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My Mercedes Sprinter Photography Adventure Van: Wiring and Power Now in Place

Very soon I’ll be heading to the mountains, now with my Sprinter photography adventure van fully armed and operational (so to speak), albeit without insulation and walls and still with a temporary desk/table. But if it’s good enough for the Darth and the Death Star, it’s good enough for me.

This has chewed up some time lately, taking two trips to Los Angeles (640 mile round trip, each). But things are now good to go and I’ve got just what I envisioned all along. May that Nikon D850 now show up please. But I have other things to cover too, so I’ll be shooting and publishing soon.

The iMac 5K travels well using the Gator Cases Creative Pro 27" iMac Carry Tote.

With this electrical setup I can work for about 20 hours on battery power with an iMac 5K and a NEC PA302W wide gamut professional display, my display of choice for all my work where evaluating sharpness and color matter. Usable power from the 5120 watt hour Lithionics battery is about 4100 watt hours, or up to 4600 watt hours in a pinch (a Macbook Pro 15" has a less than 100 watt hour battery).

With skid plates now installed and robust offroad tires, the Mercedes Sprinter Photography Adventure Van is ready to rock. The Cayenne is sold and forgotten.

I feel smug about skipping solar charging; it’s useless for my needs (but honey for foolish bees); all day on the summer solstice baking in the sun (I like shade) with dual 160W panels would produce less charging than one hour at idle from the alternator. Not only that, at idle I can easily run a 1400 watt space heater with minimal effect on the battery. I will make use of that now that it is turning colder, though I will be testing a catalytic propane heater very soon, at high altitude.

Image below is before replacing the Xantrex Freedom SW 3012 with the Xantrex Freedom XC. That change gained a ton of critically important space under the desk for legs/feet and stowage of camera bags and similar. I also moved the battery closer to the wall and to the left, gaining even more space. Table is temporary until I decide on the exact shape and height. Curtains are also temporary and the walls are not insulated or finished yet.

Lithionics 12V400A-5D-CTRL400 400 amp-hour battery and wiring panel and Xantrex Freedom SW 3012 inverter/charge in Mercedes Sprinter van

See Mercedes Sprinter: Battery, Wiring Panel, Inverter as Installed for details.

This was tricky to light; I could not get anything into that corner. I used two Cineo Matchbox lights aimed at the wiring panel and inverter area. The delivered a beautiful diffuse light that matched the ambient light perfectly.

Lithionics 12V400A-5D-CTRL400 400 amp-hour battery and wiring panel and Xantrex Freedom XC inverter/charge in Mercedes Sprinter van

Below, Mercedes Sprinter cargo van, maiden voyage before any upfitting, first usage.

Mercedes Sprinter cargo van, maiden voyage before any upfitting

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