Starting your build, boxes and mounts

Find a box… or print one

The first part of the build is to choose a method of mounting the different modules for your controller. The controller for my camper van has, or will have, all the different options. As a result, trying to fit all of it into one box is cumbersome.

Check the various hardware options detailed in the hardware pages before deciding on the size of box.

For that reason and also to limit any problems with electrical interference, I chose to separate my controller into three parts.

  1. A CPU box which contains all the technical stuff, the CPU, RTC Module, NodeMCU etc…
  2. A power control box which contains the relays and the power control darlingtons.
  3. Something to mount the display panel in.
The 3D printed option
3D printed box for the control unit
3D printed box for the control unit

If you have, or have access to, a 3D printer then by far the cheapest and best way of mounting the modules is by printing out custom boxes. The printable files (.stl) for the boxes and modules I have used are all available for download. Using a commercial 3D printing service to print the files may be an option but possibly expensive.

Providing demand isn’t too high, as each set would take around 12 hours to print, sets might be made available here.


Buying and modifying

The control and power modules are easy enough to house in a simple rectangular box and Polycarbonate and ABS boxes suitable for electronics use are available from a number of different sources. Mounting the panel neatly, being the only thing that has to be on display, is more difficult. It may be possible to modify a standard triple CBE mounting plate providing you leave enough space behind the plate. That was the original intention when the project started.

Installing the controller box modules