasto Gas Heater by removing the passenger seat and pedestal. The hydraulic car jack that is stored under the seat will be moved to another location. To achieve a good seal between the heater and the floor, I install a separate base plate and seal it with some silicone. Then drill the holes for the heater. Finally the heater is inserted in the holes of the floor and attached with four bolts.Continue reading Webasto Gas Heater – Part 4
Installed the overflow on the gray water tank. Simply a few PVC connectors with on top a small piece of window screen material, held in place with a clamp.
Next will be the 12V electric valve, A switch at the steering wheel will allow me to open the valve and dump the content of the gray water tank at a dump station.
In the process of finishing up the passenger side of the interior, I need to insulate the walls. Before I do that, I pulled the last wiring through the wall cavities.
The wall insulation consists of rigid Poly-Iso, separated about 0.5 inch from the skin of the vehicle with a few dots of spray foam, with the Poly-Iso pressed into it. This void acts, both as a barrier and a way to drain any condensation, without wetting the insulation.Continue reading Final Insulation & Closet
I fill-in most of the storage boxes in the ‘garage’ of my van. They are all open boxes with inter-locking bottoms, except for the top box, which receives a top lid. This Formica-finished top lid has three functions: as a top lid of course, as an extension of the kitchen countertop and as a worktop placed on a imperfect picnic table.Continue reading Storage Boxes & Desk Seat
After previously installing the fuel pump, I continue with the fuel (and power) line between the pump and the location where the heater penetrates the van floor.
For extra security, I use a wireloom around the power wire and use a wider fuel line aorund the tiny Webasto fuel line.Continue reading Webasto Gas Heater – Part III