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Old 05-08-2020, 01:13 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 15
What appliances/fittings do you have in your bus?

I am currently trying to buy the most suitable appliances and fittings for my bus. So I want to know what you have in your bus to see what others have found is best for a bus

Below is a template of common appliances and fittings; please add or remove items as relevant to your bus.
I've filled out the items which I've decided on so far as an example.

Heat: Chinese Diesel heater
Air conditioner:
Exhaust fan:

Fridge: Chest freezer with thermostat mod/standard 120V fridge
Cooker: Propane residential range

Toilet: Airhead Composting toilet
Shower system: high sierra showerhead

Water pump: Flow Maz 3.3G/m
Water heater: Eccotemp L10 Propane
Water tanks: 50 gallon water drums

Solar Panels:
Charge controller: MPP Solar All in one unit- 2.4kW; 24V; 80A MPPT
Inverter: MPP Solar All in one unit- 2.4kW; 24V; 80A MPPT
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:46 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,609
If you plan to spend much time off grid, prioritize energy efficiency, in fact DC - native, and for high-amp activities, try to use non-electric alternatives, e.g. propane.
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Old 05-08-2020, 03:38 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,121
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
double check the minimum flow requirement of the ecotemp heater your 3.3 gpm pump might be to low if you are trying to use hot and cold at the same time?
also think about a hot water return line tied into the cold water entering the heater to help temper(take the chill out of the cold water)to help the heater and you can use an aquastat to read the temperature of the water line to turn the recirculating (hot water return) pump on and off.
i havent installed an ecotemp but i have installed some instantaneous heaters and with all the low flow faucets,shower valves etc. running a single fixture at time wasnt enough flow to kick the heater on so had to pull the low flow aerator,shower head and make them not so low flow to make the heater work.
good luck
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:25 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
Drew Bru's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 1,029
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Here's our setup:

Heat: 5kw Chinese Diesel heater, Mr. Heater Buddy heater (propane)
Fireplace: Cubic Mini wood stove
Air conditioner: none
Exhaust fan: MaxxAir fans, 2 in the emergency hatches.

Fridge: 120v apartment size fridge, 7.5cuft.
Cooker: Propane residential range, apartment size
Sink: Residential kitchen sink and faucet

Toilet: Nature's Head Composting toilet
Shower system: Residential shower head and mixing valve

Water pump: Shurflo 3.0 gpm
Water heater: Suburban 6gal tank water heater, electric and LP
Water tanks: 100 gal

Solar Panels: 1160W solar (4 panels @ 290w each)
Charge controller: Outback FM80 mppt charge controller
Inverter: Xantrex 2000w inverter/charger
Batteries: 690ah US Battery xc2 6v golf cart batteries (6 batteries @ 230ah)

Here's our experience if you're interested:
We've been off grid for a year, haven't used the generator more than a couple of times to top off the batteries (even then it probably wasn't necessary). Our solar capacity is more than enough and we quite often use the excess solar capacity to run the water heater. We've been in the southwest all winter, but up north in the summer. We don't particularly feel a need to conserve energy.
Battery capacity is more than enough but they need monthly watering.

The inverter/charger is new after our AIMS inverter charger crapped out less than a year in.
The diesel heater works well on low and sips fuel. The buddy heater works great to take the chill off in the mornings. The wood stove, once you learn how to use it (much different than our old full size stove in the house), is wonderful...but you need to learn the intricacies of it.
Water heater is decent and I prefer it to the tankless we had in our house. Water stays warm for many hours once it's heated. It's about the size of a milk crate and sits under the sink.'s just a fridge, nothing special. Same with the stove.
Pretty happy with the Nature's Head toilet.
MaxxAir fans are pretty awesome and effective. We kept all windows for ventilation, and added screens. Also screened the back door. The air really moves through.

One thing I'd caution against is buying a bunch of stuff before you've got a bus or before you're really ready to install it. Save your receipts, anyway, as reality has a way of changing your plans!
Our Build:
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:53 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
If you plan to spend much time off grid, prioritize energy efficiency, in fact DC - native, and for high-amp activities, try to use non-electric alternatives, e.g. propane.
yes, planning on propane for cooking and water heating. And 12v for whatever I can (lighting, fans, etc) - the fridge will be the main regular draw on the solar
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:01 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,609
Yes if efficient DC compressor fridge/freezers end up being your biggest Ah/24hr loads, then you are on the right track for a mostly-solar rig when away from shore power.

Best is if the genset just runs a few hours a couple times a week, and ideally that only when insolation conditions are sub-par.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:49 PM   #7
Bus Geek
ol trunt's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,662
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
The best two things I did with my fresh water system was to install two pumps, one hot and one cold and to add a recirculation circuit to my Ecotemp instant hot water heater.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:22 PM   #8
Bus Geek
musigenesis's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,036
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I have a 4 cu. ft. upright chest freezer with a separate thermostat to make it into a fridge. Positives: it's the form-factor I want (top-opening), it averages 16 watts to keep everything around 36-40 degrees F, and the freezer was $50 on Craigslist (and I see these all the time for around that price). The thermostat gadget was $65 or so, but that can be reused with a different freezer if the original ever craps out. The only real negatives are that it doesn't have a freezer and you can't organize things as well as in a regular upright fridge (although you can pack in a lot more stuff than you would expect since there are no dividers).

I have a 1 cu. ft. mini-fridge and I'm trying to think up a way to convert it into a freezer, ironically enough.
Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 05-09-2020, 12:49 AM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 15
@Jolly Roger: The eccotemp seems to be designed for RV's and has a min flow of 0.3L/min.
recirculation back to the tanks could be a good idea for as well too winter ? I am thinking about mounting the tanks under the bus and insulating/enclosing them so recirculation might be my best method for stopping the tanks from freezing?
@ol trunt: dont suppose you can show a diagram of your system? or a link with information on setting up a system like yours?

@Drew Bru: Thanks for all the advice, I've bought the bus, stripped the seats and rivets so i'm ready to start burning through my savings on some of these purchases now! I have a chinese heater installed in a minivan which i converted a month ago... that thing pumps heat for so little fuel!

@musigenesis the chest freezer really seems like a economical & efficient way to go! But lacking a freezer is annoying too! will need to weigh up my energy costs
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