The Vagabond’s primary function for this family is to aid our family in exploring all the national and state parks this continent has to offer. Just driving around Texas will leave you sitting for long stretches of time on your rear. With that in mind it was important for us to have a comfortable mode of transportation that could accommodate our power consuming items for our adventures. To list a few, a refrigerator so we can have a weeks+ worth of food, a plethora of 12v & USB charging ports for our electronics, power for the HAM radio, and ability to run extra lights.
To start out I installed a secondary battery, I did not want to tax my main one with this gear. This is stored in the main box I built-in the back of the van. Since it was being stored in with us I made sure to use a AGM battery (X2Power Premium AGM) so I didn’t have to deal with any venting issues. So far I haven’t needed to expand on this beast, it is able to handle everything I throw at it. To keep it topped off while I’m driving I installed a Stinger SGP32 200 AMP Battery Relay, which works like a champ. I ran 2 GA wire from the main battery to my relay and from there I ran 20′ of cable back to the secondary battery. Luckily my friend informed me that I only had to run the positive line all the way to the secondary, and did not need to run the negative too, I was able to be run that off to a metal bracket in the side wall.
After I got the power setup, I wanted all my devices to run through a set of 30/40 AMP relay harnesses I picked up. There was going to be too much power running through the wires for my toggle switches to handle. You can see the basic layout I did on my wiring board, everything there runs to the center and is connected to my fuse box. I only have two items that are not controlled by this circuit and are directly connected to my secondary battery. Those are the ARB fridge and my Yaesu FT-7900R transceiver. Since the toggle and relay switches are not drawing a lot of power I was able to use 14 GA wire and run those in a bundle along the inside panel of back passenger side and in the step of the driver’s door. Amongst other things this setup allows me to use the secondary battery as jump-start if my main battery is going bad; which I had to do a couple of times before I replaced the main one.
This year I will be tackling the extra running lights that will be installed. The plan is to have a light bar in the front and back of the van, and on the sides I will be run two little box lights. This will require me to put some more holes in my roof which I’m not too worried about since I already had to that for my radio antenna.
I was really shocked how easy this was to do, I haven’t done anything remotely like this in my life and with the help from some YouTube videos and my friends I was up and going. I would say the trickiest part was trying to find the best way to run the wires.