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Old 12-27-2017, 06:03 PM   #1
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Red face Obsessed

Hi! I'm dianne.

I'm absolutely obsessed with skoolies. I'm also scared of buses and have a tendency to hoard (mostly crafting supplies). I'm not sure this is realistic but I'm a dreamer :3

I do also like travel and hate being in one spot for a long time. Right now we're going on our 6th or 7th year here. My boyfriend has promised that we can have a bus by the time he retires (he's 27 lol).

Being a planner, this is a very long term "project" -4 or 5 years out?-, but I do like to research and collect ideas and information on things so I figured I should make an account here so I can do more of the stuff and maybe make some skoolie friends :3

I worry that we have a problem with electricity consumption currently, we are both gamers and have pretty hefty computers, as well as a VR headset (which would be amazing to set up a huge area outside while boondocking on some tripods right?), the baby (he's 2) has a tablet, so basically we burn through electricity like nobody's business. To mitigate this I imagine we'll use a combo chest fridge/freezer and a wood burning stove/oven, as well as ditching the gaming pcs (we both also have laptops...). I figure we'll end up needing a really strong solar setup - probably ~1kw 24vdc, and if I'm going to go all in on this we might as well spend the money (after we manage to save it) for lithium batteries. I'm fairly clueless when it comes to electrical things, but I think that if I spend the next 3 years reading as much as I can about it, it will eventually make sense. Also by probably hiring someone to do it so I don't kill myself.

All in all, I figure the way I want to do this I'm going to end up spending around 40K on the bus (which is still pennies compared to houses these days). We want it to be high tech wherever we can, but also feel like a home.

tell me how unrealistic I am now please :P

<3
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diannetea View Post
Hi! I'm dianne.

I'm absolutely obsessed with skoolies. I'm also scared of buses and have a tendency to hoard (mostly crafting supplies). I'm not sure this is realistic but I'm a dreamer :3

I do also like travel and hate being in one spot for a long time. Right now we're going on our 6th or 7th year here. My boyfriend has promised that we can have a bus by the time he retires (he's 27 lol).

Being a planner, this is a very long term "project" -4 or 5 years out?-, but I do like to research and collect ideas and information on things so I figured I should make an account here so I can do more of the stuff and maybe make some skoolie friends :3

I worry that we have a problem with electricity consumption currently, we are both gamers and have pretty hefty computers, as well as a VR headset (which would be amazing to set up a huge area outside while boondocking on some tripods right?), the baby (he's 2) has a tablet, so basically we burn through electricity like nobody's business. To mitigate this I imagine we'll use a combo chest fridge/freezer and a wood burning stove/oven, as well as ditching the gaming pcs (we both also have laptops...). I figure we'll end up needing a really strong solar setup - probably ~1kw 24vdc, and if I'm going to go all in on this we might as well spend the money (after we manage to save it) for lithium batteries. I'm fairly clueless when it comes to electrical things, but I think that if I spend the next 3 years reading as much as I can about it, it will eventually make sense. Also by probably hiring someone to do it so I don't kill myself.

All in all, I figure the way I want to do this I'm going to end up spending around 40K on the bus (which is still pennies compared to houses these days). We want it to be high tech wherever we can, but also feel like a home.

tell me how unrealistic I am now please :P

<3
Welcome ... and that sounds perfectly reasonable.

I'd forget the lithium batteries though, and go for a bank of 6V flooded lead/acid in series or parallel depending on your requirements. You could also consider a second-hand battery pack from a Chevy Volt.

The regular batteries will last 8 to 10 years, looked after. By then there might be better options available.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:39 PM   #3
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I like Twigg's idea of a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius battery pack.

Another option is a generator. In addition, don't forget shore power! Hooking into the grid from time-to-time isn't a bad idea.

I'm a gamer as well, though not an avid one. I play World of Tanks just to make things go *BOOM*.

Look around at the different threads and see what people are up to. If there's something you're curious about, or want to know where someone got their idea, ask them!

And, welcome to the insanity!!!!!!

M

P.S. - We have about $35K in our bus, though it might not look like it right now. We are on the edge of really getting some serious work done.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:49 PM   #4
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Well our current car IS a 2016 Volt... I think the BF would be mad if I "accidentally" totaled it though.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:50 PM   #5
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What you're wanting to build sounds a lot like what has gone into some of the coaches over the past several years. Lots of tech, and your financial means can put you in a coach. Better ride, more storage, etc. etc.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:37 PM   #6
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Well our finances aren't THAT great, but when I want something I do what I can to get it

There's just something charming about it being a school bus though. I could maybe do a coach. Not sure. I was also thinking a bit of a roof raise (we're short, but I'd like the extra space, and for taller people to feel comfortable on the bus), like maybe 1.5 feet. Again I guess where a coach would be better suited. Anyway, this is all currently a dream so I have plenty of time to figure it out!
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:00 PM   #7
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That's the point. Do some reading. Buses are fine, but most of the tech I've seen has been in the coaches. It all depends on how you intend to use it.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:02 PM   #8
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Well our current car IS a 2016 Volt... I think the BF would be mad if I "accidentally" totaled it though.
You can get a "totaled" Prius or Volt and scavenge the battery pack out of that donor vehicle. As far as the batteries themselves, there are replacement packs available to replace individual cells that go bad.

YouTube has several builders that do this type of thing. It's worthy of a look or two......

Just my 2 cents.....

M
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:09 PM   #9
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You got time to plan it out and make it right. Raising the roof for just a few inches is not worth the trouble If you are going to go through all the work for a roof raise, go big or don't do it at all. I am not raising my roof and after my floor install, I have an inch left of head room, but I am good with that. Most of the time you will not be standing in your RV anyway. Most of the time will be outdoors, sitting, or sleeping.

They make some decent gaming laptops or you can upgrade a regular laptop for extreme gaming. This will only require battery charging. 2 6V golf cart batteries wired in series with 200 watts of solar would be sufficient to run a power inverter, fridge, 12V accessories, and LED lighting especially if you can have a generator or shore power for them cloudy days.

You have time to find the perfect bus and build it the way you want. Don't give up on your obsession!
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diannetea View Post
Well our finances aren't THAT great, but when I want something I do what I can to get it

There's just something charming about it being a school bus though. I could maybe do a coach. Not sure. I was also thinking a bit of a roof raise (we're short, but I'd like the extra space, and for taller people to feel comfortable on the bus), like maybe 1.5 feet. Again I guess where a coach would be better suited. Anyway, this is all currently a dream so I have plenty of time to figure it out!
I agree. I like the charm of the school bus, and I want to preserve as much as possible while still making it liveable. I have the benefit of a pretty dark tint on all the windows, so instead of deleting windows I plan on re-sealing them and insulating behind them. From the outside they will just look like all the others.

You can get buses with 78" headroom already in them. Mine is. It seems more common among the Thomas buses, many were 78" from the factory and they can easily be identified as the roof rises several inches behind the driver. If you go that route then stick with the OEM ceiling height. If you want to raise the roof don't get a Thomas as, unlike the others, they slope in a few degrees from the window line making a raise a little more tricky. Blue Bird and International have straight sides.

Coaches are good. They are vastly more expensive though, so be prepared.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:33 PM   #11
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Hello, and welcome.

I think she is coming in at the perfect time. There are MANY companies working on new battery technology right now. 4 MAJOR car companies have announced they are stopping production of internal combustion engines by 2025! Obviously not just 1 but MANY very rich people know whats coming down the pipeline. Even conservative, a gaming laptop would help over a tower
Lithium may be perfected.....or eclipsed. 5 years is forever in the energy field right now.
Doug
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Old 12-28-2017, 05:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
You got time to plan it out and make it right. Raising the roof for just a few inches is not worth the trouble If you are going to go through all the work for a roof raise, go big or don't do it at all. I am not raising my roof and after my floor install, I have an inch left of head room, but I am good with that. Most of the time you will not be standing in your RV anyway. Most of the time will be outdoors, sitting, or sleeping.

They make some decent gaming laptops or you can upgrade a regular laptop for extreme gaming. This will only require battery charging. 2 6V golf cart batteries wired in series with 200 watts of solar would be sufficient to run a power inverter, fridge, 12V accessories, and LED lighting especially if you can have a generator or shore power for them cloudy days.

You have time to find the perfect bus and build it the way you want. Don't give up on your obsession!
I disagree.
I think BIG raises look stupid and make a vehicle with a narrow axle even more prone to rollover.
I only went 10" and the guy who now has the bus is 6'3" and can stand ON the wheel wells and his head isn't touching the ceiling.
Next time I'd only go 8" raise.
If the bus is meant to be stationary, I'd say go crazy.
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:21 AM   #13
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if you are planning 4-5 years out you can expect that technology will have advanced fairly extensively in the energy realm by then.. as we see more and more companies coming on line getting creative with generation and storage I wouldnt fret yet over what electrical system you will have or exactly which bus you will buy.. though i'll say that in 4-5 years getting your hands on a more simplistic pre-emission-controls bus is going to be more difficult..

at this point I would focus on how you will live and function in a small space.. how will you handle mundane tasks such as bathing, working, washing clothes, storage, security of your electronics, etc.. things that affect your current lifestyle to the new lifestyle.. electricity i think in the coming years will get easier.. as also will be the efficiency of computers and electronics as well... you may also be able to use your volt in the mix too... I did some experimentation when i had my volt with using it's onboard engine as a generator.. I didnt get super far but getting 1500-2000 watts out of it continuously was pretty easy... getting more got difficult (and dangerous) when playing with the 360 volt batteries..

-Christopher
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Old 12-28-2017, 03:30 PM   #14
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As far as laptops vs desktops go, gaming laptops are notorious for breaking down within a couple of years due to the high temperatures of running video cards, and my thought is that if I'm going to end up spending $1,500 on a laptop ($3k when both break) every few years I might as well just invest that in more solar and keep my desktop (plus it's pretty and I can just upgrade it as I need to).

The 5 year estimate is just a guess, it could be sooner, it could be later, it just depends on how finances line up and paying down the tiny bit of debt we have right now.

As far as living small goes, I've lived in small places before, we rented just a room at someone's house for about a year and I have had some very tiny apartments. I'm a crafting thing hoarder, so I'll probably have to build in some space specifically for supplies. I figured we'd have a washer/dryer combo on the bus. I'm very good at tetrising things into spaces so I'm honestly not too worried about space, plus if we raise the roof 1.5 feet that gains us a lot of extra cabinet space. The bus is going to require me to Konmari hardcore. I did my clothes last year, got rid of maybe 2/3 of them.

We'll be living full time on the bus, probably traveling most of the time, boondocking and camping. I was already planning on homeschooling my son, so that's not a concern at all.

I haven't figured out what you do for an address if you don't have a regular home? I could see about maybe buying some cheap land in the middle of nowhere I guess?
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