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"The Ark"
#1
i did a home theater a few years ago with cqc so it was a natural for me to use on this project.  i LOVE this van.  you can buy custom sprinter vans but they cost 150K and don't do all the cool stuff that you can do with a DIY build.  we don't camp so this is really for road trips, tailgating and as it turns out, it is becoming my daily driver.  my last child is moving to college next year and we have learned that teenagers are like wild animals - if you put out food they all show up.  so we go to every purdue game and put on our best tailgates and we are meeting all of our son's friends.  next year both our boys will be there.  

so i started by ordering a 2017 ford transit cargo van with windows all around.  bare metal inside.  maxed out dual rear wheel 10K lb GVWR.  this thing is huge and big enough to stand up in but it still fits in a standard parking spot.  it is basically an F350 pickup and drives very easily.  and i am 8' 11" so i get through most driveups.

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mounted 400lbs of batteries underneath in a metal box i had fabricated.

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Then built a frame with insulated black and grey tanks that have temp sensors, level sensors, electric valves, heaters and a macerator pump (all of which i can control with cqc).

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Then inside the van there is a couch which contains the plumbing and fresh water tank in an insulated cavity.  the plumbing has a compressor and a set of valves that allow me to automatically blow the water lines out when needed.  

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installed some comfortable seats
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doing some woodworking as a hobby i pimped out the inside and set it up for tailgating
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oh and solar panels on the roof

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and finally, the part we are actually here to talk about is the cqc automation.  i used a couple modbus controllers connected to a minipc installed in the back so that i have lots of relay outputs and sensor inputs.  the van has a soho wireless hub on board with a tmobile mifi 4G modem so when i am home it connects to the house network and when i am traveling it connects to tmobile.  

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then set up touchscreens to control everything

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#2
Wow, that's a project. You could just retire and hit the road.
Dean Roddey
Software Geek Extraordinaire
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#3
things i can do with my automation:
- when the temp falls the van blows out the water line to the sink and toilet and turns on small heaters.  one 20 watt heater inside the toilet keeps the macerator from freezing and a 40 watt heater inside the couch keeps the water pump and plumbing warm.  it also texts me that it has done an automatic blowout.
- if the temp inside the plumbing areas falls below freezing i get a text from the van (like if the heaters failed)
- i can set it to text me if the engine is started or the doors are opened.  i do this when we are at a hotel or parked in public.
- gives me control over pad heaters on the fresh, grey and black tanks as well as heaters on the valves when i dump.
- watches the status of the engine and doors to decide when to put the van to sleep.
- texts me to let me know if my main batteries ever fall below 50%
- Can automate the dump.  i select which tanks i want to dump and whether or not i want to rinse the black tank then hit execute and walk away. i attached a video of the dump (sped up) below.  a full dump will dump the black tank then rinse it several times with fresh water and finally it dumps the grey tank and fills the fresh tank.   i have  a connection on the side of my house to the sewer so i can dump easily.  i camlock the dump hose onto the van and connect a hose for rinsing the black tank, a hose to fill the fresh tank and a third to rinse the dump line.  that later is a fresh water line the is fed into the dump hose right where it connects to the van so that i can rinse the hose before i disconnect it.  once that is done i switch a couple valves which allow me to blow all of the lines dry with compressed air from the house.  when i disconnect the lines are clean and dry.  

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#4
(03-23-2018, 10:59 AM)Dean Roddey Wrote: Wow, that's a project. You could just retire and hit the road.

this has been a blast.  i have learned so much about rvs, modbus, plumbing, thermal loss, solar, etc.  i am getting close to being done.  i have a guy who is doing the vinyl walls and ceiling and most of what is left is to get it to him to finish the walls then i have a 37" tv to hang in the front.  cold weather shut down all work other than testing and tweaking my heating systems. i got through -20 temps in january and the whole thing held together.  

we have taken it to a dozen football games, to detroit for an ncaa game, on a ski trip to michigan, to see santana in st louis and kansas in kentucky and on a trip to cedar point last summer.  i used to fly 200K miles a year so i HATE flying.  

btw we call it "the ark" because we go two by two Smile

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