Sunday, 17 March 2013

New Bus Bars

I've been a bit quiet on here recently as I've been dealing with lots of non-van related stuff. One thing I've been meaning to do for a while is re-wire the electrics in my van to be a bit more robust. Originally all the cables came together onto a pair of M8 bolts (one for +12v and one for ground). But it was a pain to remove any cable, and I'm not sure the electrical connection was all that good.

So, I set about this weekend making up some nice heavy duty bus bars as part of my re-wiring project. These sort of things retail for about £50 each, and I certainly wasn't going to pay that!

I bought some stainless steel bar off ebay and cut it to length and drilled 7.5mm holes in it:

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The holes were drilled with a battery powered handheld drill, so hence a bit wonky ;) And took quite a bit of time to drill through. A pillar drill here would have been ideal.

I bought a tap and die set and put an M8 thread in the holes. I bolted in some 25mm long M8 bolts. I also had a go at soldering the backs of the bolts to keep them in place and not turning when I do the nuts up on the front. This was a bit of an experiment as I know stainless steel can be difficult to solder unless you have the right flux. I used the normal flux and solder I use for copper pipe fittings and after heating it up with a blow torch I was able to get the solder to flow on pretty nicely. It needed quite a bit of cleaning up afterwards as the flux was all blackened.

I then glued the bars to some wooden blocks as standoffs. I should have left a bit more bar either end and then could have drilled a small hole in and screw it down, but I didn't leave enough room for this.

Finished bars:

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And in place in the van:

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I plan to put a dividing 'wall' between them and maybe a cover to reduce chance of shorting something across them accidentally.

I now have the shunt for the battery monitor permanently fitted in place, so can  now connect up the battery monitor. I'm still waiting for a FTDI cable from China to turn up so that I can program the Xino Basic board I have without having to resort to swapping chips around.

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