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Old 06-09-2015, 01:50 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Dad of 8 needs skooled

Hi, Beyns here, father to 8 kids. Just bought a 96 bluebird 48 pass. Need advice on electrics and cooling. How to stay cool on the move with 10 warm bodies aboard? It hit 36 degrees C today, and its only June!!!

We live on an acreage in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Our skoolie is to become a ten bedded bunkhouse, because hotels aren't an option for a family this size. Hope to take her down to Cali to visit the mouse next year.
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:18 AM   #2
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:36 PM   #3
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Spray foam and a proper thermal break is the only way.

I'm just to the west of you a few hours. Just west of Edmonton Alberta.

Here is a link to my current build for ideas.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...ime-10138.html

Nat
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyns View Post
Our skoolie is to become a ten bedded bunkhouse, because hotels aren't an option for a family this size.
In a couple weeks our fifth will come along and we'll be 7 in all. I already feel like hotels aren't an option! (and airfare isn't either!)

I haven't put up a decent floor plan for my build yet but I'll describe it briefly. We'll build a room just big enough for a queen bed over the rear engine for the two of us. On each side of the bus, above the rear wheel wells, will be a stack of three bunk beds (one more bed than kids in case a friend comes along, and for symmetry). We're doing a roof raise in part so that these bunks can each have about 22" of vertical space with a 5" allowance for the thickness of each bunk. The middle bunk will have a 4-bar linkage so it can pivot downward and, together with the lower bunk, form a bench/couch for daytime use.

Early in the design we'd thought about doing bunks over the engine also (two, or maybe three) for a total of 8 or 9 beds in back. We would have designed the front area to be benches while driving and convertible to a queen or king bed when parked, but I scratched that idea because I don't want to drive until drowsiness is near, then have to spend half an hour putting the bed together before I can sleep. So the over-engine bunks got dumped in favor of a queen bed instead.

As nat_ster said, insulation is the most critical thing for cooling. The money will be spent either way -- on a huge A/C system, or on insulation. I haven't worked out the "on the move" part of the equation for mine yet. Engine-driven would be nice, but I want to use the A/C while the engine is off too (and not have dual systems), and it seems complicated to design a single system with two parallel compressors, or a compressor clutched for two power sources, etc. Depending on the size of the A/C it might be possible to run from an inverter off a battery bank and use the engine alternator to recharge at the same time. The load on the alternator would be reduced according to the compressor's duty cycle -- but if the duty cycle is high then this scheme doesn't help reduce average alternator load. Probably I'll end up with a generator powering our A/C.

Also get rid of as many windows as you can; windows bring an incredible amount of heat in when the sun shines.

Oh.. paint it white, too. Somewhere 'round here there's a thread that concludes the mystical insulating beads are ineffective; just go with a nice white elastomeric roof paint.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:31 PM   #5
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If you are talking a 12-row bus, that is about as big as they get.

If you are talking an 8-row bus, I think you should rethink and get a bigger bus.

If you are on a really slim budget the only way to keep cool in a yellow bus during the hot weather is to put the windows down, go as fast as you can, and hope for the best.

To reduce the temp somewhat inside changing the roof color to white makes a huge difference. In some studies it made a 20* F difference at 3:00 in the afternoon.

If your budget has a little fat to it you may want to consider a roof top RV 110-VAC style A/C unit that you can run off of an invertor/battery bank that can be recharged by the bus alternator while running down the road.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:07 PM   #6
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my opinion is that you need to trade up to a bus that had factory AC, retrofitting moving AC will cost more than you will lose in the trade, the other route is multiple roof airs and a genset you can have running while the bus is moving

I have a portable AC unit I can use while stopped with my honda generator, but you require 3 times as much capacity to cool a moving bus
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
You require 3 times as much capacity to cool a moving bus

Why?

Science behind the fact?

Nat
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:55 AM   #8
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the moving air over the surface of the bus will speed heat transfer through the body, also the bus leaks air no matter how much you seal it, so the air change rate is significantly higher when the bus is moving, the air conditioning in a car is sufficient for a small house, average's about 2.5 tons capacity in a car, city buses have about 20 tons of AC capacity

my 280 sq foot bluebird had more AC capacity, 5 tons(if it all worked) than my 1300 sq foot house, 3 tons, and that is the units for when it is not moving, which most Bluebird owners use while moving by running generator, since the Dash AC in the older units like mine was marginal when it worked, and mostly did not work after a few years so you ran the house air and the generator which uses a gallon an hour of fuel on top of the 6 an hour you were using driving 55 mph

and there is the extreme lack of insulation in the walls and roof of a bus, my wanderlodge only has like 2 inches and it was the top of the line in motorhomes in 1982
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Old 06-10-2015, 02:03 AM   #9
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I'm in love already...

I'm in love with this forum. You guys are kind generous, and witty. Kudos for the Jaws reference; what a beauty.
My "small" bus will fit us all no worries. How? Let me tell you:
Seat row 1 turned to face rear.
Seat row 2 removed. Tables in gap.
Seat rows 3 and 4 intact.
5-8 all disappeared.
So like this:
_______________
[ π ] ] K BUNK
[ π ] ] B BUNK
-------------------------
K= Kitchen
B= Bathroom

Kitchen is just going to be a piece of IKEA counter left over from home reno, with storage and fridge below, and a butane camp stove, micro and plastic washup bowl on top.
Bathroom is chemical toilet enclosed in quasi-airtight room, with fan to outside.
Bunks are to be both triples, built from 2" steel pipe with canvas hung from side bars.
Double bed is seat rows 1 and 3, with tables dropped into the spaces between, and a mattress laid on top. Daytime sees the mattress stored bridging across the top bunks. Biggest kid gets a hammock swinging above driver's seat, suspended by superpowered hooks normally used in aerial cable construction. Twin#2 is in with mum n dad, to act as worlds most adorable contraceptive.
Now whack up some LED ribbon to replace 12v dinosaur lights, and a 22" tv, and we're on our way.
She's scheduled in for a safety inspection on Tuesday next week. He's going to price out alternator upgrades/supplements, too.

Does elastomeric silver paint on the roof not reflect even more heat?

Does it make much difference what colour the sides are? Should I keep them light, too?

Do windows need to be removed, or will foiling them work?

Is it worth putting a closeable vent in the front and rear top panels, where it says "school bus" to get 55mph of air rushing through the upper part of the bus?

Once again, you guys are awesome, and I'm so grateful for your input.

Beyns
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Old 06-10-2015, 06:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by beyns View Post
Does it make much difference what colour the sides are? Should I keep them light, too?
Depends on where you want to travel to. Some states are kind of particular about SBY on private buses (i.e. it's illegal). I would (and am because I have to) paint the sides something else. Plus it helps lessen the "Skoolie Discrimination Factor" if it doesn't look like a school bus.
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