Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Hey everybody, since writing my blog posts a couple of weeks ago about budget 12v systems, I have had quite a few requests from people asking me to write a post about a system suitable for off grid living all year round. So today that is exactly what I am going to do but I have gone one step further!
This is not going to be one of my budget posts where I try and keep everything to a bare minimum but as usual I will try my hardest to keep the costs as low as possible and everything as simple as possible, although I will add luxuries as most people want them.
I will include everything you need from start to finish including all devices, accessories, cables, fuses, switches, outlets, batteries, chargers, lights, pipes, tubes, etc.
So here is my Awesome Fully Off Grid System For Your Van - Electrics, Gas, Water & Entertainment
The first thing you are going to need to be fully off grid all year round is a decent amount of power storage. Basically the more storage you have the longer you can stay off grid for, this is essential in the winter when there isn't enough daylight hours to keep your batteries topped up. For this I recommend getting 4 x 120AH batteries. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases
4 X 120AH SuperBatt
With a bank like this you will have 480AH of battery storage but that will only give you 240AH of useable power, it is very important you don't discharge these batteries below 50% or they will not last you long at all. If they go below 11.3v you WILL cause some permanent damage to your batteries.
The next thing you will need is some battery terminals so you can connect things to your battery and your batteries to each other in parallel. You will need to connect a few different cables to your battery so I suggest getting one pair of these so you have a few different connection options for your fuse boxes, B2B charger, solar charge controller and inverter.
12V 3Way Battery Terminals
You will also need one set of these for each additional battery that you have, so if you have four leisure batteries you will need three sets of these (with the set above that makes four)
KKmoon Terminal Clamp Clip Connector
Wiring your leisure batteries together couldn't be simpler. All you need to do is connect each battery terminal to the next one positive to positive and negative to negative. You then run all of your positive cables to the first battery in the series and all the negative cables to the last battery in the series then your batteries will charge and discharge evenly.
For this you will need some cable and connectors. It is best to keep your cables as short as possible for efficiency and to keep your costs down. There is enough cable here to join all 4 of your leisure batteries together. You will need one of the black cables and one of the red cables.
1M Metre Black Battery Starter 50Mm Cable
1M Metre Red Battery Starter 50Mm Cable
You will also need some connectors (lugs) to connect the cables above to the battery terminals. So for four leisure batteries you will need twelve. It is best to have a few spare though so here are links to a pack of 10 and a pack of 5
50MM² CABLE x 10MM HOLE
The next thing you will need to do before you do anything else is earth/ground your battery. For that you will need a nice thick cable that wont melt. The cable below is both cheap and perfect and will never give you any problems. Also if you buy this pre-made cable you will not need to spend money on the connectors too.
Spartan Power Black 4 AWG 30cm
Once you have earthed your leisure battery you can now install a few things to keep your battery bank charged. The first thing you should get is a B2B charger, this will charge your leisure batteries when your vans engine is running.
Sterling Power 12v 30amp Battery to Battery Charger
To connect you B2B charger to your starter battery and leisure batteries you will need a few more things, the first thing is cables. As the Starter battery and leisure batteries are likely to be some distance apart we need to size the cable higher. 70 amp cable will be perfect for this it will not overheat and there will be minimal power lost. You will need 5M of red and 5M of black.
70 AMP Rated Single Core Stranded Copper Cable 5M
RED - POSITIVE https://amzn.to/2LUKUdE
BLACK - NEGATIVE https://amzn.to/2ZCNPzy
You will also need to add some inline fuses. One needs to be as close to the starter battery as possible and then another in between theB2B charger and your leisure batteries as close to the B2B charger as possible. For this you will need two inline fuse holders and two 40AMP fuses
2 X Midi Fuse Holder
2 X 40 Amp Midi Fuse
Then you will need some connectors (lugs) to connect everything together. You will need six for the positive cable and two for the negative cable. Again it is best to have a few spare incase you make a mistake so here is a pack of ten.
Cable Lug 10mm2 M8 10x Cable Shoe
Another thing you will need to connect your cables to your Sterling B2B charger is some cable end Lugs. You put these on the ends of the cables that are going into and coming out of your B2B charger for a good solid connection.
Cable End Crimp Sleeve (10mm² - 8 AWG) Insulated Collar - Pack of 4
So that is everything you will need for your B2B charger, now we can move on to the solar set up ☀️☀️ ☀️ ☀️☀️
For this I am going to suggest a 300w set up, firstly because it is a decent amount of solar for a van and secondly most people only have a van big enough for 300w when they have roof vents, aerials and other bits and pieces.
You can buy 3 or the smaller 100w panels but that means extra cables, fuses, connectors and brackets. I recommend getting one larger panel like this one
300W Photonic Universe monocrystalline solar panel
To attach the solar panel to the roof you will need some brackets. This set comes with a waterproof cable entry to stop any leaks in your roof. These are no drill so can be fixed to your roof with a strong adhesive.
7 Piece Solar Panel Mounting Bracket
The next thing you will need to install is an inline fuse on your positive cable between your solar panel and your solar charge controller, as close to the solar panel as possible. As the solar panels come with short cables attached with connectors on the ends already this is the best place for you to install it.
Renogy® 30A MC4 Waterproof In-Line Fuse Holder w/Fuse
You will then need some solar extension cables to wire your panel to your solar charge controller. As the solar panel is 300W it will come with 30amp cables attached and we need to match that. so what you will need is 10 AWG cables. To stick to the colour system and not confuse anybody I suggest getting these.
A Pair of HQST 20Ft 10AWG MC4 Solar Extension Cables
Now you have the cables to attach the solar panel to the solar charge controller, its time to get a solar charge controller.
To work out what size solar charge controller you need it is very easy you need to take the number of watts of the solar panel and divide it by the number of volts of your battery.
300w solar panel divided by 12v battery = 25amps.
As it is best to go a little bit over (as I did above with the cables and fuses) this means you need a 30amp solar charge controller. I recommend this one, preferably with the LCD screen but its much cheaper without.
NEVER WIRE THE SOLAR PANELS TO THE SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER BEFORE THE SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER IS WIRED TO YOUR BATTERIES
EPEVER MPPT 30A Solar Charge Controller
With LCD https://amzn.to/2X3K9VN
As I said above you should never wire your solar panels to your solar charge controller before you have wired your solar charge controller to your batteries. If you do there is nowhere for the power to go and you will start smelling smoke coming form the charger. Trust me I have done it before its not fun.
For this you will need some more cable and another inline fuse.
You could cut the required amount off of the solar cable above as there will be more than enough left over and fuse it with a 40amp fuse and that would be good enough but as I always like to go a little bit higher with cable sizes than needed for safety and efficiency I like to go for 40amp cable with a 40amp fuse.
Superworm 8 Gauge Silicone Wire Super Flexible
1 X Strip Link & Midi Fuse Holder
All Trade Direct 2 X 40 Amp Midi Fuse
You will also need a few more lugs to connect all of these bits together. When installing it you need to keep the inline fuse as close to the solar charge controller as possible. This is a pack of twenty 8AWG lugs. You will need more later in the installation so you might as well get a pack.
20PCS Tin Plated Pure Copper Battery Cable Ends Lugs Ring Terminals Connectors (8AWG 8MM)
So that is everything you will need to store power (batteries) and charge your batteries, Now we can move onto everything else.
The next things you are going to need is two12 way blade fuse boxes. One for all your accessories, sockets, etc and one for all of your lights.
12v couldn't be any simpler really, All of your sockets, accessories, pumps, fans etc will have 2 wires one positive (usually red or brown) and one negative (usually black or blue). You just wire the positive cable to a positive terminal, insert the correct fuse, and wire the negative cable to any negative terminal on the fuse box.
12 Way Blade Fuse Box Fuses Included LED Warning Indicator
To keep things simple, neat and safe we will wire the the blade fuse boxes to bus bars instead of wiring them directly to the batteries. This will also help us keep the costs down by allowing us to use shorter cables. You will need two of these. one for a positive bus and negative bus.
Gloaso 100A BusBar Stud Terminal
To connect the bus bars to the battery we need to use a nice thick cable so it can handle pretty much everything that we hooked up to the blade fuse box all running at the same time. As you might want to add more accessories in the future I recommend using 4AWG cable. This set comes with four lugs. The Black cable goes to the negative bus bar and to the negative terminal on your battery, the Red cable goes to the positive bus bar, then to the circuit breaker below and from the circuit breaker to the positive battery terminal.
Pure Copper Flexible Wire 4AWG
You should also fit some kind of circuit breaker between the battery and positive bus bar. If you get one with a switch you can use it to shut off all power to anything running off of the fuse boxes when you are not using the van or in an emergency. Something very simple like this will do.
100Amp Circuit Breaker
To wire your blade fuse boxes to your bus bars you will need 2 cables per fuse box, one red cable to go from the positive bus bar to the positive terminal on the fuse box, and one black cable to go from negative bus bar to the negative terminal on the fuse box. It is best to use thicker cable than you need just to be safe and incase you want to add anything else to your set up at a later date.
I recommend using 8 AWG cable. You could get away with a much smaller cable for the lights but you will have some left over 8 AWG cable and lugs so its pointless buying more cables and lugs just for the short distance. There is enough here for both fuse boxes
Boladge 2 X 1 Meter Pure Silicone Wire 8AWG Power Cable Neg & Pos
You will also need eight 8AWG lugs to connect these to your bus bars and fuse box. You should have some left over from the pack of 20 I linked to earlier in the post.
Now thats all done you are pretty much ready to add whatever you like to your system and each thing you add will be very simple.
First things first you will need some lights.
Most people like to have some down lights and it is up to you how many you have, I find that six is enough for me in a LWB but most people have 8. These ones are very easy to install as they are touch on/off so all you need to do is run each one to a positive terminal and a negative terminal on your fuse box and you are good to go.
12V LED TOUCH SENSITIVE ON OFF LIGHT BOAT CARAVAN MOTORHOME BRUSHED COOL
Another popular kind of lighting is reading lights. A lot of people like to install these for reading in bed or around their seating areas, another popular place to install them is in the kitchen. Again these are really simple to install as the switches are built in.
MASO 12V LED Spot Reading Light
If you want for the 8x down lights and the 4x reading lights that will be all the terminals on your light fuse box filled. If you wanted to add more lights you could just piggy back a few of the down lights at the fuse box. If you only went for 6x down lights and or 2x reading lights you will still have some spare terminals...
If you fancy making things a little bit funky you could add some RGB LED strip lights. These are the multi colour/colour changing ones that a lot of people have in their vans. You can pretty much set it any colour you want and it will cleverly match it with its Red, Green & Blue (RGB) bulbs. You can set them to change to music and can even download an app to control them from your phone.
WOWLED 2M USB 5050 RGB 60 LEDs Flexible Smart Strip Light Waterproof Tape Light 5V Alexa iOS Android APP Wireless WiFi IR Remote Control
The lights above are only 2M long so you if you want to join a couple together or even have a couple run off of the same power supply in a few different places then you will need a kit like this. It even has little clips for attaching your lights to surfaces.
5050 4Pin LED Strip Connector Kit with 2 Way RGB Splitter Cable, 6.6ft RGB Extension Cable, Strip to RGB Controller Jumper, LED Strip to Strip Jumper, L Shape Connectors, Gapless Connectors
For wiring all of your lights to your fuse box you should use this cable. To stick to the colour system we should choose red and black instead of blue and brown. This is a roll of 30M and is rated at 11 AMPS. for the fuses in the fuse box always go one size above the cable to protect both your van and the accessory from power surges. So with 11amp cable I would go for a 15 amp fuse.
11 AMP Rated* 0.5mm2 Thin Wall 2 Twin Core Cable Wire Car LED Lights (30M Roll)
Another necessity in most vans is some ventilation. A good idea is to go for one powered extracting fan on your roof at one end and an opening skylight at the other end. This way with the skylight open and the fan on it will suck air through your van creating a cross breeze. If you don't have space for skylight or its just not in your budget you can create the same effect by having the fan at the back of your van and opening your vans front windows.
You will need a really good fan on the summer, this is probably the best on the market and the one most people choose. You can use the 11AMP cable above to wire this to your fuse box with a 15 amp blade fuse in your fuse box.
Maxxair 00-07500K MaxxFan Deluxe with Remote - Smoke
I know its not electric but if you can fit a skylight or your roof too these are really good. The bigger the better in my opinion
Dometic Midi Heki 70 x 50
Dometic Mini Heki 40 x 40
Next you will need some sockets for powering and charging all of your accessories. Most modern 12v accessories either use a USB, USB C or Cigarette lighter socket, so I suggest installing at least one of each to cover each eventuality.
First of all I think you should install one of these near your TV. 12V TV's pretty much always use a lighter socket plug for power and 12V accessories for TV'S like sound bars, Amazon Fire sticks, Now TV box, DVD players etc use USB so this is a perfect. The USB socket is also 3.0 Quick charge.
Power Outlet with LED Light Waterproof Cigarette Lighter Socket Quick Charge 3.0
As the lighter socket if for your 12V TV and they pull about 5 or 6 amps and the dual USB socket has to ports each at 3 amps that adds up to 12 amp so we will need so thicker cable.
For this I recommend at least 16.5 amp cable with a 20 amp fuse
Wire4u 12V 24V AUTOMOTIVE THIN WALL RED/BLACK CAR CABLE WIRE (Round 2 Core 1.0mm² 16.5Amps, 5 Metres)
I always like to install some power sockets near the kitchen too, they come in useful for 12v blenders, coffee machines, kettles and other kitchen gadgets. This one below comes with more than everything you will need.
EEEKit Car Charger Switch Panel, 12V Dual USB Charger Socket + Cigarette Lighter Adapter + Blue LED Voltmeter + ON/OF Toggle Switch
As I said above it comes with more than enough, I meant something specific by this. First of all I think that a voltmeter that is just a voltmeter is pretty pointless. I always like to remove the original voltmeter from the panel above and replace it with the socket below. It has both USB C & USB 3.0 Quick charge and also has a voltmeter like the useless thing you have just removed. In a few years time USB with be obsolete and everything will be powered with USB C. Until then you are going to need the option for both as we are in limbo at the moment with some things using USB and some USB C
GemCoo PD Type C Car USB Socket 46W and QC 3.0 18W 12V/24V
If we do the maths for this whole panel...
We need about 6 amps for the lighter socket, 4.2 amps for the dual USB socket and 7 amps for the USB C & USB QC socket. That is 17.2 amps so the 16.5 amp cable above will not be thick enough. For this I would use 20 amp cable which is 14 AWG with a 20 amp blade fuse in your fuse box.
TUOFENG 14 AWG Wire,Soft and Flexible Silicone Insulated Wire 20 m [10 m Black And 10 m Red ]
If you don't have many gadgets this might already be enough sockets for you, however most people also like to install some sockets next to their beds or seating areas too just for convenience.
What you install depends on your requirements etc as there are loads of choices, you could go for the same system as above again swapping out the voltmeter for a USB C & USB QC socket again to cover all options again using 20 amp cable
You could go for something simple like a USB C & USB QC socket each side of your bed/seating area, you could use 11 amp cable for this but it would take up two terminals on your fuse box.
I personally have this set up next to the side of my bed, I got the blank face plate from ebay for about £3 and just customised it for what I wanted. For this set up I have used 11amp cable from each socket to 3 separate terminals on my fuse box. If I wanted to wire them all together I could have but would have needed to use 20 amp cable. (by now I assume you are all understanding the maths) For the 11amp cable I can use 15 amp fuses if it was 20 amp cable I would have had to use A 25 amp fuse.
And finally one last socket I suggest to everybody would be a decent lighter socket near your back/side door or near your garage area as most 12v accessories that you will use outside for example 12v tyre pumps always come with a lighter plug on the end. For this I would go with a 30 amp socket with 30 amp cable with an inline fuse and wire them to you positive and negative bus bars.
YCIND Female Cigarette Lighter Socket Power Outlet Heavy Duty 30A Fuse 12V 12AWG Cord 10Ft
Once you have all of your sockets installed there are still a few bits that need to be wired to your fuse box. These are all optional but as I am posting a full system I am going to include everything.
The first thing pretty much all full time van lifers need is a kitchen, weirdly even your kitchen tap uses 12v electricity and a 12v water pump to work so I will start there.
Again there are lots of options for this, you could choose whatever you like if you know the basics its very easy.
The easiest way is a microswitched tap with a water pump, when you switch the tap on the pump powers up and you have water.
Another way is a water pump, your choice of faucet (without a tap eg copper pipe) and an independent switch. With this you just have to run a food grade water hose or solid pipes between your water pump and and faucet, when you switch your independent switch on the water will flow (probably quite fast).
So as I like to keep things simple I like to go for the switched tap and water pump option. This is the tap and sink set up I have in my van but there are many more options out there. I like to go for just a cold tap in the kitchen and heat water on my hob if needed to save all the hassle of a water heater. That being said I will write a side post to show you how to add hot water in your kitchen with this specific set up, it only takes a few extra bits and pieces.
Comet London Cold Water Tap Single Lever 12V Microswitch
Voilamart Steel Stainless Kitchen Sink Bowl
When it comes down to water pumps I would go for something like this. You can get submersible pumps really cheap but this one will let you have your water tank pretty much anywhere you choose, all you have to do is attach one pipe to your tap and one to your water supply.
To wire this to your tap and pump you should use 11 amp cable and 15 amp fuse
Shurflo 2095-204-413 Trail King 7 Water Pump-12V/30psi-Silver
You should also get one of these and attach it to the water intake side of your pump (the side that comes from the water tank).
Shurflo Screw-on Pump Filter
And then a set of these for attaching your hose, one screws onto the filter above and the other one on the opposite side of the pump to your filter.
Shurflo Barbed Fittings
If you want a nice smooth constant flow on your water instead of it pulsing then you should add one of these between your pump and your tap... If not its not needed. It will save some water and battery power too though.
Fiamma Water Expansion Tank Acumalator A20
The size of your water tank all depends on how long you will be off grid for. Obviously the longer you will be off grid the bigger the water tank you will need. You can get them huge if you really want to but that will add a lot of weight when full.
1 LITRE OF WATER WEIGHS 1KG... 250 LITRES = 1/4 TON
That being said I like to go for about 70 Litres fresh water and fill up more often.
With this one you can screw it down and just attach your water hose to the nozzle
Fiamma Fresh Water Tank 70 litre
Then all you will need to connect it all together is some 10mm food grade water hose and some jubilee clips
FOOD GRADE 10MM (3/8") ID CLEAR WATER HOSE
FEPITO 20pcs Hose Clip Clamp 10-16mm
Thats about everything you will need for running cold water and it is very simple to assemble. Just one connection to the fusebox and the tap and you're done. You will need and waste pipe and waste water tank though.
McAlpine FLEXCON1 Flexible Waste Connector fitting 1-1/4-Inch Universal Outlet & Plain Spigot Ends 18-Inch
23 Litre Caravan Motorhome Water Waste Carrier
The next thing you might want in your kitchen is a fridge. If you are wanting a fridge in your van that you can use all year round without draining your batteries then you will need decent one are they are not cheap. This one has one of the lowest power consumptions on the market and has a freezer compartment too.
In 24 hours this fridge will only use 15ah. For a fridge this is actually amazing, this means that you could run it on a single 110ah battery for nearly 4 days without any sort of charger needed at all. It is also extremely light and compact as it it made for adventures but can fit a lot in it. I read one of the reviews where a guy had managed to fit 16 racks of ribs and 4 whole chickens 🤷♂️it also has the bonus feature of a USB port for charging your accessories.
You can use 11 amp cable to wire this to your fuse box with a 15 amp fuse or you can use the cig lighter attachment and one of your sockets if you would prefer it to be portable.
Dometic CFX 28
As we are discussing kitchens I might as well finish it all off. When it comes to ovens and hobs for your van again there are loads of different options.
You can use pretty much any household gas oven, grill and 4 burner stove combi cooker. Basically all you have to do for this is switch the jets to LPG jets and connect your gas. You will need the correct set the the cooker though so I can't link you directly to the set you will personally need but this is an example.
LPG Conversion Kit Compatible With Beko All Gas 50cm Twin Cavity
You could also buy a brand new household cooker that has been converted already. This does have one down point though you will either need an inverter just for the spark as it is 240v. A good example of one of these is the Montpellier MDG600LK (converted version) please follow this link to check it out https://amzn.to/3gYZfnI
Another option and my suggestion for this would be to buy a unit designed specifically for camper vans or caravans. If you are going to be living in your van you want to know you have something good enough to cook on day in day out and also be safe in the knowledge that its doing the job it was built for and wont fall apart from vibrations as you drive down the road. They are also a very good make and come with a warranty... Only the best for your tiny house on wheels. Also you do not need an inverter to power anything as the spark is 12v and connects to your fuse box. You can use 11 amp cable for this and by now you should know its a 15 amp fuse.
THETFORD SPINFLO TRIPLEX
Once you have added anything to your van that runs off of gas there are a couple of things you will need straight away. There are a Carbon Monoxide alarm and an LPG alarm.
For a Carbon Monoxide alarm I always recommend this one.
Fireangel CO-9D Digital Sealed for Life Carbon Monoxide Alarm
For the LPG alarm I use one of these.
Household LPG/Natural/Coal Gas Combustible Gas Leak Monitor
And whilst we are on the subject or alarms don't forget a smoke alarm.
FireAngel SB1-R Smoke Alarm
Once you have your alarms you're safe to fit some gas, for this I would go for a Gas it refillable system. These are built into or underneath your van and can be filled up at any petrol station that has an LPG pump saving you a lot of time, hassle and in the long run money. In the uk a 7KG bottle is all you are allowed inside a camper van and must be kept in a sealed box. If you have a gas locker on the outside of the van that you can only access from the outside of the van you can have 2 x 10KG bottles. As later in the post I am going to suggest a shower (Instant hot water heater) that is heated by gas too, my suggestion is you get a set up like this.
DO NOT TRY AND FIT GAS BY YOURSELF UNLESS KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING
IF YOU DO FIT IT YOURSELF GET IT CHECKED BY A GAS SAFE ENGINEER BEFORE USING.
GAS IT lpg refillable 6kg lpg bottle and remote fill kit
The next thing you will need is a regulator, this is the one you will need for this system. This goes inside your gas Locker and connects to your gas bottle with a 21.8LH X W20 Pigtail
30mbar 8mm Straight Caravan Regulator
0.45mtr 21.8LH to W20 pigtail
You will also need gas locker too, for that I recommend one of these. Unfortunately these are not cheap at all, it is a good make though so you know they will be made to a good standard. It also comes with a drop out vent that needs to be fitted and a bottle strap to keep your gas bottle from moving about.
Gaslow Gas Locker 6Kg
The next thing you will need is some pipe to run from your regulator to your appliances. For this you are going to need to use copper pipe. The rubber LPG hose is for temporary installations or outdoor use only, copper pipe is for built in installations.
For this install you will need 8mm copper pipe.
10 Metre Coil of 8mm Table W Microbore Copper Tube
You will also need one of these to split your gas to both your cooker and your shower.
8mm Equal Tee - Tube, Brass Compression Fitting
You will need one of these to connect to your cooker to your copper pipe.
8mm Compression Straight Coupling Brass Plumbing Pipe Fitting Thunderfix
You should install one of these in between your your gas locker and T-Junction and one on each pipe just after the T-Junction so you will need three.
Metrogas 8mm Mini Lever Gas Ball Valve with Backplate
Hopefully all of the above will come with the compression olives needed but if not you will need some.
8mm Compression Olives Copper for 8mm Copper Plumbing Pipe (Pack of 10)
And to secure you pipes in place wherever possible you should use these P-CLIPS. It is best to place them no further than 15 cm apart
Now you have everything to connect your cooker to your gas and your shower you're going to need the actual hot water heater that will supply the hot water for your shower.
Again there are a few options for this but the one I suggest is this one, the IMASS Instant water heater. This is probably the safest option for a gas instant water heater in your van, you cut a hole in the side of your van and the unit slots into place from the outside. The exhaust is the little black thing in the photo and vents outside the van so there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
This amazing little unit even comes with a remote control so you can set the temp of your water.
To wire this to your fuse box you can use 11amp cable and a 15 amp fuse.
iMass Instantaneous Water Heater
Click here to view the IMASS Installation and Operating Instructions
If You do choose the IMASS as your water heater you will need this bit to attach it to your gas pipe
Compression x BSP Female Iron Adaptor Coupler Brass Fitting Choose Size (8mm x 3/8")
To turn this unit into a shower you will need to attach it to your water supply. As you already have a 70 litre fresh water tank there is no need to add more water storage, instead we just need to another pipe line to the tank you already have. to do this it is really easy you just need to split the original pipe coming from your water tank. One goes to your sink and one goes to your water heater.
To do that you will need one of these splitters
SOLID BRASS 10 mm barbed Hose "Y" splitter/joiner/connector.
Then you can use exactly the same food grade water hose as before.
FOOD GRADE 10MM (3/8") ID CLEAR WATER HOSE
To make things simple you will then need another water pump as you want this one to work off of a different circuit to your kitchen tap, for this again I recommend the Shurflo trail king 7. This is because it is easy to get accessories, filters and other bits for them and they are very well made. You will need all of these bits and pieces again. For this you can use 11 amp cable and 15 amp fuse.
Shurflo 2095-204-413 Trail King 7 Water Pump-12V/30psi-Silver, Silver, 30 PSI
Shurflo Screw-on filter
Shurflo Barbed Fittings
You will also need one of these to attach your water hose to your water heater.
Solid Brass Hose Tail Connector Barbed to BSP Female Thread. 10 mm to 1/2" BSP Thread
And then finally (without planning your whole shower build for you) you will need a shower hose to come from the water heater to your shower. I really like this one coupled with the shower head below. The hose comes with a 5 year warranty.
PureluxÂ® 100 Inch Extra Long Double Lock Stainless Steel Replacement Shower Hose with Brass Fittings, Chrome Finish, 5 YEAR WARRANTY
Nosame® Shower, Ionic Filter Filtration High Pressure Water Saving 3 Mode
And whilst we are talking bathrooms I might as well through a toilet into the mix too. A lot of people prefer not to have a toilet in their van and it really is a personal choice, I have been very glad to have mine quite a few times.
For this I recommend this, it's very good quality and no smells escape into your van. It is also a good height or sitting on comfortably unlike some of the smaller options on the market.
Thetford 92306 Porta Potti 565E Portable Toilet, White-Grey, 448 x 388 x 450 mm
The next thing I would suggest getting if you're going to be living in your van full time is a heater. The UK is cold and it can get pretty unbearable in a van with no heating in the winter. For this I suggest a diesel heater as they can be left on all day everyday if needed and take very little fuel to run. With a very low fuel consumption and using red diesel instead or road diesel this makes them very cheap to run.
With diesel heaters there are a few decent makes on the market. There are the german ones that are considered to be the best but will set you back a lot of money. however if you are looking at doing everything properly with top quality kit then you should look into getting a Eberspacher or Webasto heater. For more info please see their websites below.
There is also the budget option that by the all means isn't a bad option at all and that is a Chinese diesel heater. I have one of these myself and have never had a problem with it at all. For more information on these heaters and to see which ones I recommend please take a look at these posts.
For this build I am going to suggest a Russian company called Autoterm/Planar. They are really good, they come with a 2 year warranty (3 years if fitted by them), they are certified to be used in British vehicles, they offer a very professional fitting service and they are used and trusted by huge establishments like NHS Scotland and the Ministry of Defence, as I said before only the best for your new home.
Autoterm Air 2D (formerly Planar 2D) 2KW 12V Diesel - Auxiliary Heater with Control Panel PU-5
Whatever heater you choose will already come with all the cables needed to wire it to your fuse box. If the heater you choose comes with an inline fuse attached then you can just wire it directly to your positive and negative bus bars.
Now we have covered all that we can move onto the exciting things... Entertainment
The first thing most people want in their van for entertainment is a Television. As your electric system is 12v the most power efficient thing to do would be to get a 12v tv. A normal 240v tv and an inverter would be fine in the summer when there is lots of sun for your solar but in winter it is an unnecessary drain on your batteries. In the winter on the short days it will make a big difference.
There are some really good 12v tv's on the market nowadays with everything you need. This one has freeview, satellite tuners, DVD player, you can record programs from the tv directly to a USB flash drive and best of all is a smart tv so you can watch all of your favourite streaming sites straight from you tv.
Sharp 24" Smart LED DVD 12v/24v TV with Freeview Play, Satellite, Saorview,
To be able to get a signal on this tv pretty much anywhere then you will need the best tv aerial on the market. These are really good i have had one for years and its very rare that it can't get a decent signal. It has a very strong magnet and sticks to the roof of your van.
Necvox ANT-536 6899, Black
Another essential form of entertainment for most people is music. For this the best thing to use is a set of bluetooth speakers and your favourite music app on your phone. This stops any messing around with separate speakers, amps, music players and cables. My personal favourite is this speaker below. It is 100% loud enough for a van and the sound quality is really good too.
And to be able to watch whatever you like whenever you like on your new smart tv and listen to as much music as you like you will also need unlimited WIFI. I have already written a couple of posts about this so I am not going to go into loads of detail now as you can just read these posts to see what the best option for you is.
With this build in mind and the fact that it's aimed at full time van lifers, the option I am going to suggest for this build is this one. It's somewhere in the middle of the options I have written about before as they were aimed at the budget and the high end markets.
For the router I recommend something that you can attach an external antenna too. The cheaper MIFI devices do not allow this so can struggle to find signal in the back of a well insulated van let alone in the middle of nowhere. Once you add an external antenna and put it on your roof you will be able to get a decent signal pretty much anywhere.
NETGEAR Unlocked Aircard AC810S Wi-Fi Mobile Broadband Hotspot with Super Fast 4G LTE
To this I would add this external antenna... It is the best on the market, 4G LTE like your router, dual band and Omni directional. (There is a better option for an antenna if you know what direction your closet 4G mast is... but who would know that?)
Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0001 Cross Polarised 4G Omni LTE Antenna
And the final thing you need for unlimited wifi is an unlimited data contract for a network provider. Again there are lots to choose from and it is all down to personal choice, but I always suggest Vodafone as they always have good deals, good kick backs and good signal. They can be a little bit more expensive than some of the cheaper networks but for good reason, THEY ARE A LOT BETTER.
This is the specific Vodafone deal I would choose. If you click it it will take you through to the Vodafone website
There is one more thing that I would like to suggest for this system and that is an inverter, however the inverter you need (if you need one at all that is) depends on what you would like to power from it. So for this reason I am writing a whole inverter post separately as it could get very confusing very quickly. When the post is ready I will link to it just underneath this paragraph so if its not there yet it's not ready yet. If you would like any advice on an inverter before my post please feel free to message me on my facebook page or join my facebook Van life Build Group it is brand new so you won't need to fight for my attention 🤣
Ok so thats about it from me for now, I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful
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