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Open Roads Forum  >  Class B - Camping Van Conversions  >  DIY

 > Step one. Bought the van.

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mxzane933

virginia

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Posted: 01/29/12 12:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

you have put in so much work wow. Awesome van setup tho...

* This post was edited 01/31/12 05:23pm by an administrator/moderator *

WVvan

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Posted: 03/08/12 09:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

House battery frame and venting.

Not yet finished this next project but am far enough along to where I'm going to start posting about it. Hit a real slow patch which I'll go into in more detail when the postings get to it.

For the house batteries using four Energizer GC2 6 volt golf cart batteries bought at Sam's Club for around $71 each. These are the lead-acid flooded cell type. Need to create a way to secure the house batteries inside the van along with a way to vent the hydrogen gas lead-acid batteries emit while charging. Had previously built a wooden box for the batteries along with a Plexiglass vent lid back in February of 2010. Here's a link to the older project.

Considering that I've taken up welding since then, thought about revisiting this design and making the battery holder from metal. In the original battery box the four cells where in a single row with long sides adjacent.


After some reflection decide to reconfigure the battery layout into two rows instead of one. Like this.


Welded the framework from a combination of 3/4" and 1" angle iron.


The batteries will be lowered into the frame. It's not a tight fit in case the batteries expand with age. The frame will bolted to the van floor so there is no bottom. To help hold the batteries in place welded a couple of inverted bolts to the top of the frame.

A better design would have been to drill holes into the angle iron and weld nuts underneath. Didn't feel the 3/4" angle iron I was using was wide enough to allow a hole for the bolt without weakening it. If I'd used 1" instead it would have worked. Too late to increase the size without cutting on the already finished frame. Live and learn.

Welded a washer onto each outer short edge near the bottom. This will be used for the vent lid bungee cords.


Prime and paint.


Next up is to find the exact location where I'll be installing it on the floor. It's position relative to the sofa-bed is crucial. The gas tank filler hose hump placement also came into play.


I have a layer of rigid foam beneath the wooden floor for insulation. I didn't want the batteries on top of this layer so I decided to cut a hole in the wooden floor and foam layer for the batteries and the frame. This way they will sit directly on the rubber mat layer.




Also removed a bit of flooring between the battery frame and the van wall.


Good fit.


As usual I was under direct supervision while working.


continued:

* This post was last edited 03/08/12 09:40pm by WVvan *   View edit history


Open the pod bay doors Hal.

Once I exit Hal, this is what I do.
WWW.WVBIKE.ORG


NewsW

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Posted: 03/08/12 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Technical note:

Be sure you individually fuse each battery at the terminal.

If you ever have a short / crash causing short, that will be your ignition source.

WVvan

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Posted: 03/08/12 10:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Technical note:

Be sure you individually fuse each battery at the terminal.

If you ever have a short / crash causing short, that will be your ignition source.

I'll have to think on that. I was planning on fusing both serial sets but not each individual battery.

NewsW

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Posted: 03/08/12 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Minimum is a fusible link.

Fuse the set, and an individual battery can short if the wires touch as a result of a crash.

cargovanconversion

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Posted: 03/08/12 11:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I missed you. Gad you're back on track!

Van.


My website describes the conversion of my Dodge B-250 van into a small RV. I deal with a lot of woodworking, but hope to be quite specific on solar as well.

cargovanconversion.com


MAU MAU

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Posted: 03/08/12 03:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great to see you are advancing on your project!

Did your slow patch have anything to do with the KGB and the hidden hard drives?


Roadtrek 170 Popular

WVvan

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Posted: 03/10/12 09:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Van. Good to be posting again. My didactic nature makes for tedious company but it's well suited for the internet.

Careful Mau Mau. You'll blow my cover!


House battery frame and venting, Post 2

With the battery frame in place on the van floor I figured out the best places to locate four bolts that will hold it in place. This required locating the frame's exact position while under the van to be sure the drilled holes won't conflict with something else.

Once I was sure of everything drill the holes in the frame. Use pilot holes then work up to full sized ones.


I'm using four bolts to be sure the frame stays put. In a sudden stop all that battery mass is going to want to keep moving.


A few things had to be done before the frame could be bolted into place. First the extra fuel tank for the heater had to be dropped part way down.


This was for safety reasons since I'd be drill through the floor right above the tank and also accessing the bolt hardware will be easier with it partially lowered. Just had to loosen everything up and drop one end of the tank. The fuel line wasn't disconnected.


One end of the underfloor conduit had to be moved a few inches to clear the battery frame..


By now I'm getting pretty good at making and patching holes in the van floor. Notice the small hole just to the left of the new conduit location.


This is one of those loose ends I'd planned to get back around to sometime. Now's the time. The hole is for the wire that runs to the fuel tank sending unit. It's hard to see in the picture but I've added a rubber grommet to the the hole. The grommet protects the wires from the sharp edges. The hole is sized to match the grommet.


Found that trying to bolt the frame through the van floor wasn't one of those job I could do by myself.


Hey Bob. You'll give me some help right?
Bob.... Bob, where are you going? Darn cat!


Luckily my neighbor came over and lent a hand.


With the four bolts in place this thing is rock solid.


Since I was already messing around under the van might as well tackle a couple other projects. Drill (another) hole in the van floor then use a wire wheel to remove the paint from around the hole.


Add a copper bolt, nut and washer. I removed the paint to get good conductivity to the van body. I'll be using this bolt like a grounding rod for the electrical system.


Another loose end. When I installed the protective shield below the extra fuel tank I used these industrial strength cable ties. Now seemed like a good time to upgrade to something more permanent.


Cut out two strips from a sheet of 16 gauge steel.


Use a hammer and a vise to put a nice 90 degree bend in the ends of the strips.


Hand bend the strip into a somewhat round band just by eyeballing it.


Check how the bands fit around the tank and shield.


Drill holes in the band ends then bolt them up.


Looks good.


Prime and paint the metal bands. What the heck, I'm in a painting mood. Brighten up the shield while I'm at it.


continued

* This post was edited 03/12/12 09:30am by WVvan *

NewsW

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Posted: 03/10/12 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Strongly advise you to add a grounding strap to the frame (not just the body).

WVvan

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Posted: 03/10/12 10:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Strongly advise you to add a grounding strap to the frame (not just the body).

Good suggestion. I can see the logic in that.

* This post was edited 03/10/12 11:47am by WVvan *

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