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Old 04-13-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Adirondack Mountains NY
Posts: 1,100
Re: New Bus with No Name Project


Isolators for the alternator don't really have a brand name following. I would get one rated for at least 200 amps for a 150-amp alternator. They use isolation diodes, and heat up about 7 watts for every 10 amps of charging current, so capacity and cooling matter.

Hydrates are rugged and weigh a lot. They need the water checked, must be vented, and shouldn't be indoors. Gels on the other hand just need the voltage checked. Check the specs, most gels are not rated for quite as high a charging voltage as hydrates, and if you overcharge them they can permanently lose capacity.

There are a variety of batteries out their. El Cheapo Primo is to find a pair of used 6-volt golf cart batteries with life left in them. Caviar style names would be Rolls or Surette. A lot of people use various kinds of Optimas. Trojans make solid hydrates, and are a staple of off-grid cabins. East Penn/Deka are another solid choice. But some folks just like to save money with the big box and club store brands. It's quite a difference in price. Just don't use starting batteries (high current, very low capacity) for deep-cycle use (very low current, high capacity).

What you get for a charger depends on your intentions. If you intend to make AC, the top-of-the line choice is an integrated charger/inverter/transfer switch. Program it for your batteries, and then just plug everything in. When on shoreline or generator, it will charge your batteries, and pass AC to the loads plugged or wired into it. As soon as the external AC fails, it will begin inverting if enabled and continue powering the loads it serves.

A much cheaper way would be to salvage a converter-charger from an old RV to make 12-volts. Or, buy one brand new. The Chinese WFCO converter units are now being used by the stick-n-staple factories in the US. We have one that came built into our camper, and measuring the three state charge (non-adjustable, calibrated for hydrates) showed it worked exactly as promised. They have several models, and not at all expensive: Have a separate cheapo inverter if you want to make some AC.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Adirondack Mountains NY
Posts: 1,100
Re: New Bus with No Name Project

The choices you made are not necessarily bed, they would definitely be good for light duty.

The oven/stove top appears to be designed for car camping - you know, pull the tent and stove out of the trunk, and set the stove unit on a picnic table. If you will be using your bus for light recreational travel, it may be enough. An adapter hose that imitates a lantern bottle and connects to a BBQ tank should be strongly considered. As Smitty asked, do you really need the oven? Two bigger burners would be a better choice for most people, but only you know what your plans and preferences are.

The 1200 watts continuous AC is not much, but it can be enough. More than enough to watch the big game on TV, but not enough to run a dozen appliances. You could probably microwave a frozen dinner, but not nuke a roast. Note that inverters are usually rated at peak draw, not continuous. Your unit is rated to provide 1500 watts for only 25 minutes. Be sure that is enough for your plans.

I don't know enough to weigh in on the "modified sine" versus "pure sine" food fight, and I work in electronics! In reality, the "pure sine" must really be a more refined version of "modified," since the DC must be switched. I presume the DC in a "pure sine" is switched more often and in tinier increments. Maybe call it a "modified modified" inverter. There will be some devices that a "modified sine wave" inverter will not run, but there are many people that say they run everything they need.

My experience years ago with a stone-aged "unmodified" square wave inverter my boss had provided was that it would run power tools, but not frequency-dependent electronics. I currently have a cheapo inverter, probably MSW, and it ran my TV when needed with no problems.

Going with Walmart batteries with a warranty isn't a bad choice, there are Walmarts everywhere for exchange. You would have to pay probably 5 times as much to get a name battery with twice the storage, so it makes economic sense. Please note that deep cycle batteries are usually rated at C/20, which in English means a 110 Ah battery is supposed to provide 5.5 amps for 20 hours to 100% discharge, or 10 hours to 50% discharge for long battery life. All inverters draw a lot, your choice is rated 125 amps DC. At that rate, you would need 23 batteries to provide continuous full output over a 10 or 20 hour period. It becomes obvious that conserving electrical usage is the first step in living with batteries.

EDIT: I did not mean to imply that you cannot draw more than 5.5 amps from these batteries. The amount of power you can draw from a battery goes down the faster you draw it out. Manufacturers need to pick some point on the power availability curve, throw a dart into it, and publish it for comparison. 20 hours is usually that point. Therefore, you can fully expect the battery to last 20 hours at 5.5 amps, more than 40 hours at 2.25 amps, and less than 10 hours at 11 amps. In no way should you expect it to provide a full 110 amps for 60 minutes, nor 55 amps for a full 2 hours. /EDIT

Only you can determine how much power you intend to use.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 04-24-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
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Re: New Bus with No Name Project

Originally Posted by tigerbot_hesh
... I don't exactly know what to do about the stove...
This one can be used indoors. We are considering using it on a small mobile kitchen (food vendor unit). Price is good

BTW, this thing is as wide as my RV range. Based on the pic, we estimate the broiler/oven unit to be about 12" to 13" wide x the depth of the unit . So that puts it at one of the tiny counter top toaster ovens with interior dimensions of 10.25"W x 9.5"D x 4"H (we want to be able to toast a sandwich bun/melt cheese topped sandwich and run a double burner sized cast iron griddle on top of the burners).
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:55 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Asheville NC area
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Year: 1976
Coachwork: Carpenter Cadet CV
Chassis: G 30
Engine: 350
Rated Cap: 23
Re: New Bus with No Name Project

Hi folks,
I'm new here! Haven't yet started my own thread (working on it!)... but I want to share the stove I'm thinking about using from Northern Tool. I want a lot of BTU and something rugged that can handle some abuse, a griddle, etc. And this is also portable so I can take it outside. ... _200408996
I have a similar one, looks like they solved the problem I had, low was too low, high was too high, had to partly close the gas supply ball valve on high for a medium flame. I mounted a scrap yard find restaurant drink lid dispenser part (just the right shape and size) for a "range hood" and heat shield, mounted to the bottom of the wall cabinet directing fumes out the opened bus window when in use.
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