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Old 10-07-2015, 04:09 PM   #81
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When I go to this site Nations they show a replacement 270 amp alternator that just drops into the stock location.

Question: Why would I install a second alternator instead of just upgrading the stock one?
What DavyDD says. In my 2014 Sprinter I4 I have a 200 amp OEM alternator from the factory. Nonetheless, I was lucky to see 80 amps charging before my upgrade--usually much less. It isn't that the alternator was too small, it is that the Mercedes software carefully manages the power system to maximize fuel economy. This means that it modulates the alternator output (which BTW participates in the vehicle's CANbus) such that there is often very little current available for the coach battery. At least that was my experience.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:10 PM   #82
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Personally, I would use solar for more than just maintenance during storage. For AGM batteries, I would use the aux engine generator / Balmer to handle full charging while driving and to handle the bulk charge, if needed, in the morning when boon-docking, then I would use the solar to handle absorption charge during the day to top off the batteries. This would minimize the need for running the engine when boondocking for those times when solar cannot top off the batteries on its own every day. Would require more solar watts than a system sized for battery maintenance during storage but for me it would be worth it.

By the way, Jim Hammill has been pretty clear that he would just as soon never install another Onan generator in a Roadtrek if he could and I don't think it is simply to increase profits from their alternative, I think he just us fed up with all the problems and wasted space from the Onans.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:22 PM   #83
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Personally, I would use solar for more than just maintenance during storage. For AGM batteries, I would use the aux engine generator / Balmer to handle full charging while driving and to handle the bulk charge, if needed, in the morning when boon-docking, then I would use the solar to handle absorption charge during the day to top off the batteries. This would minimize the need for running the engine when boondocking for those times when solar cannot top off the batteries on its own every day. Would require more solar watts than a system sized for battery maintenance during storage but for me it would be worth it.
I don't really disagree. I have 140 watts of solar and my system would certainly behave more or less as you describe it. It is just that I typically do enough driving that the solar contribution is probably minimal most of the time. I was really just trying to make clear that the Balmar is capable of doing a proper bulk->absorption->float charge regimen.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:31 PM   #84
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The real issue for solar with me is that right now we travel a lot around the Great Lakes and we prefer to camp in the forest under the trees, not conducive to great solar charging. No point in adding it at the moment.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:59 PM   #85
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Oh yes, the pearl clutching about dumping your gray on the ground.

I'm not talking about doing it in campgrounds, state parks and other high traffic camping areas. And it's not illegal in most places. It's essentially unregulated in most places. There are many places where household gray water is used, untreated, to water landscaping and even gardens.

I suppose you don't wash your car in your driveway either. Ever wonder what kind of phosphates and other non-biodegradable, toxic substances are in that 100 gallons or thereabouts of wash water and where it goes?
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:19 PM   #86
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I expect they also stick with the Onan because it provides a simple way to run the AC when not plugged in, no need for larger inverter....
That makes sense; but even with that, personally I would prefer either a large enough inverter, or doing without, but I can understand that logic. I can hear a potential customer saying "I'm not buying this RV because I want to be able to run my air conditioner whenever I want"..

Personally, I'm not really entirely sure I even need an air conditioner...
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:25 PM   #87
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In the three years we have had our van we have probably used the air conditioner 4 or 5 times and only long enough to cool things down quickly before switching to the roof fan for cooling. Of course we very rarely travel anywhere the temperature is high enough to need an air conditioner to keep things cool. We could very well live without it.
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Old 10-07-2015, 05:55 PM   #88
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I wouldn't argue too strongly with anyone who prefers gravity dump (although I personally can't see it). If we stipulate that, then I agree that two tanks make sense. My arguments assume a macerator. If you have one, there is no particular reason to "flush your hoses". Even then, the "bad stuff" dumps first, since it is denser.

Not sure what to say about dumping gray water on the ground. In this day and age I find it totally unacceptable. In any event it is illegal most places. (National Forests technically permit it, but only after straining and then require "wide dispersement". They are clearly talking about tent campers, not tank dumpers.)

As for tank placement, we have discussed that before. There is zero loss of flexibility. You could even have multiple interconnected tanks if you really wanted to. My old Airstream Interstate had a single tank. My current Legend sadly has two. They very easily could have been a single large tank, which would have saved space and money.

[I really didn't want to bring this up again, except as an example of the "conservatism" point. IMO, it served well for that purpose.]
I would love the options of junking the Onan for a second alternator and a combined tank. Our black tank experiences far more use than the gray tank. But how does a macerator impact shower use in campgrounds? When you gravity dump, all you have to do is open up the gray and shower away as long as your water heater can keep up. Do most macerator setups allow you to leave the gray tank open so your shower is not limited to the tank size?
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:04 PM   #89
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There are some macerator setups that have a grey water bypass option, maybe not on any Class Bs. On Roadtreks there is no way to drain the grey tank except with the macerator running. If you dumped the grey before your shower on our size tanks you would have 20 gallons to hold your shower water if you had a continuous hot water heater. I am sure our standard 6 gal hot water tank would run out before you filled the grey tank.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:48 PM   #90
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My dump setup has 3" drain fitting as a backup (never used it, so far). You can get a cap that has a hose fitting on it, so I could connect a garden hose if I ever wanted to take long showers:

IMG_5794.jpg
(this is upstream of the macerator)

As for graywater, if you believe that it is OK to dump it, I know from experience that I am unlikely to be able to convince you otherwise, so I guess you will do what you see fit. You should check your facts on the "largely unregulated" claim, though.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:01 PM   #91
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Our Roadtrek also has the 3" drain fitting backup but it is under the center of the van and not very easy to get to, so probably not feasible on ours. Looks like it would work good on yours.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:24 PM   #92
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Oh yes, the pearl clutching about dumping your gray on the ground

I think it is only fair if you are going to use technical jargon to provide us lay-people a wiki definition / link at minimum so we can keep up.

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Old 10-07-2015, 07:50 PM   #93
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Pearl clutching: how the phrase became a feminist blog cliché.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:42 PM   #94
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That would be an interesting project Eric. I see they also have an option for upgraded wiring kit - says 2 AWG.

Wonder if that would be a truly drop in and you wouldn't need to change anything else and just get quicker recharging times on your existing batteries, or would further changes be needed.

I doubt it's enough power to drive an inverter and power the overhead air conditioner.
I don't know if the PM van has the same kind of management system the MB vans have that limits the output of the alternator and thereby making the alternator upgrade pointless.

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Old 10-08-2015, 12:17 AM   #95
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Maserator or gravity I still like the ability to flush the hose with grey after black so gunk doesn't build up in the hoses. Yes you can connect a maserator hose up and open the valve with unlimited showering without running the maserator. With the city water hookup and the instant hot water with the diesel fired Espar Rixsen heat exchanger we have it can be shower room luxurious if you desire. only we can't do that in a Walmart parking lot where we are right now.

I confirmed this afternoon Advanced RV does use the Balmar voltage regulator. I don't think they sourced it from Nations as a kit. They said they custom programmed it for their lithium ion batteries. The Balmar is capable of temperature sensing so as not to burn out the alternator. ARV also has ducted air cooling for the second alternator.

When we had our Great West Van over 4 years and 65,000 miles we put a total of 14 hours on the Onan. I was happy to eliminate it. We just topped 23,000 miles and 111 nights so far and we have yet to run our air conditioning but to test it. If you live north and travel smartly the whole idea of generators and air conditioning is way over blown. I can't imagine running Onan for air conditioning in the remote serene quiet wilderness people express for boondocking. For god's sake seek out a Yogi Bear campground and plug in to shore power if you are that anal about it.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:46 AM   #96
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Here is another thought for separate black and grey tanks. All three Bs I've had had a black tank raised higher than the the bathroom floor drain. If they were the same tank you could have backup on the floor. Also when driving in hilly and mountainous country we often have to fill the bathroom floor trap when the trap water sloshes out. That smell is very noticeable but it is nothing like a black tank smell.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:00 AM   #97
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Here is another thought for separate black and grey tanks. All three Bs I've had had a black tank raised higher than the the bathroom floor drain. If they were the same tank you could have backup on the floor. Also when driving in hilly and mountainous country we often have to fill the bathroom floor trap when the trap water sloshes out. That smell is very noticeable but it is nothing like a black tank smell.
Just as an aside: Our old Airstream Interstate (the one with the single tank) had a shower drain that used one of those tub drains that toggle sealed and open alternatively when you push it. Not a bad solution to the "slosh" issue. We did have to remember to toggle it open and closed at appropriate times, though.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:02 AM   #98
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Roadtrek uses a drain in the sinks and shower with a strainer insert that screws down to seal the drain when traveling.
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