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Old 06-28-2006, 08:42 PM   #11
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Alan,

Nice conversion.

A couple of questions if you would be so kind.

Do you wish you would have installed side windows in the slideout and side windows in the cabover? Can you comment on this?

Is there enough natural ventilation inside or do you generally keep the air conditioning/ventilation system running during the day and night? Can you comment on this?

How many and what size batteries do your solar panels charge? Can you talk more about the solar powered system and what it operates?

Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by BravestDog:

(1)
Do you wish you would have installed side windows in the slideout and side windows in the cabover? Can you comment on this?

(2)
Is there enough natural ventilation inside or do you generally keep the air conditioning/ventilation system running during the day and night? Can you comment on this?

(3)
How many and what size batteries do your solar panels charge? Can you talk more about the solar powered system and what it operates?
(1) and (2):
No regrets on the window decisions thus far. It was a tradeoff between cost and thermal efficiency (adding windows would have been more expensive and reduced the overall insulation value). The large windows on each side provide plenty of cross-ventilation and the two Fantastic fans help too.

(3):
We have 4, 245 A-hr, AGM batteries (total of 980 A-hrs). There is no generator. We do primarily dry camping.

The batteries are charged by solar, the 200 Amp engine alternator, or shore power. In fact, it's only been plugged in once since we took delivery and that was just to confirm that the charger was working properly.

So far, the solar panels in combination with driving the truck have provided all charging needs.

We have a 2500 watt Xantrex inverter that powers the air conditioner, convection microwave, and coffee maker. We haven't done a "stress test" of the system (long stays in one spot with low sun angle and cloudy weather) but I expect to be able to go at least 3 days with no charging whatsoever. Unlimited stays with reasonable sunlight.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-29-2006, 05:36 PM   #13
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Good info on the electrical setup, Alan. I myself would mostly be staying in campgrounds WITH electrical hookup, but it's good to know what you can do with a good battery, inverter, and solar charging setup. BTW, how long can you run the A/C on batteries w/ the inverter?
Between you and Mase Sanford, it's been a goldmine of info on this site today! Keep it coming guys, this is getting me more charged up all the time!
Gary
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gary Atsma:
how long can you run the A/C on batteries w/ the inverter?
There are too many variables to get an exact time. But, assuming that the A/C was the only load and keeping the drain of the batteries to the suggested 50%, the inverter would run the A/C for about 5 hours. Since the A/C doesn't run constantly, we've never had any problem being comfortable without draining the batteries.
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Old 12-20-2006, 08:54 PM   #15
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I have a few more questions if you'd like to respond.

1. Do you wish you had more windows or skylights? Do you have skylights?
2. Do you wish you had a rear bumper?
3. How much height/width/depth in the overhead bunk?
4. Do the truck seats rotate so they can face inside the cabin?
5. Do they use this type of open cell gray foam that you see in this picture here and here for insulation? Does this stuff absorb water if the cabin were to develop a leak?
6. Is your truck 200amp alternator a standard unit or is it an upgrade? Do you have any idea how long it takes to charge the batteries if driving? Will they charge on idle?
7. Is the diner table fixed or does it drop down to become a mini sleeper for a baby or child?
8. Is your roof flat or is there a dome to it? Do you wish you had a walk on roof?
9. Can you unfold your bed with the slideout in the retracted position? How comfy or uncomfy are these mattresses?
10. How much does a chassis cost?
11. If you could, what would you change to make it better?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:36 PM   #16
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see next posting
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:05 PM   #17
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1. Do you wish you had more windows or skylights? Do you have skylights?

No - the current setup is fine. The only 'skylights' are the translucent domes on the Fantastic fans. But, we don't spend much 'daylight time' in the coach -- too busy hiking and doing stuff outside. So artificial lighting is much more important to us than natural lighting with skylights.

2. Do you wish you had a rear bumper?

No. What is not shown in any of the posted pictures is the special lift that we installed to haul a motorcycle with a sidecar. If we did not have this lift, a bumper would be a good thing at least for cosmetic purposes.

3. How much height/width/depth in the overhead bunk?
Approx: 26" high x 8' wide x 52" deep

4. Do the truck seats rotate so they can face inside the cabin?
no

5. Do they use this type of open cell gray foam that you see in this picture here and here for insulation? Does this stuff absorb water if the cabin were to develop a leak?

The gray foam is for acoustic deadening. The primary thermal insulation is closed-cell, high performance "bubble wrap". Yes, the gray foam insulation would absorb water.

6. Is your truck 200amp alternator a standard unit or is it an upgrade? Do you have any idea how long it takes to charge the batteries if driving? Will they charge on idle?

It was an upgrade specified when the truck was ordered. It will charge the batteries from a 50% 'drain' to full charge in about 6 hours of driving. It does charge at idle, albeit slower, but we've never had to do this. I should add that we run the refrigerator on AC via the inverter when we're on the road. We only run the fridge on propane when stopped and no shore power is available.

7. Is the diner table fixed or does it drop down to become a mini sleeper for a baby or child?
It is removable but is not configured as a sleeper.

8. Is your roof flat or is there a dome to it? Do you wish you had a walk on roof?

There's a slight crown to the roof. While not a true 'walk on' design, I've walked around a bit up there an there's no problem. It does flex quite a bit but, in reality, there's not much need to go up there. The a/c, solar panels, vents, and fantastic fans take up most of the room. The roof is also 'preped' for a possible satellite dish. All this stuff consumes most of the available space.

9. Can you unfold your bed with the slideout in the retracted position? How comfy or uncomfy are these mattresses?

The slideout must be extended to open the hide-a-bed. In the event that we're somewhere that we can't extend the slideout, one of us would sleep on the couch and the other in the bunk.

The hide-a-bed with air mattress is extremely comfortable. No complaints with this setup whatsoever.


10. How much does a chassis cost?
There are too many variables to give an accurate estimate but ours was about $60k.

11. If you could, what would you change to make it better?

The list is short:
<LI> Ducted furnace. (I might even consider a diesel-fired hydronic unit. This would make heating the holding tanks easier.)
<LI> More AC circuit breakers. (We have a small Blue Sea power distribution panel. The 120V coil for the HWH (which we don't use very often) is shared with the coach outlets.)
<LI> Remote-fill for LP tank and mount the tank between the frame rails. We're tight on external storage and having the LP tank take up a good chunk of a storage compartment isn't ideal.
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Old 01-15-2007, 10:59 AM   #18
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We are looking at having a new COE conversion completed. They are a real space saver. They are very popular in Europe. Do you guys know of anyone that can do this?
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Old 01-15-2007, 02:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Racing4fun:
We are looking at having a new COE conversion completed. They are a real space saver. They are very popular in Europe. Do you guys know of anyone that can do this?
Search this forum for 'COE' for lots of relevant discussion on this topic. As for who can do this type of conversion, contact Steve Mattie at Transport Designs. He has done many one-off custom rigs. While I don't know if he's done a COE conversion, he certainly has the skills and staff to do so.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:04 AM   #20
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Dr Fun, I traveled to PA before I had my first coach built. When I paid a visit to the shop all of the photos and conversions looked like horse trailer on the exterior. NOTHING SEXY OR SLEEK HERE.

The bunks built over the cabs are far from good looking. I must admit since I was at the shop he has built a few nice conversions!

Who is marketing his coach? Steve was a very nice guy but he did not impress as being having a great sales staff! BORING comes to mind.

Conversion builders are like Henry Ford. They hate change. You can see that from the web site. Why do you think he can build a COE that does not look like a horse trailer?
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