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Old 02-22-2021, 04:40 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Checklist for interior electrical?

I'm getting ready to begin interior wiring and want to know how others have placed receptacles (both AC and USB), designed their interior lighting, and just in general have set up the interior of the bus from a power and light perspective.

I have a reasonable battery bank and have already planned out the fridge, water pump and exhaust fan circuits. I have lots of ideas but what neat things have you done to make your conversion most user-friendly for power?

I'm struggling a bit now with how to lay out house versus shore power for things like laptop use, night lighting, kitchen task lighting, plug and switch placement as well as styles (like blue-lit rocker switches), and cool or slick new lights whose brightness matches the task at hand and work well in a bus conversion.

My searches on this forum turned up a post from 2009 about this cool new thing LED lighting.

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Old 02-22-2021, 06:11 PM   #2
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Location: Flemingsburg, KY
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
I'm getting ready to begin interior wiring and want to know how others have placed receptacles (both AC and USB), designed their interior lighting, and just in general have set up the interior of the bus from a power and light perspective.
In terms of placing lights, I waited until I was fairly certain where everything in the bus was going to end up, and then I did two things:
  • I planned a run going down the middle of the bus all the way to the end, as I wanted a switch/button at the front of the bus I could hit and illuminate the whole bus, even if it was a little more dim than optimal.
  • I placed additional lights in certain zones.
Zones:
  • Hallway (described above)
  • Driver seat
  • Front door
  • Four separate lights for the bedroom/living room area
  • Two zones for the office, one for my desk and one for hers
  • Laundry area
  • Bathroom
  • Three zones in the kitchen: Sink, counter, and door.
  • Unused: Lights in clothes closet and right
  • Unused: Lights directly over bed

Including the main "hallway", each lighting zone represented an activity- if I were bringing groceries into the bus I would want to be able to quickly light up the whole rig. I would want to be able to light up my desk in the office space if I were to use it on its own. If I were doing laundry, or washing dishes in the sink. Or making food, each lighting zone corresponded to something I knew I was going to want to "do".

#NoRegrets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
I have a reasonable battery bank and have already planned out the fridge, water pump and exhaust fan circuits. I have lots of ideas but what neat things have you done to make your conversion most user-friendly for power
For one, I ran more outlets than I thought I would need. I ran all double-gang boxes with 20A GFI. I put a GFI in each box- so that I would not have a bunch of boxes tripping if one box turned out to be problematic for some reason. In several places, I used a GFI outlet combined with a 4x USB outlet- up high these are extremely useful. I did however place some 4x USB outlets near the floor- these are close to useless. I will probably move them elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
I'm struggling a bit now with how to lay out house versus shore power for things like laptop use, night lighting, kitchen task lighting, plug and switch placement as well as styles (like blue-lit rocker switches), and cool or slick new lights whose brightness matches the task at hand and work well in a bus conversion.
Can you clarify on "house vs shore power"? Are you planning on outlets for shore versus outlets on house power? My rig, shore vs house is a mode of the whole build. I flip a switch, everything switches from shore to house / vice versa, with the exception of DC appliances. Speaking of which:

I have several electrical appliances that use DC electricity directly rather than AC shore or inverter power. These include the water pump, all my lighting, NAS, DVR / surveillance system, diesel heaters, speakers. Its good to separate out devices you want to survive power failure this way.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:29 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
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Engine: V10 Gas
Hey Kazetsukai-
thanks for your detailed reply, very very helpful.

Regarding House v. Shore power, I will not be using a single inverter to run AC appliances so I'm planning a shore power panel that has branch AC circuits spread throughout the bus. Shore power will drive only one of the two inverters, in passthrough mode.

The thinking is we will not always be boondocking so where we can plug in to shore power those receptacles are fired up, and things like the electric space heater, window AC and laptops can run off those shore power circuits and receptacles; but when boondocking we just have the few dedicated receptacles for one-off use.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:57 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 20
Year: 1952
Chassis: International
Engine: 450 Red Diamond
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
In terms of placing lights, I waited until I was fairly certain where everything in the bus was going to end up, and then I did two things:
  • I planned a run going down the middle of the bus all the way to the end, as I wanted a switch/button at the front of the bus I could hit and illuminate the whole bus, even if it was a little more dim than optimal.
  • I placed additional lights in certain zones.
Zones:
  • Hallway (described above)
  • Driver seat
  • Front door
  • Four separate lights for the bedroom/living room area
  • Two zones for the office, one for my desk and one for hers
  • Laundry area
  • Bathroom
  • Three zones in the kitchen: Sink, counter, and door.
  • Unused: Lights in clothes closet and right
  • Unused: Lights directly over bed

Including the main "hallway", each lighting zone represented an activity- if I were bringing groceries into the bus I would want to be able to quickly light up the whole rig. I would want to be able to light up my desk in the office space if I were to use it on its own. If I were doing laundry, or washing dishes in the sink. Or making food, each lighting zone corresponded to something I knew I was going to want to "do".

#NoRegrets.

For one, I ran more outlets than I thought I would need. I ran all double-gang boxes with 20A GFI. I put a GFI in each box- so that I would not have a bunch of boxes tripping if one box turned out to be problematic for some reason. In several places, I used a GFI outlet combined with a 4x USB outlet- up high these are extremely useful. I did however place some 4x USB outlets near the floor- these are close to useless. I will probably move them elsewhere.

Can you clarify on "house vs shore power"? Are you planning on outlets for shore versus outlets on house power? My rig, shore vs house is a mode of the whole build. I flip a switch, everything switches from shore to house / vice versa, with the exception of DC appliances. Speaking of which:

I have several electrical appliances that use DC electricity directly rather than AC shore or inverter power. These include the water pump, all my lighting, NAS, DVR / surveillance system, diesel heaters, speakers. Its good to separate out devices you want to survive power failure this way.
This is awesome information Kazetsukai!
I wish I could print it off and save it in my build binder.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:39 PM   #5
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Consider installing 12v cigarette lighter sockets instead of a specific USB socket since the technology changes fairly quickly
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Old 02-22-2021, 11:42 PM   #6
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My nickname on here is the name of my bus, Simplicity. I try to keep things minimal and simple, yet still functional.

My electrical consists of:

120v:
4 - 20a GFCI receptacles all running down the passenger side of the bus.
One is on the left side of the kitchen counter and next to the front bench.
One is on the side of my dresser at the rear of the bus.
Two are on the right side of the kitchen counter for my refrigerator and Instant Pot.
I will likely add another one as part of my AC solution.

12v Lights:
I have two fairly large Korhee LED ceiling lights (see link below). They have two switch settings for one LED or both. I am putting one at the front of the bus over the dash area as an entry light. The other will go at the rear of the bus where my back seats/engine compartment are. These locations avoid any headroom issues.

The front light will illuminate the entry, driver area and my two side facing bench seats that will double as an eating, game playing and such area.

The rear light will illuminate my dresser, "office" desk (fold out) and bed.

Even though these lights have their own switch, I'm going to add a switch by the entry and one by my bed so I can turn the lights on and off from there. If I need more or less light, I'll use the switch on the unit.

KORHEE LIGHTS: https://www.amazon.com/Kohree-Upgrad...4058809&sr=8-7

I have bought a string of 10 LED with four LEDs (see link below) in each. It's a temporary solution, but if they work out, when I replace them, I'll put them in my outside storage compartments.

Two over my cooktop, two over my sink and two over my refrigerator to take care of my kitchen area. I will use a dual rocker switch, one for the lights and the other for the water pump.
Two more over my "chair" (which will double as my passenger seat).
Two more in reserve.

STRING LIGHTS: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I'm also running a circuit for a possible 12v refrigeration.

12v Charging:
I agree that technology is changing quickly, yet USB-A seems to be sticking around as the main wall connection. So, I'm going to put in panel with rocker switches for the two Korhee lights and USB-A charging. I'll also add one by my chair and in the drivers area.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:32 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
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this is really helpful. I'm very appreciative of the detailed responses!
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Consider installing 12v cigarette lighter sockets instead of a specific USB socket since the technology changes fairly quickly
Not a bad idea. What's funny is the cigarette lighter.

A quick wikipedia search shows the first automotive lighter was installed in cars around 1925, so not quite a hundred years ago!

The version we see now was implemented around 1960, so literally no change in the socket for 60+ years!

The USB standard came about in '96, 25 years ago.

But the stuff we power from those devices, quickly doesn't begin to describe!
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:03 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, I have USBs everywhere. But recently I bought a couple of things that use a cig lighter. A power probe and a 500w backup inverter.

So I guess I need a cig lighter!
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:07 PM   #10
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Oh,

I have and AC outlet on the outside of the bus and one near front door and E door.

Those I use the most since Iím still building with no shore power.

Peace
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:30 PM   #11
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are you running your sawzall off the inverter? :-')
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 52Flyer View Post
This is awesome information Kazetsukai!
I wish I could print it off and save it in my build binder.
Glad I could help . You can print stuff from the forum, you know.

FWIW, I also did computer control for all of the zones, it is a huge convenience to be able to just flick the lights on or off without getting out of bed.
remote.gif

Because of this, I have to use stateless buttons instead of switches. So I went with buttons that have lights that function inverse of the light they control. When the zone the button controls is off, the button is lit up. When the zone the button controls is on, the button light is off:
button_action.gif

I do want to add some computer controlled exterior lighting for the bumps in the night, maybe when I start working on my solar upgrade.
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Old 02-24-2021, 09:21 PM   #13
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Very Cool, Windmaster!
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Old 02-27-2021, 05:32 PM   #14
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FWIW, I also did computer control for all of the zones, it is a huge convenience to be able to just flick the lights on or off without getting out of bed.
Attachment 54385

Because of this, I have to use stateless buttons instead of switches. So I went with buttons that have lights that function inverse of the light they control. When the zone the button controls is off, the button is lit up. When the zone the button controls is on, the button light is off:
Attachment 54386

Iíve been looking for switches that can do that. Can you share where to find them?

Thanks!
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
are you running your sawzall off the inverter? :-')

I have a 3000w inverter. I can also run my little Hobart 140 welding machine.

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Old 03-02-2021, 07:46 AM   #16
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While this is not as cool as computer control, this works pretty well for the bump in the night.

Logisys RM02 12V 15AMP Relay Kit with Two Remote Controls https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EQB8O7K...ing=UTF8&psc=1

I can turn on my flood lights w this. Iím thinking about adding my strobe

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Old 03-02-2021, 07:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Consider installing 12v cigarette lighter sockets instead of a specific USB socket since the technology changes fairly quickly
Great advice.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post

I have several electrical appliances that use DC electricity directly rather than AC shore or inverter power. These include the water pump, all my lighting, NAS, DVR / surveillance system, diesel heaters, speakers. Its good to separate out devices you want to survive power failure this way.



Do you have a 12V NAS? DVR? If so, would you tell us the brands/models and what you think of them after using them?
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Old 03-04-2021, 01:19 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meathead View Post
While this is not as cool as computer control, this works pretty well for the bump in the night.

Logisys RM02 12V 15AMP Relay Kit with Two Remote Controls https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EQB8O7K...ing=UTF8&psc=1

I can turn on my flood lights w this. Iím thinking about adding my strobe


Can other people turn your lights off and on with their remote?
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
Do you have a 12V NAS? DVR? If so, would you tell us the brands/models and what you think of them after using them?
NAS is powered via a barrel plug, its a QNAP TS-453D-8G that is fed from my 12VDC panel (which is fed from my 48VDC panel via a converter).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0896XXG2Y
I like the form factor, dislike the software. Honestly I might just blow away their OS and install Linux for faster boot/shutdown times (takes about 3 minutes each way). In terms of power consumption, it depends on the activity and number of disks- I think it pulls around 20W-30W _completely idle_ with 4x Seagate Exos drives. I bet if I did media stuff or whatnot it could draw up to 200W. Not bad, but I have a big system. This is a bit of a luxury item but I think with laptops it makes sense to move more of our data to the network.

DVR is powered via a barrel plug, a Reolink RLK16-410B8, this gets fed directly from my 48VDC panel, no power conversion.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C6KUKMY
Plug-n-play cameras, awesome quality. Long history. I had the original drive start to make noise on me so I replaced it. Cameras record video and audio, and I can get a 360 degree view of the bus from inside without stepping outside. Night vision is fantastic- if there's a bump in the night and I can whip up my cell phone to see what is going on, not guess. I captured the tree falling on my bus with this setup:
tree_fell.gif

Only gripe is the form factor of the cameras- I want to replace at least some of them with lower profile dome cameras. I have a few on hand, never got around to an install.

BTW- many, MANY laptops are powered via 19V DC. You can power these laptops with a simple DC-DC converter and the right connector:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UYBL252

Much more efficient than using the inverter, although I haven't done this work for our office DC subpanel yet (we still use AC adapters).
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