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Sprinter Van Delivered, Test Trip in Progress

Well, my Cayenne is for sale.

No longer a simulation, I worked some hours today in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van on some material for a future Lenspire article. No upfitting has been done—this is a raw unmodified Mercedes Sprinter cargo van with my gear in it that I drove to Reno with.

See the growing Sprinter Photography Adventure Van section at WindInMyFace.com.

Shown below is a temporary desk with what I am using now: the NEC PA302W along with the my 2015 MacBook Pro. I am reconsidering my iMac 5K thinking in light of how to stow and protect the computer. Time will tell on that count—for most work the Macbook Pro is fine, it is very power efficient, it is trivially stowed and unstowed and it can be used standalone. Hopefully Apple will get their act together and offer one with 32GB (16GB is the MacBook Pro limit since forever), which is the only serious limitation.

Upfitting will be in two stages, with phase 1 including the incredible battery, the windows, the cork-insulated marine-grade flooring with tie-down hooks, roof fan and a few other things. Phase 2 will be the well-insulated (sounds, heat/cool) walls and ceiling, built in desk and cabinets, Cineo lighting, and finishing touches. I’m not rushing it—I want to not make mistakes in what goes in and what does not go in.

Bottom line: with the Sprinter van setup, I can work efficiently in the field just like at home. Did that today for 5 hours—very comfortable at least on a relatively cool day at 7000 feet elevation.

Regrettably, in spite of having a 100 amp auxiliary battery, the Mercedes Sprinter van has no 12V sockets connect directly to the auxiliary battery, so while one power outlet remains powered with the engine off, it is the main battery and makes the inverter complain after half an hour or so, indicating it does not like the voltage (or whatever). So I popped the hood, then clipped leads of the inverter directly to the auxiliary battery and ran an extension cord inside (the yellow one, as seen below). With that setup, the inverter has not made a peep for hours.

Computer desk in Mercedes Sprinter van—no upfitting as yet, temporary table and power
f1.8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 32; 2017-08-06 17:00:14
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

Everything temporary except bed) as shown with no upfitting done as yet. The 44" long table fits with room to spare. Since this picture was taken, for safety I’ve strapped down the Yetis using the built-in tie-down hooks (dedicated tie-down points coming).

Mercedes Sprinter cargo van set up with bed on dual Yeti 210 coolers
f1.8 @ 1/310 sec, ISO 20; 2017-08-05 14:26:07
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

The bed fits almost exactly atop the two Yeti Tundra 210 coolers (see the schematic and discussion). One is used for its intended purpose as a cooler at the rear (drain plug just drains out with the van on an uphill slope), the other is for storage for the NEC PA302W and other stuff when traveling, well padded of course.

Mercedes Sprinter cargo van set up with bed on dual Yeti 210 coolers
f1.8 @ 1/390 sec, ISO 20; 2017-08-05 14:25:48
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

The expansive 180° view from driver’s seat of a Mercedes Sprinter van is an unintended pleasure that I had not anticipated. Very good for evaluating conditions and just plain enjoyable to drive around. The seat height is high enough so that on the paved road, I am looking at the tops of people’s heads in passenger cars.

Expansive 180° view from driver’s seat of Mercedes Sprinter van
f1.8 @ 1/140 sec, ISO 80; 2017-08-05 18:28:45
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]
Mercedes Sprinter van purchased at Mercedes-Benz of Reno, NV
f1.8 @ 1/3200 sec, ISO 20; 2017-08-05 13:01:08
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]
Mercedes Sprinter van on Lundy Canyon Road
f6.3 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 64; 2017-08-05 19:29:00
NIKON D810 + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2

[low-res image for bot]

I love the Cayenne, it is gorgeous and so well designed, but it is now for sale.

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