Ford Transit USA Forum banner

41 - 59 of 59 Posts

·
Registered
2021 AWD 148" HR 3.5L EcoBoost Avalanche Grey
Joined
·
173 Posts
Wait, actually... Where did you get that 43.9 number? Because Shannon just measured 46 on her roof. I have a most forward adapter, which looks like it might buy me the space I need.
43.9" is the width of the Solaria panel that was used on that thread I linked previously. Shannon's measurement is between the adapters, which is where the hole is, not where the fan actually protrudes. Study the diagram I posted a few replies up.
 

·
Registered
2017 Transit T250 3.7L. 148wb magnetic
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
I need to look at the schematics of the Espar again, but I thought that the holes in the floor with intake and exhaust are not actually transferring air into the van. I thought that externally circulated air is used for combustion--which is isolated and separate--and that the fan pulls from the butt of the Espar through a heat exchanger to the front, and this is the air that is warmed. I thought this is how the Espar avoids adding the moisture that is a side effect of the combustion process to the van. It’s been a while since I researched that though. Am I missing something?


Edit: I'm not missing something. Unless your heater is mounted outside the van, it's only circulating air within the van.


Edit 2: It's true that the fan will still circulate air, it's just not exchanged with air outside so I don't think it counts as a "vent."
You can run a 4 inch HVAC pipe from out doors to the heater fresh air intake , have a
diverter valve inline also that way you can choose wether you want to draw in outside air or
circulate air within the van , pretty much in the summer you'd draw in cool air but in the
winter you'd circulate the vans interior air .
Also Hein added a inline air filter to his intake which is a really good idea although I believe his is setup to just recirculate .
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
682 Posts
...
Are we correct in thinking that we could put this right between the fans?

400 watts - open circuit is 51.1 but max power is 42.4. I believe this will both fit and work with the goal zero (kinda leaning that way still, though I understand the limitations)

Would also buy the weatherguard rail and mount to that? Looked at the Stoke Loaf and this seemed simpler/less expensive, though we may borrow some pieces from his build to get it done.
Panel should work. Looks like Maia's got a better handle on the measurements. Spec- / electrical-wise, it looks like a 24V panel. Should do the job, in theory. Personally, I'd look for multiple smaller panels in parallel; but only because it helps if you encounter shading and might be more flexible on sizing - but neither are technically a big deal. You design the layout as you see fit.



Lots of options for mounting. I hope you're seeing the difference in the mounting options. The Weatherguard you linked uses a round adapter to get the "straight up" from the off-angle roof stuff. It looks like an odd way to do it - mounting the rail directly to the roof while pulling down against the stock bolts versus a stand-off from the bolts to the rail; but I'm sure it'd work fine. They're then putting their own cross-bars in - not sure if those would meet your needs or if you'd want to do your own cross-bars or front-back bars.

If you go with those, your minimum height is going to be the top of that upright - which might be higher than you want - hard to say. You'll need to mount to some cross-bars either across the van or down the rail-side. The way you mount those cross-bars will be something you'll have to consider - very little of this is just a perfect line-up with your solar panels. (With the exception of buying mounts from Hein - he's got a simple "buy these panels for a perfect fit" that is pretty hard to beat.)

Just all the things to consider. Stoke's setup goes directly /under/ aluminum rails with the aluminum "pivot" units. The other alternative - and actually the least expensive - is to cut your own aluminum and plastic bits to provide uprights. More work, less money - and you choose how high and wide you want them. (Cost under $100 for the mount hardware - plus rails that you're going to need on any approach.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
In the rear I have a Dometic skylight which is a bit wider than a maxxairfan.

View attachment 152095
Can you speak on the pattern of airflow inside the van between the skylight and the Maxxair fan?

Also, is the skylight a Dometic Heki Mini Plus RV Rooflight?
Are you happy with the skylight and would you do it again?
Was it hard to install? Did you make an adapter like Hein's or did you fill in the gaps due to roof creases with bedding sealant?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
2015 3.5L EB 148 Highroof Extended
Joined
·
108 Posts
Can you speak on the pattern of airflow inside the van between the skylight and the Maxxair fan?

Also, is the skylight a Dometic Heki Mini Plus RV Rooflight?
Are you happy with the skylight and would you do it again?
Was it hard to install? Did you make an adapter like Hein's or did you fill in the gaps due to roof creases with bedding sealant?

Thanks!
With the Maxxair fan set to exhaust there is a nice flow of cool fresh air from the skylight towards the fan. It does a pretty good job of cooling of the van in hot weather since it quickly gets rid of the hot air as it naturally rises to the ceiling. Even on really hot days it's usually a few degrees cooler inside the van than outside. Similar to being in the shade. The skylight is directly over the head of the raised bed in the rear, so the cool air drawn in by the fan passes over the length of the bed during the night. Some people might not appreciate it but the cool breeze helps us sleep better when it's hot.

It's a Dometic Heki Mini 40x40, not sure on the RV version. I ordered it on ebay and from what I understand they really aren't available in the US anymore. I think you can get them from the UK though. They have several different versions for different roof thickness (depending on ceiling material and insulation). There are also versions that completly seal with a rubber gasket and some that always have about 1/4" gap even when totally closed. I accidentally got the version that does not seal, but it was easy to add some black weather stripping to close up the 1/4" gap. There are 3 different open positions (~1/2", ~3", and fully open). In the ~1/2" position it still blocks rain and snow, we keep ours in this position nearly 24/7, even while driving. It also has a bug screen or shade that can be pulled. It's really nice for city camping since it can stay open even if all the other windows are covered. The actual construction of the unit admittedly does seem a bit cheesy (cheap plastic) and looks a bit "cheap" on the inside (ugly shade of off-white plastic), but I haven't had any problems with it so far. I would defiently install some kind of skylight again, although there might be better options out there. I've seen nice things done with marine deck hatches.

The install was pretty straight forward, pretty similar to the Maxxair Fan. The hardest part is that the inner plastic "sleeve" that goes between the exterior and interior portions has to be trimmed to length according to the thickness of your ceiling. Measure 5X and cut once very carefull! haha. I didn't have an adapter, just layered butyl tape in the low spots and lap sealant around the whole thing. So far no leaks after ~16 months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Appreciate the continued feedback. Funny enough Gregory, I actually emailed Hein originally to see if I could one stop shop this, but never heard back...I guess that would've been pretty boring for ya'll though! I did end up ordering almost all my supplies from him anyway, just not the solar pieces.

So here's an idea to make it fit: Maxxair says you can keep the fan open while driving. I could just have a permanently open front vent. I can't think of any serious cons to this...

I would just put a maxxfan plus, but I feel like the rain cover is necessary. I guess another option would be removing the lid and mounting under the solar panel? Any reason that wouldn't work?

We're so close, guys...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,057 Posts
So here's an idea to make it fit: Maxxair says you can keep the fan open while driving. I could just have a permanently open front vent. I can't think of any serious cons to this...

I would just put a maxxfan plus, but I feel like the rain cover is necessary. I guess another option would be removing the lid and mounting under the solar panel? Any reason that wouldn't work?

We're so close, guys...
The manual Maxxair must be fully open or closed while driving. Partially open will destroy the pot metal gearbox. Been there and done that.

The reason to buy a Maxxair is to be able to have vent open when raining.

Suspect Maxxair under a solar panel without the rain cover would leak water in the rain.

I am considering removing the Maxxair rain cover and making a different design cover to prevent water entry. Have not done the drawings to see if that will work.
 

·
Registered
2021 AWD 148" HR 3.5L EcoBoost Avalanche Grey
Joined
·
173 Posts
So here's an idea to make it fit: Maxxair says you can keep the fan open while driving. I could just have a permanently open front vent. I can't think of any serious cons to this...
You mean to have it open so it's above the solar panel? Won't that cause shading issues for your panel? Have you read about shading and panel efficiency/capacity? The fans stick up quite a bit when open. Again, see the diagram I posted with dimensions open and closed. I don't think you'd want that all the time.

I think my previous suggestion of installing the front fan backwards is a way better idea than having the fan open all the time. Did you understand what I meant about reversing the front fan? Install it so that the longer overhanging part (which normally points back) is pointing forward. This way the fan only extends 1" behind the cutout instead of 8" behind the cutout. Here's a post of someone doing it on a Sprinter. Front fan backwards?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I did understand. I checked the maxxair website & they said it's really only meant to be mounted in one direction... Looks like that guy did eventually have an issue, though not for a while. Feels a bit like asking for trouble imo. And definitely voids any warranty.

I'll play with some lamps/sunshine and see what the shading situation is when the fan arrives, regardless of panel plan. Appreciate the reminder. Most of my strategy with that will be van placement, so will be good to see how that plays out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
@gregoryx last question for you, I promise... Just was looking around and noticed you had a thread about putting a fan beneath the solar panels. Did you end up doing this? Or did you discover a significant reason not to?

I was thinking I could just install a maxxair plus with the lid removed*. I was already planning to have interior insulated covers for the fans, so not too concerned about heat loss.

*or possibly not removed, just partially opened.

Appreciate the continued feedback. Funny enough Gregory, I actually emailed Hein originally to see if I could one stop shop this, but never heard back...I guess that would've been pretty boring for ya'll though! I did end up ordering almost all my supplies from him anyway, just not the solar pieces.

So here's an idea to make it fit: Maxxair says you can keep the fan open while driving. I could just have a permanently open front vent. I can't think of any serious cons to this...

I would just put a maxxfan plus, but I feel like the rain cover is necessary. I guess another option would be removing the lid and mounting under the solar panel? Any reason that wouldn't work?

We're so close, guys...
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
682 Posts
@gregoryx last question for you, I promise... Just was looking around and noticed you had a thread about putting a fan beneath the solar panels. Did you end up doing this? Or did you discover a significant reason not to?

I was thinking I could just install a maxxair plus with the lid removed*. I was already planning to have interior insulated covers for the fans, so not too concerned about heat loss.

*or possibly not removed, just partially opened.
I decided against it. It would have required having the panels up pretty high - just to clear the 1" rim or so. I considered alternatives fans and no-top (as you suggest) and all of them seemed a little jank. Best I came up with was one or two of the really low-profile round boat-vent things.

But after talking again with my buddy who did two fans five years ago, it's never both running at the same time - just too much airflow. And I'm quite confident that an intake from the ground / floor is superior - assuming I want cooling air, obviously. So... one fan on the roof and a floor-level intake eventually. If the one fan isn't cool enough, I'll replace it with either an air-conditioning unit or a swamp-cooler (lean toward the swamp cooler - less power and I'm never in humid heat, really).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Looking like we may be heading towards the floor vent(s) as well (keeping Maia's quadratic reasoning in mind)

Seems like people have solved for most of the potential issues within previous threads & are happy with the results. Could augment with those euro-window vents too.

Just seems like the benefits are outweighed by the space restrictions, especially on a power-hungry build like mine.

Another thing I thought of, for those still committed to the dual roof vents: all the solar does not necessarily have to be up top. They make 200w briefcase panels now that could easily be plugged in to augment at campsites or other non-stealth locales.
 

·
Registered
2021 AWD 148" HR 3.5L EcoBoost Avalanche Grey
Joined
·
173 Posts
Yeah, and an advantage of the briefcase solar is you can position it so that it is maximally efficient. But the disadvantage is you have to store it, and it could "grow legs."

Good luck with all the upcoming decisions and rethinking! I've gone in circles like 20 times on this topic. Now I'm on to hemming and hawing about Flarespace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Thank you! Work starts Wednesday, so deadline for thoughts is just about up lol

Plan is to bang the essentials out over the next week max

I guess next step is starting a build thread...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,232 Posts
Since you will have a fancy roof rack, how about some sort of a bracket to mount and lock the portable panel to the side of the rack and some adjustable poles to hold up other end of the panel at an advantageous angle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Oooh and it could pull double duty as an awning... Now we're cooking

Since you will have a fancy roof rack, how about some sort of a bracket to mount and lock the portable panel to the side of the rack and some adjustable poles to hold up other end of the panel at an advantageous angle.
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
682 Posts
Just reviewing current and previous rigs with my brother and his Sprinter setup. I may or may not have said it in this thread, but some things changed in my thoughts as we built this last one - in spite of five years previous experience with a few other vans.

Our current rig is 800w set up to tilt. Tilt is because we encountered two cases where our previous 480w of panels was inadequate: overcast / rain; and winter / further north (Vancouver). So... tilting would cure the winter and northern latitudes issues - 60-degree would fix both. It was a fun challenge to get 800w set up to tilt. It's up and ready to go and working in non-tilt for months now.

But then we started looking at the graphs of charging - and really looking at the alternator charging. We're getting over 1.5kW of charge at idle from the 2020 stock dual-alternator setup. At an additional cost of $300 or so. So, uh... yeah... rethinking tilting. And even rethinking 800w. Who cares? We've got 8kWh of storage. We could charge that from flat in a few hours of idling. If I started over, I'd probably tuck 400w down closer to the roof and call it good.

Every time we do something new... we learn something new. 🤷‍♀️
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,057 Posts
But then we started looking at the graphs of charging - and really looking at the alternator charging. We're getting over 1.5kW of charge at idle from the 2020 stock dual-alternator setup. At an additional cost of $300 or so. So, uh... yeah... rethinking tilting. And even rethinking 800w. Who cares? We've got 8kWh of storage. We could charge that from flat in a few hours of idling. If I started over, I'd probably tuck 400w down closer to the roof and call it good.
The problem with tilting is finding a place to park that is lined up to the sun so tilted panels are oriented correctly to face the sun. How often would that happen?
 

·
Registered
2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
Joined
·
682 Posts
The problem with tilting is finding a place to park that is lined up to the sun so tilted panels are oriented correctly to face the sun. How often would that happen?
I'd guess 70% or more of the places we've parked - for 5-6 years and ~100K of travels? We're almost always in a remote enough space. And we usually chose N-S parking to either get the sunrise/sunset on the slider side or avoid it - depending on preference of the day. Sometimes we're slotted in between trees and it wouldn't help then no matter what, of course. I'm sure a person's typical camping/parking makes a big difference.
 
41 - 59 of 59 Posts
Top