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How to design the perfect electrical system for you campervan

Designing the electrical system for your campervan is a


critical step in creating a comfortable and functional mobile living space. Whether you're a weekend adventurer or a full-time nomad, calculating the right electrical system is essential to meet your po


wer needs while on the road. In this blog, we will guide you through the steps to accurately calculate the electrical system you'll need for your campervan.

Step 1: List Your Electrical Appliances and Devices

Before you begin calculating your electrical system, create a comprehensive list of all the appliances and devices you plan to power in your cam


pervan. Include items such as:

  • Refrigerator

  • Lighting

  • Heating or cooling systems

  • Water pump

  • Stove or cooktop

  • Entertainment devices (TV, radio)

  • Charging stations for phones and laptops

  • Any other electrical gadgets or tools


For each item, note its power consumption in watts. You can usually find this information on a label or in the device's manual. If the device doesn't provide wattage, check for amperage (in amps) and voltage (typically 12V or 24V for campervans). You can calculate watts by multiplying amps by voltage (W = A × V).


Step 2: Calculate Daily Energy Consumption


To determine your daily energy consumption, estimate how many hours each device will be in use during


a typical day. Multiply the device's wattage by the number of hours it will run. For example, if your 100-watt fridge runs for 8 hours, it consumes 800 watt-hours (or 0.8 kilowatt-hours, kWh) in a day.

Repeat this calculation for all the devices on your list and add up the total daily energy consumption in kilowatt-hours. This figure represents the minimum amount of energy your electrical system needs to provide daily.


Step 3: Accounting for Efficiency and Safety Margin



In real-world scenarios, it's essential to consider efficiency and add a safety margin to your calculations. Not all electrical systems operate at 100% efficiency, so factor in an efficiency loss of around 10-20%.

To account for unpredictable circumstances or unexpected power needs, add a safety margin of approximately 20-30% to your total daily energy consumption. This buffer ensures that you have enough power even on cloudy days or in case of emergency situations.




Step 4: Sizing Your Battery Bank

Now that you have your daily energy consumption, it's time to determine the size of your battery bank. This step is crucial because it dictates how much energy you can store and use when not connected to an external power source.

Calculate your required


battery capacity in amp-hours (Ah) using the following formula:


Battery Capacity (Ah) = Daily Energy Consumption (kWh) ÷ Battery Voltage (V)

For most campervan setups, the battery voltage is 12V. So, if your daily energy consumption is 3 kWh, you'd need a battery bank with a capacity of 250 Ah (3 kWh ÷ 12V = 250 Ah).


Step 5: Selecting Solar Panels and Charging System


To keep your battery bank charged, consider adding solar panels to your campervan's roof. To determine the necessary solar panel size, divide your daily energy consumption (in watt-hours) by the average daily sunlight hours in your travel region. For the UK, an average of 4-5 hours of sunlight per day is a reasonable estimate.


Solar Panel Capacity (W) = Daily Energy Consumption (Wh) ÷ Average Daily Sunlight Hours


Once you have the solar panel capacity in watts, select solar panels that match or exceed this figure.

Additionally, you'll need a charge controller to manage the energy flow from the solar panels to your battery bank efficiently. Make sure the controller is compatible with the voltage of your battery bank and solar panels.


Calculating the electrical system for your campervan is a vital step in ensuring a comfortable and reliable power supply while on the road. By listing your appliances, estimating energy consumption, accounting for efficiency and safety margins, sizing your battery bank, and selecting the right solar panels and charge controller, you can create an electrical system that meets your needs and allows you to enjoy your campervan adventures to the fullest. Remember that every campervan is unique, so adapt these calculations to your specific requirements and travel habits.

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