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Old 02-16-2015, 05:49 AM   #21
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

I saw the deansafe site, except they don't list the make/model. However, I guess I'll just buy through them and have it anchored on the bottom. The nice thing is that it has a hole for wires, so I can keep my laptop, iPad, and other devices charged when they are placed in there. I don't expect this thing to be Fort Knox security, but it at least makes a bad guy have to do some work before they get my MacBook and other goodies. This is a better thing to have than the alternative, which would be asking a metal shop to weld me a box with the exact dimensions of some nook or cranny in the van.

The thermal data logging sounds interesting. I'm working this from all levels, so any advice is appreciated. I plan to definitely have an oversize A/C and furnace, 13,500 BTUs for the A/C if possible (the Onan 2800 genset is rated to handle that even with startup load), and the Truma Combi Comfort Plus can be run at 1700 watts... and since it is a resistive load, it doesn't have that slap in the face that an A/C compressor has, so it can handle the load with plenty of headroom, even factoring in the load of the fan. The Truma's thermostat (the CP Plus) should be decent with its built in timer. It is different from the European thermostats, maybe because of the fact that it displays in Fahrenheit.

I need to check inside heights. I was assuming that the Transit "middle" height was the same as the high US Sprinter, but it seems I'm wrong, so the extra 3 inches I was thinking would be with the high-roof Sprinter may actually not be present. This is important, since if there is space, it would be nice to have larger overhead bins.

Storage is important -- I have some quite oddball items that I use for renaissance faires, such as a set of armor (I do this as a change of pace from IT work), so something like a secondary bed/couch to place the stuff is useful. I eventually plan to have a storage trailer just for the renaissance faires, but having the armor inside the van makes it easier to get dressed in inclement weather. Plus, if I do actually find someone (datewise), a second bed will be nice for that. When not at renaissance faires, storage is useful for general stuff. I do not want to take anything but the van when I'm on going touring. Preferably not even a hitch mounted cargo container.
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:19 PM   #22
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
We have a pretty small Harbor Freight safe in ours.
What HF safe model do you have? Can you fit a laptop computer in it?
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Old 02-16-2015, 02:39 PM   #23
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

I think it is this one.

http://www.harborfreight.com/9-inch-...afe-94985.html

We decided to stay small and not try to cover the laptop, which would have used up much more space and be quite heavy. Our goal is to protect our passports, credit cards, cash, secure backup drive, etc. The GPS and Tablet will fit in it without issue. Laptops, at least for us, aren't all that expensive any more, so it wasn't worth the downsides, and all our important stuff is done on the secured drive which is locked up.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:27 PM   #24
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

If you do a little research you will discover that those cheap safes from China with key locks can be picked in about 30 seconds.


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Old 02-16-2015, 04:57 PM   #25
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

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Originally Posted by Boxster1971
If you do a little research you will discover that those cheap safes from China with key locks can be picked in about 30 seconds.


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Probably, but they could also have their breakin tools and rip up a cabinet to get one out that quickly, also. I think the most we can expect is to slow them down enough that go elsewhere, and there are lots of other soft targets like the TV, and video equipment that they can just grab and go.

We carry little of value, passports would be about the only thing that would severely hurt us to lose.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:52 PM   #26
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

One of the items I'm looking at for a safe is the ability to rekey it and do other tasks. I have a safe similar to the above, and the maker actually says they won't furnish additional keys. However, the keylock on the safe I have yielded to a paperclip, when the batteries died in it without warning.

The main reason I'm concerned about pick resistance is simple -- insurance. Someone smashes the plastic faceplate off the safe, it is obvious a burglary was attempted, and my claim gets paid. If a lock is picked, it is a lot harder to get insurance to pay a claim. This is the same reason why I use high security padlocks on gates and lockers, even though the shackle can be easily cut with bolt cutters. There is a definite signature left, which can mean the difference between a successful B&E charge being pressed versus the perp getting charges dropped because he/she picked or shimmed the padlock.

The main reason I'm getting a laptop safe is less the laptop, but the data on it. I will have the laptop's disk encrypted (Symantec Encryption Desktop or FileVault), but keeping it out of the hands of the local skulkers in the first place is a good thing. Even if I put a NAS or SAN in the van, I also plan to have an external HDD for backups, so having a layer of additional protection is useful.

On another subject, I looked at a larger propane tank, but because one with about four more gallons would add two inches to its diameter, and have floor plan restrictions. I definitely will have an Extend-A-Stay kit added, not just for the ability to use a gas grill directly from the tank, but so I can use 20 pound propane cylinders.

It appears that the gray and black tanks are 25 gallon tanks (but I have to doublecheck)... and I can go up to a 20 gallon tank under the port side dinette with the 110S floorplan. For me, this is fine, since in really cold weather, I can blow the line from the outside to the tank, and the physical FW tank would remain in the van, well above freezing. I might see about the kit that allows one to have an access port so the FW tank can be scoured by hand... or in hotter weather, I can dump bags of ice into the tank. With the 110S plan, I might be able to get away with a larger fresh water tank, but I don't want to waste too much space for water not used if I'm just weekending or touring.

For dumping, most SMB vans have a port directly underneath. I'm just going to stick with this, or if I have to, maybe carry my portable macerator pump and a short sewer hose with a clear sleeve (so it can rest on the ground.) SMB by default has a place for the sewer hose underneath. I like the Phoenix Cruiser style of macerator pump that has an emergency dump via a standard sewer hose, but there is only so much a van can have, and a direct gravity dump should work well.

One note about the Danhard A/C. From the Sportsmobile forums, it works, but it doesn't seem to work as well as a 13.5k BTU A/C that the Travato and ERA use. The high roof Transit is 110.1 inches, the Sprinter is 107.5 inches. Three inches don't sound like much, but add nine inches for the top mounted A/C unit, and I'd be going on 120 inches... or ten feet. Maybe 122 inches, including gutter height. Hopefully this isn't too tall. If this isn't too tall, all things being equal, and the noise of the overhead A/C isn't too much, I'd rather go with the overhead, just because it is easier on the road, and far easier to repair or replace.

Are "B" overhead air conditioners loud? My current travail trailer, the A/C unit is extremely noisy to the point where it is louder than my portable 3000 watt generator at the same distance.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:24 PM   #27
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Safes are a double-edged sword. Yes, they will slow down an amateur, but for a professional they are just big neon arrows pointing at the goodies. Personally, I tend to believe that a cleverly hidden storage area is more effective than a safe. That is what we do at home, and I am working on it for our van. A little creativity can yield a highly effective solution in this space. Obviously, I am not going to offer an example.
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Old 02-16-2015, 07:28 PM   #28
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

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Originally Posted by mlts22
Are "B" overhead air conditioners loud? My current travail trailer, the A/C unit is extremely noisy to the point where it is louder than my portable 3000 watt generator at the same distance.
As far as I know, each and every overhead B-van A/C is absurdly noisy. It is ridiculous. I am actively shopping for a split system retrofit that most likely will involve an undercarriage compressor. This is the direction that I think the industry is bound to go. I am hoping that this search will mature into one of my summer projects.
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Old 02-16-2015, 08:23 PM   #29
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Yes "B" AC units are noisy, but the one in the newer ERA's is a constant noise. We don't hear the compressor cycle so it turns into white noise for us. We've also partially blocked the rear exit vents because they were blowing straight on us, so 75% or so of the air flow goes straight forward along the ceiling, just a minor breeze flows to the back.
I've noticed some class B's lately with the AC unit installed forward on the roof which would help cut down some on the noise issues. Wonder if SMB would do this
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Old 02-16-2015, 09:56 PM   #30
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

That is good to know. I might just go with the Danhard unit, assuming it is mounted with proper shock mounts and Dynamat insulation. It runs at 11,000 BTU, which means, it can hold temperatures down, but I probably will have to supplement it, if the van is hot, by firing up the dash A/C.

One odd thing: If I go for package 57G, this gives me front and rear dash A/C and heat. I don't know if this provides additional BTUs of cooling/heating than just the front dash A/C, or if it just adds additional vents. However, this should be quite a help in cooling the van down, then the Danhard can keep it at a usable temperature.

As for the safe, I think it is good to have both a strongbox for my laptop, papers and such, and a concealed location for other stuff. My view is that if a pro thief does get in, they will get the laptop, safe or no safe, so having it might as well slow them down. If the safe is behind a panel of some sort, it won't be screamingly obvious. Again, this is to make the insurance people happy, as opposed to "real" security. I really don't plan to have anything so irreplacable that insurance can't cover it. If I did, those plans wouldn't be posted to everyone to read on the Internet.

I'm expecting the average typical thief attacking van to be the usual Austin style tweaker who smashes a window or uses a pair of needle nose pliers to puncture near the handle of the driver's door and move the locking bar, yank the door open, toss stuff around looking for anything they can sell, see the TV on the wall, and go after that. They might some across the safe, maybe try to pry it open with a screwdriver, realize they can't get in, then go running off with the TV or the DVD player in hand in hopes their fence will give them some crystal for their efforts. Here in Texas, as per my criminal justice classes, BOV (burglary of vehicle) isn't a felony, so from what the local sheriff says, if the bad guys break into the car, but don't attempt to move the vehicle, it is a lucrative gig, so it is quite common. The trick is to have enough protection so there is a point where insurance will pay enough to clean up the mess, minus a deductible. Thankfully, actual break-ins are rare, but it is pretty common to get skulkers trying car door handles in hopes of an unlocked prize. For this, out of sight is important.

The topic of security is a good one. I might see about hitting Sussex Installations in the UK and go for some handle reinforcement that goes on the inside to deter the thieves who try to use tools to manipulate the locking rod. However, as stated above, too many obvious security modifications will make the van a notable target, and nothing will stop a thief from breaking into anything automotive, just because they can always stick a punch through random metal and pry open like a tin can.
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Old 02-16-2015, 10:49 PM   #31
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Yes, if I were you I would seriously consider the Danhard unit. It is one of the options on my list for a retrofit. Do you know exactly what configuration they use?

BTW: It isn't necessarily a bad thing to limit the BTUs. An over-sized AC isn't all good news. Since it will run less often it will be less effective as a dehumidifier, which under many conditions is more important than temperature control. Also, it is not clear that 11,000BTU is even undersized for a van. It would certainly be too big for an equivalently-sized room, as you can see with a resource like this:

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm...properly_sized

RVs are a challenge for other obvious reasons, but my point is that just throwing BTUs at the problem may not be optimal.
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Old 02-16-2015, 11:17 PM   #32
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Good point. If I do my insulation right, especially if I ditch the usual windows and go with the Euro style ones with dual panes, the 2500 BTUs less that the Danhard A/C puts out may be more than made up. In Texas, humidity control is quite important.

Another thing that may help mitigate heat are traditional solar panels with some clearance between them and the rest of the van. The sun would heat them up, and the heat ends up being circulated away while the part of the van under the panel is relatively shaded.

I'd love to know what Danhard model is used. They have some that go up to an impressive amount of BTUs.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:33 AM   #33
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

There seems to be some confusion on that rear AC on the Transit. Some trim and option levels come with ducting, some don't but still have the rear unit. Some have covers over that unit, some don't.
When you do get ready to order, you need to find you a good fleet salesman that know the Transit up, down, inside & out, what comes with what etc.

Our ERA with high roof and the Coleman AC unit is 9'11" tall. It will just squeeze under a 10' door, if it's a true 10' opening
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:53 AM   #34
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

This would worry me about a Danhard AC. They seem to be pretty loud but I have no personal experience.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/viewto ... =2&t=13540
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:31 AM   #35
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Very good points as stated above.

As per the KISS principle, I don't want to make this too much of a custom job just in case the A/C goes kablooey. What might be an option is to go with a low profile, ducted A/C, which combined with Dynamat/Hushmat/Fatmat between the ceiling and the ductwork would lower the noise to somewhat acceptable levels, especially if the beds are well aft of the A/C unit. I don't want to over-engineer things and go with very oddball equipment that is tough to service or replace.

The ideal would be a rooftop mounted A/C that has a tolerable noise level, so if it breaks, it can just be unbolted and another unit slid right in place and wired in, no need to worry about anything else.

The one thing I do want to find is a truly low profile A/C, and not sure what brand is best for this.

Edited -- The Coleman Mach 8 will work with the Onan 2800 watt generator, as this is what comes on the Winnebago Travato. The Mach 8 kicks 63 locked rotor amps, but I'm sure there is some sort of hard start kit available to make that boot to the generator's head a bit softer.
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Old 02-17-2015, 05:01 PM   #36
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

mlts22, check out skagistan's post, "greetings from the great northwet", as he is working on a Transit build also.....
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:52 PM   #37
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22

Edited -- The Coleman Mach 8 will work with the Onan 2800 watt generator, as this is what comes on the Winnebago Travato. The Mach 8 kicks 63 locked rotor amps, but I'm sure there is some sort of hard start kit available to make that boot to the generator's head a bit softer.

I believe the Mach 8 already has a soft start built into it. Mine will start and run off my Yamaha 2000, which I posted about before. For that to work, it must only pulling 8 or 9 amps on start.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:08 PM   #38
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22

Edited -- The Coleman Mach 8 will work with the Onan 2800 watt generator, as this is what comes on the Winnebago Travato. The Mach 8 kicks 63 locked rotor amps, but I'm sure there is some sort of hard start kit available to make that boot to the generator's head a bit softer.

I believe the Mach 8 already has a soft start built into it. Mine will start and run off my Yamaha 2000, which I posted about before. For that to work, it must only pulling 8 or 9 amps on start.
It does and even A 15,000 BTU Mach 8 unit would work with an Onan generator. We have that size unit but no Onan.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:13 PM   #39
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Thank you. After the fiasco with my current rig (where the 3000 watt Yamaha I have just barely is enough to handle the inrush current of the 15k BTU A/C on my current rig), I look closely at locked rotor amps and hard start circuitry. With this info, I think I'm going to call the A/C pretty much done -- I think the best thing to do is slap a Mach 8 on top with a heat strip and move onto other things. The heat strip likely will never be used, especially with the Truma having the ability to run from electric... but redundancy can't hurt, especially if it something that doesn't take any additional space.

Another item which I'm also going to mark as solved is the toilet. A few years ago, I looked at a lot of solutions... but Davydd and ARV's video pretty much drove the point home. I don't boondock for more than a few days, so a conventional black/gray setup is the best way to go for my needs. If I have to, I can always use a "blue boy" tank.

One of the bigger issues will be power. Ideally, it would be nice to have an engine alternators feeding a Magnum Energy hybrid inverter, similar with the generator, then all 120VAC power from the rig come from that. This way, if shore voltage sags, the appliances still see 120 volts until the batteries get low... and by that time, the generator controller will fire up the genset to top off the batteries. Plus, I can then run either the engine or the Onan to keep the roof A/C going or other appliances. I also want an EMS on incoming shore power so if I plug into 240VAC or plug into 95 VAC, the EMS might fry... but not the rest of the van.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #40
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Default Re: Finally, a Transit upfit (research stages atm)

Quote:
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One of the bigger issues will be power. Ideally, it would be nice to have an engine alternators feeding a Magnum Energy hybrid inverter, similar with the generator, then all 120VAC power from the rig come from that. This way, if shore voltage sags, the appliances still see 120 volts until the batteries get low... and by that time, the generator controller will fire up the genset to top off the batteries. Plus, I can then run either the engine or the Onan to keep the roof A/C going or other appliances. I also want an EMS on incoming shore power so if I plug into 240VAC or plug into 95 VAC, the EMS might fry... but not the rest of the van.
I think you may be overthinking this a bit. The hybrid inverters are fine, and important in life-critical applications, but honestly, in a decade of RVing, I've never experienced a significant "shore voltage sag". It's just money, though.

As for EMS, any decent inverter/charger will perform detailed AC quality analysis. All you need in addition is surge protection for lightning hits etc. I am right now in the middle of installing one of these:



$50, and better specs than the expensive dedicated RV units.

(There is a recent discussion of this topic over on the Sprinter Forum).
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