Prius as a mini-RV for camping

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by gnagel60, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. sturgidson

    sturgidson Junior Member

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    Model:
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    Obernelson: I LOVE this setup. It is very very close to what I've been wanting to do back there. I've got an inverter that's just been waiting for the time to figure out how to put this together. I have been trying to conceive of a removable panel concept, and this is almost perfectly in line with that.

    I'd love some higher res-images, or perhaps something like a walk through on your measurements/construction. Willing? You can email them to me directly, if you'd be game and don't wish to upload them here. I just can't quite get a sense of the specifics of your design.
     
  2. Obernelson

    Obernelson Junior Member

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    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I will do a walk through here and when I originally posted I reduced the size of the photos as I didn't know if there was a size limit.

    1. Traced the floor carpet onto 1/2" plywood for the base
    2. Took a short piano hinge and mounted it to the base
    3. Took a piece of cardboard and put the flat edge on the bottom against the bottom where the hinge mounts. Then kept cutting the curve until the left (front) side laid flat and overlapped a bit to allow for hooked side of Velcro to hold it in place.
    3. Then make this upper part in 1/2" plywood.
    4. Connect both pieces to the piano hinge so they lay flat flat end to flat end.
    5. Took my 400 watt pure sine wave inverter from Amazon & 100 amp circuit breaker from Auto Zone and laid them on the bottom to best account for space & wire routing.
    6. Connected short section 4ga. Positive cable from breaker to inverter (have crimped)
    7. Made up 4ga red & black with connectors on both ends & mounted red to other side of breaker & black to negative side of inverter.
    8. I used marine USB/volt meter from Amazon and aligned it between a house outlet & house switch on upper plywood. Went high so my sleeping bag would not generally hit them. Also aligned 12 volt outlet below the USB/volt meter. I used standard single electrical box extenders on both switch & outlet. Looks like a box without a rear. This was for safety and ability to tie wrap cables to it.
    9. Cut holes for each item in plywood.
    10. Disconnected all and painted the plywood with light gray from Home Depot
    11. Mounted all items.
    12. Made a 120 volt cable to plug in to the inverter and wired the other end to the outlet. I had an old heavy duty power cord laying around. When mounting inverter to bottom board ensure you leave room for pug that will get plugged in.
    13. Make cables for 12 volt positive and negative. I used 14 ga. Red and black. Positive gets a 20 amp inline fuse. It is mounted to the always hot side of the circuit breaker since I will use 12 volts much more that 120 v and don't want to put any extra drain on the battery when Prius is not on ready mode. From the breaker I wired to one side of switch. From the other side of switch I came out with a pig tail with 3 ends with one going to each 12 volt item (USB, Volt meter, 12 v outlet). The black pig tale ties to the negative terminal of the inverter and has 3 ends to each of the three items to the negative side. Cable tie all loose wires in place.
    14. Remove the trunk lid & plastic tray & battery over
    15. Lay assembly on spare tire & route 3 ft cables through lower access pop out in final space. Add plastic loom to positive cable & make sure that breaker & switch is off.
    16. Mount negative cable to chassis on same nut as battery
    17. Mount positive to positive battery clamp under nut of clamp
    18. Replace battery over and put assembly on cover.
    19. Replace trunk blasting bin & trunk cover.
    20. Add Velcro as needed to bottom & upper left corner to secure unit.

    I know 4 ga wire is overkill but there is little to no voltage drop issue.
    I know I could have used a 12 volt toggle switch but for the cost & looks for me I used it.
    I know the loom was not probably necessary but safety is more important on this since the fuse not at the battery.
    I do plan on adding a led light to this dude with its own on/off switch later
    I just flip the switch and get accurate battery voltage
    If I want inverter I connect the breaker by swinging the panel down and turning on the inverter switch.

    Hope this helps
    Will try to upload better pictures tomorrow when I have good light to get good quality.

    Regards,

    Brent




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  3. brucebee

    brucebee Junior Member

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    if i were to put in a power center, i would hace to move my wetbar/icebox . looks like a nice set up. i am sure you need all the power. cameras and all. or to work with. wish that prius rv was reality, probly ONLY would get 35/40mpg. funny w pri2. didnt miss 24' rv or its fuel bills.
     
  4. Obernelson

    Obernelson Junior Member

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    Model:
    Three
    High resolution pictures that I took yesterday. I can take closer ones of the inside if requested.
    [​IMG][​IMG]


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  5. Obernelson

    Obernelson Junior Member

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    Vehicle:
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    Model:
    Three
    I did the 20' camper van last year at 10 mpg. I drove it for 3.5 months and put on 13.6K miles. It cost me $5K for gas for the trip. There was a lot I liked about it and a lot I didn't like about it, so I sold it and bought a 2011 prius in July for $16K that only had 8700 miles.

    My next trip after the new year for 3.5 months will be with Prius as an RV and I needed some minimal 120 volt ac for some electronics that was not feasible to try to convert to 12v. This then lead me to build this 12v/120v center. I have some more mods I am working on for my RV that I will be sharing as I finish them up.


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  6. brucebee

    brucebee Junior Member

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    keep going with the mods. i was planning to go stay & work in north dakota at a cfriends house till it sold . took a bunch of stuff to live/work with long story short he sold house so i took a 8k, 3wk roadtrip in 04. loved it. cant believe it worked so good. 4 $ you save on fuel you could stay in hotel every so often. 2 people would maybe be a bit much. better mpg on vac.
    ,
     
  7. Obernelson

    Obernelson Junior Member

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    Three
    I plan to stay at friends parking outside, national parks, state parks, BLM, etc & motel/hotels from time to time. Laughlin, NV has rooms for under $30 per night when going through that area. What I save in gas opens up many more choices of things to do.


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  8. James4455

    James4455 Junior Member

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    Wonderful post! I am impressed and and really pumped up about the possibilities. Thanks for your pioneering.
     
  9. Obernelson

    Obernelson Junior Member

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    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Prius house battery mod - having completed the passenger side rear power center with 12v & 120v I have now completed a house battery for my Prius RV. Moving from a Class B RV I had to think small to design this mod.

    First I used the cubby space below the rear drivers side and fit two 12v 7ah gel cells side by side and wired them in parallel for 12v 14 ah. I then made the same design I had on the other side out of 1/2" plywood.

    I installed a 3-gang USB/volt meter/12v outlet and used a small toggle switch o turn them on/off.

    To charge the ganged batteries I use a Batteryminder that is selectable for amps and gel/AGM/wet cell batteries.

    Since I drive nearly every day I have my 400 watt 120v outlet on the passenger side and I just need to plug in the Batteryminder to the inverter & plug the charge end of Batteryminder to a plug for that purpose behind the panel.

    Not only does this allow me to charge my house battery but when I am on shore power I can plug in the Batteryminder to the shore and charge my house or the prius 12v battery.

    This mod gives me power that will not affect my Prius 12v battery. I end up with the same power ability I had in my Class B just in a small form and the amount of power I need for my Prius RV without always being in ready mode.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


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