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Old 01-26-2018, 06:46 PM   #1
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'95 Chevy Short Bus - Full Time Living

Hey everyone,

I've recently purchase a 1995 Chevy 5.7L V8 short bus. Only 106,334 miles. Parts have been ordered to redo the brake system, full tune up, shocks and air springs.
I'm quitting my job at the end of February and want to have this bus complete and ready to live in by the beginning of July. I've installed and designed solar panel installations professionally for 3.5 yrs, so I'm excited to finally do some solar for myself.
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:54 PM   #2
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I'm onboard. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Time is ticking.
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:01 PM   #3
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Considering your expertise in solar installations, what's your opinion on using flexible panels on a bus?
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Old 01-26-2018, 08:23 PM   #4
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Very cool. I'm about to start a very similar project. Mine is a in 1991 GMC with a wheelchair lift. Otherwise looks almost exactly the same. It's a great size vehicle you'll be able to travel anywhere in including big cities like Chicago where I had a very hard time parking my 28 foot bus.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Considering your expertise in solar installations, what's your opinion on using flexible panels on a bus?
I've never worked with them, but I bet it would work and might be a cheaper solution. I'd consider a few things, though:

- Make sure they're made to adhere to a painted metal surface. A lot of them are made for membrane roofs like TPO and EPDM. And make sure that surface is ridiculously clean and smooth, because that adhesive is the only thing keeping those panels on your bus at 65mph on the interstate.

- Make sure the voltage output works for your electrical design. They are usually thin film instead of crystalline, so the voltage can sometimes be 2x that of a normal 60 cell crystalline module. Not necessarily an issue, just something to design around.

- I have a theory that having the panels off the roof by a few inches will provide a shading/cooling effect, which would be lost if they were adhered to the roof
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:14 PM   #6
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I love the idea of suspending the flexible panels several inches above the roof, although then attaching them becomes a problem as does having them flapping in the wind. I've long considered the land cruiser type roof design to help dissipate heat, but that dumb solar shield is just about as expensive as making an entire roof deck. I'd like to have a veranda on my roof. I visualize having a couple drinks up there and then falling off.

I was under the impression that gluing the flex panels to the metal roof would ruin them. Someone else mentioned that had been tried and that and the panels melted or otherwise self destructed because of the hot metal skin of the bus. Even here in Oregon the bus skin gets to hot to touch in the hottest part of the summer. I know that's nothing compared to tejas heat.

I'm a back road driver. Since my paint job last summer I've already got numerous scrape marks on the new paint Job roof and upper exterior skin. So far solar hasn't even been a consideration, but at some point I intend to hit the road on a cross country trip and leave my brushy back roads behind. I'm looking for a little power without the generator noise while I'm parked. At the same time if I can find a brushy road to drive down I could easily wipe out a lot of solar panels real quick. The flexible panels are obviously lighter weight than the crystalline panels, so I'm trying to think of a way to use them and still be able to protect them when on the occasional back road.

I feel like I'm peeing into the wind when looking for power through solar. I feel like we need a large capacitor, that could be charged with a geny in less than an hour, to last overnight. Batteries are to slow to recharge.

I'm not one that can afford to park in a RV campground every night to recharge my batteries from the grid. That'll be the day when I pump over a thousand a month into staying at RV parks with no elbow room. If I'm going to put up with other people's noise I'll stay at a truck stop. At least I could run my geny at a truck stop so I could run my AC to enable some decent sleep for a few hours.

It's becoming exceedingly clear that overall this is a very complicated way to run around the country.
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:57 PM   #7
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A quick google search shows multiple companies recalling flexible panels due to fire hazzard:
https://www.renogy.com/voluntary-product-recall/
https://incompliancemag.com/bendable...o-fire-hazard/
I had heard of the problem from gonewiththewinns blogsite as they had 3 melt on them. The coating is very thin and easily scratched past allowing damage to cells as well compared to a true panel. Sad, I too was thinking about using them.
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:19 PM   #8
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I'm thinking a lot of that is because of the way they were used. It may take several more years before the panels become durable enough to make them practical and safe.

Ok, back to the less tech dumb deck on top of the bus.
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