This is how our control panel above the fridge looks now. Let me give you a tour, explain what I did, and share some pointers on what NOT to do…
The stock EuroVan control panel is black, has only one 12 volt outlet, and on the 95, has a very stupid layout for the water pump switch. On later models, the faucet has an integrated switch, eliminating the need for a water pump switch on the control panel.
Moving left to right:
- water pump switch
- fresh water, gray water, and propane levels
- digital voltmeter
- switch for checking levels
- switch for voltmeter
- two 12 volt outlets
- digital temperature gauge to measure temperature on the outside of the van, behind the fridge
- 3 LEDs to indicate the power source for the fridge - AC, DC, and propane - these LEDs are POST fuse - so I can tell if the fuse is blown - more on that later
- AC outlet with neon night light
- Wireless temperature gauge - this is moved to the dash while driving
If you decide to modify your own control panel, a word of advice - DO NOT MODIFY THE EXISTING PANEL!!! The stock panel is galvanized steel, with a vinyl overlay - totally a pain to cut or drill. Get yourself a piece of aluminum, or have a panel made from an outfit like Front Panel Express.
I made the mistake of modifying the stock one, ruining the vinyl overlay, so I removed the overlay and glued down a piece of birch veneer. Kinda like how it looks, but it would have been much easier to do some detailed layout work and order a black anodized panel with lettering from Front Panel Express.
The switches are Hella model H61922001 (that is for one with an amber LED - I used amber, green, and red LED switches) - go the the Hella site to confirm the style you want.
The 95 water pump switch is located in the middle of the panel, and the “levels check” swith is located to the far left - this is really a dumb design, so I installed a new switch (better “feel”, as well) on the far left - close to the sink.
I did not have time before my month long desert trip to find replacements for the stock water level gauges and the propane gauge, so I just used the existing one (blocking off the voltage gauge). I have not made my mind up in the direction I will go from here - I may get a separate gauges for each tank - or get an entirely new system from SeeLevel gauges (made in Canada).
The digital voltmeter is very handy, and the stock LED voltage gauge is worse than useless - this saves me having to plug an external gauge into one of the 12 volt outlets - and it is VERY bright.
I installed TWO 12 volt outlets so I could charge more then one device at a time. I don’t really care for this either, as there is no place to put whatever it is that you plug in. In this day and age, what the van needs is an out of the way “charging station”.
The temperature gauge tells me what the air temperature is around the fridge - this is handy, as it lets you know what the fridge is “working against”. In hot climates, this temperature can be much hotter than the outside temperature - especially if you are running on propane.
I hated how the Norcold switches are mechanical - there is no indication if a fuse blows, and it is hard to tell what mode (DC, propane, AC) you are in while driving. If your DC fuse blows while you are on the road (it is glass fuse - poor design choice - I replaced mine with an ATC automotive style fuse), you have no indication of this until the temperature of your fridge just begins to climb. I installed 3 LEDs to indicate which mode the fridge is in - these are wired AFTER the fuse, so I can tell if the fuse is OK. In hindsight, I would NOT install these on the control panel - I would install them on the fridge.
The neon night light is a quick and dirty way to tell me that I have AC - I do not rely on this to tell me the “quality” of the AC - I use a plug in tester to verify voltage, polarity, etc before I connect the AC source to the van (you would be surprised at what I have found!).