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Old 06-23-2004, 02:14 PM   #1
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Conventional Air Conditioners vs Roof Top

How do people feel about them? I like that the roof top doesn't take up any space on top, and actually makes the bus look more like an RV, and probably makes less noise inside the bus. But its nice that the conventional is clean looking from the outside, doesn't add height to the bus so it can be pulled into the garage, and is CHEAP.

Roof-top : Seen on cheap-high end rvs.

Conventional/Central Air : Top of the line trailers and rvs.
View my 1972 Ward: Topic from the Build : The Picture Gallery
View my 1986 Blue Bird: Topic from the Build : The Picture Gallery
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:42 PM   #2
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This is and issue I have thought long and hard about. I would rather not use roof top units for a few reasons. They are expensive to buy and maintain, they raise the height of the bus, and I personally don't like the look. I like window units because they can be purchased second hand for almost nothing and if they quit working they are cheap enough to replace. I am hoping to mount 2 10,000 BTU units under my bus, when I get a bus. I will pipe the cold air into the bus as well as the return air. The only hard part will be to move the controls from the ac unit to the interior of the bus. If all else fails I can buy a line voltage thermostat. I have also been toying with the idea of using an automotive system off of a large van. That would only run while the bus is running of course. I will have to go over the numbers to see if that would cost less than a big inverter. I will not have a lot of money to do my conversion so I am looking at doing everything as good and as cheap as possible.
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:36 AM   #3
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Location: Roswell, NM
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Year: 1986
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I dislike the look of the rooftop units and I've heard they aren't that great at coolingplus are very noisy. If you have the room for a basement air then that's what I would go with. I know one will fit nicely into the basement bay of our Eagle 05 with room to spare but don't know about skoolies. Since I am think strongly about converting a skoolie, it is something that has me curious. I think the AC units that sells would fit under a skoolie. You apparently have to build the bays in anyway (at least there were never any on the school buses I rode to school and see on the roads around here). I don't understand why I see professional Prevost conversions with 5 & 6+ roof airs stuck on top when 1 basement unit puts out more BTU's than 2 roof tops and does it better, quieter and more efficently (once saw a Prevost with an all black paint job and 7 roof top airs add to that the 3 maxx-air vents, KVH Sat dome, normal plumbing vents, TV antenna, CB antenna & cellular antenna and the entire roof was covered.... looked really ugly...imagine the wind drag on that) . Here's the big one for me.... 1 basement unit is less than 2 roof tops, according to my sources (sometimes Ron get in roof tops but I still think the basement units are better). Maybe the pro-converters get the roof tops dirt cheap? Then there are all the holes that you are cutting into a perfectly good roof. I don't want to maximize my leak potential in the first place. I plan on using "cheater vents" for my plumbing vents so I have fewer holes (need 2 power roof vents in WC & shower and most likely a vent in the living/galley area).
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
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Old 06-24-2004, 08:24 AM   #4
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I would love to have A/C in the bus. There are a couple factors that would certainly make it less efficient. My bus is painted black....and i have a jacuzzi inside.

The reason i don't have a/c? I'm too cheap. I use an electric radiator fan in the window to move a lot of air through the bus. It doesn't get much above 90 degrees here in Michigan, but this has been a cheap and easy solution for me. Even when it's hot outside, having a constant breeze makes life much more enjoyable inside the bus. (not to mention i can jump in the "swimming pool" any time i want.)
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