Electrical Systems

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    I’m by no means an electrician. Can anyone point me in the direction of some resources on how to install some basics into the camper? I’m also trying to figure out when in the process this is done — during construction but before finishing (paint/varnish, etc)? Here’s what I’m thinking so far:

    1. Ability to plug into local campground power 110v when available.
    2. 12v system for typical LED lights, fans, radio, etc…but I’d love to put a 12-volt fridge in the galley or battery box up front.
    3. Ability to charge via solar

    I appreciate your help. I’m picking up my kit in Madison in a few weeks at the Canoecopia show.


    I’m nearly done with the main construction on my teardrop and I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on my electrical components.  I’m going to go with a 100 AH Li-ION battery as the main power source, but still need to determine whether I’m going to install it in the ICC instead of in the galley, and just use the galley space for the rest of my electrical components.  Along with shore power, I’m going to get a 100 W portable solar panel and relevant components for charging off grid.  I’m going with this so that I can locate the panel in the sunlight but keep the camper out of the mid-day sun.  Does anyone care to share the electrical components they are using and any gotcha’s they learned along the way?


    For timing, I installed my solar power system after the camper was completely done. It already had the complete CLC electrical package installed. The solar panels and circuitry were all new additions, along with the replacement 100 AH LiFePO battery.

    The panels and charge controller were from Komaes Solar, their dual 100 watt 12-volt panels wired in parallel for a total of 200 watts at 12 volts. The battery was from Battle Born. I’ve got a post showing the installation here. With 200 watts I can put power in faster than I take it out, even on an overcast day.

    FWIW, ever since I’ve installed the solar power system and 100 AH battery, I have never needed to hook up to shore power. The solar power is enough to keep it charged. However, I am using an ice chest instead of a fridge.


    WudboatVT:  See attached Wiring Diagram.  I run everything off a Battleborn Lithium ION battery.  My components include:

    – Refrigerator in Storage Box

    – Radio/Speakers

    – 60 Watt Solar Panel on Storage Box (Also have a portable Solar port)

    – Television

    – Reading lights and Puck Lights

    – Both small fans and overhead Fantastic Fan

    – Puck lights in Galley

    – Voyager Backup Camera (tied into Trailer Trailer twilight)

    Teardrop Schematic


    One more thing.  I have a plug-in Marinco port which is wired to the Minnoka On-Board Battery Charger.



    I found the `12-Volt Bible very helpful for figuring out how to wire my TD.

    Things I learned included that amp and amp hours don’t give an accurate measure of the electrical draw of all the gizmos you might have wired up. I have things using 5 DCV, 12 DCV, 19.5 DCV and occasionally 120 ACV. As example 5 amps at 5 volts = 25 watts whereas 5 amps at 120 volts = 600 watts. A hundred amp 12 volt battery has a 1200 watt capacity. For me counting up all the lights, fans and usb things in watts and making a guess as to their daily usage had me installing a tiny 150 watts (12.5 amps at 12 volts) battery pack (for some unknown reason sold as a “solar charger”.) But that’s me. I don’t have a refrigerator, air conditioner, TV and tend to be very frugal with the electricity I do use. Your needs may vary widely from mine.

    The “solar charger” makes the installation easy. They, most, include 12 volt, usb  5 volt and 120 inverter outlets built in. Mine is rated at 150 watt hours they come in larger and much larger sizes. The initial cost my be more but the simplicity is hard to beat.

    What else: 16 gauge wire is the minimum and marine grade stranded wire is preferable. I used 14 gauge wire for longer runs and where more amps are used.  If you do decide on a solar charger make sure it will pass through to your grid while charging. A number of the ones I looked at don’t but many do. There are so many brands and sizes on the market with good reviews I won’t make a recommendation but it is worth a look if you want simplicity.

    I do have 120 ACV 20 amp shore power. It amounts to one standard GFIC two outlet receptacle in the cabin and one in the galley along with a 20 amp marine circuit breaker. The wire run is less than two feet using 12 gauge marine wire. It runs two 250 watt ceramic space heaters, a 1000 watt hot plate (Really nice for short overnight stays at “KOA” type RV parks.) and of course it also charges the solar charger and powers the 12 volt system.

    Another advantage of my tiny system is the “solar charger” only weighs about three pounds and is easily to remove from the galley and plug into the car cigarette lighter to charge while driving. Yet another advantage if I am camping in a shaded area it easy to move it and my portable 60 watt solar panel to a sunny area for charging. If something like this is a direction for you, let me know and I post some pictures of the wiring interface.


    glmcranger, would it be possible to send me a picture of your wiring diagram directly?  The version shown here isn’t clear when I expand it.  It could be sent to REMOVEwhein1@yahoo.comREMOVE


    Honestly, I’d love to have a copy as well! Following the email convention above:



    I attempted to send you guys the schematic via email but it doesn’t recognize those email addresses.


    you have to remove the part that says REMOVE.  🙂


    glmcranger, I started my teardrop yesterday.  Would you be willing to send me a higher resolution image of your wiring diagram?  jeffklancke at gmail dot com


    jeff: Just saw your post…. I’m camping out West and I now have Internet — first time in 2 weeks.  I’ll try to send you the attachment….. I might have it on my computer…



    glmcranger or any folks that glmcranger sent the wiring diagram to, could you email me a copy at REMOVEneikirk.h@gmail.comREMOVE? Hopeful that asking a few years late, someone is still checking this thread 😉

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