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Old 11-20-2017, 09:10 AM   #481
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Shore Power Connection

When Flint is parked at home he is plugged into a 15 Amp shore power plug to keep the house battery topped off.

When we travel I always disconnect the heavy SMB supplied 30 Amp cord and 30 Amp to 15 Amp adapter, roll them up and put them in the Aluminess box on the back. We seldom use these when traveling, but I always take them with us in the off-chance we find ourselves in a campground with 30 Amps of power available. If that is the case we will use the 30 Amps to power the electric option on the D5 heater.

Early on we blew the fuse that supplies power from the alternator to the house battery and we found ourselves driving in from the desert each night to a KOA where we could connect to shore power and charge the house battery. I carry spares for that fuse now, but I determined then that I would always carry the cord and adapter with me so we would have all connection options available to us.

I got tired of the repetitive task of rolling up the cord and packing it and then reversing the process each time we use Flint, thus I looked around for a better option that would allow me to leave the 30 Amp cord and adapter in the Aluminess box on the back of Flint.

Here is the simple solution, a Furrion Powersmart Pigtail Adapter, model FP3015-SS. It is a 30 Amp Locking Female Connector to 15 Amp Straight Blade Male Plug, thus it allows for a simple direct connection to the 15 Amp cord I ran over to where Flint is parked. When we go somewhere we simply disconnect and leave the plug behind, ready for our return.




As modifications go this isn't much, but I am sure I will appreciate it every time in the future when I don't have to roll up that wet 30 Amp cord and stuff it in the Aluminess box!
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:20 AM   #482
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We use a similar product at home and carry it with us when we travel. We have used it for driveway camping at a relative's home with their heavy duty extension cord to a 20 Amp outlet.
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2014 Brilliant Silver MB Sprinter 3.0L V-6 High-Top 144 WB Modified RB-153S Espar D-5 SC Hydronic 200W Zamp Solar
SOLD 2006 White Ford E250 5.4L V8 4X2 RB-31 Modified, PH Full Length Garageable
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Old 12-03-2017, 01:47 AM   #483
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitz View Post
...SNIP...

...you could also cut off that three-way splitter and install a L5-30R. As long as that extension cord is 12AWG or bigger, install a L5-30R and connect it directly to the van. Think of it as a your own 15-30A RV adapted that is 25-50' long...Here is a L5-30R from Leviton on Amazon...


But at a min, I'd suggested putting a 'drip loop' in that cable prior to the 5-15 connection and/or the TwistLock connection. This will help reduce the corrosion and eventual overheating/failure. While I know the van is covered, moisture will find a way to wick along that cable. Also, think about an all weather style connection for the NEMA 5-15 if you're going to leave it plugged in all the time.

As a side note: most 3-way splitters and inexpensive molded extension cords have terrible clamping force and will loosen with time. If your charger is setup for a 20A circuit (max pull of 16A), check that connection for heat - if overly warm/hot, cut and replace with a decent connector from Hubbel/Leviton/Marinco. Skip the no-name inexpensive replacement receptacles - these are no better than the cheapy molded cords. (Ask me how many BRAND NEW 'contractor grade' cords I've burned up using electric jackhammers...). Folks have unrealistic expectations WRTO electrical connections and play town crier when cords 'mysteriously' fail/melt when exposed to weather, abuse, or use crappy cords.

Here is one concept from HD...No idea what the seals are like, but you get the idea.


If the connection is basically 'permanent', wrap the 5-15 connection with mastic or rubber tape designed as a moisture guard.


Here is what I did:

The 30A connection on my rig is a NEMA L5-30. When I first brought the van home, I used a 10AWG Rigid Extension 'contractor grade' cord from Home Depot and replaced the receptacle end end with a Hubbel L5-30R. As expected, it didn't last long being trampled on a gravel driveway and split in several spots. (I paid around $15 per Hubbel connector - they are $30 at HD/electrical supply house.) I've since replaced that 'contractor grade' cable with a 600V SOOW SO cable (thick jacket) that is UV, OIL & Water resistant. It should last for as long as I own the van (years). I also installed a 30A breaker & twistlock receptacle with lighted switch. (For those that are interested for better than code installations, YES it is possible to install a single pole 30A GFCI breaker - these can be sourced from an electrical supply house).
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:03 PM   #484
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There is a lot of good information in the above post.

In my case I have not decided if I want to run permanent (underground) power to Flint's parking spot, thus I am currently utilizing the closest exterior receptacle on the house. I have a left-over-from-my-years-in-construction heavy duty 600V SO extension cord that runs to the carport, it is here that a compromise was made in the spirit of "happy wife, happy life". Instead of hard-wiring a twist lock connection directly to the cord that would plug directly into Flint, I was "encouraged" to provide a place for Laura's leaf blower to be plugged in. Looking at the connection you see in the following picture you will see that Mike and I think alike:



From here the cord runs overhead to the underside of the carport, where it hangs in a convenient location protected from the weather, readily accessible anytime Laura wants to use it.

Replace a cord/connector years down the road or give your wife something she asks for the day she asks for it? What would you choose?
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:38 PM   #485
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Quote:
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...a compromise was made in the spirit of "happy wife, happy life"....

Replace a cord/connector years down the road or give your wife something she asks for the day she asks for it? What would you choose?
Now that's a damned smart man.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:41 PM   #486
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Hi Gang,

As someone who is just now starting the design phase of my SMB, which will be a 144 WB unit with low roof and PH top I have been watching & reading this thread with much interest and have to commend Fitz for his diligence in providing the platform and information for the rest of us to share, along with all the others who have contributed such valuable info for everyone. Thanks all from the newbie

One thing that I am curious about, and I apologize if it was discussed and I missed it, but I don't recall much conversation and input about the weight distribution of the build and how it may effect ride height on one side vs. the other both unloaded as the van comes from SMB and fully loaded ready for road trips.

It seems like most of the weight ended up on the drivers side which also has the fuel tank as well. Fuel tank , aux batteries, fresh and gray water, galley etc. Coming from a VW Vanagon we experienced a noticeable list to the drivers side because of this and had to shim the drivers side springs to get the rear of the van back to level so both sides measured the same ride height from the ground to the top of the wheel well arch, or axel center to arch. Is this also the case with the Sprinters, after a SMB build out and if so what compensation was done to keep them level. Does Van compass take this into account in their suspension setups with one side set up al little differently Thanks
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:01 PM   #487
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Aerosport,

Good comments, and welcome! Looking forward to seeing more from you. Request: Add your location so it shows with your forum name, that way we all know where you are located.

Total weight and weight distribution are very real concerns and you are right to be thinking of them. Fully built out, these vans are heavy and the better job you can do of balancing the weight the better they will ride.

Flint carries 46% of his total weight on the front axle and 54% on the rear axle. Correspondingly, he carries 53% of his weight on the driver’s side and 47% on the passenger's side.

I know of a forum member who has the Agile improved suspension and Agile added an extra leaf on the driver’s side rear to even things up. Flint has the Van Compass improved suspension with the same number of leafs (or is it leaves?) on each side in the back and the van sits true and level and rides great. Before the suspension improvements the rear sagged noticeably, if I recall correctly the rear came up 1-5/8” to sit level after the suspension upgrades.
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Old 12-20-2017, 04:04 PM   #488
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Yet another in the string of well deserved props to Fitz for his generosity and service to this community. Very grateful to you for sharing your thoroughness, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and experience.
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Old 12-20-2017, 10:39 PM   #489
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Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you this past weekend and giving you the tour of Flint. Looking forward to seeing your final build sheet as you grapple with all of the questions that go into a new build. Please keep us all informed as you make your decisions.
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Old 01-01-2018, 04:59 PM   #490
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2017 Year-In-Review Stats

Flint was picked up new in Austin on 9/8/2016 with 34 miles on the odometer.

20,373 - 6,051 = 14,322 miles and 54 nights spent in 2017 (with me working full time...)

0 issues with the MB van to date, had the first service performed at the one year mark.

We have had several visits from build-in-waiting and build-in-process SMB and Home Builders over the course of the year. All were fun and informative and I am looking forward to progress updates from all of you!

SMB (maintenance) goal for 2018: Learn all about the D5 system and the maintenance required. The book says to run it for at least 15 minutes every month, I plan to be more diligent about doing that plus I want to learn what is required to drop and service the unit. More on that as I learn more!

And finally, end-of-the-year pictures. We are in Quartzite AZ attending the opening days of the Desert Gardens Rock Show (remember the Geologist On Board sign on the back of Flint - we do Stop For Rocks!)

Here is Flint parked at the base of Quartzite Hill on New Year's Eve:



And here is Laura on top of the hill with the town of Quartzite in the background:



Happy 2018 to you all, looking forward to meeting up with many of you over the course of the year!
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