A Step By Step Guide To An Awesome Powerful Fully Off Grid 12v Set Up - PART 3

Updated: Jun 1



Welcome back to PART 3 of our post.


If you have found this post via a link and want to catch up with the post so far please click the links in blue to take you to PART 1 & PART 2



If you have already read PART 1 & PART 2 and are ready for PART 3 of our post here it is, we won't wont waffle on we will just straight into it and pick up where we left of and that was starting to wire accessories to your 12 way fuse box.


The first thing you are going to need is some 12v sockets both the cigarette lighter style and some usb sockets, before we get on to our awesome charging sockets set up we are going to need a few normal ones for powering some of your every day bits.


There are a few bits in your van that are going to want to leave plugged in pretty much all of the time so it is best to install some dedicated sockets for those bits first. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases



Universal Waterproof 12V-24V DC Cigarette Lighter Socket For Car Boat Motorcycle (2 Pack)


YOU WILL NEED 1 X SET OF THESE



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When it comes to wiring these sockets into your set up you are going to need some higher amp rated cable.


So far we have use 11 amp twin core for pretty much everything but these sockets have a maximum of 15 amps on a 12v set up so we are going to need to beat that, for these sockets i would use 21 amp rated twin core cable...



*21 AMP Rated* 1.5mm2 Thin Wall 2 Twin Core Cable Wire Car LED Lights (30M Roll)



YOU WILL NEED 1 X ROLL OF THIS


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There are a few bits in your van that are going to want to leave plugged in pretty much all of the time and these 2 x sockets will cover two of them... your fridge & TV.


It is best to have dedicated sockets for both of these items so you never have to choose between what you can use at certain times and because they are dedicated sockets you already know exactly where they should go. As close to where you are going to have you TV & Fridge as possible!


So first run a length of 21 amp twin core from your 12 way fuse box to where your fridge will be located.


Then run a length of 21 amp twin core from your 12 way fuse box to where your TV will be located.


Next attach some female spade crimp connectors to one end on both the positive (red) and negative (black) cables on both your lengths of 21 amp twin core cable... Please see picture below.





Next take both of your cigarette lighter sockets and attach the positive (red) cables to the positive (+) prongs on the back of each socket and the negative (black) cable to the negative (-) prongs on the back of each socket... Please see picture below




Now find the cable that we ran from the fridge to the 12 way fuse box and on the other end just like we did before with the 6 way fuse box attach a ring crimp connector to both the positive (red) cable and the negative (black) cable.


Then screw the positive (red) cable onto any of the positive (+) terminals and the negative (black) cable onto any of your negative (-) terminals on your 12 way fuse box.


Repeat again with the cable that you ran from your TV to your 12 way fuse box and you should have something that looks like this...




To finish off these two circuits you will need some blade fuses, for these circuits we need to use 15 amp fuses... please see picture above


For your a decent TV for your build it is best to go for a 12v TV to keep things and energy efficient as possible and as we will be installing an awesome WIFI set up too then why not go for a smart tv with all the apps already built in then all you need to do is connect your TV to your WIFI once then and you can watch Amazon prime, Netflix, BBC I player, ITV hub, Demand 4, Youtube etc etc whenever and wherever you like, this will come in handy when you can't get a decent TV signal with your tv aerial.


This one also has a DVD player for anybody still holding onto the past...



Ferguson F24RTS-12 Volt 24 inch Smart 12-volt LED TV with streaming apps and catch up TV built-in | Made in the UK, Black



https://amzn.to/3q8C0eN




This TV comes with a 12v power cable so all you need to do is plug it into your TV socket and you are good to go... please see picture below


PLEASE SEE OUR ADDED EXTRAS AND UPGRADES POST FOR AN AWESOME TV AREIAL



When it comes down to low power 12v fridges/freezers for your van there is only one real option and that is a 12v compressor fridge/freezer any other type of 12v fridge/freezers will drain your batteries fast.


The problem with 12v compressor fridges is that the decent ones come with a hefty price tag and because we are aiming for a top quality off grid build a decent one is exactly what we are going to suggest for this build. Don't worry though we know that these fridges are out of most peoples price range so if you do want a low powered 12v compressor fridge but can't afford the big brands there are some good budget options in this post.




For this post though as we said before we are going to recommend one of the top fridges/freezers buy one of the top companies and that is this one...


Dometic CFX3 55




https://amzn.to/3mAco8r



This fridge/freezer is awesome for so many reasons first unlike some of the cheaper compressor fridges on the market it is almost silent.


Next it is extremely low powered and a generous size to fit a lot of food and drink in, it can be used as a fridge or a freezer, it has a phone app so you can control it from you phone via wifi, you can unplug it and take it out on adventures with you and it will stay cool all day and most importantly they are very smart so will always cut off before your leisure batteries die.



Just like the TV all cool box style 12v compressor fridges will also come with a cigarette lighter adapter so you can plug it straight into your fridge socket and it is ready to use...


The next thing we are going to add to the set up and again is something that is used so often that it might as well have its own dedicated power socket and that is WIFI.


A lot of the things that we have added to the set up, will be adding to the set up or have optional extras that you can add to the set up use WIFI for example the Smart TV it is a good idea to have something built in to your van that will provide an awesome WIFI speeds and signal so you don't always have to tether to your phone. This becomes particularly if you are a family in a van with only one unlimited data phone plan between you so either you or your phone has to be in the van all the time to keep things running.


And again as we are going for a good quality build we are going to recommend a really good one that allows you to connect pretty much as many devices to it as you want, is very fast and most importantly allows you to connect external antennas should you choose to do so.

PLEASE SEE OUR ADDED EXTRAS AND UPGRADES POST FOR ANTENNAS


So for this set up we suggest this awesome MIFI router...



NETGEAR Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Hotspot 4G Router, Mifi, Portable Wi-Fi for Travel, Super Fast Download Speeds Up to 1 Gbps, Unlocked for All Networks




https://amzn.to/2HNG2Zb




These wifi routers are charged via a 2.1 amp USB - A charging port so before you add wifi to your set up you will need one of these...


MMOBIEL Universal Waterproof Dual USB Charger Blue LED Indicator Power Outlet Socket 12V-24V output 5V 2.1A High Speed Charger





https://amzn.to/3oA2JAF




Although these come with some cable and an inline fuse it is best not to use them as they are very short so the first thing you need to do to wire this into your system is to find some more of your 11 amp twin core cable and cut a length long enough to reach from your 12 way fuse box to where your wifi router will be located.


Next on the end of the cable where your usb socket for your router will be located attach 2 x female spade crimp connectors and crimp securely into space. Please see picture below.


And just like you did with the cigarette lighter sockets before on the back of the socket attach the positive (red) cable to the positive (+) prong and the negative (black) cable to the negative (-) prong on the back of the USB socket... Please see picture below



Next just like you have done with everything else you have connected to either of your fuse boxes on the fuse box end of the cable attach 2 x ring crimp connectors and screw the positive (red) cable to any free positive (+) terminal and your negative (black) cable to any negative (-) terminal on your 12 way fuse box and you should have something that looks like this...


These USB sockets are very helpful and say on the front how many amps they draw and that is a maximum of 2.1 amps, it does also have a 1 amp socket too but if you are using both sockets at the same time both sockets become 1 amp each.


So for these sockets, I would go for a 5 amp fuse... Please see picture above.


The next thing you will need is some unoccupied sockets for charging and powering all of your small devices and when it comes to sockets you can never have too many, and as we are running separate cables and fuses for them all there is no problem using them all at the same time if you ever needed to.


I recommend some sockets in the kitchen area for your 12v kitchen gadgets, some in the seating area for charging phones, tablets, laptops etc and some next to your bed for charging your devices whilst you sleep. This way you can always have somewhere close to plug into when needed.


So first let's start with some sockets for your kitchen gadgets and for these I recommend something very simple like this panel and comes with everything you will need...




Upgraded 12V USB Charger Socket Panel QC 3.0 Dual USB Ports with ON/OFF Touch Switch Blue LED Waterproof 2 in 1 Outlet Cigarette Lighter





https://amzn.to/3aTfUqh



This socket panel is pretty awesome and very simple to install, it already comes with a little wiring loom to connect them both together and you only have to run one cable from it to your fuse box.


The double USB - A socket is 3.0 QC (Quick Charge 3.0 amps) so will also charge any device compatible with quick charge faster than the older 2.1 amp or 1 amp outlets.


The cigarette lighter socket is only 10 amps though so boiling water with a 12v kettle through this outlet would take a long time. To upgrade to a higher amp socket please check out our ADDED EXTRAS AND UPGRADES POST


So wiring this socket panel is pretty much lick everything else you have done so far except for the fact that it is a double socket.


So first find the 21 amp twin core cable and run a length from your 12 way fuse box to the kitchen area and where the double socket will be located, on the fuse box end attach 2 x female crimp connectors and crimp securely into place.




Next take your double socket and connect the wiring loom to both sockets, then on the end on the cables that are left over crimp some male spade crimp connectors securely into place... please see picture below.



Next connect the cable that you ran from the fuse box to the wiring loom on the double socket, Positive (red) cable to positive, negative (black) cable to negative.





And just like we have done with everything else at the fuse box end of the cable attach a ring crimp connector to both the positive (red) cable and screw it to any of the remaining positive terminals and negative (black) cable to any of the remaining negative terminals on your 12 way fuse box... Please see picture below.



And to complete this circuit you can use a 20 amp fuse as the cable is rated at 21 amps... please see picture above.



The next thing we are going to add is more sockets but this time for your seating area for somewhere convenient to charge your mobile devices and other electronic devices.


For this we are going to want something awesome as it will be your go to socket panel for most things so we are going to build our own triple panel from scratch, for this we will need these bits and pieces...



Waterproof Car Boat 3 Hole Panel Dual USB Charger Blue LED Voltmeter 12V Socket for Both 12V and 24V Vehicles Universally


YOU WILL NEED 1 X OF THESE


https://amzn.to/3oPxBx7





GemCoo PD Type C Car USB Socket 46W and QC 3.0 18W 12V/24V Car Power Outlet



YOU WILL NEED 1 X OF THESE



https://amzn.to/325o9fv





Thlevel Dual QC3.0 USB Charger Socket, Dual 5V/4.2A USB Car Charger Power Outlet



YOU WILL NEED 1 X OF THESE


https://amzn.to/3825pBm


.



[DIY Series] YCIND Female Cigarette Lighter Socket Power Outlet Heavy Duty 30A Fuse 12V 12AWG Cord 10Ft Car Truck Boat Marine RV Mobile DIY Kit


YOU WILL NEED 1 X OF THESE



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So the 4 x items above are going to give us an awesome charging panel that can pretty much handle anything you can throw at it.


You might have noticed above that the first item that we linked to way a triple socket panel with 3 x sockets supplied with it. We actually only want the triple plinth (facia) from it but they are pretty impossible to find anywhere so you will have a few spare bits at the end however keep hold of these as it is always good to have some spares and in out ADDED EXTRAS AND UPGRADES POST we have a good use for the left over voltmeter.


So the first thing you should do is remove all three of the sockets that come with the plinth and put them safe somewhere, next take your 3 x new sockets and attach them to the plinth in any order you like.


For this panel we will run 2 x circuits to the fuse box, one for both of the USB sockets and another one just for the lighter socket.


As the lighter socket comes with all the cables you will need we will start there. This lighter socket is a whopping 30 amps making it 3 x more powerful than any you have installed so far so so the cables need to be thicker too and this socket is supplied with 3 X Meters of 12 AWG (4 MM2) cable with an inline fuse holder already built in. The inline fuse holder for us is overkill as we will be running it from a fuse box already but it is easier to just leave it where it is and use 2 x fuses.


These are really easy to install as the cable already come with all of the crimp connectors in place so you basically just need to run the cable from where your triple socket will be to your 12 way fuse box and connect it all up.


Connect the yellow female spade connector on the end of positive (red) cable to the positive (+) terminal and the negative (black) cable to the negative (-) terminal on the back of your 30 amp lighter socket... Please see picture below.




Next find the 11 amp twin core cable and cut yourself 2 x 20 cm lengths, on one end of each cables attach a female spade crimp connectors to both the positive (red) and negative (black) cables... please see picture below.




As we said before both of these sockets are going to be running off of the same circuit so the next thing you will need is 2 x Wago connectors with three terminals, you should have some left over from the pack that your brought for the lights and kitchen accessories...


Take the positive (red) cable from each socket and wire them to the first Wago connector and the negative (black) cables and wire them to the second Wago connector... Please see picture below.



Next run a length of 21 amp twin core cable from your 12 way fuse box to where your triple socket will be located.


At the socket end of the cable connect the positive (red) cable to the last remaining terminal on the positive Wago connector and the negative (black) cable to the last remaining terminal on the negative Wago connector... please see picture below.




To connect all of these bits together first attach the cables to the USB sockets, positive (red) cables to positive (+) terminals and the negative (black) cables to the negative (-) terminals on each socket.


Now at the fuse box you will need to connect both the cables that come from the lighter socket and the twin core cable that comes from your USB socket circuit, the cables that come from the lighter socket will already have some ring crimp connectors on the end so these are easily connected to the fuse box. Just like everything before connect the positive (red) cable to any free positive terminal and the negative (black) cable to and free negative terminal on your 12 way blade fuse box.


Next take the cable that comes from your USB circuit and attach a ring crimp connector to both the positive and negative cables and connect to the 12 way fuse box just like above and you should have something that looks something like this...



To finish off these circuits you will need to add some fuses


For the lighter socket circuit you will need to add a 30 amp fuse and for the USB circuit you will need to add a 20 amp fuse... please see picture above.


You now have a totally awesome charging panel for your van, before we move on to adding the last set of sockets we want to explain what you can use the sockets you have just added for.


So as we said above the lighter socket you have just added to this panel is 30 amp so 2 x more powerful than the lighter sockets you installed for your fridge and TV. Although most 12v accessories with a cigarette lighter plug on them like your TV or fridge work perfectly well in a 10 or 15 amp socket some things that you might want to plug into them will be too powerful and blow your fuses or might work but not very well... for example a 300w inverter running a 300w accessory plugged into a 10 amp lighter socket the fuse would blow in no time at all, simple maths tells us that.


300w ÷ 12v = 25 amps


So with 25 amps running through a 10 amp fuse it is quite obvious that it will not last long however with a 30 amp socket, 30 amp fuse and 4mm2 cable you could power that 300w inverter all day long with no problems at all.


A 300w is more than powerful enough to power pretty much any laptop on the market and as everything we are adding to this build is 12v if all you need an inverter for is charging your laptop, or camera batteries etc then there is no need to go any bigger than 300w.



BESTEK 300W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 230V 240V with 4.8A Dual Smart USB Ports Car Adapter





https://amzn.to/2GwY3dS



A 30 amp lighter socket is also your only real option if you want to use something that heats up for example a 12v hair dryer.


Although 12v hair dryers are 12v and come with a 12v cigarette lighter plug on them if you tried to plug them into a 10 amp or15 amp socket or even your vans lighter socket it will blow the fuse straight away as most 12v hair dryers require about 18 or 19 amps constantly.


So if you want to use anything that heats up check the watts before you buy it then divide the watts by 12 and if the number you are left with is under 30 you can use it on this socket if it is over you can't... it's as simple as that.


Having said that any 12v items that do heat up will be a significant drain on your battery bank so should only be used on occasion or with your engine running rather than for every day use.



Lembeauty 12V Compact Car Hair Dryer Folding Portable Camping Interior In Car Blow Dryer


216w ÷ 12v = 18 amps ✅



https://amzn.to/3kWCcLz



We also added 2 x USB sockets, one was a double USB - A 3.0 QC (quick charge) socket and the other has a USB - C port and a USB - A 3.0 QC port.


We mentioned above that the USB - A 3.0 quick charge sockets will charge any quick charge compatible accessory a lot quicker than the regular 2.1 amps sockets but we haven't mentioned the USB - C socket yet.


USB - C Sockets are quite new to the scene but more and more technology are now coming with USB - C charging ports like cameras, laptops, power banks etc and can charge your devices even quicker than the USB - A 3.0 Quick charge sockets. The one we have recommended is actually a lot closer to 4 amps than 3 amps.


With the USB - C socket above and the cable below I can charge an iphone from 0% to 80% in under half an hour



UGREEN USB C to Lightning Cable MFi Type C 18W 3A PD Fast Charger Thunderbolt 3 Sync Lead Compatible with iPhone





https://amzn.to/2TTZeqA




As this part of the post is starting to get really long again this seems like a good place to end it so it does't take too long to load on everybody's devices, don't worry though PART 4 is already finished and online for you to read... Please click the picture below to take you to PART 4.






So thats it for today we hope you all found it helpful.


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