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Old 07-12-2019, 09:29 AM   #1
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A Bus Named Sandy

It's about time to start a build thread. I've had her since December, and I am now at the point of adding to the build. For the most part, it is a stable chassis in excellent condition waiting to be reborn.

The bus: 2005 Thomas FS-65 with a CAT C7 and Allison 2000, under 50k miles. She started life with the federal government at the White Sands Missile Range, hence her name. 23' b to b, 14.5' behind the driver. She is rust free and in excellent running condition.

The build: To date we have gutted her completely, treated the metal floor and primed it. We have replaced the seat with a Dodge Ram seat with integrated seat belt. I also added a hitch with wiring and a backup cam. The RV style windows are out, and new ones are on order.

Layout: We plan to pretty much follow this drawing.

More details to come!

Joe
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:15 PM   #2
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The ? In the layout may make for a good closet.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:31 PM   #3
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:57 PM   #4
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Here’s a sense of where we’re at. All gutted, furring strips on ceiling mostly in, windows missing, DC wiring run for LED lights and fan. We put in a Maxxair fan and turned the hatch into a skylight. The galvanized pipe is our roof rack. The wood is locally sourced white pine, milled to 3/8” x 4” to our spec by a cool local wood worker. It’s all from one very old slab of wood.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:55 PM   #5
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Electrical questions:

I am trying to calculate the correct size inverter and plan the basic components.

1. In looking at the two diagrams below, (I know they are not detailed; this is just for logic), the first has a main 120 panel directing 120v to non-inverter loads and not going through the charger/inverter. The second diagram has a transfer relay (not a manual switch) going straight to the 120 panel. Does the relay do the same job as the main panel in diagram 1?

2. If I will run my 12k mini split only off shore or genny power, and not through an inverter, can I go with this smaller unit linked here?

Joe
https://www.amazon.com/Aims-PICOGLF1...harger+&sr=8-5
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:35 PM   #6
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Here are a couple of shots of the roof. We just added the galvanized pipe roof rack. Joists and decking will follow. We also made a fixed skylight where the hatch was, and cut in the Maxxair where the vent was.

Joe
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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I added a Reese universal hitch. It was a relatively easy install.

Joe
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:43 PM   #8
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Now that the ceiling is going in I have to figure out what to do with these wires. There will be a ceiling light daisy chained to another. Any ideas on fitting the wires? I was thinking of putting them between the insulation and the roof.

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Old 07-19-2019, 04:57 PM   #9
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I wouldn't: the gap needed for the wires behind the insulation may encourage condensation, plus, you'll have the Devil's own time of it if you should ever need to access the wiring.
I'm running my wiring between the foamboard insulation and the ceiling panels, strapping with them in place with wire clamps to my furring strips. (Like yours, attached to the hat channel sides)
BTW, I really like your no-weld roof rack solution!
May just have to "borrow" that idea when the time for it finally comes...
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:12 PM   #10
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I wouldn't: the gap needed for the wires behind the insulation may encourage condensation, plus, you'll have the Devil's own time of it if you should ever need to access the wiring.
I'm running my wiring between the foamboard insulation and the ceiling panels, strapping with them in place with wire clamps to my furring strips. (Like yours, attached to the hat channel sides)
BTW, I really like your no-weld roof rack solution!
May just have to "borrow" that idea when the time for it finally comes...
That helps. Thanks.

And I give credit to @gus.gps on Instagram for the rack.

For that matter, folks can check out my Sandy on IG @a_bus_named_sandy.

Joe
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:38 PM   #11
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Hi Joe, got a pic of the fixture? You might be able to use 2 shallow octagon boxes, one for the main and then the daisy chained one. Pretty simple and sturdy, accessible joints, etc.


John
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:10 PM   #12
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Hi Joe, got a pic of the fixture? You might be able to use 2 shallow octagon boxes, one for the main and then the daisy chained one. Pretty simple and sturdy, accessible joints, etc.


John
The ceiling will have eight of these basic led puck lights. The depth is 3/8” and the ceiling wood is also 3/8”.

Joe
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:29 PM   #13
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On inverter size, my microwave pulls more that my mini split. If you add solar or end up boondocking in a hot location for a few hours to sleep you may wish you could run your ac off of battery. I don’t like sleeping with the generator going...

Just a thought. We recently waited out a tornadic storm in our travel path and it was nice to get the AC on to drop the heat and humidity while we slept.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:41 PM   #14
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On inverter size, my microwave pulls more that my mini split. If you add solar or end up boondocking in a hot location for a few hours to sleep you may wish you could run your ac off of battery. I don’t like sleeping with the generator going...

Just a thought. We recently waited out a tornadic storm in our travel path and it was nice to get the AC on to drop the heat and humidity while we slept.
If I'm understanding things sort of correctly - a dubious idea - a mini split will require about 900 watts on high. I just purchased a 2500 watt Aims inverter/charger. Thus, I think I can run the mini split off the inverter. The issue, it seems, is the capacity of the battery bank. if I have, say 300 usable ah of battery, how long would that run the mini split?

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Old 07-20-2019, 10:26 AM   #15
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If I'm understanding things sort of correctly - a dubious idea - a mini split will require about 900 watts on high. I just purchased a 2500 watt Aims inverter/charger. Thus, I think I can run the mini split off the inverter. The issue, it seems, is the capacity of the battery bank. if I have, say 300 usable ah of battery, how long would that run the mini split?



Joe


It depends on the ambient temp and insulation. We ran one all night on a couple hundred AH, but it was only about 80 degrees out and no sunshine to compete with. You would get 2-4 hours on max with 300 AH I would guess, maybe a little more.

You’re right that storage is the issue. I just purchased a Nissan Leaf and have been doing a lot of research on battery tech. If I were doing my build again I would seriously consider a lithium pack from an EV or ones retired from medical use. It would be feasible to get 1000-2000 AH (10-20kWh) for a significant but worth considering price.

That inverter can run two minisplits and a microwave for long enough to make a snack anyway. That inverter is stout. Man I really want to add solar. Everything else is in place.
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Old 07-20-2019, 10:45 AM   #16
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It depends on the ambient temp and insulation. We ran one all night on a couple hundred AH, but it was only about 80 degrees out and no sunshine to compete with. You would get 2-4 hours on max with 300 AH I would guess, maybe a little more.

You’re right that storage is the issue. I just purchased a Nissan Leaf and have been doing a lot of research on battery tech. If I were doing my build again I would seriously consider a lithium pack from an EV or ones retired from medical use. It would be feasible to get 1000-2000 AH (10-20kWh) for a significant but worth considering price.

That inverter can run two minisplits and a microwave for long enough to make a snack anyway. That inverter is stout. Man I really want to add solar. Everything else is in place.
I'd be open to suggestions for a lithium battery bank. As for solar, I'm thinking of a portable setup. There are pros and cons, of course. A pro would be that I could park in the shade and put panels in the sun.

Now that I have put a piece of foam board on the ceiling, I am considering spray foam. The walls and ceiling would be about 200 sf. I don't know how to treat the inner surface of the hat channel that is flush with my side-mounted furring strips. Would that get a thin layer of foam?

Joe
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeacherJoe View Post
The ceiling will have eight of these basic led puck lights. The depth is 3/8” and the ceiling wood is also 3/8”.

Joe



Thanks for the pic Joe. Looking at it and see you haven't decided fully on the insulation yet.


You don't need to strip much wire for a crimped joint, a few inches but stagger the crimps a bit. If you go with board insulation you could just channel enough out so that your beautiful wood will hold it all up and close to the fixture, without loosing any length on the wires. You may need to make a joint in the wood in that area for future access.
Test the circuit well for each light connected before the ceiling installation continues, not like someone else did here and nothing worked.
For foam insulation, put wiring in a flexible conduit till you are out of the ceiling area in case changes need be made at some point. Make the crimp, test and any extra, just pull the wire slack, if any loosely back over to the wall or the next fixture.
Those lights should look fantastic.


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Old 07-24-2019, 05:33 PM   #18
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Don't mind me, just chiming in to say your build is looking great and I can't wait to see it unfold
Cheers from Nor Cal!
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:37 AM   #19
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Just wanted to chime in with a lithium vote. We went with 16x new LiFePO4 ~200AH 3.2V (arranged 8s2p for 24V inverter) (tested) batteries - LiFePO4 is an ideal lithium variant for this application & it's pretty much better in every way than a salvaged EV battery pack aside from sheer energy density (and the density is still quite good @ 600Wh per 11 pound battery). The voltage comes out to pretty much mimic lead-acid, so you can use non-lithium chargers/components if you must, and there's no risk of fire/explosion if something goes wrong. Also they have a better shelf-life // discharge rate yada yada yada.
We've had ours for about 2+ years now and love them. About $230 e/ new which isn't actually much more than AGM per Wh considering you can use them down to 10% without damaging them (vs. 50% w/lead-acid.) and charge them back up with much greater efficiency.
We kept our original lead-acid batteries & hooked them up in parallel as a backup // buffer bank - the voltage matches so well there's only ever about .1A going into them (basically float charging).
We didn't buy from these guys but they are reputable and friendly: https://www.electriccarpartscompany....fied-Batteries
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:30 AM   #20
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The second diagram has a transfer relay (not a manual switch) going straight to the 120 panel. Does the relay do the same job as the main panel in diagram 1?
Transfer relay and transfer switch are synonymous in this context. That second diagram shows that transfer relay directly feeding both a panel and a charger. That is incorrect. The relay should feed the panel where there should be a breaker that feeds the charger.

Quote:
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2. If I will run my 12k mini split only off shore or genny power, and not through an inverter, can I go with this smaller unit linked here?
That depends on your system design and power requirements. Is a total of 10 amps @ 120VAC enough to power everything you plan to operate? Also, some folks prefer a combined inverter/charger/transfer switch, some do not. I don't believe there is a right or wrong answer, just options to meet different requirements and that always comes with pros/cons.
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