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Old 07-27-2019, 06:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: St. Louis
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Year: 1984
Coachwork: International Harvester
Chassis: S1753
Engine: V8 6.9L
Shore Power Help

Been looking to Setup shore power on The Bus But dont really Know Anything About It. What batteries do I get? What’s the difference between 15, 30 And 50 Amp And how do I know what’s best? Is there a kit I can buy Online or do I have to get everything separate?


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Old 07-27-2019, 06:50 PM   #2
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Location: New Hampshire
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For strictly shore power, no batteries are needed. Most everything is purchased separately. I know of no "kit" available.
Lots of useful info on here on basics of wiring, etc., if you use the search bar in the upper right area of the home page...
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:56 PM   #3
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A lot of us don't have a lot of 110v appliances in their bus and use mostly 12v lighting, pumps, fans, etc for the build. Some of us use a simple "shore power" setup like a heavy duty extension cord and a power strip.

If you are needing your "shore power" to charge your batteries, then you need a power converter to do that. My batteries are charged by solar panels or the bus alternator and I have to need to plug my bus in to "shore power" at all unless I want to use it to plug in my power strip.
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Old 07-27-2019, 10:06 PM   #4
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You need to spend some serious time learning about electrical if you are going to go that route, if you foul up you could be killed or worse hurt really bad ESPECIALLY on these metal buses, a ground is VERY important anytime but even more so on these.

Amp ratings, to determine how many amps you should wire up for you need to figure what all you are running, the power rating is on the back or bottom of your devies and will start how many watts or amps, do the math.
For instance allow 15amp for a roof top AC, allow 6-8 for most fridges....
Alot of people do fine with 30amp, BUT I'd suggest wiring for 50amp, it sucks when you are at your limit and blow breakers or burn wire from overloads.
Your wire that powers the main at the box MUST be rated ATLEAST for what the breaker is, BUT I always go another 20-30% for safety and because some items that have motors will use alot of current on startup.

I'm wired for 75amp, I just change plugs in RV parks if needed. I run 2 ACs a large fridge, stove top and oven and can run it all and more without any problems at the same time. RV parks at the most will give you a 50amp hookup, some only have 30.
If you wire for 50amp you can have 220v service in your bus as well, I have a welder and also power it from my bus (another reason I went with 75amp service and I'm wired to a building without any plug).
15amp service is what most outdoor extension cords can handle and that;s not alot at all, BUT again it depends on what all you want to use. How long is your bus?

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Old 07-28-2019, 01:20 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2018
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As has been mentioned, how you approach this is going to depend on your needs and budget. It can be as simple as a 20A power inlet that splits off to a couple outlets, to a fully off-grid self-sufficient system with a battery bank, generator, and inverter. I designed an emergency response trailer like this which could run anywhere.

You should consider an RV power center at least. They're a few hundred dollars, and they combine an AC breaker box, DC fuse box, battery charger, and DC supply in one unit. Size your DC supply accordingly. You don't want to be drawing down your battery bank while shore connected because the supply isn't putting out enough power.

Definitely wire for 50A shore power. You can always dogbone down to a smaller supply circuit, but plugging a 30A inlet into a 50A circuit (perhaps the 30A receptacle on the pedestal is broken) is dangerous!

Tie the battery bank to the alternator via an isolator to keep it charged on the road, but not allow the RV circuits to drain the vehicle battery.

You will also want to put in a "self jump starter" circuit. It's basically a starter solenoid triggered by a momentary switch in the cockpit that temporarily bypasses the isolator and ties the two electrical systems together. This will allow you to start the engine off the RV battery bank in the event the vehicle battery dies.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:51 PM   #6
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You have thousand of ways to do this. As stated I would wire for 50 amp, which is two 25 amp 110v inputs, this lets you run two 15,000 btu a/c at the same time without having anything to do with the rest of you bus. This can also be run off of a 8k generator if you choose, it's all up to you. If you want solar that can be added any time provided you add all of if at the same time. What I'n saying if you start with one 100 watt panel then go to two or three you will have to change more things each time costing more money in the long run. You might decided I want to run down the road using the first a/c off the engine and then provide one a/c for the bedroom at night and buy just the amount of solar and or generator to do that. Running a/c all night off of solar takes a lot of batteries charged to the fullest. Hope this helps!
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by WBBB1 View Post
As stated I would wire for 50 amp, which is two 25 amp 110v inputs

Note that a 50A service has two 110V legs, each capable of handling 50A.
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