Author Topic: Want to build a simple, basic camper setup with my topper on my pickup.  (Read 2355 times)

ling427ttvette

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I'm wanting to do something very similar to what this guy has going:

http://www.bajataco.com/Camper1.html

Only I won't be building the decking quite as tall, it will be a basic drawer setup in the middle, and small storage compartments on either side to fill the voids from the wheel wells.

After I get something like this built, my next plan of attack will be adding an auxiliary battery that I can isolate from the main battery.

My first idea was to add just a very basic, on and off master switch under the hood. Something mechanical, and simple. And then in the bed add in a power inverter, not sure how big to go yet, not planning on running much more than maybe small lighting, charging electronics and a small fan for air circulation. Also looked at the possibility of adding this heater for if we decide to do cold weather camping, but there's a slim chance of that as my wife hates any type of cold. :lol: And it would also require doing some insulation to make things more effective.

http://www.boatandrvaccessories.com/j024.html

Also ran across this:

http://www.boatandrvaccessories.com/samlex-acr-160-automatic-charge-isolator.html

I have little to no experience with isolating batteries while keeping them on the same charging circuit, and am kind of thinking this will be more than I'm going to need but thought I'd see what some of you here might say about it.

To add to the project I've found this guys write up on sealing up the topper in all of the problem areas they typically have:

http://www.bajataco.com/camper/camper_seal/index.htm

I hope I can get this project going sometime this winter, right now any spare money I have is getting saved up for a 2500+ mile road trip I have coming up in October.




Southern_Pride

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Re: Want to build a simple, basic camper setup with my topper on my pickup.
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 10:35:40 PM »
http://www.gandermountain.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=Perko-Battery-Selector-Switch&i=31620&r=view&cvsfa=2586&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=3331363230&gclid=CJmrgoDjm8ACFahaMgod0D0AAQ

That will solve your switchable battery concerns unless you want to make it automatic. You can find them cheaper. I love the idea of the truck camper but it does me no good here in florida. Way to much water in the woods to truck camp easily.

87Warrior

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Re: Want to build a simple, basic camper setup with my topper on my pickup.
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2014, 07:40:25 AM »
Check out Expedition Portal. These guys know how to build a 12v system that can be self sufficient for years.
http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/forums/48-Power-Systems-12v-Solar-Gen

I would like to build a power system in the bed of my Comanche as well for long term camping/exploring. I have learned a few things since I started my research.
- Good batteries are expensive
- Avoid power hungry devices, like an inverter
- Try to stick with 12v accessories
- A battery monitor is a must
- A charge controller is a must
- You must evaluate your power needs before trying to build a power system

Edit: I don't plan to charge my batteries with the truck. I plan to mount two 100w panels on the topper and two walmart marines in parallel. My power needs are not to extreme. Charge laptop, LED interior lights, exterior LED 'porch' light, and a fan. But I would like to add an ARB, Engle or EdgeStar fridge someday
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 01:04:15 PM by 87Warrior »

ling427ttvette

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Re: Want to build a simple, basic camper setup with my topper on my pickup.
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2014, 08:27:32 PM »


This is looking like a pretty decent idea, first thread that popped up on Expedition Portal. Didn't even think about using a solenoid, and I wire them in on all of our brand new trucks at work. :lol: Thinking I would still prefer a manual, on off switch like Southern posted though.

I'm basically looking at the same power needs you are, besides the porch light but I do like the idea. Co-worker of mine has a cheaper electric cooler/fridge setup and I was thinking that would be absolutely great to have, rather than worrying about keeping ice in the coolers.. that would be an add on for later, but preparing now wouldn't hurt.

Without running an inverter, what would you suggest for wiring up the power in the back for laptop/cell phone charging?


I'm thinking one of these for main power, a couple of cigarette lighter ports, and hard wire the lighting/fans with some toggle switches mounted up somewhere? Need to find a good solid ground though, unless I just run one from the battery back (I believe in solid grounds straight to battery if at all possible) and just tie them all together in one spot in the bed somewhere.

87Warrior

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Re: Want to build a simple, basic camper setup with my topper on my pickup.
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 12:09:42 AM »
Ah yes, I was hoping you would find that topic on expedition portal.

I haven't tried to piece together my power distribution set up yet, but your idea is what I had floating around in the back of my head. I do know you want as few connections/splices as possible. I believe you can buy 2 pole power blocks for (+) and (-) in one neat package. For low power demand items like charging a phone or laptop, study 12v outlets should suffice. At least my phone and laptop have 12v charging supplies. For more permanent fixtures (fridge, lights) I would use a quality Weather Pack or Amphenol Mil-Spec connectors and basic on-off toggle, or toggle with relay depending on the power needs, for switching.