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Old 11-01-2016, 01:55 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Air Conditioner for Short Bus

Hey folks, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations pon getting an Air conditioner for my short bus. I have been looking on craigslist, and ebay but I was wondering if there were any other sites I should search. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

Julius
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:50 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
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what type of air-cond are you looking for? I know you replied to a thread for a take-off A/C..

that type is road A/C, it only functions when your bus is running... im pretty good at road A/C suggestions(ive designed a few in my time), but if you are looking for A/C for when you are parked and the engine is off, others can help out better than I..

first step is to determine when and how you want to A/C

1. while driving
2. while camped
3. both

-Christopher
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Old 11-04-2016, 02:54 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
what type of air-cond are you looking for? I know you replied to a thread for a take-off A/C..

that type is road A/C, it only functions when your bus is running... im pretty good at road A/C suggestions(ive designed a few in my time), but if you are looking for A/C for when you are parked and the engine is off, others can help out better than I..

first step is to determine when and how you want to A/C

1. while driving
2. while camped
3. both

-Christopher
Thanks for the reply. I am looking for one that will run while parked and while running. i have a heater system set up with the blower on the floor but I was wondering if that could also be an option for converting to air conditioning. I am up for any and all suggestions though. Thanks
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Old 11-04-2016, 03:49 PM   #4
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If you want air while parked you will need an electric unit. The likely options are a rooftop RV unit like this: Coleman-Mach Mach 3 Plus 13500 BTU Air Conditioner - Arctic White - Rv Products 48203C966/48203-876 - Air Conditioners - Camping World

Or a regular household window air conditioner mounted in a rear facing window.

Lastly, some folks are having success with mini-splits in RV applications. Here is one that I am looking at: https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-Air-C...+split+pioneer

The simplest would be the RV roof air. On my last conversion I removed the emergency exits and built covers that accommodated 2 13.5k BTU AC's.

If you want AC while on the road you will either need engine driven "road air" or you will need a power source such as a generator running while you drive.

I have seen some folks tinkering with running AC from an inverter and batteries. They support the load with a 300 amp truck alternator and a LARGE battery bank and inverter. $$$.

Here is an interesting read on the mini-split: 2013 CarMate 100% Solar Heated and Cooled Over The Top Cargo Trailer : 100% RV Solar Mobile AC on the road - freezing at 59 degree
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:27 PM   #5
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I cant remember what your short bus is? is it a conventional or a Van cutaway?

I built custom Dash air in my short conventional by gutting the driver heater box and installing a heat / AC evaporator and then a separate defroster unit inside the original cabinet..

I have a 200 AMP alternator in my bus and have experimented run an eletric portable Unit for hours and not run down the aux or the main batteries.. a 200 Amp school bus alternator only cost me like $200 or so...

my own opinion of A/C is that in a conventional or FE the engine heat will take over the camper unit in no time and you roast in the driver seat... so I have both... the electirc A/C i can run on a Genny while parked and my road A/C for driving..

-Christopher
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Old 11-04-2016, 06:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I cant remember what your short bus is? is it a conventional or a Van cutaway?

I built custom Dash air in my short conventional by gutting the driver heater box and installing a heat / AC evaporator and then a separate defroster unit inside the original cabinet..

I have a 200 AMP alternator in my bus and have experimented run an eletric portable Unit for hours and not run down the aux or the main batteries.. a 200 Amp school bus alternator only cost me like $200 or so...

my own opinion of A/C is that in a conventional or FE the engine heat will take over the camper unit in no time and you roast in the driver seat... so I have both... the electirc A/C i can run on a Genny while parked and my road A/C for driving..

-Christopher
Hey Christopher,

What kind of challenges did you run into running the portable? I am assuming that you ran it off of an inverter?

I would like to play with that when I get a bigger bus. I am thinking: Mini-split, inverter and 200amp alternator.
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Old 11-04-2016, 06:58 PM   #7
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I am running a 1500 watt sustainted / 2000 watt peak Pure sine wave inverter.. the name of it escapes me.. but it happens to be in the bus that I have here in florida so I can grab the name of it..

I have a pack of 2 group 31 Batteries-Plus Deep cycle AGM batteries

the A/C unit is a Climax 2 hose portable 12.5k btu Inverter portable.. so it operates very similar to a mini split in that it is soft start and ramps up / down as opposed to cycle in and out..

I have an automatic Isolater with a manual override on it and a big 200 amp continuous duty solenoid..

my first challenge failing to use big enough Wire to run from the main battery Packs under the driver window back the 6 rows to the aux batteries.. I had i think 2 Gauge wire and that didnt work well at all... the wires never got hot, the batteries just wouldnt charge due to the voltage drop once I switched to 2/0 welding wire all was good on that front.. i could match the voltage on the front and rear batteries pretty easily...

the Next challenge is that using my Bosch SB-200 alternator in one wire mode caused me issues getting it to charge.. Id have low voltage across the system.. again the wire fro mthe alternator to the batteries didnt get Hot but since the alternator was sensing voltage at its output and not at the batteries.. I ran a bigger wire to the batteries and that makes it do better... theres still some variance udner a good load.. the fix for that is to run a separate wire from the batteries to the Sense lead on the alternator and run it in a sensory mode so it adjust voltage based on the true battery voltage at the main packs rather than the alternator itself..

running down the road i suppose my biggest issue was just not stayimg cool inside.. I have a beautiful road A/C system but i tossed the belt on my new york trip end of july,, it got hot outside quick in the AM as i drove.. calling ahead to each town till i found a belt.. 12.5K just hardly touched the heat of a stock non-tinted window Bus with all kinds of Dog-house-Heat from the engine... the DT engines that protrude into the cab make for a LOT of heat in the summer.. my newer T-444E bus barely has any heat on my feet..

the A/C unit itself never skipped a beat though.. However I will say the batteries missed my calculations quite a bit... if that unit is running full blast I dont get the 4 hours i expected out of the 2 batteries.. its more like 2! now at night it lasted much longer because it ramped down.. (of course this is Parked).. I didnt kill the batteries while driving..

after I read a thread on here stating that an alternator can never properly charge the batteries.. I ran them on a true managed charger at home and the results of runtime on a hot day were about the same so it appears my setup does charge the batteries acceptably..

I havent run it enough on the road to tell if its going to take its toll on my alternator or not.. my alternator is new as my original acted flaky the longer I had the bus so i changed it out.

my road A/C is highly sized for over-coming the engione heat and to act more like a car where i want to cool myself and the bus fairly quickly.. and im at the low-end of what should be in a bus like mine at 60k or so BTU...

its not uncommon to see 120k BTU+ road air in a full size stock school bus that has 2 complete systems..

I doubt an insulated bus needs nearly that much A/C but I do question how a single mini split or camper unit can keep bus and driver comfortable on a hot sun-facing long drive..

-Christopher
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Old 11-04-2016, 09:55 PM   #8
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Not to compete with what has been said... I have a 5000 BTU Wally World window unit mounted in the rear of the bus between the two upper signal lights (I cut a hole above the rear door). I'm still converting and have a six window short bus. In the sunshine the 5k unit is laboring to keep the bus cool but the floor is still open steel with no insulation and I have widows cracked open with occasional wires hanging through them. Also I'm in and out through the folding door constantly.

All that said, once the floors are covered and I put up my upper cabinets I think the 5k unit will do ok on all but the worst days of summer. With a curtain across the sleeping area (cutting the bus in half) it should do nicely to cool the sleeping area for an afternoon siesta. It does fine when the sun goes down.

I like that the Wally World unit is cheap and easily replacable anywhere I go. I think I could bump up to the next size (6k?) without changing the hole size as that unit is just a bit longer (I think).

I'm sure it won't cool the bus while driving. Nope. Can't do that. Have no idea what it would take to put a conventional unit in a bus that never had one. Sounds like a lot of work. I'll drive with the windows down and follow the jet stream.

Regards!

Ross
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Old 11-05-2016, 09:04 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I have a coventional 1990 International 3800 21 passenger bus.
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Old 11-05-2016, 09:16 AM   #10
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believe me driving into the sun in may-september on a hot day is a sweat-box in a conventional with a DT!..

Julius: I see you are in Florida... my DEV bus is down here in florida as well, i can show you what it took to add A/C to a conventional 3800 that never had it.. thats what I did..

we need EastCoast to get that florida Skoolie meet goin!

I have 2 road Coils and a 13k portable I use if I want to sleep at night parked..

sometimes i drive with the windows down as i like to feel the air but I dont like getting out of the saddle a wet soggy smelly mess so alas why I run road A/C..often I run the A/C and have the driver window oipen. some dont mind that, others do.. its all personal preference.. im a Modern Kinda guy so rather than sweat in summer or put on layers in winter i choose to build climate control systems to take care of that.
-Christopher
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