DIY projects outside of your day-to-day can be one of the most rewarding aspects of our busy lives. The excitement of planning them out, the adrenaline of taking on a challenge, the not-so-enjoyable disappointments during execution, the improvements made along the way, and the uplifting sense of accomplishment at the end. Everything about them makes them inventive and completely worth it, and with the help of some useful gadgets, they can be made even better! Progressive Automations’ top-of-the-line product range is very popular among our DIY consumers. Our linear actuators and controllers are designed with diverse applications in mind, which makes them an ideal pick for customers who are dealing with non-standard, self-made designs. These drop-down TV mechanisms and DIY robotic projects for kids are just some examples of the versatility we offer to DIY enthusiasts!
The focus of this blog is of one of the most popular DIY projects our engineers get questions about: DIY bed lifts for their camper and sprint vans! Automated bed lifts give you extra space when not in use, and using our linear actuators and controls, can lower them to your required height with just the push of a button! In this blog, we discuss how you can use our motion control products to build your perfect camper bed lift system.
Camping is a retreat and hobby that many enjoy – driving off to a faraway location, the blissful sense of absolute peacefulness we all crave, and getting to spend quality time with your loved ones. Camping and ‘van life’ are becoming more and more popular and as a result, so are people’s initiatives to enhance their setup. Camper vans are equally notorious due to their limited spacing and difficulty in setting up your space. Even if you have a dedicated campervan or RV, pulling out or cleaning off the beds can be a struggle that not everyone looks forward to. This is where automated bed lifts come into play. Linear actuators are ideal implementing into many areas of your camper van or RV. Whether you are looking for a bed actuator, or want to install actuation devices for peripheral parts of your van, you should 100% consider linear actuation technologies.
When automating camper vans, making a camper bed platform with a lift mechanism is perhaps the first thing that pops into mind for many of the DIYers who call us. Usually, in any camping vehicle, the beds are folded within the couches, or concealed behind a compartment in the wall. Installing an electric bed lift in a camper van can make a huge difference in how this task is performed.
The installation process of a DIY RV bed lift is not that difficult. You just need to determine the mounting locations of your linear actuators, which can be optimized by performing the right torque calculations, and selecting the correct components to go along with your chosen linear actuator. With such a setup installed in your van, raising and lowering your beds is reduced to the press of a button. Installing a lift-up bed for a sprinter van has the exact same requirements – you can have your bed ready or retracted within seconds.
Next up, we would like to offer our recommendations on what products you would need to carry out such a conversion. Progressive Automations has helped many clients with their DIY bed lift project and find that they often follow the same trends. The similarities seen across the majority of applications has determined the following products as the best solutions for bed lifts in camper vans or RV’s.
Figure 1: PA-04
The PA-04 is one of our most versatile linear actuators, great for many different applications. It’s perfect for van conversions owing to its 400 lbs dynamic and static force capability, as well as 6” – 40” stroke length, which is more than the amount of travel you need for setting up a camp uptight.
The Hall Effect feedback incorporated in its circuit enables synchronized travel, which is a requirement for camper vans as multiple actuators are moving the same load simultaneously. You will typically need four of these actuators, all in sync, to raise and lower your bed lift application.
Figure 2: FLTCON-4
The FLTCON-4 is the control box that goes along with PA-04 linear actuators. It’s designed to work with Hall Effect sensors and is remarkably compact, allowing it to fit into any corner or nook of your van. It’s a 4-channel controller which means that you only need one of these to control all four of your linear actuators.
Figure 3: RT-11 Remote
Here comes the fun part. To go with your linear actuators and controller, you can get the incredibly easy-to-use RT-11 Remote. This remote allows you preset up to four heights, bringing your bed lift to its desired height with the push of one button. We recommend this remote for its convenience and ease of use, and it’s proven quite popular in other bed lift applications previously completed by our customers!
Figure 4: BRK-02 Mounting Brackets
Finally, you need our sturdy BRK-02 Mounting Brackets to fix the linear actuators to your application’s mounting points. Two of these are attached at both the stroke and motor end of each linear actuator, meaning you will require eight. They allow 180o of rotation and can withstand much more load than the linear actuator, which makes them a reliable option for this application.
If you use your camper van frequently, DIY conversions are definitely worth investing your time in, and the payoffs are great. Why not automate your bed to raise and lower when needed, giving you extra space when not in use? This project is easy to complete, and with this blog as a guideline, you can complete it with ease.
If you’re unsure about where to start, or if the PA-04 is truly right for your application, speak with our expert engineers who are always ready to offer professional assistance.