Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

darrens
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by darrens » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:32 am

Ripper - thanks for that.

I guess the chassis idea is like the Alko one on Bailey/Jurgens etc, or the Aerolite. The main difference will be the high strength integrated body structure, where every exterior panel, internal panel, such as benches, kick boards, dividers etc all are structural and bonded to each other. The Euro vans seem to rely a lot on the external panels, but have screw on internals, plus a few bulkheads. What I'm envisaging is a low tech version of the big RTM van that Kratzmann produced, but rather than having expensive molding processes, use more readily available materials.

Darren

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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:08 pm

Hi again Darren,
Most vans really on their interior cupboards and the like to give the van body structural strength, that’s the reason I added an arch in my van to increase structural strength.

Many years ago I did major mods to my old Jayco pop top and removed many cupboards to carry out the work, one side of the van was quivering and shaking until the cupboards were refitted. Don’t know if you have seen one of those demolition derbies on TV with caravans but usually the interior has been stripped out and it is easy to see how weak they are as the body swings and sways and that is before they are hit.

Even though you are looking at building a van much different to mine just drop me a PM any time you need any information that I may be able to help with.

JR
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chrissmith61
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by chrissmith61 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Just come across this post. I have had a quick look and am fascinated by your detail. Plan to study it a bit further when I have some time

Regards Chris

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Legendts
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by Legendts » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:11 pm

Very, very well done JR. Just got around to reading it and brought memories back of a bus conversion I did many moons ago. A lot of hard work and hours but by he'll it sure is satisfying to finish and use eh :mrgreen:
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by lukeyslide » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:50 pm

Thankyou for such a great build thread the A- Z on how and where in building a caravan. I apreciate the effort you have put into this thread as mentioned before more time spent on this then the build alone.Thanks for your advice and thought you have put into my build as well.

Cya Lukey

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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:28 pm

Time to replace the Battery and install an Inverter and up the Solar

It was September 2007 when I finished building our van and have in the last seven years coved about 90,000K’s on good and bad roads with almost no issues to mention.

The following is the first major upgrade I have made:
The original 110AH AGM battery is starting to behave a little sluggish so after many hours, days, weeks, months of research I decided to update to a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery.
The lithium battery can deliver high amperage with virtually no drop in voltage until it has discharged down to about 10%SOC.
Lithium current curve.jpg
Due to this ability to hold the volts at high discharge current I decided to also fit a 2500watt inverter to power the microwave run the toaster and pod coffee machine and any other 240V appliance except the air con. Naturally these high power usage items will only be used for short periods.

I purchased four 3.2V 200AH cells from EV Works in WA for around $300/cell total $1200.00. Each cell weighs in at 6.9Kgs so total weight is 27.6Kgs for a 200AH battery whereas the old AGM was 38Kgs for 110AH. The 200AH lithium battery is about 15% bigger than the old 110AH AGM but double the capacity and in usable terms is almost three times the capacity as you can run the lithium down to 10 to 20% SOC and it does not worry it. AGM batteries can also go down to 20% SOC but it is recommended not to go much below 50% SOC to maintain a reasonable operating life.

If you decide to go for lithium you usually cannot just drop in at the local battery place and buy a lithium battery so you need to plan ahead like about three months.

The battery arrived from Perth in the wooden box about $60 freight to Newcastle.
Lithium box.jpg
JR
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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:44 pm

Time to replace the battery and install an Inverter and up the Solar

As the 200AH lithium battery is a bit larger than the 110AH AGM the existing access door for the battery was right on the limit for access so I replaced the existing access door with a larger door.

Old Battery Door above wheel
Old Battery door.jpg
New Battery Door
New battery door.jpg
It is much cheaper to buy four separate cells than buying one complete battery. Having four separate cells gives you much better flexibility to connect a BMS (Battery Management System}. The only problem is you need a way of holding the four cells together.

I used two 6mm aluminium plates and four 6mm studs to clamp the four cells together. Also I made a tray the exact size so the four cells would sit neatly in it plus a clamp to secure the cells in the tray.
lith mount.jpg
JR
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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:53 pm

Time to replace the battery and install an Inverter and up the Solar

Access was still a tight fit so I needed to make my own slides so the battery could be slid out to access the terminals and some wiring and fuses inside the battery compartment.
Battery slides.jpg
Note the cell set is connected in series via three heavy braded straps and each cell has a separate wire connected plus a final earth, a total of five wires going to the BMS via a fuse set.
Lithium out.jpg
JR
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by Milton477 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:35 pm

Hi JR
Thanks for the info & nice conversion from hatch to bigger hatch.
I am at batteries stage in my build & have also been exploring Lithium. Are you using the EV Works BMS?

Regards
Rory

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J.REEVES
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Re: Building My Home Made Caravan by JR

Post by J.REEVES » Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:00 pm

Hi Rory,
The following may help with your question.

JR
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