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More functions of the control application

Have added two more functions to my central application. The first lists all actively sampled signals, from all connected bus systems and shows the call duration as well as the sampling interval for each value. This is done to test the quality of the network and to help with testing when installing all electronic components. I can easily see if the software as well as the hardware is doing what it is supposed to to. I will also have a function to manually start the sampling of a single value. I will also have dozens of digital signals, simple […]

Central Application – Sample Pages

Amongst other things I have been mainly working on the Java application for my central system. One main part of the new functions was the integration of the Victron devices via Modbus/TCP. Had a few minor hurdles but all good in the end. Still a few open questions with some of the functions of the Victron components but that is for a later stage. I have not yet connected both solar controllers and battery monitors. The chassis battery is not yet in place, also working on that one. I have tested the BMS and the CAN bus connection to […]

Victron Integration – Status Report

By |December 12th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

This is a bit technical and only meant for those who have interest in accessing the Victron network.

I have finished the basic test to read from all connected devices.
I could read from can bus using uId 0, found the first solar controller.
I found the register with the Multi status, off/on/charger only/  inverter only field 33 , Solar charger is field 774 to switch off

I have rewritten my test code into a Modbus server to easily integrate in my central application. It is an expandable OO Java app and I created a public Github project to share as promised above.

Here […]

Victron Integration Progress

By |December 11th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Today I connected one of the solar controllers to check if I can access it via Modbus. The documentation is not clear in that regard and one can only guess. However Mathijs has answered from his mobile on Saturday and is taking this to the support desk and not the forum. Good move, however I tried it out and it works as I guessed and as he confirmed.

There are still a couple of issues to solve. Two with Victron and one with myself. I have a very weird phenomenon which occurred now twice in the morning.  I will get […]

Modbus/TCP for Victron CCGX

By |December 9th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Here is the code for Modbus/TCP communication with the Victron CCGX using Java. Very limited sources and all the sample programs are incomplete and don’t work with the CCGX.
You need j2mod library, can be downloaded from here:  https://sourceforge.net/p/j2mod/wiki/Home/
Some info about Modbus TCP master, which is what this code is: http://jamod.sourceforge.net/kb/tcp_master_howto.html

I have not completed all device connections yet. The documentation is insufficient for me, but maybe I am just being stupid again, as in the beginning when I overlooked the field list in an excel workbook.

This is what the program prints out:

Connected to = is true
Start Register 3
AC […]

Victron System – Load Test

By |December 8th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Amongst other things I have worked on the Victron installation. Finally my MK2-USB cable came to configure the Multi, but no firmware on the website. You have to write to support to have it sent. Did that, and just now came the file from the Netherlands with no answer to two questions and not a friendly word. Well .. it all fits into the picture. The MK2-USB needed an update too and did not want to work on a USB extension. The Ve-configure utility crashed twice and wrote corrupted files. With the third attempt I was able to read […]

Heating Installation Started

By |December 6th, 2016|BODY BUILD, BUILD, PLUMBING|0 Comments

Today I have started to place the heater outlets. The first is the one in the living area. It is a 4.5 kw Webasto 3 stage fan heater. Originally I only wanted convection heat, but I decided that we are using the fan forced heater for faster heat up. We have the floor heating for the “soft” heat if required.

In the morning I was at Masters and raided the PEX fittings. Nobody buys this stuff and they had pretty much left what I needed. I bought a few and some more, just in case.

I bought another couple […]


By |December 3rd, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

I hooked up a couple more power points in the front storage compartment. I test fitted the BBQ and built a pedestal where the runners will be mounted for the BBQ slide. The vent on the lower left is for the 12V fridge. I will also have a vent in the side of the pedestal but not to the outside. The area is big enough to take the circulating air and when we run the aircon the left side is open anyway. The power point on the left is a 15 Amp outlet with it’s own RCD to supply […]

Hot Water Solar

By |December 3rd, 2016|BODY BUILD, BUILD, PLUMBING|0 Comments

After the last tarp was ripped to pieces by the winds I started to work on the roof. I had finished the hatches and also done the extractor fan and all the trim along the roof edge. Next on the list were the solar panels for the hot water.

I organised the fittings for the panels and the connections for the pex pipes. Above image shows the panels prepared to go on the roof .

The left panel with the inlet connection.

Above image shows the connection between the panels and the right side outlet. I allowed some space around the panels […]

On The Roof

By |November 23rd, 2016|BODY BUILD, BUILD|0 Comments

The second tarp, which was still hanging on a few threads, has finally given up and was shredded by the wind we had recently. I removed it completely and used the opportunity to work on the roof and on the edge. I installed edge trim on both sides, 6.5 m each piece, however it is not yet finished. A few bits are missing towards the front. Will do that in the next days before I put new tarps up. Will also give the front part of the roof a bit of a clean and also the top of the […]

Lithium Batteries 101 and BMS

I thought I post some information about Lithium batteries. Since the most frequented forum about caravans gets moderated to death I have seen an increase in emails I receive about Lithium batteries. Half information, scare mongering and totally inflated prices have confused a lot of people in the market. Caravan manufacturers go even that far to refuse warranty when somebody wants to install their own battery system.

I have built my own BMS (Battery MANAGEMENT System) as opposed to a Battery MONITORING System. The difference is that it actually balances the cells actively if something goes wrong or switches of […]

First Experience With the Victron Components

By |November 15th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

I purchased the Victron gear earlier this year. I installed the inverter/chargers, the BMV battery monitor and the Color Control GX a while ago and wired it all up, however I have not switched anything on until a couple of days ago.

I already made some comments earlier about the way Victron expects the Multis to be mounted and the case design is note really caravan friendly. Well I overcame the issue and can live with it.

I have chosen Victron for the “family” of products, meaning that the components talk to each other over a network and that I might […]

Another Blind Installed

By |November 14th, 2016|BUILD, INTERIOR BUILD|0 Comments

A few days ago I finally went out to get some more alu extrusions for the blinds with the larger motors. I use a 32mm tube for the top, a 10mm tube  and a square profile for the bottom roller.

The motor is a 25mm 1.5Amp with remote. I use the bigger motor for the larger blinds and the smaller 20mm (0.5Amp) for the small blinds. All the fabric has arrive already a while back from Turkey. Works well and looks really nice. This completes the kitchen. Lights are finished, cupboards are finished, the only thing left is the water […]

Main Switchboard

By |October 28th, 2016|ELECTRIC|0 Comments

I have not posted in a while again. Kiting season has started too, so have to be even more efficient with my time. Finished the main switchboard. Below is a picture from my internal installation documentation. It is a website running on the central system of the van with all information about components, connectors, serviceable parts, cable routing, fuses and positions etc.

Below is a connector for the 12v coil cables of the latching relays in the main board and the energy meter signal outputs. Documentation is not yet finished for the installation site. Will be similar to the image […]

More Lighting

By |October 12th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Last week I also completed the lighting in the living area. The down lights above the dinner table. the indirect lighting at the ceiling and around the slide out. I also installed a light strip as a reading light.

For the ceiling light I use two switches coded to the same controller. One at the entry door and one on the wall to the bedroom. These switches are RF, they do not require cables. Have them from China through Ali Express but they are no longer available there I recently discovered. What a pity, great concept. Found it on […]

More Electrical Work

By |October 12th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Last week I finally received the 6mm bootlace ferrules for the larger 240V cable. Had ordered them from Hong Kong, 5.95 for 200 with free shipping. Here in Australia the 200 would be $40, what a joke.

Connected the inverter outputs now and the input board as well as the kitchen board.

The kitchen board is fully connected now.

So is the input board. This protects the inverter input and combines the inverter outputs. Also supplies the transfer switch of the small inverter.

AC Distribution

By |September 29th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Over the last 2 weeks I have installed the AC switchboards. There is more to it than just a few images.The scope of the system far exceeds the content of a few posts on the website. Important to mention is that all breakers are double pole as required for portable structures. I have contactors to isolate the subboard when not needed to avoid unwanted standby currents.

I also use power meters with Modbus interface to monitor consumption of the air condition and the fridge. I also use RVDs additionally to RCDs. This is subject for another post.

The main switchboard above […]

12V Installation

By |September 29th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

This week the large battery lugs arrived. I had plenty of B&S 0 but no B&S 00, which I had ordered. The main supply is B&S 00 from the batteries to the first distribution point. From here the 12V supply runs down towards the chassis battery and also to the inside. Both lines are B&S 0. At the main distribution point I also connected the small inverter.  A total of 3 big fuses are installed. Each connection is colour coded and the three fuses are connected with a bus bar I made from flat copper.

I also started to box in […]

Audio/Video System

By |September 29th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Last week I have received a Mini Pc  had ordered as a sample. It is meant to be driving the audio system and will be mounted close to the Logitech amplifier. I have designed the entertainment system around the old Logitech system I had in the slide-on camper. I really liked it, fairly compact subwoofer and several inputs including an optical digital input. I also will have a video server connected to the TV via HDMI 2.0 for full UHD 4K transmission. The HDMI cable runs back to a HDMI to Toslink converter for surround sound input into the […]

Ceiling Fan

By |September 28th, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC, INTERIOR BUILD|0 Comments

A couple of days ago I installed a ceiling fan in the living area. The fan is a DC motor fan, which is very quiet and efficient, far more than AC motors. It is a 6 speed and can move a lot more air than 4 or 5 small 12V fans and still don’t need more power. I connect the fan to the small inverter and we can run it when the air condition is not needed. We will also run it when we heat with the split system to get the warm air down from the ceiling. This […]