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Old 10-12-2012, 03:56 PM   #31
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Sorry, I thought I answered your question. As far as where I am, in Payson.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:34 PM   #32
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Sweet. Nice area. I was going to say Show Low area... Gila county somewhere. It looked a lot like Mogollon Rim scenery.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:58 PM   #33
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

These are some random photos I took of the immense smoke in the area. Besides not having a lot of cash, this was one reason I did not spend a whole lot of time on the bus this month.





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Old 10-13-2012, 02:07 AM   #34
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Thank you...one of my all time favorite quotes from a great thinker.
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:00 PM   #35
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henukaw
Quote:
What a small world!

I'm currently living in Prescott, AZ.

Been here about 20 years. My wife was born and raised here.


Any new pictures?
Small world indeed. I love Prescott. Actually... I love (and miss) Prescott of the 90's. I moved there in 89' when I was nearly 12 years old. I went to middle school and high school there. Eventually I moved (ten years to the day) for a 3 1/2 year stint in Minnesota and came back to Prescott for a bit, and then went on to live all over the state for a few more years before leaving to Colorado. I go back to Arizona from time to time... but every time I go back to Prescott it seems to be a whole new city. It has changed a lot over the last couple decades. My grandparents have lived there since 86' and I stop by and see them every couple years. Their neighborhood stays the same... so it's nice to see some things that are familiar.

As far as the bus goes... no new pictures as of yet. I worked pretty fast getting things done on the bus that I actually ran out of things to do for now. We also ran out of cash. My wife and I are now saving funds for the trip to AZ, so I really haven't been able to do to much in it recently. I am expecting 4-6 mpg out of this engine for the 1100 mile trip. Therefore, I tend to waste and hour here and there doing small things I can do with the resources I have available. I got my temporary tags yesterday and then took a huge load of garbage to the local transfer station. Cost me $82... yikes!!! That was some expensive garbage.

Things will move along faster while we are down in Arizona. The weather is more permitting to working outdoors and the snowbird season will bring better work than what we have been able to find here. I'm just hoping that we won't end up working so much that we can't find the time to work on the bus. We'll see how it goes once we get there. I had hoped to get things relatively done sometime in spring.

Once again... it's cool to see someone from my neck of the woods. I love all the metal work you did in your bus, if not envy it. Looks great!!
Town has really changed in the last 10-15 years. Late 90's it really started to boom. In my opinion.
I actually live out in Prescott Valley at the moment and this little one road town is all grown up. No need to "go into town" now.

Let me know when you are in town and maybe we can put together a little bus get-together.
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Old 04-02-2013, 05:09 PM   #36
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Update:

So, we've been residing in the Arizona desert for the last four months, working and saving funds to get the bus build started. I've got a great deal covered on what our needs are going to be and how to best achieve those goals.

We've decided to go with solar for our main source of electric, which will run the majority of our energy demands. However, I'm not all that familiar with electrical systems. The main issue I am running into is finding information regarding the details on how to build such a system.

I'd like to find wiring diagrams, along with information regarding the details such as the wiring lengths and gauges needed, fuses needed, and essentially how/where to install, so on and so forth. I am 99% assured I can build most of the electrical system solely on my own, provided that I can find diagrams, schematics, and the proper means on how to make connections (soldering, etc).

I've searched up and down and all around, but I am at a loss on knowing what my complete materials list will be. So, here is the basic concept we have:

Solar PV panels will make the bulk of charging a small battery bank. I'd like to have a back-up system in case, perhaps charging batteries from yhe bus engine or generator when needed, as well as being able to charge/use from shore power when available. We have plans to keep our electric use as minimal as possible: modified chest freezer, low use of an electric water heater, small appliance use (coffee maker, TV, DVD, etc).

My main goal is finding information regarding what I am going to need to accomplish this goal. I have the solar system decided on, but I'm not sure what else I am needing beyond that. I'd like to find books, websites, and general feedback from others that contains as much information as possible. Honestly, I'm not finding very detailed information here at Skoolie.net that I am looking for everything my brain believes it needs.

Note: I am living very isolated in Bouse, Az. I don't have neighbors/friends/etc to speak with or to get help/assistance with. Our plans for the bus circles around being off-grid completely, but capable of able to live modernly when available (I'd like to plug-in when feasible).
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:31 PM   #37
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henukaw
... We have plans to keep our electric use as minimal as possible: modified chest freezer, low use of an electric water heater, small appliance use (coffee maker, TV, DVD, etc).
I bought a Merlitta Ready Set Joe for both my daughter & David. They are the coffee drinkers. It is a single cup coffee maker. Both love this. You just heat water up (microwave or in a kettle on the cooktop) and pour it in. I bought a permanent filter for both set-ups. David got the filter & cone only. Stacey got a gift set that included a mug plus I added the permanent filter since hers was a Christmas present.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Henukaw
...I'm not finding very detailed information here at Skoolie.net that I am looking for everything my brain believes it needs...
It's hard to tell someone how to build a custom thing. We can only tell how we each built our own.

In our case:
Because we live in our bus fulltime, attached to a power pole, we wired up the bus like a standard house using stranded wire (a mix of heavy duty extension cords and wire we salvaged out of the Eagle bus before we scrapped it.... great wire). We used crimp on rings for electrical connections for the standard AC electrical outlets/switches. We used a standard house breaker box instead of the intellipower all in one AC/DC panel box that we had originally planned on. This is because we have a total of 6 circuits (no main breaker). We run the 30 amp plug at the power pole. We do have the intellipower smart charger to charge our house battery (only one for now... will buy more later). We use a dedicated 700Watt continuous cheap inverter to power the all lights, range vent and electric part of my LP range. I might buy another inverter to power the TV/DVD player. Not a big deal to change the line to the inverter. We planned for this. Our 12vDC stuff is the potable water pump and the hydronic hot fluid pump and 12vDC fans (our AC/LP heat system). We have LP heater(s) for backup & zone heat. We have a little Dynaglo heater in the dressing/shower area and I will buy a blue flame heater to tuck into the fireplace mantle to heat the saloon (living room) before it turns cold again here in NM. I need to add a few Solar vents in the ceiling (no power to run to them). For us, solar panels aren't affordable or feasible. I've run the numbers for too many years. We simply don't have the $$ to put into solar panels and then park the bus under a tree (like we are now). We can do better keeping our power consumption low. If we ever get a place to park the bus (for gov required residence needs), we MIGHT put a few solar panels on the roof of a shed for while we park there. I plan on getting an open frame contractor gasoline generator, convert to LP and irritate everyone in the parking lots we stay in for a coupe hours. We don't boondock. We wallydock. We will also carry the equivalent of a 100# LP tank (5 to 6 20# LP tanks). We will have a (used) residential top load washer & an LP dryer put in the bus this summer... in addition to the (new) fullsize dishwasher.


Resources (In no particular order and some info may repeat or contradict, these are just part of my bookmarks):
Go to a used book store (like a friends of the library type place) and get the solar books and basic electrical wiring that you can find. I have found the old catalog Real Goods used to have was a great resource.

http://www.dasplace.net/
http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index....ms-and-hookups
http://www.bobhatch.com/electricStuff/whats_it_mean.htm
http://www.smithae.com/rv.html
http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
http://www.dmbruss.com/zFullTimeLife...anagement2.htm
http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/inverter_faq.html
http://jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm
http://www.marxrv.com/tech.htm
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/t...ging-puzzle-2/
http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/batt_con.html
http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...y-setup-for-50
http://web.archive.org/web/200302012...g/phredex.html This is an archived version of Fast Phred's Poop Sheets. SAVE THEM TO YOUR COMPUTER! THEY ARE GOING TO DISAPPEAR!
http://www.coachconversioncentral.com/
http://www.noshockzone.org/category/rv-safety/
http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_30amp.htm
http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_50amp.htm
http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...ays/365/srt/lr
http://www.modmyrv.com/
http://www.backwoodssolar.com/
http://www.motherearthnews.com/
http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/
http://www.newrver.com/rvsolar.shtml
http://www.builditsolar.com/index.htm
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:15 PM   #38
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Sweet. Thanks, Lorna.

I've figured our solar to cost us about $1200 for our immediate basic needs (expanding later), having priced everything by finding deals/buying from companies that sell close to wholesale. Having said that, I do have a 325W and 150W inverter to run the TV, DVD, XBOX, and computer. I'll also have the water pump and water heater besides seldom use of things like the coffee maker (I predominantly use a coffee press). The wife also uses a hair straightener seldom.

I'll surf through these links. I am concerned on what else I'll need to install in order to charge from the bus or generator, as well as hooking up to shore power. That's pretty much where I get lost as it seems there are so many ways to go all awhile trying to find the most effective/efficient way to go. I really love the idea of being able to "live in the hills" for months at a time without needing to travel into town for resources.

I'm not at all familiar with electrical systems, and hearing so much biased information is confusing me on exactly what I need. There are some basic questions I'm trying to understand and have answered:

What's needed to access shore power for use/charging?

What's needed to charge coach/house batteries directly from my bus alternator?

Do I need panels/fuseboxes/et cetera?

I am finding far to much contradicting information, and I becoming severely frustrated on the lack of technical information, diagrams and so forth. Reading a paragraph isn't cutting it for me. HandyBob's Blog is completely awesome, but I wish he had the technical info I am needing. I need basic diagrams and instructions for installing equipment. I was hoping to find something here on Skoolie, however, I am not seeing any of this either.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #39
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

You'll need to figure out how much power your appliances will draw before you can make intelligent decisions on battery bank size and inverter capacity. Your electric water heater will likely be your biggest power draw (by a lot). A few points to keep in mind:

> Your deep cycle house battery bank will be rated at some total amp/hour (AH) rate but you should not draw them down much past 50% of that rating if you want good battery life. For example, (4) 225AH batteries equals 900AH but for good battery life only half of that (450AH) is available before the bank needs to be recharged.

> Your inverter will suck up about 10-15% of the power it consumes for it's own use so to get 1000 watts output you'll need to provide 1150 watts from the batteries. Inverters should be as close to the batteries as possible and connected with heavy gauge wire.

> If any part of a solar panel is shaded you'll lose most of the output from that panel.

I'll draw up a wiring schematic later on and post it.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:23 PM   #40
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

OK. Here's a basic schematic of typical bus wiring showing three possible ways of charging the house battery bank (via AC shore power through the converter/charger, from solar via the solar charge controller and from the engine alternator). I *believe* all three can be run together. Hopefully someone will chime in if I'm wrong.

I don't have an inverter in my rig but there should be some way to connect the inverter to the AC breaker panel, though I would assume both shore power and the inverter cannot be active at the same time.

I recommend the Progressive Dynamics Intellipower load centers and have one in our bus. They combine the AC breaker box, the DC fuse box and an AC to DC converter with a nice three-stage battery charger in one small package.

The arrows show current direction.

Edit: We plug our generator in at the shore power receptacle. That way there's no chance of both being active at the same time. Otherwise you need a transfer switch that will only allow one power source to be active a a time.

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