Charge those chassis batteries, Splendide W/D prep, changing bedroom CRT for an LCD TV
May, 2010 update:
Three projects on one compact page. This was one of the early projects I documented after we took delivery of our Itasca Horizon and I had a chance to get busy. Up to the model year 2005, Winnebago made no provision to charge the chassis batteries (the batteries associated with the engine) while plugged into shore power, consequently many owners complained about dead starting (chassis) batteries after being in one place for some length of time (and not running the engine.) Beginning with the 2006 model year, Winnebago installed a device to redirect a little charge current from the house batteries to the chassis batteries - the product is called Trik-L-Start. I chose the "Cadillac" version of this from Xantrex - the Echo~Charge. The Echo~Charge costs about twice as much as the Trik-L-Start, but to be fair, they both accomplish the same objective. I do believe the Echo~Charge is a little more sophisticated than the Trik-L-Start and I wanted to use Xantrex products where possible.
We ordered our coach without the washer-dryer option because Winnebago was still installing the Splendide model 2000 instead of the 2100 model that had a larger drum. Amazingly, they would not entertain a special order to install a 2100 model even though the dimensions were within an inch or two of the 2000 model, so we ordered ours without. Ironically for the model year 2006, the Splendide 2100 model became standard. Thanks very much Winnebago - you could have made this so easy for us.
Be that as it may, we purchased a Splendide 2100 from PPL Motorhomes and installed it ourselves. That dude was heavy! Not only was it heavy, it was difficult to maneuver to the aft cabin and jockey into place. One advantage of doing our own install was to include a drain pan with a hose that exits to the outside for the Splendide to sit on. If the Splendide ever decides to barf its water, it will drain to the outside.
Our coach came complete with the typical for the era CRT TVs. An early priority was to get rid the the glass monster in the aft cabin (bedroom) and replace it with an LCD TV. We gained a whole bunch of storage and got rid of maybe fifty pounds of unnecessary weight. With about 50,000 miles of experience, the Sharp TV rides quite nicely on the articulated arm and does not move while the coach is in motion.
With the old glass TV removed, we gained quite a bit of storage space, but I really need to install dividers to keep the books and other stuff from winding up in messy pile. One of these days I will better organize the space.
On with the show!
The completed Echo~Charge installation which has worked quite well
Winnebago installs their Trik-L-Start to the battery bank bridging solenoid which is located in my electrical bay. The solenoid terminals make it easy to access both battery banks, but the compartment is relatively cramped and some disassembly is required to access the solenoid. My installation is simple and doesn't require that you take anything apart or stand on your head
I used some wire left over from my boating days to extend the leads. Just make sure that you use 10 to 12 gauge stranded wire for yours if you need to extend the leads very much (or as appropriate - it could charge at the rate of up to 15 amps.) ALWAYS secure the wiring with cable ties and use appropriate chafe protection!
The cabinet area. The coach was ordered without a washer-dryer since I did not want a Splendide 2000, and Winnebago would NOT entertain ANY special orders! The factory-installed drawers had to be removed along with the back wall. All of the plumbing you see is factory prep for the washer-dryer.
I felt much better by installing the drain pan under the Splendide. It was fairly easy to run a 1/2 inch drain hose from the pan to the outside. I found a chase that led to a basement compartment. I then drilled a hole to run the hose outside from the compartment
The drain pan just set in place for sizing purposes. There is a front "lip" for the pan that will be installed after the Splendide is set into place
Side view of the LCD TV install and cabinet modifications
Close-in view of the reworked TV cabinet. All of the paneling you see inside of the cabinet was added by me. It is leftover teak 1/8" plywood from a boating project (try 90$ for a 4' by 8' sheet!) The shelf is from some leftover cherry that I had laying around the shop. It took a surprising amount of time for the woodwork! As mentioned in the introduction, I need to rework this storage area and add compartments
Okay - last picture! Even though the TV is only 15 inches, it is plenty big enough for the bedroom. The articulated arm has worked out quite well for over 50,000 miles of traveling!