Road Read – Shore Power Inlet Install 1/21/17

Some electrical work got done today. Not enough to get any electrons moving around. In fact, I didn’t get any actual wiring done. However, it is never a small task to cut another hole in the van. This one was not close to the size of the roof vent but was absolutely substantial. This was a 2 7/8ths inch hole for the shore power inlet.

I took some pictures of how I did the process and hopefully this will give some ideas to those that need to install an inlet or something similar.

Interior. Left side. Just behind the wheel well.

On the interior of my van, there was section on the left side that was different than any other part of the interior. This interior section was cutaway to obviously allow a direct access to the exterior wall of the van. This was where I thought the best location for the hole to be drilled for the power inlet. I measured the overall dimensions of the interior cut out and then found center and marked it with a silver Sharpie. The silver Sharpies are amazing and just about critical when working on a black surface. The interior of my van was originally silver but the Lizardskin insulation that I sprayed in is a matt black and black Sharpies just don’t show up.

Another cool trick is to place a magnet over your center mark on the interior. Then find the location on the exterior of the vehicle by holding something ferrous near where the magnetic field is. This way you can check the location of the of the center point prior to drilling. I wanted to make sure that I was working with the flattest surface available in order to get the best seal against moisture possible.

Next, just drill the pilot hole. For my Marinco Inlet, I needed a 2 7/8 inch hole. So after drilling the pilot hole, I covered the area that was going to be drilled with painters tape. This is an important step as it will be very helpful in reducing or eliminating paint chipping as the hole saw does its work.
Now you have a hole and need to drill the additional mounting holes if you inlet requires them. This was basically the most difficult part for me. I spent a lot of time trying to take measurements that would make sure the inlet was parallel to the lines of the van. After repeated attempts, I finally got it close and just settled on rotating it to where it aesthetically looked best to me. Once you have it where you want it, drill a hole and then place a screw in the hole before you drill the next hole. This will make sure all the holes line up.

Since my application is was only attached to the wall of the van, I wanted to make a back plate and spacer to provide a more secure anchor for the inlet. I had some different plates of micarta. I cut the hole and drilled the holes and attached it to the interior. This may not have been necessary but it did seem to make the attachment to the van more secure.
Before you install the inlet, make sure you have covered all the exposed metal with paint. I may go back and add a thin layer of 3M Window Weld to the back of the rubber gasket just to add an additional layer of protection from rain seeping in.

Also, make sure you attach your wires to the inlet prior to tightening all the fittings. Once mine are tightened, you cannot get to the screws to secure the wires.

Overall, I am please with how the inlet turned out. Once I get the final wiring laid out, I will probably create a more solid back plate. There are some additional pictures in the Photo Gallery.

Let me know if you have questions and keep the course!