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Old 04-12-2007, 02:34 PM   #1
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Yes for sure, most of the time when I am using my bus it is being used to power larger audio systems.

I am normally powering two 15" 2-way and two 8" 2-way DJ speakers off the big amplifier in the bus. This and the computer that the music is stored on are usually my second largest consumers of power (largest being the two fridges I have running). I run everything off of battery power and can play all day like this without a recharge.

You are going to need more than one battery, maybe a bank of three if you are planning on running all of the things you have listed. I would build one bank and run everything off of that. If you end up running low on power just fire up the engine to get a quick recharge.

BTW - I am also using solar to charge and maintain my batteries. Also that is not me in the picture, I have many DJ friends and they like to come and play out of my bus at events.




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Old 04-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #2
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I use high current UPS batteries. They are sealed, require no maintenance, and most importantly do not release explosive gases. They are more expensive but I feel are very much worth it.

As for the inverter you can use anything, but if you are going to be recording audio you will need to get one that produces a true sine wave otherwise you will hear a buzz in all your tracks. It is not as important if you are only playing music and you will probably only really notice it if you had the engine running in that case.

I prefer an inverter that is also a charger and has a transfer switch. That way I can just pull up to someplace and plug in, it automatically changes over to shore power and starts charging the batteries. You usually get a nice remote with them that you can mount anyplace to keep track of the status of your bank.

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Old 04-12-2007, 08:06 PM   #3
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A 220 volt true sine wave inverter is going to cost some $$$ unless you can eBay one from another country and even then you're going to run into issues with the frequency (50 hz instead of our standard 60 hz) and the plugs. Can your stuff be run at 120 volts, albeit at a higher current? None of your draws look THAT high.

SLA's like Steve has are awesome, but the price is a big turn off to a lot of people. We sell an 8D sized absorbed glass mat deep cycle for $450. That buys A LOT of golf cart batteries which are probably the most popular option. You will need two golf cart batteries to get to 12 volts so plan on sets of two if you go that route. It really depends on how much you use the bus. The more you use it the more sealed lead acid batteries make sense.

Plan on buying some sort of isolation system for your starting battery. Otherwise it will be drawing down at the same time the deep cycles are. It can be as simple as a Perko switch or as fancy as a giant relay.
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Old 04-12-2007, 09:04 PM   #4
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Add up the total wattage your appliance will be using and as long as it is lower than your inverter you can power it. Inverters are most efficient when they are running at max load so you don't want to buy one that can handle well more than you would ever use. My inverter is 600 watts constant but can sustain 1200watt bursts for things like a refer or ac unit starting up.

Like the_experience03 said a true sine wave inverter costs more but you could get one just to power your stereo equipment and then get a normal square wave inverter to power your fridge, lights, and other non-audio/computer equipment.

All of your batteries would be connected in parrallel if you have a 12v inverter and parrallel with groups of two in series if it is 24v.

You may also want to put an isolator in so that your stereo equipment does not drain your engine battery. Your alternator will still charge all your batteries but your engine battery and battery bank will be drawn down seperately. I bought one of these and never used it, instead i put a quick disconnect on my engine battery so I can easily opt how I want my devices to draw from the batteries.
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:24 PM   #5
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I wish I had pictures, but.....

You would hook both inverters up to the same battery bank. You could even run a single set of power and ground wires from the battery bank up to your inverters and then split it there with common car audio distribution blocks.

There are several different ways to wire the batteries in and a lot of it depends on how you plan on charging them. My bus originally came with three Group 64 batteries and as such as three sets of battery cables coming from the alternator. I have one set that goes to the starting battery I currently have. Another set goes to the house batteries (the golf cart batteries). Because they are 6 volts each they need to be wired in series. This means that between the positive post of one and the negative of the other I have a jumper wire. I then have the alternator leads wired into the remaining positive and negative terminals along with the invert wires. The third set is unused. I originally had a solenoid as my isolator that would disconnect draw from the starting battery, but have resorted to just using a simple blade switch. Again, it depends on if you are planning on using an isolator, what kind of charger you're going to ues, etc. I just use a manual charger.

The switch you already have would probably work just fine. It might even be one of the aftermarket Perko (or other brand) switches. Just make sure you aren't switching it around with stuff on (including the ignition) as it can cause spikes. I think most switches actually warn against this right on them.

Like Steve said...add up your draws and go from there. If you have anything that's going to spike a lot when it turns on (like a fridge), oversize your inverter a little. I only have problems when both my fridges kick on when I have hte TV, surround sound, and PS2 on. I really just need to add another inverter, but my short term solution is to have the TV , PS2, and surround sound running off a computer UPS. The UPS I have is a 12 volt model so I'm going to use my house batteries for it. In essence I will have a power inverter powering another automatically switching power inverter.

Have you read the poop sheets? They're a great read.
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Old 04-13-2007, 10:32 AM   #6
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wires

I'll chime in with a couple of other details. However, it must be noted I am not an electrician! This is information I gleaned from my research and used in my bus conversion.

In regards to what kind of wire to use. Lets start with the DC (battery or chasis system). One wants to have a large gauge of wire to connect batteries to your isolator or solonoid (which attaches to the alternator wire), connecting the batteries themselves and a large fuse then any leads to inverters/converters (or a combo unit like I have) and your DC distrobution hub (which controlls all your dc needs like lights, h2o pump etc). I use a combonation store bought 2 gauge cables and custom made (much better and cheaper) 1.0 welding cable with soldered ends. For the wires after the DC distrobution hub, it depends on what kind of draw the applicances and lights you are using demand, this dictates what size of cable you will need. This cable is relatively inexpensive. Be sure all cable is protected from chafing on the structure of the bus and from each other. I used zip ties to ensure a tight bundle of cables.

Onto the AC system. From the inverter combo or a converter you will go to the breaker box. This is the same style that is in a residential system in a home. Choose resetable breakers based on the size of appliances or equipment you will be using. I use 15 and 20 amp breakers. Then comes the line from the breaker box to outlets around your bus. There is much discussion on what is the best cable to use. Some people feel that using standard romex 2 wire wiring is suitable for a conversion. It carries alot of power so there is little concern about damage caused by too much power travelling through the line. However, one of the biggest concerns with this product is it's lack of flexability. It is designed to be bent a couple of times during install and then never again. In a mobile application there is signifigant movement and the possibility of damaging the cable is there. This is why I chose not to use it. It is however the product the RV industry uses almost exclusivly. I feel this is for price and ease of instal rather than long term safety. Some feel that marine grade wire is needed and upgrade to marine romex. I have no experience with this product. I hear it is much more flexible and therefore the best of both worlds. It is just very expensive. Lastly is braided cable. This is the product that is used on power cords for applicanes and extension cords. It is designed to stay flexible and many have a durable outer case that protects it from chafing and damage. If a large gauge is used it can carry sufficient power (for most) rv applications. If one keeps there eyes open, it can be purchased in the form of extension cords on sale for a very good price. It is more difficult to attach to plugs and the breakers as it has many little wires that need to be tucked into a small space. It just takes a bit more time. This is the system I went with.

I hope this helps. I included a few links to my bus so you can see my system. I have 8 6v batteries and 2 8d starting batteries, a solonoid to controll charging both banks while mobile, a guess battery switch which allows me to choose which bank I am drawing power from and charging with the Tripp 750 watt pure sine inverter/converter. I also have a second 1200 watt modified sine inverter for misc things. Take a peek. Sorry I didn't post the pics here as it did not seem to be happening for me. Good luck and look at phreds poop sheets.

-Richard

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Old 04-13-2007, 10:39 PM   #7
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That switch will physically break the connection between the battery and the alternator so no, if it is in the "1" position, 2 will not get charged. After the bus starts you could probably switch to "both" or even just "2" to apply full current to the house batteries to charge them assuming you didn't have to crank a lot to start the bus.
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:13 AM   #8
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for the price of a good sized true sin wave inverter you could probably buy a honda eu1000 or eu2000 super quiet seper efficient generator.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:52 AM   #9
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battery

If you do decide to go the battery and inverer route, forgo the battery switch and get an isolator ($25 @ napa) or a 4 post solonoid ($35 @ napa). This allows you to drain your batteries and not touch the starting battery and charge the system when the engine is running. A high quality amperage battery selector switch is going to cost much more. You can even attach a simple battery charger while parked near ac power if need be.

Good luck and keep us posted .

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Old 04-19-2007, 10:03 AM   #10
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Yes you could. BTW - I am only using 12V batteries.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:38 PM   #11
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Batteries get their name from the fact that they are a battery of many cells. In the case of lead acid a single cell is 2 volts. The difference between a pair of 6 volts in series and a 12 volt is just the fact that we make an external connection between two cases instead of an internal connection within a single case. In either case you have what is essentially just 6 cells at 2 volts a piece. I think so many of us are running the 6 volts because of price more than anything. Dollar for dollar a 6 volt golf cart battery is the cheapest way to go per amp hour. That doesn't make them the best solution though. They require more space, require maintenance unless they are AGMs (ok...even those require some mainenance), etc. The best solution is the one that works for you.

For what it's worth I've been eyeballing up so new AGMs we got in at work. They are a Group 27 with a capacity of 100 amp hours making them about the same as a regular wet cell Group 27 marine deep cycle. We have priced them at a point between the wet cells and the Optima deep cycles as an alternative. I'm half considering trying them for myself....
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Old 04-28-2007, 05:01 PM   #12
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I have no idea what you are trying to say. But Watts = Volts * Amps so take all of your outlet devices and add the Amps together. Then multiply that by 120 Volts and that is how much power (watts) you will need for the inverter.

W = 120V * SUM(Amps@120V)

The inverter is not 100% efficient so take that times the efficiency of you inverter and divide that by 12 Volts and that is how much current (amps) that your inverter will be drawing from the batteries/alt/gen at full load.

Amps@12V = W / 12 * %Eff

Take all of the Amp-Hours of you batteries and add them up. Then divide that by the current (amps) that you inverter will be drawing and that is how long (hours) that you can run before you batteries die.

Hours = SUM(Amp-Hours) / Amps@12V
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Old 05-01-2007, 02:41 PM   #13
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I don't think you would want to run them in series unless you have to step up say from 6V -> 12V or 12V to 24V.

Wiring them up in parallel allows you to have them all connected to one source and possibly the big advantage is that each battery can provide current instead of the current passing through each battery.

If you connect them all in series and you are drawing a lot of current I think you could easily burn up plate type batteries. If they are connected in parallel the current is divided up between the batteries so it is not as rough on the plates.
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Old 05-01-2007, 04:58 PM   #14
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I think he bought 6v golf cart batteries. I believe he would need to run 2 batteries in series to get 12volts, then run the two pairs in parallel to double the amps/capacity. I'm not an expert...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:14 PM   #15
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Yep that would work and doing that would double the amount of current you could run with just one battery and also run twice as long too.
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:56 PM   #16
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Just to make sure you know what you should be doing, you need to think as those 6v batteries as half a battery for your purposes. You will take those (4) 6volt batteries and make (2) 12 volt batteries by connecting them in (2) series pairs. To make one 12v battery, connect the + to the - of the other. if you use a multimeter(if you dont have one, stop right there and go buy one now) and measure the volts between the unused + and - , you will read 12 volts now. Repeat the above steps with the other 2 batteries. Now you have (2) 12 volt batteries (effectively). Now to connect those together 12 volt sources together, wire them in parallel, connect the unused - to the unused - and the unused + to the unused +. now you have an even larger 12 volt battery. PLEASE check this with a multimeter before you hook them to ANYTHING including the ground on your vehicle. Your equipment and maybe your eyes depend on it. Here is a good link to some reading on setting up battery systems. I highly recommend you read and understand what you are doing before messing with this much current.
http://www.phrannie.org/battery.html
I am also curious about your musical equipment. Everything I have ever worked with was 120 volt. Are you sure about the 220? If so, you will have to spend a lot more on an inverter to run 220. Usually you have to have 2 rather expensive inverters stacked or I have heard about converters that raise the voltage. Do you have the equipment already? If so what kinda plug do they have(number of prongs, shape . . ). Good luck.
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Old 07-14-2007, 04:20 PM   #17
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Re: '82 Chevy Carpenter Recording Studio Conversion

Just run it as you mentioned with the switch. In a perfect world you wouldn't be switching just to avoid shock loads to the alternator, but in your case you have a giant alternator and a giant battery bank. You should be fine. If the batteries are deeply discharged I guess I would recommend cranking on both instead of starting on 1 and then switching (that shock load thing), but I really htink you'll be just fine. The biggest thing is that those switches can spark (you'll never see it, but the sparks will be there) so make sure the switch is in a well ventilated area. If it's mounted in the battery compartment I think 5 minutes with the door open should be sufficient.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:27 AM   #18
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Re: '82 Chevy Carpenter Recording Studio Conversion

i agree with the above post. you should be fine. i have seen a few ambulances that have a switch to connect/disconnect the 2nd battery. You can flip the switch when the truck is running and nothing bad happens. however.....we had an old firetruck with your switch 1,2, 1and2, off.......if the switch on that ol girl gets turned off while the engine is running the old timers tell me that she has a voltage spike (no batteries connected to the alternator) and any lights that were left on get burned out in a milisecond. I would suggest not doing that!
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