Installing the battery array gave us our fridge/freezer, lights, and inverter – all of which were installed to increase functionality and range for the boogie van. We knew from our trips in the spring or fall that we needed to have lights and heat … LED lights we connected to the battery array, heat is another matter. Our plan is to eventually travel to warmer locales in summer and we would like to visit the mountains in our own Province later in the season. Enter our consideration of shore power.
Our battery array gives us 260AH of power at 12v (2x 6v 260AH batteries) about 84AH of which we assign to the refrigerator leaving us 46AH reserve when the solar array is not taking in power. The solar array is quite efficient and generates power even on cloudy days, but that is not how one should approach their power needs. Having 46AH beyond the fridge would give us around 15 hours of use for two of our internal LED lights, but it would not run a heater or air conditioner for long.
Keeping to our idea of simplicity we found a shore power adapter on Amazon that allows for 13.5 amps at 120v. This is sufficient to run a small heater or cooling unit which is all that is required for our modest boogie van. As you can tell this is really just an extension of a standard power cord, but that is all the boogie van requires. This item cost us about $25 CDN.
I used a hole saw to cut the correct size of opening for the adapter, however, before cutting I made certain the metal panel did not conceal a support beam. After the cut I took a round file and cleared out the sharp edges of metal inside the hole. I gouged an opening in the interior lining to fit the adapter plug through so I could attach it to a small power bar inside the boogie van. The cord fits behind our fridge/freezer unit.
The adapter comes with a rubber ring that wraps to become the cover, however, I didn’t trust that to be fully water sealing so used automotive goop as a sealing agent behind the adapter. Some form of black silicone would also have worked. This is the unit installed on the outside … not too big, relatively inconspicuous. The cover is a plug which sits snugly and has not come out whilst driving.
I bought a 15 amp power bar with only a few plugs as the 13.5 amp limit for the shore power adapter must be kept in mind at all times. I will plug my fridge into it but will be more concerned about heating and cooling given the battery array will run the fridge on DC without concern. As long as I keep within the rated amperage I can use the fridge along with other items. Given we are heating a van and not an RV we will not require a large heating or cooling unit; those have yet to be sourced.
We don’t normally seek out serviced camp sites, however, we can now make legitimate use of one where power is concerned. This will be something we do seek if we head south, which is our goal. This unit will also allow for a generater/inverter to be purchased if we feel we need one. We have not seen the need to this point, but won’t rule it out as a future purchase.