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Old 07-21-2015, 09:21 PM   #11
Almost There
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Location: Chicago, Illinois
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Thank you very much, that info is helpful and understandable!!!

I agree with you that the Fridge/microwave are two hurdles to overcome.

It may boil down to me saying "no using the ol' wave when were driving lol.

I remember at a Dorm I lived in they had a mini fridge /microwave combo. It was cool because it had 1 power plug and when you ran the microwave the fridge shut off.

Idk if that would help or not but its at least something. Another question-kind of off topic. Do fridges not consume power 24/7? now that I think about it, it makes sense that fridge would shut off after it reaches a certain temp....huh....well ya learn something new everyday ...... brain is mush, damn alien probes !!!

So for 4 laptops and some led lights (minor items) you think a 250 AH battery hooked up with a 1500-2000 W inverter would be more than enough? and charging wise I should get a converter than gives out no more than 15 amps?
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:35 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,830
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Check out the Progressive Dynamics power panels. They have AC breakers and DC fuses along with an AC to DC converter w/three stage battery charger. I've got one and it works great.

PD4045 45 Amp Inteli-Power Mighty Mini Power Center

When you plug into shore power you get 120v power to your AC circuits and the converter gives you DC power to your 12v circuits while charging the battery bank.

Here's a basic wiring diagram

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Old 07-21-2015, 10:22 PM   #13
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to charge the batteries you need a 3 stage battery charger not a converter, it can do more than 15 amps as long as you can change the settings, just in case you start with 2 batteries and then go with more later
my bus thread,
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cullengw View Post
. . . I have been doing research on charging laptops and realized I'm a dope.

Laptop is powered by battery (DC), when you charge it you use an adapter for the (AC) plug. So why would I want to go from a DC battery to an AC inverter to a DC battery again. lol I mean unless certain laptops cant get the dc charging cable.
Most laptops use about 18 Volts DC out of the adapters to charge the internal batteries, even if the batteries themselves are only 12 Volts. You can get special automotive or airplane DC-DC switching converters to charge them, but they are pricey.

Also, you will find many if not most laptops communicate with their adapters through the power cord. They refuse to work with unknown adapters, even if the voltage and plug are identical. I had one mobile converter stop working years ago when I added a quick-disconnect in the middle of the factory cable from the "brick" to the computer plug, because it impeded the communications transfer embedded in the DC.

I found it was better and much cteaper to get a small inverter just for the correct AC laptop charger, than to get the correct DC-DC charger (unless your employer has a stack of them to hand out ). Just switch the inverter (and all other loads) completely off when not in use, to prevent "phantom loads" from draining your battery.

Example of a phantom load: A TV set that can be turned on by a remote control is always using power to run the sensor that is waiting for the "on" command. To save electricity, plug the set into a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use. Off-grid homesteaders get religiously fanatical about not leaving cell phone chargers plugged into AC when the phone is disconnected, because every little bit of electricity saved is more battery run time.

Originally Posted by cullengw View Post
. . . At an RV campsite with a power hook does that work :P :P :P do you like hook it up to your batteries? or do you like have a seperate circuit for that?
There are AC outlets at campgrounds, you plug your bus into the AC and you provide your own battery charger or "converter" inside the bus.

There are three basic types of campground AC power connections. The first of the two main ones is the "30 amp RV," which is a 3-pin 125-volt connection. It is good for a maximum of 3750 watts. There is a round safety ground, and the hot and neutral are slanted like old dryer or stove outlets.

The second common type at bigger campgrounds is the "50-amp." This is a 125/250 volt four-pin connection. Assuming the receptacle is correctly wired for 250 volts, it can provide 12,500 watts, up to 50 amps on each hot leg. If the outlet happens to be mis-wired with both hot legs on the same phase, cut that in half or else the neutral would be overloaded to 100 amps. Measure each outlet with a meter before plugging in. This style plug has three blades in parallel plus a U-shaped safety ground.

The final type is a 15-amp or 20-amp outlet similar to what you see on the wall at home. The plug with two parallel blades and a ground is for 15 amps. 20-amp plugs and outlets are SUPPOSED to have one blade turned perpendicular to the other, but often 20-amp cords and receptacles will have the common 15-amp parallel blades. Receptacles for 20-amp circuits will sometimes have one T-shaped hole that will take either a 15-amp or 20-amp 125-volt plug.

Campground pedestals may have all three types of outlets present plus a miniature circuit breaker load center built in, or they might be much simpler with only a single choice.

If you limit your bus AC power to 20 amps, and carry a 12/2 shoreline or extension cord with a 15-amp plug on the end, you can plug into any standard outlet, plus you can get a "hockey puck" adapter for a couple of bucks to plug the cord into a 30-amp RV receptacle if that is all their is.

If you are adding an air conditioner or other heavier load, you might install 30-amp service and carry a dedicated 10/2 shoreline. If you are installing dual air conditioners, or using an electric stove, water heater, or hot plate, then you might want to wire for the full 50 amps and carry a heavy 6/3 shoreline.

If you wire for 50 amps and encounter a campground with only 30 amp service, there are pigtail adapters that allow your 4-prong shoreline to plug into a 3-prong socket. Just be sure to turn off breakers for heavy loads, because the outlet is only able to supply 30% of the power the big cord could carry.

Note: If you put in a fuse box or circuit breaker panel, you MUST isolate the white neutral wires in your bus from ground. Neutral is only tied to the safety ground at the main campground or home disconnect, not in your mobile sub-panel. And if you happen to plug into a GFCI ground-fault protected circuit, having the neutral and safety ground tied together will trip the GFCI RIGHT NOW.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 07-22-2015, 09:54 AM   #15
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Great info thank you very much, I will share this info with the crew and see what option is best for us
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