Ram Promaster Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted some of this in the intro section, but I wanted to start a thread here. Please let me know if this is the wrong section.

I plan to purchase a new 159 Ext in the coming weeks once I sell my current vehicle. I have attached my current layout plan and list of items to purchase. Listed in my purchase sheet is most major items. I am sure I will end up spending close to $1k on miscellaneous items, but I will do my best to minimize costs (obviously). Please let me know if you see anything I have missed.

The plan is to build a van to live in, be a daily driver and keep it low visible for freedom. I will have the ability for shore power. I also plan to have a generator and a portable AC unit for the unbearable days if Im not at a place where I can use shower power...I need to come up with a plan for the AC exhaust that can be stored and connected when I need to use the AC. I think flexible ducting is the route I will take once I figure out where the vent will go, hoping to vent this under the van in order to keep the van walls clean of vents, more stealthy.

I plan to have a shower in the van as I work full time and have a very active lifestyle. I have a plan for the shower but I am thinking about raising the 'bathroom' floor in order to place a grey water storage tank underneath. I am short at 5'7" so I should have a bit of space. Any thoughts on this idea?

I came across an electrical diagram on the forum, I forget where and who posted it, but I am going to mimic it almost to a T, its attached. My electrical needs will be the same as most, fridge, phone, tablet, LED lights, water pumps x2, fans x3 (two Fan-Tanstic and one small for bathroom). 3 100AH AGMs in parallel and 300Ws of solar seem to be plenty but please advise if anyone thinks otherwise.

My garage will be under my bed for my bicycles. Part of the 'garage' will be sectioned off, air tight and vented for my batteries and propane. Heat and cooktop will be propane.

Thanks for looking and thanks for all the information on the forum.

-SP
 

Attachments

·
Registered
MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
If you're going to spend the time, effort and money on A/C, I recommend you get a dual hose A/C.

Is this your first build?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
I experimented with a single-hose portable. Vented it out a stove vent in the left rear door. Despite what reviews say-it was horrible. Only cool place in van was directly in front of the vent. Takes up a lot of room. The exhaust hose is smoking' hot & heats the van more than the AC cools it. I've read that a Honda 2000 will run an 11K btu roof unit (the smallest I'd recommend for 90F temps) with the hard start capacitor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes this is my first build. I’ve done a bit of fabrication work and other odd builds, but never anything to this extent.

I had planned on a 14,000 BTU unit and will now probably go with a dual hose unit.
 

·
Registered
2014-159 HR in CT
Joined
·
3,748 Posts
SPoke,

I am 5'5"... I raised my whole floor by 6" and created a basement under the whole van area. This brought the back floor height up to the height of the cab area... no step. You'd be surprised at how much you can store under there, with no impact (for us) on stand up height.

On mine, I store a lot of cooking stuff, two butane stoves, an extendable countertop for cooking, a telescoping ladder, 2 folding directors chairs, a table, extra clothes, some of my wife's shopping finds, spare shoes, ham radio antennas, and an O gauge model train layout!

On yours, you might consider a bit higher, and go from the front to the garage area.



Really simple.. I just cut two floors from 3/4 plywood and spaced 'em 4 1/2" apart with "joists". Drawers at the back and side doors make it easy to use all the space.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
agree about the furnace. check the amp draw on that 16k btu atwood/dometic. they are not really meant for to be used for more than a nite on battery power. atwood used to sell a 12k btu model that drew 1.8 amps after startup but they discontinued that for a 12k btu model that uses 3.0 amps. the atwoods/dometics/suburbans are really designed and marketed for the big cheap rv market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
On the electrical diagram, need to run a ground from the DC panel to the shunt. Fuse or CB both ends of the house to van wire. The size for the shunt ground should reflect all loads also using the chassis as a ground. I believe this is only the alternator so it should match your house to van wire load. Place all fuses / CB as close as possible to the power source.

Double check the wiring sizes using the Blue Sea circuit wizard http://circuitwizard.bluesea.com/#

Be aware that some AC loads want a very clean sine wave power source so you may need to spend more to insure that.

Suggest you take a look at the CamperVan Tango YouTube series, has many features like your layout (but in reverse since right hand drive). In there he has a clever way to install a table top and use the front seats.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,845 Posts
That furnace is LOUD and will cycle on and off a lot. We had a 16,000btu one in a pop up truck camper and never managed to sleep with it on. We hated it! Our van has an Espar with our insulation matched to let it run on low at 32º F- it is a joy. There must be better propane furnaces.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,851 Posts
Posted some of this in the intro section, but I wanted to start a thread here. Please let me know if this is the wrong section.

I plan to purchase a new 159 Ext in the coming weeks once I sell my current vehicle. I have attached my current layout plan and list of items to purchase. Listed in my purchase sheet is most major items. I am sure I will end up spending close to $1k on miscellaneous items, but I will do my best to minimize costs (obviously). Please let me know if you see anything I have missed.

The plan is to build a van to live in, be a daily driver and keep it low visible for freedom. I will have the ability for shore power. I also plan to have a generator and a portable AC unit for the unbearable days if Im not at a place where I can use shower power...I need to come up with a plan for the AC exhaust that can be stored and connected when I need to use the AC. I think flexible ducting is the route I will take once I figure out where the vent will go, hoping to vent this under the van in order to keep the van walls clean of vents, more stealthy.

I plan to have a shower in the van as I work full time and have a very active lifestyle. I have a plan for the shower but I am thinking about raising the 'bathroom' floor in order to place a grey water storage tank underneath. I am short at 5'7" so I should have a bit of space. Any thoughts on this idea?

I came across an electrical diagram on the forum, I forget where and who posted it, but I am going to mimic it almost to a T, its attached. My electrical needs will be the same as most, fridge, phone, tablet, LED lights, water pumps x2, fans x3 (two Fan-Tanstic and one small for bathroom). 3 100AH AGMs in parallel and 300Ws of solar seem to be plenty but please advise if anyone thinks otherwise.

My garage will be under my bed for my bicycles. Part of the 'garage' will be sectioned off, air tight and vented for my batteries and propane. Heat and cooktop will be propane.

Thanks for looking and thanks for all the information on the forum.

-SP
Actually under the Tech section is where new build threads belong as the intro section is ONLY for intros! Having said that, most people don't understand they need to either start a new thread or add to an existing thread after being approved and if I changed everyones wrongly placed threads I wouldn't have a life.

After reading thru your "expense" sheet I think you are paying far too much for what you need or are getting. I would suggest some more time price checking with our friend Mr. Google. Your floor plan looks pretty good in my opinion.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,851 Posts
I’m in a similar position timewise— planning on using victron equipment for most of my electrical— main reason is their later stuff has Bluetooth and there’s a Bluetooth dongle for their older equipment.... so you can control it from your phone. Or even remotely over the web if you set it up that way.

Doesn’t seem more expensive than what you’re doing now.

Also consider a higher voltage system if you will have DC runs of any length. I’m thinking 24 or 48 volts. Higher volume age means smaller wires for same current rating.

I’m actually likely to be mostly AC on my system. (%95 inverter efficiency is lbetter than the losses from a long wire run).... but I have to do the math before final decision. Certainly am not going to skimp on the AC side. (Plus an inverter that runs at 48v should be more efficient than one going from 12v to 120v)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I got rid of everything AC in my van last Spring (other than my microwave). Ive never regretted it in the slightest. Going with a 24v or 48v is only needless extra trouble and expense for no real gain at all for the typical person. Yes, if you are into electrical theory and have the knowledge, time and money and want to experiment go for it. I keep my inverter off all the time now (other than when using the microwave at nighttime) and it's a welcome relief. The cost of wire in a van is minimal and NO reason at all to even take into consideration (IMHO).

Not sure why people want to make life so complicated for themselves but we see it here daily. Remember - KISS!
 

·
Registered
2014-159 HR in CT
Joined
·
3,748 Posts
I don't think the availability of the Victron in different voltages means that an other-than-12V plan is as easy as a generic 12V system.

Items like a TV, USB phone charger, laptop charger, LED lighting, water pumps, fans, refrigerator, etc. are readily available in a 12V version.... not so much for 24 or 48V. You may be able to get 'em, but not as much choice, or as good on the pricing.

Just some Plan B thoughts...
 

·
Registered
2014 136” HR
Joined
·
5,957 Posts
I suspect your user name implies a sophistication many of us lack. I don't touch anything more than 12V because I want to live long enough to enjoy my van. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,845 Posts
There don’t seem to be shower bases with tanks already built in but a very flat tank, a layer of plywood for strength above it and a normal shower base above that might still work. Your thought is a product we need to find.
I would never run a genset inside the van, is that what you mean by flex exhaust for the AC? You will need Shore power or generator to go for any length of time on AC.
5% of your storage is going to be lost when you use the inverter and some when you don’t Every conceivable RV appliance is available in 12 volt including air conditioning, microwave, TV, computer chargers, toaster, frypan, etc. Your AC van will require more resources to make it livable, such as Alternator, increased solar, battery type and size, shore power more often not to mention money to do all this.
Contrast with simple: We have 200 watts of solar feeding 215 amp hours of FLA batteries, have everything we could want in 12 volt and have plugged in to shore power twice, connected to the alternator about 5 times in nearly three years. We do not need bluetooth as we don’t need to monitor the use, it is always full or nearly full unless it rains for days and monitoring the weather by actually being in it is much more rewarding than a phone app. Simple has several meanings and living with our “simple” system is consistent with one of them.
I know this is going to have little or no influence on your plan but I am suggesting others remember there is a different “KISS” solution.
For more on a $500 solar and $700 electrical system see:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=71562&highlight=$500+solar+electrical
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
%5 is less than %10, or more. You don’t notice the losses in things like USB chargers because they are already reducing your 12v to 5v, but you incur larger losses on things like laptop chargers which have to take that 12v and turn it into 20-30v. Not to mention either spending a lot more money and running larger wires, or incurring significant voltage drop that has to be compensated for with increased current draw by using undersized wiring.

The idea that AC is more resource intensive is incorrect. Higher voltage is more efficient to use, so less resource intensive. This is like well established physics for the last century... this is why AC beat DC in electrification and why power distribution is at even higher voltages.

Plus when going from 24v or 48v to 120v the inverter is more efficient than a 12v equivalent.

So, this method means less shore power, smaller inverter, less solar needed and less battery needed.

It also means the same or less money. You don’t have to buy special 12v appliances and pay extra, in many cases you can use the 120v appliances you already have.

In fact 240v would be even better but it’s just not a popular option in North America so not worth it here.

I get that you all may not be familiar with this approach, but the immediate assumption it’s worse, and ignoring the points I have already made for why it’s better, plus the fact that I merely suggested it— while you all are just saying it’s bad without understanding it...

Well let’s just say that just because you made one choice does not automatically make other people’s choices wrong.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
For me a 120v fridge is really loud and my inverter is loud. Only thing I have that is AC is coffee pot and electric heater. Both of which are only used when on shore power so the inverter isn't running.

Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
640 Posts
For me a 120v fridge is really loud and my inverter is loud.
Your 120v refrigerator is loud? We can see no technical reason that a 120vac frig should be louder than a 12vdc. Probably more 'brand' than voltage related.

We're also a bit surprised by your noisy inverter. Our Magnum 2812 is on 24/7 and we don't even know it's on. The only time we hear the inverter is when it's under a high load, at which point a comparatively quiet fan is apparent.

These things said, at this time we'll renew our 'vote' - - widespread use of 120vac simplifies and expands appliance selection options with, if implemented wisely, very little downside.

Concerning the 12/24/48 volt debate . . . we're fascinated by the possibilities of higher voltage. Yet, the argued advantages - - wire size and, possibly, a slight increase in efficiency - - do not justify what we perceive to be a significant hassle in trying to accommodate the established family of 12 volt devices.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
Your 120v refrigerator is loud? We can see no technical reason that a 120vac frig should be louder than a 12vdc. Probably more 'brand' than voltage related.

We're also a bit surprised by your noisy inverter. Our Magnum 2812 is on 24/7 and we don't even know it's on. The only time we hear the inverter is when it's under a high load, at which point a comparatively quiet fan is apparent.

These things said, at this time we'll renew our 'vote' - - widespread use of 120vac simplifies and expands appliance selection options with, if implemented wisely, very little downside.

Concerning the 12/24/48 volt debate . . . we're fascinated by the possibilities of higher voltage. Yet, the argued advantages - - wire size and, possibly, a slight increase in efficiency - - do not justify what we perceive to be a significant hassle in trying to accommodate the established family of 12 volt devices.
You're correct. Should have been more specific. Since 120v dorm fridges are generally cheap, they aren't manufactured to be quiet. The small beer fridge I have in my garage would be really loud if it were in my van. My 12v truckfridge is really quiet.

My description of the inverter probably wasn't a good one. My inverter isn't actually "loud" but it does produce noise. Which compared to zero noise when it isn't on is loud. :) It's the tripplite inverter Gary uses.

Also, for me wire size isn't a problem with 12v. I ran 12awg wire and even on my longest runs that was overkill. The only place having a higher voltage was thought about was my solar panels to my controller. The run was borderline long enough to need to downsize the wire by having the panels in series(24v). Ended up not having to. So I didn't because I wanted my panels to be parallel.

Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
808 Posts
I get that you all may not be familiar with this approach, but the immediate assumption it’s worse, and ignoring the points I have already made for why it’s better, plus the fact that I merely suggested it— while you all are just saying it’s bad without understanding it...
I think you are equating peoples' concerns about complexity and unconventionality, cost and scarcity of compatible devices with your own personal subjective labels of "good", "bad" or "worse". And assuming that people don't understand your approach, just because it doesn't work for them. If you do some searching of the Forum, you'll find this idea isn't new-- it comes up now and then.

The consensus is not that this approach isn't more efficient, or eventually desirable, just not the present mainstream. You see it in off-grid residential applications, but less so in RV or marine applications. And as a "bleeding edge" solution, it comes with a set of risks of complexities and design challenges that you'll have to face on your own. Despite what Thurber said, there is some safety in numbers. But if you want to swim upstream or tilt at windmills, by all means-- pave the way.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,845 Posts
%5 is less than %10, or more. You don’t notice the losses in things like USB chargers because they are already reducing your 12v to 5v, but you incur larger losses on things like laptop chargers which have to take that 12v and turn it into 20-30v. Not to mention either spending a lot more money and running larger wires, or incurring significant voltage drop that has to be compensated for with increased current draw by using undersized wiring.
The idea that AC is more resource intensive is incorrect. Higher voltage is more efficient to use, so less resource intensive. This is like well established physics for the last century... this is why AC beat DC in electrification and why power distribution is at even higher voltages.
Plus when going from 24v or 48v to 120v the inverter is more efficient than a 12v equivalent.
So, this method means less shore power, smaller inverter, less solar needed and less battery needed.
It also means the same or less money. You don’t have to buy special 12v appliances and pay extra, in many cases you can use the 120v appliances you already have.
In fact 240v would be even better but it’s just not a popular option in North America so not worth it here.
I get that you all may not be familiar with this approach, but the immediate assumption it’s worse, and ignoring the points I have already made for why it’s better, plus the fact that I merely suggested it— while you all are just saying it’s bad without understanding it...
Well let’s just say that just because you made one choice does not automatically make other people’s choices wrong.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I am very familiar with all this and have no misunderstandings. 5% 0r 10% is not the important factor it is what it is the percentage OF. You are going to loose much more than either and are going to loose it on EVERY electron you consume and even waste it when none are being used. The loss for my computer charger is perhaps using the same percent but of a minuscule amount of electricity.
There is no efficiency difference between 12 volt and 120 volt if the appliance is well made and produced for it's task. Generally RV appliances are produced to be more efficient as it is understood to be an important factor to campers and generally irrelevant to homeowners.
Please don’t preach to us about physics as many of here have lots of background and expertise. That sort of comment is condescending at best. I know the history of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. BTW, DC is the preferred transmission system for high voltage lines now that an efficient way to achieve it has been perfected.
The issues you raise have been covered here several times and we are trying to help you to make a better system. You should probably have searched the forum before posting to avoid rehashing an old topic.
Your statement "while you all are just saying it’s bad without understanding it... “ carries on your arrogance about us and makes you look intolerant of those who disagree with you. I hope you can make an adjustment to how you view us and instead of posting to receive affirmation you post when you really want advice and help.
This is a very welcoming forum and inclusive group. I hope your initial foray translates into a long and productive positive interaction.
 

·
Registered
2014-159 HR in CT
Joined
·
3,748 Posts
I don't think the availability of the Victron in different voltages means that an other-than-12V plan is as easy as a generic 12V system.

Items like a TV, USB phone charger, laptop charger, LED lighting, water pumps, fans, refrigerator, etc. are readily available in a 12V version.... not so much for 24 or 48V. You may be able to get 'em, but not as much choice, or as good on the pricing.

Just some Plan B thoughts...
Many of those are readily available in a 24v version, but all of them can be had at 120v.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I don't see the 24/48v advantages outweighing the disadvantages but we all do what we want... that's what makes the forum interesting!

With two 12V batteries in series to set up a 24V system, you could probably center tap the wiring to feed a few low power items at 12V if you balance the loads.

I personally have not seen an 120V or 24V Fantastic or Maxxair fan.... lotsa electronics boards in these things now.



Meanwhile, back at SlowPoke's thread....

SP, have you considered a window AC in the rear door where the window would be?... some have tried that and it sounds like a better solution than a portable unit. I've meditated on that for a while... discovered that we really don't miss the AC in the campervan. If it got that unbearably hot, I'd start the van and sit up front to cool down a bit! >:D
A running van is quieter than many of the RV generators we've heard at campgrounds...
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top