Category Trail

Size schematic of Sprinter Van

No plan ever survives contact with reality, as engineering is a matter of expedients.

Paraphrasing Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

We've taken a thorough survey of all the uses, goals, and constraints of our Vansion and it's looking incredibly sweet. Or perhaps more accurately, the ideal dream is fantastic, both in the sense of being absolutely amazing and entirely infeasible. The practical version we could actually build is probably only really really good. :-) It's time to put our design under scrutiny, making sure it meets it really meets our needs.

No plan ever survives contact with reality, as engineering is a matter of expedients.

Paraphrasing Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

We've taken a thorough survey of all the uses, goals, and constraints of our Vansion and it's looking incredibly sweet. Or perhaps more accurately, the ideal dream is fantastic, both in the sense of being absolutely amazing and entirely infeasible. The practical version we could actually build is probably only really really good. :-) It's time to put our design under scrutiny, making sure it meets it really meets our needs.

System Alterations

After giving some thought to expected uses, I've realized boondocking has been over-represented. Even were I to get every other friend to take a week vacation with me, it would still be less than 25% of the time. So while many features would be useful for survivalists or off-grid living, they are excessive in my case. Let's simplify with the surgical knife to pare down to the essentials.

The roof water collection and purification can go. First off, it wouldn't work properly unless the Vansion were level, and I'm already assuming that it won't be (hence the bed jacks). Second, there's only room for either the solar panels or the filtration bed, and the former is more important. I've also convinced myself that I don't need a laundry machine; on a week long excursion everyone would bring their own clothing, just like a normal camping trip. The only thing we'd need it for was emergency washing, which we could do by hand if necessary. No need to lug a washing machine around that only gets used thrice a year.

We can reduce the water storage by around half. With a pump and nearby source, we have unlimited water for showering, radiative cooling, etc. So we'd really only need extra drinking water. It makes more sense to bring that with us when needed than having an over-sized tank used at most a quarter of the time. I may also regrettably be forced to move the grey tanks to their standard spot in the undercarriage. I don't want to, as they are *really* multi-purpose on the ceiling: radiative thermal mass, gravity-fed pressure, and easy irrigation for the garden. But we get the latter two from the pump on the water wall, needed for the radiative cooler anyhoo.

After working through the energy calculations, I realize that I want the option to watch a movie without the noise of an engine or generator. Right off the bat, this means I'll be using a laptop (100W) instead of a home computer (250W). I'll also have two sound systems. One a PC speaker system ( < 100W, RCA) and the other a home theatre (>500W, HDMI). Thus I'll have options from low power viewing (200W) to high power multimedia (1kW+), and the two different connectors means I can run both together when desired.

Despite my lowering my energy requirements, it might make sense to slightly enlarge the peak power while keeping capacity the same. The newer van models have bigger alternators than I was expecting. That means using the alternator as a poor man's generator is a more attractive option. I also plan on plugging in at friend's houses, so I need a unit that can handle significant grid power flow. Last but not least, the incremental cost delta between 2kW and 3kW is small. Note that getting an on-demand or portable generator are also viable options, but ones I'll forego.

The remainder of the page has the engineering plan broken into physical sections. At the moment it's just reminders for me. Once I decide to build the Vansion, I'll flesh these out into serious schematics. Until then, enjoy!

Driving Cab / Mud Room

  • Shoe Shower / Hand Cleaner
  • Closet / Shoe Rack
  • Driving Amenities
  • Dual Flashlights
  • Weapons
  • Horn
  • Emergency Gear

Cabin Diagram

  • Insulation Reflectix Cork Vapor(Foam?)
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing / Spillover
  • Ventilation
  • Networking
  • Envelope
  • Raceway / PVC pipes + 2 Wires

Under Plan

  • Grey tanks, hose

Floor Plan

  • Bed 80"x60" queen
  • Food / Cooking
  • Clothing
  • Multimedia (divider)
  • Office / Printer

Ceiling Plan

  • Light
  • Garden
  • Tanks
  • Vents

Roof Plan

  • I2I, over garden
  • Solar Awning, sides
  • Roof Loop
  • Solar 65.43" x 38.98" x2 front and back, over vents
  • Antenna

Exterior / Storage

  • Mealspace
  • Hose / Shower / Pump
  • Projector / Home Theater
  • Tents
  • Vehicular
  • Tools
  • Hookups, side
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