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Author Topic: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed  (Read 156 times)

JacobA1214

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Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« on: December 03, 2018, 08:44:17 PM »
Okay I'll start with that im 18, turning 19 in April. I've had a job the day I turned 16 so I've got a good 7.5k saved up and will continue. Ever since I read Into The Wild with the Chrisopher Mccandless i've wanted to get a van/rv/or bus as a permanent and temp home. I just have no clue with the wiring. I just need to know all the mandotory electricity things I would need for the bus

IBTripping

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 11:03:45 PM »
Welcome. Once you learn the basics of AC and DC wiring, it's not too difficult. But, first, I think you'd be wise to decide what kind of RV you want and how you plan to use it. Are you planning to live in it full time? Will you be mostly boon docking/dry camping (being off the grid) or staying someplace with hook ups to electricity and water? Do you want a small van type RV or something bigger? Those kind of decisions will determine your electrical needs along with how you deal with drinking water and human waste.

Also, be aware that converting a van, bus, etc. will cost a lot of money in addition to taking a lot of time to do the work. So, plan to save plenty of cash to pay for the conversion. Even if you find an older, already converted vehicle, it will still cost considerable to fix it up and personalize to meet your needs.

You'll find lots of useful information on this forum which you'll need to know. I'm new to RVing and have had to become knowledgeable about a lot including deep cycle batteries, effective battery maintenance, tires and tire maintenance, upkeep of the black and gray water tanks, winterizing, dry vs. wet weight, etc. etc. etc. But, better to learn from the experts on this forum rather than learning from making a lot of dumb mistakes.

So, let's get started. How do you plan to use an RV once you become an owner?

« Last Edit: December 03, 2018, 11:16:25 PM by IBTripping »

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 10:36:55 AM »
Since you seem to lack skills/experience with electrical, why not buy a used Class B or C coach with all the electric and plumbing in place. Used older van-based coaches are readily available in your price range.  However, you really need to address the questions that IBTripping raises.


Not sure what Christopher McCandless has to do with getting an RV, though. Yeah, his body was found in one, but it was a derelict he was just using as shelter. He did not travel by RV or utilize one in any meaningful way.  And you surely don't want to emulate his rather foolish venture and early death. He only managed to survive 113 days, so hardly a stellar role model.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

wmtired

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 10:45:38 AM »
Google the 12 volt side of life to learn about rv power.

Basically, any outlet you plug into is 120 volts AC and that is supplied by plugging into a campground pedestal, plugging into a generator, or plugging into an inverter that is wired to a large capacity battery bankl.

INterior lighting, water pump, stereo are run on 12 volts.

RV propane/120volt electric fridge cools on propane or 120 volts AC but both means of cooling need 12 volts DC to run control board.

Air conditioner cools on 120 VOLTS AC (uses a lot of power) and needs 12 volts for thermostat/control board

RV propane heater heats on propane but needs 12 volts DC to run control board

CIgarette lighter ports are 12 VOLTS DC and can use a plug in to charge USB items.

CO2 and gas detectors often run on 12 volt battery power

SMoke detectors often run on battery power (9 volt )

A microwave runs on 120 volts AC and uses a lot of electricity so usually requires a generator unless you have a large battery bank like I do and a lot of solar to keep batteries charged.  Solar is $$$, my system would have cost $6500 for a pro to install but I did it myself for about $3500.

Not a difficult job but a job that will require a lot of labor.

While on subject, make sure you run all of your water lines inside along a wall preferably next to installed heat ducting so they lines don't freeze in winter.

My best advice is to get a RV CLass C and be done with it. 

If you are going to go for it, don't waste time with a 30 amp service.  Install 50 amp service which is actually two 50 amp lines for 100 amps of power which will give you plenty of options at a campground for power meaning running a lot of electric heaters to conserve propane.

In winter, a 30 lb propane tank can last about 3 days in cold weather especially in a poorly insulated bus.

Good luck and don't die from starvation and exposure to the elements.  A bus isn't something I'd want to take into the backcountry.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 10:47:10 AM by wmtired »

IBTripping

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 12:42:45 PM »
I found an article in the Forum library about a conversion titled "Divco conversion - Ray's dream." And, if you do a forum search, you'll find posts on remodeling RVs that may give you some idea on the effort required. I used this search phrase to find several posts on van conversions: "converting van"

The library article is here: http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php/44-conversions-and-remodels/84-divco-conversion-rays-dream

I agree with other posters who suggested purchasing a used camper van. These are called Class B motor homes. They are taller than the typical car like van or SUV which allows a person to stand full upright. If you do an Internet search, you'll find a lot of them for sale at a range of prices. Again, if you purchase one, you may need to spend some cash on maintenance such as alignment, tires, transmission service, oil change, etc. And, you may need to address some repairs such as suspension and drive train issues. Finally, you may want to do some minor remodeling to meet your needs and wishes.

Please keep us informed of your progress.

Isaac-1

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 01:53:09 PM »
Converting an old bus to an RV is a nice dream, unfortunately so often that is all it is, many people start these projects and never finish them, they get into it and find either it will cost a lot more money than they planned, or they find out the cheap bus they bought to convert into an RV was cheap for a reason and has major mechanical issues that are beyond the point of  being economically repaired.

I too think on your budget a used class C motorhome is probably your best bet, probably something 23-25 ft long from the late 1990's.     Though to find one for under about $12,500 you will have to look at a lot of junk, be aware the number one killer of motorhomes are leaks, primarily from the roof, which leads to wood rot, which can be far more extensive than it may appear at first.     So rule one 1, if there are signs of leaks on the ceiling or around the windows, including the ones above the cab, run away.     Rule 2 if it is not road legal and drivable, run away.

I don't want to discourage you, I just want you to be realistic, everything mechanical on a motorhome or a bus is bigger, heavier and more expensive than it is on a typical car, just about anything you find that you can assemble into a liveable RV on $7,500 is going to have issues, if you don't have the skills or money to fix those issues you will soon find yourself stranded, the RV will get impounded and you will be out your hard earned money.   Travelling by RV is not cheap, and lots of commercial campgrounds will not allow bus conversions regardless of condition, but surprisingly many of these same campgrounds will allow older, beat up motorhomes, at least for short overnight stops.  This brings up another point, camping is not free, and thanks to the homeless in RV population, among other things finding a free place to stop and spend a night is getting harder and harder, as no one wants a homeless camp in their parking lot.   In addition there is this thing in much of the US called winter which few RV's are capable of operating in, water in pipes freeze, RV's have poor insulation, ....

This all leads to that issue of cost of use, regardless of what you buy you will have costs, first will be insurance, expect this to be something over $500 per year, perhaps a lot over at your age.  Second is motorhomes regardless of the type burn a lot of fuel, expect to get somewhere around 9 mpg, this translates into about 33 cents per mile in fuel at current gas prices, or in other words $33 worth of gasoline every 100 miles, even higher in states like California with higher gas prices.  The cheapest commercial campgrounds with water and electrical hookups cost around $25 per night, maybe $20 if you are very lucky and belong to a discount program like passport america, public campgrounds, state parks, etc. are around the same if they have hookups, or may be in the $5-$10 per night for dry camping.      Off grid boondocking can be free, or have minimal sub $5 per day charges depending on the location.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Willandgiselarv

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Re: Conversion in the future. Electricty help needed
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 04:49:39 PM »
Okay I'll start with that im 18, turning 19 in April. I've had a job the day I turned 16 so I've got a good 7.5k saved up and will continue. Ever since I read Into The Wild with the Chrisopher Mccandless i've wanted to get a van/rv/or bus as a permanent and temp home. I just have no clue with the wiring. I just need to know all the mandotory electricity things I would need for the bus
You know what could help understand wiring and the differences google "ohms law" this will give you some basics of how electron travels, what is resistance or impedance , get to understand power watts as well. It may also cover in the differences with voltages and currents like in parallel or serial wiring configurations.
This is just a suggestion.
Also USB voltage is 5volts not 12v dc
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 04:53:01 PM by Willandgiselarv »
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