System Info • Electrical, Plumbing, Propane
photo of first-time Sportsmobile owners with their dog About half of our customers each year have never owned an RV. If you’re in that group, the following may answer many of your questions about the systems. Even if you have previously owned an RV, check out the information. Things do change over the years.

While Sportsmobiles have become much more sophisticated in the way of systems over the years, maintenance problems have decreased. This is due to the more advanced technologies, materials, quality controls, etc.

No manufacturer uses better appliances, components and systems than Sportsmobile. Our quality control is first rate. We learned decades ago that it’s better to make it right the first time rather than have to fix things later. That’s not to say something can’t go wrong. But the incidence is very low for Sportsmobile. However, if you ever have a problem, you can be assured that Sportsmobile will immediately do whatever it takes to make it right ASAP!


The 12 Volt System

What Items Will the 12V Auxiliary Batteries Power?
Water Pump Lights Fan Refrigerator TV Furnace (O), 12V blower fan

Why Auxiliary Batteries?
The batteries we use are AGM Deep Cycle Batteries. These state-of-the-art batteries use more advanced AGM technology for increased safety, efficiency and durability over most other existing battery types.
The battery is completely sealed and has an exceptional, non-maintenance life cycle.
When you run your van’s engine, the van’s large amp alternator will charge your Auxiliary Battery and the van’s starting battery.

 “(O)” indicates an additional cost option.

When you have a 110V outside hookup, the Inverter/Battery Charger will charge your Auxiliary Batteries in several hours depending on the battery bank size.
The Charger will not over-charge your batteries and it’s totally filtered, regulated and spike protected. Charging of the Auxiliary Battery system is automatic — there is no switch to turn on/off.
A Battery Level Gauge is included.
A Battery Separator will prevent any drain from your van’s starting battery when key is in “on” position.

A 12V Cut-Off Switch also is included so you can cut off all 12V drain from your auxiliary batteries when you will be gone for a while or storing your Sportsmobile. Note, this includes the refrigerator which also runs on 12V.

110 Volt System

What Appliances Require 110V?
Microwave (O)
Air Conditioner (O)
Hot Water Heater, 110V (O)
Portable Heater (O)
Plus other 110V items such as electric blankets, tools, etc.
For 110V power you must have a 110V park hookup or Generator (O) or Inverter (O) — please see below.

What Will An Inverter Do?
It changes 12V power to 110V (A Converter changes 110V to 12V).
  If you will not have a 110V hookup or Generator (O), and must have 110V power, this is the way to go. Keep in mind, the 12V battery system size will determine how long the inverter will run 110V items
A 100 Amp battery charger is built-in.

With the standard 2000 W Inverter, you can power such items as a computer, microwave and other lower amp appliances. The Inverter can run an A/C for about 1 hour max with van engine off and two fully charged auxiliary batteries. Substantially more with engine running.

For more info on running an A/C while driving or parked, see the Heating & Cooling page.



Magnum Energy MS2000 Inverter/Charger is a pure sine wave inverter. 2000W, 100A charger with a 30A surge protector. 14″L x 13″W x 8″H. 40 lbs.
Magnum Energy ME-RC50 Remote Controller is simple to use, yet allows full set-up of all the standard and advanced features available in Magnum inverter. Has convenient finger-tip one-knob programming.
Magnum Energy ME-BMK Battery Monitor is an additional cost option (O). This is a “fuel gauge” type meter for your auxiliary batteries. It monitors the battery bank and reports the percentage state of charge, real-time amps, voltage, amp-hours in/out, and the minimum/maximum DC volts. Note: a simple 12V plug-in battery gauge is standard equipment.
Going All Electric • Note: ProMaster/Transit 2nd alternator not available at this time.

All electric, delete the propane, is the trend. Actually Sportsmobile has been converting travel vans with all electric systems for over 15 years. To do this we offer several different options Auxiliary Battery Systems Solar Panel Arrays Generators – gas and diesel Second Alternators for diesel van engines.

What do you need for your travels? See Heating/Cooling.

An Air Conditioner is by far the largest user of 110V power. If you want to run an A/C for long periods of time you’ll need one of the items below:

  • A 110V Hook Up at a camp site, park at home, etc.
  • A Second Alternator is available for diesel van engines.
  • A Generator, mounted inside or under the van.
  • Portable gas 2000 watts or greater.

The following information is written for Sprinter diesel vans. See notes below for ProMaster and Transit vans.

When the van’s engine is idling it will supply up to 100 amps of power. An A/C will draw about 180 amps. It will run continously for 1 to 3 hours, longer if you have the Sprinter’s High Idle option. There are variables.

A Second Alternator (o) will provide an additional 3,500 watts or 270 amps (max). This additional power will first fully charge your 12V Auxiliary Batteries then go to your 2000W inverter for 110V power.(Second Alternator, Weights 20 lbs)

You will have plenty of 110V power for long periods of time for an A/C, microwave (o), water heater (o), and other items, not all at same time. Plus power for your 12V refrigerator, lights and other items. Solar panels, Additional Auxiliary Batteries or higher capacity inverter? Really no need, for most customers.

Sprinter Second Alternator / Generator – Pros & Cons

Second Alternator

  • Uses about 25% more diesel fuel. In our opinions this is the only negative.
  • Easier to operate
  • Very quiet
  • Less maintenance
  • Does not take up any space under/inside the van
  • More Dependable 12 & 110V power
Generator

  • Cost more
  • Weighs about 100-200 pounds more
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Is louder. A Second Alternator is quiet
  • Has a larger foot print
  • If mounted under the van the spare tire must be relocated, usually on a rear door.
  • Note: for some owners a generator may still be a better choice. Such as commercial use, van for dog shows, etc. In some states it’s illegal to leave a van unattended when the engine is running. An auto-start system can be installed to keep you legal.
family

“Our original plan was to buy a Sportsmobile when the kids got a couple of years older. Then we though, why wait? Let’s start enjoying it now! And we are.”

-Jayson, Brenda and kids

How do I order a Sprinter Second Alternator?
Your Sprinter Van Order Should Include:
Second Alternator Installation Bracket ‘N62′$400
High Idle Control$600
Approx Total$1000

 

Your Sportsmobile Order Should Include:
Second Alternator$1800
Approx Total$3000

 

If You Already Own a Sprinter
A Second Alternator ‘Installation Bracket’ can be installed by a Mercedes-Benz dealer – Approx $1,700
*High Idle control cannot be installed later.

 

Your Sportsmobile Order Should Include:
Second Alternator
Approx Total
$1800
$3500
* If you do not have a High Idle Control you will have to conserve your 110V power. If you are running your A/C you will have to turn it off. Or wait until it cycles off to run a Microwave (o), Water Heater (o), or other high 110V draw items.

Propane Tank & Stove Deletion

Your credit will about $2,100. Also No propane tank to fill Some tunnels and ferries have propane restrictions Greener Less Weight No van exterior propane fill lid. No need to turn propane valve on/off.

What are some propane appliance alternatives? Prices are approximate.

Electric 110V/• Generator • Second Alternator vans

  • Microwave $200 • Microwave/Convection $500 • Portable Stove $60
  • Stove-Induction Cooktop – Single Burner $300 • Double Burner $400, fast to heat up. Energy efficient. Cool to touch.
  • Water Heater $650 – Recommended 2.5G model. No van side vent, easy operation and winterization. 1/2 the weight and size of a Propane Heater.
  • Electric Space Heater

Diesel Engine Vans

  • Diesel Stove – Double Burner $2400. Good option if a 110V Induction Cook Top is not practical for your use.
  • Diesel Furnace – Espar Airtonic $4750 with high altitude kit. Very energy efficient. Weight and size about 1/2 of Propane Furnace.

Diesel/110

  • Furnace & Water Heater – Espar Hydronic $6500 very energy efficient. 1/2 size and weight of propane. The water heater continuously heats hot water with no water tank.

Note: Diesel powered appliances use fuel from the diesel van’s fuel tank. They cost about twice propane powered appliances. However, over the long haul you will save money as they are more efficient and require less maintenance. Plus they are about 1/2 the size and weight of propane appliances.

Propane System

What Is The Propane System For?
Propane is required for the Stove, Furnace (O), Three-Way Refrigerator (O), and Propane Hot Water Heater (O). The tank is located under the van’s floor in a protected area. A hinged outside access door is included for access to the gauge, master shut-off valve and fill connection.

If the tank has a 7.9 gallon capacity, it will provide 690,900 BTUs. If you turn one stove burner on, it will use 5,000 BTUs per hour, for 138 hours of continuous use. Furnace (O) uses 12,000 BTUs per hour. The furnace will run around 57 hours.

A two-stage regulator supplies very low gas pressure inside the Sportsmobile for the appliances. A Propane Detector is included.
Propane tanks are manufactured, installed and tested per strict codes. Since 1961 we do not know of a single Sportsmobile propane related accident or injury. Always practice safety!

Can I Delete The Propane System And Go “All Electric”?
Yes. The Stove and/or Propane System can be deleted from the Standard Equipment Package for credit. When a 110V hookup is available, you can use a Microwave (O) or Electric Hot Plate (O) for cooking and hot water. Some owners use a portable camp stove. Small portable propane water heaters are also available. Also keep in mind, practically all campgrounds have a grill and picnic table at each camp site.

Your Inverter changes 12V to 110V, so you have 110V for a Microwave (O) and other 110V items. An Inverter will not power an A/C.

Water System
Explain The City Water Hookup
When you have a park fresh water connection at your camp site, you can connect it and the connector in the side of the van with the 25 foot White Fresh Water Hose. You will then have fresh water to the Sink, Shower (O), Marine Toilet (O) and Water Heater (O). All Sportsmobile water lines are high pressure and rated to minus 50 F. The City Water Connection includes a built-in pressure regulator.

The entire water line system can be easily drained through a drain valve located under the van, near the City hookup. The Fresh Water Tank also includes a through-the -floor drain by the tank.

How Do I Fill The Fresh Water Tank?
If you are connected to a city water hookup, just turn on the valve by the fresh water tank. You can see the level through the side of the tank. When the tank is full, turn the valve off. We install the fresh water tank and water lines inside the van, not under the van, to help protect them from freezing. You can also fill the tank from the inside of your Sportsmobile, if you are not connected to a city water hookup. Sportsmobile does not use a separate outside fill in the side of the van. This keeps the van more attractive; plus helps ensure “no tampering” with your water supply.

Holding Tanks
There are two types — Grey Water and Black Water (O). The Grey Water tank is included in the Standard Equipment Package. Grey Water is sink and shower water — and will not harm the environment if you use biodegradable detergents. The Black Water (O) holding tank is used for toilet waste.