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Old 10-10-2019, 07:08 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Maine
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Smile Help with electrical

Hi all! I really need some good advice....I bought a 2005 6.0 one ton dually short bus. I really want to understand the electrical system so that I can to my own work on a few things. I also have not found anyone around here that has ever worked on school bus electrical. I just want to know my own bus. Ya know. WHERE DO I START? Ive searched youtube of course and this forum. But can anyone tell me how to actually learn skoolie electrical?
THANK YOU!
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:45 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Miami, Fl.
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Year: 1999
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Originally Posted by Amyg123 View Post
Hi all! I really need some good advice....I bought a 2005 6.0 one ton dually short bus. I really want to understand the electrical system so that I can to my own work on a few things. I also have not found anyone around here that has ever worked on school bus electrical. I just want to know my own bus. Ya know. WHERE DO I START? Ive searched youtube of course and this forum. But can anyone tell me how to actually learn skoolie electrical?
THANK YOU!
Learning is such a powerful tool in life !!!

What is your background? Do you have any experience working with handheld volt-ohm meters (VOM) ?

If not that is where I would start, learning how a VOM works. Lot's of you tube videos for that!
DC electrical is not hard at all once you understand the basic principles.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:51 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Im a nurse with NO mechanical experience at all. But Im stubborn and persistent! I have a lot of wood working experience and am the "fixit" person around here.
SO pick up a VOM unit and learn how to use it? Good idea. I wonder if there are ones that make a tone as I work alone? Thanks ill start there!
I cant
even figure out how to disconnect the battery!!! I thought I could at least do that! But the terminals look nothing like any ive seen and I THINK there's a shut off on it.

Thank you!
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:43 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 150
Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E-Md3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amyg123 View Post
Im a nurse with NO mechanical experience at all. But Im stubborn and persistent! I have a lot of wood working experience and am the "fixit" person around here.
SO pick up a VOM unit and learn how to use it? Good idea. I wonder if there are ones that make a tone as I work alone? Thanks ill start there!
I cant
even figure out how to disconnect the battery!!! I thought I could at least do that! But the terminals look nothing like any ive seen and I THINK there's a shut off on it.

Thank you!
Stubborn and persistent is exactly what is required to build a skoolie!
You got and you can do it, step by step and with some help with a lot of good people here on the forum!!!

Here is a you tube video on how to use a multimeter, I would start here and get ready for a continued journey that will provide you with some setbacks and triumphs!



Once you get to learn the DVM or VOM, it the same thing, start practicing how to do continuity tests and voltage readings, it will open up a whole new world of understanding going forward!

OH yeah, hopefully you have a Harbor freight nearby, great place for some cheap, use once and throwaway tools and stuff… Well actually they are starting to get some decent stuff, but nevertheless you will be buying tools and more tools as you go forward.

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Old 10-10-2019, 09:51 AM   #5
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Year: 2007
Coachwork: ICCORP
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 16
Help with electrical

10,000 foot view:

The electrical system is similar to the nervous system of a body.

For a circuit to be complete and function, you need a power source that provides power, you need transmission leads or wires (on in and one out) and the load (light, buzzer, motor, etc).

If you disconnect one of the leads, you break the circuit. This is what a switch does.

In a 12v DC system in a vehicle, negative is ground. This means that the chassis is connected to the negative terminal of the power source. So
Many times, in the bus, you will see wires going to the chassis.

With power sources, you can connect multiples together for different effects:

Batteries in series - positive to negative to positive - you increase the voltage. So two 12v batteries in series will be 24v. There are reasons to do this, but for the basic bus it needs to run on 12v. That’s why the multiple batteries you have are most likely in parallel - all positive terminals are connected together and all negative terminals are connected together. This keeps the voltage at 12v but adds the amperage together.

A quick explanation of amperage, voltage and wattage:

Voltage: how strong the electricity is (volume of a river)
Amperage or current, how fast it flows (how fast the river flows)
Wattage or power, (how far the river drops)

All three of these are related through a simple formula: P=V*I. Where I is current, P is watts and V is volts.

If you have a 100w light bulb at 12v, it will use P/V=I or 100/12=8.3 amps. If you have a 100w light bulb in a home at 120v, it will be 0.83 amps.

The higher the amps, the thicker the wire you need. This is important as too thin of a wire or too small of a river bank, will cause flooding or in the case of electrical, heat and a fire.

As the other responder mentioned, find a multimeter - learn how to use it. It will be your best friend. You can get one for $14 or less at harbor freight or upwards of $700. I have several, both digital and analog. I also have a 12v light probe - $2-3 it simply lights up when connected to a circuit with power. Useful when you are turning a switch you want to test that’s across the bus.

Anyway, vehicle electrical systems are nowhere near as difficult as the human body. So... you got this. YouTube is another friend.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:09 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks so much! Ill definitely check it out. I have a VOM coming tomorrow>
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:02 PM   #7
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How much money do you make and as a nurse are you staying in one area or driving the country?

Only answer the first question to yourself but tell us the answer to the second.

The reason I’m asking what would normally be an inappropriate question is you have me scared when you say “6.0” engine. Because if that is the Diesel engine made by international that ford used then you have a ticking time bomb for a drivetrain that will get very expensive very fast. It might be best to consider cutting losses now and selling even if it’s at a loss before you have to worry about getting tows, finding a place to stay, and paying for the repair bills on that motor.

You as a mechanical not inclined female might have the single worst motor possible.

Sorry for the scary tone but it’s something that needs to be mentioned.
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:53 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Its not an appropriate question in the least. I am aware that the 6.0 has issues and we all know its a gas engine. End of conversation.
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Old 10-12-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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We all know it’s a gas engine? Your only information was “2005, 6.0”. There are millions of 2005 6.0 diesels.

Inappropriate or not the right thing to do was bring it up before you turn a bus into a home that would have serious reliability issues.

It’s cool though, if you have a gas engine the point is moot. Yet had you have had the diesel and no one told you, you’d be pretty upset when those heads lift off the block.

Have a nice day.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:01 AM   #10
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Inappropriate or not the right thing to do was bring it up before you turn a bus into a home that would have serious reliability issues.
I think she was talking about the "how much money do you make?" thing being inappropriate. It's a little too personal of a question for some of us.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:07 AM   #11
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Then she missed the “only answer that to yourself” part.

We all know about the 6.0 diesel and I’d hate to see her build a home around that piece of junk without fully understanding what she’s getting herself into.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:08 AM   #12
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My point was to emphasize how much trouble she could get into and just how quickly:
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:14 AM   #13
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Then she missed the “only answer that to yourself” part
Yeah, I think I missed that part too.
I understood your concern about the engine though.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:48 PM   #14
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I teach Intro Electrical in a local community college here in Ga. Our current book is "Fundamentals of Medium/Heavy Duty Commercial Vehicle Systems (Jones & Bartlett Learning Cdx Automotive) 1st Edition". Do a Google search - the book is about 1285 pages if I remember correctly.

Chapters 6-21 will deal with a good basic understanding of DC circuits used throughout the vehicle and even touch on emissions.

Once you understand the basics the next thing to get would be the wiring diagrams. Otherwise you will spend hours chasing your tail.
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