All of this info is current as of three years ago when we bought our coach -- options may have changed since then.Hi Chromisdesigns,
When you say "Get the second battery option" do you mean to get four 6 volt batteries instead of standard two 6 volts? With a solar panel option (160W for $1495 extra), wouldn't four batteries be an overkill? (or am I showing my ignorance). 160W with 12V (with loss) is less than 10 Amps (?). Or do the generator (propane or diesel) charge the batteries? (again I may be showing my ignorance) I suppose more batteries are better than less...particularly if shore power is not available.
What is the advantage of the manual awning versus a power one, excluding the price of power awning option at $2960? Less to go wrong I am sure, but how does one extend the manual awning? Even the manual awning is probably not free...how much did you save?
We plan on asking Coach House to remove the TV and blue ray player, but keep all the other peripherals such as wiring, antenna, speakers, etc. I think this is a good idea on your part.
The Platinum II comes with two Fantastic Fans with rain sensors. Are you suggesting to get another type of a fan or another type of a vent cover?
The standard inverter is rated at 1,000 W. Why did you option for 600 W inverter? Aren't higher rated inverters better than a lower rated one? (or am I showing my ignorance again?). If the two 6V batteries are rated at 220 amp hours and assuming 50% usage, 110 amp hours x 12 volts = 1,320 watts...is 1,000 watt inverter enough? As with solar panels and generators...this stuff is confusing.
Other than what you recommended, I plan on adding the following:
(1) Heating Pads for grey and black tanks
(2) Stabilizer Jacks (will increase GVW by approximately 85 lbs.)
(3) Wifi Amplifier
(4) Solar Panel (160W...probably only good as a "trickle charger.")
(5) Auto-starting generator switch (to save our two cats left in our van during our absence).
I am still debating whether nor not to order a diesel generator (weighs 27 lbs. more) in lieu of propane. Any thoughts on this?
Also, still debating on adding a macerator pump. The wife wants it, but I am leaning towards not adding this as an option. Any thoughts on this?
Also, anybody order extra seatbelt sets on these vans...or most of you traveling just as a couple with no additional passengers. Stock Platinum II only comes with two sets of seatbelts.
Also debating on Alcoa aluminum wheels. Are these worth it?
Standard house battery was a single 12v 100 ah battery. "second battery" option replaced that with dual 6v, 220 ah lifeline agm batteries for over twice as much capacity. We have used the additional run time on many occasions.
Now there may also be a lithium battery option, if so you should consider it. Lithiums while expensive nearly double useable capacity of an equivalent lead acid battery, and weigh about half as much.
Batteries are charged by driving from the alternator, shore power via battery charger, or generator via battery charger, or solar.
Inverter size is determined by how much current you need. To run microwave, coffee pots, etc. you need a big one, 2000 watt probably. We just use ours to charge our iThings, etc. so got the minimum size they offered at the time.
We like our manual awning, I think it was about $1600 installed. Comes with a detachable crank, you just crank it out, lower the support legs, and you are done. One less motor to die.
You can get a vent cover that works with the fantastic fans. The problem with the rain sensor is that someday either it or the lift motor will fail, and you will get wet. I just finished replacing a lift motor in our rear fan. Also it is nice to be able to crack them in a rainstorm and let in some fresh air, Without the vent cover you have to close them completely.
The 160W solar panel is good for more than a trickle charger, btw. If you camp in sunny places, it will go a long way toward keeping your batteries topped up. That's the one option we didn't get that I have since regretted passing over.
Tank heaters we got, but have only used once or twice. They run on 12v so if you don't have shore power will eat the batteries pretty fast.
Diesel vs LP generator is a hard choice. If you plan on running it a lot, the diesel makes sense, costs less to run, runs longer on the same amount of fuel, and requires less frequent rebuilds. But the initial cost is a lot more.
I didn't know CH offered auto-start option on generator. How does it work? If it is based on battery levels like the ones in class a motor homes, then it is only useful if you have a big enough inverter and battery bank to run the air conditioner from the inverter, starting the generator as needed to bring the batteries back up. With the stock batteries you might just as well run the generator all the time while you are running A/C away from shore power.
Not sure this is practical without lithium batteries and probably a second bank, as well.
Everybody I know who has had a macerator pump loves it right up until it quits, which they all do. Then they hate it. The stinky slinky has no moving parts to clog or fail. Dumping only takes a few minutes. I vote no macerator pump.