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Van Conversion project - 19th March 2007

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by djDEATH, 19 Mar 2007.

  1. djDEATH

    djDEATH Habari gani?

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    Hey all. Im hoping that with a bit of help from you guys this can turn into a really good modding project that i look to undertake over the next year or so.

    I just bought a 1995 N reg ex-parcel force Iveco Daily 35-8. Not going to win any speed awards, its a bit old, but hopefully will be my home come march next year.

    At the moment its an empty carcass, ready to be ply-lined and kitted out with everything, a shower, toilet, bed, kitchen, and most importantly, my decks and computer.

    Now obviously power is a consideration, as too is space, but i dont want either of those things to stop me from having my gaming rig full installed in my new home with everything all hooked up and working correctly.

    So heres the plan...

    I hope to use my current system (see sig) possibly wiht a new GFX card by the time i leave, but largely unchanged, wiith a 3G router and a wireless card for my internet access depending on where i am. (i play on two internet radio stations, and will be continuing this once i leave for europe). Im interested in SideShow and its possibilities for this application, as well as a decent case-mod solution for the van, with the hope of integrating it into the whole system. 19" syncmaster widescreen monitor mounted on the wall to enjoy it all through.

    DOes anyone know much about sideshow (vista) and whether this is a plausible solution? I.e. having a smaller interface for the computer installed up front, with full access to the mian computer located in the main living area. Would like to be able to access my MP3s whilst driving, but still be able to use the computer for general stuff (including my travelling blog) once on the road.

    Main issues to overcome:-

    Getting the power down on my system to around 400w ( i will be runnign a 1.8KW inverter on two 110Ah leisure batteries)

    Getting the motherboard and installed components into the van in a nice hidden but integrated way (DVD visible, power button accessible, but case hidden)

    Finding a way to make the most out of any wireless connection i have by using the bodywork as an aerial??

    Integrating the front interface (touchscreen, sideshow, 2nd computer?)

    Right now its an empty van, panels arriving next month and realistically i have three or four months before ill be sacrificing my computer to the van, so i have plenty of time to plan and source my materials and make sure the plan is sound.

    Just hopign for som words of advice or any thoughts from anyon who has done this kind of thign before? Can you buy pre-made motherboard trays that have the PCI slots ready made that i could use instead of a traditional case? What compnents coudl i swap from my current setup to help save power and allow me more hours without charging the batteries?

    any words of advice or pointers greatly appreciated.

    cheers

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    can't wait to get started on it!!
     
    Last edited: 19 Mar 2007
  2. Darkened

    Darkened Minimodder

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    Sounds like an interesting project, but I have one question.

    Why in the world would you like to live in a van? :hehe:

    Seriously though, it seems that you are going abroad, so I can understand it. Although I think it would have been cheaper (and certainly easier) to buy an used mobile home with all those things already installed.

    For the motherboard tray, at least you can buy Lian Li trays, but you could also buy a cheap case with removable MB tray and use that.

    Wireless connection might be a problem here, you suggested that you could use the car itself as an areal, but I think it's going to work just opposite of that. Usually metallic cages (your car) make a faradays cage which keeps any signals that come from outside out and ones coming from inside in. I think you'll need an external antenna for wireless action...

    The thing I'd do with the van and powering all your stuff is to equip it with an option for "land line" electric inlet so that when you are not on the road you can plug it in an outlet and load your batteries and use everything without draining your batteries.

    Hopefully that made some sense to you.

    Janne
     
  3. djDEATH

    djDEATH Habari gani?

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    yeah makes loads of sense.

    First off, you're not the first person to say i'm mad!!

    The thing is, most people, probably yourself included, have been on holiday abroad. They have been to Magalluf or Greece, or America or wherever and had an enjoyable time, but i've never done that, been to Amsterdam and got really stoned, but never away on holiday. Moved out when i was 16 and got myself through school and college, and off to uni - but money has always been an isue etc etc etc. I have a dog, so travelling requires transport, i.e. a camper.

    Basicalyl i'm buggering off cos i can't wait to see the world - and this is my ticket out of here - at least round europe.

    However, being accustomed to technology as i am, and being a club/radio dj too, i NEED my computer and record decks with me, plus quake wars wont be released until after i leave, so i'll need net access. :)


    shower and gas and electric will be taken care of as per normal campervan building, there'll be 220Ah of power at any given time, seperate to the main engine battery, and an external hookup to charge those extra batteries when on a campsite. Should be enough to give me 24hours of whatever i need without running the engine to charge the batteries.

    What im really looking for is a clever use of space with regard to the PC and its installation.

    I'm very interested in Sideshow in Vista and how i might be able to integrate a low power media player coupled to my main system either as a head-unit in the front, or as a remote control portable device throughout the van.

    Thanks for the heads up RE the wireless antenna - didn't really think about that, shouldn't be a problem to put a high gain aerial on top somewhere though.

    more piccies now the inside has been cleared and ready for ply-lining.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Supra55

    Supra55 What's a Dremel?

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    I've always wanted a van to live and work in like a mobile workshop but, I can't drive... yet... :sigh:
     
  5. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    Damn this should be interesting! Could you make dravings with measurements of the car? Or even sketchup-files? :)
     
  6. Darkened

    Darkened Minimodder

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    It's a big van, but still, it's going to be really tight in there.

    I'd hide all the wiring and maybe a few TFT monitors in the walls (between those support bars). This is of course if you don't need to insulate the van (are you going to be in europe during winter?).

    Are you going to put windows to the back too, it's going to be really dark in there otherwise? Also, how about removing one bench from the front to get a way to go from the cockpit to the living quarters without having to "dukes of hazzard" it or get out while doing it?

    One option would be to purchase a laptop for media playing purposes, low power consumption and easily removable/loadable (even with 12V).

    Oh, and btw, you'll need a heater in there, even though it's not winter, believe me, you'll need it. I'd suggest a petrol/diesel/light heating oil operated heater like these here, www.wallas.fi. Don't know if Wallas heaters are sold in US, but I bet you can find something similar from there also.

    Now, get to work on this big boy :hehe:

    Janne
     
  7. Duste

    Duste Sierra my delta, bravo!

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    Looks like you're going to have to utilise every bit of space you can get, especially by using fold-down components (ie. bed, furniture, etc...)

    If you're looking for ideas, I did see a thing on the TV about a European company making EXTREMELY small "flats" for students, and they were kitted out with everything. I'm pretty sure it was a Dutch company. Check it out, get some ideas.
     
  8. Ener

    Ener What's a Dremel?

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    make sure you get a good inveter for your computer or it will die.
    things to think about:
    if building walls, noise and heat insulation is probably a good idea (the stuff they use in telemarketer call centers, dynomatt, etc)
    dual battery's with isolater? two batterys both charge but when car is off it only uses battery B, so that your starter battery doesnt get flogged.
    altenator upgrade to go with dual batterys?
    check for leaks with a hose or during rain you dont want your **** getting wet.

    on the note if your also making walls, do you want the place square and 90* angles? if not use thin wood that curves to match the shape of the van, then inbetween the sidewall support beams where theres a gap put the insulator

    there was also a guy who decked out his bus? google it maybe it was on this forums too i dunno.

    also deep cycle battery's they can be run flat heaps of times and recharged, unlike a normal battery, maybe for a backup supply or something? you should be able to get some pretty big truck ones cheap (dunno bout uk im an aussie)

    HERE IT IS http://www.bart.gen.nz/bus/home.html
    clicky clicky clicky

    at one stage in my life, i read all of that, and i loved it
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2007
  9. djDEATH

    djDEATH Habari gani?

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    hehe cheers for the responses.

    For the most part, this is a 'normal' self build camper project, there are literally TONNES and TONNES of information and people out there willing to help.

    Preliminary plan... (it WILL change as i start working on it)

    I plan to ply-line the van with 6mm ply, wiht expanding foam insulation between the outside walls and the ply panels, all round (including the ceiling) and fit a window to the sliding side door, and also a large coach-style pop-out sunroof to the ceiling.

    There'll be a small shower/toilet cubicle with hot water just behind the drivers side bulkhead, and the passenger seats, although useful now, will be replaced by a single swivel chair from a VW camper, and matching drivers chair w/armrests.

    My bed will 'just' fit widthways at the back and serve as a sofa/seat, going forward down the drivers side will be the worktop kitchen/sink (2-hob and small basin) with a fridge underneath and cupboard space.

    My decks will be in a flight case that will sit on top of the sink-hob area and secure via latches onto the worktop.

    19" widescreen tft mounted on the wall above, so it can be used for Traktor mixing as well as for watching tv/movies from my PC.

    Opposite wall will be overhead storage and a small gas radiator.



    So the PC could fit in basically wherever, and i like the idea of it being 'built-in' rather than just a standard PC case on the floor, helps it to be less stealable if it is broken into.

    Sideshow woudl be my ideal way of using the PCfrom the front whilst driving, accessing the mp3s stored on the main hard drive from up front on a smaller maybe 7" tft hidden in the dash. But i know nothing of how it will/could work in this way. It will probably involve a new motherboard that supports it.

    Power and gas will be stored under my bed at the back, accessed from the outside via the backdoors, and sealed away from the living area. This is also where the kennel for my doggie Scampy will be located, again with a dog flap and outside access from the rear and to the inside of the van.



    This prject log will probably be mostly centered around the PC installation, but iwill keep posting photos of the overall progress as i'm sure there'll be some who woudl be interested.
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2007
  10. Mr-IK

    Mr-IK Minimodder

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    If you give me some measurements/dimensions of the inside of the Van ill make some Sketch up drawing for you mate :)

    Sounds very adventurous to me :)
     
  11. dacust

    dacust What's a Dremel?

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    Have you checked out the carputer sites? You may need more oommpfh than they will give you, but a 12v computer has it's advantages in a vehicle. A few projects down the road for me is a network of 12v computers for my boat, some water cooled, and some air cooled. I can go into my reasoning for that if you are interested. Being on a boat, I'll use a heat exchanger for the watercooled ones, probably use a heat exchanger from a marine generator.

    Here's a few sites:
    12v PS, no cooling needed, mounts directly onto the ATX power socket.
    Other power supplies
    Various car stuff

    I'll stop here, but I got loads of other links.
     
  12. djDEATH

    djDEATH Habari gani?

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    thanks for those links - really useful....

    no need for the 12v power - i'll be running a fully inverted 240W system within the van.

    I'll be the only person in Hungary with a UK 240V power socket!!!!

    For an idea of how far i'm gonna take this... have a look at this project...

    http://www.stealthcamper.com/P155.htm

    A lot of his ideas have been stolen i especially like the expandsing foam insulation. This also shows the wiring setup and a gas radiator he has running.

    I'm after a 1.8Kw inverter, max 3kw, so i can run (even if its just for a few hours) my decks, a 500W ish PA along with my computer at free parties - ooh and there'll be need for a fridge for cold beer too ;) seen the inverters on ebay and camping caravanning websites for about £100-150.

    Batteries, deep cycle marine spec leisure batteries, two of, 110Ah x2 about £80 each.
     
    Last edited: 20 Mar 2007
  13. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I checked the posted urls and the builds in those were just awesome. I suddenly found myself loving the idea of "portable house". A roadtrip around the Europe would be just awesome with one. Stop where ever, take a cold beer from the fridge and then sleep in the car.... Conveniently! Awesome.

    If you don't reckon it as a thread-hijack, I'd like to see more such projects. Urls, anybody?
     
  14. Naberius

    Naberius What's a Dremel?

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    I think this could well turn out to be a good project, will you be posting the progress with the van aswell as the computer system here?

    Nice one for having the guts to do this.
     
  15. Darkened

    Darkened Minimodder

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    Make sure you invest a bit in the fridge, the cheap ones take awful lot of power and they are on all the time. Be sure to check the specs and go only with a decent brand or they'll drain your batteries in no time.

    I checked out the link you put up here, seems that there are other crazy people around also :hehe:

    It does seem that this kind of van can be used as a camper, with pretty much space to spare.

    I'll be following this thread for sure.

    Janne
     
  16. widmod

    widmod Minimodder

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    i actually tough about building a carputer for myself

    i think a 12V power supply would save you the energy(heat) lost in the inverter
    -this would cause longer working times.
    it makes more sense to me: a computer needs 12V for its circuits, so why get these up to 220V and back to 12V with much enrgy lost during this prozess

    at lest you may produce enough heat with your solution to warm the whole Van without an additional heater :hehe:

    why do you need vistas suppport for two computers? you can connect two monitors (the 19" in the back and a 7" in the front) to one computer.
    streaming music from one pc to another should also be possible within windows XP
     
  17. zhangmaster12

    zhangmaster12 What's a Dremel?

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    wow. this will DEF be an interesting project. i definetely will keep an eye on this.
     
  18. Naberius

    Naberius What's a Dremel?

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    I know its a big van, but is it going to have enough space for a shower, toilet, a bed and even a kitchen!
     
  19. yakyb

    yakyb i hate the person above me

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    dude im incredibly jealous that your undertaking this project. me and my girlfriend recently bought a tent with the idea of getting away on some chea holidays but this is about three steps ahead i would love to go traveling liek this esspecially with a comp!!
    all the best with this
     
  20. kitt

    kitt Michael Knight

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    that stealth camper looks brilliant, definately subsribed to this.
    something that i would love to do someday.
     

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