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Old 05-16-2021, 05:28 PM   #1
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European skoolie for party bus

Hello Everyone,

I have recently bought this Man bus which is used as a school bus mainly in France and Belgium.

My plan is to convert it into an open top party bus with side metal beams replacing the roof.

I need some help with the powering of the electricals. I am planing to install about 1000 watt power music plus 2 mid size tvs and a small fridge for drinks as well as about 400 watt of led lights. Maybe 2000-2500 watts in total

My question is whether these electricals can be powered with existing bus batteries (it has two big ones) with some converter or is a generator necessary and about what size?

I have not the slightest idea about this but at the moment I am trying to buy all materials, in order to start the project.

Thank you for any advice because having trouble finding such info on google or forum.

Edi
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Old 05-16-2021, 06:10 PM   #2
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You shouldn't. You will get stranded some day. Check the capacity of the alternator and then you can determine if adding a second battery for this specific purpose, charged by the engine, is possible.

PS you are probably overestimating your power consumption. 400 Watts produces a stupid amount of light with any LED that is not complete garbage.
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Old 05-16-2021, 06:41 PM   #3
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Hello Bert,

Thanks for reply. The bus has two batteries at moment. I meant led spots that are about 60w each, so installing about 6-7 of them would come to around 400w. Because its going to have its roof taken off, the light have effects only at night. And then there is music and tvs which should be about 1500w together, I am thinking.

Do you have any idea how party buses are powered?
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Old 05-16-2021, 10:11 PM   #4
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All 24V buses have two batteries. They are starter batteries. They have only minimal accessory capacity.

You should not power accessories to any significant degree from a lead acid starter battery. If your load is 2-3kW, you drain them in 30 minutes anyway.

There will be no lights, no music, and you wonít be going anywhere because the bus wonít start. Youíll need a tow or a jump. Worse, you do this a few times, youíll be putting in two new batteries. That is assuming they were brand new when you started the abuse.

Starter batteries can last 5 years or more. They can handle thousands of cycles. In any weather.

You drain brand new starter batteries once a day, and theyíll last a week.

Check your load. If itís 2-3kW, make adjustments. If you canít, use a generator.

Check your alternator. If it has 4-500A capacity, you may be able to charge ďhouseĒ batteries with it too.

Those house batteries can be deep cycle lead acid, which can tolerate your sort of use case much better than the starter batteries, or lithium (LFP) batteries.

Of course, when the engine is running, itís a different ballgame. Assuming you start off with charged batteries, your bus barely needs a few dozen Amps to run, so you can use your alternator capacity.
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Old 05-17-2021, 04:15 AM   #5
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Hello Bert,

Thank you for your reply.

The best solution would be of course to use the alternator. It seems safer. However, I think it is only a 140 amp alternator.

How much in watt can this produce?

The idea is to use this power while the bus is running, while driving or standing still but with engine still running. Would it power around 2000 watt or too much for it?

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 05-17-2021, 04:30 AM   #6
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Another question is if putting a more powerful alternator would do the job and would it do any damage to the existing batteries or bus electrical system?
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Old 05-17-2021, 10:00 AM   #7
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1000w of music power can be estimated at around 250w for your estimated power draw.
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Old 05-17-2021, 11:24 AM   #8
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Hello and thank you for this information.

A generator is not necessary after all. This means I would need an inverter and batteries. What capacity would you recommend?

Thank you for any other suggestion to keep in mind.
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Old 05-17-2021, 11:48 AM   #9
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Very rough estimates.
Let's say your mean power draw is 1000w, during 6 hours a day. This translates to 500Ah a day. You don't want to go below 50% on the batteries, so you'll need 1000Ah, or about 8 250Ah/6v deep cycle golf cart batteries, for example.
If you use a big enough alternator, you'll need at least 3 or 4 hours of engine run-time to charge the batteries (you can use an alternator as big as you want, the battery bank can take only so much current, you can't just divide the Ah needed by the power of your alternator).
Conclusion: if your current draw is 1000w/6h a day, I don't think it is reasonable to use an alternator as your charging device. No roof means no solar, your best option is probably to use a generator.
Edit: if your idea was to use the alternator as a "direct" source of current (a 250 amp alternator would easily be able to power all your equipment), bad idea. Letting your engine idling for extensive periods of time if not good.
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Old 05-17-2021, 01:19 PM   #10
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Not to mention that at idle revs, the alternator barely puts out any power. Thatís one of the main reason why transit buses have a high idle switch.

Just buy a little inverter generator. For a few hundred euros youíre done. You canít even buy two batteries for that sort of money, and decent 24V inverters are many hundreds too.

And then thereís the alternator. My bus has an oil cooled 450A Delco Remy 50DN. The 270 Amp version is on sale at this site if youíre interested:

IMG_8830.png



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Old 05-20-2021, 04:50 AM   #11
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Thank you for your reply.

The idea was that as the bus is going to be running (slowly around town) during the period it is hired, I thought alternator was good possibility. This in order to avoid any possible fire with generator. By the way, are generators vibration proof, does it cause any problems to them running as bus strolling about?

Thank you!
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Old 05-20-2021, 04:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bert06840 View Post
Not to mention that at idle revs, the alternator barely puts out any power. Thatís one of the main reason why transit buses have a high idle switch.

Just buy a little inverter generator. For a few hundred euros youíre done. You canít even buy two batteries for that sort of money, and decent 24V inverters are many hundreds too.

And then thereís the alternator. My bus has an oil cooled 450A Delco Remy 50DN. The 270 Amp version is on sale at this site if youíre interested:

Attachment 57551



Bert
Thank you for your message.

How many watts would a suitable generator be in your view?
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Old 05-20-2021, 05:11 AM   #13
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You'll be fine with a 2000W.

They are more than ok with bus vibration.
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