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Old 02-15-2018, 01:54 AM   #1
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Default Sprinter Smart Alternator

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Interesting article

Mercedes Sprinter Alternator: Voltage, Amperage Under Real Loads at Idle, Charging Rate for Lithium Battery

https://windinmyface.com/Sprinter-Al...r-Primary.html


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Old 02-15-2018, 02:11 AM   #2
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Seems mostly reasonable. Two things, though:

1) I take exception to the statement that a second-alternator is "easier install on the 6 cylinder engine than the 4 cylinder". My only experience is with the 4 (and I assume that the author's only experience is with the 6), however, my understanding is that with the 6, you have to relocate some cooling hoses, which is a pain. The 4 is a simple bolt-on (except for having to tap one existing hole).

2) The alternator on the 6-cylinder Sprinter is not overly "smart" by modern standards. It is true that it is LIN controlled, but the design has been used for a long time. In contrast, the I4 has much more elaborate charging system, with sensors mounted right on the battery, and control algorithms that optimize charging according to instantaneous engine demand, using a strategy akin to regenerative braking. It would be very interesting to have this kind of thorough, data based analysis of the I4's charging abilities. Based on my limited experience, I suspect that it would be much less favorable.
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:14 AM   #3
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I made a couple of pages and bailed.

He is calling the battery capacity in AMPs instead of AH, so his tech credibility is immediately questioned for me.

He is trying to impress everyone with his knowledge so he can get consulting business.

Too much idling and many cold starts which will not be liked by the EGR and DPF. Better longer runs to have the engine warmer, less soot, less oil dilution than cold starts.

He isn't leaving head room at the top of the charge SOC.

He is leaving the batteries connected once charged and wants to float them, which nearly everyone says is bad. Recommended is to disconnect charging, run off batteries to a set recharge level some %SOC down, and then recharge and shut off again.

He can't see his coach battery voltage while driving, but he is an expert on all things charging?

Not particularly impressed myself.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:43 PM   #4
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But, but, but he is from Palo Alto so he is electrically shmart by proximity.

Battery capacity in A is like - I just bought a 1000 SF house in Palo Alto for $25K /month.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:49 PM   #5
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I think he is right about the 2nd alternator being an easier installation on the 6 cylinder Sprinter. Sportsmobile North even told me that they wouldn't install a 2nd alternator on a 4 cylinder. If I remember right, they said that it requires some kind of a odd belt tensioner (I may be wrong about the reason). My 6 cylinder 2nd alternator looks very straightforward and works well. It is probably a moot point anyway depending on what is available now for Sprinters.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:26 PM   #6
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I think he is right about the 2nd alternator being an easier installation on the 6 cylinder Sprinter. Sportsmobile North even told me that they wouldn't install a 2nd alternator on a 4 cylinder. If I remember right, they said that it requires some kind of a odd belt tensioner (I may be wrong about the reason). My 6 cylinder 2nd alternator looks very straightforward and works well. It is probably a moot point anyway depending on what is available now for Sprinters.
The "odd belt tensioner" comes with the Nations' kit and bolts right on. Nothing odd about it at all. As I said, my understanding is that V6 requires relocating coolant hoses, which the I4 does not.
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:09 PM   #7
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For what it is worth, He lost me when he is talking about running at idle the MB diesel for extended periods.

From what I've read of Mercedes actual published docs, they say 5-6 minutes idle maximum or your will clog up the pollution sensors/gear and throw and error code. A friend had to take his to MB to have then clear it!
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:00 PM   #8
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For what it is worth, He lost me when he is talking about running at idle the MB diesel for extended periods.

From what I've read of Mercedes actual published docs, they say 5-6 minutes idle maximum or your will clog up the pollution sensors/gear and throw and error code. A friend had to take his to MB to have then clear it!
I have NEVER seen such a statement in an actual Mercedes document--nothing even close. Do you have a reference?

I do not advocate extended idling, but as far as I can tell, it is just false that MB proscribes it. What they DO say is that extended start-and-stop driving has to be balanced by a period of highway driving in order to allow the DPF to regen. I presume that this applies to idling as well.
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:05 PM   #9
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I have NEVER seen such a statement in an actual Mercedes document--nothing even close. Do you have a reference?

I do not advocate extended idling, but as far as I can tell, it is just false that MB proscribes it. What they DO say is that extended start-and-stop driving has to be balanced by a period of highway driving in order to allow the DPF to regen. I presume that this applies to idling as well.

There is a 5 minute idle limitation mentioned in the latest biodiesel publication from Mercedes. It recommends the 5 minute limit if you must use biodiesel blends of 5-20%.
https://www.mbusa.com/vcm/MB/Digital..._Brochure5.pdf


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Old 02-28-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Boxster1971;68399]There is a 5 minute idle limitation mentioned in the latest biodiesel publication from Mercedes. It recommends the 5 minute limit if you must use biodiesel blends of 5-20%.
https://www.mbusa.com/vcm/MB/Digital..._Brochure5.pdf
/QUOTE]

Yes, that text was added in the 2015 edition of that document. It was not there in 2010.

Using >B5 is a whole separate issue.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:36 AM   #11
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They are still only guidelines if you use B6 to B20. Above B20 is a different story and they tell you right out their warranty will not cover it. If Mercedes Benz pulls selling diesels in Minnesota then you will know they are serious. They still sell Sprinters in Minnesota.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:26 AM   #12
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They are still only guidelines if you use B6 to B20. Above B20 is a different story and they tell you right out their warranty will not cover it. If Mercedes Benz pulls selling diesels in Minnesota then you will know they are serious. They still sell Sprinters in Minnesota.

Sprinters are the only vehicles Mercedes now sells in USA with a diesel engine. Since biodiesel up to B20 is now common in many states the 5 minute idle limit seems like a good recommendation to follow.


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Old 03-01-2018, 02:23 PM   #13
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MB has several guidelines that are difficult to be met in Minnesota.


• Fill up with ULSD (B5 or less) whenever possible, from a name brand fuel station.

For one you can't buy B5 or less diesel at least at your local service station. They don't tell you at the pump what the percentage really is but so far it was not over 10% but now this year could be 20%. So good luck with the topping off guideline.

• Regularly monitor your engine oil level if you have no choice but to use B20 fuel.

This is vague. They don't tell you what you are suppose to be monitoring. Most people would assume that you have to keep oil levels topped off. It is excess from unburned fuel getting into your oil that you monitor but how do you monitor that when people assume oil is going to burn down in level, get dirty, and unburned fuel just keeps it topped off. I've never checked it where it was over topped off.

• Strictly follow the oil change intervals quoted in the instrument cluster and within your maintenance booklet, and use ONLY engine oils and lters approved by Mercedes-Benz for use in the vehicle.

Not a problem if you get your service at a Mercedes Benz dealer. What they don't tell you is their 20,000 service interval is a maximum. If you use B5-B20 you should get your oil changed more frequently, but they don't tell you.

• If you do not plan to drive your vehicle for several weeks, ll your vehicle’s fuel tank completely in advance with ULSD fuel.

Same as the first guideline. Where are you going to top off?

• Limit engine idling time to five minutes or as mandated by local ordinance.

I don't think they have discontinued selling high-idle options or brackets for a second alternator in Minnesota. Both those items are potentially contrary to this guideline. I don't idle anyway, but there is a misconception that a second alternator is only for that reason. I'll get the second alternator but will probably eschew the high idle option unless a gas engine. I can start an ARV and idle it with the standard MB key fob not inserted. I could do without the auto start feature with that being a rare occurrence essentially not needed when you have a high ah capacity lithium ion battery bank.

Of course they are biding time on the Sprinter with these guidelines. When the new Sprinters come out they will probably discontinue selling diesels in Minnesota. But what is an RVer to do if buying out of state or if an RV company does not offer the gas option? South Carolina says they are still going to install the two diesel engines.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:35 AM   #14
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Interesting article as read it all until it got to the page about Solar and just couldn't read anymore. Being experienced in solar and doing these type of modifications and working with batteries for a living all my life I wondered what experience he has with solar to make you believe it is a fairy tale to purchase and use.

Solar is a upfront investment but once paid for it basically pays you back slowly and allows you the option to go off grid for a longer period of time. Plus if he added this to his sprinter he would lower the wear and tear on his engine and safe fuel.

I joined this forum just to add a response and will participate by learning and share my experience.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:16 PM   #15
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I've concluded somewhat that when you have a large lithium-ion battery bank (mine is 800ah) and second fast charging alternator that solar is not a factor in the energy equation. I have 420w of solar panels as well. My next B may not have solar at all as I am contemplating three skylights in a short Sprinter. I couldn't duplicate 420w again anyway with other roof real estate requirements desired and a 5 foot shorter van. Any solar would just be a feel good vanity item.

Solar may help in long term storage but that is mooted if you store inside. They may help in storage outside but in Minnesota just this week they would have been clear of snow cover since January. Even so I couldn't count on solar stored in the past in a heavy forest setting. Then I've concluded long term storage of a lithium ion RV in a cold climate needs shore power anyway. I store inside now.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:48 PM   #16
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I've concluded somewhat that when you have a large lithium-ion battery bank (mine is 800ah) and second fast charging alternator that solar is not a factor in the energy equation. I have 420w of solar panels as well. My next B may not have solar at all as I am contemplating three skylights in a short Sprinter. I couldn't duplicate 420w again anyway with other roof real estate requirements desired and a 5 foot shorter van. Any solar would just be a feel good vanity item.

Solar may help in long term storage but that is mooted if you store inside. They may help in storage outside but in Minnesota just this week they would have been clear of snow cover since January. Even so I couldn't count on solar stored in the past in a heavy forest setting. Then I've concluded long term storage of a lithium ion RV in a cold climate needs shore power anyway. I store inside now.

Do you plan to have an aux fuel tank?
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:42 PM   #17
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Do you plan to have an aux fuel tank?
??? Fuel for what? I am unaware of auxiliary diesel tanks from MB.
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Old 03-04-2018, 09:18 AM   #18
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800AH of lithium in a class b is a heck of alot of Amp Hours. What kind of operation are you operating out in the woods an electronic distillery.

The helicopters above may catch a reflection off those solar panels as that is what you are really trying to say. But I am wondering how you keep the steam from rising?

Your right as in your case you have apparently done it all and know what is best. I am sure with your setup you got the proper equipment to keep these battery's charging at the correct voltage.

The fellow with the blog didn't have the correct setup as he is running straight off the battery at 14.2 volts Max which will never completely charge these battery's I assume the majority of the time as even the battery manufacture informed him of that too. By adding a few panels he just might help these batteries with a good charge controller at 14.6v. Thanks

Plus what is a few hundred bucks these panels and charge controller cost plus wiring compared to his $8-10k setup he has now.
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Old 03-04-2018, 01:21 PM   #19
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One thing that we have seen to see more and more is that the manufacturers are saying that it is best to not go to 100% charge for the lithium batteries, especially if they are going to be just sitting afterward without discharging. That would indicate that the charging be stopped earlier than a full time charge to 14.6v charge would give. Since lithium will not show much of a voltage drop once the charger is removed, and there is no true constant voltage (absorption) stage, most would cut off by voltage while still in the current dropping leg of the charge curve. It can also be done by sensing current. At this point the voltage is rising quickly and the current is falling quickly. Stopping at 95-98% seems to be pretty common, but IIRC davydd may have a bit more cushion than that. While the not going full helps to match alternator output voltage better, it doesn't do anything for the very inconsistent voltage out of most them, so good regulation is required, like we see with Balmar's being put on all the second alternator setups, although a Balmar does not do a full shutoff of charging like lithium is usually recommended to have, and that has to be done by separate controls.

This is the kind of stuff that the internal BMS systems don't do, for the most part, and why I think the more integrated complete systems we are starting to see will eventually prevail for all serious systems.
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:10 PM   #20
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800AH of lithium in a class b is a heck of alot of Amp Hours. What kind of operation are you operating out in the woods an electronic distillery.

The helicopters above may catch a reflection off those solar panels as that is what you are really trying to say. But I am wondering how you keep the steam from rising?

Your right as in your case you have apparently done it all and know what is best. I am sure with your setup you got the proper equipment to keep these battery's charging at the correct voltage.

The fellow with the blog didn't have the correct setup as he is running straight off the battery at 14.2 volts Max which will never completely charge these battery's I assume the majority of the time as even the battery manufacture informed him of that too. By adding a few panels he just might help these batteries with a good charge controller at 14.6v. Thanks

Plus what is a few hundred bucks these panels and charge controller cost plus wiring compared to his $8-10k setup he has now.
I've left the details to Advanced RV and after more than three years with my system in a difficult climate for cold weather (Minnesota) I am satisfied with what they are doing and have done. They have many videos in what they are doing and they share the information. Mind you I have benefitted for the past three years and not speculation in the future.

As to what kind of operation, I have mentioned it several times. Freedom of travel and choice of where to stop and stay. I seldom ever have to need shore power. In fact I don't need it at all but have my microwave/convection oven, Keurig coffee maker and 110v appliance always ready. Often we brew two cups of coffee while filling up at the pump at a service station. Most importantly, it is transparent how I use the van electrically down to the many 110v duplex outlets alway powered. We can stay easily three days at one place without moving or idling the van. That's the most I can tolerate sitting at one place anyway. We can with, with careful husbanding of electrical last up to a week that way. But transparency means also not to worry about your electrical use. There is no Onan generator or propane in our van.

We have two electrically operated articulating beds/lay-z-boy loungers with individual infinite adjustment off foot, back and neck, or hospital beds for reference since they were custom designed from a Leggett and Platt base. The operate on 110v which is probably why we leave the inverter powered all the time. Transparency again. We share that feature with other Advanced RV owners but I conceived the idea and Advanced RV executed it. It makes all the difference in comfort especially when taking long trips. We don't sacrifice the comforts of home in an admittedly very small space Class B. That extends down to the large two-door compressor refrigerator/freezer where I have room for half gallon containers of ice cream instead of pop cycles.
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