Adding a leisure battery
With the fire suppression system all safely fitted by Peter at VW Aircooled Works, there were a few other little electrical upgrades I wanted to get fitted at the same time which I had pre-booked to get done. First up was to get a leisure battery fitted, along with a split charge relay system and a fused auxiliary fuse box added to the rear of the camper. This was all part of the longer-term vision for fitting a camper interior in the currently empty cargo area of the VW bus.
Leisure battery isolator switch
As part of Peters stringent checking and methodical approach to installing the fire suppression system and these additional electrical upgrades, he was happy to offer advice and recommendations to help improve the overall set-up. One of his recommendations was to fit battery isolator switches to both the main Bosch starter battery, as well as the new 90Ah leisure battery. This then allows for a quick and easy way of disconnecting and isolating the battery via a thumbscrew fixing, rather than having to break out the metal spanners in the confined area of the battery tray. So much simpler and safer in the long run!
Note to self; no excuse now for not disconnecting the battery before working on anything electrical on the bus!
Split charging system
The new 90Ah leisure battery was safely secured in place with a new earthing cable fitted and new 63A cabling run with 60A fuses in line to the starter battery and the connection off to the intelligent split charge relay…
Looking after both Batteries
The intelligent split charge relay is different to standard split chargers that simply split alternator output 50:50. This unit monitors the charge in the main battery and only when this is fully charged does it allow current to the leisure battery. This ensures that under high load conditions like main beam/wipers/heating/stereo that the main battery is not going to let you down.
Auxiliary fuse box
With the leisure battery and intelligent split charge system installed, time to run some more 63A cable through to the cargo area and fit an auxiliary fuse box inside the bus interior. This will then be ready for future connection of additional items such as audio equipment, chargers, fridges etc. Normally this would require to drilling a hole in the rear bulkhead of the bus, however, I had a cunning plan to try to avoid this…
At some point in the buses history, a hole had already been made or created in the bulkhead? Not quite sure what for, or how it was made, but if it was tidied up and fitted with a suitably sized grommet, it was in an ideal position to feed the cable through. Happy days, good to make use of this original ‘feature’!
Getting ready for camping
Once the hole was tidied up and the rubber grommet fitted, it was time to fit a 6-way LED auxiliary fuse box. This should provide plenty of additional safe fused electrical connections in the rear of the camper for when the interior gets resolved.
Once again, a huge thanks to Peter and all at VW Aircooled Works for fitting the system. His knowledge, attention to detail and friendly personality made this a fun and very productive visit! So now time to hit the road for the journey back home again…