In this post, you will find a parts list of what you will need to install a DC-DC charging system in your camper van and RV. We have used many of the same components in our camper van conversion, and our DC charging system has worked well for us over the last five years.
First, Download Our Wiring Diagrams Ebook
This DC-DC charging parts list post will be used alongside our electrical Ebook. You can download this PDF for free by visiting our electrical wiring diagrams page.
You’ll find the wiring diagram below in our PDF. This post will introduce all the components in this diagram and describe their function within this system.
6 AWG Wire
We recommend 6 AWG wires here because that is the maximum wire size recommended by the DC-DC charger manufacturer (Victron). And wherever possible, we think going with the maximum possible size is the smart choice to prioritize electrical safety. This is also to combat the effects of voltage drop since DC-DC wiring tends to involve long wire runs (~20 feet).
Windynation’s 6 AWG wires are constructed from 300 strands of pure copper conductors for high power transmission efficiency and ultra-flexibility. This is important for wiring projects in tight spaces like a van conversion or a boat. This wire’s rugged EPDM insulation jacket resists corrosion from oil splatters, salt water spray, and UV light, making this a good wire choice if you choose to lay the wire under the vehicle’s chassis.
We also like the Windynation brand because it is a California-based company that assembles its battery cables in-house. The wires come at a premium quality and are priced competitively.
Watch our Windynation 4 AWG Wire review on YouTube. The wire gauge size is different (4 AWG vs. 6 AWG), but the form is exactly the same.
This is an assorted set of lugs for wires and terminal posts of different sizes. It includes the lugs you need to connect the 6 AWG wire to the fuse, circuit breaker, and bus bars.
If you are following our wiring diagrams, this lug set is a perfect pickup because it contains all the various lugs you’ll need to connect the 12V system, DC-DC charger, solar charge controller, and to ground your electrical system. This saves you money since you don’t have to buy individual lug sizes, which often contain many more units than you actually need for your build.
- Wire size range: 2 AWG to 8 AWG
- Ring sizes: 3/8″, 5/16″, 1/4″
This lug set also includes pre-sized red and black heat shrink sleeves. After you’ve crimped the lug onto the wire, slip on the sleeve and use a heat gun to activate the heat shrink to reinforce the lug/wire connection.
For more information, watch our Sanuke lug set product review below.
Victron’s 30A DC-DC charger recommends installing a 60 amp fuse, so we go with this. The purpose of this fuse is to ensure the 6 AWG wire – that connects the vehicle’s starter battery with the DC charger – doesn’t overheat during abnormal overcurrent situations.
Baomain’s 60A ANL fuse is what we use. We’ve never experienced an overcurrent event, so we cannot attest whether the fuse does its job. But it’s a good quality product with a solid feel.
For more information, including how to wire a fuse, watch our Baomain 60A fuse review below.
A DC-DC charger lets you charge your leisure battery from the vehicle’s alternator while the engine runs. You can also use a cheaper split-charge relay if you have a lead-acid (AGM) leisure battery. However, a DC-DC charger must be used to charge a lithium battery.
Charge your leisure batteries quickly with Victron's 30A DC-DC charger (up to 360W). Works great for both lithium and AGM batteries. But the highlight is the charger's Bluetooth connectivity, which pairs with Victron's UX-friendly smartphone app.
How fast a DC-DC charger can charge a leisure battery depends on it’s amp-rating. In a 12-volt system, a larger 30A charger can put in as much as 360W back to the battery, but a small 10A charger can only do 120W.
We recommend the Victron 30A DC-DC charger. It’s what we use in our camper van. We love its Bluetooth capability, which allows us to adjust the device’s settings and see our charging stats using our smartphones using the VictronConnect app.
For a detailed installation tutorial: Read our DC-DC charger installation guide.
60A Circuit Breaker
We recommend a 60A overcurrent protection device (OCPD) here because that is what the DC-DC charger manufacturer recommends. The purpose of this device is to prevent the 6 AWG wire – that connects the DC charger to the bus bars – from overheating during an abnormal overcurrent situation.
Although you could install a 60 amp fuse, we recommend using a 60A circuit breaker. This is because a breaker allows you to manually disconnect the circuit for whatever reason, including turning off the DC charger or when placing your vehicle in long-term storage.
It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice feature to have.
We recommend the 60A breaker from T Tocas. It has a thick build quality with solid terminal posts. We use T Tocas breakers in our van (DC charger & solar) and are very satisfied with their look and feel.
Watch our T Tocas 40A Breaker review on YouTube. The amp rating is different (60A vs 40A), but the function and form are the same.
Bus bars are an intermediary between the batteries and every load/charging point in an electrical system. They collect/distribute DC power and help keep your wiring clean, simple, and organized.
When your electrical system is finished, these bus bars will connect to your batteries, 12V fuse panel, inverter, solar charge controller, and DC-DC charger.
Since these bus bars are at the nexus of all power flow, you want to get good quality ones that can handle high current levels for prolonged periods. The bus bars we recommend (and personally use) from R2X Racing are heavy-duty and can handle up to 250 amps of current.
For more information, watch our review of the R2X Racing bus bars.
Connecting The Bus Bars To The Leisure Batteries
You must wire the bus bars to the leisure batteries to complete the DC-DC charging system. For a list of components required to complete this connection, please read our 12V electrical system parts list.
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