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Old 09-13-2015, 12:35 AM   #111
avanti
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

We've gotten a bit spooked by the spate of RV break-ins that have been reported recently, so we decided to install an alarm system.

As reported here:

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/sho...406#post397406

I've chosen the Viper 5706V alarm, which provides 2-way communication to its key fob with (allegedly) up to 1-mile range, which should be good at and around campsites and when parked at restaurants, etc. It also can be armed/disarmed with the buttons on the Sprinter OEM keyfob. I also purchased a DBALL2 "bypass" device to interface with the Sprinter's CANBUS. This eliminates all the wiring to door sensors, door lock solenoids, etc. Instead, the DBALL uses the CANBUS to detect lock/unlock, door open/close and ignition events, and also to do things like actuate the door locks, flash lights, and so on. The whole thing involves only four wire connections to the van: +12, GND, CAN+ and CAN-. The installation is really quite trivial. Figuring out exactly how to do it, not so much. So, I thought I would document the things that initially confused me, to make things easier for others who might want to do this. These comments will obviously be specifically with reference to my 2014 Sprinter and the 5706V, but many other systems are very similar. A company called Directed dominates the market, and most alarm brands you see are made by them and thus are very similar. Also note that the DBALL2 appears to be the ONLY Directed device that supports 2014+ Sprinters (there are many others for older model years.) I suspect they have standardized on this platform.

OK, here's what you need to know:

--First of all, a few words about CANBUS:
(a) This list is filled with ominous warnings about how fragile the Sprinter's CANBUS is and how you should never even think about messing with it. This is mostly nonsense. Although it is true that virtually every system on the vehicle can be impacted by CANBUS problems, it is also true that the CANBUS is an open standard specifically intended to support interoperability among independent devices. If you don't trust yourself to make clean, professional connections, then find somebody whom you do trust. But, a properly-installed addition to your CANBUS is perfectly OK.
(b) Almost all instructions you will find on the Net for installing an alarm talk about tapping into an existing CAN connection (e.g., the radio) and soldering in your wires. IGNORE THESE INSTRUCTIONS. The sprinter has a very simple and convenient provision for plugging in additional CANBUS devices without disturbing any wiring. This is the only approach you should consider. To access the CANBUS hub, simply remove this plastic panel directly below the headlight switch (one screw):


Behind this panel, on the right, you will find a vertically-mounted connector with half a dozen little plugs in it, and space for more. It is hard to see because the connectors are facing away from you. In the center of the strip, you will see a little slot with a plastic tab that holds the connector to its bracket. Press the tab with a small screwdriver and slide the connector upward, and it will pop out so you can see and access the plugs and sockets:



Those little plugs are simply 2-pin "header" connectors that are commonly used for internal connections to PC boards in computers, etc. I THINK that they are 3mm, but I'm not sure. I found one that fit in my junk box. I'm sure they are available from DigiKey. Mine looks like this:



You can see my connecter plugged into the bottommost position on the bus.

--DBALL2:
As I said, this is a little box whose job is to translate between CANBUS and alarm-talk. It can do this in two different ways, as shown here:



For old-school installations, it breaks out a whole bunch of signals (both input and output) like "door status" or "turn on parking lights". This is called "W2W" (wire to wire) mode. The other mode is "D2D" (digital to digital), which uses a serial communications port to communicate with a compatible alarm system, which means you can ignore most of the wires. We are using D2D.

The DBALL2 hardware is generic, and can be used with most any brand of car. HOWEVER, it needs to be programmed for a specific vehicle. There is very specific firmware for current-production Sprinters--no other will work. Although it is possible to buy an inexpensive programmer and do this yourself, it is easy to find vendors who will ship the DBALL pre-programmed for a vehicle that you specify. I did the latter. They do it for free.

There are only three connections you need to make to the DBALL: (1) A 4-wire D2D cable that goes between the alarm and the DBALL. This also provides power to the DBALL; (2) a 2-wire connection to the CANBUS. N.B.: you MUST get the polarity of these wires correct. The orange/brown wire from the blue DBALL connector is CAN-LOW, and must be connected to the BROWN side of the hub. Orange/green is CAN-HIGH and goes to brown/red. Don't screw this up; (3) The final connection is the gray/black wire on the red connector. This confused me at first, so I will give it its own section.

--Ignition Output:
The DBALL diagram shows the gray/black wire as going to "Ignition Output" of the the alarm, but doesn't explain what this means. The 5706V supports remote starting of many vehicles, but this feature is not available on the Sprinter. To support this feature, the device has a huge, high-current 10-pin connector. We don't need any of these connections except the one with the pink wire, which is where the gray/black wire goes. You could use the huge wire harness that comes with the alarm, but I just crimped a spade connector onto the gray/black wire and plugged it into the appropriate lug:



And, that's it for the DBALL.

--Alarm connections:
The alarm is pretty simple as well. In addition to the gray/black wire and the D2D cable, you need Continuous power (red), Ground (black), and Siren out (brown). The latter goes the the red wire from the siren. The black wire from the siren goes to ground. There is also a fob-like thingie with a button and an LED. This is meant to be mounted at the top center of your windshield. Its main function is as the antenna for communication with the keyfobs. The button controls things like "valet mode". Finally, the LED flashes when the alarm is armed, scaring away ruffians. The final connection is a 4-wire cable that goes from the alarm to the shock sensor. This confused me too:

--Shock Sensor:
The shock sensor cable plugs into one of two 4-wire sockets on the side of the alarm. I don't think it matters which one you use, but I'm not sure. The thing that confused me is that the 4-wire cable isn't symmetrical, even though it has the same connector on both sides. The difference is a little wire loop that shorts together two pins on one side, and an unconnected green wire on the other. I think these have to do with multiplexing multiple sensors on the same line. We don't need this. The question is, which side do you put the loop. The answer is that it goes on the sensor side (and thus the green wire goes on the alarm side).

So, that's it. As you can see, there are actually only four wires that touch the Sprinter in any way: Power, GND, and the two CANBUS wires, and none of these require stripping or soldering any existing wire.

Initializing the DBALL:
The last step involves initializing the DBALL2. To do this, you connect up all the wires EXCEPT the D2D cable from the alarm. To initialize the device, you hold down the button on the DBALL while you plug in the D2D cable. The LED on the DBALL should light up orange, at which point you release the button. Then you turn on the ignition with the key. If the device successfully synchs with the CANBUS, the light will turn green, and the device will reset. That's it--you are done. There are instructions for synching the keyfobs, but mine just worked.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope it will dispel some of the fog that the alarm companies intentionally spread around this whole topic.
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Last edited by avanti; 09-13-2015 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 09-15-2015, 01:10 PM   #112
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Default two birds with one stone

I needed a cover for the batteries that I added to my rear storage compartment (so I could safely store stuff in the remaining space above them):



We have also been wanting a table for use outside the vehicle while boon docking. Everything we found took up significant space. But, we already have two nice pedestal tables that fit into sockets on the floor. Hmmm.....



Voila:

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Old 09-16-2015, 10:12 PM   #113
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Default

Nice solution!


- - Mike
2013 Airstream Interstate from 2012 Sprinter 3500 tall & long
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Old 09-22-2015, 02:53 PM   #114
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
I ordered this one:



which is spec'd at 10~16V. Hopefully it will be more robust.
Just for the record:
I got the above timer/relay installed. Works great. It is a nice board--easy to program, very flexible, and cheap. Good choice for any similar application.
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:09 AM   #115
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

I did not follow your alarm installation but this timer relay triggered my interest. According to spec this timer can be use up to 999 sec which is not enough for me. I am thinking about controlling D5 for Isotemp with 30-45min. timer. Can you verify that it is indeed just 999 sec.

I found this one which is similar but I am not clear if it is only for 999 sec or also minutes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-12V-LED-...3D171560505938

Thank you,

George.
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Old 09-27-2015, 02:36 PM   #116
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
I did not follow your alarm installation but this timer relay triggered my interest. According to spec this timer can be use up to 999 sec which is not enough for me. I am thinking about controlling D5 for Isotemp with 30-45min. timer. Can you verify that it is indeed just 999 sec.

I found this one which is similar but I am not clear if it is only for 999 sec or also minutes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-12V-LED-...3D171560505938
George,
First of all, I think there is a 99% chance that the item you link to is exactly the same part as mine, just with a case.

You get no documentation with this stuff, so the "text" on eBay is all there is. BUT, note the following:

timer.jpg

I am guessing that it does do minutes, just with reduced precision. I would test it for you, but mine is no longer easily accessible. Sorry I can't help more.

Let us know what you find.

--Pete
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:24 AM   #117
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Default Four season upgrade

The Legend was designed for 3-season use, since the fresh and gray tank plus a lot of plumbing are exposed under the van. My big project this summer was to convert it to a 4-season rig. My plan was to insulate everything and to extend the hot-water loop of our Espar D5 to heat the plumbing and tanks.

First, I bought a 50' coil of 3/4" heater hose and looped it around under the van, running it along each feed and drain pipe:



Then I wrapped each bundle with insulation:



I made a diverter valve to connect the new hose to the existing Espar heat loop. The idea is that in the summer the valve is left open. This "short circuits" the added loop so that no significant coolant flows through it. In this way, the production of on-demand domestic hot water will operate efficiently. In the winter, the valve is closed, forcing the return water from the heat exchangers through the new loop, thus using the left-over heat to warm the plumbing and tanks.



I insulated the fresh and gray tanks with 1/2" extruded foam insulation:





The tanks have thermostatically-controlled electric heating pads, which should work efficiently with the new insulation. In addition, the new hoses contact the tanks at several points, which should help as well.

Here's the diverter valve in "winter" position. The Espar and associated plumbing can be seen in the background.



The Espar is positioned between the two tanks, as is a bunch of plumbing. So, I built a sheet-metal bottom cover that boxes in this whole area. Waste heat from the Espar and its exhaust pipe should keep this entire area warm, further helping with tank heating.



All the drain pipes are protected as well, as is the macerator pump.



There were a few peripheral areas where it was inconvenient to run the big heater hoses. For these, I used lengths of 12VDC heat strips. For example, I used one (the orange strip) to heat the compartment where the macerator dump hose is stored:





I used the same technique to heat the external shower fixture.

So, now all we need is some cold weather to see how it works.
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Last edited by avanti; 10-09-2015 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 10-09-2015, 03:20 AM   #118
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

Avanti, you've done a lot of work here and some really good stuff that's for sure, I think this should work but keep a close eye as the temps drop like you said.
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Old 10-09-2015, 03:29 AM   #119
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

Great work. I will be adding the same function this winter but most likely getting energy just from recirculating coolant. In your system you could just run the coolant pump with the 1500W heater on and the D5 off. I could do the same with 750W heater from the Isotemp, I will have an additional heat transfer from fresh water to coolant but it should be OK.

How long is your 3/4"ID loop, you mentioned 50', is this the loop?

George.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:27 AM   #120
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Default Re: 2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
How long is your 3/4"ID loop, you mentioned 50', is this the loop?
Not quite. I bought 50' but had some left over. I am guessing I used maybe 40'. The drains and macerator took a lot.
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