10 Essential Tools for Campervan Electrics
When it comes to your campervan electrical 12V system, there’s a lot to think about.
Whether you’re transforming a cargo van into a cosy camper or converting a high-top van into a full-time home and fully off-grid, you’ll need some basic essential tools in your toolbox to complete your campervan 12v electrical system.
We’ll also share some useful search terms for electrical gear you’ll need for your van conversion electrical system.
10 Essential Tools for Campervan Electrics
- Large wire crimps
- Wire stripper-crimper
- Wire snips
- Heat Gun
- Soldering Iron Kit
- Mini Screwdriver
- Static Bracelet
- Flexible tape measure
- Multimeter/Volt meter
- Wiring Diagram
This blog won’t cover general van conversion tools, plumbing van conversion tools, or essential van conversion materials – but we have done a blog on each, so be sure to check those out after this one!
Campervan Electrics Tool #1 – Large Wire Crimps
For those thick wires, you’ll require a large wire crimper tool. These are around £30 and are the safe way to attach an eyelet to the end of a thick cable, from 6mm up to 95mm cable!
They aren’t tricky to use and are a MUST, especially for battery and inverter wires which are thick.
Campervan Electrics Tool #2 – Wire Stripper-Crimper
This is the most useful tool in your toolbox for campervan electrics. The wire stripper-crimper tool is only £15 and automatically strips the ends of wires, ready for connectors or for soldering, and helps you crimp those small wires together quickly.
It’s essentially the Swiss Army Knife of the electrical world.
Campervan Electrics Tool #3 – Wire Snips
Cutting through copper cable calls for copious coercion… it can be bloody hard. Regular household scissors are not up for the job, so grab a pair of wire snips for under £10 to make easy work of any wire thickness accurately and clearly. Having the proper tool for this will reduce the risk of you slipping and cutting yourself with your knife.
Campervan Electrics Tool #5 – Soldering Iron Kit
If you never did electronics in school, these can seem quite daunting at first. For a strong connection of wires and delicate electrical work, a soldering iron kit for around £30 will be a great tool to learn to use on your van build.
This allows you to connect two wires permanently, which is required in many places throughout your campervan conversion.
Campervan Electrics Tool #6 – Mini Screwdriver Kit
There are many tiny screws in some of the electrical components that you’ll be working with. And this means you need a tiny screwdriver kit to access these screws. Most normal screwdrivers are too large to fit, so a mini kit, is often needed (e.g search for watch and phone repair kit).
Campervan Electrics Tool #7 – Static Bracelet
For only a fiver, these are worth it. A static bracelet does exactly as the name suggests, preventing the build-up of static charge, which is great for safety when working with electronics.
It’s best not to wear watches or wearable electronics whilst wiring up your campervan electrics, and wearing this adds another layer of safety to prevent electrical damage to your newly bought 12v electronics.
Campervan Electrics Tool #8 – Flexible Tape Measure
These neat, flexible tape measures are often used for sewing, but they are also excellent for measuring wire lengths around corners and in tight spaces. They’re cheap and we always had at least one floating around when doing our electrics and are much better than a ruler or normal rigid tape measure for measuring wire length.
Campervan Electrics Tool #9 – Multimeter
These things are great for problem-solving and checking electrical connections. Even if you are not confident in 12V electrics, having a multimeter/volt meter on hand makes it easier to diagnose problems if you have someone around who does know what they are doing and can lead you through what to be testing.
Campervan Electrics Tool #10 – Wiring Diagram
Planning your electrical system beforehand makes the job of doing your campervan 12v electrics oh so much easier.
Having a wiring diagram of your system in front of you as a guide and plan helps you know what connections need to go where and how to arrange everything.
We have an example of our own electrical wiring diagram, which you can use to help you research and design your own.
Useful Electrical Gear
As a bonus, below is a quick list of useful electrical gear you’ll need for your 12V Campervan Electrics, with a link to help you get started.
- Wire (various sizes) – You’ll always need different size wires. A big roll of 2.5mm, 4mm and 16mm should cover you for most low-powered electrics, with inverters, batteries and fuse boxes needing thicker (50mm, 70mm or even 90mm).
- Electrical Tape – For protection around exposed metal edges.
- Heatshrink – To protect soldered connections.
- Eyelets (various sizes) – To connect wires to a fusebox and each other. A big box of all sizes will serve you well.
- Wago connectors – A non-soldering alternative to connect wires.
- Wire Clips – Keep your wires neat and tidy.
- Fuses – A big pack of various sizes to fuse everything safely.
- Breakers – For higher-powered appliances to keep everything safe.
- Kill Switches – To kill power to an entire circuit (like a fusebox in a house).
- Busbars – Helps with neatness and cable management.