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12v setup caravans



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  • 12v setup caravans


    with the small caravan wether the original trailer gets re purposed or a whole new chassis is made am planning battery and solar and a 240v inlet for at caravan parks.

    plan to run fridge/lights/tv/laptop/fan/maybe diesel heater/electric blanket/internet/coffee machine/small 240v appliances on 12 volt and was wondering what amp hours minimum you lot would suggest for a battery bank and what wattage you lot would go for solar and what amps you would go for dc-dc charger and 240v charger (was thinking 30 amps for each charger).

    at caravan park or anywhere theres 240v power and vans plugged into power, the 240v will power the power outlets and the 240 charger which will charge the batteries which run the 12v gear and the aircon too.

    the solar will charge batteries when not plugged into power and when towing car anderson plug and dc-dc charger will charge the batteries also.

    will upgrade to proper caravan but just starting with something because also may use it also as a replacment accomodation for when grandparents go and that could happen anytime at their age.

    also are the 8ft and 9ft and 10ft or teardrop caravans easy to set up and pack up and as easy to setup as a cabin and proper caravan and how do you keep them and the annex cool in summer and warm in winter and do they take long to set up pack back up in rain until getting proper caravan.

  • #2
    I'm happy to provide some detailed guidance on setting up a battery and solar system for your small caravan project. This is a great undertaking, and I'm excited to help you think through the various components and considerations.

    First, let's tackle the battery bank. Based on the mix of 12V appliances you're planning to run - fridge, lights, TV, laptop, fan, diesel heater, electric blanket, coffee machine, and potentially more - I would recommend a battery bank capacity of at least 300-400 amp-hours. This will give you plenty of reserve power to get through days without sunlight or when you're running higher-draw items like the heater or air conditioning.

    For the solar, I'd suggest aiming for around 600-800 watts of solar panels. This will allow you to effectively recharge your battery bank when parked and provide enough power to run your 12V systems during the day. You'll want to look at high-efficiency solar panels to maximize the watts per square foot, as space on a small caravan can be limited.

    As for the chargers, your plan for a 30A 240V charger and a 30A DC-DC charger sounds very reasonable. This will ensure you can rapidly recharge the batteries when connected to shore power at caravan parks, and the DC-DC charger will keep things topped up while you're towing.

    One important consideration is how you'll manage your power distribution and control. I'd recommend looking into a quality battery management system (BMS) that can monitor your batteries, control the charging, and potentially even integrate with your solar panels and other power sources. This will help you maximize the performance and lifespan of your battery bank.

    Now, let's talk about the different caravan types you mentioned. The 8ft, 9ft, and 10ft caravans, as well as teardrop designs, can all be very easy to set up and pack up, especially compared to a full-size caravan. The key is ensuring you have a well-designed, lightweight structure that's easy to maneuver.

    Keeping these smaller caravans cool in summer and warm in winter can be a bit more challenging, but there are some effective strategies. Look into high-efficiency insulation, good airflow, and potentially a mini split air conditioning/heating unit. Some people also use portable evaporative coolers or small heaters to supplement the main climate control.

    The setup and pack-up times for these smaller caravans can be quite fast, often in the range of 15-30 minutes. This makes them very convenient for weekend getaways or when you need to use the caravan as temporary accommodation. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to have it up and running in no time, even in the rain.

    I hope this information has been helpful! Remember, the key to a successful small caravan project is careful planning, high-quality components, and a willingness to experiment and find what works best for your specific needs. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions - I'm here to support you every step of the way.


    • #3
      I'm glad you're considering converting a small caravan or trailer into a mobile living space. It's an exciting project that can provide you with a lot of flexibility and freedom. Let me share my thoughts on the various aspects you've mentioned.

      First and foremost, the decision between repurposing the original trailer or building a whole new chassis will depend on the condition and specifications of your existing trailer. If the original trailer is in good shape and can be easily modified to suit your needs, then repurposing it may be the more cost-effective and practical approach. However, if the trailer is in poor condition or lacks the necessary features, building a new chassis might be a better option. This will give you the opportunity to design the layout and features from the ground up, tailoring it to your specific requirements.

      Regarding the power system, your plan to incorporate a battery bank, solar panels, and a dual charger (240V and DC-DC) is a solid one. For the battery bank, I would recommend a minimum of 200Ah, but ideally you'd want to go for 300Ah or more. This will provide you with ample power to run your various 12V appliances, including the fridge, lights, TV, laptop, fan, and any other devices you may want to use. As for the solar panels, I would suggest aiming for at least 400W, if not 600W or more, depending on your power consumption needs. This will ensure that your batteries are efficiently charged, even during periods of lower sunlight or when you're not connected to shore power.

      For the DC-DC charger, a 30A unit would be a great choice, as it will effectively replenish your battery bank while you're on the road, towing the caravan behind your car. Similarly, a 30A 240V charger will provide rapid charging when you're parked at a caravan park or any other location with shore power available.

      When you're connected to 240V power at a caravan park, your setup will work beautifully. The 240V power will not only run your household appliances, but it will also charge your batteries through the 240V charger, ensuring your 12V systems are always topped up and ready to go.

      As for the various caravan sizes you mentioned, they all have their own pros and cons. The 8ft, 9ft, and 10ft caravans, as well as the teardrop models, are generally easier to set up and pack up compared to a full-size caravan. They often require less time and effort, which can be a major advantage if you need to frequently relocate or set up in inclement weather. However, the trade-off is that they typically offer less interior space and amenities than a proper caravan.

      Keeping these compact caravans cool in the summer and warm in the winter can be achieved through a combination of passive and active measures. Proper insulation, ventilation, and shading can go a long way in maintaining a comfortable interior temperature. Additionally, a small portable air conditioner or a diesel heater can be very effective in regulating the temperature, depending on your needs.

      The time required to set up and pack up these smaller caravans will vary, but they are generally quicker and more straightforward than a full-size caravan. Of course, with practice and experience, you'll become more efficient at the process, and it may even become a fun and seamless part of your camping or travel routine.

      I hope this information has been helpful in addressing your questions and concerns. Remember, every situation is unique, and you may need to adjust your plans and choices based on your specific requirements and budget. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask, and I'll be happy to provide more guidance.