New Advanced RV Being Built

Diamondsea

New member
I write this Tuesday evening after two days at the factory. I drove the new rig away this afternoon.

First -- to answer questions that have been asked: The batteries are Concord Lifeline Model 31XT. I have 4 AGMs. To run air conditioning off the batteries probably requires 6 lithium batteries as they can be, I think, more deeply discharged without shorting life.. The refrigerator is a Nova Cool RFU 6800 12 VDC 2-door with the freezer on the bottom. Each compartment has its own evaporator plate but there is only one temperature control which is in the top fridge compartment. I purchased two refrigerator thermometers. After a few hours running the fridge part was at the correct temperature but the freezer was about 25F but not down to a desired 10F. The freezer was completely empty and that may have been the problem.

The two days at the factory were intense. Although I had pre-studied some manuals and although I am familiar with the Sprinters the learning curve for this old man was and still is steep. All the folks were fantastic and everyone who was needed was available for as much time as I needed. Mike (the "leader") and technical/production people of all skills were available to tutor me. No one minded if I asked the same question more than once. The item most difficult to master is the Silver Leaf computer/control touch screen system that runs everything. It controls and monitors (with alarms settable for all desired levels) things like batteries, tank levels, climate controls (air conditioning/heat) --- you name it, Silver Leaf runs it! Automatic water tank fill was an interesting feature. The neatest thing is the automatic engine start with advance to fast idle for running the 220 amp alternator. At the moment Mercedes is limiting that to 45 minutes at a time, but it can be repeated as necessary. Everything is interlocked via Silver Leaf. For example the engine will not auto start unless the tranny is in park and the parking brake is on. There are many minor systems to master such as outside motion detector photocell lights and six wheel tire monitoring system. The Espar heating/hot water system controlled by Silver Leaf takes some understanding as it is all automatic if desired, but one does not want to run the burner if shore power is available. The built-in shore power "surge protector" analyses the income power for stability for 2.5 minutes before completing the connection!

Several small tweeks and changes were made at my request. I did not want a nav system, but we changed the installed radio to get one that was satellite and iPod ready.

We went for a test drive to a location a few miles away for a photo shoot. On that drive the alarm system started chirping at random times and this had not happened at the factory. It was a mystery but I guess it was the alarm company's tech support that provided the solution. A tiny cable was plugged into the wrong connector on a circuit board. This was basically the only glitch needing troubleshooting to be fixed.

Complete tech manuals have been down loaded onto my computer and given to me in print form. Number one is the Mercedes book. The second is their manual about the Advanced RV including the Silver Leaf and many other systems including check lists. The third is the compilation of all the manuals from suppliers.

There is excitement at Advanced RV as employees have been added and deliveries are being made.

I am tired and am going camping for a couple of days in this area to be near the factory in the event that a problem were to arise. By the way, Advanced maintains a 24/7 hot line that reaches knowledgeable technical help.
 

atulin

New member
First -- to answer questions that have been asked: The batteries are Concord Lifeline Model 31XT. I have 4 AGMs. To run air conditioning off the batteries probably requires 6 lithium batteries as they can be, I think, more deeply discharged without shorting life..
It would depend on what you have for an AC unit. I have twice the battery bank you do but still AGM and I can run my Mach 3 PS for a few hours along with a bunch of other stuff.

If they're saying you can't run the AC off just batteries does that mean the engine has to run the whole time you want AC if you're not plugged in?

The two days at the factory were intense. Although I had pre-studied some manuals and although I am familiar with the Sprinters the learning curve for this old man was and still is steep. All the folks were fantastic and everyone who was needed was available for as much time as I needed. Mike (the "leader") and technical/production people of all skills were available to tutor me. No one minded if I asked the same question more than once. The item most difficult to master is the Silver Leaf computer/control touch screen system that runs everything. It controls and monitors (with alarms settable for all desired levels) things like batteries, tank levels, climate controls (air conditioning/heat) --- you name it, Silver Leaf runs it! Automatic water tank fill was an interesting feature. The neatest thing is the automatic engine start with advance to fast idle for running the 220 amp alternator. At the moment Mercedes is limiting that to 45 minutes at a time, but it can be repeated as necessary. Everything is interlocked via Silver Leaf. For example the engine will not auto start unless the tranny is in park and the parking brake is on. There are many minor systems to master such as outside motion detector photocell lights and six wheel tire monitoring system. The Espar heating/hot water system controlled by Silver Leaf takes some understanding as it is all automatic if desired, but one does not want to run the burner if shore power is available. The built-in shore power "surge protector" analyses the income power for stability for 2.5 minutes before completing the connection!
Are you sure they are only using the factory alternator for charging? I thought they had a second one installed on those. Even with something like the sterling alternator to battery charging unit I have on mine if they are using a higher draw roof unit that is not really a sustainable system with a 100% duty cycle on the AC. It only sort of works for me and I'm pulling more out of the alternator and plugging in every night.

If you plan to be without shore power much I would go buy a small generator to save your motor and fuel.
 

Diamondsea

New member
On my Advanced I can run the A/C for short periods from the batteries then refill them from the engine. I believe that all their RVs to date only use the single up-grade 220 amp alternator from Mercedes. Realistically my 4 AGMs seem to only be able to accept charge at a 90 amp rate when half discharged. Lithium batteries would be a huge advantage as they can be more deeply discharged and accept charge faster. They are an evolving technology and very expensive now. Advanced is exploring the possibility of a second alternator with auto engine start but all takes approval from Mercedes. Batteries can only accept charge at certain rates so big/second alternators are only good if the type and size of the batteries can accept high amp charging rates.
 

Diamondsea

New member
Batteries continued. Advanced has (on the longest body Sprinters) four under floor compartments with liftable hatches above. Two are sized for a single group 31 battery each, and a third is sized for 2 batteries. The fourth compartment is empty if only four batteries are used. This compartment is the largest and becomes a storage "trunk" if only 4 batteries are used. It is big enough to accept my 35-foot power cord, a water hose, a set of jumper cables, my emergency tire air compressor, and there is space left over. This frees up all of the above floor space for storage. Adding more batteries adds weight and reduces storage space.
 

Uncle Dave

2013 3500
On my Advanced I can run the A/C for short periods from the batteries then refill them from the engine. I believe that all their RVs to date only use the single up-grade 220 amp alternator from Mercedes. Realistically my 4 AGMs seem to only be able to accept charge at a 90 amp rate when half discharged. Lithium batteries would be a huge advantage as they can be more deeply discharged and accept charge faster. They are an evolving technology and very expensive now. Advanced is exploring the possibility of a second alternator with auto engine start but all takes approval from Mercedes. Batteries can only accept charge at certain rates so big/second alternators are only good if the type and size of the batteries can accept high amp charging rates.
Something seems amiss,

I have 3 rigs with AGM's (a boat, a Sprinter, and an RV) and all can take whatever amps I can give them till about 90% then they taper off.

You should be able to absorb 80% of the face capacity of each one with no issues whatsoever.
Multiplied by 4 thats going to be a lot of amps. Maybe your charger has some limitation?

This rig seems to be very well built and engineered until I need to run AC all night. Then it seems compromised with a small AC unit and limited run time before firing the Sprinter up.

Maybe this functionality matters little to you.

Im surprise they did not fit a second alternator - one could power the AC and one could charge.

Whose inverter are are you using?

UD
 
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atulin

New member
Realistically my 4 AGMs seem to only be able to accept charge at a 90 amp rate when half discharged. Lithium batteries would be a huge advantage as they can be more deeply discharged and accept charge faster.
That charge rate actually sounds about right, but it's the alternator not the batteries limiting the charging at the that discharge level. With the boost mode off on my sterling unit total alternator output at 1200rpm is around 150 amps when my bank is around 75% unless something like the roof AC is running to really bring down the voltage the alternator is seeing. The basic sprinter setup with the dash AC running draws about 25 to 50amps with it being closer to 50 right after start up so you would need to subtract that from the total before it gets to your bank. I would also wonder what they used for wire to the bank as I'm betting it could be a little small to save money.
 
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Uncle Dave

2013 3500
That charge rate actually sounds about right, but it's the alternator not the batteries limiting the charging at the that discharge level. With the boost mode off on my sterling unit total alternator output at 1200rpm is around 150 amps when my bank is around 75% unless something like the roof AC is running to really bring down the voltage the alternator is seeing. The basic sprinter setup with the dash AC running draws about 25 to 50amps with it being closer to 50 right after start up so you would need to subtract that from the total before it gets to your bank. I would also wonder what they used for wire to the bank as I'm betting it could be a little small to save money.
Makes sense.

When 90 is a bit under half the alternators total output and you have multiple circuits to feed.


Uncle Dave
 

bikerbill44

New member
My wife and I went to see Mike and his team at Advanced RAV. I REALLY like what they are doing. BUT unfortunately we are limited on our budget and could not see fit to spend what Mike wants for their class and quality build.

BTW, when we visited them they are installing a second engine driven generator. Yes a generator not an alternator. Mercedes chassis may be ordered with what MB calls a PTO option. Its actually a mounting bracket and some relocation of cooling lines to accommodate it. THen Mike has someone install the 2nd generator. So I believe the MB original generator/alternator is only providing power for the Mercedes chassis needs. The second, add-on generator is for the coach or rv battery system.

We take delivery next week of our new 2014/2013 Airstream Interstate Extnd. chassis.
 

Diamondsea

New member
I stopped by the Advanced factory today for some up-date tweeks to my knowledge of operating their computer. Re second generators or alternators on the engine: They are experimenting with these but not yet offering them. They are seeing some issues and want to overcome them. They want smart charging regulation but this is difficult at very high amperages.

Note that (now that I have taken delivery) I am ending this thread and starting a new titled "Living With My New Advanced RV". The first posting is good news on my refrigerator.
 

atulin

New member
I stopped by the Advanced factory today for some up-date tweeks to my knowledge of operating their computer. Re second generators or alternators on the engine: They are experimenting with these but not yet offering them. They are seeing some issues and want to overcome them. They want smart charging regulation but this is difficult at very high amperages.
Maybe they should just install a sterling alternator to battery charger.

On my next one I'll order the second alternator option and install a 24v alternator, bank and inverter/charger.
 

Boxster1971

2012 Sprinter 3500 Ext
My wife and I went to see Mike and his team at Advanced RAV. I REALLY like what they are doing. BUT unfortunately we are limited on our budget and could not see fit to spend what Mike wants for their class and quality build. ....

We take delivery next week of our new 2014/2013 Airstream Interstate Extnd. chassis.
So I guess the Advanced RV Sprinter B-van is a lot more expensive than the AS Interstate? Well north of $150,000?
 

chromisdesigns

New member
Maybe they should just install a sterling alternator to battery charger.
+!! This isn't really rocket science. Marine electrical system designers have been doing it for years. Hi-capacity battery banks and smart chargers capable of handling hi-amp alternators are commonplace on boats. It's been 20 years since I lived aboard a boat, and this stuff was available even then -- the state of the art has only improved over that period of time.

It's not common in the RV industry, though.
 

UKDude

New member
So I guess the Advanced RV Sprinter B-van is a lot more expensive than the AS Interstate? Well north of $150,000?
Advanced RV have a couple of demo units advertised on their website, one of which is going for $143,792. Since they are really bespoke builders, I should imagine a decently equipped one would run at least $160K.
 

adj2000

New member
On my Advanced I can run the A/C for short periods from the batteries then refill them from the engine. I believe that all their RVs to date only use the single up-grade 220 amp alternator from Mercedes. Realistically my 4 AGMs seem to only be able to accept charge at a 90 amp rate when half discharged. Lithium batteries would be a huge advantage as they can be more deeply discharged and accept charge faster. They are an evolving technology and very expensive now. Advanced is exploring the possibility of a second alternator with auto engine start but all takes approval from Mercedes. Batteries can only accept charge at certain rates so big/second alternators are only good if the type and size of the batteries can accept high amp charging rates.
Hi Diamondsea, I am in the market for a Sprinter conversion with a lot of extensive dry camping. Looks like a very well build luxury van in his own class but not sure where to start here. I thing no matter how big the battery bank, inverer or solar system is to run all night A/C probably any sort of generator is needed. Please advise what is your experience with that engine chassis alternator or you really need to have a second one?
Thank you very much,
adj2000
 

pattonsr

New member
Advanced RV has been working for some time on advanced power generation. Mike N. is posting on his trip with the 4 cyl model he drove to the Tampa RV Show. So far we have learned the 4 cyl has rear air suspension and a new storage outside compartment. Hopefully further posts will reveal more of the power generation technology.
 

Diamondsea

New member
My use of my RV does not require use of AC when shore power is not available. When dry camping I can exist with just the MaxxAir fan. This is because I tend to be in cooler areas -- north to New England and Canada in Summer. As I write this in January I am in Florida plugged in with AC running. In the south I am usually at a state park with electric. The few days I need AC and have no power I get by being hot. I thus by request had my Advanced RV built without the extra alternator and with four AGM batteries instead of up to six Lithium Iron Ion batteries. I am able to dry camp three days without running the engine and without propane or a generator. In practice I tend to run the engine a bit every day or second day as batteries last longer if not pulled down far.
 

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