The next step is your electrical installation. First, and most importantly, depending on how complex you want to make your setup, it’s best to get help from a professional. Electricity is something you don’t want to get wrong! However, if you don’t want a crazy elaborate setup or have the knowledge, it doesn’t have to be difficult. I’ll help you with the basics, but be sure to ask your local (shopping) experts for advice as well.

Tip: a good shop in the Netherlands is destroomwinkel. I wrote a review on the power store: they can help you with the various components and if you buy your whole system with it you get all the products you need, as well as a schematic of the system so you know how to make the connection do with each part. In addition, you get a discount!

  • Stick a piece of paper on all places in your van where you need electricity to get a clear overview in your van. Then you can pull the threads to those spots.

You start with the electricity because you want all cables to disappear nicely behind your wall. In addition, some products may take a while to ship. So it is better to order it at the beginning and meanwhile you can continue with the other steps in this guide.

Energy usage

Make a table with all appliances and electrical components that you want to use and calculate how much energy this will cost in a day.

For example:

ProductWattVoltConsumption per Day
fridge11 W12 V24 h
water pump15 W12 V0,5 h
induction2000 W230 V0,5 h
LED lights 4x8 W12 V3 h
blender200 W230 V0,1 h

AGM vs Lithium batteries

The two best-known batteries that people buy for their conversion to a motorhome are AGM / gel batteries or lithium batteries. Below are the pros and cons of both options.

  1. Price
    • AGM/gel batteries are cheaper. So if you are on a budget, this might be the best option for you.
  2. Extreme temperatures
    • AGM/gel batteries are more resistant to the cold temperatures. So if you plan on going to the colder climates to go skiing or if you live in a typically colder area. These may be better for you.
    • However, you can still get lithium even if you move to colder climates by creating some sort of arrangement that will keep your batteries from getting too cold.
  3. Efficiency
    • Lithium batteries are slightly more expensive, but they are also more efficient and less stressful. Your AGM batteries should not go below 50%, unlike 95% for lithium. So you have much less stress about having lithium batteries and less fear of ruining your batteries.
    • If you have many devices that you want to charge with your electricity, lithium is also the best option. Especially if you go for induction hobs.
  4. Lifespan
    • Lithium has more cycles and therefore has a longer life than AGM.
  5. Weight
    • Weight is an important important point to pay attention to when doing your conversion. Lithium is a lot lighter than AGM.

If you have a lot of devices that you want to charge with electricity, lithium may also be your best option. Especially if you go for an induction hob.

In my opinion, lithium is the best option if you are traveling for a longer period of time. It will cost you more in the beginning, but it will give you less stress and make for a better travel experience.


There are 3 most common ways to charge your battery: solar energy, (inverter) charger and while driving. It is useful if you have at least two ways to charge your batteries. (Inverter) charger is useful if you plan to mainly go to camping spots where you can connect it to the light. Charging while driving is also very handy, you have to drive from place to place and then it automatically yields something!

Solar panels

Solar panels are very useful. They are an easy and sustainable way to generate and use energy. How many W your solar panels should be depends on how much energy you expect to use. It also depends on which places you will be traveling and is it summer or winter, is it a clear sky or a cloudy day. In the summer months, for example, you have about 4 hours of “perfect” sun in the Netherlands.

There is a great diversity of solar panels. Different components that ensure efficiency and important terms to watch out for:

  • PERC technology: this uses monocrystalline cells, which provide more energy from the same solar cells.
  • Half-cell technology: reduces yield loss, resulting in less resistance and therefore more efficient work.
  • Monocrystalline: uniform structure resulting in a more efficient system.

Moreover, you usually don’t get the perfect situation with your van. You may have to park near a tree or house, which creates shadow on your solar panels. That is why it is important to buy solar panels that still work efficiently, even if part of your solar panel does not get any sun.

What you need to install the solar panels:

  • Solar panels (of course)
  • Spoiler set
  • Cable set (usually you will receive this with the solar panels)
  • Waterproof housing for your cables
  • Glue
  • You don’t need screws!

You also need a charge controller that collects the energy from your solar panels and stores it in your batteries. You need this element because the sun’s energy varies throughout the day, so it controls the fluctuations. Otherwise, your battery may be irreparably damaged.


An inverter converts 12 V from your solar panels to 230 V. 230 V is the V most commonly used for your household appliances. If you only want to use your inverter for small appliances, a 500W might be enough. If you want to use heavier devices or use them at the same time, a 1000 W or even 2000 W might be more convenient. It all depends on your usage.

  • An inverter itself also costs energy. This, if you have a high W inverter, you have to make sure that your battery can handle this.
  • You can also buy an inverter and charger in one. This way you can charge your batteries via a wall outlet as well as use them as an inverter. Saves you some money and is easier to install than two separate components.

Charging while driving: alternator

The easiest way to charge your batteries is while driving. You need to connect your car battery to your leisure battery. Which part to use depends on your battery and van model.

  • If you have AGM/gel you can use a Cyrix.
  • If you have an older model, you can use a Cyrix.
  • If you have lithium batteries you need a dc dc converter.

I got the dc/dc converter the power shop made. They specialize in this product. It’s more expensive than Victron, but they say it’s more efficient. There are 3 options, 25, 50 or 100, which means 25A for 1 hour of driving. I got the 50 because I don’t have solar right now so I had a little more to spend for this part. In addition, I will probably ride every other day, but I don’t plan on riding for a long period of time. And it creates less stress when it comes to having enough electricity.

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