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Old 05-19-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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Here We Go!

The check just cashed on the deposit for our new '13 SMD/Quigley! After dreaming and being a viewer on this site for wht seems like years, my wife and I are doing it! Man, how exciting! ANd a whole lot more expletives. ANd the best part, I know you all know the feeling! We are going through Huntington, with Jim,Nancy, and the boys. An EB-350/Penthouse close to the #44 floor plan. A few extra's just because, as you all put it, do it now or pay a lot more later. Just a few questions for anybody. . .Heater/furnace? We like camping all over, all year. . .or just purchase a tent heater?

Any recommendations for portable solar units? We are pre-wiring b/c we have a canoe etc and fell portable units are our best option. . .have heard there have been some crazy advancements etc. . .

Next, We are putting in TV and have seen in some of the galleries here, how to mount a nice sized screen on the penthouse, that folds up out of the way. It is brilliant b/c you can watch it with the top up (in the penthouse bed) or when the top is down, you can watch in the goucho! (again) Brilliant! And since the order for the van itself just went in last Monday, I have time to coordinate that with Jim & the boys. Thanks in advance! Glad to be in now and not just wishing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HERE WE GO!!
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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Re: Here We Go!

WOW ctb. Indiana just started my build last week. I will hopefully be taking delivery of our 2013 E350 Quadvan 4x4 with a EB44 floor plan June 21st. I can't make any recommendations on what's best to have installed, but I'd like to winter camp so I asked them to put reflectix on the walls and floor in addition to their insulation. We're going with propane (stove, suburban water heater, & furnace). Solar panel system. Porta potty instead of the marine toilet (no frozen stuff in the winter time and will be able to empty it without finding a dumping station). Fridge, microwave, electric top with a aluminess rack. Aluminess rear bumper with large box. Buckstop aluminum outback bumper on the front (looks tuffer than the aluminess to withstand Wisconsin deer and includes a 2" receiver). Also getting the generator underneath. Quadvan did the 4x4, installed a 46 gallon tank, winch, I choose 285/70 17 E toyo open country at tires, American Eagle 17x9 Series 50 black wheels and they also installed a compressor and tank with ride rite air bags in the back. I purchased Zeta's awning brackets and painted them so SMB could use them when installing the awning. Email me if you'd like to see our quadvan build list and SMB build list.

FYI - I went with quadvan because they use a lot of ford parts so my Ford dealer will see my van as a E350 and my frontend as a F350 truck. Quigley seems to use quite a few "special build" parts. I flew out to Oregon and delivered it to Indiana myself. If you call John @ Quadvan tell him Steve M. sent you.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #3
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Re: Here We Go!

A furnace is nice to have. Put the thermostat where you can reach it from the bed. Sleep with a down comforter and the furnace off, wake up, flip the thermostat, 5 min snooze and up to a warm camper!

Solar prep is good. Get a standalone solar panel that fits in the bed rails for storage.

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Old 05-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #4
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Re: Here We Go!

Somebody here turned me on to Grape solar panels at Costco, but I'm not sure if they sell single panels anymore (thank you BTW!). Very nice; sturdy aluminum frame; 100 watts, proper connectors already installed. The aluminum had enough room for me to bolt on some legs that I could use for a stand, and a hole for a padlock. I made an adapter so I could use my shore power cord with it to deliver DC to the van, putting a hole near the rear wheel well by the gas filler tube. From there to controller. It's 48x22, so I can secure it against a back cabinet. I like being able to leave it at home on some trips, but still have it when I need it on others. It's enough juice for me; my main draw is just my fridge. By making it portable I can also put the van in the shade on hot days but leave the panel in the sun.

I actually got a deal on a MPPT controller on eBay; it's worked great so far. In most cases, another panel would probably be just as effective, however, especially if you could hook them in series. But I didn't have room. I'd say I definitely get more out of the solar than with my older PWM model. But they are pricey.

I'd figure out where you could store panel, and what your energy needs are, and then shop around.

For a heater I just use a Mr. Heater buddy or whatever it's called; Coleman also makes a couple. They are catalytic, so no CO, but you do need a window open for oxygen. It can just warm up the va to say mid 50's when it's just below freezing, with the top up and no insulation. I leave it home at any time but the winter; my goal was to not have anything permanent in the van I didn't use on EVERY trip.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #5
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Re: Here We Go!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
A furnace is nice to have. Put the thermostat where you can reach it from the bed. Sleep with a down comforter and the furnace off, wake up, flip the thermostat, 5 min snooze and up to a warm camper!

Mike
I replaced our SMB thermostat with a programmable one set to turn on the heater 30 minutes before we plan to get out of bed. It is set at the lowest setting at night (45 degrees) and, since it "downstairs" never comes on even while snow camping, although it isn't that cold where we snow camp.
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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Here We Go!

I have my "all-in-one" 23" pc/ent center mounted using a desk top clamp mount with arm. It's clamped on the counter above the fridge. Retract it for storage and extend/tilt/rotate for viewing.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
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Re: Here We Go!

Congratulations! Our 2013 E-350 is at the Indiana location right now too, about another 2 weeks for completion. We didn't go the 4x4 route and ordered it with a Voyager full height top. The interior is all our design.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:28 AM   #8
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Re: Here We Go!

I wish I would have had The Van prewired for solar when I bought it. Now I'm looking into getting a panel or panels to keep the battery topped up to run my fridge for more than 2 or 3 days.

Not being very clever with auto-electronics, I'm thinking of having the controller installed professionally. I'll install the panels myself. Any tips out there about hooking up the controller?

thanks..

Tom
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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Re: Here We Go!

Make sure it's connected to the house side of the separator, use heavy enough gauge wire and get a controller with MPPT that's heavy enough to handle expanding your array if you want to in the future. Adding a digital voltage monitor always helps.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:11 PM   #10
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Re: Here We Go!

So I guess if I have to ask which side is the House Side of the separator, how heavy the wire should be, and what is MPPT...I shouldn't be doing this myself?

I think I've read somewhere that one needs to be careful with solar installations, because improperly installed systems can actually drain power FROM the house battery?

Tom
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