Added stuff, too much for the What did you do thread...

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Added a Link Lite Battery Monitor, not sure where I am going to mount the current sensor (shunt) for the long term, twist ties for now. Can already tell the batteries are trashed, only discharged 30 amp hours, guess I knew that. Was hoping the desulfator I got would fix them.

Added a LaCrosse color weather station/atomic clock, always wanna know what it's like outside, and now I can tell how it's been inside while I was away with the Max/Min feature.

Added a second TV (left over from the last RV) to the Serenity as when you are snuggled up in bed you are too far away from the TV mounted just behind the drivers seat. Hmmm... Wonder if we'll ever watch two shows, one on each set. Hooked them both to my OTA DVR, new one over the bed via HDMI, old one via component. Slight delay in the audio between the two, but if I am running thru the stereo speakers instead it shouldn't be an issue. Ran the HDMI behind the cabinets, over the door, behind the microwave, thru the cabinet with the port to the roof and the microwave plug in it and into the small TV. Just need to pretty up the cables behind the TV.

Found a prewire for satellite TV antenna above the driver's seat, can't figure out where it goes after leaving the TV cabinet.

Next stop, hooking up an iPhone dock on the dash to the big TV so I can watch podcasts...

-Randy
 
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israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Serenity Upgrades

Started realizing there is NO END to the things I will do to the Serenity while I own it and I should just keep the info in a single thread, and I already started this one back when I first got the LTV Sprinter.

Most big things are cross posted to my Serenity Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/LTV_Serenity

First some house keeping, old posts, as I have well over 500 posts (the max. a search will return) I will try to organize what I have written. Here are write-ups of things installed in the Serenity:

Boss 600 driver's seat subwoofer.
Construction thermostat in the Fantastic Fan to close the roof when it starts getting cold outside.
Added Motorcycle Lift to hitch during period where Serenity was wrecked.
Found perfect glove box organizer for the T1Ns.
New house batteries for the Serenity.
And the last thread I created before moving to this thread:
Replaced the Serta mattress in the back with a custom one.

Next all my posts of all the things I have done to the Serenity since I bought it. Links in this quick list of what I have been working on:

Installed UltraGauge and Argus Battery Bug from old Sprinter RV
Installed reverse switch and construction thermostat in fan
Installed 3 Stage converter and extension cord behind couch
Installed weather station
Installed Powered by Mercedes Benz emblem
Purchased 110 volt electric ceramic and a propane Mr. Heater
Installed motorcycle lift and base plates and tow bar for my 2000 Honda Insight
Installed Link Lite battery meter
Installed dual 6 volt Costco batteries
Installed Sani-Con macerator pump by BEAR during RV body repair
Installed new stereo & subwoofer
Installed Trik-L-Start
Installed Wi-Fi booster
Installed LEDs in place of Halogen
Installed newer tires in back
Installed TVs, DVR, HDMI, Jack antenna
Installed SiriusXM adapter

30,000 mile oil change at Oil Changers
40,000 mile tune-up at San Leandro Dodge
Repaired broken Skylight handle
Repaired blown trailer fuse
Repaired Windshield; Insulated cab behind TV and cabinet

Repair of body damage from garbage truck accident by BEAR in Hayward CA
Repair of car A/C valve by Sandy High-Tech
and house A/C capacitor; Repair of fridge via outside GFCI swap; by La Mesa RV, Cleaned and lubed step

More detail on all this to follow.

-Randy
 
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Eastbayview

2012 Unity MB
Wow that's a lot of add ons to your Serenity! A few questions....When you added the 6volt batteries is there anything else that needs changing or can a person just put 6 volt batteries in place of 12 volts?
The Wi Fi booster. Is this something that will boost a signal in camp grounds or is it for some other purpose?
 

icarus

New member
I believe he wired the "dual 6 volt" batteries in series to produce one larger 12 volt. A single 12 volt of similar capacity would be too heavy to man handle.

Icarus
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Yes, as icarus said. I think I actually ended up with an extra wire, but I would have to think to remember and it's too early. Power goes in one battery, to the next and then out. Yeah, I think I ended up with an extra as I didn't need to connect both ends of the batteries together.

The Wi-Fi booster is hanging by that upside down outlet above the kitchen, in the window so it *might* have better reception than a laptop below the dash level. If it helps than I have better reception, but the biggest reason to get one is now ALL your devices, laptops, handhelds, DVRs and TV's, that regularly access the internet don't have to be pointed at a new location, they still go to RV-net, or whatever you call your repeater. Then I just need to configure this one device when I get to the "campsite" to connect to open internet and away we go...

-Randy
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Thanks for the information. Where can I get a booster? Worth a try I'm thinking.
Yikes, OK that is a can of worms. If you know what you are doing a clever solution would be putting a directional wifi antenna on your TV aerial. That way when you want to use it just crank up the antenna and aim it at the destination:

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These antenna are AMAZING. When we first got these 14" antenna we could go 7 miles and the only reason we couldn't go further was the land you could see from the mountain ran out and you were in the bay now. The other side of the bay was so far away it was impossible to aim, or we got crosstalk from the many other wifi routers.

The downside of these crazy good antenna is there is now so much wifi out there it is hard to use over the distances this unit is capable of, but camping... You are already away from the bulk of wifi.

You could also mount an omni-directional antenna on the roof or the mirror of your rig:

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The point is to have signal from the outside directed to the inside via dedicated wire and this will accomplish this, but like the first solution you need to know what you are doing. These are thick wave guides, the signal does not travel down the wire, the wire acts as a suggestion of the direction the signal should go. Very different than most of the things you connect via cable.

So a large industry has started up that put the electronics for wifi in the external antenna, then a USB or ethernet cable is run into the vehicle. This does not require the smarts or the thickness of cable that the first two solutions require. I have lusted after the WiFiRanger for some time:

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Well built, custom, supported solution. Highly recommended, and it looks good. But it's freakin' half-a-grand! Hmmm... Perhaps some day. Then I wake up one morning and Woot.com, for whom I am a big sucker, has the Netgear on their site:

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So I purchased it for $34 and hung it from the outlet in the kitchen of the Serenity. When you first try to connect to it you are presented with a configuration screen on *whatever* device you are using (perhaps not a Nintendo) that lets you choose the source of your wifi that will be repeated. You can by default have it behave exactly as if you were connected to the original, passing the login and everything thru the extender. I, as I mentioned, set it to the same name (rv-net, though I should probably call it "Serenity" so people can find the source by looking around) thus all my gadgets default to connect to the Netgear. It even has an ethernet port to run to my wifi handicapped TV.

Of course the first or second drive I took with the RV caused the box to fall out of the outlet, and after it hitting the floor 5 or 6 times I finally decided to double sided foam tape it to the outlet. Where it sits is a large glass window and the antenna stick straight down and repeat the signal they are connected to.

It works when I am connected to 110v, I do have inverters for the two TVs I have, but I will someday put in a bigger inverter that I can use to power this device too, but when I was recently camping every stop I used my cell phone as my wifi, I have unlimited and LTE is really fast these days, faster than most park wifi.

-Randy
 
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Eastbayview

2012 Unity MB
Wow....that's a lot of detail! Of which I understood about half. Lol
I will show it to my tech savvy better half. The last item sounds like a good choice.
Thanks very much. :thumbup:
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Oh I forgot to mention, when going to 6 volts, the batteries are much taller, barely fit past the gas line to the genset. Had a plate that holds them down that barely fits anymore. Had to put 2x4s behind the batteries to keep them from sliding around. I think I detailed this all in my previous 6 volt post linked above.

-Randy
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Added stuff: Solar Panels arrived

So I went to AM Solar back in the day and loved their reputation and product but my Vista Cruiser had so little roof space to put a panel it wouldn't be worth the effort. I started to notice people here putting flexible panels on the curved area of the front giving more roof space to the Sprinter.

Fast forward to this last year when I got the Serenity and noticed several areas on the roof that could be solar capable. Especially love the idea that the feds will help pay for the system. Keeping the roof clean I noticed spaces where panels might fit.

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I began to realize if I did put raised panels on the roof it would be difficult to continue to clean it as I need to support myself to reach all areas of the roof. Again flexible solar panels came to mind, they allow one to even WALK on the them. I have been thinking about this for over a year and have yet to really see anyone doing flexible. Several vendors have come and gone, Uni-Solar, Global Solar. One of the issues with the roll up kind is efficiency. Enough power would require running from the back to the front and down to the windshield, 18'. I just didn't have that space.

So I made cardboard templates to see what space I had and then started shopping. I found the aluminum backed semi-flexible style were more efficient and used cells from Sun Power here in the silicon valley, claiming 22% efficiency. Panels sold by Link Solar were advertised on Ebay as coming in various sizes including several that fit in the space I had. But those on Ebay didn't want to sell the custom sizes without a large order. Google led me to Alibaba's new marketplace Aliexpress.com, just like Ebay including a arbiter that puts your money in escrow until you are happy with your purchase. I found several stores selling the panels I wanted and requested the custom size I wanted and out of the 17 requests I actually got a positive response. When I tried to send the money BofA shut me down thinking it was fraud, but after an hour on the phone I was able to convince them it was me.

After a week the panels arrived last night, no issues at customs other than questions about are these Chinese Solar Cells, apparently there is a dumping tariff. This morning I laid them out on the roof and sure enough, perfect fit.

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Front to back a 110 watt (1190mm x 540mm), a 75 watt (820mm x 535mm), and a 60 watt (734mm x 535mm)

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This is where I plan to hook the solar into the rig, there is already a hole in the roof here that passes thru to the cabinet behind the microwave. I'll mount the controller in the doorway behind the microwave and run the generated power using the refrigerator's 12v circuit.

Next step is getting the controller. I have been shopping for years and always imagined I would end up with the Blue Sky Energy Solar Boost 2000E. It was one of the original MPPT controllers with built in display and it had headroom to grow. But this week I noticed they have something new, the 3000i. Now they have 3 stage charging like the rest of the industry, and support a 20 amp load that can be switched off based on battery level so I can actually hook the refrigerator to that loop as it is my major draw on the batteries and I hope to be able to use solar to offset the fridge draw before I have to switch to propane.

But Blue Sky have been saying the 3000i is gonna ship for weeks and weeks according the guys at AM Solar. Current expected ship date... Halloween. It was supposed to ship on the 17th back when I ordered the panels but it slipped.

So I am waiting....

-Randy
 
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aljimenez

'13 LTV Serenity on '12 3
Those look very nice. Any data on heat? These panels don't have the typical cooling underneath them; or perhaps you are planning to mount them with air circulating under them?
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Yeah, they are designed with adhesive backing, made to sit right on the surface of a boat or RV. My initial concern was they would make the interior heat up but when I looked they are right above the fridge, the closet and the A/C, so quite insulated already and I won't be trying to put something underneath them to keep the heat outside. I am thinking about another panel on the back, next to the window that is mounted in a frame. It would absorb the heat and not let the light hit the back wall, which can really heat up the interior. Then if I am not traveling and want to unfurl I can prop it up to face the sun and get more efficiency from the panel. The controller should handle more energy, just need to find one with similar specs to these.

-Randy
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Not that anyone has commented, but if you wanna follow in my footsteps and don't wanna order from Walmart, uh, I mean China, you can actually get the same panels I did, only from Germany. Yes they are much more expensive, but they are available from a reputable vendor in a one-off fashion that actually fit the roof of the Serenity (assuming the roof has been static this whole time, I don't have the newer ones to photograph the roof of). Check out the AltE website.

These are the same exact specifications I got, fiberglass backing, 540mm wide, 107 watts is 1170mm tall (I got 1190mm 110 watts, but still), and the smaller panel is 75 watts at 785mm tall (mine is also 75 watts, but 735mm, but there is lots of extra space to put the other panel). Still not going to recommend the 60 watt panel on the A/C until I get it secured, they do sell a 35 watt panel that would be much easier to secure on the A/C or other corners of the roof.

I don't have mine wired up yet, still waiting for the controller, but I was shocked that there was a site I could send people to get get the same setup I have.

-Randy
 
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ECU

Well-known member
When I was in southern Germany, they put solar all over roofs. They have to go around existing stuff the same as you. We noticed that one factory spelled out the company's initials on the roof in solar panels.
Glad yours worked so well.
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Added stuff: Here are the LEDs I used

So I read somewhere that a Sprinter owner had replaced their halogen bulbs in their motorhome with LEDs, and so I followed the link and ordered some to try. I got:

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The SuperBrightLEDs.com bag is one of the original ones I got, the others came from LEDwholesalers.com.

They worked so well I wanted to change all my lights to LED. I didn't find the original post (I think it was from the days of the Vista Cruiser, so I really procrastinated on that one). When I decided on the LEDwholesalers style over the other I found them on Amazon. Ended up using the other smaller LED sample at the head of the bed as it was less bright, less LEDs. They are X000183DPV G4 10SMD LED5050 Warm White Side Pin 2W 12VAC/DC, 1109WW. Oddly the ones I ordered later were not as nice as the originals, not all one color, but it has a cool look, part pink, part tan light.

Installing is difficult as they were a little too large to fit, so they don't hang off the plug the way the old bulbs do. I had to use a bit of double-sided foam adhesive to get them to behave. I am happy with it, and now I have LOTS of spare halogen bulbs if the lights in the bath ever go out.

-Randy
 
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israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Solar Install Finished

OK, here are the pics from the install, first the panels and cabling. Thanks to AM Solar for shipping me one of the first 3000i's on the planet to install and for making up some cables to interface with my Chinese panels. We were on vacation last week and found ourselves at AM Solar on our way into town in Portland. Also found Johnson RV on the trip round Mt. Hood. Who knew? The first panel was already installed by cutting off the one connector and connecting it to the other wire from the panel and running both into the weather-proof box from AM Solar. The first place I found on the trip that I knew carried MC-4 connectors was AM...

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The panels were attached with 3M 777 Spray Adhesive with 3M Paint Protectant Spray Film applied first after waxing with 3M synthetic wax that came in the spray film box. You can see the seam of the paint protectant spray about a 1/4" beyond the panels themselves. If the install hurts my RV's paint it's 3M's fault. The two roof panels are mostly blocked by the roof vents from the air stream as I drive down the highway, but the one on the top of the A/C can get lots of air under it. I am using the same sealant I used to anchor the combiner box to block air from getting under that last panel. Looks like the spray adhesive didn't hold down the panel after the screws were tightened so I will probably ad some sealant on the side too.

Used adhesive squares to direct and hold down the cables. Seems to hold well and the ability to remove them w/o residue means I have been able to re-organize since initial install. AM Solar made the pigtails from connectors they cut off panels when they install them on people's RVs. I don't have that confidence. Wanted the ability to unhook the panels to try different things as I learn about RV solar. For example, the Blue Sky Energy's 3000i manual states you cannot unhook the RV battery until you unhook the panels, this way I can unplug them on the roof if I need to reset the 3000i or do other electrical maintenance.

-Randy
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Solar Install Finished 2

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The front corner there is exposed to wind and is starting to pull up. May need to put sealant on the leading edge to keep it from picking the panel up over time.

The controller is mounted on the wall as you go into the RV. It's up high as the face is used to disperse heat when it is in heavy operation, don't want it somewhere that people will rest on it. Plus wiring into the fridge circuit and out the hole in the roof behind the microwave was SUPER simple here.

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The BSE 3000i has the ability to offer 20 amps of power from the same charge line to the battery and switch that power off if the battery gets too low. This is MOSTLY why I put solar panels on the roof (that and the expiring government subsidy). I like to have the fridge running all the time. When I am at home I plug into the house, when I am driving the alternator helps, but with the fridge running it can be hard to catch the batteries up using the alternator as the fridge brings the voltage down too far to charge the batteries much.

The idea behind solar was to keep that charge going while I was parked, be it at the mall or at the in-laws on turkey day (today). The batteries would not be drawn down as much on the days the fridge needed the most power, bright sunny days. The ability of the solar controller to watch the battery charge and stop the fridge from running when the batteries got too low was the clencher. I have tweaked the settings and just as the batteries get to about the 50% discharged level the solar controller will cut off the 12v to it. Yes it would be nice if the fridge could automatically run from propane at that point, but I have yet to figure that one out. The point was simply to not let me forgetting to set it to propane kill the batteries. Hopefully the time when the batteries are this low will be after dark when the fridge won't need much help. When the sun returns so will the solar and the fridge will regain power.

Hey, it's an experiment... So far, so good, but it's winter and the angle of the sun may be killing me, though I get 6.7 amps during bright daylight.

-Randy
 
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israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: Water pump repair

The first year I owned the Serenity I had no issues with the water, just like my old Vista Cruiser I would leave the pump on at all times and then turn on the water and it would just work. During the seven months the RV was in the body shop something must have happened, perhaps I didn't put antifreeze in the lines. When I got the RV back I noticed the pump running very quietly a few days after I got it back. So I shut it off and figured it would be something I would fix later. When I needed it I could power it on and get water. After trying to get the air out of the system I still couldn't get the pump to ever power off.

Fear set it, somewhere in the RV I am leaking water! We went on a trip a few weeks ago and the city water I hooked seemed to run fine, full pressure, no issues, no leaking water that I could find. Bought one of those 5 gallon water bags, took it into the RV and hooked it to the anti-freeze pick-up line. Running until the air was out of the lines yet the pump didn't turn off, and when the power was cut the water drained back into the water bag...? So I have an AIR leak?

I removed the water pump as I had tested the pressurized size and the tank side w/o finding the problem. I took the water strainer apart and found no blockage. 6 screws later the pump came apart. Lo behold the broken pump membrane:

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Cheaper than buying a new pump. The mechanism below the pump at the top of the motor was full of corrosion, like rust, only it keeps air from getting in and stops further corrosion. So I cleaned it out so it can corrode some more, I'm an idiot. When the new membrane arrived from ebay (wish I had checked amazon first) I put the pump back together and it pumped better than EVER. I think the damage may have happened before I owned the RV.

Ordered a Shurflo Accumulator that arrived, gonna try adding that to the pressurized side of the pump today. Should cut down on the pulsing of the water, and allow the pump to run full out and then power completely off, useful when just running a bit of water over a long time.

-Randy
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Re: What's under the bed?

I have many repairs that I am in need to taking care of and many things that I have purchased to install on the RV. My Corian came apart in the summer heat and I have a hockey stick shaped piece I need to figure out how to reattach.

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Someday I will finish it all, but for today I am taking the bed apart. It all started with taking down the bed that was piled deep with pillows and covers from our last trip. I was just getting the sheets and such to wash, but I got the new mattress up and shocked how much lighter it was. It is SO MUCH NICER than the old LTV Extraordinaire mattress that comes from Serta when you buy the Serenity new. With the old inner spring gone, the new mattress can be curled up to put the sheet corners and such on. It took all my energy to make the bed before.

I had been thinking about putting a lifting mechanism under the bed to make it easier getting into the storage area where I keep the propane heater and other seasonal items. Once I had the mattress off the platform I got curious how the Bose subwoofer was wired.

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Well following the wire it goes into the furnace compartment, so I had to open that too. Discovered some neat things, the hose for the heater appears too long, the board next to the furnace appears too short. Harder to fix than the hose. By adjusting the length I was able to keep the hose from kinking. I think more air will get thru, gets pretty cold in there in winter time. While I was thinking about it I took the bottom of the air-conditioning off. Cannot get it too far apart but I did notice that the foam that keeps the cooled air from mixing with the input air was mis-installed and was pinched open. It's a day of optimizing my environmental equipment.

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The Bose wire disappears under the furnace and the entire time I had the bed apart I never found it. But a little more take apart I had the entire platform removed. Cannot find that photo. Now I noticed that the supports for the platform also held up a soft touch vinyl covered board connecting the rear wall to the shower wall, two screws removed from the bottom of the board allowed it to be pulled down and removed. Now I had access to the entire back of the shower stall. Here I thought that was inaccessible. Now I can fix my shower!

Putting it back together, the phillips wood screws held down the plywood segments, and the pan head square screws are for the piano hinges for the under bed storage area. Putting the vinyl covered piece back was very easy, just slides into the track and tacked down with the two screws accessible from the rear compartment.

-Randy
 
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