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Motorised Ball Valve Control Unit

Another component I have been working on during the last days, apart from the plumbing I have done, is the unit to control the motorised ball valves for the heating elements as well as some valves installed with the water tanks.

The complete unit comprises two components, the relay component and the processor component. Above image shows the relay board with 16 relays driving 12 ball valves. The connectors are 5 pin plugs connecting each ball valve. Two wires drive the motor. Changing polarity changes the direction of the valve movement. The other 3 wires are used for the feedback […]

Main 12V Control

As part of the electrical work I was doing over the last few weeks I was working on the main switch component for the 12V supply. The main reason for such a switch component is the goal to minimise power consumption. Each control component like a valve control, dmx control unit, slide-out controller and any other component use power even on standby. Audio PC, video PC, cameras, NVR and other 12V units add significantly to an idle current which could amount to 3-5 Amp, which is almost as much as a small 12V fridge would use when running continuously, […]

MultiControl Installation

This afternoon after another meeting I finally installed the MultiControl replacement in the van. It sits above the fridge next to the main switchboard. I have fans for air circulation around the fridge walls and this will also let the air flow over all the components installed in the space above the fridge.


Below to the right, visible only as a white surface, is the 8 port router to connect some of the components to the LAN. On the left below the 5V power supply for the router one can see the UDOO Linux main processor, which is connected to […]

Victron Multi Control Replacement Part2

The touch screen is mounted in its bezel, the connection cable for the screen is made and the components are in their box. I use two step down power supplies, one for the Arduino and one for the display. I found the display to be unreliable when powered from the Arduino, it draws too much power and with the Ethernet shield in the stack, which also draws a fair bit of power it would be a bit too much for the Arduino internal power supply. I run 7 V to the Arduino, if I power it directly from 12V […]

Victron Multi Control Replacement

Have finished the programming and testing of my Multi Control replacement. Have changed the main screen a little over the first version. At first I emulated the original with a round knob. Not really easy to use with a touch screen. The slider was better but it was still a bit tedious to set an exact limit. This is mainly useful when we only have a 10 amp plug or only one lead connected. I made buttons for the mainly used limits and anything in between can be done with the slider. I did not visualise the charger mode […]

Victron CCGX And Arduino Uno

After finishing the replacement for the Digital Multi Control screen functions I wanted to add the Modbus communication and test the connection, but it was not as easy as I expected from the Java experience.

The information about Modbus TCP for Arduino is a total mess on the web. Lots of pages for serial communication but not much on TCP, and the stuff you find is dated, unfinished, too big for an Uno and none of the three library attempts were working with the CCGX. I just could not get a proper response. The CCGX received but I always got […]

CCTV – first steps

By |December 23rd, 2016|BUILD, ELECTRIC|0 Comments

Today I have experimented with the positions for my CCTV cameras. I have prepared the installation last night with the implementation of the video display in the central application as well as an application on my phone to see the streaming video from the cameras.

The plan is to use 4 cameras for all around coverage. They are Ip cameras and can stream over the LAN and also the Internet. I mounted a camera on by step ladder and moved it around to search for the best angles and mounting points. Originally I wanted these on the side walls, but […]

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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]