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Old 10-07-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
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Quixote Van design concept

My conceptual design for a Promaster class B van

I am developing my version of the “Quixote Van”, for the pursuit of windmills and wild geese.
I am using the design your own tools from the Sportsmobile web site. After some feedback from the Sportsmobile people and my loving wife on my first attempt, I have modified the conceptual design in a second version.



Summary features. All electric (solar) with exception of Espar diesel heater. Bunk bed/storage over convertible couch bed. Inside (“heated”) fresh and waste water tanks, larger volume than typical B vans for extended boondocking. Stiebel Eltron 120 v demand water heater. Two burner 120 v induction heated stove top. Seven cu ft, 12 v refrigerator/freezer. Air conditioner (120 v) and two 12 v vent fans. Combination microwave/oven, 120 v. Three solar collectors and three AGM batteries (alternate 4-6v golf cart batteries). Head room: 6’ 4” in kitchen area; 5’ 8” in bedroom area; and 5’ 6” in wet bath.

Links to some of the specified equipment:

Stiebel Eltron 120 v demand water heater (calculated 38 F rise with built-in 0.32 gpm flow limiter)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FN6NOOU/ref ... ZRI96P6ZXD
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/documen ... csheet.pdf

Water tanks
Fresh water http://www.plastic-mart.com/product/109 ... water-tank
Black water http://www.plastic-mart.com/product/100 ... -tank-101h
Gray water http://www.plastic-mart.com/product/100 ... g-tank-73h

Microwave/oven
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004VF0G3G/ref ... QUODYXYGEO

Eurodib double induction cooker
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004CZDYG6/ref ... 6FRQM84FNQ

This is a work in progress and comments are requested.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

One quick observation..... Putting the galley, large closets, and bathroom all on the same side could really load that side kinda heavy. Besides impacting handling, I'd also worry about potentially overloading a tire on that side.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

Wondering about the intended use for the van? The OP mentions "extended boondocking" but the water heater, stove top, Air conditioner , and Combination microwave/oven are all 120 v. Won't these appliances run down the batteries pretty fast? They take up a lot of space if they aren't going to be used a lot...
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:56 AM   #4
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

+1 dhally. For heat nothing beats burning liquid fuel -- Apparently whether in a gas-backup Chevy Volt or in a diesel van. The Webasto Dual Top heats both air as a furnace and water as a waterheater (I haven't used the water heater feature in mine yet).

May want to check it out. For instance take a look at the dial. It even provides a purge so that water in the unit exits and does not freeze inside to damage the unit.





http://www.webasto.com/int/markets-p.../dual-top-evo/

I bought mine through Marc Wassermann at XP Campers:

http://xpcamper.com/contact/
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:16 AM   #5
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

Well I guess that Sportsmobile does not live up to their claims.

From http://www.sportsmobile.com/ : "Or Design Your Own

It costs about the same.

We supply the van plans and cutouts for furnishings.

You supply the scissors, removable tape and patience. You can call us when you need help."

With the exception of the elevated floor and call outs for commercially available tanks, I have used the Sportsmobile provided "cutouts" in the proposed "Quixote Van". I received the following response from Sportsmobile:

"While we are a custom production facility, we are not a one-off facility, and our line is not set up for this type of build. We are setup to build with our systems and design layouts with some changes.

Your plan is very detailed and well thought out, but it not something that we can take on at this time."

Evidently they will build you anything they have in their portfolio but "some changes" are extremely limited.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quixote2
Well I guess that Sportsmobile does not live up to their claims.

From http://www.sportsmobile.com/ : "Or Design Your Own

It costs about the same.

We supply the van plans and cutouts for furnishings.

You supply the scissors, removable tape and patience. You can call us when you need help."

With the exception of the elevated floor and call outs for commercially available tanks, I have used the Sportsmobile provided "cutouts" in the proposed "Quixote Van". I received the following response from Sportsmobile:

"While we are a custom production facility, we are not a one-off facility, and our line is not set up for this type of build. We are setup to build with our systems and design layouts with some changes.

Your plan is very detailed and well thought out, but it not something that we can take on at this time."

Evidently they will build you anything they have in their portfolio but "some changes" are extremely limited.
Which SMB facility? There are three, but I don't know if all are taking on the PM.

I'd guess that until they have built a few PMs, they're not going to venture into truly custome build territory. Not that it lessens your frustration.


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Old 10-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #7
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

Quixote2: I came across something that might assist you with your plans to use an electric hot water heater.

The Midnite Solar MPPT solar charge model called the "Kid" apparently has a "divert" mode. This apparently kicks in to divert battery power to an electrical load which is switched on and off by the controller itself. The concept appears to be that once the solar controller knows that the house battery(ies) is/are fully charged, it diverts an amount of battery power which is less than what the contoller is putting into the batteries to run something else (called the "load").

Apparently some people ("technodave") have the Kid running an electric water heater as the "load." So, once the batteries are charged, the Kid diverts PWM charging (the Kid MPPT controller apparently uses both MPPT and PWM charging methods) to the switched load in this case an electric water heater. Who knew this could be done!!??

Apparently alot of other controllers also have some sort of divert/load mode but where I found it discussed was at the midniteforum.com:

[i]"I have been experimenting with PWM divert mode, that is exactly what it does, first priority....charge battery banks.......when batteries charged and voltage rises to set point then diversion happens. I am in my yearly coastal fog time now so I can't do it full time , results are totally dependent on mother nature.

PWM divert is not enabled at bulk in a normal setup. The divert set point would have to be set too low to top up the batteries, diverting will pull the voltage down to where you will not get to adsorb if the set point is too low. I guess that will depend on diversion load and panel size.

I have done diversion with a Classic 150, Trace C-40 and now with the Kid, 10 gallon GE water heater from Home Depot with the element and thermostat swapped out for 24 volt ones from Missouri Wind and Solar. About $90. For the heater and ~$65.00 for the element and thermostat.......free hot water without taxing batteries or running inverter. Heater is 600 watt 24 volt. There are a few small water heaters out there less than 20 gallons that have dual elements that would be better for this but I don't have that much extra space."[/i]

from:

http://midniteforum.com/index.php?topic=2108.0
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:27 PM   #8
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

E350. The diversion of unused solar energy into heating water is genius. 10 gallons of water heated from 70 to 105 degrees F requires 2,900 BTU or 0.85 kw-hr, 850 watt hr or at 13 volts is 65 amp hours. A 100 amp hour AGM battery discharged 22 percent is 22 amp hours. The 10 gallons of water heated 35 degrees is equivalent to the maximum energy you should draw from three 100 amp hour AGM batteries (to maintain life). It appears the best way to harvest the unused (dumped) solar energy when your batteries are charged is to use a smaller hot water heated up to 140 F and your fresh water tank heated up to 105 F. With a 5-6 gallon hot water tank at 140 F and my average water storage tank volume of 20 gallons, the thermal energy saved is equivalent to electrical energy stored in 9, yes nine, additional AGM batteries. When the small tank gets above 125 F, circulate (pump) some water from the fresh water tank through the small water heater and back to the fresh water tank, thus warming up the fresh water tank. The electrical temperature cutout on the small tank will prevent overheating. If you prefer to drink water at less than 105 F, use water from one gallon containers or set a container outside overnight. Cooking should use the higher temperature water from the small hot water tank, showers can be done with the 105 F "cold/tempered" cold water supply. If the "cold" water tank is not up to an acceptable warm temperature, mix hot and cold as usual.

Another site I found while looking for information on this concept is:
http://www.diykyoto.com/uk/aboutus/optimmersion
This is an English site, I thought it provided additional information for use of US controllers.

The use of the refrigerated air conditioning is problematic. I had initially assumed that the roof mounted air conditioner would only be used when hooked to shore power or for 30 minutes or so when you first hit the road and the van is overheated. The engine alternator would supplement the draw on the batteries for initial cool down and then switch to the van engine driven air conditioner only.

I ran across a potential solution from an Italian manufacturer. They use the former Danfoss compressor utilized in refrigerators in single and dual compressors to provide 12 v roof mounted air conditioners. The dual unit will provide 6500 BTU/hr with a 70 amp draw. This is well within the capabilities of the Honda 2000 watt generator if the battery charger is sized correctly. I don't know if there are any US distributors. The information is:
http://www.indelb.com/products/truck_ai ... _oblo_twin
and page 5 of: http://www.indelb.com/media/files/116_S ... b%20tr.pdf
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Old 10-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #9
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

Quixote2: I am going to post some pictures of my panel install when I get done tonight. Right now I am still futsing around organizing the new (1952) to us single car garage.

Would you take the lead in finding the cheapest and the most efficient electric water heaters for the diverted pv project? They don't have to be the same. One can be an ok cheap converted tank and the other the cat's meow but more expensive. Choices are good. I (or you) may want to ask technodave his thoughts on this. If you don't have the time or desire, just say so, I am used to fumbling my way through things myself. I think you may be a numbers kinda guy. I am a words kinda guy who fumbles his way through engineering stuff like this, but I can be a little creative with a little luck (and sometimes alcohol).

So why when I have a Webasto Dual Top would I want to use pv electric heated water? Because diesel is expensive. The time my wife and I will want hot water for a shower will be after skiing in the cold sunny ski resorts or back country or cat skiing - where apparently pv panels work the best. Even if it just raises the temps for the Dual Top to finish heating, it's heat for free!
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:14 AM   #10
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Re: Quixote Van design concept

E350. The limited looking I did was at 6 gal or smaller tank heaters. The problem is finding space for the unit. The best unit would be one with two elements (one 110 v and one 12 volt) doubt one exists in these small sizes. The most efficient unit will be the one with the lowest heat loss or best insulation. You can add additional insulation after installation. The price appears to be all about the same over the sizes I looked at. Some of the sizes available 2.5, 4, and 6 gallons are represented in the following links:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rheem-Perfor ... 318371-_-N

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Stiebel-Eltr ... 068058-_-N

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rheem-Perfor ... 318372-_-N

The 2.5 gallon may be too small if two people want a shower, even with a Navy type shower. Although heating up to greater than 125 F can be mixed with the cold water.

Optimal sizing of a hot water tank for using excess solar will depend on the number of panels, the collection efficiency (winter is lower) and other electrical loads used (refrigerator, lighting, electronics, 12 v mattress pad heater, and in my case electrical cooking).

I find the 4 gallon Stiebel-Eltron interesting. May be most compact and has good review.

I found technical data for the Stiebel-Eltron:
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfIma ... b4af70.pdf
The stand-by heat loss, assumed for the maximum temperature of 165 F is consuming a major portion of what you can accumulate with a 4 panel solar system. Lower operating temperature and additional insulation would significantly reduce the heat losses. I might think of shooting for a 105 F 4 gallon unit with additional insulation.
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