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Old 10-14-2018, 08:50 AM   #1
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Question How is this design? / Espar? Mule bags? Cruise 130?

Hi all

QUESTIONS

one) Is anyone using the Adventure Wagon MULE Overhead Storage Locker bags for pantry stuff?
(see below for details)

two) What do folks think of the design (see below)

three) Any alternatives to the Espar (gasoline) for hot water for the shower?

four) Anyone have a ISOTHERM Cruise 130? How is it?

DETAILS:

After considering at a full interior build (too expensive)….. and also a ‘basecamp’ build… I think we have settled on something sort of half way in-between.

Below is the what we would like to do.

I’d welcome any thoughts as to what I may be missing / any oversights.

The build will likely be either Sportsmobile Fresno… or American Van Works Stanton CA.

THE THINGS WE ARE 100% SET ON:

22’ high roof 3.5 EcoBoost Transit gasoline. (ordered to our exact specifications)

Dynamat or RoadKill for sound dampening. (SMB recommends either one)

‘extreme weather insulation’ (for both heat and cold) (what SMB calls it)

single Captains chair behind the driver for our daughter. Ideally with swivel, if that is possible (tbd)

Dual slider doors. (if we can do that, with the bathroom where it is in attached image - ?)

No black tank. (Port a Potty instead)

Espar gasoline for hot air.

VERY LIKELY:

Solar panel(s) on the roof, controller

Aux. Battery Kit w/ Std Deep cycle 105 amp hr group 31 or 27 battery

Shore power

Built in surge protector

Inverter - 2000 or 2,800 watts.

Awning over passenger slider.

bathroom (shower) 24” x 36” or 24” x 33” (SMW recommends either)
bifold door on shower - due to clearance issue.
Maxx fan in bathroom.

Espar gasoline for hot water [showers only] (unless there is a better option?)

Grey tank.

No blank tank. (Port a Potty instead)

MOAB Elevator Bed for Transit - big brown rectangle in attached image.
This would give us flexibility if we wanted to haul stuff.

https://adventurewagon.com/collectio...ed-for-transit


Our daughter would sleep on the floor, partially or wholly under the MOAB bed, on a mattress on the floor.

windows in the sliders, and an opening window in the shower stall, but no *big* windows rear of that.
small awning windows, up high, on either side.

ISOTHERM Cruise 130 Elegance (or similar) Refrigerator on passenger side.

For storage - MULE Overhead Storage Lockers ($400 each, flexible)
mounted to L Track. More flexible and much cheaper than cabinets.

https://adventurewagon.com/collectio...ker-light-grey

POSSIBLY:

Pedestal with sink + single burner propane burner, 2 gallon fresh jug below, 2 gallon grey below, manual hand pump for water, connection for disposable small propane talk below. Self contained.
In “Cabinet E” or “Galley” in the attached image.

Safari Straps to contain anything in the garage, below the MOAB bed.

Thanks for any and all thoughts

John
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Old 10-14-2018, 11:35 AM   #2
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It might be preferable for your daughter to sleep either across or back to front the front seats if you can make or buy a bed to fit across there. Perhaps a triangular shaped bed incorporating the third seat for support if she's tall so she would have lots of room diagonally. Some examples:

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...html#post60224

Roadtrek Front Bed Setup

That will give you more storage under the bed and unimpeded aisle access to the bathroom and exit doors. The floor soon gets dusty/dirty in my van and would also likely be the coldest area.

You could save some money by going with a 3 stage converter to charge the batteries instead of an inverter/charger. I like the idea of a high powered inverter but it's probably not necessary in your design as you don't have a microwave oven or air conditioner etc. and don't have the battery capacity to supports item like that.
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Old 10-14-2018, 12:21 PM   #3
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If you use an Espar hydronic system such as the D5, you can use the same hydronic loop for cabin heat and on-demand hot water (using a flash-plate heat exchanger). The Rixen's system in our Great West van (also used by ARV) works that way.
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Old 10-14-2018, 02:34 PM   #4
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You may want to take a good look at projected power use vs your use patterns.


A single gp31 is only in the 120ah range, so the 2000 to 2800 watt inverter would really only be able to run with the engine on, and only if the wiring is large enough to supply 100 amp to the coach. The Isotherm will likely use 30-70ah of battery per day, leaving little for anything else.


I thing you will need more battery, at least double, probably the more common two 6 volt golf cart batteries that are in the 220ah range. You need to be able to recharge them reliably so that is part of the use pattern and equipment, so shore charger if you often plug in, solar for at least some of the recharge capacity, and some sort of generator for the rest if the others can't keep up.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great thoughts so far.

And

P.s I am not sure if the brown rectangle is the correct size for the MOAB bed.

Might be a little bit long. Front to back.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great ideas.... we bought an inflatable bed for her to sleep across the front beds in a rented Sprinter... unsure as to how well it would fit in a Transit. I seem to recall it says "fits Sprinter and Ram"

but perhaps we could make it work. Or something similar. She said it was very comfortable, and she loved it.

and

I should have mentioned - I would likely end up sometimes camping / traveling by myself, and carrying a very large amount of electronics with me, so i'll need the 2,000 or better yet 2,800 watt inverter... for running the gear for maybe 5 hours max.... any guesses as to what sort of battery capacity needed to pull that off?

guess I had better do a spread sheet of the gear power draw to calculate the watts drawn by each piece of electronics.

thanks


Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
It might be preferable for your daughter to sleep either across or back to front the front seats if you can make or buy a bed to fit across there. Perhaps a triangular shaped bed incorporating the third seat for support if she's tall so she would have lots of room diagonally. Some examples:

http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f8...html#post60224

Roadtrek Front Bed Setup

That will give you more storage under the bed and unimpeded aisle access to the bathroom and exit doors. The floor soon gets dusty/dirty in my van and would also likely be the coldest area.

You could save some money by going with a 3 stage converter to charge the batteries instead of an inverter/charger. I like the idea of a high powered inverter but it's probably not necessary in your design as you don't have a microwave oven or air conditioner etc. and don't have the battery capacity to supports item like that.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
If you use an Espar hydronic system such as the D5, you can use the same hydronic loop for cabin heat and on-demand hot water (using a flash-plate heat exchanger). The Rixen's system in our Great West van (also used by ARV) works that way.
Thanks much... are you happy with how your Rixen system works?

Could you post the exact model #? if that is easy.

do you happen to know if there is a *gas* 2 in 1 Espar unit, as you mention?

any downsides to your setup?

Thanks. I'm a bit confused as someone (evidently incorrectly) told me you always needed two separate Espars to do what we want.

thanks.
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
You may want to take a good look at projected power use vs your use patterns.


A single gp31 is only in the 120ah range, so the 2000 to 2800 watt inverter would really only be able to run with the engine on, and only if the wiring is large enough to supply 100 amp to the coach. The Isotherm will likely use 30-70ah of battery per day, leaving little for anything else.


I thing you will need more battery, at least double, probably the more common two 6 volt golf cart batteries that are in the 220ah range. You need to be able to recharge them reliably so that is part of the use pattern and equipment, so shore charger if you often plug in, solar for at least some of the recharge capacity, and some sort of generator for the rest if the others can't keep up.
Thanks Booster

as i just posted above - I should have mentioned - I would likely end up sometimes camping / traveling by myself, and carrying a very large amount of electronics with me, so i'll need the 2,000 or better yet 2,800 watt inverter... for running the gear for maybe 5 hours max.... any guesses as to what sort of battery capacity needed to pull that off?

guess I had better do a spread sheet of the gear power draw to calculate the watts drawn by each piece of electronics.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:02 PM   #9
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We have the 22' Transit. With a full-length bed - that is: 76" longitudinal, there is only room for the sink and stovetop before getting to the sliding door opening. I'm afraid that your current design may not have sufficient room to exit via the sliders. You might also ensure that you can reach and open the rear doors regardless of the bed position so that you can exit in a hurry if the front is blocked.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:06 PM   #10
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1200 watts is 100 amps, so that would be 500ah in 5 hours if you pulled it all the time, so you would need a lot of battery if you do average that much for 5 hours. At least 800ah, I would guess, and a way to charge that much use back up in a reasonable length of time. If you use that much for multiple days, that is a lot of charging needed. Solar wouldn't be able to keep up, so you are down to having an engine generator, shore power, or gas generator to cover either the use as it happens, or to recover the batteries once you use that much power.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngeles View Post
Thanks much... are you happy with how your Rixen system works?

Could you post the exact model #? if that is easy.

do you happen to know if there is a *gas* 2 in 1 Espar unit, as you mention?

any downsides to your setup?

Thanks. I'm a bit confused as someone (evidently incorrectly) told me you always needed two separate Espars to do what we want.

thanks.
It is the Rixen's MCS5:
http://www.rixens.com/wp-content/upl...stallation.pdf

Yes, there is a gas version of the D5. Doesn't seem to be common in the US, but it exists. The Rixen's website mentions it, so I assume they carry it.

I consider this setup nearly perfect. The only thing I didn't like was that the Rixen's controller had only a 2-speed fan on the water/air heat exchanger. I fixed that by adding a PCM fan control module from Ebay. The D5 can be a little noisy if you are parked next to a tent camper. Not bad, though. Certainly OK inside the van.

Some people (GeorgeRa may chime in here) prefer two separate units. The D2 air heater by all accounts is most excellent. But it certainly can be done with one. The instant unlimited hot water the the flash-plate exchanger provides is hard to beat. The Rixen's system also has a 120VAC heating element in the expansion tank for when you have shore power.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoebe3 View Post
We have the 22' Transit. With a full-length bed - that is: 76" longitudinal, there is only room for the sink and stovetop before getting to the sliding door opening. I'm afraid that your current design may not have sufficient room to exit via the sliders. You might also ensure that you can reach and open the rear doors regardless of the bed position so that you can exit in a hurry if the front is blocked.
Heya Phoebe3.

Sportsmobile Fresno told us it is OK for the galley area to partially block the slider, and I'm OK with that...

plus the fridge would be in the galley area, not aft of the shower....

so I *think* we can showhorn in our design. Just

Also - your shower stall is 42" long.... SMB was encouraging us to do 24 x 33" to save space. a full 9" less than yours....

I think i'd be ok with 33", especially as the PortAPotty would be moved to the aisle for taking a shower, so it would not be in the way of feet during a shower. I would also consider NOT having a sink in the shower area, maybe... to avoid hip checking it when moving around in there.

Hmmm... so many options.

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Old 10-14-2018, 05:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
It is the Rixen's MCS5:
http://www.rixens.com/wp-content/upl...stallation.pdf

Yes, there is a gas version of the D5. Doesn't seem to be common in the US, but it exists. The Rixen's website mentions it, so I assume they carry it.

I consider this setup nearly perfect. The only thing I didn't like was that the Rixen's controller had only a 2-speed fan on the water/air heat exchanger. I fixed that by adding a PCM fan control module from Ebay. The D5 can be a little noisy if you are parked next to a tent camper. Not bad, though. Certainly OK inside the van.

Some people (GeorgeRa may chime in here) prefer two separate units. The D2 air heater by all accounts is most excellent. But it certainly can be done with one. The instant unlimited hot water the the flash-plate exchanger provides is hard to beat. The Rixen's system also has a 120VAC heating element in the expansion tank for when you have shore power.
Thanks so much Avanti - Rixen's MCS5 (gas version) seems like just what we would want. Barring any unknown big downsides... I would like to have just one unit to maintain.

does your Rixen MCS5 have this instant hot water flash-plate exchanger? Sounds great for a shower.

Can you set your Rixen MCS5 to a non-scalding temperature, so you basically can just turn on the hot water and not mess around with blending cold? (thus wasting a bunch of water and grey tank capacity)

Would you advise bothering with an outdoor shower hookup at the rear doors, so in a shower tent we could have a hot shower outside the van? We already own the shower tent.

and... anyone know of an authorized Rixen dealer near Los Angeles, for the inevitable maintenance, repairs, etc? I hear they can occasionally be fussy.

thanks.

John
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngeles View Post
does your Rixen MCS5 have this instant hot water flash-plate exchanger? Sounds great for a shower.
Yes. It is great.
Quote:
Can you set your Rixen MCS5 to a non-scalding temperature, so you basically can just turn on the hot water and not mess around with blending cold? (thus wasting a bunch of water and grey tank capacity)
Yes. It is installed with a standard tempering valve, so you can set it to whatever temperature you like.
Quote:
Would you advise bothering with an outdoor shower hookup at the rear doors, so in a shower tent we could have a hot shower outside the van? We already own the shower tent.
That one is up to you.
Quote:
and... anyone know of an authorized Rixen dealer near Los Angeles, for the inevitable maintenance, repairs, etc? I hear they can occasionally be fussy.
You don't really need a Rixen's dealer (they are tiny, anyway). What you want is an Espar service center. There are lots around, since they are commonly used in big rigs. Many Thermo King shops do Espars competently.
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Old 10-14-2018, 08:14 PM   #15
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This subject comes often so while on the plane I had some time to burn. Here is the comparison of Espar Airtronic and Hydronic combo versus just an Espar Hydronic system. I don’t remember prices from Rixen, just remember that during my decision a few years back the Rixen system was expensive.

Too bad that an Excel file can’t be uploaded.

Have fun.
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Old 10-14-2018, 08:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
This subject comes often so while on the plane I had some time to burn. Here is the comparison of Espar Airtronic and Hydronic combo versus just an Espar Hydronic system. I don’t remember prices from Rixen, just remember that during my decision a few years back the Rixen system was expensive.

Too bad that an Excel file can’t be uploaded.

Have fun.
wow - cool - I'll have to study this

thanks!!!
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:52 PM   #17
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Spoke with the makers of MULE bags and they said in a High Roof Transit the Mule bags work just fine.
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
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...your shower stall is 42" long.... SMB was encouraging us to do 24 x 33" to save space. a full 9" less than yours....

I think i'd be ok with 33", especially as the PortAPotty would be moved to the aisle for taking a shower, so it would not be in the way of feet during a shower. I would also consider NOT having a sink in the shower area...
Our current Sportsmobile Sprinter has the smaller 24x33" shower stall (no sink). It's plenty roomy for showering when the PortaPotti is moved into the aisle.

Previously we had a SMB with the 24x39" bathroom, cassette toilet and small sink. The cassette toilet seat could be swiveled out of the way but showering was still more cramped than the smaller stall minus PortaPotti. The toilet sink was just wasted space from our perspective.

Some long-legged SMB owners with PortaPotti Curve toilets have mentioned their knees hit the opposite wall in the 24x33" shower. We haven't experience that problem but our PortaPotti is the 465E model that's more rectangular in shape than the Curve.
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Old 10-19-2018, 11:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockymtnb View Post
Our current Sportsmobile Sprinter has the smaller 24x33" shower stall (no sink). It's plenty roomy for showering when the PortaPotti is moved into the aisle.

Previously we had a SMB with the 24x39" bathroom, cassette toilet and small sink. The cassette toilet seat could be swiveled out of the way but showering was still more cramped than the smaller stall minus PortaPotti. The toilet sink was just wasted space from our perspective.

Some long-legged SMB owners with PortaPotti Curve toilets have mentioned their knees hit the opposite wall in the 24x33" shower. We haven't experience that problem but our PortaPotti is the 465E model that's more rectangular in shape than the Curve.
awesome info - thanks

I'm trying to find that 465E model on Amazon - and no luck so far.... does anyone have a link?

i see the Curve is the "new" model - has anyone bought the 465E model recently?

is maybe discontinued..

how does this new model compare to your 465E ?

https://www.thetford.com/product/campa-potti-xg/
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:30 AM   #20
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i see the Curve is the "new" model - has anyone bought the 465E model recently?
is maybe discontinued..
how does this new model compare to your 465E ?
I believe you are correct and Thetford's more recent Curve model has replaced the more rectangular 465e. In terms of shape and size I think the most similar current model would be the 550p though it has a manual pump rather than electric (battery power).

In Thetford's product lineup they've had three series:
  • Porta-Potti Curve / e series - Electric pump, recent models seem to be the 'Curve' design.
  • Porta-Potti p series - Manual piston pump. Previously these were just manual pump versions of the e series.
  • Campa-Potti - Lower end bellows pump series.
I actually think the rectangular units are more space efficient inside a van than the newer Curve units, although not as stylish perhaps.
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