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Old 07-10-2020, 10:28 AM   #41
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar DTA360 6cyl Diesel
Skoolie Homes is more of a cookie cutter build. I can't speak to the quality but I know they charge for every substitution on top of the cost of whatever you're changing. There is a builder in Hendersonville, NC that can be found at skoolie.com.

I had Blue Ridge Conversions build mine. The bus only cost $3k but the build eventually topped $30k. It was not a good experience and my review is on here. Add to that review 20amp wiring from the outside plug to the panel which is a 30amp connection. They literally almost burned my bus down. They also used braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. A shortcut they use if you install solar so you can just plug into the inverter. A horribly unsafe and quite stupid thing to do.

My suggestion is to do as much of it yourself as you can, it will severely cut costs. Plus you know what is done instead of unpleasant surprises along the way. I know Skoolie.com had a couple for sale that are complete and at least from the pictures looks nice. Best of luck to you!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg plug.jpg (52.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg plug2.jpg (46.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg plug3.jpg (51.2 KB, 12 views)

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Old 07-10-2020, 11:24 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
Skoolie Homes is more of a cookie cutter build. I can't speak to the quality but I know they charge for every substitution on top of the cost of whatever you're changing. There is a builder in Hendersonville, NC that can be found at skoolie.com.

I had Blue Ridge Conversions build mine. The bus only cost $3k but the build eventually topped $30k. It was not a good experience and my review is on here. Add to that review 20amp wiring from the outside plug to the panel which is a 30amp connection. They literally almost burned my bus down. They also used braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. A shortcut they use if you install solar so you can just plug into the inverter. A horribly unsafe and quite stupid thing to do.

My suggestion is to do as much of it yourself as you can, it will severely cut costs. Plus you know what is done instead of unpleasant surprises along the way. I know Skoolie.com had a couple for sale that are complete and at least from the pictures looks nice. Best of luck to you!
Can you please elaborate on your comment of them using braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. How is this a problem? You don't stipulate the size of fuse/breaker that is supplying that circuit? Do you believe the use of stranded wire is the problem?
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:32 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Can you please elaborate on your comment of them using braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. How is this a problem? You don't stipulate the size of fuse/breaker that is supplying that circuit? Do you believe the use of stranded wire is the problem?
If you look at the attached pictures in the last post, the picture titled plug2.jpg shows what I mean about braided wiring.

The big problem is they used #12 house wiring, which is rated for 20 amps, from the plug on the outside of the bus to the fuse panel. ANY shore power you plug into at an RV park will be 30 or 50 amps. The fuse panel they installed is rated for 30 amps.

Stranded wire is for automotive applications more than house wiring, but in and of itself isn't the biggest problem. The amp rating for the wiring they used is an issue. They, again, used wiring rated to 20 amps instead of wiring rated to 30 amps. Huge fire hazard as you can see from the photos attached in the previous reply.
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:10 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
If you look at the attached pictures in the last post, the picture titled plug2.jpg shows what I mean about braided wiring.

The big problem is they used #12 house wiring, which is rated for 20 amps, from the plug on the outside of the bus to the fuse panel. ANY shore power you plug into at an RV park will be 30 or 50 amps. The fuse panel they installed is rated for 30 amps.

Stranded wire is for automotive applications more than house wiring, but in and of itself isn't the biggest problem. The amp rating for the wiring they used is an issue. They, again, used wiring rated to 20 amps instead of wiring rated to 30 amps. Huge fire hazard as you can see from the photos attached in the previous reply.
Yes I understand 12 gauge wire is rated at 20 amps. And yes I understand that the service in from the exterior connection to the panel must be sized appropriate. You indicated 20amp wire from panel to the bus, this implies the circuits, that wire is protected by whatever size breaker is in the panel which is the question I asked. You can supply 30 or 50 amps to the panel, that doesn't mean every wire after the panel has to be sized that large. And stranded wire should be used in a moving vehicle application, regular house wire can fatigue and crack on the connection causing shorts.
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:05 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Yes I understand 12 gauge wire is rated at 20 amps. And yes I understand that the service in from the exterior connection to the panel must be sized appropriate. You indicated 20amp wire from panel to the bus, this implies the circuits, that wire is protected by whatever size breaker is in the panel which is the question I asked. You can supply 30 or 50 amps to the panel, that doesn't mean every wire after the panel has to be sized that large. And stranded wire should be used in a moving vehicle application, regular house wire can fatigue and crack on the connection causing shorts.
These guys ran the main power wire (the outside connection) with #12 wire into the breaker panel. They then ran more #12 wire out of the breaker panel to an electrical outlet (also rated at 20amps) which was connected to the rest of the bus. They did that to make it easier to plug into an inverter once solar was added. So it doesn't matter what the rating of the breaker is at the panel if wiring rated for 20amps is connected to a 30amp source. The breaker won't see a problem and won't trip but the wires will burn up.

Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

Solid wire also has greater heat resistance and lower impedance. It's also AC not DC which affects current differently in stranded versus solid. Most automotive applications are 12v DC and under 20 amps.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:18 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
These guys ran the main power wire (the outside connection) with #12 wire into the breaker panel. They then ran more #12 wire out of the breaker panel to an electrical outlet (also rated at 20amps) which was connected to the rest of the bus. They did that to make it easier to plug into an inverter once solar was added. So it doesn't matter what the rating of the breaker is at the panel if wiring rated for 20amps is connected to a 30amp source. The breaker won't see a problem and won't trip but the wires will burn up.
Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

Quote:
Solid wire also has greater heat resistance and lower impedance. It's also AC not DC which affects current differently in stranded versus solid. Most automotive applications are 12v DC and under 20 amps.
It is a best practice to use stranded wire for Marine, Automotive, and RV applications. Marine grade stranded copper wire almost always carries a higher temperature rating (105*C) than residential wiring (see UL 1426).


I won't pretend to be an expert on skin effect, but from what I've heard it would take many times the frequency of household electricity (60hz) before skin effect is a concern. Don't take my word for this, its just what I've heard/read elsewhere.


Regarding Impedence, as a general principle you are right that solid core has marginally lower resistance. Marine grade wire is slightly oversized 6-12% compared to automotive, so it is probably pretty comparable to solid core.


Marine wire ampacity and resistance
Solid wire ampacity and resistanct




edit: most of what I've written above is based on my knowledge of marine grade fine stranded wire. Automotive standards are not as high, so the above should not be applied to all stranded wire.


it is very unlikely that with the shoddy craftsmanship you observed that the builders would've paid extra (or even knew about) marine grade wire.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

It is a best practice to use stranded wire for Marine, Automotive, and RV applications. Marine grade stranded copper wire almost always carries a higher temperature rating (105*C) than residential wiring (see UL 1426).
The point is kinda moot when you're trying to compare RV to skoolie. A skoolie isn't an RV and, while I haven't done the leg work, I haven't come across anyone who has installed a converter to run their skoolie. Everything but the TV, microwave, and 110v outlets are 12v. Marine is too. None of which has anything to do with the crack-head wiring job BRC did to my bus.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:38 AM   #48
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The point is kinda moot when you're trying to compare RV to skoolie. A skoolie isn't an RV and, while I haven't done the leg work, I haven't come across anyone who has installed a converter to run their skoolie. Everything but the TV, microwave, and 110v outlets are 12v. Marine is too. None of which has anything to do with the crack-head wiring job BRC did to my bus.
I have no reason to doubt that you are right that they did a shoddy job. But the problem isn't using stranded wiring which is a best practice in all mobile electrical contexts that I'm aware of.

Wiring a Skoolie is not conceptually different than wiring an RV (or even a boat for the most part). Both are relatively small, mobile, subjected to stressors that stationary systems don't deal with, have AC and DC electrical systems.

For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.

This is kind of an aside from you broader point/argument so its probably not worth getting sidetracked on a single detail. I didn't mean to distract from the broad topic.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:07 AM   #49
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Looking at the pic of a burned plug wiring was not the cause of that. It would be high resistance from a loose screw most likely. The problem was in your plug
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:20 AM   #50
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Looking at the pic of a burned plug wiring was not the cause of that. It would be high resistance from a loose screw most likely. The problem was in your plug
I never said the stranded wire caused the burned wire. I said using stranded #12 wire to connect a 30amp fuse panel to a 20amp outlet is idiotic.

Comparing RV & marine wiring to building a skoolie is apples and oranges. RVs and boats are all 12v except the electrical outlets. I haven't seen anyone put a converter into a school bus and run 12v components for everything but the outlets. An RV and a school bus are not the same. A bus was never intended to be a living space any more than an RV was intended to be a people mover.

I wasn't looking for an argument about stranded v solid wiring, each has its merits as well as proper applications. My only point was that a monkey with substandard brain power could have wired this bus better than the hillbilly morons who ripped me off and ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:29 PM   #51
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For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.
I did this in my build. I have only plugged in small extension cord to house so far. Should I replace the 3 feet of 12/3 marine triplex with 10/3 from the shore outlet to auto-transfer to breaker? Just looking for opinions, not professional advice (unless someone willing to offer)
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:52 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
I have no reason to doubt that you are right that they did a shoddy job. But the problem isn't using stranded wiring which is a best practice in all mobile electrical contexts that I'm aware of.

Wiring a Skoolie is not conceptually different than wiring an RV (or even a boat for the most part). Both are relatively small, mobile, subjected to stressors that stationary systems don't deal with, have AC and DC electrical systems.

For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.

This is kind of an aside from you broader point/argument so its probably not worth getting sidetracked on a single detail. I didn't mean to distract from the broad topic.
I really know little about marine wiring. I only jump off the boat to dive, never drove one.

I didn't consider any of this when mine was built because I (foolishly) farmed it out. I could have screwed up my own bus for a lot less. Knowing what I know now, I probably would try to mimic RV wiring with a converter and everything being DC except for a couple outlets. I mean, almost everything now can charge from a USB port.

If I did mine again, I would have all lighting run on 12v. The vent fans already run on 12v and so does the water pump. So a bank of batteries, an isolater, and an alternator on steroids and conceivably could be off grid for much longer not to mention solar needs would probably be less than a "house wiring" setup with everything but the vent fans and water pump running on 110v.

hindsight is 20/20
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:00 PM   #53
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I did this in my build. I have only plugged in small extension cord to house so far. Should I replace the 3 feet of 12/3 marine triplex with 10/3 from the shore outlet to breaker? Just looking for opinions, not professional advice (unless someone willing to offer)

If you use 10/3 you are good to 30 amps, according to both the marine ABYC regulations, and the National Electric Code. This is what I would do, personally. I prefer erring on the side of caution and following the code if I can.


You didn't mention how many amps the circuit is?
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:16 PM   #54
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If you use 10/3 you are good to 30 amps, according to both the marine ABYC regulations, and the National Electric Code. This is what I would do, personally. I prefer erring on the side of caution and following the code if I can.


You didn't mention how many amps the circuit is?
My circuit is 30 amps. and I do have a source for Ancor Marine Grade Flat Triplex Electrical Cable - 10/3. I'll just order 10' and replace what I have. I like this boat wire because its easy to work with. The connections are a pain because of the stranded but very flexible to fit into my small progressive dynamics mighty mini panel.

I'm really glad the OP made me aware of this. I appreciate this site greatly.
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Old 09-25-2020, 12:14 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by dwood443 View Post
My circuit is 30 amps. and I do have a source for Ancor Marine Grade Flat Triplex Electrical Cable - 10/3. I'll just order 10' and replace what I have. I like this boat wire because its easy to work with. The connections are a pain because of the stranded but very flexible to fit into my small progressive dynamics mighty mini panel.

I'm really glad the OP made me aware of this. I appreciate this site greatly.
Actually, I'm the OP of the thread... Seems I missed a few posts on this thread...
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Old 10-08-2020, 12:38 AM   #56
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So, after input from this thread, and having had a long conversation with the knowledgeable and talented owner and builder of Transcendence, it is becoming highly questionable as to whether this is going to be feasible for me. Partially budget constraints, and partially due to inability to do much of the work myself due to health issues.

The conversation indicated I can expect to spend upwards of $6k-$10k for a decent-to-nice bus, perhaps another $10k for a roof raise if needed (nice to have, not crucial as I am 5'11"-6'0"), and building out can run $8k-$10k for the basics, perhaps as much as $30k. Obviously it depends on how nice or how basic a a build you want.

I'm thinking my max budget (if and when I have it, as I am waiting to settle an auto accident claim) is likely going to be $20k max, and I'm not even positive I'll have that much room. And good luck finding a decent build for sale in that range. Bummer...
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Old 10-08-2020, 01:57 AM   #57
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Sorry to hear this bit of news!


If you can get a bus and bring it to a Skoolie Event (perhaps Skoolie Swarm in February), I am sure the mechanically inclined could get your roof raised and skinned during the event. It would cut down the roof raise figure.

Haha ... an old-fashion roof raising!

Food for thought.
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Old 10-08-2020, 06:14 AM   #58
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I'd hate to see you give someone ten grand for a weekend's work.
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Old 10-08-2020, 07:04 AM   #59
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I'd hate to see you give someone ten grand for a weekend's work.
To be fair, the fellow I spoke with regarding this is a true professional, and has a great many talents and a lot of skill and experience, ergo, knows what he is doing and does excellent work.

I agree $10k for a weekend's work is a bit excessive, but I have to take stock of the situation realistically. I was just explaining this to another member earlier in PM. First and foremost, I would be building as a full-timer, for reasons that will soon become clear.

I have respiratory problems (secondhand smoke exposure - don't let anyone tell you it isn't harmful or dangerous -- I am living proof that it is), that make me highly sensitive to dust, smoke, chemicals, and a great many other things that come with such a project. In 2017, I was diagnosed with severe asthma and tested positive for allergies to over 3 dozen things, including 7 different kinds of trees. Not just the pollen, mind you -- the actual trees. Something in the wood, I guess.

I have since had to give up a good career driving 18-wheeler trucks, due to diesel exhaust and cigarette smoke around truck stops, receivers and shippers, as well as air pollution in certain parts of the country -- all of which trigger my asthma. And have found that just about anything can do so -- I am extremely sensitive to things that most people wouldn't think would be a problem, but they are. I can't be within 200 feet of cigarette smoke -- even the smell of smoke is a problem, which mean anyone helping with my build would be unable to smoke anywhere near it, especially inside.

I get winded with the ordinary practice of just walking maybe 150 feet or washing my own car, and I have had to wear SN95 face masks pretty much year-round for several years now, long before COVID made it somewhat normal. I'm sensitive to heat / humidity and start coughing above the range of 66-70 degrees -- I can't even be in the sun much, mask or no mask. So it's pretty easy to surmise I can't do very much of the work involved in a conversion -- if any at all.

Side note here -- I wrote and recorded music from 2005-2011, using the stage name Allergic To Air, adopted when the allergies and sensitivity to smoke started cropping up... I had no idea how prophetic that would turn out to be.

Also, exhaust is proven to trigger asthma -- especially diesel exhaust, so I already have to consider excluding diesels in my search. One of the main reasons I had to give up trucking. So gasoline / propane / dual fuel models are the order of the day for me, already knocking out roughly 90% of potential foundations out there. I'm a single guy, so I suppose I could make do with a cutaway shorty, but with space, it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I honestly am not confident that full-timing in a cutaway would be all that realistic. I honestly had a feeling about all this -- which is why I started this thread.

And I am currently in the dark and in a pickle as to just what my budget may be -- when I will have it -- or if I will even have the funds to do this at all. In a nutshell, I am currently broke and on unemployment, having self-furloughed due to risk of COVID exposure as an Uber driver, as asthma puts me at high risk for contracting it.

I am currently awaiting the outcome of an insurance claim from a car crash I was in 2 years ago -- I was broadsided hard enough to spin my car around in the road and halfway back again before it slid off the street backward against a retaining wall. Medical institution has screwed me on getting the $42k surgery I need unless the bills are caught up, and my attorney is pandering to what I feel is a ridiculously low offer because the insurance company is trying to get out of covering it. My own insurance company has gotten caught up in it somehow, and is refusing to produce my policy, which is deadlocking the whole thing.

This is why I badmouth Progressive. They were my insurance company at the time. Nationwide was the other driver's insurance company, and when they tried to low-ball my totaled car, Progressive refused to get involved even as a liaison, but started a claim after telling me there was nothing they could do. They then sent me a payment (that I never asked for) to offset a deductible, and tried to hike my premium at renewal for no reason.

Since then, they've been chasing me for the money they paid, when I never asked them for it in the first place, and I can't afford to reimburse them until the settlement, which they are holding up. I will never do business with Progressive again, nor would I recommend anyone else do so. They've apparently been holding up this settlement for over 6 months, and I am instructing my attorney to serve the suit if this BS goes past Oct 31.

It sucks, but I really have no idea if / when I will be able to afford a bus, the build-out, or anything involved. I would need a lot more help for a lot less expenditure than I would have any right to expect of anyone. Perhaps I may luck out and find a mostly finished conversion for a good price that I can perhaps do some wheeling and dealing with others to get finished, but I'm not even sure that's going to happen with some of the prices I see. Not that there haven't been some good deals on here recently, but I just wasn't able to jump on them at the time. WareWulf's recent sale sounded like an excellent deal, but my budget and the timing weren't right.

It's really too bad I had to get rid of my '89 Ford B700... It had the junk hydraulic brake system but I picked it up for $900 and I really don't think it would have been that big of a deal to convert to air brakes. It was a rust-free 64-passenger Blue Bird, with a brand-new Jasper 429 Ford gas V-8 in it. It would do 68 mph all day, even up a mountain, and got 6 mpg doing it. Not bad for a carb'd gasser with a 4-speed grossing less than 1,500 under CDL territory.
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Old 11-06-2020, 04:36 PM   #60
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So, I finally got what is purported to be a brass-tacks offer on my claim today. Sadly, after taking into account some outstanding debts and what everyone agrees is a generally acceptable budget range for purchase and conversion, I do not think I will be able to afford the cost of conversion. It sucks, but my attorney has been clear that he does not think it would benefit me to push further.
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