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Old 08-03-2020, 04:50 PM   #1
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Location: phoenix az
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Looking for help getting started in Phoenix, AZ

Hi, We bought a 40 ft 2002 bluebird all american recently. I'm looking for some help here locally in the Phoenix area. I'd love to ask some questions and find some honest people who can work on the bus for us. Any suggestions would be great! thanks so much,
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:53 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Nice looking bus there.

Are you planning to full time, or go camping in it, or something else?

I hope when you start your build that you'll start a build thread for it. Share the enjoyment and the misery, it makes it easier and helps with motivation.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

We are planning on doing extended trips.. multiple months. dry camping, plugging in at friends houses with low voltage. (is this possible with mini splits with a heat pump?)

We have 6 kids! 6 and under. Some questions off the jump are: What size fresh and grey tank? Where should i buy them?

Any suggestions on what kind of generator I should buy? Thanks again!
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:20 PM   #4
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We have 6 kids! 6 and under.
HA! I looked at your pic and thought, "wow, they're really pumpin' them out! No wonder they need a bus! At this rate, they will have all the seats filled by the time the oldest graduates."


I wasn't lucky enough to have kids.. Y'all are lucky. Looks like your kids are, too!



Welcome to the next level madness!
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by skuyper View Post
Thanks for the reply.

We are planning on doing extended trips.. multiple months. dry camping, plugging in at friends houses with low voltage. (is this possible with mini splits with a heat pump?)
Yes, with proper care and attention, this can be done. They make mini split systems 12K and below that run on 115V and less than 15A each. That means you could run such a unit off an extension cord. Note: a bus is a big metal can that transfers heat very effectively. So it will be an oven in summer, and an icebox in winter. You really really need to insulate as effectively as you can afford. The better you insulate, the less energy it will take to keep the inside in the comfort zone.

There are other approaches that can work as well, including something like the Victron Quattro inverter/charger + battery bank (and I'd recommend solar panels as well), which can use the batteries to boost as needed, and recharge even from a simple wall outlet. I mention the one I'm most familiar with, there are other brands capable of the same functionality.

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Originally Posted by skuyper View Post
We have 6 kids! 6 and under. Some questions off the jump are: What size fresh and grey tank? Where should i buy them?

Any suggestions on what kind of generator I should buy? Thanks again!
Fresh and gray tank sizes are going to be driven based on several factors. The first factor you need to answer is how long do you want to go *minimum* before having to refill or drain your tanks. Once you know that, you need to know how many gallons you use per day (for fresh) and how many you create per day (grey and black tanks). If you do things the same way you do at home, those numbers will surprise you. Conservation becomes a key aspect when wanting to live off your tanks for extended periods of time. It all boils down to your desires, and how well you can teach your little ones to not leave the faucet on.

As for the generator, that's again going to depend. A decent mini-split system that is "inverter" based will not need as hefty a starting amperage as a regular air conditioner. Your choices are gasoline (cheap and available in nearly any hardware store), propane, or diesel. Many gas generators will convert easily to propane. Diesel generators tend to be much more expensive, and much more durable. Gasoline will "varnish" when left in the tank too long, and can gum up the carburetor in the engine. Propane does not have that problem. Diesel can gel, and sometimes gets algea growing in it. Both gasoline and diesel can easily get moisture in it (especially this modern gasoline with alcohol in it). Propane has the lowest energy density of the 3 fuels, but burns the cleanest. It has none of the varnishing issues of gasoline. However, if you convert a generator from gasoline to propane, you will get less power out of it, it's just the nature of the fuel.

Start reading around in some of the build threads and other discussion threads, and you will find a wealth of information. I'm learning new things here every time I visit.

I think you and your family will enjoy the process of converting the bus (especially once it is over) and will make a lot of good family memories in it as you camp.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
Yes, with proper care and attention, this can be done. They make mini split systems 12K and below that run on 115V and less than 15A each. That means you could run such a unit off an extension cord. Note: a bus is a big metal can that transfers heat very effectively. So it will be an oven in summer, and an icebox in winter. You really really need to insulate as effectively as you can afford. The better you insulate, the less energy it will take to keep the inside in the comfort zone.

There are other approaches that can work as well, including something like the Victron Quattro inverter/charger + battery bank (and I'd recommend solar panels as well), which can use the batteries to boost as needed, and recharge even from a simple wall outlet. I mention the one I'm most familiar with, there are other brands capable of the same functionality.



Fresh and gray tank sizes are going to be driven based on several factors. The first factor you need to answer is how long do you want to go *minimum* before having to refill or drain your tanks. Once you know that, you need to know how many gallons you use per day (for fresh) and how many you create per day (grey and black tanks). If you do things the same way you do at home, those numbers will surprise you. Conservation becomes a key aspect when wanting to live off your tanks for extended periods of time. It all boils down to your desires, and how well you can teach your little ones to not leave the faucet on.

As for the generator, that's again going to depend. A decent mini-split system that is "inverter" based will not need as hefty a starting amperage as a regular air conditioner. Your choices are gasoline (cheap and available in nearly any hardware store), propane, or diesel. Many gas generators will convert easily to propane. Diesel generators tend to be much more expensive, and much more durable. Gasoline will "varnish" when left in the tank too long, and can gum up the carburetor in the engine. Propane does not have that problem. Diesel can gel, and sometimes gets algea growing in it. Both gasoline and diesel can easily get moisture in it (especially this modern gasoline with alcohol in it). Propane has the lowest energy density of the 3 fuels, but burns the cleanest. It has none of the varnishing issues of gasoline. However, if you convert a generator from gasoline to propane, you will get less power out of it, it's just the nature of the fuel.

Start reading around in some of the build threads and other discussion threads, and you will find a wealth of information. I'm learning new things here every time I visit.

I think you and your family will enjoy the process of converting the bus (especially once it is over) and will make a lot of good family memories in it as you camp.
I'm at the point now where I need to pick a mini split. I have found quite a few that are 115v, but have not found any that are less than 15a. Can you possibly point me in the right direction?! thanks so much.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:29 PM   #7
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I'm at the point now where I need to pick a mini split. I have found quite a few that are 115v, but have not found any that are less than 15a. Can you possibly point me in the right direction?! thanks so much.
Doubt you'll find an AC system pulling less than 15a, why is it important to have less?
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:46 PM   #8
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12K BTU HVAC mini split 115V 15A information

Quote:
Originally Posted by skuyper View Post
I'm at the point now where I need to pick a mini split. I have found quite a few that are 115v, but have not found any that are less than 15a. Can you possibly point me in the right direction?! thanks so much.
The ones I have are 12K BTU, heat and cool capable, with variable compressor so it'll do 3700 to 13000 BTU based on demand (or 3500 to 13500 for heat). 13000+ is a short duration peak. 19.5 SEER, 11 EER. rated current: 8.87A cooling, 8.93A heating. Minimum circuit ampacity is 15A, and they want a maximum circuit breaker size of 20A.

Here's a link: https://www.pioneerminisplit.com/pro...t-pump-115-vac

I have 2 of these for my bus.

I hope this helps.
-jim
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:50 PM   #9
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I've done some calculations and looked at the mini-splits. I think the minimum generator requirement is around 3.5Kv (produces 30 amps) to handle the inrush current-the surge of current needed to get the compressor motor in motion.
Air conditioning, that is, changing the temperature of air, simply requires a lot of juice. The bigger the bus, the more the juice; the higher the ambient air temp, the more the juice; the thinner the insulation, the more the juice.
You might be able to cool with a device that only needs 15A but your cooling time will be longer, or your maximum temperature drop will be less, or the corners of your bus will be warmer, or all of the above.
I think I saw you were in the Phoenix area. Have you investigated swamp coolers? Very dry air allows near-perfect conditions for evaporative cooling. The maximum air temp drop you can achieve spot cooling is probably no more than 30 fahrenheit, so sitting in the direct blast of a swamp cooler it could take air temp down to 70 or 80 on the worst days...cheaper to run, though it takes lots of water.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
The ones I have are 12K BTU, heat and cool capable, with variable compressor so it'll do 3700 to 13000 BTU based on demand (or 3500 to 13500 for heat). 13000+ is a short duration peak. 19.5 SEER, 11 EER. rated current: 8.87A cooling, 8.93A heating. Minimum circuit ampacity is 15A, and they want a maximum circuit breaker size of 20A.

Here's a link: https://www.pioneerminisplit.com/pro...t-pump-115-vac

I have 2 of these for my bus.

I hope this helps.
-jim
...so two of these cools your bus, and that requires 30A. Seems to line up with what I've researched. Are they relatively quiet, or do they roar like a jet engine? :-')
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Old 09-01-2020, 04:06 PM   #11
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well, to be clear, I haven't installed them in the bus yet.

I think the "inverter" models don't have that inrush surge that traditional compressors have. Basically, they kinda spin up slowly, or something like that.

When my home mini-split kicks in, there is a ramp-up of current, vs a window unit which would spike, then drop down to operating levels.

Inverter based mini split systems seem like magic to me.

https://www.daikinindia.com/inverter-technology-0

basically, traditional compressors are on or off, and inverter ones can ramp up and down their speed, and therefore their current draw.

Yes, by my calculations, I should be able to run both with a 30A 220V source. My generator produces 26A at 220V, and I really hope that both will run from it, but my fall back plan is to buy a 50A generator and be done with counting amps.
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Old 09-01-2020, 05:28 PM   #12
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Hey Skuyper,
I cant answer our questions as I too am new to this, but I am the one that emailed you through CL regarding getting insurance for your bus. I did find insurance on a bus that I bought at AAABus sales in Phx. I live in Mesa and hope to pick up the bus this week. It had a couple of issues that they needed to fix for us. Either way, Welcome to the forum! These guys seem to know their Shite!
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:48 PM   #13
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Hi, We bought a 40 ft 2002 bluebird all american recently. I'm looking for some help here locally in the Phoenix area. I'd love to ask some questions and find some honest people who can work on the bus for us. Any suggestions would be great! thanks so much,
Hey guys, did you end up finding anyone to work on your bus in the Phoenix area? I’m looking too.
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