Sunday 9th July 2015 - Solar Panel and some ply work

Before I could finish panelling the roof inside there was one last hole to be drilled in the van - well more than one as it turned out.

First picture is of the 100Watt Solar Panel, ready to be mounted on the roof.  It was as I was staring at this, avoiding actually doing anything, that I realised that once I mounted the brackets I had fashioned out of aluminium angle onto the roof - it would be impossible to get a spanner at the nuts on the inside of the frame to remove the panel.

So last minute modification was required - I replaced the nuts with nyloc ones (bigger) and epoxied them onto the frame.  That way I stand half a chance of being able to unscrew them later and remove the panel if required.

The brackets were then Stixalled to the roof, after carefully marking the correct position and lowering the panel on to it.  

I was not originally going to bolt the brackets to the roof but after reading a long thread about Solar Panel mounting on the SBMCC forum I also bolted them down - you can see the first bolt in the photo of the panel about to be placed on the roof.

Cables everywhere - same on the other side.  Started to build the box above the cab.  The nearside will have meters, a switch panel and a small cupboard with access to the fuse box.  

Right picture shows start of construction - fuse box internals painted white to make working in there a bit easier later on.

Got the first big roof panel up and secured and that was enough for today - had to go an lie down in a darkened room.

Saturday 15th August 2015 - A long day

During the week I had managed a few hours fitting the remaining 6mm plywood panels over the insulation. Sometimes fiddly work but finished off this morning ready for the carpet to be glued in place.  

Started with the roof carpet - cut over length in case of mishaps and held up with one of my props while I got the first part glued to the ceiling. Then slowly worked towards the back of the van in about two foot panels (600mm for those born in the last thirty years!).

Anyway well chuffed with the result - starting to feel like a campervan at last.

Second to be done was the right hand side panel.  Did the back first - remarkable how much stretch there is in stretch carpet as the side panels and the wheel arch were all done at the same time.  It really did stretch.

Then went on to the front panel and trying to fit around the windows. Would have been easier if I had not decided to add a small shelf with a lip just under the window.

By this time it was nearly time for Indian food and Shiraz so stopped for the day.  Must say very pleased with the days work.

Sunday 16th August 2015

Finished off all the fiddly bits of the carpeting on the right hand side - complicated by the fact I have built in a small shelf just below the window.  Left hand side was easier (no window) and SWMBO also trimmed out the door.  We are using the original removable panel - just carpeted - so we can access the door mechanism if required.  Only thing remaining to carpet is above the cab and the back doors.

I also was working on the panel for the meters and switches which will go above the cab.  Bit of a fiddle but reasonably pleased with the result.  However I did want to be able to remove it to get at the end of the conduit running at high level to the back of the van, but did not want to hold it on with four screws with plastic heads.

After a bit of thinking time, came up with two small brackets fixed to the above cab area and two small battens glued to the back of the panel.  I chiselled out a couple of notches in the end of the battens and the panel now push fits from right to left on to the brackets.  A couple of screws through the exposed end of the battens - yet to be cut down in this picture will secure it.  There will be a a hinged cover to the fuse box area to the right of the panel and this will hide everything.  Will still be able to get the panel off in emergencies.

Now totally knackered so going to lie down in the darkened room.  Next weekend we will hopefully get started on the main electrics.

Next Installment

Van Build Pages Links:
Getting Started Insulation & Flooring
Windows & more Insulation
Solar, Final Panelling & Carpeting

Finishing the Fittings and Cupboards
Infills and stuff
DVLA Photos
Sticky Hints

Wiring Diagram
Starting Furniture and Fittings
More Furniture, Start Bulkhead

Converting a Transit Van into a Stealth Camper capable of carrying all my Race Management Kit


Last thing was to arrange the cables to go through the roof.  After being quoted anything from £15.00 to £25.00 delivered for a plastic housing - this was what I came up with: £1.08in Screwfix.  I have Stixalled this to the roof around the access hole and replaced the lid screws with stainless steel ones.  We’ll see how this works.

During the week I had started to make the switch panel - 4mm black perspex drilled for 20 mm switches. - This shows the back only.  

Also mounted the rear view cameras’ monitor.  When the back is closed off this will be our rear view mirror - second camera will point downwards to aid parking. I will tidy the wiring up behind the headcloth after it is tested.