Laptop Station Plan for Van - Desperately needs input!

Old 06-18-14, 07:41 AM
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Laptop Station Plan for Van - Desperately needs input!


Im brand new to this forum, and signed up just now as im reading some great stuff on here and want to pick your (collective) brains on my plan.

I work with cameras in the tv industry in the UK and one thing I'm wanting to do is build a mobile power system for my van (a mercedes LWB vito)

The power system will be a low-key sort of affair just in place for use with backing up cards/mags from the camera. This work is called Data Wrangling. I would use a laptop or a mac tower computer to do it, with a couple of hard-drives plugged in and a 12v truck battery.

The kit that will be run from it will be:

2x Hard-drives (12v)
1x Laptop (18.5v 4.6A max)
1x eSata adapter (12v 2A)

I've done it before using equipment from a lighting rental company and its worked really well. Using a set of 2 YUASA 663 truck batteries and Mastervolt Mass Sine 12/2000 inverter i ran a laptop and drives for a full two day shoot.

Now i want to tidy this up abit and buy my own parts to assemble into a rack mounted unit that i can easily wheel in and out of the van.

Exciting eh?

Now my electrical background is slim to none. i understand the basic components that im going to need but im really hoping some of you on this forum can answer a few of the questions that are worrying me and look over my list of parts that i plan on buying and give it the 'go ahead'.

SO, here it is:

Parts that im going to purchase

2x batts
1x invertor
1x UPS
1x charger
1x battery link
2x battery boxes

Right here I'm more concerned about the bare bones and how the system will act, but if your interested, heres some other bits i plan to buy to put everything together:

Mounting i plan to use

1x rack with inflateable wheels
1x hard-drive suspension cage
1x laptop strap
1x device strap
(these are possibly the same strap)

So back to the components:

2x batts

Looking at something like:

664SHD Yuasa Cargo Heavy Duty Battery SHD (61048) 12v 115Ah 800CCA Battery | 79.99 Ex VAT Buy online from The Battery Shop

Looking for something with a long run time instead of a really high output.

Are these the right idea?

1x inverter

This is the one i've used before:
Mass Sine 12/2000 (230V/50Hz) | Mastervolt Marine

But this is really expensive - 1k

Its possible that i could buy this but im thinking it might be much much more power than i actually need.

1x UPS

Something by APC like:

Buy SMC1000I-2U APC 1000 VA Smart UPS - 1 KW

This will be rack mounted and only require about 10-15 minutes of power to the computer gear so that it can all be safely shut down before power goes.

1x charger

Looking at:

NoCo genius G26000 (or something similar)
Robot Check

I want the charger to basically run the whole rig from mains where i have a hook up available. So that i could plug in the charging unit to a 13amp mains supply and have the batteries charge (and work as a secondary UPS) when running the system this way.

I dont want to have to re-connect any cables or anything, i want the batteries linked to the charger in their boxes at all times as well as the inverter.

Is this possible??

I want the power rig to be pretty much untampered with the most part and to be run by other people (with even less knowledge than me!)

1x battery link

Nothing in mind for this, but some kind of cabling so that the two batteries are as one.

I.e charge together, run together, when one runs out, the other would kick in, give me a longer run with the computer equipment.

2x battery boxes

Something like:
The Noco Company HM306BK - Snap-Top Battery Box | O'Reilly Auto Parts

So that i can safely tuck all the connectors away, maybe drill some holes in the box so that cables can be fed out and into the system.
Im thinking its quite important to keep the batteries covered and away from accidents (i.e dropped kit onto the elements/ missed polarity if someone fiddled/ corrosion or water damage)


Also, im thinking i want to plug the UPS into a surge protected 13amp board of plugs (as this is what all the components will have to power them)

Please see the attached diagram i've drawn to sort of explain how i plan on going about this build.
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Basically i want to be able to wheel this thing around with the laptops/drives connected up and plug it into the mains when i can and run it in the back of the van when needed.

Thanks for anyone whos got as far as this, i know this post is abit heavy. Hopefully someone can come through with some great suggestions for how to build this properly.

All the best

Sam St. John
Old 06-18-14, 07:23 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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Just so you don't think your being ignored, but the only suggestion I can give you is fo go to a fabrication shop and have them weld you up a rack out of aluminum.

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