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Old 02-22-2014, 12:19 AM   #221
bookman
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

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This is how we do it...
Whose motorscooter/bicycle carrier did you purchase?
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:00 AM   #222
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

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Whose motorscooter/bicycle carrier did you purchase?
Versahauler ..... http://www.versahaul.com/vh55ro.php
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:44 AM   #223
Don Horner
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

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Update on our 2012 IB....Still investigating the solar installation. My coach is one of a few in 2012 which was not pre-wired for solar. I spoke to the tech at the factory and got some great hints to run the wiring. I've pretty much nailed down the stuff I'll be using. I'll do a photo story on the installation...
The photo story is not yet ready, but the fast and dirty review of my solar installation:

My 2012 was manufactured just before they began to pre-wire for solar. I'm glad, because I suspect the factory, in pre-wiring for their smaller panels, uses lighter wire than I used, and probably didn't provide for controller wiring in the location I chose.

I installed 2 Kyocera 140W PV Panels on the roof behind the Air Conditioner using StickyFeet mounts (3m VHB). I wired them in series in order to reduce the amps going to the charge controller, and to get maximum effect from the MPPT controller. I get a shadow on one of the panels about 2 hours before sundown if facing due West, or until 2 hours after sunup if facing due East. If I had wired the panels in parallel the shadow would affect only one panel. There is no shadow during the peak the charging hours, so I decided the shadow in the weakest current production hiurs would be tolerable, and wiring in series would outweigh that disadvantage. So far, I'm OK with my decision.

I ran the 10 AWG wires down the plumbing vent in the driver's side rear corner, into the large rear storage unit; the distance was only about 8 feet. I did not use a junction box on the roof, but placed the fuse, junction box, and kill switch high on the rear wall of the storage compartment. From the junction box, I ran 8 AWG wire under the coach to the small basement compartment just forward of the entrance door and just aft of the passenger door. I chose that compartment because my coach has the entertainment center option in the compartment just aft of the entrance door, which is where many folks have located their electronics, and I also have a Nanostation Wifi antenna and a wireless router in that compartment, running on the inverter/120-powered outlet.

I was aiming for a reasonable cost in this installation, so I chose to risk a Chinese MPPT charge controller as an experiment. It's a Tracer 2315 30 Amp controller from Amazon, which has received fairly good reviews and may be considered the best of the Chinese controllers. It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as the MorningStar 45 amp MPPT controller, but the unit and remote display were about 1/3 the cost. After two weeks of testing, it's performing better than my expectations. If it fails, I'll replace it with the new MorningStar 30 amp controller just being introduced. In that same compartment I also mounted a kill switch between the controller and batteries.

The installation instructions recommended 6 inches of ventilation above and below the controller. The compartment is only 14 inches tall and the controller is almost 10 inches tall. They also recommended a positive air flow (fan) in a compartment with little ventilation. I made a mounting frame from aluminum angle, mounted the controller away from the side wall with lots of space behind it (where the cooling fins are located), and mounted a 12V cooling fan on the frame, aimed at the cooling fins. I found a 12V thermal switch that comes on at 100 degrees and shuts off at 85 degrees and wired that inline, along with LED indicators that report power to the thermal switch and fan "on", since I can't see the fan. I powered the fan directly from the batteries. In two weeks of hot Florida operation the controller has remained cool and the fan has never come on.

The controller is just 4 feet from the batteries, but I used 6 AWG wire to minimize voltage drop. The controller converts the nominal 24V input (actual up to 34V) at just under 8 amps to nominal 12V (actual up to 14.8, depending on which of the 4 stages in which the controller is operating) at up to 15.8 amps, although the highest real-world amperage I've seen so far is 14.2 amps. I have a Trimetric battery monitor measuring volts and amps both in and out of the batteries, and the charge controller's remote showing volts and amps out of the controller. The difference in amperage represents the load at any given time.

It took me about a week to install everything, working just a few hours each day (I'm 73 years old, and no longer need to drive myself to exhaustion). I'm afraid of ladders and heights, so I did have a younger (and braver) friend do the panel installation on the roof. Total cost, including the panels, panel mounts, controller and remote, wiring, loom, fuse holders and fuses, kill switches, junction boxes, fan and thermal switch, etc was around $1,200; add in the Trimetric meter I bought prior to the solar purchase in order to measure current loads and the total is closer to $1,400. I'm not looking for a return on investment; the installation is strictly for convenience.

The coach is going to be parked at JFK airport in NYC for about a month while we take a NY-London cruise then an Amsterdam-Basel river cruise; my goal is to provide at least enough power to keep the fridge and phantom current draws running. That draw is a little less than 2 amps per hour, or about 48 amps per day. I've had it running for about two weeks in Florida sunshine (with some cloudy and/or rainy days) with those current draws plus the fantastic vent fan and the inverter powering the wireless router, totaling about 5 amps 24 hours/day, and the system has been keeping up beautifully, batteries full as early as Noon. When we get to National Park boondocking, I expect to be able to keep the fridge going 24/7 and normal evening use, firing up the generator only for microwave/toaster oven, etc.

We park the van like that once or twice per year, usually to take cruises from distant ports; in 2012 we parked in Vancouver while flying to Anchorage and cruising back to Vancouver (that was in our Free Spirit, and we threw out all our fridge stuff and turned off the power while we were gone), and in 2013 we parked in Pittsburgh while taking an Ohio River steamboat cruise.

The batteries are the weak spot at the moment, they are the standard Interstate Group 27 12V batteries under the step, supplied by the factory. They are Marine deep cell with dual deep cell/cranking abilities, not true deep cells. They're not rated in amp hours, and the best I can determine is they are about 85 to 90 amp hours each. They're nearly new, however, and I'll wait until I get some use out of them before I replace them with some serious battery power.

The roof of this 24IB is now crowded, with antennas (3), skylights (2), vent fans (2), air conditioner and two PV panels 60" x 26" each. Good thing I have no intention of mounting a satellite dish up there .
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #224
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

I just went thru that decision process. The View has the Queen bed but not a real mattress and you have to fold it. We decide to make the choice on what we really wanted for once. Queen bed and huge bathroom in addition to overall quality made our decision. One thing they both drive the same. Love driving this, much better than our the Bounder. Must be a lot of folks that agree. You have to get in line to buy one. Larry
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:57 AM   #225
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Default Re: Making a cocktail table for the IB

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We don't like to keep the table in place all the time as it takes up a lot of room in the galley and is difficult to move between the cab and the galley when on the road. So I decided to make a smaller cocktail cable that can stay in place full time, is easy to get around, and rotates by utilizing only one of the Springfield aluminum posts.

I found the Springfield plastic receiver piece that screws into the underside of the table at Amazon for about $20 including shipping. I then went to Home Depot and purchased a 24X12" cherrywood laminated shelf for about $6. I trimmed about 6" off, so it measures out at 12X18" now. Bought 2 - 12X12" linoleum faux wood self-adhesive tiles and trimmed to fit. Picked up 6 - #10 size, 3/4" stainless counter-sink screws to screw the plastic receiver into the bottom of the table. Total investment: less than $30. Works great!





What are the folded and unfolded dimensions of the original table that came with the Unity?
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Old 04-20-2014, 05:54 AM   #226
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

Don,
I have installed the tracer solar controller in over 6 motor homes or caravans and they are performing well. We have not had a failure so far. They are originally designed to control solar street lights. I am confident that you should many years of use from it. Series wiring of the panels is also my preferred method of wiring. Yes the batteries are probably the week point in the installation. When it is time to replace them you have the choice of either 6v wired in series or one large 12v deep cycle. We run just one 12v 200Ahr. which runs the fridge and lights and a bit of TV each night. So long as we get some sunlight at least every two days in can run independently 24/7.

Cheers

Ross
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Old 04-20-2014, 03:02 PM   #227
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

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I just went thru that decision process.
Queen bed and huge bathroom in addition to overall quality made our decision.
Larry
Sorry, tried to do the research, couldn't find your previous posts. What did you buy? In the future you (everyone) might include a signature that includes what Sprinter you speak of. See example below.

-Randy
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:36 AM   #228
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

We've just started investigating our future first RV purchase. Right now we're focusing on the Sprinters. I really like the Unity 24IB for the full-time walk-around bed. The Coach House Platinum II 240 DQ is pretty much the same RV, except that it's a foot longer. Has anyone had the chance to test these two side-by-side? Coach House does't out their prices on the website. How to the prices of these two RVs compare?
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:59 AM   #229
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

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We've just started investigating our future first RV purchase. Right now we're focusing on the Sprinters. I really like the Unity 24IB for the full-time walk-around bed. The Coach House Platinum II 240 DQ is pretty much the same RV, except that it's a foot longer. Has anyone had the chance to test these two side-by-side? Coach House does't out their prices on the website. How to the prices of these two RVs compare?
I think the list price on the CH is $20K+/- more than the LTV. Both companies are selling their coaches as fast as they can build them, so in either case, there is some wiggle room on the price, but not a huge amount. I know Coach House does run promotions once or twice a year where they offer some discounts.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:38 PM   #230
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Default Re: Unity talk: CB, IB or MB? Stories and experiences

Hi everyone.
I haven't been on here in a while but the freakin winter is finally over and it's time to plan some trips. We had a great trip to California last fall (October) except for hitting some seriously crazy weather. We took the more southern route I40, heading west following along old Rt66 then came home on the more northern route on I80. I don't know if anyone remembers but the weather last October was real bad with severe wind out west and even early snow in some northern areas. But it's not the destination as much as the adventure getting there that matters.
The Unity handled great no problems with any of the mountains going up or down (we did downshift as needed going downhill) and I believe we were at elevations as high as 5,000 ft at times. The wind was incredible and along the way we passed at least 5 trucks that were blown over. I can't complain about the way the Unity handled but was wondering if anyone uses a steering stabilizer, and if you do, who makes it and does it help?
I'm glad I had a spare tire with me, but happier I didn't need to use it. I'm still working out the kinks with LTV on that. It is the same spare tire carrier they use on the Serenity / Libero and with out a hitch extender it would have rubbed the paint off my bumper. Darryl at LTV is great to work with and is having his supplier make a longer carrier frame for us. Apparently I'm the first and only one so far to order it since LTV made it available.
Now it's time to start exploring again so if anyone has any good ideas or experiences for an east coast trip please let me know. I'm thinking Vermont in the fall but would like some places for spring and summer trips. If anyone knows of "nicer" campgrounds without being mostly seasonals please let me know. I guess I'm getting old I don't need campgrounds with water parks and all the activities, we prefer quiet places. Anyone know of any nice places near Shenandoah NP or near Great Smoky Mtns NP?
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