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September 14, 2015 Comments (0) DIY Advice, Projects

Retro Trailer Re-build – Part Four

Alex holding wires

Need to see where it all started? Click here to read the beginning!

Some of you reading this may have previously followed our rebuild of this old pop top trailer. No? Well if that’s the case click here to head back and read it from the beginning! With the chassis completed, it’s time to start thinking about an electrical system. As was mentioned in previous parts in these blog posts, we are doing away with the 240V electrical system. Why? Well for one, none of us can remember the last time we needed it when camping, and there’s also the benefit of not requiring an electrician to wire it all up!


Step one is brainstorming. I took a couple of weeks just jotting down ideas, and gathering ideas from others on what we might need to power. Despite the huge range of gadgets on the market these days, we ended up keeping it rather simple. Our must have’s included:

  • LED strip lights inside, SCA LED Worklights outside
  • A 240V inverter, nothing over the top but enough to charge cameras
  • Narva twin USB/Accessory Sockets for charging phones/tablets and running 12V accessories
  • Power for the electric water pump
  • A socket for the Waeco CFX 50 litre fridge on board
  • A smart battery charger, fed by vehicle and solar input
  • Power to the automatic ignition on the gas stove
  • Volt and Amp meters

I drew on the skills learned in high school technical drawing class and put pen to grid paper. The below drawing shows the inside of the trailer from a birds eye view, with the major components in their approximate location.

Floor Plan

The lower end of the image is the front of the trailer, and “coiled cable to roof” is to allow for power up to the roof for the lights, and power from the solar panel down to the battery.

Trailer rebuild pt 4 feature

The next drawing shows the mounting positions for solar panel and lights both inside and outside of the roof. Why a hard mounted solar panel? Well, the trailer is rather short on space inside, and should the tow vehicle not have power for the trailer it will charge from solar on the road!


The kitchen in this trailer is in two pieces to allow it to fold over for the roof to close. The top half houses the stove and sink, while the bottom half will be storage on one side, and house the brains of the electrical system on the other. Check out the diagram below to get an idea of where it’s all going to sit:

Kitchen Layout

This next part may give you a headache. It’s the wiring diagram showing how everything will link up. I’ve some idea of how 12 volt electrical all works, but I’m no expert. The cable sizes I used were decided by using the Redarc’s handy Cable Size Calculator and throwing a bit of overkill in there, just in case.


I realise now that I’ve left a few important parts out of the drawing; such as an earth for the pump, and a solar regulator. They will go in though. And as my charger is an older model with no solar input, I have to figure my own way of switching between vehicle and solar power!

There are a billion ways of tackling 12V wiring, and everyone has their own ideas and what works best for them. What do you think? What would you do differently?

Head over to Part 5 to keep up to date with the progress!

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