You are on page 1of 1


Part 6: All about my electrifying personality! From

solar to Zig and getting stuck in cupboards
Serenity: The Build Diaries
Because wed be spending more time
of grid and more time hidden in a bush,
solar power became a hot topic
hen you get a free
moment make a
list of your wants,
then hack it
down to what you need.
Being an optimistic kind of guy I
started with high hopes for the extra
lazy line features on this bus. Firstly,
it had to have central locking; partly
because Imlazy, but mainly because
its a one key bus and I dont ever
want to get into a situation where
the key breaks in a lock and we cant
drive away. So a four-door remote
locking kit was fitted and I bought
a replacement petrol filler cap with
its own key so that the only place the
master key would be used is in the
tailgate and the ignition. Secondly, I
dreamed of leccy windows, but after
a huge amount of effort to fit a (quite
expensive) aftermarket kit, it didnt
even have the strength to move the
glass down the door, never mind up!
What mattered most however, was
electric power steering or EPAS as
No, really, it doesnt, but it now
has the sensors to help me do it.
During the build it became obvious
that wed be spending more time
off grid and more time hidden in a
bush so solar power became a hot
topic. Due to the Dehler roof space
was at a premium, with hours spent
measuring for various suppliers
panels. I eventually ended up finding
the most suitable 80 Watt panel
on fleabay in China. I ordered it
nervously, but within a week it was
delivered and mated to a Maplin solar
charge regulator, which stops your
batteries exploding when theyre full,
1. Clearcoat on and
ready for rebuild.
2. My best friend
Andy helping to
pull the wiring
through the frame.
Together with his armory of
professional equipment we
designed and manufactured
a one of unit tailored to
t all our junk in and on
and kicking out a very respectful 21v
on a typically overcast British day.
The 85aHleisure battery has not
dipped below75 percent since it was
fitted and weve had all sorts running
fromit to see if we can drain it, but
so far its Solar 10 Us. Its worth
bearing in mind to keep your wiring
to the shortest possible distance due
to the voltage drop created by the
length of wire. After research I settled
on 2.5mmthick wall cabling from
the panel, through the regulator and
into the batteries maintaining a two
percent voltage drop fromthe panel.
The roof came with its original
Dehler guff for water tank level and
charge, etc., but it was all a tad poorly
so I decided to buy a used Zig unit
froma caravan. 36 later sawme
with a twin regulated charging unit
including fuses and all necessary
outputs for our purposes; bargain!
2.5mmwire was used fromthe
charging connections to the batteries
and 1.5mmwas used through an
additional fuse box for all of the 12V
systems such as the original Dehler
roof lighting, LEDlighting, water
pump for the tap, fridge, charging
ports, and the entertainment system.
Due to only the bus original circuits
being wired to the main battery and
all the leisure electrics connecting to
the 85aHbattery there is no chance
of having a flat starter battery in the
middle of nowhere. Add to that the
ability to hook up and you begin to
see howindependent Serenity will
be. The mains was wired fromthe
external hook up port with 240v
cabling and run through a sealed
circuit breaker box to the twin socket
inside the bus, and the Zig unit.
Once all the cables had been routed
(Ive never sworn so much in my
entire life as trying to get a loomas
thick as my armdown the Bpillar) it
was time to fit our customcupboards.
3. Checking
the tment.
4. When priming
wood always
use a sealer
rst to prevent
it fromsoaking
into the grain.
5. My eabay
bargain Zig unit all
ready to be wired in.
6. The master
at work!
7. Always use the
proper tools and
shortcuts here can
result in a re. Here
Imusing a ratchet
crimper for the
correctly current
rated electrical
8. Starting to take
9. The EPAS system.
Making light of the
Due to already owning most of our
gear we wanted a bespoke unit. Enter
Paul, one of my best friends and a man
whos talent and attention to detail
is second to none. Together with his
armory of professional equipment we
designed and manufactured a one off
unit tailored to fit all our junk in and
on. It houses the smev sink, tap, fresh
water, gas cylinder, gas heater, all our
storage containers, our Mobicool fridge
and our nowremovable hob and grill.
For the thought, time and skill Paul
dedicated to this project, I will forever
be thankful. Once we had made it,
fitted it, got me stuck in it while moving
wiring and refitted it, I painted it to
match the exterior of the bus and then
set about populating it with equipment
and finishers and it has turned out to
be something very special indeed.
Next time:
Retrimming and upholstery.
6 7 8
its known. I bought our conversion
fromRoger Hicks, a fabulous guy
who builds rally cars in his spare
time and fits EPAS systems to movie
vehicles all over the world. Roger
had our original column sent to him
and he adapted it to encompass a
Mitsubishi control unit mated to a
GMmotor, all encased in a complete
newly hand-machined column.
The workmanship is second
to none and due to its completely
manual control, stops you looking
like youre about to give birth while
trying to park the bus. Speaking
of parking the busit parks itself.
Bespoke Cupboard
Units - Paul
Williams 07957
EPAS Roger Hicks
07837 703309