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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
My electrical totally changed. So by going 24v with dc/ac/dc i pretty much need to order the dual alternator to make this system worth while right? I know I'm going overboard with this system but there would be no worries for inclement weather since part of my plan is to use this for skiing with a epic pass. I can also switch from propane for stove and water heater.
Dual alternator not required at all. And certainly not mandated by the 24V setup - that's to handle large draw and large batteries more easily and has nothing to do with the input side - whether DC-DC or DC-AC-DC or solar or shore.

The stock single alternator is already 250A and still supports the 175A CCP2 (though not every rig seems to come with it - not sure what that requires when ordered). The advantage to the dual alternator seems to be supporting the full 150A draw at idle - without needing to do a high-idle setup.

That said, most of the folks that did the high-idle had the older 150A alternator. I'm not sure if anyone has tested 150A idle with the 250A alternator. But, worst-case, you'd add a high-idle setup. Or lower the draw until it runs acceptably - which would still be MORE power than most solar. Very few rigs are 800W or more and I'm pretty sure that would run at idle.

The 24V part is a near no-cost change if you're doing Victron (except for the ~$100 24VDC>12VDC converter). If you run solar, that cost is sometimes offset by the lower cost of the MPPT - you get double your money on a higher voltage controller. The advantage is easier to control wires, higher efficiency / lower heat.

We're running both electric induction stove-top AND propane oven/stove-top as well as the electric water heater in this rig. The last rig was only induction and no water heater. Basically, it's a battery / storage question plus ability to re-fill whatever you consume. If you don't mind paying for the battery, then it's just whether you're comfortable with your method of restoring the energy.

We can go 3-5 days with zero input if we want to. Then shore-charge for four hours and be full again. (Assuming near dead batteries and access to 20A input.) We could function with no alternator OR solar.
 

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My electrical totally changed. So by going 24v with dc/ac/dc i pretty much need to order the dual alternator to make this system worth while right? I know I'm going overboard with this system but there would be no worries for inclement weather since part of my plan is to use this for skiing with a epic pass. I can also switch from propane for stove and water heater.
I skied 135 days on my Icon pass last season and had no issues with 12V but sounds interesting. Good Luck!!
 

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Glad you set this page up with everything before I ask all of this but it can help others too.....So doing dc/ac/dc with a single alternator would my best bet be going with a 1000 inverter into the victron multiplus 3000 24v with two 170ah 24v big battery?
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Glad you set this page up with everything before I ask all of this but it can help others too.....So doing dc/ac/dc with a single alternator would my best bet be going with a 1000 inverter into the victron multiplus 3000 24v with two 170ah 24v big batteries?
I would go with the bigger inverter (~2kW+) because it will run cooler (and more efficient) at half it's rated output. And with this model, you're controlling the load from the Multiplus, so there's no downside to the larger charging inverter and plenty of upside. Then you decide later whether to run it at 800W or 1500W based on how it performs for you.

Based on the Victron published efficiency / heat charts, optimal is in the 20-70% of rated - I'm guessing lower on the Giandel or similarly priced mid-range units.

In this chart, the middle column can be read as power wasted AND heat given off (and thus wear-and-tear and fan / noise). This is for the Victron 24/3000/70 in inverter mode.
Font Number Parallel Screenshot
 

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Did you go with the Giandel for the remote on/off? Leave the solar empty and if ever needed it is there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Did you go with the Giandel for the remote on/off? Leave the solar empty and if ever needed it is there?
Mostly went with the Giandel because it was on the "tested and approved by Will Prowse" list. But the remote proved to be critical. I would have had to add a relay otherwise.

Not sure what you mean by, "leave the solar empty and if ever needed it is there"?

Do you mean having the alternator charging as an alternative to solar? If so, we found that winter trips it wasn't uncommon to be digging a big hole every day with just solar. The best ski weeks don't necessarily include sun - we love chasing powder. 😁

If that's what you mean, running the engine for an hour or so will replenish a full day's usage - even with hot water, fridge, induction, computers, lights and all that. One-and-a-half to two hours tops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
2200Watt Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter 12V inverter GIANDEL Inc Official Website is the one i looked at. That is why i asked. I plan on using a solo mppt.The whole reason for doing this system right is winter with snow. I figure 3 days 4 nights.
Yeah, that's the exact one I have. I didn't realize it had a "solar controller" in it. If there's one for less money without that, I'd go with that. One of the guys here bought one that is hard-wired instead of just outlets on it. I'd guess the Amazon listings are more current than their website. But I don't see anything in either location that looks preferable to me. 🤷‍♀️

Just as a charger, you could also save money and go with a modified sine wave unit. Looks like $170 for the 2kW unit. I figured I'd rather have even the backup inverter be good quality power. 🤑

By "solo mppt" do you mean Electropower? Or something else?
 

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By solo i meant stand alone Victron mppt either a 109/15 or 10/35 depending on if i can get two or three panels up top. Giandel makes a beefier 2200 with no solar. I was thinking this might be all the battery i need. 24V HSKY ELITE - LiFePO4 - 228Ah - 6kWh - BigBattery.com for a battery.
Black Friday I'll sit down and order my electrical componets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Got it on the MPPT. Yeah... whatever meets the need. Just gotta decide on the whole parallel / series choices. We went with 24V panels - figured higher voltage is better - and four in parallel. Would have gone 48V if I'd seen ones the right size. I prefer parallel if possible.

Wow. That's a beast of a battery! Certainly checks all the boxes. Only downside is a single battery versus having a pair. But probably no way to beat that for power and size and price. I thought we might end up getting a third battery (8kWh now) but we haven't run these down, so I'd guess 6kWh would be plenty. Unless we end up doing an AC unit... then we'll need more.
 

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Espar B4L-M2 post

Finally started the work on this. Did the fuel tank today.

Wasn't /too/ hard to drop it. A bit of the check-list in case someone is doing it:
  1. Made sure it only had a couple gallons of gas in it.
  2. Two of us working on it. Would have been tougher solo.
  3. Lifted the van a bit - raised the Air Lift to max in the rear and used jack-stands in the front.
  4. Disconnected the fuel filler (simple hose clamp and some muscle)
  5. Put a piece of duck tape over the filler hole (less fuel to splash out)
  6. Loosened all eight bolts. (~40-50kN for reference)
  7. Got a few 2x4s to hold the rear of the tank from going all the way to the ground
  8. Put a floor jack under the front of the tank (with a 2x4 across for balance)
  9. Removed all four straps - keeping track of which was which and what direction
  10. Removed rear straps first - dropping tank onto the 2x4s
  11. Last one we removed was the front - weight of the front on the floor jack
  12. Removed all the rear 2x4s - keeping the front of the tank UP
  13. Disconnected the fuel lines - just a small flat-head screwdriver and fingers-work
  14. Pop the fuel lines out of their press-fit slots
  15. Disconnected electrical connector - pull out the red thing, then press the lock tab release
  16. Then lower the tank all the way to the ground and slide it out.
Pretty easy. No special tools - just a small flat-head screwdriver. An hour first time. Probably 15 minutes the second time.


Pulled the plastic cover off then bashed the metal ring off with a screwdriver and a mallet.


Drilled a 5/16" hole, cut 2-1/2" off the standpipe and put it in. It's very close to the float; but doesn't touch. We had about 2 gallons of gas in the tank at the time, so we made it a little higher than that - probably good for 3-4 gallons in the 31 gallon tank with the 2.5" cut-off.
View attachment 159937

Reassembled with the stand-pipe in place and the fuel feed line connected.
View attachment 159938

Reconnected fuel lines and electrical. Zip-tied the heater fuel line on to a wiring harness mount point and again to the wiring harness itself.
I've read that the existing fuel tank connections provide a port for the espars fuel pickup, just putting the ford connector on and attaching the espar fuel line. I'm wondering if you have different info and chose to use the espar fuel pickup instead?

Good looking setup
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I've read that the existing fuel tank connections provide a port for the espars fuel pickup, just putting the ford connector on and attaching the espar fuel line. I'm wondering if you have different info and chose to use the espar fuel pickup instead?
...
The built-in auxiliary pickup works. I even bought the adapters and everything for it. But after seeing the challenges people were having at altitude - especially with the Webasto - I figured it's not much more trouble to "do it right" the first time.

One of the questionable things with the factory aux versus the standpipe is how quickly it starts with the small line versus larger. We never had our Espar in the Sprinter fail us; but it often took a few tries to get it up and going. We just assumed that was the way it was. But after seeing the people with trouble at altitude - many tries to start being one of the problems - that were solved by moving from the aux to the standpipe, it seemed worth the effort.

Worst case, it took a couple more hours. Best case, the heater works more reliably at altitude. Since mountains are our primary destinations - parked as high as 11,000 feet at night - it seems worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
I'm looking forward to seeing if it helps. That said... the Transit is so much better than the Sprinter was (even /with/ the aftermarket rear sway bar), it's hard to imagine a particularly large improvement on this. I'm expecting more from curves.
Got some serious wind on the trip up 395 today. Plus passing big trucks. I'd say it's helped. But it was good to begin with, of course. It seemed that simple.

Overall analysis from a few hundred miles of highway plus a dozen or so on pretty legit off-road trails - scraping the sides on trees up at the top of the van and testing ground clearance on approach, departure, and side-to-side enough to have the missus gripping and asking if we could fall over. 😁

Improved handling on the road - less squat, less side-to-side (similar to a sway bar) - but still a bit of bounce on those just-right up-down bumps. Probably needs some better shocks for that.

Did the roughest off-road with the rear-up pumped up at 100psi. Then dropped it to 20psi and went up more stuff. Did great. Handled better with the lower Air Lift setting; but those sections didn't need the extra two inches. Since the RAS seemed to have raised the rear end about 1" on their own, that was a great setup.

Overall, pleased.
 

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I'm needing to go with the 250 for insurance reasons so my thinking is the RAS should cover the additional weigh for the build. The Air bags will help too with weight and allow for other height adjustments. After these two adds it seems there wouldn't be a need for upgrading sway bars?
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Electrical: install relay control board

Gadget Technology Machine Display device Audio equipment


We had a few circuits of 12VDC that need to be on/off controllable:
  1. The Air Lift compressor would sometimes turn on in the middle of the night.
  2. The heat-pads for the water tanks and batteries probably shouldn't be ON all the time (even though they have temp controls).
  3. Main air compressor should probably be OFF most of the time.
  4. Upcoming outside flood lights need a good switch (high powered)
  5. The secondary water tank pump shouldn't be on all the time
I'd hacked a switch onto the old fuse panel for the Air Lift. It looked terrible. We were pulling fuses for the rest of the stuff. Not ideal and not something to explain to a friend who might borrow the rig.

So... relays and a relay control panel seemed ideal. Turns out they start pretty cheap. Considered ones that cost up to $1000. Considered building my own with RPI / Arduino. Decided to try the $110 unit that looked like it might work. Here we go!

Here's the fuse / relay panel on the top and the new 6-circuit fuse panel below it. Funny how everything seemed to fit / work best in an upside-down position. Typical.

Audio equipment Electrical wiring Gas Electricity Computer hardware


It is up and running. Man, that took a LOT more time than I expected.

To replace the old fuse panel, I needed to disconnect every wire and cable (and label them) from the old 12-circuit fuse panel and then re-cut the mount plate that it was on. Once I re-cut it and centered things the way I thought would look best, I realized I had stretched the 1/0 cables from the batteries to the 200A breaker to their limit in the first install. And now they wouldn't reach the bit more I needed. Sigh. Re-build those cables.

Then noticed some connections that were loose on other wires and/or cables. Ugh. Oh, yeah... ran out of the right connectors and did a "temporary" setup on them (aka "terrible version of permanent") and forgot about that. Okay... re-terminate most of the #2 and #4 cables. Re-terminate a bunch of the wires since their heads didn't fit right in the new connectors. Get it all connected on the new panel. Moment of truth. It worked first try. I love it when that happens.

Then had to get the switch control side mounted somewhere user-friendly. Sigh. Yeah... I've been ignoring this. So might as well do it right. Disassembled the cabinet above the fridge and added a new panel section and mounted the Cerbo touchscreen, heater control, relay control, and tablet. Since the don't all have a clean flush-mount option, I did them all surface-mount. Came out pretty good - at least by my "function over form" mindset.

Clearly some work to do: labels aren't complete on the fuse/relay panel or the fuse panel. Labels on the relay control board are just temporary. Need to figure out how to make them look good AND to dim the lights down a lot. And still mounting and routing everything behind the UI panel. And need to build a clean outer panel on the lower cabinet to hide away all that electrical stuff that no-one should ever have to see or touch (much).

Relay board works great for $110 so far.
 

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I would go with the bigger inverter (~2kW+) because it will run cooler (and more efficient) at half it's rated output. And with this model, you're controlling the load from the Multiplus, so there's no downside to the larger charging inverter and plenty of upside. Then you decide later whether to run it at 800W or 1500W based on how it performs for you.

Based on the Victron published efficiency / heat charts, optimal is in the 20-70% of rated - I'm guessing lower on the Giandel or similarly priced mid-range units.

In this chart, the middle column can be read as power wasted AND heat given off (and thus wear-and-tear and fan / noise). This is for the Victron 24/3000/70 in inverter mode.
View attachment 160056
@gregoryx, can you point to the source of this table?
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
Waited to post until I had them installed. Very pleased for the (relative) price and fast delivery. Not getting anything for posting this... though maybe I should! 😄

Clearly, I have no comparison to alternatives since I just got these.

Last van was Sprinter Passenger. We made our own covers with Reflectix taped to corrugated plastic with magnets. That setup worked really, really well in both cold and heat. But it looked like crap and it made a 6" wide pile of huge things to store when they're not on the windows. And we like to keep them off the windows most of the time.

So we planned to do better this time. But sewing... ugh... I am actually capable and have sewed many years ago and made a few bucks selling shorts to my surf buddies... but that was a long time ago and I suck at sewing. So I /really/ wanted to buy them. But the price!?! Holy smokes!

I had ordered from Down By the River many months ago but received zero communication until sending multiple Facebook messages (the website communication was broken as well). When finally communicating, delivery estimates were... non-committal? More like non-existent. It's a good market for sellers right now. But I'm not counting them as an option. 🤷‍♀️


Lowest price for all windows is $1600 from Stelletek - the only ones that even advertise offering all the windows.
Strawfoot confirmed by email that they'll make them @ $2575 for all windows.
VanMadeGear said they make them but no price yet (waiting for reply). $1225 for crew, guessing another $700-900 for the other four windows. Their covers look the same as the VanEssential units I got (looking at photos).

Marketing being what it is... take it with a grain of salt. But their pricing table is accurate on this page. And they claim to have purchased the competition and cut them apart to compare. For sure, that's what I'd do if this were my business. LEARN | VanEssential

I like the way they chose to make them mount. Seemed odd at first; but I think it'll be a better fit once I get used to how to attach them (pushed IN to the window opening, basically). And they fold down to where they'll drop into the "slots" in my walls that I was really hoping would work out that way. Winning!

I sure wish they'd make the rear windows as well. Apparently, not planning it any time soon. Incredibly, they gave me feedback based on their experience with the competitors which ones they'd recommend if I want to purchase the other windows from another vendor. That seemed well played to me.

One of the rear doors is wrong - I got two driver's side in the package - so I'll update on how well they do resolving that.

Car Automotive design Gear shift Motor vehicle Steering wheel


Motor vehicle Vehicle Mode of transport Automotive design Gas


Vehicle Motor vehicle Mode of transport Automotive design Automotive exterior


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