Installing The Leaf’s Batteries
There was not enough space in the Lance 1130 for the number of required Nissan Leaf battery cells. They certainly would not fit into the battery compartment.
I briefly considered putting some of the batteries in the generator compartment. I was already planning to remove the generator, so that space was available.
Due to the generator location on the passenger’s side rear corner, I didn’t want the weight that far rearward – or on one side. I also didn’t want to modify the camper irreversibly since it will eventually be reverted to the factory configuration and sold.
Another possibility was mounting the batteries on the truck. I rejected this approach because the batteries would stay with the truck when the camper was dismounted. I needed a solution to keep the Nissan Leaf’s batteries with the camper.
Thirty-five batteries at 8.5-pounds each weigh 297.5 pounds. That kind of weight has to be kept as low as possible. I finally hit on the idea of making a spacer and attaching it to the bottom of my camper.
I also discovered some unused space to the rear of the wheel wells. This space could accommodate the required control equipment and cable runs.
Building and Mounting the Battery System
The spacer is made from a 1.5-inch by 16-gauge steel square tube, arranged into a tray with a half-inch plywood bottom.
The spacer is then is divided into compartments to provide weight bearing cross supports for the floor of the camper.
Above: Cable pass-throughs were made by cutting through the 1.5 square frame and reinforcing with a 1.5l piece of 1h x 2w tube, fully welded and ground on both sides.
Above: Pack layout is 10-2S2P packs in the front compartment, 10-2S2P packs and 5-4P packs in the second compartment and 10-2S2P packs in the rear compartment.
Ten battery packs are connected in parallel to a common buss bar with 8-gauge wire. The buss bar is connected between parallel sets with a pair of 2-gauge wires.
In the Leaf’s car battery, each pack delivered up to 90-amps. In the camper battery set-up, the same batteries deliver a maximum of 23-amps. The inverter can draw up to a continuous 190-amps, with a 5-second max of 267-amps.
The finished spacer attaches to the bottom of the camper with six toggle clamps. Power connections have high current connectors so the battery can be completely removed in a couple minutes by sitting the camper on 4x4s, releasing the clamps, and lifting the camper off the spacer using the jacks. I have not needed to remove the battery system since I installed it.
Above: On the passenger’s side is a blue CAT5 cable connecting the BMS to the inverter to communicate ‘okay to invert’ and ‘okay to charge’.
The door to access the driver’s rear side of the wheel well is now covered by an electrical panel attached the battery pack. It contains the BMS (Battery Management System) and power management equipment.