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Old 02-09-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
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Newbie Please help

Ok, I have made the leap and purchased my first short bus... I have everything figured out as far as what I want and where I want it. I just have one problem. The electrical. I have read through all the tutorials and still not sure what I need to purchase. I will running a AC unit, fridge, radio and possibly a TV while going down the road. I want to have ac and dc power. I also want to plug into the campgrounds when I get there. I have read about the battery cells but what do I need to make this work? Batteries I understand that but do I need an inverter or converter or both?

Thanks
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie Please help

I'm sure someone with more electrical knowledge than me will chime in; but my understanding is that if you want to run an air conditioner while going down the road (not to mention the fridge), you will need a generator. Either that, or a bank of batteries so large and expensive as to be unreasonable. I think the 110v AC unit alone pulls too much power to be run off your alternator via an inverter. If you want to run any lower demand 110v items (like the TV) on the road without running the generator, then you need 6v or 12v deep cycle batteries hooked up to an inverter big enough to handle your anticipated demand. For plugging in to campgrounds I think you need a separate 110v electrical circuit. There are also converter devices to transform AC to DC power (110v to 12v).

My plan is to keep it as simple as possible. I will have an inverter and a couple batteries so I can run either DC or (low demand) AC items when on the road, but when I plug in at a campground I will generally run only my AC circuit. If I want to run air conditioning on the road I will get a generator. I do not plan to have an electric fridge. I figure for my usage, a cooler is fine. I don't like the idea of a fridge causing constant energy demand. You can turn the air conditioner off, but a fridge must run or your food goes bad, and beer gets warm (horrors!) .
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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Re: Newbie Please help

Thanks for your reply.

Ok, I just started looking at generators. I think that is the way that I will have to go. Even if I go with a generator I will still want to have a breaker panel for AC and DC right? I guess I could purchase an inverter to run the dc off the generator too?
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: Newbie Please help

Thanks!! I will post some as soon as I pick it up. I have been reading on here for almost two weeks ... I will keep reading and search though.

Thanks
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:31 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie Please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas5225
Thanks for your reply.

Ok, I just started looking at generators. I think that is the way that I will have to go. Even if I go with a generator I will still want to have a breaker panel for AC and DC right? I guess I could purchase an inverter to run the dc off the generator too?
I think most generators have both AC and DC outputs. I plan on using only low demand DC items like lights and fans, so I can just run them off the house battery bank, which will get recharged while plugged in to a campground, and/or extra charge from the alternator or generator if that is running. I haven't worked out all the details yet. I suppose there are different levels of sophistication you could employ in building an electrical system. Like Smitty said, you just need to do some research. Searching this forum alone will give you lots of ideas. Here is an example of a good electrical discussion happening right now over in the "Conversion Discussion" area: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5467
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie Please help

Dont forget, as long as you dont open the door, your fridge can keep food sufficiently cold for about 12 hours. Living in CA with our rolling summer (and occasionally unplanned) blackouts has taught me this.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie Please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojakai
Dont forget, as long as you dont open the door, your fridge can keep food sufficiently cold for about 12 hours. Living in CA with our rolling summer (and occasionally unplanned) blackouts has taught me this.
...as long as you maintain your door seals, and don't have kids sneaking food out of it every 20 minutes!
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:51 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie Please help

Like I said, dont open the door. And its really easy to teach the kids not to open the door during times of power loss. You start with the hand to bottom method and mention that next time its going to be a wooden spoon. You shouldn't have to ever get farther than holding the spoon for it to sink in permanently, and most of the time a verbal threat about getting the spoon will suffice.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:09 PM   #9
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Re: Newbie Please help

If you use the "dont open the door" method, you could use some reusable ice mats to help keep it cool
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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Re: Newbie Please help

Has anyone mounted a generator anywhere on a short bus? I'm looking at a couple different onan's and I'm not sure where I would put it. I am wanting to pull my boat with my bus so I'm not sure a rear bumper mount would work. I pick my bus up in two days so I guess I can look then.. Very excited. BTW 1996 Chevy chassis with a Collins body. 21 passenger 4 window with a diesel engine...
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