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Old 09-19-2021, 09:07 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International Bluebird
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
Recommendations for dual minisplits for Texas Skoolie

Ok. I am starting to pull the seats from my 97 International 3800/Bluebird 71 passenger 39' bus. It doesn't have AC and my wife is insisting I install some. The plan is sleep 6 which includes dual twinXL murphy beds in the rear that come together as a king but fold away to allow access from the front all the way to the rear emergency exit. The misses wants the bedroom fully enclosed with a door. There will also be a pull out couch up front. With sleeping quarters at both ends and a wall between the 2, I am thinking 2 minisplits. One mounted above the windshield and one mounted above the back door. My better half is not the most pleasant when she doesn't maintain a sub 70F temperature during the Texas summers that isn't afraid to hit over 110F.
To further add to the complications, this year we spent a week in single digits temps so I would like a couple of minisplits with heat. And the cherry on top would be something with a soft start and energy efficient. What would you recommend?

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Old 09-20-2021, 11:10 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Toledo OH
Posts: 224
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP-EF
Engine: Cat C7 + Allison MD3060
I think you should have bought a motorcoach instead of a school bus, and hauled around one of those big diesel generators on a trailer.


But seriously, many of us have been in a situation where the dreams and "must haves" for our bus builds get out of hand. I think for you, the most important thing is to start building with a good base. For you, I definitely think you'll want to rip out the interior ceiling and insulate thoroughly so you can retain as much cold air as possible. Consider sheeting over windows and/or putting in RV windows as well. Two 12,000 BTU mini splits should do all right at that point; if it doesn't I'm pretty sure you actually married a polar bear and you're definitely in the wrong state for that kind of climate.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:30 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International Bluebird
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
I would agree with the polar bear except she likes it almost 80 degrees in the winter. And I do plan on insulating the roof, walls, and floor. I will be keeping the original tinted bus windows but removing some. I will also have thermal curtains to use. I am considering having the windshield cobered in a clear ceramic tint as well. Plus, I will be painting the roof white with an elastomeric paint and covering it in solar panels. I am hoping to get awnings for both sides of the bus to further cut down on heat gain from the windows.
I was thinking of two 12,000 btu mini splits. Is there one with heat that can be recommended? Or even advice on ones to avoid would be appreciated.
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Old 09-20-2021, 12:32 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Toledo OH
Posts: 224
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP-EF
Engine: Cat C7 + Allison MD3060
These seem to be the recommended model right now. This is the highest BTU that's generally available in 120VAC. I bought two but I'm hoping to only install one in my build.


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pioneer-...L-16/311474980
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:15 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International Bluebird
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
Thank you for the information. I will be able to get 2 for the price of what I was budgeting for 1. That is nice. I saw that it said something about a 25 foot line set. Is that included? Or how long is the one included?
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Old 09-20-2021, 07:29 PM   #6
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Most mini split compressors are made by a couple of the larger named companies. So they may have off brand names for the same quality as name brand. I bought this one, same specs as the HD one, but half the price. keeps the bus chilly when stationary. Lines are not very expensive, so buy what you need when you know how long it needs to be.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/18380011770...RoCuksQAvD_BwE
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Old 09-20-2021, 10:14 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
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I am smart and posted twice.
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:08 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International Bluebird
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
I appreciate the advice, I really do. But I have had too many bad experiences with ebay and paypal. It is worth the extra money to me to buy from a place that will be there in 6 months. But that is definitely a better price.
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Old 09-20-2021, 11:23 PM   #9
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
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Heat from electric is highly inefficient and will require massive solar panels and batteries. Factor in the lower solar collection to be expected in colder climates and you will be hard pressed to heat with electricity.
THEORETIC CALCULATIONS:
1kW = 3412 BTU so your two 12,000 BTU heaters are going to consume 7kw. Now hopefully they won't be running full bore but that's a function of the outside temp and how well your rig is insulated. But lets say they cycle on and off and are only pumping out that much heat for 6 hours out of 24 (a very low number I would think).....6hr x 7kW=42kWh. That's a lot of electric and probably far more than you will have panels to collect and batteries to store.
A diesel air heater is probably far more efficient and less expensive (unless you can plug in all day every day)


I went to a PV calculator that takes into consideration location, panel tilt, etc. With a 4,000 watt panel array, laying flat on the roof of a bus parked in Austin TX, the entire PV collection expected in the three month period of 1 Oct to 31 Dec is only 969.4kW over those 92 days. That's an average of only 10.5kW per day. Enough to run ONE 12,000 BTU electric heater for less than three hours each day.
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:27 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsoundman View Post
These seem to be the recommended model right now. This is the highest BTU that's generally available in 120VAC. I bought two but I'm hoping to only install one in my build.


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pioneer-...L-16/311474980
I bought the SENL brand, same size. Just arrived yesterday, so no experience installing it or using it. I'll power it with a generator.
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Old 09-21-2021, 03:36 PM   #11
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
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dont rely on minisplits for heat in single digit temps.. for one they are going to blow heat at your face while feet freeze.. use a diesel heater, heat some coolant and run fan heaters ducted to low places or use diesel air heaters and have then ducted low.. minisplits will heat down to the single digits however they lose efficiency so if you are on solar / battery or generator and not shore power you will be using some power at those temps.. ive had 3 in my house for 11 years and below 36 or so is where they start to roll off.. im with your wife.. I like it almost 80 inside in winter..



however why not just drive to the south in the winter and not deal with crappy single digit temps!
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Old 09-21-2021, 04:20 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 21
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International Bluebird
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
Cadillackid, I am in the south, I am in Texas. And I don't plan on living in the bus full time. My wife and I both have jobs we have to go in to do. I also have a house and a few acres and a few animals. I have already traveled the US. I have been to all 50 states, a dozen or so countries, 4 continents, etc. I am building a bus for vacations and hunting trips and such, but also never know what tomorrow will bring, I may have to live in it someday. Make it as nice as possible now while times are good and I can afford it, so if times get bad, I already have it. I also like that it is a sturdier vehicle than an RV. And I like to build things. I also enjoy learning new things.
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Old 09-27-2021, 02:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpShinnCreek View Post
Cadillackid, I am in the south, I am in Texas. And I don't plan on living in the bus full time. My wife and I both have jobs we have to go in to do. I also have a house and a few acres and a few animals. I have already traveled the US. I have been to all 50 states, a dozen or so countries, 4 continents, etc. I am building a bus for vacations and hunting trips and such, but also never know what tomorrow will bring, I may have to live in it someday. Make it as nice as possible now while times are good and I can afford it, so if times get bad, I already have it. I also like that it is a sturdier vehicle than an RV. And I like to build things. I also enjoy learning new things.



I think that by "drive south" he meant drive somewhere warmer. An Rv is all about mobility. If your not living in it, then stay in the house. If you are rolling in the dough, then cater to your wife's whims. I don't understand the problem.


"What would you recommend?" Build it to suit yourself.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:25 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 176
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little hands...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
2003:
Writing our RequirementsStatement, we gave mini-splits a couple-three minutes of discussion.
.
If we faced warm weather, we quickly realized we could use our vehicle to travel to the coast.
And, if we tire of the coast, we travel in our vehicle to summer at alpine lakes.
And if we tire of alpine lakes and coasts, we could use our vehicle to travel north for a spell.
.
With nearly two decades full-time live-aboard, our initial assessment seems just fine so far.
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