Adrienne picked up what I had last week, and spent a miserable weekend in bed cuddling with the dog. It was super cold outside and windy and a bit snowy and I’m still getting over what I had, too, so I didn’t work at all on the tiny house. I took care of my wife, and thought a lot about the electrical system design, and a bit less about the flooring (which is ready to go, I just gotta pull the table saw out into the cold air and make some cuts), and I made some homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch.
So, I know I’ve outlined the whole electrical system, but I’m starting to get into the details now, and the design of it all requires a closer inspection. I’ve decided to start from the ‘end use’ and work my way back. This should ensure that the system design will be as simple as it needs to be.
So, the “built in” power in my tiny house will consist of a 12V DC setup, similar to boats and RVs. I’ve decided to break it out into different circuits like a normal house (different locations), basically.
- Closet & Shower (5A fuse)
- Kitchen (10A fuse)
- LED lighting
- 12V appliances?
- Front Door (5A fuse)
- Living Area (5A fuse)
- Utilities (15A fuse)
- Extra (5A fuse)
- ambient & automated lighting
- ‘attic’ lighting
- Outside Use (5A fuse)
Of course, the fuse requirements aren’t set in stone, but I’m thinking those values are a good place to start. As you can see, the majority of the power use is for lighting, and with LEDs the power requirements for good lighting are pretty low.
I’ve gotten some LED bulbs with G4 bases, and a handful of ceramic G4 sockets. I’m thinking of mounting the sockets on some nice wood with a rocker switch, 3 lamps per assembly. Should be ridiculously easy to build, pretty durable, and can be mounted nearly anywhere in the tiny house (I’m thinking up in the exposed framing, for example). 2 or 3 of these per circuit should be plenty, and with these sockets, I’m free to switch up the lamps however I want – higher power, color temperature, etc. The sockets can even handle up to G10 so, the sky’s the limit.
The USB power will simply consist of a 12V-to-5V converter with USB jacks, so I can tap them into the 12V anywhere I want. Originally I was thinking of running dedicated 5V power lines throughout to where I’d need them, alongside the 12V, but I think that’s overkill and probably unnecessary (and likely inefficient), so I’ll just use end-point buck converters and build the sockets into something that looks nice. But, more on this in the future.
The real big choice is how to connect them to the 12V rails? Initially, I was thinking of using standard barrel connectors for everything 12V, especially since these are low enough power that I probably don’t need to use any thicker gauge than 16 or 14… This could also make the system a bit more modular, so, able to be expanded or changed with minimal impact. Of course, I’ll welcome any input, if anyone out there has any ideas then please don’t hold back!
Now, on to the other side of the electrical system… Having pretty much established the ‘use’ side of it, I need to figure out the ‘supply’ side of it. This is where there may be some major headaches. I’ll definitely have a couple of deep cycle batteries, but how to power them? Solar? Land-tie power converter? I haven’t ever seen any RV or boat power systems that can handle both solar charging AND grid-tie charging, but that would definitely be ideal, wouldn’t it? And would probably cost a bit of money…
For now, I’m leaning towards a standard RV style grid-tie power control system. They’re cheaper, definitely, and later on I can add a solar set up with some kind of switch or relay to switch between the two power sources.
That’s all for now. Time for chicken noodle soup.