ELECTRICAL AS EASY AS 1,2,3

NOMADIC KNOWS ABOUT VANLIFE ELECTRICAL  

Van conversions come as empty shells, without a pre-existing electrical system beyond the starter battery.  To simplify the design process we have created a step-by-step van system builder with kit recommendations for all five subsystems: Battery Bank, Alternator Charging, Solar Charging, AC Input/Output, and DC Distribution. 

STEP 1.  SELECT A BATTERY BANK  

The battery bank is the heart of the system. We recommend VICTRON lithium batteries because of their ease of install, high quality, and ability to expand over time. NOMADIC recommend starting off with three batteries to handle high current alternator and shore power charging, and to be able to fully support a 3000VA inverter.

We sell VICTRON batteries as a base kit, which includes one battery, a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, cable, lugs, and heat shrink, plus expansion kits, which include one battery and parallel cables. For three batteries, select one base and two expansion kits.


If three batteries is more than you were looking for, you will need a lower current alternator charger. Although a 3000VA inverter/charger will work with less than three batteries, it will not supply the full 3000VA output or be able to accept the full 120A of shore power charging current. A smaller inverter/charger system might be a good option.

Estimated Installation Labor
300Ah VICTRON Lithium System with BMV-712
6 hours / $870

STEP 2.  SELECT YOUR ALTERNATOR CHARGER  

2.  Select an Alternator Charging kit:  Due to the limited roof space for solar panels and frequent driving, common to van owners, the alternator charging system is likely to be the primary source of energy for your van. These alternator charging kits work on the vehicle’s stock alternator.

If you have a Smart Alternator (determined by this test) or less than three Battle Born batteries, get the 30A Alternator Charger kit.

If you have three or more Battle Born batteries, or another lithium battery system that can handle 150A of charging current, get the High Current kit.

Within the high current, there are several options. If your alternator is rated for less than 150A, you can get the 120A option. Do not get the 120A if your alternator is rated more than 150A. The boost feature allows you to push a button to manually combine your lithium battery and your starter battery for times when your starter battery is dead. The boost can only provide the total surge current of the house battery bank (600A for three Battle Born batteries) this may or may not be enough to crank your ignition.

The high current kit can only charge your batteries up to about 80% State Of Charger. The 60A kit can take your batteries all the way up to 100%.

We have witnessed 129A of charging current at idle with the high current kit on a Mercedes Sprinter with a 220A alternator.

The 60A Alternator charger kit is compatible with all battery chemistries, Flooded, AGM, and Lithium.

Estimated Installation Labor
High Current Alternator Charging
8 hours / $1,160