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Old 08-29-2014, 01:07 PM   #1
Site Team
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 636
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
Rated Cap: 78
48 volt subsystem?

I've tried searching the forums here for ideas on a 48 volt electrical system but I didn't find much.

It seems like a magical number for battery capacity, heating and cooling on a bus/coach conversion.

There are a lot of split air conditioning systems that only run on DC current.
High output DC alternators are common.
Batteries configured to store and discharge at 48 VDC are relatively economical
48 VDC to 120 VAC (and the other way around) is economical, due to the telecom, solar, and wind industry settling on 48 vdc.

Any thoughts on a 12VDC vehicle system and a 48 VDC deep well electrical system for storing solar, engine, generator, and mains?

Big consumers would then be air conditioning, refrigeration, lighting.
I think laundry will be a thing on our vehicle, but it's probably only going to happen with full rv hookup for waste water and mains power for the dryer and heating water.

I'm just trying to get a handle on what might work or not.
aaronsb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2014, 02:43 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,119
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Re: 48 volt subsystem?

24vdc and 48vdc systems are superior to 12vdc, but most economically priced DC appliances will require 12vdc. We can thank the auto-industry for that. 24vdc and 48vdc systems are used in the marine world, but everything in that world is twice as expensive.
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
jazty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2014, 02:33 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 197
Year: 1997
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: Genesis
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 48 volt subsystem?

There are DC-DC battery chargers out there that will go from 48v to 12v, though they can get expensive quick.
Timelord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2014, 09:26 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 160
Re: 48 volt subsystem?

I have looked at it, too. 48v is becoming the norm for off-grid home systems.

If you want to run AC from solar, you want to run a mini-split or two depending on the size of the bus. You can run two 12k 120v minisplits from 12v inverter(s). That will cost you an extra grand+ for the second minisplit unit, depending on brand. You can run a large multi-indoor unit minisplit--that will cost you an extra grand+ for a 240v inverter. You can run straight 48v DC minisplits. That will cost you an extra couple grand for the minispit units themselves plus the higher end charge controller.

If you only need 12k BTU, running a standard 120v minisplit is the cheapest answer. You can buy an extra battery and panel to overcome the slightly lower efficiency of stacked inverters.

If you need 36k BTU or more, the best answer ($$ wise) seems to be a multi-unit minisplit and 240v inverter/converter. You are looking at a 10K plus all-in solution at that point, but it is an off-grid house power system at that can run anything.

If you are going all-in, there are ways to get the federal tax credits for the systems (your RV is a home).
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