Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-03-2009, 10:50 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 38
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 19
Newbie Needs Info

Hello All,

This will be my first conversion!!! I figured I'd get a head start on the interior of what will soon be my new home on wheels. I've been looking for a Short Bus. Haven't found one yet but I am going to look and test drive a few this week. So now I need your help. Here is a list of parts I will need and I don't mind used stuff as long as it works. I am on a budget and must have all super efficient appliances so that I can run on Solar Power all the way. Don't want to use any gas. Let me know what you think, I've been looking at a lot of conversion journals but sometimes don't understand certain electrical stuff.

1. Electric powered fridge
2. Electric stove top with at least 2 burners
3. Solar panels (Id like to power everything on these bad boys)
4. Batteries to power the fridge, stove, and a couple electric outlets for misc. appliances
5. Power inverter? Do I need one of these in order to have outlets to plug maybe a laptop into???
6. Possible small wind turbine for extra power???


I plan on reclaiming most of the interior. Im pretty handy with a few tools so really the electrics are going to be the challenging part advise is needed.

Thanks -Zach
zman18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2009, 10:55 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
TygerCub's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 784
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Genesis
Engine: Detroit
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Newbie Needs Info

Save yourself a lot of battery power and use a propane stove instead of an electric stove. Propane is a heck of a lot more energy efficient, and readily available at gas stations, hardware stores, big box retailers & sporting good stores, as well as at the typical campgrounds.
TygerCub is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2009, 11:11 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 38
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Newbie Needs Info

Thanks for the feedback. The type of bus I am looking for is anywhere from 8-20 passengers, 4 to 6 windows long. Id like to have sleeping quarters, some storage, and a kitchen. A sink, stove, and fridge are all necessary items. I will also be converting this bus to run on veggie oil, therefore the possibility to hook up the alternator to assist in charging auxiliary batteries would be cool since I'll be burning oil instead of diesel. Propane is cheap and readily available so I guess having a gas stove is alright, but I would like to have an electric fridge and two plug in outlets.

I plan on gutting the walls. Installing new insulation and possibly some wood paneling. I am thinking about leaving the roof original. The floor will also come out and get insulated with new subfloor and tile or wood floors. I may block up a few windows, the only concern is insulating. I don't plan on being in really cold weather but I know those windows can let in a lot of cold air. This bus would be a home on the road for long trips across country. Thanks again.
zman18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 38
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Newbie Needs Info

well I have looked at Batteries and Refrigerators and am completely lost when it comes to the batteries. AGM seem pretty cool but they are expensive and the ones I can afford don't have very high Amp Hours. To be clear I do want a high number of Amp Hours right????

I don't understand how large a solar panel will be needed to effectively charge a battery. I think I may scrap the solar panel idea and try hooking up my Battery Bank to the voltage regulator on the bus so that my batteries charge while I am driving. I would also like to set up an exterior system so that when at a campsite I can plug into 120V and charge that way as well.

I am pretty lost with the electrics. Here is what I would like to have inside the Bus that would run on electricity.

1. small 3 way fridge (mostly run on 12v, but sometimes propane)
2. Id like to be able to charge a laptop and cell phone so a couple 120V outlets
3. Possibly a few small appliances like toaster oven and small blender
4. some 12V lighting



Help me.
zman18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 08:45 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 472
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Rated Cap: 14
Re: Newbie Needs Info

My blender is a 18 volt dewalt. I had bought a cheap hand blender with 2 inserts and just use one of them in the cordless. Its much nicer having a real variable speed cordless blender. And I'm sure you will buy one of them anyways if not already have one.

This coleman propane skillet is still my choice. I use it for almost everything. Easy to clean, and compact enough to take along in the van as I can store it under the bed.
http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemanc ... 010&brand=
wmah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,096
Re: Newbie Needs Info

Ive been meaning to answer the electrical question in your other post about a week ago, but haven't had the time to print and scan a diagram. If you have the manual for the inverter in your blurry picture, it has a diagram for the DC wiring in it. (If the manual is lost, you can find a copy online, I didn't write down what the url was). That drawing shows your alternator, isolator, starting batteries, house batteries, and the inverter. The drawing shows a fuse and a battery disconnect switch on the hot lead between the house batteries and the inverter. You also mentioned you had a converter.

- The disconnect switch is optional, but do not omit the fuse! It should probably be about 100 amps, and located as near the battery as possible. It is not there to protect the inverter, as much as it is there to keep the bus from going up in flames if the hot wire shorts to ground some place. Keep the DC wires as short as possible, they have high current and will get hot if they are sized too small or too long.

- The converter recharges the house battery when you have an AC shoreline or are running a generator. It will also help run 12-volt devices. I would connect its minus to the house battery, and the plus to the protected (inverter) side of the 100-amp fuse.

Some tips:
- Build up your battery bank and inverter system so you don't need a continuous power source. You can't run solar power at night, and you can't run a generator in times and places quiet hours are enforced.

- A small generator plus gasoline will be cheaper and faster than solar panels and a solar charge controller, and works when you are camping under trees. But it's not peace and quiet, and once solar is installed, the only future expense should be battery replacement, which will need to be done no matter how you charge them.

- Plugs and outlets are the simplest way to switch loads between sources, as your inverter model does not have an AC input and built-in transfer to battery when the AC fails. Having your loads come to one or two plugs that can go to 1. generator, 2. inverter, or 3. shoreline is simple.

- It's not a good idea to run your loads off of the inverter while the converter is powering the 12 volt side. This is not a definite no-no, as it does provide some filtering of the AC, and there are no interruptions if the generator hiccups or a campground outlet is funny. But when you have another source of AC, it's good to give the inverter a rest. Plus, you might be efficient with your loads (turning unneeded lights out, etc.) when you know you are on battery, but when the genny is running, there could be the temptation to turn more things on, possibly stressing the inverter circuits.

- NEVER plug the converter into the inverter. No good can come from this. You create a closed loop where you draw battery power to make AC to charge the battery, and you never put back in more than you take out. The two units will just run in the loop until the batteries are exhausted.
__________________
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.
Redbear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2009, 10:03 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 38
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Newbie Needs Info

So we bought a bus last week. Here is a link to pictures http://shortbusmagic.blogspot.com/

It was $2500 in NJ. Sounds great went about 50-60mph all the way home (about 3 1/2hrs. away). Now its time to insure and register it.

I am going with GMAC insurance after reading about it in other topics. Ill be filling it out online so I dont have to deal with any people its gonna cost about $600 per year to insure as a bus conversion in New York. Then I will register it at the DMV any suggestions as what to register it as, I guess I just go with an RV registration. So far took off the stop sign, stop arm, buzzer for emergency door, wiring, and two seats. Hoping to find some junked RVs to score parts from. Anyone know of yards in New York State??? Thanks.
zman18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2009, 12:56 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,096
Re: Newbie Needs Info

Quote:
Hoping to find some junked RVs to score parts from. Anyone know of yards in New York State???
1. If you are going through Clifton Park, stop in at Alpin Haus and see if someone at the dealership could tell you were wrecks might be towed.
2. On Route 30 past Mayfield almost to Northville, there is what looks like a storage yard with all kinds of "stuff" in it. There are a handful of campers, including one or two pop-ups shoved back in the corner with the roofs jammed so badly I don't think they will be camped in again. It's all inside a fence, so I can't tell what's really there. If you are up for a ride you can go see what kind of operation they are running.
3. I have seen ads in Craigslist asking for free junk campers to use for building utility trailers, you might try that route, assuming you have means to ditch the body once it's stripped. I haven't tracked to see if that angle was successful.
4. Try small RV repair shops and see if they have cast-off usable parts that were pulled out after a customer upgrade. I know of one off of I-88 outside Schenectady. After the toll booth off of I-90, take the immediate ramp off of I-88 to Route 7. Go west past the truckstop and the trooper barracks, White's is set back up a long driveway on the same side. Or check the yellow pages, internet, etc. for one nearer you.
5. Keep your eyes open for treasures on trash days. You might see a usable sink, door, or something similar set out by the road that could be had for the asking.

Good luck.
__________________
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.
Redbear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2009, 12:28 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Seeria's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Idaho
Posts: 575
Coachwork: Thomas
Re: Newbie Needs Info

Frig wise, you might consider one of the small Engel's (not cheap but worth $ imo). We have the one but plan to pick up another. For now, the small cooler size (12volt) freezes ice for us which we in turn use to put into high insulated coolers for "frig" use.
We didn't want one of those large frig types and the "RV" kind are outrageous in use and cost and are a nightmare for fire recalls. Plus they require "balancing" which I prefer not to deal with.
Seeria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 38
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Newbie Needs Info

So Im thinking AGM Batteries and about 200AH altogether. Budget for Batteries is $500max.

Here is a solar kit I found online. Would this be able to charge up the type of batteries I am looking for??
http://www.off-grid.net/store/

My girlfriend and I are not dependent on entertainment technology and are capable of limiting our electrical usage. We dont need to use our laptop everyday and we will have no tv. We could charge the laptop and cell phone via cigarette outlet while driving using one of those little converters from a hardware store. We will have a couple 12v cieling lights. Still looking for a 3way 12v/lp/120v fridge (hopefully pulled out of a junked camper to save $). Would like to keep everything or almost everything 12v after reading about it on the forum seems easier and more cost effective.

Also thinking about one of these for heat and somtimes cooking to save on LP.http://www.walltentshop.com/CatStoves.html
These type of stoves will be easy enough to pack up and store on roof when not needed. Oh I am gonna weld together a safari style roof rack out of the old seat frames. Went to school for metals gonna have to rent the welder though.

Going to be insulating the floor soon. Any suggestions on insulation?? I am thinking rigid foam board or a spray insulation for walls. Not sure about floor.

Will be using a 2 burner camp stove like the coleman type. Anyone have luck salvaging parts from junked campers??? Hoping to get water tanks, fridge and other assorted stuff from salavage yards.
Redbear: I am about 30min from Mayfield and 20 from Clifton Park thanks Ill be checking those places out.

Thanks everyone.
zman18 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help & Info Please !! TheHobbits Conversion General Discussions 15 02-21-2013 09:05 PM
Vent Info rex_1_mn Heating, Cooling and Appliances 2 09-30-2012 08:16 PM
Rear AC info? timmygyu Short-Bus Conversion Projects 4 07-27-2011 02:47 PM
bus info newtoskool Conversion General Discussions 1 07-29-2010 03:53 PM
DTA 360 info the_experience03 International | Navistar Drivetrain 21 06-24-2010 10:23 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:34 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.