2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
AWSOME, is there a way for the batteries to be charged in a 3 or more stage manner from the new alternator? When they are full does the alternator drop it's output to save fuel? Has it had a big impact on fuel? Can it be switched out for big hill climbing?

Guess it's been too long to make one for the pre-2007 model. Already cannot upgrade my awning to power, gonna have to realize upgrade paths are harder to find as my RV ages.

-Randy
 
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avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
AWSOME, is there a way for the batteries to be charged in a 3 or more stage manner from the new alternator?
Yes, the Balmar is a fully-programmable 3-stage intelligent charger.

When they are full does the alternator drop it's output to save fuel?
Yes. The Balmar is essentially an external regulator that directly controls the alternator output via its "field" input. It can turn it entirely off when not needed, at which point it is essentially free-wheeling. It also monitors the alternator temperature and modulates its output to prevent overheating.

Has it had a big impact on fuel?
No experience yet. But, certainly not when it is not charging--and it is only going to take an hour or two to recharge my bank.

Can it be switched out for big hill climbing?
Hmm. Interesting idea. There is an "enable" input to the regulator, so that would be easy enough. I'll have to see if it is worth it. I wonder if I can somehow derive an "under load" signal from the Sprinter? I wish the ScanGauge had a programmable output...

Guess it's been too long to make one for the pre-2007 model.
Well, they do sell higher-capacity alternators for your van. I think that there is less reason for a second alternator on the older vans--they seem to do a fairly good job of charging the house bank. At least my T1N did. The problem comes (I think) with the newer models with their highly-optimized energy management system.
 
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israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
Thanks for the quick response. I know the T1Ns did have 2 alternator options from Mercedes, Ambulances and Food Trucks used them. The place you purchased from just seems really coordinated vs. trying to get the parts from my Dodge dealer. Now you have basically the same power setup as the E-Trek from Roadtrek. They claim it's a 3500 watt generator, same as the propane genset in the Sprinter Class-Cs, sweet!

-Randy
 

Timberdog

New member
You got skills Avanti. Nice B and good job on the design. I'm liking your aftermarket add on's. I'm guessing you're one of those guys that can't leave well enough alone;-)
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Following the lead of Hein and several others, I have installed a hot water recirculation loop so we can get hot water from the heater to the tap without wasting water. It is simply a valve that feeds back from the galley hot-water feed to the low-pressure suction line upstream of the water pump.

I tee'd into the PEX hot water feed as closely as possible to the kitchen faucet:



and also into the suction line just upstream of the water pump:



I connected the two tees together through this solenoid valve:



I mounted a "water preheat" switch just under the sink:



The idea is that the switch activates a timer that opens the valve for 10 seconds (which is how long it takes for hot water to reach the faucet). This drops the line pressure as if a faucet were open, causing the pump to activate. The water then circulates within the pipe, delivering hot water to the faucet without of being wasted.

First, I bought this timer/relay board:



Worked great on the bench, but as soon as I installed it in the van, it stopped working and is apparently fried. I assume that it was very sensitive to it's 12V supply voltage and didn't like the 13 or so volts that it saw in the van. So, I ordered this one:



which is spec'd at 10~16V. Hopefully it will be more robust. In the mean time, we have to turn the system on and off manually. Other than that, works great.
 

israndy

2007 LTV Serenity
That is so smart, and cheap. I just purchased the ChiliPepper pump on eBay that does all that internally, I just go to the pipe under the most distant sink and connect the two water leads, hot and cold, to the pump. It pumps the not hot water unto the cold line which returns it to the water heater eventually. It senses when hot water has made it to the pump and turns itself off. I figured it would take longer on different days to pump to hot water, but since it's just feeding the water back into the water heater I could have set a timer for the worst day and it would always be fine on other days.

We are in a drought in California so this is a great solution rather than run the hot water line into a bucket waiting for it to warm up, but the pump costs like $300 new. Your solution is SO smart. I may just copy it for our RV, as I do run the water for a LONG time in the shower to get it hot. Even better to not waste water in an RV.

-Randy
 

dplubrano

New member
Thank You ,I'm in the process of getting a dual alternator kit for my Sprinter Unity model and was undecided about the Balmer voltage regulator, and your comment cleared that up .However another comment caught my eye.It was about the A/C.Do you idle you engine while you run the A/C ? Also what size inverter do you have in your vehicle ? The reason is I have just installed a Magnum 3012 Hybrid ,and I tried to run my A/C with a 2000 Watt Honda generator in conjunction with my battery pack and it kept shutting down due to overload.I have (2) 12 volt deepcycle Interstate batteries hooked up in parrallel and I added (which I know is not correct) (2) 6 volt deepcycle interstate batteries hooked up in series then in parallel with the 12 volts.The batteries are all the same vintage.Do you think if I put the dual alternator kit on it will work? Any assistance would help
Thanks
Dom
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Thank You ,I'm in the process of getting a dual alternator kit for my Sprinter Unity model and was undecided about the Balmer voltage regulator, and your comment cleared that up .However another comment caught my eye.It was about the A/C.Do you idle you engine while you run the A/C ? Also what size inverter do you have in your vehicle ? The reason is I have just installed a Magnum 3012 Hybrid ,and I tried to run my A/C with a 2000 Watt Honda generator in conjunction with my battery pack and it kept shutting down due to overload.I have (2) 12 volt deepcycle Interstate batteries hooked up in parrallel and I added (which I know is not correct) (2) 6 volt deepcycle interstate batteries hooked up in series then in parallel with the 12 volts.The batteries are all the same vintage.Do you think if I put the dual alternator kit on it will work? Any assistance would help
Thanks
Dom
Dom,
Our lnverter/charger is an Outback VFX2812 (2800 watts). It has absolutely no problem powering our Dometic A/C, either from our battery, with or without the engine running. The A/C DOES have the "Smart Start" feature (I think). But I would think that your Magnum could handle the startup even without that. I can run the A/C for around 2 hours on my 440Ah battery pack, but it worked fine even when I had only 220Ah.

As far as i can see, the Nation's alternator/Magnum lashup should have no problem at all.

What are you using for battery cables? We are talking about a LOT of current, so you need hefty wire and quality connections for things to work well. I have 3/0 cables throughout.

Good luck with your project. Once you get it working, you will be a very happy camper, as they say.
 

dplubrano

New member
Thank you very much for your response.I will be looking intothe smart start kit . Also ,I connected my two battery banks with a 3/0 cable to the positive leads ,however I just grounded each set to the chassis instead of to each bank with a 3/0 cable and then to the chassis.I think I should have done that.
Thanks Again
Dom
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
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:

https://sprinter-source.com/forums/showthread.php?p=397406#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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avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
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:

 

Boxster1971

2012 Sprinter 3500 Ext
Nice solution!


- - Mike
2013 Airstream Interstate from 2012 Sprinter 3500 tall & long
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
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...id=100005&rk=2&rkt=6&mehot=pp&sd=171560505938

Thank you,

George.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
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...id=100005&rk=2&rkt=6&mehot=pp&sd=171560505938
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
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
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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Anchornut

New member
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.
 

GeorgeRa

2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
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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