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Old 11-15-2018, 03:26 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: California at the moment
Posts: 6
Year: 2003
Chassis: 1999 GMC Savana 3500
Engine: 6.5L
Solar advice for a travelling kitchen

I've been converting a 2003 short Blue Bird (1999 GMC 3500 chassis) into an off grid kitchen. I mostly go from farm to farm and collect excess food, and either ferment, can dehydrate or just cook it and distribute it to anyone who would like some. I will try to create a larger outdoor stove set-up that will run on used vegetable oil since the bus already does (that's a much bigger project for later).

I will do many things that do not need electricity, but I have already been donated 4 x 220v solar panels that I have fixed to the top of the bus's roof rack, so I will try to get the most out of that as well, as it that would make life easier to have power.

Here's what I have come up with for actual things I will need and ;

4 x 220v Solar Panels (already secured to the top of the bus)
1 x Morningstar PS-MPPT-40M 40 amp MPPT Charge Controller with display (on the way)
4 x AGM Batteries (I do not have these, and am just looking for a good deal around Northern California, but hope to get something like Trojan t-105s)
1 x Battery Isolation Solenoid (so I can connect the solar battery bank to the car batteries, I believe this allows the alternator to charge the solar batteries when the bus is running and for me to be able to use the bus lights without killing the bus battery?)
3 x Circuit breakers (one between solar batteries and the charge controller, one between charge controller and solar panels and one in between car batteries and solenoid)
50ft x Wire (10 gauge or 12 gauge? MCA? for connecting everything)
10ft x Wire (4 gauge for batteries)

I still need to obtain everything except the first two items, so I am up for ideas. The main point of the project is to try to do things as DIY as possible, so crazy ideas are always welcome. I have a couple of options, as I see it, for places to drop the wire into the bus without creating new holes. One would be through the bolt/wire holes of the megaphone that used to be on the top of the bus. The other would be through one of the external lights that are on the top in the front and back of the bus and are no longer connected. The second car battery is underneath the bus, behind where the driver's seat sits, I will probably just drill a hole there to connect that. I am thinking to have the Charge controller in either the emergency box right above the drivers seat or right behind the driver's seat. The batteries I thought to secure inside the bus underneath the bus seats (I kept two, and have them opposing each other on passenger side of the cabin with a table in between for dining).

I will have people coming from all over the world to volunteer and help me with different aspects of the project, so I will have someone here who knows more than me about plugging in electrical systems, but it would be great to be as prepared as possible with supplies and advice before they get here. Thanks

Here's the Lunch Box:


Here's the inside:
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