What is the Van-Den Plus?

This is a progression from my Mobile Hut project of 2005. In March 2015,, having studied micro-homes, especially mobile variants, I decided to include the Mobile Hut into the project, ie have the trailer a part of the system, mainly for extra storage, and perhaps to also house the Waeco camp fridge, and therefore an extra battery and solar panels.

The van was purchased second-hand in late 2013, and has been progressively fitted out since then. It has been used as my den and occasional overnight sleepout since early 2014.

The facilities/tech planned/done are:

  1. Done:
    1. Fixed window covers inside both right rear windows, and the rearmost left window. Installed removable curtains inside the rear window, the sliding cargo door, and above the front seats.
    2. Scaled layout of rear with bunk and bike
      (3D design in Openscad)
      Installed a bunk on the right. This is framed in box section aluminium, with plywood-backed, foam mattress topped seating, which is suitable for sitting or lying down on. Underneath storage consists of plastic boxes that can slide out, or be accessed from above by lifting sections of the seating.
    3. There was originally space to fit my electric bicycle in on the left. This ensured that fuel usage might be minimised by the van, which uses about 13 litres per100km, and thus, at $1.50 per litre, costs about $1 per 5km. However the space is being filled in by two plastic boxes stacked at the back and there will be a hanging locker on the left side. So the bike no longer is part of the plot.
    4. A very simple traverse-mounted camp-style "kitchen unit" is installed. It can slide out the sliding door to allow cooking on an embedded camp stove outside of the van. This will also contain storage for kitchen and dining gear, and for food. Later, a Waeco camp fridge might be added in.
    5. An extra battery has been installed to power the above devices. This is connected to the engine battery via an automatic switching isolator to enable the extra battery to be charged by the engine, and the engine battery to be isolated from the den system to ensure it retains starting voltage.
  2. To do:
    1. A computer (ODroid XU4) and monitor system with internet connectivity, running Ubuntu linux.
    2. A solar panel is planned for on the roof rack, to keep the battery topped up in case I wish to remain parked for a while.
    3. I have bought a skylight/vent and intend to install it in the roof before the end of winter 2016.
    4. A hanging locker will be installed on the left, for my suits, not that I hardly ever wear one. :-)
    5. A showering facility consisting of:
      1. a set on curtains to attach to the rear door when it is lifted, providing a showering space.
      2. a solar-warmed water reservoir on the rear of the roof racking, to provide up to about 10 litres of water, with a delivery hose, tap and camp-style shower head.
    6. Plus: several security and connectivity facilities, eg cameras and other sensors and monitors. Some will be controlled automatically and others semi-automatically, eg to automatically lock the doors when I (and my phone) move away from the van, and to unlock a door when I enter a code into a phoneapp.