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Old 01-29-2006, 04:36 PM   #29
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Harnessing the Sprinter's power

Friends:


When I bought the Dodge / Mercedes Benz Sprinter part of my new rig - to - be in Grand Rapids, Michigan Friday, I learned that there were three interesting options available that I didnít know much about.

This advanced European truck is still new to America. American Car Salesman, great as they are, donít really know anything about this vehicle.

They will learn in time by watching what (and why) their customers buy but right now many of them have never seen some of the options available and donít know how they are used.

The options Iím talking about are:

200 amp generator $USD 603.00

Auxiliary Belt Drive $297.00

(this power take off develops 9.38 h.p. and is designed to run a compressor or generator)

High Idle Function $USD 729.00

I had decided to mount a generator on the new truck. The intelligent choice, a diesel drawing fuel directly from the vehicle, is not an option because no small, quiet diesel plant seems available.

The choice narrows to Onan, Yamaha or Honda LP plants because gasoline would add an unnecessary and volatile third fuel to the traveling mix.

I had also decided that I need an inverter because I want to use a 9 cu foot 110 volt LG residential fridge.

I am not enamored of the regular LP fridges, partly because I resent the RV industry oligarchy getting away with charging as much as $3000 to $4000 for a fridge of archaic design and styling.

The LG is only $500.00 Cdn., so light I can lift it off the ground in a bear hug, fast to cool, contemporary and stylish. It is easily replaceable and doesnít need to be level.

The problem with the inverter is cost, efficiency and the heavy weight of the battery bank.

So Iíve been asking myself Ď why donít we mount both the inverter and the glass mat battery bank ON THE TRUCK, charging the bank with the 200-amp alternator?

According to Sportsmobile, a major converter of Sprinter C Vans in Austin, Texas, you can even run an A/C off the inverter while the truckís diesel motor is under factory installed HIGH IDLE FUNCTION. See:

http://www.sportsmobile.com/2_sr_heatingcooling.html

We will need some way to maintain 110 v to the fridge in the trailer while towing but that should not be insurmountable.

I want to explore this idea because it is unique, takes the weight out of the trailer, and takes advantage of the Sprinterís diesel motor and advanced technology.

The Sprinter diesel runs more quietly than the Onan Micro Lite generator!

Another interesting concept might be an under the hood belt driven generator. See here:

http://www.tendaire.com/B_Ser.htm


Another friend, who builds Sprinter conversions in Ohio for a living, wrote, ďI have heard that the only real issue is getting the hertz to remain constant. A 3 hertz loss or gain can ruin electronic componentsĒ when I asked him about these generators yesterday.

I donít know the implication of that. Can anyone out there help me understand?

I couldnít roust anyone at the Tendaire factory this weekend so I donít know what a belt driven generator might cost.

The cost of optioning a Sprinter with High Idle Function and a 200-amp generator plus buying an inverter and batteries is comparable to buying a generator.

(Much cheaper, actually, if I concede that I have already decided to buy an inverter).

The idea is to have just one high quality diesel motor do all the work around my rig.

I am anxious to have comments because, if I am going to add some options to the truck, I need to do it now.

These trucks take 7 months to deliver and I am sneaking into the line-up.


Sergei
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:02 PM   #30
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Sounds great but..

How long can your battery bank power up the refrig at night? If you're drawing battery power from an inverter, I hear that it uses up your battery power almost instantly for high draw items (like AC or a fridge).

I'm assuming the prices for the RV fridges you quote are for Cdn $$'s? I think the most expensive fridge at camping world for my trailer is about $1200 US. Although I agree it's robbery (and I bought mine from a rebuilder for about $500 - with no electric boards to worry about), I have to admit being able to fire it up with propane and not use up my batteries has it's pluses.

I love your sprinter plan. Are you getting the cab only model with dualies on the rear - or are you deciding to use the van model?
Tell us more!
Marc
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:55 PM   #31
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Marc:

The draw from the LG fridge is 1.5 amps. In defrost, which I assume does not happen often, it can draw up to 4 amps.

The most expensive Dometic fridges on display now at Camping World near Buffalo, N.Y are almost $4000 USD. I admit that these are the top of the line 3 way models.

I think RV fridges, for what they are, are overpriced and old technology. Maybe this is because there are just two major manufacturers. Same with toilets.

The idea behind the High Idle Function on the Sprinter is that you can run the truckís diesel motor for as long as you want in order to have the big 200 amp alternator charge the battery bank.

The Sportsmobile builder (see his site above) claims the inverter will maintain adequate power even to an A/C on this basis.

I would like to deploy these Sprinter features so that the diesel on the truck will, in fact, provide the power for the entire rig.

The Sprinter motor runs more quietly than an Onan Micro Lite generator.

I bought the Cab and Chassis in the 158Ē wb 3500 dual wheel version. Itís Jet Black. I treated myself to a sunroof. I hadnít seen a sunroof on a cab and chassis truck before.

The Argosy will be painted Pepper White and Black, to match the Mini Cooper.

Sergei
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Old 01-29-2006, 09:30 PM   #32
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I wonder what the continuous safwe output is of a 200A Alternator.
MB Diesels sip fuel at idle, not sure about increased idle speed. A 200A power supply and a beefy inverter could probably provide some serious power to the trailer. Kick up the idle for cooling, and have a 1 ton driving generator.
Also, the automatic transmission ight not like extended idle times. I think this entire concept needs deep research. It would be brilliant if everything came together without a hitch.
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:11 PM   #33
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Cool rig!

I REALLY can't wait to see more pics of your trailer, and of the tow rig when it comes.

Depending on the output of the generator, running your fridge and AC with the motor on will be fine. My question is more if you are boondocking, even the quietest motor will need to be turned off after 10:00 pm at most places. Not a problem if you overnight in a place with electrical hookups. With the motor off, the inverter will draw the batteries dead in no time.

I can't remember if in your orginal post you stated that most of your camping will be boondocking or not.
I 'm curious too about the generator. I'll look at those sites more carefully too.
Marc
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:18 PM   #34
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Uwe and Marc:

I will ask RoadKingMoe and other technically sophisticated people here for help with this too.

Did you check out the Sportsmobile Texas web site I listed above?

I am assuming that Mercedes Benz offers these fairly expensive options because they can do a specialized job, Iím guessing for police departments, engineers, military construction, etc.

Itís unlikely they would produce and sell something that would harm an idling transmission.

The appeal to me is in harnessing the diesel in the Sprinter to become a work horse for the whole rig.

I may stay at a trailer park occaisonally, if I find a nice one, but I am an urban explorer more than I am a nature lover so I imagine myself parked behind somebody's barn near Memphis while I am downtown with the Mini.

Sergei
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:13 AM   #35
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hmmm...

reading the site listed, it states you can use your AC for about 2 hrs, and then both aux batteries will be drawn down (you also have a third battery for the truck, right?) using just the inverter and the batteries. Fuel consumption (using the truck as a generator parked)is on the higher side at fast idle. You get 1.25gallons of diesel burned for each hour at high idle (1,500 rpms.) I can get anywhere around 4-8hrs of of use for one gallon on my Honda Eu2000. The cost for the inverter (and second battery) alone is $1,400. YIKES! My generator was around $900. I'm guessing the startup voltage requirement of the Colman 12,500 AC to be around 2000 watts. My colman 13,500 will start with the EU2000 and cool on low, but that's really pushing it (everything off). I'm sure I'll hear about browning out the coils too, but in the heat of central CA, I had no choice when boondocking. I really wish I bought the Yamaha 3000, but am happy with the Honda (but I digress).

I don't know, I think a propane fired generator might be the ticket.
Marc
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Old 05-25-2006, 01:28 PM   #36
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Diesel Powered Trailer

I would like to complete my trailer using diesel instead of propane, which I donít like.

Iím thinking of a Wallas Ceramic Diesel Cook top.

Some type of small hydronic heater kit (Red Dot, Heater Craft) and a water heater ( there are a couple of interesting coolant heaters at West Marine) would provide space heating and hot water.

They would both be powered by one of those ingenious, small Webasto or Espar Hydronic Coolant heaters, producing about 15,000 btu.

The space in the Argosy is less than 1000 cubic feet.

Has anyone done anything or seen anything like this?

Does anyone have an opinion on the relative merits of Webasto and Espar?


Sergei
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:00 PM   #37
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Waste Management System

This thread traces the discussion on holding tanks and the development of the ďWaste Management SystemĒ that finally emerged:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...nks-18634.html
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:55 PM   #38
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Brilliant plan

Sergei,

I've been down your road....sort of. We had a 2002 MINI in black and pepper white, just like yours! Had panoramic sunroof and a bunch of other goodies. I have been running a 2004 Sprinter for 2 years. With 50K miles, I have only changed the oil about every 12,500-13,500 depending on what the maintenance computer says.

I think your concept is GREAT! If you want a fine diesel fired hydronic heating and hot water system, look at Vehicle Systems, Inc. They make the Aqua-Hot, Hydro-Hot and a new smaller unit which I can't think of the name at the moment. They utilize the Wabasto diesel burner and are a very efficient unit.

Look into a battery bank of 6 volt golf cart AGM batteries. They have a much higher draw-down capacity and many more charge-discharge cycles than normal 12V batteries due to the much thinker plates. They are connected in series/parallel for 12VDC. The generator/inverter system is also a sound one, IMHO, especially when you couple it with the 200 amp alternator.

The big Prevost bus conversions use this type of system, but the 600HP Detroit Diesels run a 450 amp alternator. The motor weighs as much as your MINI!!! The coaches are all electric with domestic appliances, electric cook tops and Aqua-Hot heat/hot water systems.

DON'T COMPROMISE YOUR DREAM IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO!!!!!!!!

Let me know if I can help you in your quest!
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Old 05-28-2006, 12:31 AM   #39
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Hi Sergei,, all sounds great,, good to see you post,,, cannot wait to see the finished product,, too bad about Mother Nature,,,,tis the nature of the beast you know,,, dieterdog
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Old 05-28-2006, 09:40 AM   #40
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Lew,

Interesting coincidences those, .... Black and Pepper White, Sprinter.

There has been a diesel powered trailer discussion here, including your earlier contribution.

Did you see it?


http://www.airforums.com/forum...ler-23048.html

Sergei
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Old 05-28-2006, 10:06 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe
Lew,

Interesting coincidences those, .... Black and Pepper White, Sprinter.

There has been a diesel powered trailer discussion here, including your earlier contribution.

Did you see it?

!


http://www.airforums.com/forum...ler-23048.html

Sergei
Saw it, read it, but forgot that I said essentially the same thing there as here. Must be a case of early old age!
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:52 PM   #42
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Xenon lighting

We cut eight 2 5/8Ē holes in the centre panel of the trailer for the Zee-Puk Xenon down lights only to find that the original wiring for the unit runs all through that space.

So we did what we should have done in the first place: popped out the entire centre panel.

You will need help to do this. Itís one 20í long piece of aluminum.

If you install new lighting this way, you can more easily run your new circuits and also avoid damaging the original wiring.

Two photos show the panel removed and the aluminum J mold extrusion that the centre panel snaps in and out of.

Four 18 w pot lamps to each 12v dimmer. The dimmers are by FriLight of Sweden.

Removing the panel also shows us that there is a nice 20Ē x 30Ē clear space near the front door, exactly were I would like to install a skylight.


We will price out the European caravan models against the marine type WEST MARINE sells here.

Sergei
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