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Electrical Tools List | What You’ll Need For Your Installation

This post lists all the tools and equipment needed to install an electrical and solar system in a camper van and RV. We list many of these tools in our wiring diagram ebooks, and this post is intended to be used alongside these free downloadable PDFs.


Required Tools To Attach Terminal Lugs (Video)

In the YouTube video below, we show how to crimp copper lugs onto electrical cables using many of the tools we list in this post.

How To Crimp Lug Terminals Onto Electrical Wire

Cable Cutters

Purpose: Cuts thick electrical cables up to 2/0 AWG.

We use these cutters to cut through most of the wires in our electrical system, from 2/0 down to 8 AWG. Watch our YouTube video for our method for cutting thick cables with these cutters.


Blade

Purpose: Strips insulation jacket off thick electrical wires.

For electrical wires between 2/0 and 8 AWG, we use this blade to carefully remove the insulation jacket to expose the bare copper conductors. This is so we can crimp a lug terminal on the end of the wire.


Hydraulic Lug Crimper

Purpose: Crimps copper lug terminals onto electrical wire ends.

This is an essential tool for attaching lugs to wire ends. Although a cheaper hammer crimper is available online, the hydraulic crimper is easier to use and makes great-quality crimps every single time. (We have used both before).

Product Review - Hydraulic Lug Crimping Tool (AMZCNC)

Heat Gun

Purpose: Activates heat shrink over lug terminals and wire ends.

Need more info? Scroll down to our YouTube video to see how we use a heat gun when attaching lug terminals on wire ends.


Wire Multi-Tool

Purpose: An all-in-one tool to cut, strip, and crimp terminals onto wires up to 10 AWG in size.

To cut thicker wires, we recommend using the Klen Tools cable cutter instead.


Multimeter

Purpose: Measures voltage and current flow and detects whether there are breaks in electrical circuits—a must-have tool for building and maintaining an electrical system.


VHB Tape

Purpose: This tough double-sided VHB tape reinforces the connection between our solar panel brackets and our van’s roof. We also use screws, but the tape increases the pull-out resistance of the screws and ensures the panels remain on the roof, even while driving on the windy highways.


Butyl Tape

Purpose: Creates a waterproof layer to prevent leaks. We use this tape when installing our ventilation fan and RV windows and attaching solar panel brackets to our van’s roof.

We often use butyl tape alongside lap sealant to create a resiliant, water-proof barrier.


Dicor Lap Sealant

Purpose: Creates a water-proof barrier to prevent leaks into the van. Different sealants have different viscosities. We like using the Dicor-branded sealant because it’s viscous and flows out almost like water, meaning it spreads easily and gets into all the gaps and cracks to get a good quality seal.


Split Wire Loom

Purpose: Protects electrical wire from abrasions and friction stemming from driving vibration.

We did not install any wire loom in our van, but we wish we did. If any of our wires are punctured or sliced and no longer function, we would have difficulty removing our ceiling and wall boards to replace them.


Cable Zip Tie Mounts

Purpose: Holds electrical wire and wire loom along the van’s ceiling and walls. Zip tie mounts come with self-adhesive tape for a firm hold that resists vibrations from driving.


Split Wire Loom

Purpose: Electrical tape wraps around the wire and terminal connector to provide additional safety, support, and insulation.

In our van, we used red tape for positive connections, black tape for negative connections, and white tape for ground wire connections.


Ratcheting Crimper

Purpose: Makes crimping wire terminals fast and easy with minimal physical effort. Not a required tool if you have the multi-tool, but this ratcheting tool is much easier to use.


Other Required Tools For An Electrical & Solar System

The electrical tools we list in this post are only general equipment you’ll need for your entire electrical and solar system. Please check our other material lists below if you want exact products and components for a specific part of your system build.

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