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Old 01-06-2024, 03:16 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Milwaukee-ish
Posts: 21
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
1st Time Living Off Grid. In the Mountains. During winter. Almost died LOL

Sharing a video I just dropped today; this was the first week of adventure living in my shortie school bus, in the rocky mountains during winter. The diesel heater tried to kill us, my batteries failed, and my solar system quit charging during 5 days of snow without any sunlight. Good times, but learned a lot from this experience and things are a lot easier now. Hopefully some of the tips and things I discovered help someone else out! Cheers!


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Old 01-06-2024, 04:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Toledo OH
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Year: 2006
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Chassis: MVP-EF
Engine: Cat C7 + Allison 3000PTS
Batteries and charging systems are not as trouble free as they’re made out to be sometimes. And diesel heaters have gotchas at altitude too as you found. Just stinks that you had all of the issues all at the same time!
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Old 01-07-2024, 02:21 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Yeah, important to have redundancy plans in place; I have a generator but I haven't used it yet. I've since switched out the charging system to all Victron components but haven't had any issues since. More in a few weeks.
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Old 01-21-2024, 08:43 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2020
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You left a cold climate to go to....a cold climate, without much insulation.. haha

Florida would have been a better option!

Proper insulation is a game changer. A small generator would have made a huge difference as well.
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Old 02-01-2024, 03:44 AM   #5
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Survived my first week living off-grid in the mountains during winter, and let me tell you, it was a wild ride! 😅 Battled a diesel heater that had its own ideas, endured battery failures, and faced a solar system that decided it needed a break during 5 days of relentless snow. Almost met my match, but lived to tell the tale. Check out the video I just dropped, capturing the chaos and lessons learned. Hoping my misadventures bring a smile or some useful tips to someone out there! Cheers to embracing the challenges of off-grid living!
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Old 02-01-2024, 07:15 AM   #6
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Location: NM USA KD6WJG
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I'm glad you were safe and were not harmed. My experience with Renogy was NOT good. It is just crap! I changed to Victron and have been better off. I reset the pump pulse rate down and fan speed up for high altitude. You can also cut your diesel with kerosene to help with carbon build up. Back-up and redundancy are your friends. As a side note, some radio repeater towers point their solar panels down to the white stuff and oversize them to account for snow blockage.
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Old 02-26-2024, 08:00 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Milwaukee-ish
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diverdude0075 View Post
You left a cold climate to go to....a cold climate, without much insulation.. haha

Florida would have been a better option!

Proper insulation is a game changer. A small generator would have made a huge difference as well.
Yeah, I would have built this thing a lot differently; most of it was built by the previous owner, and they didn't really insulate it at all. Some of the biggest upgrades I've done was a roll of adhesive neoprane foam, about 4" wide. It covers the rounded metal cable run above the windows, the length of the bus. Putting foam on that made a huge difference. The roof is already insulated, but just the white foam you'd see in a pillow, not closed cell. Rear window is just reflectix and pink foam. I think the biggest source of heat loss right now is the door, it seals horribly.
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Old 02-26-2024, 08:05 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Location: Milwaukee-ish
Posts: 21
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Quote:
Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
I'm glad you were safe and were not harmed. My experience with Renogy was NOT good. It is just crap! I changed to Victron and have been better off. I reset the pump pulse rate down and fan speed up for high altitude. You can also cut your diesel with kerosene to help with carbon build up. Back-up and redundancy are your friends. As a side note, some radio repeater towers point their solar panels down to the white stuff and oversize them to account for snow blockage.
I have been using the CDH for a while now, and I love it, but man you'd think the controller with the altitude symbol would... idk... adjust for altitude. Instead I had to go to the programming mode and do what you did.

The other thing I found extremely frustrating was the failure I experienced; if the exhaust soots up due to condensation, the gasket ON the heater can fail and then pump CO right into the cabin of your vehicle.

Yes on Victron, that's going to be one of my next videos.

Appreciate the tips! I'm going to be adding an extra panel on the roof with an adjustable angle to help shed snow.
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