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Old 10-18-2017, 10:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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How similar are electrical systems from skoolie to factory built motorhomes.

I know the topic is somewhat vague. To be more specific, I know that motorhomes, rvs, coaches all have in excess different relays and solenoids, switches, etc etc etc.

When Doing a skoolie conversion and adding your own components etc, do you find yourself adding in all these relays and solenoids as well?

I know enough to be dangerous with 12v and 120v, when it comes to repairs, basic installs(aftermarket lights, radios, etc) But as far as building a complete system, I am a little hesitant. Does this make sense? LOL.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tegra1027 View Post
I know the topic is somewhat vague. To be more specific, I know that motorhomes, rvs, coaches all have in excess different relays and solenoids, switches, etc etc etc.

When Doing a skoolie conversion and adding your own components etc, do you find yourself adding in all these relays and solenoids as well?

I know enough to be dangerous with 12v and 120v, when it comes to repairs, basic installs(aftermarket lights, radios, etc) But as far as building a complete system, I am a little hesitant. Does this make sense? LOL.
Howdy and Welcome Tegra1027!

Yes, it makes sense. Electricity is electricity - nothing is different there. Some people have more experience with AC vs DC or vice-versa but by the time you are done with a conversion, you will likely have a reasonable understanding of both.

All (nearly all??) of the "complexity" (relays, automatic switches, power panels, electric motors, limit switches, etc.) is up to the builder. Some of us like "automation" and that requires more electrical goodies. Some don't, and that makes for a simple/less expensive system. It's all up to you. Even better, you can start simple and add complexity as you learn/desire. There really are no "rules" in regards to how you go about your conversion.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:40 PM   #3
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Not any kind of expert yet, but from what I've seen it depends on what the intended use is for the Skoolie.

Some folks use their Skoolies much like an RV, so their electrical will likely be pretty similar. In other words, primary electrical source is shore power at an RV park or generator. Batteries are there mostly to give you some time in between plug ins so you don't have to fire up the generator for every little thing. Solar is optional, and usually modestly sized and/or an after thought to extend the battery a bit.

Others plan to park their Skoolie out in the wild much of the time, so their electrical may look a lot more like an off-grid homesteading setup. In this case the battery is the primary power source and usually needs to be big, often with substantial solar to recharge it every day. Generator is more likely for backup when the sun doesn't cooperate, or usage is unusually high, and shore power may be more an after thought primarily to top up the battery.

Many will probably end up somewhere in between the two, depending on what their plans and budgets are. And as mentioned above complexity in either case can vary depending on how automatic you want everything to be, and how much you want to spend.

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Old 10-18-2017, 07:34 PM   #4
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No solar or wind power or water harvesting YET but I am and will go out of my way to keep my bus power/starting completely seperate from anything I do for the house.in my head if I have a problem with the house? Separated from the starting and going? I can always start and go home or wherevr to fix it and if I have a problem starting then I know I can live in my house until I can get the damn thing started?
For me I want to keep the two seperate. I don't want a bad switch or whatever killing/drawing from my starting bus and going home stuff? But that's just me trying to KISS ( keep it simple stupid) I know a lot of things but combine them all together and you get engineers fighting over WHO was the one that MUCKED UP and money?
Sorry it's so long?
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:46 AM   #5
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i knew zero about electrical before i started this. now Ive got a functioning system and have learned a lot. 12 volt really isn't very hard actually. i quite liked working with it. just make sure you comply with all the manufacturers recommendations on fuse sizes and locations for the products you buy. as far as rvs go most of them i know of have power plants of some sort and run nearly entirely A/C power. trailers tend to use the lower voltage appliances though.

and budget high for electrical appliances. i didn't realize it cost quite so much and ended nearly doubling my original budget.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:22 AM   #6
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Yeah, 12v appliances can be very expensive as it’s kind of a niche market. Can be quite a bit more efficient, but not always. If you get a high quality inverter with 95% + efficiency you might even be able to do better with an AC appliance if there are higher efficiency models available.

Ran into this looking at mini-split ACs. There’s at least one company that makes DC models for about $2k a pop. However there are higher SEER 240V AC models out there that might still end up being more efficient overall with a good inverter.

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Old 10-19-2017, 12:07 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I'm just getting started with design and planning. Hardest part is getting started... Especially when I don't know where to start.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:17 PM   #8
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How similar are electrical systems from skoolie to factory built motorhomes?

Although the basic idea is the same, I'm thinking that the systems a DIY guy can build into a skoolie can be MUCH better than those found in factory built motor homes because the diy builder can tailor the system to meet his needs and he can control the quality of the components he installs.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
How similar are electrical systems from skoolie to factory built motorhomes?

Although the basic idea is the same, I'm thinking that the systems a DIY guy can build into a skoolie can be MUCH better than those found in factory built motor homes because the diy builder can tailor the system to meet his needs and he can control the quality of the components he installs.
... and can learn how to set the parts up so that they work!!
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by miscrms View Post
Yeah, 12v appliances can be very expensive as itís kind of a niche market. Can be quite a bit more efficient, but not always. If you get a high quality inverter with 95% + efficiency you might even be able to do better with an AC appliance if there are higher efficiency models available.

Ran into this looking at mini-split ACs. Thereís at least one company that makes DC models for about $2k a pop. However there are higher SEER 240V AC models out there that might still end up being more efficient overall with a good inverter.

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I have recently found a mini split/heat pump brand that is 120v inverted down to 12v with good seer ratings. And a 12,000btu is only around 700$. Comes with the lineset and power wire from indoor to outdoor.
That's a lot cheaper than the name brand models
I have also talked to several owners of the units and they have had no problems or complaints after 3-4 years.
Look at pioneer brand. Money wise that is the way I am going to go
Good luck
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