Van Conversions

Unlike typical motorhomes or campers, van conversions come as empty shells, without a pre-existing electrical system beyond the starter battery. To simplify the design process we have created a step-by-step van system builder with kit recommendations for all five subsystems: Battery Bank, Alternator Charging, Solar Charging, AC Input/Output, and DC Distribution. At the bottom of the page, you can find some popular pre-configured options.

VAN SYSTEM INSPIRATION

educational van videos

Battery Bank

1. Select a battery bank: The battery bank is the heart of the system. We recommend LifeBlue lithium batteries because of their Bluetooth monitoring, high quality, and ability to expand over time. Because of the input and output current limits of LifeBlue batteries, we recommend at least 100Ah of battery capacity per 1000W of inverter output.

We sell LifeBlue batteries as a base kit, which includes one battery, a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor, cable, lugs, and heat shrink, plus expansion kits, which include one battery and parallel cables. For three batteries, select one base and two expansion kits.

Visit our Battery Bank product page to compare LifeBlue and Victron lithium battery sizing and specs.

Estimated Installation Labor Cost 
300Ah LifeBlue Lithium System with Monitor:  6 hours / $870 (+ cost of equipment)

  • LiFeBlue Lithium Battery Bank with BMV-712 Monitor

    This is a complete LiFeBlue lithium RV battery base kit with a Victron BMV-712 Bluetooth battery monitor. The monitor is included to provide cumulative battery bank data, compatible with Victron VRM monitoring. LiFeBlue offers the most comprehensive Bluetooth monitoring showing status, temperature, voltage,...

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  • LiFeBlue Lithium Battery Expansion Kit

    This kit is designed to be an add-on to an existing LiFeBlue battery system. LiFeBlue offers the most comprehensive Bluetooth monitoring showing status, temperature, voltage, current, cycle life, battery health, faults and state of charge. These batteries can only be parallel connected due...

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Victron lithium battery banks are another popular option:

  • Victron Lithium Battery System with Monitor (Single Battery)

    ****Online Purchase for Local Pickup Only**** This kit is designed to work with one or two Victron lithium batteries. It does not use a Lynx Distributor to combine batteries. When adding alternator charging or DC distribution, be sure to use kits specifically recommended...

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  • Victron Lithium Battery System with Monitor (Multiple Battery)

    This kit is designed to work with 1-4 Victron lithium batteries in 12V, or 2-8 Victron lithium batteries in 24V. It uses a Lynx Distributor to combine and fuse batteries. When adding alternator charging or DC distribution, be sure to use kits specifically...

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Alternator charging

2. Select an Alternator Charging kit: Due to the limited roof space for solar panels and frequent driving common to van owners, the alternator charging system is likely to be the primary source of energy for your van. You will need to choose between a DC/DC charger or a battery combiner. You can learn about their differences here.

We have witnessed 129A of charging current at idle with the high current kit on a Mercedes Sprinter with a 220A alternator.

Estimated Installation Labor Cost
High Current Alternator Charging:  8 hours / $1,160

  • DC/DC Charging: Motorhome, Van, Skoolie

    Enable DC/DC charging from your alternator to a secondary Lithium, AGM or Flooded battery bank. This kit is ideal for van conversions and skoolies with older alternators or lithium batteries with input current limits under 100A. Ideal for: Vans, skoolies, motorhomes *Please note...

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  • Battery Combiner for Drop-In Lithium

    Enable alternator charging to a drop-in lithium battery bank. An optional boost feature lets your house batteries start your ignition when your starter battery is dead. Not for use with alternators rated less than 160A, Smart Alternators, or rigs with regenerative braking.  ...

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  • Battery Combiner for Victron Lithium

    Enable 200A alternator charging of a Victron lithium battery system.  A boost button lets your house batteries start your ignition when your starter battery is dead. This kit is ideal for van conversions and skoolies.   Not for use with alternators not designed to...

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Other popular alternator charger components and kits:

  • Victron Cyrix Battery Combiner

    Victron Cyrix battery combiners connect your house battery bank to your starter battery and alternator to allow alternator charging. Additionally, when a charge is applied to a house battery bank the Cyrix will close and allow current to flow to the starter battery....

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  • 120A Alternator Charger Kit (AGM Battery)

    Please contact us to purchase. We want to ensure you are getting the kit and system needed for your application. Enable 120A alternator charging of a secondary AGM or Flooded battery bank.  A boost button lets your house batteries start your ignition when...

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  • 230A Alternator Charger Kit (AGM Battery)

    Enable 230A alternator charging of a secondary AGM or Flooded battery bank.  A boost button lets your house batteries start your ignition when your starter battery is dead. This kit is ideal for van conversions and skoolies. A Cyrix based alternator charger will...

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solar charging

3. Select solar charging system: With a solid alternator charging system and frequent driving, you shouldn’t need more than about 200W of panels on a van. Our most popular configuration includes two panels on a 20A charge controller. These kits include everything you need for solar charging: solar panels, mounts, wire harness, combiner box, sealant, charge controller, disconnect switch, fuse/breaker, lugs, heat shrink, etc.

Check out our Complete Solar Charger page to get panel dimensions.

If you want to use a portable panel, we recommend oversizing the central charge controller so it can handle both the roof array and the portable panel.

The Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controllers are compatible with any battery type, can work on 12V or 24V battery systems, and communicate status via Bluetooth.

Estimated Installation Labor Cost
2 x 100W on 20A Controller:  7 hours / $1,015 (+ cost of equipment)

  • Complete Solar Charger (20A)

    These kits offer everything one may need in order to put up to 290W onto an existing battery bank.  With the advanced MPPT charge controller and Bluetooth communication, these kits form an ideal foundation for a small power system mounted to a rigid...

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  • Complete Solar Charger (30A)

    These kits offer everything one may need in order to put up to 440W onto an existing battery bank.  With the advanced MPPT charge controller and Bluetooth communication, these kits form an ideal foundation for a medium power system mounted to a rigid...

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  • Complete Solar Charger (50A)

    These kits offer everything one may need in order to put up to 700W onto an existing battery bank.  With the advanced MPPT charge controller and Bluetooth communication, these kits form an ideal foundation for a medium power system mounted to a rigid...

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Popular solar panel options:

  • NOIR 100W Solar Panel

    Custom designed by Grape Solar for mobile applications, this 100W panel is ideal for Airstreams trailers, vans, truck campers, and any application where roof space is limited. The Grape Solar NOIR 100W panel comes in several kit variants.  Select the correct kit to...

    • Wattage: 100W
    • Type: Monocrystalline
    • Operating Voltage (Vmp): 19.1V
    • Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 23.1V
    • Operating Current (Imp): 5.23A
    • Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.59A
    • Size: 41" x 22" x 1.38" 15.4lbs
    • Frame: Black Anodized Aluminum
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