Mod: 15 Amp Hookup Cable

A hidden RV hookup cable replaces a standard electrical inlet, to comply with the stealthy look of the vehicle.

The cable will be deployed infrequently as dispersed camping is the primary objective, but in those situations where an electric hookup is available, it can be put to use, to charge the batteries.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to install an RV Hookup Cable.
  • How to install a PlusNut.

What You’ll Use:

  • Screwdriver.
  • Phillips screwdriver.
  • Wrenches.
  • Utility knife.
  • Cotton swab.
  • Hammer.
  • Wheel chocks.
  • Drill.
  • Drill bits.
  • Pull wire.
  • Broom.
  • Optional:
    • PlusNut tool.

What You’ll Need:

  • Grommet.
  • Touch-up paint.
  • ¼-20 .280 Plusnut.
  • Washer.
  • Lock washer.
  • ¼-20 Stainless steel bolt.
  • 15 Amp female connector.
  • 15 Amp male outdoor connector.
  • 12 AWG wire (12/3).

Description

The 12V house system will be kept separate from the vehicle 12V system. It will consist of a Lithium battery bank that will be primarily charged by solar panels. Two alternative power sources to charge the system are through an inverter connected to the CCP (Customer Connection Point in the Ford Transit) used only while driving and this 15 Amp hookup cable when connected to the grid.

Approximate Duration: 3 hrs.

Considerations

In my previous van conversion, I choose to install a permanent 15 Amp inlet in the outside wall of the cargo van [photo] , but this time around I’ll use a hidden cable, located under the driver’s side door to comply with the stealthy nature of the van.
The power cord enters the vehicle through an existing hole at the bottom of the B-pillar, leading upwards through the pillar, where it enters the the interior of the van through a drilled hole. This is the location of the Murphy bed under which the batteries find their home. A manual switch, accessible from the drivers seat, controls which power source is made available (shore power/CCP/none).
A 15 Amp female connector is attached to the underside of the frame to hold the cable securely in place.

Purchase: I used an old, heavy, 14/3 AWG cable with an integrated 15 Amp socket and purchased a separate 15 Amp female connector for $2.00. Edit: I replaced the cable with integrated socket, with a 12/3 AWG cable and OUTDOOR socket. Indoor plugs should only be used indoors!

The Project

  • As always when working under the vehicle, I use wheel chocks, to immobilize the van.
  • Drill a hole, the size of the cable (plus grommet) into the side of and at the bottom of the B-pillar, just behind the drivers seat.
  • I use rough sandpaper, to clean out the drill hole. A small metal file could do the same job.
  • The exposed metal of the hole is painted to prevent rust.
  • I remove the grommet of an existing hole at the underside of the B-pillar, where the cable enters the vehicle.
  • A hole, the size of the cable, is cut into it and the grommet is slid onto the cable.
  • Drill two holes into the main body of the female connector; one the hold the bolt that connects to the frame, the other at the opposite side, to access and screw in the bolt.
  • A hole is drilled into the frame, where the connector will be situated.
  • A plusnut is tapped into this hole and fixed in place with a plusnut tool (I use a spare bolt, nut, washer and two wrenches).
  • The bolt, washer and lock washer are inserted into the body of the female connector and attached to the plusnut in the frame.
  • Assemble the female connector.
  • I use a pull wire to guide the cable through the B-pillar to the interior of the van.
  • When the cable enters through the drilled hole, I first slide the grommet over the cable and onto the metal to protect the cable.
  • I pull the cable into the interior, where I’ll leave it until it can be attached to the switch.
  • At the other end, under the vehicle, the grommet is reinserted into the hole at the bottom of the B-pillar and the 15 Amp plug is inserted into the female connector.

Conclusion

A simple project that can be completed within a couple of hours. With a little understanding, most of us can accomplish the installation, without many surprises.


Other projects of this Van Conversion:


Disclaimer:
I’m just a DIY’er with a lot of common sense, but with some of the projects I do use some tools and materials, when you really have to know, what you’re doing. Always read the manual and consult an expert if you’re in doubt.

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Build a stealth camper out of a basic cargo van.