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Old 06-10-2021, 12:17 PM   #1
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Generator time, electricity and air conditioning on the X

These are the stats for the new interstate x.

2.5kW Onan Cummins EC-30 Generator
7.8gallons (33lbs) of LPG
13,500 BTU
2000w inverter
2x100ah Lithium




I just finished touring the X in person and Id like to put my name down for an X but am concerned about the electrical system.

Apparently you can only run the microwave and AC off of the generator.

My questions are:

1. How long will you be able to run the AC given the specs of the generator and the propane tank (above)

2. How easy/feasible would it be to update the entire electrical system with a more robust one? I feel 10x 100ah, 3600 watt inverter would be more inline with what modern vans are doing. Does anybody have any idea where the batteries could potentially be located on this van (based on what they're doing with other vans), and how easy would it be to at least add more battle born lithiums.



Also, what are everybody's thoughts on the auto leveling? I looked underneath the van and it's right next to the wheels. How much would it hamper clearance, etc
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Old 06-10-2021, 02:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HisAirness View Post
These are the stats for the new interstate x.

2.5kW Onan Cummins EC-30 Generator
7.8gallons (33lbs) of LPG
13,500 BTU
2000w inverter
2x100ah Lithium




I just finished touring the X in person and Id like to put my name down for an X but am concerned about the electrical system.

Apparently you can only run the microwave and AC off of the generator.

My questions are:

1. How long will you be able to run the AC given the specs of the generator and the propane tank (above)

2. How easy/feasible would it be to update the entire electrical system with a more robust one? I feel 10x 100ah, 3600 watt inverter would be more inline with what modern vans are doing. Does anybody have any idea where the batteries could potentially be located on this van (based on what they're doing with other vans), and how easy would it be to at least add more battle born lithiums.



Also, what are everybody's thoughts on the auto leveling? I looked underneath the van and it's right next to the wheels. How much would it hamper clearance, etc
Hi

It's a 2KW inverter ( look under the bottom of the center cubby under the passenger side bench ). It is wired to all the outlets in the trailer. It will run the microwave. It will not run the A/C.

Run time on generators is load dependent. Load from an A/C is temperature dependent. The new generator is more efficient than the old one. Claim is it will run for 30 hours on a tank of Propane.

Batteries are in the back, in a box underneath. I got tired crawling around under the beast looking for the box.

If you want to run A/C on batteries for long periods of time, you are going to need a *much* bigger MH. If you know of a class B with 1,000 AH of lithium as a *stock* item, feel free to post a link.

Bob
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Old 06-10-2021, 02:48 PM   #3
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Hi

It's a 2KW inverter ( look under the bottom of the center cubby under the passenger side bench ). It is wired to all the outlets in the trailer. It will run the microwave. It will not run the A/C.

Run time on generators is load dependent. Load from an A/C is temperature dependent. The new generator is more efficient than the old one. Claim is it will run for 30 hours on a tank of Propane.

Batteries are in the back, in a box underneath. I got tired crawling around under the beast looking for the box.

If you want to run A/C on batteries for long periods of time, you are going to need a *much* bigger MH. If you know of a class B with 1,000 AH of lithium as a *stock* item, feel free to post a link.

Bob
Thanks for the info. The other van I am looking at are the storytellers. Those come factory with 10,000 amp hours, and that's what I'm comparing to. https://www.storytelleroverland.com/modevans/

When you turn on the generator. Does it start charging the house batteries as well?

Is it possible to carry additional propane with you so when that runs out you can refill without going back into the city?
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. The other van I am looking at are the storytellers. Those come factory with 10,000 amp hours, and that's what I'm comparing to. https://www.storytelleroverland.com/modevans/

When you turn on the generator. Does it start charging the house batteries as well?

Is it possible to carry additional propane with you so when that runs out you can refill without going back into the city?
The Mode Vans have 12 kWh of "energy storage" as they put it, which would translate to about 1k amp hours for a 12v system, not 10k.

Interestingly, they come standard with only 90w of solar. I assume they rely on the 2nd alternator for battery charging while driving and figure you'll buy the panel upgrade if you want more charging while stationary.
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Old 06-10-2021, 03:24 PM   #5
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Hi

It's a 2KW inverter ( look under the bottom of the center cubby under the passenger side bench ). It is wired to all the outlets in the trailer. It will run the microwave. It will not run the A/C.

Run time on generators is load dependent. Load from an A/C is temperature dependent. The new generator is more efficient than the old one. Claim is it will run for 30 hours on a tank of Propane.

Batteries are in the back, in a box underneath. I got tired crawling around under the beast looking for the box.

If you want to run A/C on batteries for long periods of time, you are going to need a *much* bigger MH. If you know of a class B with 1,000 AH of lithium as a *stock* item, feel free to post a link.

Bob
The other van i was looking at was the storyteller, which is 10,000ah.
https://www.storytelleroverland.com/beast-mode-4x4/

So that was my basis of comparison.

Anybody possibly chime in on how easy it is to add extra battery børn lithium batteries?

Also, is it possible to carry addtl propane with you so that when you run out you have an additional 30 hours, etc
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:16 AM   #6
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Hi

Auto leveling:

The air suspension on the Interstates seems to be pretty reasonable. There don't appear to be a lot of complaints about it. It does seem to provide a bit of leveling capability.

The hydraulic levelers area not quite as well loved. Like any and all similar products they are a "sometimes it works / sometimes not" sort of thing. From talking to sales guys there are not a real popular option. If so, there aren't a lot of them out there for folks to comment one.

Bob
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HisAirness View Post
The other van i was looking at was the storyteller, which is 10,000ah.
https://www.storytelleroverland.com/beast-mode-4x4/

So that was my basis of comparison.

Anybody possibly chime in on how easy it is to add extra battery børn lithium batteries?

Also, is it possible to carry addtl propane with you so that when you run out you have an additional 30 hours, etc
As posted above: the storyteller Mode vans advertise 12 kWh of energy storage. If they're a 12v system that would be 1k ah, not 10k.
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Old 06-11-2021, 10:00 AM   #8
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Regarding leveling system, I installed a HPC Hydraulics leveling system on my 2018 Airstream Interstate GT. I am completely happy with it. It is fully integrated with my VB Airsuspension, meaning when I use the leveling system I do not have to do anything special with the VB system. I push a button on the monitor or cellphone app and it lowers my VB system then extends the leveling system rams to raise my vehicle to a level position. I drop the hand brake and it retracts all the rams and raises the VB system to driving level. I can preset positions or manually raise each ram or side or front or back. I installed longer rams to completely lift entire vehicle off ground. Rams fully retracted, ground clearance is not an issue.. I got the leveling system primarily for emergency situations to change a tire or add material under a tire when stuck in sand or mud. It is also great for lifting vehicle for undercarriage inspections and maintenance. The Discount Tire guys love it when I come in to rotate and balance the tires.
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Old 06-18-2021, 02:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SterlingsDad View Post
Regarding leveling system, I installed a HPC Hydraulics leveling system on my 2018 Airstream Interstate GT. I am completely happy with it. It is fully integrated with my VB Airsuspension, meaning when I use the leveling system I do not have to do anything special with the VB system. I push a button on the monitor or cellphone app and it lowers my VB system then extends the leveling system rams to raise my vehicle to a level position. I drop the hand brake and it retracts all the rams and raises the VB system to driving level. I can preset positions or manually raise each ram or side or front or back. I installed longer rams to completely lift entire vehicle off ground. Rams fully retracted, ground clearance is not an issue.. I got the leveling system primarily for emergency situations to change a tire or add material under a tire when stuck in sand or mud. It is also great for lifting vehicle for undercarriage inspections and maintenance. The Discount Tire guys love it when I come in to rotate and balance the tires.
HPC seems to be a European company. Did you install these yourself or did you find a HPC installer? Sounds like a great system.
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:26 PM   #10
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As posted above: the storyteller Mode vans advertise 12 kWh of energy storage. If they're a 12v system that would be 1k ah, not 10k.
Hi

Took a surprising amount of digging to see just what the system actually is.

It's a 56V battery stack. They run a DC/DC to get 12V. If you like living on the bleeding edge, this is the system for you.

Not quite clear why solar is limited to 90W other than not much roof space. It's a very strange balance of solar and battery. Maybe targeted to folks who only camp out at the North Pole in mid winter.

Bob
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Old 06-18-2021, 04:46 PM   #11
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Hi

Took a surprising amount of digging to see just what the system actually is.

It's a 56V battery stack. They run a DC/DC to get 12V. If you like living on the bleeding edge, this is the system for you.

Not quite clear why solar is limited to 90W other than not much roof space. It's a very strange balance of solar and battery. Maybe targeted to folks who only camp out at the North Pole in mid winter.

Bob
I think they're geared toward people who drive the van around a lot. Primary charging is the accessory alternator, it seems. 56v is.... weird. 48v seems to be the direction that they're taking for higher-powered automotive stuff, you'd think there might be some advantage to sticking with that.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:24 PM   #12
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I think they're geared toward people who drive the van around a lot. Primary charging is the accessory alternator, it seems. 56v is.... weird. 48v seems to be the direction that they're taking for higher-powered automotive stuff, you'd think there might be some advantage to sticking with that.
Hi

Charging that sort of bank (regardless of method) is going to be pretty crazy. They don't put a very big alternator on that build. If you read up on the various "fried my alternator" threads, the max rating (in the bold type) and "normal" rating (what you can regularly use) are two very different numbers ....

Bob
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Old 06-18-2021, 06:47 PM   #13
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Hi

Another thing I'm having a bit of trouble finding ....

Some lithium battery outfits rate their batteries in terms of "full ( = topped off) to empty (= when they lock you out)". Others rate them in terms of 100% to 0%, but then lock you out at 20%. Obviously, rated one way it's a 100AH battery, rated the other way, the same battery might be a 120AH battery. No difference in the hardware, just a different number used.

You can say - that's sort of crazy. Lead acid batteries have been rated 0 to 100% all along. You might run them 50% to 100%. Pretty much the same idea as this 20 to 100 stuff ....

So far no luck seeing which system these folks use.

Bob
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:03 PM   #14
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Generator time, electricity and air conditioning on the X

You can run the microwave off the inverter and batteries in the X.

The AC requires genset to run. The LP tank will run the genset for about 15-20 hours in the X.

The issue / challenge with upgrading the X system is where to locate 600-1000ah of batteries + large inverter/charger. There is not *that* much space under the benches. You’d probably need to loose the drawers under the kitchen to fit everything.

The stock battleborns are mounted outside under the chassis.

The Volta system in the storyteller is a good system when coupled with the secondary high output alternator installed in that sprinter. Downside is that it takes up the entire rear side of that 144 interior. You don’t get the great bench layout of the X if you tried to stuff that power system in there.

Storyteller does not have a lot of solar because it doesn’t need solar. They installed a massive 8kw (600 DC amp) secondary alternator that will put back 500ah of energy to the batteries in about an hour. So just let the thing idol for an hour and you get 8 days of solar production compared to a 400w system.

Pros and cons.
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:22 PM   #15
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Hi

They claim 13 hours run time on the A/C. Some seem to get 10 hours. You then run the vehicle engine to charge the batteries .... that's a great way to kill your (very expensive to repair) engine.

Engine start cuts in at 20% on the batteries ... hmmmm ......

I'll take the generator version please .....

Bob
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:00 AM   #16
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....
The issue / challenge with upgrading the X system is where to locate 600-1000ah of batteries + large inverter/charger. There is not *that* much space under the benches. You’d probably need to loose the drawers under the kitchen to fit everything.

.....
General comment on fitting - there are some posters on this thread who might not have visited some of my and my husband's historical electrical threads where we described our 2007 Interstate DIY upfit, so let me frame that in the context of the X.

An amazing amount of stuff can be fit into any given Interstate, *IF* the owner has a good imagination and is either willing to DIY the job or pay someone for the extra labor needed to do it.

None of the commercial upfitters that we have seen have taken the approach that my husband and I did, I suspect because no client was willing to pay the corresponding labor upcharges. We spliced every component of our 300 watt solar, 300 AH battery, 2,000 watt inverter into existing void space, except we needed maybe one cubic foot on top of that. I cannot tell you how many hours that job took.

If we wanted to increase our battery capacity to the levels y'all are talking about here on this thread, we could probably do it by raising our closet floor by approx. 12 inches. Which would still leave a functional closet that could fit my Brompton folding bike.

Moral of the story - where there's a will, there's a way. But in this case where it comes to tucking away an upgraded electrical system, it would be a very expensive will.

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Old 06-19-2021, 07:54 AM   #17
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Storyteller does not have a lot of solar because it doesn’t need solar. They installed a massive 8kw (600 DC amp) secondary alternator that will put back 500ah of energy to the batteries in about an hour. So just let the thing idol for an hour and you get 8 days of solar production compared to a 400w system.

Pros and cons.
Hi

Assuming they get the reported 10 to 13 hours of run time out of the batteries running the A/C. (I obviously only can go by what users report...). You would fire up the Sprinter engine twice a day to do a fast idle for maybe 2 hours each time. That's not going to do that Sprinter any good at all .....

All of these vehicles are weight limited. There simply isn't enough capacity on even the 3500 chassis to toss in everything and anything. Want to have 6 adult passengers? That has its impact. Want to have 600 pounds of super duper electrical system? That weight would need to come out of somewhere in the budget.

Yes, you can hotrod any vehicle. Just how well this works for increasing the loaded capacity of the vehicle is *very* difficult to determine. Much of it gets into a "we'll know in f few years" (when the frame breaks ....) sort of thing. Just how happy you are with a vehicle running past the manufacturers numbers is very much up to you.

Lots of tradeoffs and lots of things that are very much up to the folks making the buying decision. There most certainly is not *one* answer that will check all the boxes for everybody.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #18
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I guess so. If running your AIr conditioner 24/7 is consider boondocking.

Pros and cons….

I do like the X for its layout and versatility.
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:44 PM   #19
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I guess so. If running your AIr conditioner 24/7 is consider boondocking.

Pros and cons….

I do like the X for its layout and versatility.
Hi

A/C on batteries 24 hours a day seems to be a big deal for some folks. Just about every time you see somebody looking for giant battery banks, the justification is running the A/C a lot.

We prefer to go places that it's not that hot. So far, that's worked quite well for us. We're out and about during the day so A/C all the time, even if it is hot .... not so much.

Bob
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Old 06-19-2021, 02:29 PM   #20
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HPC seems to be a European company. Did you install these yourself or did you find a HPC installer? Sounds like a great system.
The HPC leveling system was installed by the same installer (Alex Zeeman, Tophat, in Phoenix, AZ) that installed the VB air suspension system. That is important if you have both systems because you have to register the HPC system with VB so VB can download the integration software on the VB system. Alex connects his computer to VB system on RV, on phone with a technical person in Elkhart, IN who downloads and configures system. Takes 2 days to install because hydraulic hoses need to be routed, measured, cut, and sent out to get connectors pressed onto hoses.
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