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Old 06-15-2018, 09:00 AM   #501
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Put it up front along the edging edge?
It is near the front-center (here - including a photo of the screen looking at the roof).


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Let me guess, he's got a little gasser engine in an F-450 chassis.
Correct.

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You aren't using all of these tools while boondocking are you?
Yes, as needed. The work I do on Missy's conversion is kinda spotty these days but table saw is critical (in my opinion).

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Besides if I'm living vicariously thru you, you aren't supposed to be working.
Ha! Sorry Bob. I am not only 'working' on the conversion but I also have a J-O-B. I am very thankful for it but having days that are 'all mine' does sound nice.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:27 AM   #502
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[QUOTE=JDOnTheGo;275491]It is near the front-center (here - including a photo of the screen looking at the roof).
It is near the front of the coach and aft looking.
[quote]I found your problem. Why aft? How often do you hit the side of the bus with something that hasn't already hit the front of the bus? If you're backing the bus up while turning maybe but driving down the little side road on the first pass probably not so much.


I'd put a little mirror up there on a bracket; ghetto version of split screen so you can see forward and aft out of the same camera.


Quote:
Correct.
Sounds like my mom. She had a 28-32 footer I think it was. You should see the woman when she's camping. She can do it without electricity but barely. There's no way she could ever backpack.

Quote:
Yes, as needed. The work I do on Missy's conversion is kinda spotty these days but table saw is critical (in my opinion).
Figured you'd be doing that while plugged into shore power not boon docking.

Quote:
Ha! Sorry Bob. I am not only 'working' on the conversion but I also have a J-O-B. I am very thankful for it but having days that are 'all mine' does sound nice.
Well, knock it off!!


You lost some points there but you're still WAY ahead of me. Still haven't cut my roof off yet much less anything else like living in it. Way ahead on the job too. I gotta get out of the office environment.



Capc,
On your question, some of the national parks won't allow a 40' skoolie (length) much less a coach. Someone somewhere on here posted a list of the parks by number and length accepted. I think you have to be under 33' before you were accepted at the parks you can get to. Dry Tortugas might be tricky even in a VW micro bus.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:30 AM   #503
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P.S. You should talk to Cadi whiz kid and see about adding a little servo mount so you can rotate your camera. $1.57, a bent paperclip, and an Atari 2600 joystick and he'd have your camera reading serial numbers off of satellites.
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:44 AM   #504
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I found your problem. Why aft? How often do you hit the side of the bus with something that hasn't already hit the front of the bus?
I can see the low hanging branches (or whatever) that are going to touch the coach itself. It is the branches that are going to catch on the solar panels, vents, A/C units, etc. that are of concern.

To be very effective, probably need a camera on each side of the roof looking down the edge. It would need a standard lens (not the wide angle that backup cameras have). That said, a branch that is this close doesn't happen very often.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:11 AM   #505
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2 along the edges would be best but I still don't get the aft part. If you see a branch, it's already hit the camera and gone past.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:16 AM   #506
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I think you are assuming that you are moving straight ahead on level terrain.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:35 AM   #507
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I think you are assuming that you are moving straight ahead on level terrain.
Mostly yes. I've not driven mine on even a dirt road yet much less some state forest road that's never seen a skoolie. Angled could be a problem especially for the coach. You're 2 feet taller than I am.


I dunno why but just don't like the aft at all. Your bus, your problem so carry on but if it were me I'd move it to the aft and have it forward facing. Give it a little mast and have it peek over the disco ball. Maybe mid ship and forward since it's wide angle. I want to see whatever is coming not whatever has already passed the camera.


The other question is what do you have for mirrors; Can you see your front corners?
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:47 AM   #508
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The other question is what do you have for mirrors; Can you see your front corners?
Yes, excellent mirrors.
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:06 AM   #509
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Yes, excellent mirrors.
Top (roofline) corners that is. It's been so long since I drove mine that I can't even remember if I can see my roof line in the mirrors. That's a shame. Good news is it starts up every time even after sitting for months. I'm going to $hit kittens the day it doesn't.
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:23 AM   #510
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Missy and I are going to meander back east a little later this summer. A family wedding is the main reason. Since there, might as well visit a bunch of folks I haven't seen in a while and spend a couple weeks at the home office. It will end up being a couple month long trip, or more.

Since I am not a huge fan of heat & humidity (especially the latter), I figured I had better get busy working on the air conditioners.

I’ve spent more than a year trying to decide on the best cooling “system” for my particular situation/equipment that can be used when driving as well as parked/camping. It seems the “perfect” solution may be out of reach. Nonetheless, I decided that a fairly typical motorhome style system is the way to go. How these are to be powered is a whole other conversation. For now, shore power. However; it will get a whole lot more interesting than that!!

The two emergency hatches in the roof/ceiling needed to go away – sort of. I decided to construct a metal framework that would fit inside the open space. This framework provides two 14" square holes for an air conditioner and also a Fan-Tastic Vent. This allowed using existing holes in the roof. The negative is that it puts the vent immediately in front of the A/C unit.

One of the big design questions was ducting the refrigerated air. I’ve owned a motorhome that had ducted air and one that did not. The non-ducted style was far too loud to be comfortable – I want ducted air. When I built the ceiling, I included two air spaces to use for cold air and air return. I admit, the space is small (short but wide) but I am hoping it is enough to support the necessary flow of air.

I decided on the Coleman Mach 8 low profile, 15,000 BTU heat pumps.

These units include a condensate pump that takes the condensation that forms from the cooling action and pumps it down a hose. Often, RV manufacturers just let this moisture down onto the roof and down the side of the RV. I hated that approach! Mine will drain onto the ground under the coach.

Lot of measuring was required to ensure that I could accomplish the goal. It seemed it would work so, with fingers crossed, two of the A/C – Heat Pump units were ordered.

The vent I chose was the Fan-Tastic Vent 7350 Series Vent. It is remote controlled and has lots of options such as automatic operation based on temperature or manually selecting the speed. It also includes a rain sensor which causes it to close automatically. A couple Ultra Breeze vent covers were also ordered.

I would have preferred for the metal framework to be stainless steel (to match the chassis) and welded in place. However; welding to a chassis with a whole bunch of electrical components attached to it scares me so I went with mild steel and riveted in place. I know about dissimilar metals and galvanic corrosion but went ahead anyway.

Some careful fitting was done to create the steel framework. My friend John welded this up for me and did an amazing job – beautiful work!! The trickiest part of this is locating four tabs thru which the air conditioner bolts go to secure it to the roof.

Once the frame was in place, sheet metal was riveted in place to fill the holes. Lots of Dicor sealant was used to ensure no water leaks.

The vent and air conditioner/heat pump were then secured in place.



Power is required for both the air conditioning and Fan-Tastic vent/fan. So, 120VAC power and 12VDC power was wired to each location.

That all went fairly smoothly but lots of engineering on the fly. The aft installation was much quicker and easier as it was exactly the same.





Two of these Coleman 8530-3481 thermostats were purchased. They are digital, for heat pumps, and offer a 12VDC output to switch on a furnace. Perfect!

As I was attempting to hook up the electrical, it became obvious that something was missing. I eventually found up a YouTube video that provided the missing information.

I needed a "Control Box". This is available from Coleman as this little unit.

This control box takes the signals from the thermostat and makes the Air Conditioning/Heat Pump do something (heat or cool).

Once this was installed, the air conditioner fan fired right up. However; the compressor would not turn on so the air was room temperature.

I experimented with the heating function and that worked just great.

The "control box" came without instructions. It did have a neat little temperature sensor but I only knew this as I've seen them before - it was not marked. I guessed that it went onto the two "Freeze" inputs on the control box. As soon as it was connected - the compressor kicked in and cold air started blowing! It makes sense that, without the temperature sensor, the control box assumes the air conditioner is froze up and does not turn on the compressor.

I let it run a while and then made a run to the home improvement store for parts (for another task).

I returned to a nice cool motorhome!!

As I walked to the back, under the air conditioner, I got a drip of water on my head. I forgot to connect the condensate pump to a drain line! So, there was a nice puddle of water up in the A/C unit that was slowly dripping on my floor.

That was quickly cleaned up and a temporary hose connected to solve the problem.



All of this required an updated electrical diagram. Note that this is still not the final plan - just current system.



Yes, there is still lots to do. Getting the wiring and drain hose permanently mounting up inside the ceiling is at the top of the list. Right behind that is the ceiling panels, trim, and duct work.

I have to be very careful not to work too fast… I'll end up with nothing to do!!
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:34 AM   #511
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I like those mach 8 units.. ive heard good things about them.. and ive been in both ducted and non ducted mnotorhomes.. the trick to the ducted is insulate, insulate, insulate, otherwise you end up making the roof a bit cooler and the interior a bit cooler as opposed to the interior a lot cooler.. .. bus as nice as yours has driving A/C already so it seems you solved many issues with those nice coleman units..


-Christopher
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:04 PM   #512
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Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
Since I am not a huge fan of heat & humidity (especially the latter), I figured I had better get busy working on the air conditioners.

I’ve spent more than a year trying to decide on the best cooling “system” for my particular situation/equipment that can be used when driving as well as parked/camping. It seems the “perfect” solution may be out of reach.
You had the perfect system; out west and at elevation.
Quote:
I would have preferred for the metal framework to be stainless steel (to match the chassis) and welded in place.
Too late now but you could have made it of stainless and used stainless rivets.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:31 PM   #513
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I like those mach 8 units.. ive heard good things about them..
Excellent! So far I am happy with them (a few days of running in 100 degree New Mexico heat).

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... and ive been in both ducted and non ducted mnotorhomes.. the trick to the ducted is insulate, insulate, insulate, otherwise you end up making the roof a bit cooler and the interior a bit cooler as opposed to the interior a lot cooler...
Good stuff Christopher - thanks! I am sure hopeful that I have enough insulation up there. I am also hopeful that my upcoming trip will avoid the real serious heat. The means I won't get a good test but not getting a good test is a good thing!!
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:34 PM   #514
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You had the perfect system; out west and at elevation.
Yes, too bad I can't take it with me.

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Too late now but you could have made it of stainless and used stainless rivets.
You are right. When I ordered the material, I was shocked at the difference in price. Plus, I was expecting to weld it myself and don't have the equipment to do stainless. Knowing now how it would all come together, it would have worked out.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:04 PM   #515
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Nice job, Jon.


I had hoped you would lead the way in using the original ac system with another power source, then I just would need to copy it.
So my struggle with pony motor and electric drive of original compressor continues.
How far are you going east. We are not ready going west but it would be fun to meet up somewhere along your trip. I would add a little pieces of metal below your frame. So it can not be pulled out of the roof if the rivets fail. Your rivets are now loaded on shear and with vibration that is not the greatest.



Later Johan
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:14 PM   #516
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Yes, too bad I can't take it with me.
Could leave it with me. I don't mind 70° an 15% humidity.

Quote:
You are right. When I ordered the material, I was shocked at the difference in price. Plus, I was expecting to weld it myself and don't have the equipment to do stainless. Knowing now how it would all come together, it would have worked out.
Um, you welded the mild. I've not done it but my Hobart has setting for stainless. Supposedly can do some AL if you use argon gas as well.
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Old 07-03-2018, 04:07 PM   #517
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I had hoped you would lead the way in using the original ac system with another power source, then I just would need to copy it.
HA!! I was thinking the same about you!!

Two thoughts that have been primary motivators for me: 1) the basement space I might gain when removing the existing A/C system and 2) the potential cost of a repair to the existing A/C system (no idea how often that happens but I'm told it is rarely cheap).

You might be interested in my 'next step' plan. That is to run both A/C units from engine alternator (270 amp @ 24 volts) and an inverter. However; I can't spill all the beans on that idea, just yet...

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How far are you going east. We are not ready going west but it would be fun to meet up somewhere along your trip.
Again, HA! I can't even seem to pick a departure date - never mind my destinations... My Dad lives in SE Ohio and I really need to spend some time with him. That's probably the furthest east I would go. However; if there was a beautiful single woman with a really great sailboat somewhere further east that wanted to meet me.... well... I might be so inclined... An eastern trip is problematic for me as I start getting headaches as I pass the Pecos river and seriously ill east of the Mississippi. Somewhat ironic, these symptoms magically disappear a few miles from the Bahamas.

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I would add a little pieces of metal below your frame.
Very good idea! Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:35 AM   #518
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Living with A/C's in 95+ degree temperatures is a really great thing!!

Heading up to high elevation tomorrow morning so they probably won't be necessary for the next several weeks. That said, I am going to experiment with running one of them from battery/solar.
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:31 PM   #519
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If the air is dry enough, an evaporation AC will work easily on solar since it is just a fan and a misting pump.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:04 PM   #520
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If the air is dry enough, an evaporation AC will work easily on solar since it is just a fan and a misting pump.
That is true. It does take a bit of water though.
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