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Old 01-16-2014, 08:56 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Near Sacramento, CA
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Where do you put your batteries and wires?

I want to first say thanks to everyone who's read and replied to our previous posts. I know some may consider it a breach in etiquette to not say thank you after every post, but I don't get a whole lot of time on the computer here. We really do appreciate the words of experience, opinions, general thoughts, and general banter it may start between others. So, again, thank you.

Secondly, where do you guys put your batteries and wiring? I was thinking of building a compartment inside the bus for easy access with a fridge vent of sorts so as no to let the hydrogen build up. Then another part of me wants build a compartment under the bus (we have tons of room) under the bus and make a door on the skin with a piano hinge.

As for the wiring, we're more than likely going to do exposed conduit running along the top of the wall where it meets the roof with junction boxes and outlets along the way. Having it out in the open for troubleshooting yet toward the top of the wall where my head will never be while I'm walking is very appealing.

Thanks very, very much in advance,
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

It really depends on the battery chemistry, climate you bus will operate in, lay out, ect. We need more info.

Nat
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:59 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Near Sacramento, CA
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 w/MT643
Rated Cap: 71
Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

Well, for us, we'll mostly be camping in mild to hot climates. We live near Sacramento so high 90's and hundreds won't be uncommon. The trips would be pretty short, maybe a day or two of sitting still. The longer trips would be mostly driving and sitting still overnight. Sprinkle in some snow sledding overnighters here and there and there you have it.

I'm not too sure what you mean by the battery chemistry. If you're referring to AGM and regular batteries and such, we plan on getting the marine batteries from Costco, so nothing special there. Just wanted to keep that simple and cheap with moderate quality compared to the crazy high end batteries.

What I was more asking though, is where everyone else has put their batteries and wiring. Any advise or insight on different options we might want to explore are more than welcome though.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:50 AM   #4
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Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

I have a rear engine so I put the batteries in the engine compartment. I have a two layer floor so the wiring is either under the floor or in the original run along the left above the windows.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

He was asking about battery chemistry because that dictates where you can put them. Dry cell batteries don't off gas when charged, so they can be placed anywhere.

I have my batteries in the very back of my bus. I partitioned off about 10" in the back for a small amount of storage and a place to keep my batteries. It will also be easy to add a vent right where the batteries are placed. All my wiring goes through a channel I sectioned off under the chair rail. That way, I can always just remove a few screws and access the wiring pretty much anywhere in the bus. Behind cupboards, couches, etc... it just stays open.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:45 PM   #6
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Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

I put our wet cell (non sealed) house batteries in a closet in a sealed plywood box that is vented through the bus wall. It's best to have them somewhere you can easily get at them, especially if they're un sealed and will need water in the cells topped off once in a while.

From what I've read, AGM's don't normally outgas but can if they''re overcharged. Best to keep batteries and electronics (inverters, converters, fuse panels etc.) apart to avoid corrosion from battery gases no matter which type you use.

Our house wiring runs mostly through the upper cabinets and is very easy to access. Just keep your DC and AC wiring apart. The AC wires will induce voltage in the DC wires if they're bundled together and play havoc with inverters and other sensitive electronics.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:05 AM   #7
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Re: Where do you put your batteries and wires?

You want to locate the batteries to keep any medium to high current wires very short. You use 10 times the amps for the same wattage at 12 volts as compared to 120 volts. And if you are powering AC devices through an inverter, make that 11 times for the inverter losses. A 1200-watt hair dryer or microwave draws 10 amps AC, but would draw about 110 amps from a battery bank to run it through an inverter.

And inverters generally draw harder when the batteries start running down. If the batteries ran down to 10 volts, without a low voltage shut down point, the inverter would draw 132 amps to keep the 10 amps AC stable.

So, wires like the alternator, starter, inverter, and any 12-volt heating devices should be as short as possible. Undersized or excessively long DC wires equal power loss as heat, which may also mean fire.

And as previously stated, wet cells, whether "maintenance free" or not, do need to be vented to the outside for the hydrogen that escapes during hard charging. And if gel cells or AGMs ever do vent from overcharging, their capacity is permanently lost, because you can't refill them with distilled water. Don't let that happen. Read the data sheets, and don't allow excess charging voltage above the recommended settings.
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