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Thread: Planning New Project

  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Sep 2006
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    Planning New Project

    Hello all,

    This is going to be a massive project and I was looking for some pointers. Here is the background and baselines for this project.

    Vehicle Type;
    1995 Coachman Santara (This is 35 foot long Motor Home)

    Objective for RVPuter;
    1. Must be able to GPS
    2. To Listen to Music while traveling (Guy I bought it from was deaf, no stereo period)
    3. To eliminate unsightly TV, DVD/VCR Combo, Surround Sound Reciever (Works only when plugged in to 30 Amp Power). Combine these 3 systems into one
    4. To provide Single Point of Control to driver
    5. Must be able to switch from DC power and AC power
    6. Must be able to WiFi
    7. Vonage instead of cell phone
    8. Would prefer to be hands free controlled (This is a bear to drive)

    Initial System being used;
    HP Pentium 3 800 MHZ with 1 gig ram
    19" Widescreen LCD Monitor
    Kenwood Surround Sound Home Theater Unit (This is going to be upgraded with a car stereo/equilizer)
    600W Inverter to provide AC Power to RVPuter (2 AC plug ins need solution for third)

    Notes:
    When I bought this RV, the previous owner Mickey-Moused most of the DC wiring. AC is "Ok", but needs updated.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. My main goal for this first system is to be the driving "Brains". Additional systems will be added in a step sequence to include laptop and central file server (AC Only), this RV came pre-wired for a clothes washer/dryer combo however one was never installed, so the thought is to use that space for the Main Server.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate GoHybrid's Avatar
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    it might make your life a little easier to consider steering wheel mounted controls for common functions like prev/next track, volume, etc... i have my doubts about voice control.

    i'll admit i know nothing about RVs... is the operating voltage 12-14.4v and there's just an inverter for AC devices?

    You should post some pics when you get started so we can all grasp the concept of "miles of wiring"
    Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

    Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
    Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
    Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

  3. #3
    Newbie
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    Sep 2006
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    Lightbulb RVPuter

    Well the RV is a different beast. There's basically 4 modes going on here. I have 3 batteries in 2 banks. Bank1 is a standard starting battery, Bank2 is composed of 2 Optima Deep Cycles wired in parallel. *Note* I'm going to up this bank HUGE, optima's are damn expensive batteries though.

    State 1: "Shore Power" = "On the Grid"
    This is a 30Amp rig, but you can down it to a standard 110VAC, you just can't run everything all at once. The 30Amp is just like a normal house, full AC power, fridge, etc...

    State 2: "Driving" = "Off the Grid"
    This is just like a car, all of your house systems go to the propane (I.E. Propane Fridge, Hot water heater, etc...) No AC power is present
    State 2a: "Inverter"
    I have a 600w Inverter that I use to power my Kenwood Surround sound deck so that I can listen to music while I'm driving, this is not an ideal solution and is going to be replaced with a RCA compliant car stereo deck. The Inverter has 2 110 ports and is going to be used for the RVPuter.

    State 3: "Battery Bank" = "Off the Grid"
    I have 2 brand new optima deep cycle batteries in there. Depending on the number of amp hours determines your battery life. about 1/2 of the systems in the RV function. Example the lamp in the living room doesn't work, but the flourescent in the kitchen does, the 110 plugs don't function, but next to every 110 plug is a 12v cigarette lighter style plugin that does.

    State 4: "Generator" = "On the Grid" (But not really)
    My motorhome has a 7000KW Onan Genset. When this is running, it produces AC power for every appliance in the house (Note, not good while driving, takes mileage to down around 3.5 to 4, without the genset I can get 6 to 8 {Furthermore the gas gauge doesn't work and I ran out in the middle of BFE Idaho once, had to disconnect the jeep and do a gas run})

    This is producing some very interesting questions for me as I would like to make the first RVPuter the "Main Brain" for the system. System one (Praying I have a OBD2 compliant rig) is going to be for the dash and audio systems. This is my main goal right now, but given the different possible power states, I need an elegant solution. That's why I opted to use the inverter, I can just unplug the RVPuter from the Inverter and plug it into the 110 while I'm "On the Grid" either by genset or shorepower and use the inverter while I'm "Off the Grid" and "Driving"

  4. #4
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
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    i was going to say, in your situation that you could take advantage of home audio equipment.... but now that i've learned about the 4 states i'm a bit confused on how to help you. when you're in 'state 1' do you still have 12v power?
    New System in progress:
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  5. #5
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    Unhappy RV Hell

    Quote Originally Posted by scott_fx View Post
    i was going to say, in your situation that you could take advantage of home audio equipment.... but now that i've learned about the 4 states i'm a bit confused on how to help you. when you're in 'state 1' do you still have 12v power?
    I think I need to clarify (and make the equation a little more complex), hope I still remember how to ascii draw
    Battery Battery Onan "Shore"
    Bank Bank GenSet 30 AMP
    1 2 7000Kw AC
    ------------ ------------- ------------ -------------
    Standard Optima ] ]
    Car Battery Deep Cycles (2) ] ]
    Wired in Parellel ] ]
    \ / ] ]
    \ / ] ]
    \ /--------------------------------------------
    \ /
    =====================
    Battery Disconnect Panel
    =====================
    "Chassis" "Coach"

    Chassis Controls just the car portion of the vehicle
    Coach Controls the rest of the RV Systems

    Coach Can be on in all 4 states
    Drawbacks;
    Draw on Deepcycle Batteries
    Genset uses gas (reduces already terrible mileage)
    Not always with shore power (Boondocking)
    What is the most elegant solution to switch from 12v DC to 110 AC?
    Is there a way that I can have the reverse 110 AC to 12v DC (Like a UPS)?

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate GoHybrid's Avatar
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    well there's a billion different options for power conversion. from 12VDC to 110VAC, people seem to swear by inverters. You can buy the more stout 3000w-5000w varieties that just hardwire into your battery banks. They can be controlled remotely as well if you're handy with electronics. for 110VAC to 12VDC, you're probably looking at a simple transformer... think of the kind that powers your cordless phone base or powers your computer speakers... something of that nature. I know they make more efficient AC/DC converters but you can't beat the simplicity and price of your run-of-the-mill wall wart.

    As far as power sources go... i almost have to laugh at myself suggesting it, but have you researched fuel cells or microturbines? Might be something worth looking into if only to say "hmm, that's neat"... but if either system were available to you, it might prove a viable alternative to stacking craploads of heavy batteries on board and improve your mileage. Working with deep cycle batteries myself, I know that by and large, they are mostly lead weights that need your attention quite frequently.
    Et ipsa scientia potestas est.

    Worklog for my 2007 Civic Si ...f*** it...
    Pictures of the Corolla (retired)here
    Need to make something? Here are a few ideas.

  7. #7
    Newbie Transporter's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    I am in the market for a class A RV and interested in how this project will turn out. All I know is that they have ~ 2000 watt inverter, banks of batteries, some has solar panel chargers for dry camping. Did you want to integrate back up cameras into your setup? The CNET article is about a Prevost RV that is decked out.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3000_7-...tml?tag=feat.1
    Three Rules:

    Rule 1: Never change the deal!
    Rule 2: No names!
    Rule 3: Never open the package!

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