hilld's slow roll build


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Now the second panel, the only difference is the opening for the fan. A few measurements and off to cutting a giant square hole. Mark the hole, drill some corner holes and now the dilemma, track saw or jig saw. Track saw won out, leaves for some straighter cuts.


Finish the corners with a wannabe Japanese pull saw.


Finished panel


Test install in the van and test fit the Maxxfan trim ring. About 2 inches too long, time to trim it. Using a utility knife with a few scribes and it cuts right through it.


All installed

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From all the research I have done, there are some issues with the twistlocks arcing over time and causing the wires to burn. @GeorgeRa recommended that I use the SmartPlug, so that is what I purchased, just haven't installed it yet....soooooo many things to do and so little time.
I lost you when you said twistlocks arcing. What and where are they? Thanks


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Time to work on some wiring again. Hooking up the inverter, both shore power connections and the main lead to the AC panels.

Time to put some crimping ferrules on the 10 AWG wire. Tried it without and while getting 1 or 2 in there without fraying, getting the 3 wire in there was a bit of a challenge, so ferrules to the rescue.



Yes, a slight bit of damage to the plastic on the shore power ground ferrule (side effect of needle nose pliers) - did I mention that is a tight fit and stiff wires. Also had a tough time finding 10/3 marine grade wire in a round cable configuration (flat is easy), but I did end up finding it at Pacer. Makes for a better fit at the wire glands.

Rinse and repeat for the AC output wires.

Quick test, inverter off 0 volts.


Inverter on - 119.8 Volts, good enough.



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I lost you when you said twistlocks arcing. What and where are they? Thanks
This article might help a bit. Basically, the twist lock connectors are made of thinner material and if not properly inserted and twisted tight can cause a non ideal connection that can arc. Might be more of an issue in a salt water marine environment, but since I live on the ocean, I thought this would be cheap insurance. I am installing a smart plug (not yet installed, but prewired) for this reason.



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With all this wiring, I need a way to control it. In a previous post, I showed the cage welded up to hold a lot of the electrical control panels and of course like an idiot I forgot about one controller - hard wired Maxxfan controller (will have to find another place for it). If you are playing a game of I spy, you might see it tie wrapped against the drivers side side wall in a previous picture. :rolleyes:

Didn't take a pic of the layout and cutting of the smaller panel I cut to mount all of the equipment, but you might see some of the pencil marks on the installed panel. Once again, I still haven't finished it yet, later this year. Right now I am trying to get the van ready for use by the end of June for my brother. Nothing like a tight deadline when you are mostly working by yourself and still have a day and side job.


Top row will have Solar Panel disconnect, 2 4 circuit AC panels (only will use 6 circuits, so 2 spares) (HW Heater, MW, Outdoor outlet, Cooktop, Outlets drivers side, Outlets passenger side)


Lower row, Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, Display 50 for the Cerbo GX and a 6 switch Blue Sea panel.


Most of the lights installed in the ceiling for the main lighting circuit.


And they work and no smoking wires. :cool:


Installed and wired the first Blue Sea switch for the lights shown in the previous pictures and for now simply mounted the AC panels (nothing hookup up yet). That wraps up this update for now.

Thanks for following along in my slow roll build journey.


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Some more updates to report. I did meet with Al from Wakespeed at his house / shop on the island. What a lovely guy to talk to. He showed me some of the cool stuff they are working on, replaced the case on my regulator as some screws were stripped (not by me), updated the firmware, tweaked a couple of settings, talked lots of shop and then testing the regulator in the van. Even gave me a couple of pointers and sold me a temp sensor for the battery that was not included from Nations.

I showed him the sprinter wiring and he mentioned that the most frequent question from Sprinter owners is where to hook up the brown (engine running lead). Showed him and provided him with a picture for them to give to current and future customers. Worthwhile the several house. :dance:

The inside of my regulator (before case swap, it is now white).
How fun. I'm envious. I was just up in WA two weeks ago and had planned to stop by to visit Al. Unfortunately I completely misjudged how long it would take with the sparse ferry schedule to get to his island and had to cancel. Maybe another time.

Looks like you're really on a roll with your build now. :thumbup:


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How fun. I'm envious. I was just up in WA two weeks ago and had planned to stop by to visit Al. Unfortunately I completely misjudged how long it would take with the sparse ferry schedule to get to his island and had to cancel. Maybe another time.

Looks like you're really on a roll with your build now. :thumbup:
Nothing like having a deadline to drive action on the build. Not going to lie, it will not be as ready as I would like, I have to prioritize the essentials for now. The Frolli mattress springs have arrived (have to pick them up from the UPS store along with a few other items). Going to see how that all works out along with the mattresses I just purchased. The goal for the next few weeks is to fabricate a table, install some 120V and 12V outlets and perhaps install the solar panel on the roof. I don't think I will get any of the plumbing done. The NewAge cabinets have also arrived, but will have to see how far along that process I can make it.

Now that I am thinking about it, I am overwhelmed.

So how close to San Juan Island did you get?


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I can believe you're overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed just looking at everything you have going on. I too punted on my water system plus kitchen galley because I was in a hurry to get my van in usable shape. Now I have 28K on it already I've adapted to living out of water jugs and wash basin. My 110V kitchen appliances live in a storage tub, and I pull out each appliance as I need it and place it on my table to use. It all works, but I'm getting ready to install proper water system and a galley with sink and permanent places for my appliances just to make things a bit more efficient.

I'm kicking myself now for not stopping by NWConversions to pick up a water tank while I was in the area as the shipping is like $150 to San Jose. I've really fallen in love with the Northern Cascades and PNW beaches so I'll be back that way soon enough. Plus it turns out I have some distant relatives up there who are avid outdoors people who want to take me to some cool places.

I actually took one Ferry from the northern coastal area to north of seattle (I forget the names of the towns off hand.) Spent a bunch of time near the border in Bellingham. That's as close as I got to SJI.

So you have the Festool track saw. That's pretty decadent. I have a Festool extractor and a couple of their sanders which are really nice, and I'd love to add that. Then I'd sell my tablesaw, or at least nuke the 7' fence table to downsize it. I just don't have the space for it anymore. And I reckon the tracksaw will handle sheet goods better anyway. My Bosch jigsaw died recently and I considered the Festool jigsaw but it was just way too expensive for the few times I use it any more. I swore I wouldn't buy a Bosch again (it was always problematic), but ended up buying one anyway because you cannot beat their price/performance. It turns out this new one is a world of difference and I love it. I bought the accessory dust port for it and connect it to the Festool extractor and that works really well so I'm very happy about that. Sorry, I could talk tools all day. LOL.


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I got rid of my table saw about 8 or 9 years ago when I purchased my track saw and MFT table. The MFT is not too portable, but the saw and tracks are. Initially, I had 2 of the 4.5' tracks and a set of connectors but that was more of a pain in the rear, so I purchased a 9' track last year and that is so nice. Cut those sheets of plywood lengthwise with ease. I don't miss the table saw except for dado cuts, but those I did every 5 years. Bust out the router. I end up taking a lot of tools with me between houses to work on the van. As far as my Festool addiction, I add 1 or 2 tools a year to my arsenal, can't afford all at once, but the extraction is so nice. I recently picked up a CT-SYS (small portable vacuum) and it certainly is nice and very portable, my big vac stays at the main house.

The goal for the next few weeks is to make the van safe for my brother and his daughter and wife, that means no electrical stuff exposed (unless the wires are not connected), get a table fabbed, beds all situated and some other storage items installed. They want to hit the CA redwoods at the end of June for a week or so, have a place to sleep, store their belongings and have camp fires. I have a small gas grill and griddle already for this purpose, so that will have to do. The fridge is installed and working so that is also covered. Hope they enjoy it. I had originally planned to take all summer to finish it, but a kitchen remodel in their house is changing my plans. :oops:


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You're a contractor I take it. Probably with better tools than anyone else in town.

Instead of lugging a fuel stove, you should consider an induction cooktop to plug into that nice electrical system of yours. Toss it in a storage box, it would take far less room than a Coleman stove. They're really nice and very safe. No open flames and cool off instantly.


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Not a contractor, but I spent some time at a Holiday Inn Express. I have built a few houses in my time, but I officially work in Cyber Security. No Coleman stove here. I have an induction cooktop (countertop model) that will be used as the primary cooktop once the counters are done. My wife swears by induction and we have been using that for over 15 years now. The gas grill is for a different purpose, sometimes you want to simply grill a steak outside. Picked it up at Cabela's a few months ago, takes the 1 pound small propane canisters.


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A few more updates.....even slow ones are still progress. :oops:

My heater box arrived from the Ukraine (ebay purchase), I guess for $55 shipped, you cannot expect too much. The material is about as thick an aluminum can, but it says it is Italian 400 series stainless, and it welds like crap. Not showing any pictures of the weld, but they don't win any beauty contest, but at least it stays together. Just welded the lid corners as they are just folded over.

Here are a couple of pics of the D2 heater box as I will be mounting the heater under the van at some point.




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Now onto the table. I had several goals for my table. I wanted it to be easily removed, height and length adjustable and the length adjustable piece had to have a place to store it securely. I also didn't want the table to restrict getting in and out of the seating areas or anything to hit your knees/legs with. A cantilevered design was really the only thing that made sense.

Here is what I came up with.....it took a bit to fab and some re-work to strengthen it when full size. Some welds look fantastic, others not so much. Had to TIG weld at almost 200A on some of the thicker areas, 200A with an air cooled torch is pushing it.....only a couple of burns.

Making the base leg/post

Let and top pieces. The height is adjustable, accomplished this by using telescoping tubing. I am not trying to hide the welds on the top (grind marks), but rather needed a flat surface to mount the wooden top (that is coming later, hasn't been made yet).

All 3 pieces put together, table extension sticking out. It slides into the main table piece, again the benefits of telescoping tubing.

Testing the location in the van

No extension
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Stacking dimes......NOT



Mounting on the floor (short 1 L-track fitting - the USPS lost my shipment, had to re-order).

So design flaw #1. Even though I doubled up the plate and welded on corner gusset, the table flexes too much when weight is placed on it. Partially due to the fact that there is no attachment near the side of the van, will have to fix that issue. Solution, build some channel using some 3" bar stock to reenforce the bottom.

And weld on a storage pocket for the extension piece


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A crappy day weather wise to be installing a solar panel, but nonetheless it is done. Still not in it's final location (will move it forward once I relocate the Sirius puck). It is even producing some power in the rain on a heavily overcast day.

Ready for battle


Nothing like cutting a hole in the roof during the rain.


Gland installed - I didn't want to rely simply on sealant, so I used some ultra corrosion resistant sheet metal screws (McMaster-Carr)

Dried off the area using towels and some compressed air and ran some Dicor sealant over the edges and screw heads. (no pic of that).
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Getting the large 4x6' 400W panel onto the roof was a pain, but luckily I had a friend to help. Heavy and awkward is the word here:


The location is not final on the panel as I have already commented on, once I move the Sirius puck on the roof, I will slide the panel forward.


Flipped the switch and voila.


And it is working


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