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Old 12-03-2010, 07:32 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Bookmobile
Engine: Cummins/Allison
Mystery button and "batteries" toggle switch

1997 Blue Bird bookmobile conversion. I have no idea what this black button does and have yet to see it light up. As for the batteries, I need help. The batteries for the generator may be dead, or I am not operating properly. Generator won't start. I flip the toggle switch, wait 30 seconds, and then generator starts. I am guessing the "batteries" toggle switch puts the generator on the main batteries which are ok. However, there is a breaker labeled "battery charger" in the electric panel but I have not come across it or know when I am to throw that breaker to "use" it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated,
Mike
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:17 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Bookmobile
Engine: Cummins/Allison
Re: Mystery button and "batteries" toggle switch

Thanks 4 the welcome. Dealer sold it. I emailed the builder the other day (OBS) and then found this forum so gave it a shot. I will follow switch to fuse tomorrow if I can.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:20 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,096
Re: Mystery button and "batteries" toggle switch

The LED and push-button switch are clearly a custom wiring job, no one else's bus will have the same wiring, although the "batteries" switch may be a replacement for a burned out one, as the labeling style matches the other switches.

Since the "batteries" switch will let you start the generator, but only after 30 seconds, it may activate a solenoid that joins a weak battery bank to a strong one. Don't leave the switch on when the bus is parked, or the strong batteries will run down trying to charge the bad ones. You should hear the solenoid click somewhere down under when you operate the switch.

It's also possible that it controls a battery on/off solenoid, to disconnect the batteries when the bus is parked. If this were the case, the generator should not need 30 seconds before it starts. I have worked on some ambulances that use a switch and solenoid to turn the batteries on, as opposed to the more common use of various types of yachtsman's rotary switches for battery disconnects.

As far as the push-button and LED, you will have to either follow the wiring, or find someone who either wired or drove the bus to know what it was intended for. If there is some lettering or documents identifying which district used it, you might try looking up the number for the bus garage and asking the mechanics. If it was a nationwide operator like Laidlaw or First Student, heaven help you.

edit: While a momentary function like windshield washers should be obvious, it may control something less obvious like an added ether shot control for very cold starting. I've seen these as a standard option on older snow plows, maybe a mechanic added one to your engine?
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Bookmobile
Engine: Cummins/Allison
Re: Mystery button and "batteries" toggle switch

Batteries - When I first received the bus, the generator started and I did not need to use the batteries switch. That should eliminate the on / off theory. I definitely hear the solenoid activate when I toggle the switch. I am going with you on the joining batteries theory due to weak battery set. I need to replace the batteries dedicated to the generator. I have turned the switch off after the generator start to avoid drain and have had to drive back to the storage place because I forgot. There are some on Craigs list that sell rebuilt batteries from $25-$30 each. Are these any good or recommended? This book mobile was in use in Denver and I like the idea of the ether shot, sounds cool and I will follow that theory and let yall know. Here are some before photos and current photos.
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Old 12-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Bookmobile
Engine: Cummins/Allison
Re: Mystery button and "batteries" toggle switch

Current
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