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Old 05-01-2016, 11:30 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Location: Manitou Springs, CO
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger
Battery Questions for the Bus (not the house)

The batteries that start my bus are nearing the end of their life. They will hold a charge for a few days, but no more than a week.

I am am still in the early stages of my conversion, so I am not concerned with having healthy batteries right now. I just want to limp along for now until I am ready to start using my bus to go camping. Right now the only thing I am using the bus for is to haul things (like 25 stop lights) or going for a Sunday drive (which I love to do!)


A) - Are the terms "coach battery" and "house battery" interchangeable or is the coach battery what starts the bus?

2) - Is there something that I can hook up to the vehicle batteries (while leaving them hooked up in the bus) that can be plugged into shore power to keep them charged between drives.

At some point I will be buying a charger to charge the house batteries. Can I buy it now and hook it up to the bus batteries?

C) When I do my wiring (which I have not done the research on yet) can I hook it up so that both sets of batteries are charged while I am plugged into shore.

4) When it is time to purchase new batteries for my bus, how do I know which size to buy? I know there are many sizes of batteries for cars, but I thought that was because they all have different sized compartments to fit into. It looks like the battery tray on the bus could hold a wide variety of sizes.

4)
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by karrlot View Post
The batteries that start my bus are nearing the end of their life. They will hold a charge for a few days, but no more than a week.

I am am still in the early stages of my conversion, so I am not concerned with having healthy batteries right now. I just want to limp along for now until I am ready to start using my bus to go camping. Right now the only thing I am using the bus for is to haul things (like 25 stop lights) or going for a Sunday drive (which I love to do!)


A) - Are the terms "coach battery" and "house battery" interchangeable or is the coach battery what starts the bus?
I'd say the coach battery provides for things related to the vehicle: starter, headlights, and so on. House provides for the things that make the vehicle a home: interior lighting, water pump, etc.

2) - Is there something that I can hook up to the vehicle batteries (while leaving them hooked up in the bus) that can be plugged into shore power to keep them charged between drives.

At some point I will be buying a charger to charge the house batteries. Can I buy it now and hook it up to the bus batteries?
Battery tender and battery minder are brand names of products that keep the charge on infrequently used things like an ATV or riding lawn mower. It's the right concept for the bus too, but the bus batteries might need more current than those small devices are designed to give.

A good multi-stage charger for the house batteries, used for now to maintain the coach batteries, is a great idea.

C) When I do my wiring (which I have not done the research on yet) can I hook it up so that both sets of batteries are charged while I am plugged into shore.
There are several ways it could be done. Two independent chargers drawing from the shore power would be easy. It could also be done on the dc side, but would require more attention to details.

4) When it is time to purchase new batteries for my bus, how do I know which size to buy? I know there are many sizes of batteries for cars, but I thought that was because they all have different sized compartments to fit into. It looks like the battery tray on the bus could hold a wide variety of sizes.
Usually the biggest one that fits is a good choice.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:44 PM   #3
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A) - Are the terms "coach battery" and "house battery" interchangeable or is the coach battery what starts the bus?

House batteries are self explanatory, while "engine battery" seems to be more self explanatory and less confusing than coach battery.


2) - Is there something that I can hook up to the vehicle batteries (while leaving them hooked up in the bus) that can be plugged into shore power to keep them charged between drives.

See, now it's "vehicle batteries." You're getting confusing. Which ones? House batteries are probably multiple, while the engine battery is single. Vehicle batteries sounds like all of them.
At some point I will be buying a charger to charge the house batteries. Can I buy it now and hook it up to the bus batteries?

You could, but I'd suggest holding off on expensive decisions as you are continuing to learn more useful information for the time being.

C) When I do my wiring (which I have not done the research on yet) can I hook it up so that both sets of batteries are charged while I am plugged into shore.

Yes. When you're on shore power you can set it up so your batteries automatically charge. Keep in mind that your engine battery is a stand alone led acid battery, while your house batteries are probably deep cell batteries.
4) When it is time to purchase new batteries for my bus, how do I know which size to buy? I know there are many sizes of batteries for cars, but I thought that was because they all have different sized compartments to fit into. It looks like the battery tray on the bus could hold a wide variety of sizes.

If you're up to it financially you're probably looking for an 8D battery, but you could also set up a parallel battery system for your engine. An 8D is about 150 pounds of power. Quality matters in this purchase. Heavy batteries are more difficult for people to steal.
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:48 PM   #4
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Me...I call'em "START"...and "HOUSE". And there can be any number of each depending on the set up. My old BB had two 8D start batts and I added four 120AH as a house bank.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:14 PM   #5
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Tango, how do you cram all that stuff into that little bus? I think you've got a magic shoe horn or something.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Manitou Springs, CO
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
A) - Are the terms "coach battery" and "house battery" interchangeable or is the coach battery what starts the bus?

House batteries are self explanatory, while "engine battery" seems to be more self explanatory and less confusing than coach battery.


2) - Is there something that I can hook up to the vehicle batteries (while leaving them hooked up in the bus) that can be plugged into shore power to keep them charged between drives.

See, now it's "vehicle batteries." You're getting confusing. Which ones? House batteries are probably multiple, while the engine battery is single. Vehicle batteries sounds like all of them.

[/B]
Sorry for the confusion on the terminology (which is why I was asked the first question.)

I was referring to the three batteries that are used to start the engine. I have not added any house batteries yet.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:28 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2015
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I too am in the Springs, would love to see what you are doing!!
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:31 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Manitou Springs, CO
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post


A good multi-stage charger for the house batteries, used for now to maintain the coach batteries, is a great idea.
Could that be hooked up to the engine batteries while they are still installed on my bus?
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:36 PM   #9
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That's interesting. You've got three batteries in parallel for your start battery? That works.
I don't have house batteries yet either. It seems each addition toward a power system is another $1K minimum investment. It seems to take about $1k in batteries, then you need a charger capable of putting out some amps to recharge them, for you guessed it, another grand. Guess how much a minimal set of solar panels will cost? You guessed it, another grand. I think I'll hold off on solar until I can get a solar paint job that will produce power.

I have shore power, a 1k genny and the 12 volt 8D starter battery. So far I've put my money into new tires, and I'm stripping the interior panels and insulation. No signs of mold or leaking yet, but I'd expect to see more in the lower walls.
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Old 05-01-2016, 01:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by karrlot View Post
Could that be hooked up to the engine batteries while they are still installed on my bus?
Sure. A portable charger will probably have big alligator clips like a set of mini jumper cables. Just clip those on around the clamps that are already on the battery post. For a hard-wire charger designed to be permanently installed, arrange some wire to run between the charger and the battery bank. The existing clamps on the battery posts will probably have some kind of bolt in/on/through them; you can use a ring terminal to connect the end of the wire from the charger to such a bolt.

Depending on the charger, it might start charging as soon as it's plugged in or it might require you to push some buttons each time.
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