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Old 11-12-2014, 11:02 PM   #21
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Someone was doing a roof raise on this forum below the original windows, but I can't find the thread again does someone rem. that thread?
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Old 11-13-2014, 12:23 PM   #22
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles_m
Looks like I've got another skeptic in the house!
I'm a believer! I have a small set up of 3 batteries @ 155amp/hours (20 hour rate) each and have been measuring inverter draw at the battery bank with one of these while using bigger motors, such as a table saw and a big grinder. The draw at the batteries for the big motors is high. The grinder pulls 180amps (2160watts @ 12v)at startup and levels out at 55amps (660watts @ 12v).
Using the battery data sheet I can see that each battery is rated to discharge 25amps for 292 minutes. 25amps * 3 batteries = 75 amps for 292 minutes. Only want to discharge 40% of the bank, so: 292 minutes * 40% = 116.8 minutes, or 1.94 hours. I could easily run that big, nasty, 12lb grinder for over 2 hours. Add in a charging source and that time could be extended (ie solar panels)

The A/C unit I've been eyeing up is the Frigidaire FRA052XT7. I live up north, so it won't get as much use as you desert dwelling folk. Supposedly it has "low-voltage startup" to decrease start-up surge and uses 500 watts. Let's say 550 watts at the batteries, since there is inverter efficiency loss. 550watts / 12volts = ~46amps. 46 amps is ~39% less than 75amps. Using that, the 46amp rating might be somewhere around: 292minutes + (292*39%) = ~406 minutes. And using 40% of the battery bank, again, is 406 minutes * 40% = 162.4 minutes, or 2.7 hours.

Combined, my solar panels have a PTC rated power of 516.2watts; NOCT rated power of 431watts. PTC and NOCT ratings are real results under different conditions, unlike manufacturer's ratings which don't often mean much of anything. 431watts for 5 hours per day = ~2155 watts, or ~180 amp/hours. That is enough to replenish the 40% top charge I took out of the batteries.

Now, my system won't allow me to run that A/C unit all day, but - for example - it would allow me to run the A/C for a couple hours before bed if the sun was shining sufficiently during the day to charge the bank. Depending on the outside temperature, I may even be able to leave it on all night since air conditioners cycle on-off once the temperature is met (20 minutes on, 40 minutes off = ~20amps/hour). Only time will tell!

Did I screw up any numbers? If so, point 'em out!

*Note, I know this was a long-winded post. I was doing the math to convince myself more than to convince others!
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:58 PM   #23
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Just a heads up. If you plan to cool more than a small portion of your bus, you will need more cooling and a larger battery bank than you have. I agree that your math works but when I tried the same 5K BTU ac in my fairly well insulated shortie (10' of living space) I found it to be way less than enough cooling capacity. While the numbers seemed to work just fine, they neglect just how much energy the sun directs at our tin boxes. Even with your extraordinary amount of insulation, lots of energy will sneak in through the glass and window frames thereby adding heat load for the ac. Furthermore, the fans in that ac unit can't put out enough CFM to circulate the air in anything larger than about an 8' X 8' area--or about 25% of your bus. I finally went with the 8K unit which is OK for outside temps to about 90 degrees F and positively "saunafing" at temps of over 100 degrees F.
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:05 PM   #24
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Very true.. We'll see how it works out in the end. I do have the climate "advantage" of living in Canada, so perhaps my cooling requirements aren't as strong as the more southern folk. I've actually never had air conditioning in any of the vehicles I've owned or homes I've lived in, so I certainly don't have a good understanding of how many BTUs per sq. footage works. I do have to say, though, that there have been some mighty hot days where it was cooler inside the bus than out as determined by my thermometer readings. Let's hope the insulation keeps up with the A/C when I do intend to use it.
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Old 11-15-2014, 05:51 PM   #25
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

I think it's definitely a bit of an experiment, but all of your numbers sounded good to me! My plan is to add lots of panel watts, cross my fingers, and hope for the best

Im going to have an r-value of 20+/- in the floors, walls, and ceiling of my bus, combined with using only double-paned, insulated windows, and having, say, about 1/3 the amount of window area as the original bus (probably less, haven't bought the windows yet). Add to that the fact that all the panel area on the roof will act like a safari roof to keep the sun off the bus AND the small top deck I will have on the back part of the bus that isn't covered by panels, and I think I stand a great shot at keeping cool on hot days.

To me, it's not a question of if it will work or not, just how well it will work. I'm not looking for 68* inside my bus when it's 100+ out. I AM looking to keep it below 80 inside and let me sleep in past sunrise on hot summer days. 1240 watts of panel power with a 500-600 watt ac unit should let me have that baby cranking full bore anytime the sun is out, and be charging my batteries.

But hey, that's not going to be important for a while now! I'm looking at stove piping and ways to stay warm right now in Colorado! It hasnt been above freezing in a bit and it's been crazy cold here.

Hopefully, Ill be starting insulation and interior work in about 10 days.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:35 PM   #26
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles_m
Looks like I've got another skeptic in the house!
Yeah, I guess you can call me that.

I like the idea of a cold/mud room up front, and the window swap is a great idea as well.

I have some previous solar experience and what I found out was that although they can put out their rated output, The conditions rarely were right for them to do that. Now I don't know what the weather is like where you live, so by all means prove me wrong on it, because it is a pretty sweet idea. I just have this gut feeling that for it to work you'd either need A) so small of an a/c unit that you might as well not even have it or B) a rooftop full of solar panels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles_m
Of course, the proof will be in the pudding and I haven't seen anyone else do this before. I've done lots of calculations, however, and this should easily work out for me.
You're the first person I've ever seen attempt it, so go forth and prove us that it works! If it does, I'll probably do it myself.
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Old 11-20-2014, 12:44 PM   #27
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Your math looks good might want to slip in a couple more batteries when you can upgrade as a cushion .

Do not have much experience with a bus currently looking to buy my first . Where I do have some experience is in live Aboard Sailboats in the Caribbean a semi hot and very humid area solar can keep up if its properly thought out and using the quality equipment over el cheapo . " one gets what is paid for in the long run."

I plan to use quite a few marine grade items inn my conversion they are usually built to a higher standard in terms of dealing with a hostile environment sitting in the middle of saltwater tends to corrode everything eventually and then you deal with the vibration from constant motion .

Yes at one time panels where ineffectual in less than ideal light conditions but like most things that have a potential for profit they are constantly being improved upon IE
Code:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkjet_solar_cell
It will be nice when you can print replacement solar cells on your inkjet .
I still read Cruising world magazine there is a great house battery article here
Code:
http://www.cruisingworld.com/battery-charger-top-five-functions
look to the right side of the page for other articles .
You will have to use a bit of discretion when planing your setup as realistically marine is setup for self sufficiency long term where a bus can get away with shorter term and can always recharge running down the road .
Stolen image as an example


Why reinvent wheels when there are plenty of decent ones out there .

Forgive my rambling style of writing strictly an armature at it .
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #28
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

Well, Booyah, my roof will be, literally, half-covered by solar panels! It's going to be a great experiment, and I'm sure I'll have to make some tweaks and changes here and there to get it dialed in, but I usually have good luck with these things (read: do lots of research and over-engineer )

Mad Wolf-- I definitely appreciate the Marine-grade and self-sufficient goal. I certainly will be living on the bus more than I will be driving it. It is going to be my full-time home and I've got a job (for now, lol) so I don't think I'll be rambling too much, and I definitely don't want to be dependent on plugging in to enjoy the many amenities that modern life has to offer (a/c, lights, electric tea kettles, guitar amps) so I'm certainly going all-out in making sure I've got lots of harvesting power in my PV array.

As for batteries, Im thinking, 4 Trojan T-105s. My house batteries will be a 24V system, so any interconnect with the chassis will be through a step-down/up transformer. I'm not too worried about it though since my chassis battery bank already has its own 100W panel and charger and I will be driving so little that I'm not really incorporating the engine alternator as a viable power source in my designing.

I could imagine going up to a larger battery bank, but for the money, I think 4 T105's are ideal. I know I know, you're probably thinking that my A/C will run that down in no time, but keep in mind that I'll only be running the a/c when the sun is out and my battery bank is small enough (relative to the solar panel output) to fully charge quite easily, allowing lots of wattage for a/c use. If it's a cloudy day, I'll open windows and leave the A/C off. Plus, the high number of panel array watts combined with a MPPT controller will ensure that I get the most power, even on cloudy days, which are quite rare in Colorado (300+days of sunshine a year!).

My inverter is a tripplite APS2424 which, although not a pure-sine wave, does have a high output, built in charger, and a good track record with me (Ive used one for 4 years in another bus with no problems).

If I need pure sine-wave power, I can always add another inverter, or replace this one at a later date.

Here's some photos of the bus as of last week. I'll be bringing it out of the shop hopefully in a week or so, then the windows will go in, followed by the floor, then walls and ceiling.
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #29
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

roof raise looks great. looking forward to seeing whats next
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:51 PM   #30
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Re: Queen of Peace -- '82 Int'l Bluebird w/ 20" raise, solar

I was originally planning a closed-cell spray foam solution for my insulation needs, but a recent opportunity has changed that--
I picked up 27, 4x8' sheets of 3" poly-iso board (R18.5 or so) for $400 delivered thanks to a local craigslist ad.
Compared to the almost $2,000 a spray job would cost, I think it's worth the extra effort of cutting and fitting pieces together to get a nice, tight envelope

I'll be lining the interior with a radiant barrier like reflectix or something similar, followed by the 3" poly iso, then my wall material.

Im trying to decided if it makes any sense to make a sandwich of sorts with the radiant barrier on bother sides of the poly iso or if having it just on the outside is sufficient...or maybe on just the inner side? I'll figure it out

Gearing up to make some big moves on the project in the coming weeks.
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