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Old 02-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #1
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does the berkshire need some upgrades?

hello all,

i'm about to buy a berkshire or similar bunkhouse mh and like most of you, find the berkshire to be the best value (so far). i've read most of the posts here and still going through other forums as i find them about real owners and their experiences with the berkshire. from what i've found out, there are a few items that seem like they need to be upgraded for long term enjoyment?

-air conditioning

apparently, the berkshire has only the ac/heat pump in the front and a regular ac in the rear. both are 13,500 btu and reviews seem to indicate this is not enough cooling in hot weather? anyone have any thoughts on it's heating in very cold weather as well? i figure the upgrade to dual 15,000 ac/heat pumps would be well worth the upgrade @ ~$2000 + labor.

- inverter

the magnum mss series inverter seems to only charge the batteries on engine/generator power. not on shore power. is the 1200 watts sufficient? most of the other mh's seem to have more with 2000-3000 watts and are true sine wave. i think the bershire's is a modified sine wave unit as well? if i upgrade here, i would want one that would charge/maintain batteries on any external powersource (shore power, solar, generator, etc)

- water heater

although the 10 gallon unit is pretty much standard for many mh's, it seems its not enough hot water for the wife who takes long showers. any reviews on either the precision temp or the girard tankless heater units?

- water pump

the 2.8gpm pump seems to have low pressure and the upgrade 5.7gpm pump seems to be too loud. how loud is too loud?

- sani-con system

seems to be a no-brainer upgrade from the 3 inch disposal hose.

- additional house batteries

if you were to run the heat pumps in cold weather throughout the night, stay up later, and in general not being very energy conservative, i figure this kind of upgrade would be a great convienence. i'm thinking an additional 4 6v batteries to double the existing capacity (and logical spot would be the storage bay right next to the existing battery slide bay)

we're going to tour some more mh's this weekend as well as take a more technical dive at the berskshire this weekend. i just hope the sales people have someone that really knows the product... i could test the inverter charging on shore power with a multimeter if the sales person can hook it up for me.

thanks in advance

adam
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:59 AM   #2
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i think in a couple areas you might have excessive expectations a 10 gal wh is plenty because it blends with the cold ,we have a 6 and after 2 showers still water left if you are running on the inverter that means you are boondocking long showers are not an option as you have a limited amount of fresh water available to you and only a limited amount of grey water capacity same goes for the water pump. for a better shower we use an oxegenics shower head best 35 bux spent in up grades.
we find rv a enjoyable way to travel but a bit differant than our stix & brix
brianj
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:10 AM   #3
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Adam,
We have a 13k btu unit in the rear and 15kbtu in the front. In VERY hot weather, it is just about enough. Normally it is sufficient. As for the heating, if it is very cold, the heat pump won't work. I believe that they only work when the outside temp is above 40 degrees F. I have the 2000w Magnum and it charges the batteries when on shore power as well as generator. If you are going to do a lot of dry camping, you should get a larger inverter. We have found that the 10 gal water heater is sufficient. As tncruiser mentioned, if you are boondocking, your water and holding tanks are limited and long showers are not an option. We rarely use the water pump so can't give you any feedback there. Not sure what the sani-con is so can't help there either. Not really sure if additional house batteries would be warranted as the weight they add would be significant. We don't do much boondocking so the 4 that we have for the house have been sufficient.
Hope this helps.
Good luck making a decision. IMHO, I don't think that you will find a comparably equiped rig in the same price range.
Tom
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #4
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thanks for the input guys

brian, thats an excellent point about the capacity of the holding tanks. the wife likes to take long showers. most of our trips will be short 1-2 day trips so that could be manageable with the longer showers. but definitely we would have to be more mindful on longer trips.

tom, the sani-con system is a macerator-pump that you add onto the disposal tube of the rv. it replaces the standard 3 inch hose. it grinds up all the waste and pumps i in a smaller more manageable tube with this fancy plunger end that fits into the sewage tanks. it can pump uphill and over long distances so you don't have to fiddle with the hose as you are doing the standard gravity dump. it sells for about 400-500 at many places and just makes disposals so much easier and cleaner. (sorry, didn't mean to make that sound like a commercial for the product). there's some youtube videos of the sani-con.

it also appears your unit is somewhat special in that it has the bigger ac unit and the bigger inverter? all of the ones i've taken a look at have only the 13.5k btu ac's and 1200 watt inverters.

thanks again.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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The larger AC and inverter were options that were available along with double pane windows. I chose to go with these options and am happy that I did. I'm sure that you would benefit getting them as well.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:33 PM   #6
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adam -

Here are a few thoughts below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Himcules View Post
hello all,

i'm about to buy a berkshire or similar bunkhouse mh and like most of you, find the berkshire to be the best value (so far). i've read most of the posts here and still going through other forums as i find them about real owners and their experiences with the berkshire. from what i've found out, there are a few items that seem like they need to be upgraded for long term enjoyment?

-air conditioning

apparently, the berkshire has only the ac/heat pump in the front and a regular ac in the rear. both are 13,500 btu and reviews seem to indicate this is not enough cooling in hot weather? anyone have any thoughts on it's heating in very cold weather as well? i figure the upgrade to dual 15,000 ac/heat pumps would be well worth the upgrade @ ~$2000 + labor.

> We live in California and have had the RV thru Az and Nv during the summer. It was not icy cold - but running both A/C's did keep the coach cool. We do have the double pane glass. Guess it would depend on where you are living or camping. If you are going to spend a lot of time in Az during the summer - you might consider the above..

One thing that helps alot is to point the coach so the front windows are not facing the sun. That is a lot of glass and it will heat up if the shades are up.

We have run our heat pump and furnance down in the mid to high 30's. They both did a good job heating the coach. That said - the furnance did a better job, pushing more heat quicker and runs more efficiently. The heat pump would run all night to keep up - where as the furnance will shut off and then come back on.

I should mention one thing about NOISE! The A/C, Furnance and Heatpumps are all noisy. You do get used to it (sort of like white noise). Lots of folks recommend a portable heater when on shore power. Electricity is basically free and LP costs $$.. they are also quiet. I am going to look into this next winter.


- inverter

the magnum mss series inverter seems to only charge the batteries on engine/generator power. not on shore power. is the 1200 watts sufficient? most of the other mh's seem to have more with 2000-3000 watts and are true sine wave. i think the bershire's is a modified sine wave unit as well? if i upgrade here, i would want one that would charge/maintain batteries on any external powersource (shore power, solar, generator, etc)

>We have the 2000 watt inverter. This seems to have been an option when we got the unit. The batteries DO charge when on shore power. We haven't really dry camped - so batteries going dead have not been an issue - they charge when you drive, when you run the generator and when plugged in to shore power.

- water heater

although the 10 gallon unit is pretty much standard for many mh's, it seems its not enough hot water for the wife who takes long showers. any reviews on either the precision temp or the girard tankless heater units?

> I am the guy with the wife that likes long showers. We seem to be fine now and did the following... - Upgraded the shower head (you will see lots of threads on the unit that everyone likes). I also switch on the electric when at the RV site and use both LP and electric to heat the water. This gets the tank warm faster between showers. My wife can now take a complete shower and still have hot water to spare.

- water pump

the 2.8gpm pump seems to have low pressure and the upgrade 5.7gpm pump seems to be too loud. how loud is too loud?

> The berkshire has the 5.7 pump. You will hear it when you first turn it on, as it pressurizes the system. It's not really noticable after that - since the water running seems to make more noise than the pump.

- sani-con system

seems to be a no-brainer upgrade from the 3 inch disposal hose.

> we just use the old fashion method and it hasn't been an issue..

- additional house batteries

if you were to run the heat pumps in cold weather throughout the night, stay up later, and in general not being very energy conservative, i figure this kind of upgrade would be a great convienence. i'm thinking an additional 4 6v batteries to double the existing capacity (and logical spot would be the storage bay right next to the existing battery slide bay)

> I know little about this - but have gotten thru the night once with the current set up. I "suspect" that the batteries should be sealed from the rest of the storage area - but don't know for sure. Again - this is a bigger deal if you plan to do alot of dry camping and can't run the generator.

we're going to tour some more mh's this weekend as well as take a more technical dive at the berskshire this weekend. i just hope the sales people have someone that really knows the product... i could test the inverter charging on shore power with a multimeter if the sales person can hook it up for me.

> Have you talked to RV direct in Buffalo? Tom is very knowledgeable there. I would also recommend Evan at Terrytown RV in Mi. Both were great when I was looking.

This said - keep in mind that the RV mfgs tend to change things frequently. ie - you may get a different TV brand or microwave from unit to unit. When asking for these kind of specifics - you might want photos to let you see exactly what you are going to get.


thanks in advance

adam
Good Luck!

Alex
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