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Old 01-01-2007, 12:34 PM   #41
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Can the RV500 be set up to recirculate and be used to supply hot water heat? I know its LP fired instead of oil like the Webasto, just a suggestion to multitask the mechanical systems.

The design reflects a lot of thought and planing with your specific needs and desires making the decisions, good job, very impressive.

This site continually sends the message that these projects are and should about what's right for the builder/owner and personal needs are most important.
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:57 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by the_experience03
Where's the B3 (or better yet, C3) with the twin Leslies on the roof?
My wife is strictly a "piano girl", although when she's played on my sister's Yamaha Clavinova she's tried layering strings and thought that was fun. Right now we have an acoustic upright piano, obviously that won't work in the bus so we'll get the Roland digital. I grew up with an organ in the house (a Baldwin theatre-style) so the digital is fun for me with it's rhythm section and other voices. [The piano is primarily for my wife...she really plays, I just play around; I have my guitar and banjo.]

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I'm very impressed with how well you laid it out for everyone to sleep. It's very stick 'n staple of you. Mine very comfortably sleeps 6 (12 if they like each other a lot), but 2/3 of the length of the bus is my bedroom and the bunkroom!
I didn't quite get to the...entertains 6, seats 4 for dinner, and sleeps 2 but I was sure heading that way! The couch pulling out into a double was a concession to "what if" and because it's so easy to do. It may, in fact, never get used. The biggie was the king bed in our bedroom as our two Australian Cattle Dogs (Blue Heelers) sleep with us, so we end up with the equivalent of a queen bed on good nights and a doube bed others.

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Well thought out floorplan! Your experience both with the previous bus and the boats shows.
Thanks!

For general consumption:

One of the primary reasons I wanted to convert a bus (other than I'm nuts) is so that, like most folks I suspect, I could do the interior the way I wanted it. I think this is an important part of the conversion process and is really what makes the bus "ours" when we are done. Since everyone has different needs and visions of what the bus will be for them there really is no right or wrong. A family of 4 or 5 would probably not like my interior and I don't have a clue what I'd do with a couple of bunks in the hallway (other than as a repository for "stuff"). I show my floorplans not as expample of what is "right" but rather as food for thought and a collection of ideas. I know I've gotten a ton of ideas from owning a few RVs, looking at other folks buses, and of course more boats than I care to remember.

The funny part is the very first layout I did for the Thomas would have worked fine, then I spent dozens of hours changing it. The problem was, it was boring. It looked like a long tunnel (or office corridor) with "things" on either side all the way to the back of the bus. So in addition to finding a home for all the necessary components I also wanted something that was very comfortable, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

First I defined the "mission"; in our case it's a long-term liveaboard for two adults with no need to accommodate children or grandkids. We also didn't have to provide much for overnight guests since it's not likely to happen.

Since our bus is to be a rolling home it became important that each area be comfortable and fully functional for extended use. For example, an itty-bitty kitchen with a couple of square feet of counter will work for a weekend or a couple of weeks of vacation but not for a couple of folks cooking everyday for, perhaps, years.

Then I listed the "must haves" like the king bed, the piano, the tub (this would have been the thing that was dropped though if I couldn't make it work), my wife's work space, my comfortable chair, and so forth.

I've seen folks grouse about how "all" buses are set up the same and why doesn't someone come up with new ideas and layouts. Well, the reality is we're mostly all conditioned to feel comfortable with the concept that spaces (in business buildings, in homes, in RVs, in boats, really everywhere) tend to offer public space first then more and more private spaces the "deeper" one travels into the interior. So just as in a house the typical presentation is living room, kitchen, bathrooms, then bedrooms; I think most folks would be a bit uncomfortable if the first space you walked into in a house was someone's bedroom (though that might be fun ). From the boat biz I know "innovation shows but traditional goes"; that means folks love to look at innovative layouts and such but when it comes time to pull out the wallet they almost always go with what they're most comfortable with. So I knew from the start of my desgin process that I'd have the living room forward, the kitchen area next, then the bath area, and finally our bedroom at the rear.

I knew the piano had to go up front, it didn't make sense to have my wife playing all by herself in the back of the bus, I like to listen to her play as much as she enjoys playing. The art table was the biggest hassle, 30" x 60" in a bus is a fair amount of space. I wanted it up front so that when I was reading or working on the computer we were not too far apart but I just couldn't get it to work out well and she needs room around the work table to move so it ended up in the back where she can take over the whole space when working. Even the bed then becomes a useful place to set things down.

The other issue in layouts is with regard to the mechanical requirements like the toilet needing to be over the waste tank (for the most part and there are ways around it), and (in our case) the need to keep the side emergency door functional, where batteries will live, where the water heater goes, ad infinitum. I also mixed in the fact that I didn't want long runs for the hot water lines so that dictated the need for the water heater to be realtively close to the shower, kitchen sink and lav. I also didn't want propane lines running every which way so the propane consumers (range, water heater and Dickinson heater) are near each other.

The other aspect of our "mission profile" is that we'd like to be as independent as possible; we're not much for hanging out in the typical RV park for any length of time so we need to be able to go almost indefinitely without the need for a shore power connection. We can't do away with the need to take on water and fuel, or empty the waste tanks, but otherwise we should be able to boondock quite well.

Since I have such an extensive background in the marine business and what I do a lot is design electrical systems for cruising boats this will help me set up the bus for extended time away from the grid quite well. Conservation is the key; every amp you don't use is one you don't have to supply. A high level of insulation, energy efficient lighting, low draw appliances and such are all important. I'll spend the money up front to get those components so I don't have to purchase even more expensive fuel to run a generator. My goal is for the bus to be totally electrically self-sustaining on solar power alone. I realize this is a goal and perhaps not doable in all circumstances but if I can achieve it for the most part we'll end up running a noisy, expensive generator very little.

OK...this is getting way too long, I really need to get my web site going.
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Old 01-01-2007, 02:48 PM   #43
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Points well taken, Les. In contrast , Millicent is for several people to
spend a few days on a rough-and-tumble "expedition", so my interior
and amenities will be very different.

Organ, eh... If you ever come to Sacramento, stop by the Towe Auto Museum
and check out the full blown Wurlitzer theatre organ, which belongs to ATOS.

Designing boats, eh... Do you know Paul V. in Poulsbo?

(Ooops, we're drifting again.)
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Old 01-01-2007, 03:00 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul iossi
Can the RV500 be set up to recirculate and be used to supply hot water heat? I know its LP fired instead of oil like the Webasto, just a suggestion to multitask the mechanical systems.

The design reflects a lot of thought and planing with your specific needs and desires making the decisions, good job, very impressive.

This site continually sends the message that these projects are and should about what's right for the builder/owner and personal needs are most important.
Hi Paul,

Well...yes...and no. Physically it would work fine, with a pump in the sytem it could easily reheat the water circulating in the heating system but it's maximum temp is 135-dgrees (F) (as oppossed to the typical 180-degrees for the heating systems) and it would have to be dedicated to that as the liquid that circulates in the heating system is "coolant", a mix of water and antifreeze, just as in the engine system. It would take a water-to-water heat exchanger in order to provide heat for the domestic water.

In a lot of cases I like for things to do double-duty (or even triple) but with regard to "systems" I'm a lot more conservative and tend to like redundancy, at least when it doesn't add a lot of complexity and/or a lot more cost. Webasto actually has an add-on unit to the system that will do the instant hot water thing but it's as costly as adding the RV500 and it suffers from the fact that if you lose the Webasto system you also then lose hot water. I like the idea that for the same cost that I can have a unit that's independent and runs off a different fuel source.

I'm thinking about adding a marine water heater to the Webasto loop (they're under $200). The only difference between these and the RV water heaters are the marine units are stainless construction and they don't run on propane. If I went this way I'd have "free" hot water (6-gallons or 11-gallons depending on the space I'm willing to donate) when the Webasto or main engine is running (or for quite awhile after they have been running).

If the bus is plugged into shorepower the electric element in the marine water heater will provide the hot water. This would also be the case if we're low on propane, then the generator can run to provide electricity to the marine water heater.

When the Webasto and/or the main engine isn't running, and the bus isn't on shore power, the RV500 will provide the hot water (and of course the relatively large quantity of hot water for the bath tub).

Things in the Marine Water Heater/RV500 system would dovetail nicely as the marine water heater's outlet would feed the RV500; since it's a tankless unit the water just passes through. Even if the RV500 is "on" if the water entering the unit is above the RV500's setpoint (adjustable from 90 to 135 degrees (f)) it just doesn't fire.

From a user standpoint it's pretty simple:

* If the Webasto or main engine are running you've always got hot water from the marine unit (6 or 11 gallons).

* If the Webasto and main engine are shut down but you're plugged into shore power you have hot water from the marine unit (same 6 or 11 gallons).

* If the Webasto is running for heat and you're plugged into shore power both the electric element and the coolant loop are providing hot water from the marine unit.

* If the Webasto and engine are shut down and you're not on shore power the RV500 is providing instantaneous hot water from propane. Also, if you use all the hot water in the marine unit's tank the RV500 will come online once the water temp drops.

Thanks for making me sort all this out! It helped me a lot!
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Old 01-01-2007, 03:34 PM   #45
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I should have more specific I was thinking use the RV500 to heat potable water and circulate thru a liquid/liquid exchanger for heat, but I like the built in redundency that your system has.
Thank nyou for keeping my thought processes on the ball also.
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:02 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by paul iossi
I should have more specific I was thinking use the RV500 to heat potable water and circulate thru a liquid/liquid exchanger for heat, but I like the built in redundency that your system has.
Thank nyou for keeping my thought processes on the ball also.
Ah ha! That would work I suppose. I know of some radiant floor heating water temps that drop as low as 90-degrees and the top of the range seems to be around 180-degrees (and everything in between). A couple of systems I've seen actually vary the water temp to control the temperature in the room as oppossed to just turning the system off and on. I think the possibilites are darn near endless!

I've been choosing the components I have because I'm familar with them and I feel if they survive in marine applications they ought to do alright in the bus. I know a lot of home hydronic systems use PEX tubing (which is what I'll use for my water system) but most companies that I know of that install the Webasto system in boats use the industrial grade heater hose; I suspect they feel the relatively thick wall of the heavy heater hose will put up with abrasion and rough treatment better. And these systems often use coolant that's heated by a main engine and at those temps I think the PEX is up near its limit.

Interestingly enough, the thing I'm a bit concerned about now is how to not get someone scalded by the hot water since it can easily reach 180-degrees. I hadn't really thought about it much before (instead just worrying about getting hot water in the first place) but when I really thought about what is heating the water (like engine coolant through the WTW heat exchanger) I realized it could be dangerously hot coming out of the faucet. I'll have to look into how to deal with that.
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:38 PM   #47
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Elliot's Blue Bird:



Man, that pillar is a dead ringer for those on my bus, wonder if they buy the material from the same place? The only difference I see is that the outside plates on my Thomas are held in place with screws rather than riveted and the lower screw on each side is longer and screws into the window frames.

I am so jealous of those aluminum panels! I thought I'd make a call to the only metal supplier I know of up here and see what sheets of 20-gauge steel will cost (that's the same thing TomCat used on his Thomas conversion). I figure if I have to buy the stuff the steel ought to be less than aluminum.

I have a friend that owned a shop that did a lot of fabrication and sheetmetal stuff and whatnot. That would have been the perfect place to get all my steel pieces from. Doggone guy went and retired and sold the place to his son and now spends most of his time in Hawaii!

The only other difference is that I can't use the rub rail to hide the edge. On the right hand window you can see the primered space above the rub rail where the sill (shown in place on the left hand window) was. With the outside plate and the sills removed I have a nice surface for the window skins to land on (but I've got to get them straight!).



I didn't get a photo of it but I can tell you there were never going to be any leaks inside the lower walls of this bus. The inner panel (you can see them on the opposite wall in the photo above) acutally comes up to the lower window ledge, makes a 90-degree bend across the bottom of the window toward the outside of the bus and then another 90 down the side of the bus. In other words, without the window in place the inner panel cups over the window opening and literally hangs in place. Then the sill is put over the top of that; it has an inner vertical support ledge for the bottom of the window frame and then makes a 90-degree bend over the outside (like a "Z" and over the inner panel). It's amazing how they put these things together!
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:40 PM   #48
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hot water & scalding

Feedback controlled loop, I use an adjustable temp switch to turn the electric cooling fans on my 4X4, Flexlite fan makes a 12v switch with a flexable transducer that has a nifty bushing that slips between the hose and hose fitting, use it to control an Ausco solinoid valve. Use house water temp out to control heat exchanger in flow. checkout the cooling system section in a Summit Racing catalog. If you want to go high tech you can use a processor to run a PID loop with fancy pumps and valves,(not).
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:50 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by paul iossi
Feedback controlled loop, I use an adjustable temp switch to turn the electric cooling fans on my 4X4, Flexlite fan makes a 12v switch with a flexable transducer that has a nifty bushing that slips between the hose and hose fitting, use it to control an Ausco solinoid valve. Use house water temp out to control heat exchanger in flow. checkout the cooling system section in a Summit Racing catalog. If you want to go high tech you can use a processor to run a PID loop with fancy pumps and valves,(not).
I think I kept up with most of that...

I don't think I can use it on the inflow of the WTWHX (water-to-water heat exchanger...I'm tired of typing it ) because that's the main line from the engine to the front of the bus for front bus heaters (original) and defrost. But what I could do is maybe use that setup in a bypass setup on the marine water heater so that once the water heater reaches (say) 115-degrees the switch would kick in and bypass the HWH (hot water heater) but still allow full flow to the downstream blowers in the Webasto loop.

Very nice...thank you!
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:02 PM   #50
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Just out of curiousity, how long are you looking at for this conversion?

Also...check out the anti-scald shower heads. They have a thermostat in them that will bias more towards the cool water if the output temperature is too high.

I like the idea of the rubber hose over the pex if for no other reason than if you did spring a leak, every hardware store has fittings and hose clamps o atleast stop the leak up. Pex is a little more difficult to come by.
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