2014 Great West Vans Legend SE

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Rixen's/Espar fan speed control

We have the Rixen's/Espar hydronic heat/hot-water package. This is an Espar D5 packaged with a water-to-water and water-to-air heat exchangers and a proprietary control system. It is a great setup, but I never really liked the 2-speed control of the blower fan. HIGH is often too fast and LOW is often too slow. So, I got one of these:

PWM.jpg

It is a PWM speed controller that lets you adjust the speed of a DC fan using a knob. I hooked it up to the fan and mounted the knob on the Rixen's control panel:

PWM1.jpg

This allows setting the fan to any desired speed. All you do is feed power and ground to the little board and connect the fan motor's ground wire to the board rather than chassis ground. The High/Low switch on the Rixen's panel still works--the knob controls the speed relative to the switch setting.

The potentiometer that came with the board is junk--lasted about 10 minutes. A quick trip to Radio Shack solved that problem. After that, it all works great. I think I will order another one to make the fan speed of our Fantastic Vent continuously adjustable. (This will probably also save power compared to the resistor-pack speed control the the vent uses now.)

What I'd really like to do is to have the Espar's fan modulated according to temperature in the van. There are lots of temperature-controlled fan control boards available, but unfortunately all the ones I can find make the fans run faster when it gets hot, and for this application we want the opposite. May have to build one sometime.
 

irontent

New member
I've built a few Arduino based temp sensors using Maxim DS18S20 and DS18B20 temp sensors. Let me know if you are so inclined, and I'll PM you the open-source one-wire temp software I use.

Seems like it would be straight-forward to add an electrically controlled POT like https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10613 to control the external controller board you purchased. Or, you could use an Arduino based motor controller board instead of the external controller board you purchased. Either way, it would be straight-forward.

I'm currently finalizing an Arduino-based GPS tracker which will report the Van's position, as well as external and internal temps once a minute via wired-internet connected to the Cradlepoint Router & Verizon Mifi in the VAN. I've got a web-service which saves the data to a server. From there, it will be plotted using Google maps APIs.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Energy Audit

I just went through the van and carefully measured the loads of the coach systems. Here is what I got:

(All values in amps @12VDC)

Parasitic loads (gas alarms, inverter idle overhead, etc): .5
Lights:
---Ceiling (8 LEDs) : Max: 1.5 min: .1
---Kitchen (3 LEDs) : .6
---Shelf (2 LEDs): .4
---Reading Lights (1 LED): .1
---Porch Lights (incandescent): 2.5
---Accent Lights (12’ LED strips): 1.1
Media/Aux:
---Idle(USB outlets, radio & TV parasitic, AppleTV, chargers, etc): .7
---Radio/DVD player: .6
---TV: 1.5
---iPhone charging: .4
DataComm (router, antenna amp, etc): 1.2
Heat/Cool
---Espar D5
------circulation pump: .8
------running (high): 3.3
------starting: 7.9
------heater fan
---------low: .2
---------high: .8
---Air Conditioner: 102
---Fantastic Vent
------Low 1.3
------Medium 1.9
------High 2.8
Microwave: 130
Water Pump: 4.4
Refrigerator (NovaKool RFU6800): 6.7 (when running)
Inverter (Idle w/ microwave idle): 2.3
Keurig Coffeemaker: 130 (while heating)
Propane valve: .7
 
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Suza

Member
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.
Wouldn't installing the DBALL void the MB warranty?
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Wouldn't installing the DBALL void the MB warranty?
No, no, NO!!!

Can you find one word in your warranty book that suggests such a thing?

This would be totally illegal in the US. NOTHING you do to your vehicle will "void the warranty" unless it actually CAUSES damage.


Please google "Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act".
 
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camillo

New member
This looks and sounds most awesome. One of my first important questions is whether adding this second alternator voids the warranty. Anyone know?

Having discovered that piggybacking on the Sprinter OEM alternator is a pretty poor way to charge my awesome new battery bank, I took the plunge and purchased a 270 amp dual alternator kit from Nations Starter and Alternator:

View attachment 69606

This is a very high quality product, purpose designed for the OM-651 engine. Everything fit like a glove.

View attachment 69607

View attachment 69608

I ran a new 3/0 AWG wire from the new alternator to the batteries in the back, and mounted the Balmar MC-614 regulator on the firewall.

View attachment 69610

Installed without issues. I am seeing about 207 amps at idle, which is just what Nation's said I would see. At speed, it looks like my four AGMs are willing to accept just shy of 250 amps. Glad I got that fat wire!

I used to be a skeptic about second alternators, but no more. On a good day, I was getting maybe 80 amps from the Sprinter's highly-optimized power system. This is better. :thumbup:
 
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avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
This looks and sounds most awesome. One of my first important questions is whether adding this second alternator voids the warranty. Anyone know?
Pease see my response to the post immediately before yours. Magnuson-Moss makes it illegal in the US for ANY such aftermarket alteration to void your warranty, unless that modification actually causes damage.

In any event, this particular mod is especially clear, for several reasons:
1) This approach actually REDUCES the interaction between your coach and chassis electoral systems, compared with traditional approaches to engine charging. They are not connected in any way
2) The second alternator has NOTHING TO DO with the original alternator or its associated electronics. They aren't even on the same drive belt.
3) MB explicitly provides a mounting point for exactly this purpose. It is actually the OEM-recommended approach.
 
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Davydd

Well-known member
This looks and sounds most awesome. One of my first important questions is whether adding this second alternator voids the warranty. Anyone know?
No. Mercedes Benz Sprinter options include a bracket for adding a second alternator.
 

camillo

New member
Yikes! Took the plunge and ordered the Nations dual alternator kit. I sent Nations a message a few days ago and asked if i could see the instructions before buying and they blew me off. (I know someone posted instrux for the 4 cyl, but I have the 3.0L) Anyone know how different it is?
 
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JFloFoto

Member
Avanti, I'm copying your Viper install, but stuck at the 2-pin header connector to the Canbus you reference w/o much detail. I checked DigiKey and there are literally dozens of shapes for this 2 pin connector. Can you be more specific on type of pin you used, or perhaps provide an item number from DigiKey? TIA
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Avanti, I'm copying your Viper install, but stuck at the 2-pin header connector to the Canbus you reference w/o much detail. I checked DigiKey and there are literally dozens of shapes for this 2 pin connector. Can you be more specific on type of pin you used, or perhaps provide an item number from DigiKey? TIA
As I said, I just found something that fit in my junk box, so I can't help you definitively. However, these are typically referred to as "header connectors", and I am pretty sure they are the same size that are used in various places within standard PCs, such as connecting front-panel LEDs to power supplies, or fans to motherboards.

The connector doesn't have to be exactly the same as Mercedes uses--it just has to fit snugly on the two pins.

If I had to guess, I would try something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-IDC2PIN18-Internal-Motherboard-Header/dp/B007BPO2HE
 

sprinterPaul

Well-known member
I just went through this as well. I used a 3 pin computer power connector that I hacked down to 2 pins. Fit perfect.

I'm not sure what kit you purchased but the remote start (which we can't use ) comes with a small kill switch. I did not use that for my install however it has a 2 pin connector on the end of the switch that would also fit perfect.

Pete's link is probably about the right size (can purchase 100 for $2 on ebay) search mini micro 2 pin connector...

good luck.
 

JFloFoto

Member
Avanti, I'm copying your Viper install, but stuck at the 2-pin header connector to the Canbus you reference w/o much detail. I checked DigiKey and there are literally dozens of shapes for this 2 pin connector. Can you be more specific on type of pin you used, or perhaps provide an item number from DigiKey? TIA
I found the right connector and ordered it off Amazon. Perfect fit.









Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

floydturbo

Folsom, CA 2015 w170ex i4
Viper 5706V install in 2015 with PSM

I followed Avanti's instructions exactly for getting the alarm and dball wired prior to going out to my van. I installed everything under the drivers seat on my van as I have the PSM module and which has can low and high. I ran the antenna/blinking light up the B pillar so the blinking light thing is basically behind and above my head. At first it did not work because the key fob was not synced to the alarm. Now it works perfectly.
 

HarryN

Well-known member
Pete, do you happen to know the actual measurements of the rear "well" compartments? The ones with the batteries in them.

I am trying to figure out if a power system can fit in there.

In particular, is there room for a box that is 21 x 30 x 18 H (inches)

Thanks

Harry
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Pete, do you happen to know the actual measurements of the rear "well" compartments? The ones with the batteries in them.

I am trying to figure out if a power system can fit in there.

In particular, is there room for a box that is 21 x 30 x 18 H (inches)

Thanks

Harry
We are on the road right now. Although I believed that I had every household device known to man in the rig, I apparently overlooked a measuring device. Sorry about that. If you don't hear from me in a week, ping me again.

However, a box that size will almost certainly not fit. If nothing else, I am virtually certain that the depth is less than 18". I have a pair of group 31 batteries in mine, which are 9.5" high. There is some extra space above them, but no way is it another 9".

What you might do is just remove the box and build your own larger box, accessible from below. In a post above, I reported on how I strengthened my box with angle iron. You could use a similar approach for a custom box. Whether there is enough room, I don't know.
 

Suza

Member
Pete, do you happen to know the actual measurements of the rear "well" compartments? The ones with the batteries in them.

I am trying to figure out if a power system can fit in there.

In particular, is there room for a box that is 21 x 30 x 18 H (inches)

Thanks

Harry
I am not familiar with this van, but sometimes the limitation is not in the size of the compartment, but the dimensions of the opening into the compartment.
 

treejay

New member
is there a reason why the main post here doesn't show the photos? Did they get deleted because the initial post is from 5 years ago?
 

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