How to Wire a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

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In this blog post I am going to teach you how to wire an electrical power distribution panel for a camper van.

I like this solution better than a separate DC Fuse Block and AC Breaker box because it’s a nice, neat, all-in-one package that simply looks good after it’s installed which makes hiding it away in a closet or in the garage of your camper van unnecessary.  All parts considered, it’s about the same price as the alternative as well. So, let’s get started.

Here’s a video walkthrough for this tutorial you may find helpful:

Parts List

The Electrical Distribution Panel:

THIS is how you will receive your power distribution panel:

Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel with door closed.

It’s got a black flip-down cover on the front…

Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel with door open.

…and wire access knockouts in the back:

Back of Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Lower the door on the front and you’ll have access to where your AC breakers and DC fuses will be.

Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel with Door Removed

A SLIGHT bend of the door will remove it from the box

Removing door of Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Remove these 4 screws around the corners to remove the trim ring.

This power distribution panel is designed to be mounted in a 12 ¼ x 8 ½ rectangular hole. For this demo, I’m not actually installing this in a van, so what you’re seeing in these pictures is just a mock-up.

The right side of the box is designated for the DC side of your system.  This will be powered directly from your battery or battery busbar.

The left side of the box is designated for the AC side of your system.  This will be powered from the AC output side of your Inverter. Here’s a shot of the final wired product:

If you’ve got a Pinterest Camper Van inspiration board rolling, that picture would be a good one to pin, don’t you think? Okay, So… Let’s start with wiring the DC side of this box.

Wiring the 12V DC Side of the Distribution Panel

DC Side of a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Knock out three or four of the plastic knock-outs on the back of the box with a screwdriver and bring your Positive and Negative wires from the battery into the box.  (Please disconnect power to these wires before working with them).

Battery Power coming into the Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

There are two big screw lugs at the top of this circuit board; your positive wire will go to the left lug.

Attaching Positive battery cable to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

…and your negative wire will go to the right lug.

Attaching 12v Negative Wire to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Now, if you were to reconnect power from the battery, you’d have power coming into the DC distribution panel and have power at ALL of these fuse holders.

12v Power attached to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Now, when you’re ready to start running the wires for your 12v appliances, all you’ll have to do is bring your duplex wire into the box from the back and attach the positive wire to any of these lugs here:

12v Power attached to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

I recommend starting at the top. Simply strip a quarter inch from your wire, loosen the screw, insert the stripped wire, and re-tighten the screw. Give the wire a little tug to make sure it’s secure.

Attaching a 12v positive branch circuit wire to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

There is a clip on this board that if you pull it toward the bottom of the box, it will release the circuit board and move it out of the way so you can access the negative busbar easier.

Removing Circuit Board from a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

The negative wires from the duplex wire you just ran will go down to this negative busbar and attach in the same matter under these screws.

12v DC Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel Busbar

Strip a quarter inch from your wire, loosen the screw, insert the stripped wire, and re-tighten the screw. Give the wire a little tug to make sure it’s secure.

Attaching a 12v Negative Branch circuit wire to a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Repeat this process until you’ve added all of the 12v circuits you need and re-clip the circuit board back to the box:

Completely wired 12v DC side of a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Keep track of what wires go to what appliances as there is a label on the distribution panel trim ring where you’ll want to make note of which fuse is which.

Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel DC Fuse Label Sticker

Now you can insert your spade fuses into their respective slots.

Inserting spade fuses into the 12v DC side of a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

On the AC Side of the box, you’ve got 3 different busbars.  The Bottom two are Neutral and ground with the ground in the back and the neutral in the front.  Up top is the positive breaker busbar.

120V AC Side of a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Making sure there is NO power coming from your inverter, bring in the 3 conductor wire from your inverter’s AC out into the distribution box via the knockouts on the back.  Cut the sheath of this wire about 4-6” and strip back a half inch of insulation off of each wire. The Green goes to the Ground busbar

Wiring a ground wire into a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

…and the White goes to the Neutral Busbar.

Wiring a 120V AC Neutral wire into a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

There’s already a 120v plug built into the back of the box and the green and white wires should already be connected up to their respective busbars.

Now you need your AC breaker.  There are a few different types of breakers that will work with this box, but I’m using Square D Home and Square D Home Tandem breakers.

Square D HOM and Square D HOMT (Tandem) Breakers for a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

For the breaker coming from the inverter into the box is the single-pole HOM breaker.  There is a screw on the bottom of it. Loosen that screw, insert the black wire under the washer, and retighten the screw.  Give the wire a tug to make sure it’s secure.

Wiring a 120V Hot wire to a Square D HOM breaker in a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Remove this screw and retaining clip and set aside.

Removing breaker retainer clip in a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Clip the bottom of the breaker onto the bottom rail of the box…

Fitting bottom of the 120V AC breaker to the breaker rail in a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

…then tilt (push) the breaker up so that the positive breaker busbar spline goes into the slot of the middle of the back of the breaker.

120V Breaker Busbar Spline where it fits into the back of the Square D HOM Breaker

Now, if you had power to this wire and turned on this breaker,  this whole positive breaker bus bar would be energized:

120V Square D HOM Breaker installed into a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Next, I’m going to show you how to add a breaker so that you can run a wire out to your various 120v AC appliances and outlets.

Bring in your wire that will run to those 120v appliances or outlets.  Strip back 4-6” of sheathing and strip the insulation off the last ½” of wire.  The Green goes to the ground busbar

Wiring a 120V AC ground wire into a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

…and the white goes to the neutral busbar.

Wiring a 120V AC Neutral wire into a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Then you’re going to grab your Square D HOME Tandem Breaker. 

This is a space-saving breaker allowing you to have two (Tandem, right?) circuits on only one breaker busbar space.

Loosen one of the screws on the bottom of this breaker. Insert the black wire under the washer under the screw, and tighten the screw down. Tug on the wire to make sure it’s secure:

Wiring a 120V AC Hot wire to a Square D HOMT (Tandem) Breaker for a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Fix the breaker to the box in the same way you did the last breaker. Clip the bottom of the breaker to the rail and tilt up into place with the breaker busbar spline going into the middle of the back of the breaker:

Repeat this process for as many 120V AC Circuits as you plan on having.

120V AC Wiring in a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

Now you can insert screws into the box to hold it to your cabinet or wherever you are mounting this:

Fastening a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel to the cabinet

Reinstall the trim ring starting with the top 2 screws:

Reattaching the trim ring on a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel

…and reinstall the door:

Now, if you haven’t done it already, now would also be a good time to label the various fuses and breakers for what they go to.

Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel 120V AC Labels

Flip on the AC breakers and reconnect your DC wires to your battery and you should have power.  That’s all there is to it!

If you have any questions about this project, leave them in the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. If you found this helpful, it’d truly mean the world to me if you’d share it with somebody or a group who you think could benefit from it.

62 thoughts on “How to Wire a Camper Van Electrical Distribution Panel”

  1. Awesome tutorial. Only suggestion I have is…can you add a button for us to download as a pdf in the near future. I can add these tutorial in a folder for future reference when I need to. Thank you so much for all you do to provide us valuable information.

  2. The video and blog post doesn’t explain, or go into detail, the grounding and bonding of the system. You show the AC circuit grounds going to the AC side ground bar, and the DC circuit negatives going to the DC side negative busbar, but you don’t show the required bonding to the chassis, and whether the “negatives” and the “grounds” get bonded to the chassis?
    Additional information on this would be appreciated. Thanks!

  3. Why are you forcing me to use Google? The worst possible company in the world… WTF do they have to do with your spreadsheet? Why do I have to log in download your spreadsheet?

    Please tell me how to continue to appreciate your website and blog without being completely turned off by your choice of browser.

    I love your blog so far… please help!

      1. Any suggestions for a full neutral bar? I have a power converter in my rv with 2 more spaces for breakers but a full neutral bar. Unfortunately cant seem to find a neutral bar with the same bolt holes to mount a one with a few more spots.

  4. I’d really love to see a video dealing with the wiring of a 50 amp service (say for a 5th Wheel) where an inverter/charger/auto transfer switch (like a Victron Multiplus 12/3000/120/50) is installed on one of the 50 amp lines. I’d specifically like to see how to disconnect the existing 50 amp lines, and then wire one, say the L1 circuit into the inverter, and then back to the distribution panel while reconnecting the L2 circuit wired to the power source as originally configured.

    If you’ve already got such a video, could you please direct me to It?

    Thanks for any help/direction you can provide. I want you to know that i’ve found many of your videos very helpful and informative and i’ll continue to watch (and learn) your future videos as they come out.

  5. Comparing the old diagram you posted a while back and this one. Would you still need the busbars in addition to what’s provided here in the all in one set up?

    1. I’m not sure I fully comprehend your question, but there is no crossover between the old and new diagrams. All of the parts on the new diagrams are necessary to wire it in the way depicted in the new diagrams.

  6. Hey Nate! Awesome video and blog post! Currently in the middle of my build and curious.. Can I use the 20 amp receptacle to power the AC side? I have a male to male 3 prong 2 ft cord that would fit nicely from my AIMS 2000w inverter to my WFCO distribution panel. Is this possible?

    1. Nope. That’s definitely not advised. Male to Male cords are incredibly dangerous. I’d highly advise cutting it in half and just using the cut end as the end you wire into the panel as I’ve described in this blog post and then plugging the other end into the inverter (if you’re trying to avoid hardwiring into the inverter).

  7. Hey Nate,

    This is awesome!! Question on AC wiring. Where would you recommend getting the 3 conductor wire? I’ve had trouble finding the red black green type you used.

  8. Hey Nate!

    I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out the fuse sizes that are to be inserted the DC side. I see here that you’ve used all 15amp fuse blades. I understand that there are calculations to be made for each appliance that you’re powering from the DC side, but I’ve read that there are also restrictions for the fuse size based on the wire size your running to each DC powered item. For example, I’ve read that 16awg would have a limit of 7.4A, implying that you should not use a fuse that exceeds that number. Do you have any insight you could share about how you went about assigning fuse sizes on your DC side? Thanks so much!

    Evan

  9. Jeremy Blumenthal

    Hey Nate!

    Thank you for all the info. Just quick question. Why did you chose a 30a breaker for the panel? Basically I’m asking how to size my panel. I have 4 15a outlets that’s it. Thanks in advanced!

  10. Hi Nate,
    Are you able to use only the AC portion of this distribution panel?
    Based on your description, the AC side gets its power from the inverter being plugged into the main breaker. Would not having the Positive and Negative on the DC side prevent the AC side from working? or is it completely separate?
    Thanks. Your blog is super helpful.

  11. Hi Nate, your information is great and you explain it well in your videos. So I have watched some other people designing systems on youtube and you seem to be the only one with a master shut off switch, the red square in your diagrams near positive busbar. What is its precise function, and safety concerns without having one. Thanks Chris

    1. The master shut off switch just allows you to disconnect all of the loads while still allowing the solar panels to charge the batteries in the case of storage. No real safety concerns either way. More of a convenience thing.

  12. Nate,
    What to do when using a solar generator?
    1. Use Goal Zero Yerti 1400 or 3000 as power source (shore, DC, solar) or similar solar generator
    2. I get the 120v AC Yeti outlet to breaker box 120v
    3. How do I wire the Yeti (or similar) to breaker box 12v DC?
    Thanks in advance,

    Frank

    1. I wouldn’t use the 120V side of the AC breaker box as the yeti already has breakers built in. I would simply use the DC output side of the Yeti to power something like the Blue Sea Fuse Block.

  13. Hey Nate! I couldn’t find any info about wiring ac breakers out to outlets and how to properly size the fuses and wires. I’ve checked out your wiring and fuse calculator but wasn’t sure if this also worked for 120. Thanks in advance!

    1. For standard household outlets, you’ll use 12 AWG Triplex wire protected by a 20 amp breaker. For bigger loads like an air conditioner or water heater you’ll likely use 10 AWG Triplex wire protected by a 30 amp breaker. That’s pretty much all. AC wire sizes are much easier than DC wire sizes.

  14. Hey Nate,
    If I’m looking at this distribution panel correctly, there are 15 spaces on the DC positive bus bar but only 12 spaces on the negative. If I am hooking up 13 sets of wires, should I connect two different negative wires to the same slot on the bus bar? Is there any problem in doing that?

  15. Nate…thanks for the helpful info. Your video explains how to wire the inverter to power the distribution panel, but I am confused on how to also wire the panel for shore power as well. How do you wire the AC side so that you have both inverter power and shore power to the panel? Thanks in advance.

  16. Hey Nate,
    In looking at the wiring diagram for my system (200 amp hour BB lithium with 400 watts of renogy) I see you connect the inverter (AIMS 2000w) to the AC side with a three wire. But I all see both a red + and black – coming from their respective bus bars and into the distribution panel. Where do these two 6 AWG wires go in the distribution panel?
    Thanks, Greg

    1. Okay, my bad-watched your video and they are obviously the dc power supply. DUH! I am starting to wire this in the next day or so and am a little antsy trying to figure everything out. That’s for helping to steer me in the right direction. Any chance during tutorials you can have no music?

      1. Good! Glad you figured it out. No can do on the videos with no music. Sorry. I’ve done that in the past and people actually watch my videos more/longer when there is background music covering up fan/furnace/random background noises. I have analytics in Youtube that tell me this. 🙂

  17. We have converted 4 buses, several rvs, other projects and vans. In our 70’s, this current Ford transit is our last, we hope.

    We’ve installed a cheap set of ceiling pucks, then replaced with a better quality set…..same results. We have “glow” after switching off. These lights are on two seperate, fused, runs.

    What, “exactly”, can we do to correct? (I have ordered a small pkg of 1/4w resistors, which seem necessary to my fix, but have no idea what to do with them, since our puck lights are not a “bulb” type LED – or if they are really my answer)

    Much thanks, Deb

  18. Nate, all of your content is so helpful. Thank you. If you have time, I’d love to get your thoughts about this: I am using this WFCO distribution panel. I have 30A 120VAC coming from my Xantrex FC 2000W inverter over 6/3 wire. I have 8 branch circuits, all of them either 15A or 20A. I am using QT breakers for all of the branches. I would like to connect the 2 hot bus bars so that I have space for all of the branches, but I only have 1 hot wire. My plan is to use a 30A double pole breaker to straddle between the bus bars and short the 2 hot inputs to effectively connect the 2 circuits. Do have a better idea?

    1. I don’t know that the box can be set up like that. You may reach out to the manufacturer for that info. My recommendation would be to pair down the number of circuits used so there is a max of 6 circuits.

  19. Hi Nate, is there any reason I couldn’t use this box for 15a service? Obviously I would need to limit my breakers/simultaneous usage, but from a connectivity and functionality perspective it should work fine correct?

  20. happy customer and thousands of views later, i’m finally doing this after planning for a year. Thanks Nate. I only have two of the tandem breakers based off the “200ah 525w” wiring diagram. I want to run 6 outlets, can I have two outlets on one breaker? as long as the loads are small. I’m doing simple computer speaker type stuff, nothing heavy load. I think the combined amperage would not trigger the breaker, so I’m fine right?

    Thanks
    Tim

    1. You can have as many outlets as you like on one breaker. Think of your house… you may have 6 outlets in your bedroom all connected to one breaker. If you connect a space heater to each outlet, you will trip the breaker for that circuit. It’s the exact same principle for your camper.

  21. Hi Nate, is It okay to connect the 6 awg battery wires coming from the distribution panel straight to the batteries and would I need a fuse in between? In your diagrams it shows them going somewhere else. Thank you!

  22. Thanks for the great info , my question is; should the main breaker always match the amperage of the supply plug, if l have a 30amp 125volt plug
    I should have a 30amp main breaker. This is true even though there are 4 or 5 breakers adding up to more than 30 amps ?

  23. It it possible to connect the AC side of this panel to the AC out on he Jackery? and the DC side of this panel to the DC out on the Jackery? If so what wires/connectors would you recommend?

    Also thinking about a TS 30 transfer switch to switch between shore and jackery.
    Thanks.

    1. Although quite overkill; it could be wired like that. I don’t have a wiring diagram & parts list available that shows how to do that, so you are going to have to do your due diligence and spec that out yourself.

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