|* * * More Cool(ing) Stuff * * * 03/23/2006 * * *02:29 AM * * *|
Air Conditioning -Staying cool.
In an earlier 'entry' I referred to the importance of insulation & airflow to keep the bus interior as cool as possible. By doing this it means that air conditioning doesn't have to work as hard to keep things comfortable.
Anonybus has two separate air-con systems.
As well as the standard (& very efficient) vehicle powered air con system, the previous owner had fitted a 240volt domestic unit into the rear window. Others have suggested that this is not a brilliant idea as over time vibration can fracture the pipes that 'feed' the unit. However this Fujitsu reverse cycle unit is very solidly mounted, has been in place now for several years without any problems. It seemed a shame to remove it, as this would also require me to fit a new rear window. Besides it means that the bus can be a spare 'visitors bedroom' year round.
Being a reverse cycle unit means it can also be used as a heater. Particularly handy in the cooler winters we have down south. To date I've only used the heater whilst working in the bus on cold days. It can heat the whole bus to stiflingly hot within 15 to 20 minutes.
Given that it requires 240v to operate, I'm uncertain as to just how much use it will get whilst we're travelling, but it's nice to know that should we ever desperately *need* to get warmer or cooler, a visit to a caravan park will fix us up.
Dust cover attaches with velcro & keeps things clean Dust cover removed
Fujitsu reverse cycle air-con unit (interior) Positioned as it is, air is blown out at just above mattress level Not ideal, but I can live with it.
Vehicle air conditioning
When I bought the bus it had the original air con fitted, complete with overhead ducting running the length of both sides of the bus as can be seen here:
I wanted to retain the air con, despite it's blower units taking up a reasonable proportion of boot space. I also wanted to build overhead cupboards for storage.
Removing the original air con ducting ( & finding a few spiders & more red dust) was pretty simple. Prior to doing this I didn't really know how I would achieve my aims, but once it was removed everything became clearer. I had already discovered that a drop saw made easy work of cutting aluminium whilst making the 'external kitchen'. Ease of construction was aided by the purchase of an air riveter from 'Super Cheap Autos. (A word of advice, when buying drill bits for the rivet holes save yourself all the hassle of broken & misplaced drill bits - buy yourself a pack of double ended 'panel drill bits' - even when you break a bit, you still have the other end. Having a pack of 10 means I can generally manage to find one when I need it!)
The cupboards were constructed with aluminium angle & lined with 5mm ply underneath & 3mm ply on the vertical surfaces. To retain the air con I created smaller ducting so it runs behind the cupboards, (Also handy to run electrical wires in), utilising some of the original vents to direct the cooled air into the bus.
I attached the ply with adhesive, after wiping the aluminium over with turps, to ensure a clean bond. On the first couple of pieces I used Sikaflex Marine adhesive, as this is what I had laying around at the time. It's good stuff but doesn't have the inital 'grab' I needed, meaning progress was slow, because everything needed to be clamped for 24 hours. After that I used 'Fulaprene 303', which is half the price & good stuff to use. Still needed initial clamping, but it's 'grab' made the job much easier. Don't put too much on as cleaning up any excess squeezed out of the joints is a pain. I found it best to either clean up asap with turps, or leave it for 48 hours & then laboriously trim the excess with one of those cheap disposable craft knives.
The 'air intakes' for the system are in the the two lower rear corners of the bus (under where the original rear bench seat would have been fitted). To ensure that air supply would not be inadvertantly blocked, I incorporated 'dedicated channels' under the bed to feed it. The 'grills' either side of the dunny cupboard are one end of these channels.
Air con air intake
Below are some pics that show the construction of the cupboards & air-con ducting. You might note that the 'interior walls' of the ducting were lined with insulation. I had been warned that if I didn't do this, it was likely that I'd suffer condensation problems in & around the cupboards.
Aluminium framing before the air con ducts were added Construction of ducting
Inside the ducting Progress
More progress : -)
Cupboard close up
|* * * Plumbers are Masochists. * * * 22/3/2006 * * *6:30 AM * * *|
"Plumbing isnt technically difficult, but it's a major pain in the ass
and many other body parts besides!
Scrabbling around on my back, underneath the bus, bumping my head, trying to push my hands where there was no room to push them, working overhead, laying in the cold (& at times wet) with regular falls of the ubiquitous northern territory red dust into my eyes were all factors. Lack of knowledge about what was available was compounded by the ass covering 'advice' received from local plumbing suppliers, particularly the company whose name rhymes with the plural of goose!
If I'd just stuck with a cold water supply it would have reduced the hassle factor by around 95%!
Water is supplied from the two 80 litre plastic tanks that the previous owner had fitted. Unfortunately he had used several inline 'Whale' pumps to push the water along. If he'd managed to have the first of these below the level of the water tanks then the system may have been more useable, but as he hadn't it was often difficult to get the pump to prime. This was not a 'constant pressure' system, instead requiring the user to hold down a switch as long as water flow was needed. There was also a hand pump type tap at the sink. It was common to have to pump this for some time, before the inline pumps were 'primed' The system worked after a fashion, but was not terribly convenient.
The cold water hoses had hardened & were difficult to work with. I replaced them all with new 'drinking quality' hose. This, plus the addition of a Shurflo 'Whisper King' pressure pump was all that was needed for the cold water side of the system.
The hot water system is connected to the cold supply via a one way valve, & protected with a pressure relief valve. All hot water pipes are the 'push together' Hep20 type, suitable for heat. The water is heated via a Twine heat exchanger which utilises heat from the motor's cooling system. This was already fitted to the bus by the previous owner, & is quite effective. However it requires the motor to be run. Not always practical just to get hot water. It also cannot store any hot water.
To improve this situation I decided that we needed a hot water storage tank, that I hoped would be able to keep the water warm enough for showering etc for at least a couple of days after the vehicle was last driven.
Here I was met with more obstacles to negotiate! I was unable to find any commercially made hot water tanks suitable for the space available. Instead I was inspired by a fellow CMCA member to make my own. It seemed like a great idea at the time & in fact is now complete & installed. Would I do the same again? No way! It was probably the most stressful part of the fit-out to date. Much of this associated with spiralling costs for what was supposed to be an inexpensive diy project.
Building a hot water tank.
For the main body of the tank I used a length 250mm diameter thick walled plastic sewer pipe, inside a second length of a similar 300mm diameter pipe. Heavy duty plastic end caps were glued to the ends of the inner pipe, with fittings fitted into the end caps. Pourable PU foam of an appropriate density (ie rigid enough to prevent the inner pipe moving when full of water plus giving good insulation) was sourced, mixed & poured between the two sections of pipe.
As manhandling the tank into postion was a job I only wanted to do once, I pressure tested the completed tank outside of the bus first.
By this time the costs for a cheap DIY hot water tank had reached similar levels to commercially produced tanks!
This made it all the more depressing when I discovered that two of the four inlet/outlet fittings leaked! Arghhhhh!
Tightening them only made matters worse.......... the nuts INSIDE the tank turned, changing the leak from a regular drip to a constant flow. To compound matters the nuts inside the tank were 100% inaccessible. Doom & depression settled comfortably onto my shoulders. Julie's attempts to revive my flagging spirit were in vain.
I came very close to giving away the whole notion of a hot water tank.
However after several days of contemplating my options (& my navel too) I came up with a solution I considered worth attempting. I had to accept that the solution would reduce the capacity of the tank by around 10 litres, but decided that 40 litres (approx) was still worth having.
To access the 'inner' fittings I had to cut off the end of the tank, & throw it away, purchasing another $45 plastic end cap. (How prices for plumbing fittings can be justified I just don't know? Plumbing is one of a fitout's major 'hidden' expenses which in my case I'd estimate to be around $2000 including the pump!). The previous screw together/rubber seal inlet & outlet pipes were removed & replaced with glue in type fittings I adapted to the purpose, using glue suitable for high pressure applications. Once the cut end was cleaned up, & all traces of PU foam removed, the new end cap was fitted. Prior to this I'd noted that in previous pressure testing, the end caps had both 'bulged' quite significantly under pressure. So before I put the tank back together, I glued extra bracing across the inner surface of the end caps.
Moment of truth.....pressure testing.........successful..................................phew! And the extra bracing had worked well to bareley noticeable movent in the end caps.
Manhandling the tank into position in the bus was also a little nerve wracking. I was terrified of accidentally allowing the weight of the tank to break one or more of the fittings as I tried to negotiate their way through their holes in the floor. Boy was I glad when it was done!
The water tank is now securely braced, & built in to the cupboard behind the passenger seat, with additional insulation over it's top (I used the aerosol type for that)
As yet I have no bench tops/sink fitted, so have not fitted a tap. I have however pressure tested the system, with tap hoses blocked off. To my dismay I found a further two leaks. Thankfully both were from pipes under the bus that I'd connected poorly, so fixable. One however couldn't be in a more difficult place to access. I fixed the first one months ago, but keep finding excuses to 'do something else' rather than fix the second. It keeps nagging away at me though, so it won't get forgotten.
You might recall that the new pump is called a 'Whisper King'. HA! Despite rubber mounting it onto a piece of ply, also rubber mounted to the chassis, it low brrrrrrr is still quite noticeable. Maybe I won't notice it after a while, maybe I'll try re-mounting it. More work on my back!
You will have no doubt noticed a lack of plumbing photos. I didn't take any, which is probably a reflection of how much fun, NOT, the whole affair was.
Whilst it would severely go against the grain to have to pay a tradesman to do something I can do myself, if I were in the same position again hiring a plumber would look pretty attractive.
|* * * The Rear End * * * 22/3/2006 * * * 4:07 AM * * *|
The original boot space on the Civilian was a cruel joke.
It offered a reasonable amount of space, BUT, it was largely unusable due to Nissan's odd decision to place a support bar for the original rear seats right across the entry of the boot space. This bar sat half way up the height of the boot, & was set back about 10" from the door. The result was a storage space for very small items only. Totally unsatisfactory.
I increased the amount of boot space when I rebuilt the bed. Underbed storage now includes 3 separate storage areas. Two 'bins' accessed by lifting the mattress & the boot.
To improve access to the boot I cut out the rear seat support bar & replaced it with a frame I fabricated. Whilst not the largest boot space I've ever seen, it now offers practical storage.
Still to be done is fabricating a rack to carry a Honda C90 across the rear of the vehicle. Unfortunately I was forced to compromise with this. Originally I wanted to carry two Honda 'Postie' bikes (CT110), to enable Julie & I to head off for a few nights at a time on the bikes, to places it will be impractical to take the bus. Two bikes would have made carrying sufficient camping gear easy. We even had plans to ride Posties to the tip of Cape Yorke!
However, Vehicle regulations about the amount of 'overhang' behind the rear axle put paid to that idea. (Maximum overhang = 60% of the vehicle's wheelbase). The choices were either one bike mounted above the other...........too impractical. Tow a trailer.....something I am very keen to avoid. Or just take one bike & manage the best we can. We chose the latter, buying an old (1983) Honda C90 because of it's light weight, & capacity to carry two people. Even so we will be *very* close to the overhang limit. A shame both my Triumphs are too heavy.
The modified boot space.
The alternative transport beastie. One of the few pitfalls of travelling in a motorhome is that once camped, without alternative transport, everything needs to be packed away each time you go shopping etc. Hey it even matches the colour of the bus! (at the moment, that may change if/when I get the bus re-sprayed).
My other two beasties . 1999 Triumph Thunderbird & 1973 Triumph Daytona 'Special'. A real shame they are both too heavy to hang off the rear of the bus. Sigh! "Such is life"
|* * * Interior Layout * * * 22/3/2006 * * * 02:20 AM * * *|
"Many of the converted buses I've seen are so claustrophobic they'd make a sardine feel at home".
Owners of such vehicles may argue that they largely only use the interior of their bus for sleeping, preferring to 'live out under the awning most of the time. I too expect we'll spend the majority of time 'outside, but, & it's a fairly large 'but', there are most certainly times when the weather is likely to be inclement, making 'staying in' a far more attractive proposition.
For this reason I consider a light & airy, spacious interior an essential.
Apart from creating a suitable physical space, I consider the 'perception' of space to be equally important. Of course the amount of actual living space is compromised by the need for adequate storage space.
To achieve what I felt would be the optimum balance I decided on the following:-
-Interior decorated in light colours.
-Minimum of floor to ceiling cupboards. The only 'full height' cupboards are immediately behind the driving cabin seats.
-Size of overhead cupboards chosen to give a good compromise between 'taking up head space' & adequate storage.
-Central 'corridor' does not have parallel sides. By slightly angling the line of the cupboards I lost very little space, but gained a greater sense of 'psychological' space.
-Extra light from the two roof hatches.
-Decision not to include an interior shower. For many, an interior shower appears to be an essential, but I felt it unnecessary. A good exterior shower, running on LPG will do the trick, probably with a small shower tent to keep my wife happy in 'populated' areas. This will double as a a second source of hot water (on demand). The shower I'm thinking of buying can be seen here: http://www.aussiecampshower.com/ To date I haven't met anyone who has first hand experience of this unit, so if you are familiar with it, it'd be good to hear from you.
-Virtually every decision about what should go where, pre-considered the impact upon 'visual space'.
Below are some pics that attempt to give a sense of the interior layout. Like me, you will need to try & imagine how it will all look once completed.
View from Kitchen looking back The 'pantry' behind driver seat
This cupboard behind passenger seat houses the hot water tank, & gives storage for broom etc
Passenger seat. What looks like a speaker on the ceiling is an air con duct . The switch is for isolating the solar panels of System 1.
Looking forward from bed. Looking back at eye level
The spice & herb rack. Non-parallel cupboards. Portapotti rolls out on a trolley.
|* * * The Roof * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 03:56 PM * * *|
Under a hot Aussie sun the inside of a motorhome could do to you & me what the average milk bar does to untold numbers of dim sims each day.
To keep the inside of said motorhome as cool as possible requires insulation & a good air flow. A good air flow will also prevent condensation, which can build up overnight on the ceiling, or other exterior sufaces. I took out the ceiling lining to expose the original insulation, a felt-like material. I had been warned that this stuff was highly flammable & had decided to replace it with something safer. Of course it was well stuck onto the roof, requiring a rotary wire brush to remove much of it. It was like working in a snowstorm. Dust mask definately needed.
Outside I experimented with setting fire to some to satisfy my curiosity. Whilst it didn't really 'flare-up', it did catch fire *very* easily. More pertinently though, once lit, it was virtually impossible to put out. Lots of smoke & continued to burn & smoulder for a long time until there was nothing but a little ash left. Nasty stuff. A kitchen fire inside a motorhome could be pretty scary, with that stuff waiting to catch fire it'd be a nightmare.
With all the insulation removed I set about cutting holes in the roof to install two hatches. Toward the front I put in an American made FanTastic fan. This incorporates a 3 speed/2-way fan which can be set to operate automatically, utilising a built in thermostat. You just set it for whatever temperature you want it to cut in at. This will double as an extractor fan, with it positioned over the cooking area. A mesh protects fingers & prevents mozzies getting in.
At the rear, over the bed, I installed a larger 'Midi Heki' hatch. This is double glazed & can be opened fully, giving access to the roof by standing on the bed. It also incorporates a bug screen & a blackout curtain. Even when the hatch is fully closed ventilation still occurs, to comply with local gas laws & to help prevent 'steaming up' on wet days.
Cutting the holes was the easy bit.
Fitting painted hardwood frames into the roof was straightfoward.
The problems were twofold. The roof is 'ribbed' & also not flat. It curves across it's width. Whilst not much of an issue for the smaller 'relatively flexible' front hatch, it was much more so for the larger 'totally rigid' rear one. This hatch needs to be mounted onto a dead flat surface. Any irregularities invite water to leak in.
Flattening the cut ends of the ribs involved an an angle grinder, a couple of big hammers, an oxy torch & braze & elbow grease. Sounds brutal but actually came up pretty good, although was pretty time consuming & tedious.
If that was time consuming & tedious, it was like a stroll in the park compared to dealing with the curve of the roof!
With the hatch frame sitting as flush as possible over the top of the hole , it touched the roof at it's mid point, tapering to a half inch clearance at either end. After much head scratching & experimentation, I ended up building up the roof with body filler. Getting it level was a long tedious effort of trial & error, involving an orbital sander, lots of dust, many reapplications of filler & a spirit level. Finally when it was done, all was sprayed with zinc primer. I did end up getting pretty obsessional about it. I really don't want the doomsayers who predict that "hatches above beds always leak", to be correct. With the roof painted the filler 'profile' is not noticeable.
Ok so the hatches were fitted (bar their interior trim) & I turned to insulation. On the inside I lined the roof with a thin product called Aircell Retroshield. Basically it's a layer of 'bubblewrap' with a layer of foil on each side. I think it's 7mm thick, & supposed to be equivalent to 100mm of fibreglass batts.
It's also much nicer to install.
On the outside of the roof I applied Thermashield heat reflecting paint. This appears to be another 'Wonder of Modern Science'. A few coats of paint containing millions of tiny 'heat reflective ceramic spheres' are also reputed to have the same insulating qualities as the 100mm of fibre batts.
It was pretty hot on the day I rubbed the roof down in preparation, with the roof getting too hot for me to hold my hand onto for more than a second or so. A few days later the weather was the same, but with the thermashield applied, I could hold my hand on the roof indefinately. Pretty impressive.
Even more impressive , more recently I left the bus parked in full sun for several hours on a day when temperatures reached 31 degrees. I left both hatches slightly open, but with the fan set not to operate. I left a digital thermometer in the bus to record the maximum temperature reached. A max of 33.6deg was better than I'd hoped for!
Of course the solar panels (with an air gap under them) aid roof insulation too.
The 'before' shot. Aircell insulation
Midi Heki Hatch (interior) Midi Heki hatch (exterior - before roof painted)
FanTastic fan/vent (exterior) FanTastic fan/vent (interior)
Roof painted with Thermashield. Solar Panel mounts attached with Sikaflex & rivets.
Just a small roofrack at the rear needed now.
|* * * Fold Out External Kitchen & Storage Bin * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 1:01 PM * * *|
They don't call me Cuppa for nothing!
When a man is comfortably lounging by the creek, under the shade of his awning, he needs to be kept topped up by regular supplies of coffee & tea. (Others may consider alcohol a worthy alternative, & if we could get decent pommie beer here in Oz I might be tempted to dabble now & again. Now I'm not a Pommie Whinger, in fact I consider myself pretty much True Blue these days.... BUT ....there's no getting away from the fact that Aussies make crap beer! The only reason it's drunk icy cold & fizzy is to disguise the crap taste of the chemicals involved in it's production. The cold & fizz combine to numb the taste buds, fooling those who want to be fooled. Ask our average Aussie drinker if he or she has ever drunk Bitter & they'll refer to the ubiquitous 'VB' (or other similar gutrot). Look fellas', just 'cos it's called Victoria Bitter, doesn't actually mean that it's 'Bitter'. It's all a lager style beer. Real beer doesn't need to freeze your tonsils. Real beer really isn't as fizzy as coke!
Oops of on a tangent...... :-)
Whilst regular supplies of coffee & tea are required for our lounging hero, it is a reality of life that he himself, on occasions, will need to 'put the kettle on'. Now part of the act of successful lounging, requires the participant to spend long periods of time in a sloth like state. This requires minimal movement.
So how to best meet the thirsty needs with minimal movement. Well obviously one needs a second outdoor kitchen.
Et Voila! The Cuppa 'Hole in the side of the Bus episode!
After removing the lining I found all this 'bulkhead' reinforcing, that would need removing.
With a steel box frame made, installed & bolted in, I cut the hole with an air 'body saw' from the outside, using the new frame as a
'template'. I had been warned not to use an angle grinder, as the heat generated would be enough to warp & buckle the bus 'skin', preventing a neat finish.
"It should go roughly about here"
"Well there's no going back now"
Door made from security door channel, with a painted ply infill. Door surrounds are made from aluminium angle.
Open Sesame! Stove uses readily available disposable gas cartridges.
Detail. Stainless fittings.
Folds flat to ease access to storage space. Light has a high & low brightness setting.
Capacity of the 'Side bin. Long skinny items can be poked through into an underbed storage area at the rear.
Overall it was a bit nerve wracking cutting the hole, as you only get one go at it. But having done it, I realise I worried far more than I needed. It wasn't hard to do, & inspired me to cut further holes in the roof.
|* * * Solar System2 - Pics * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 10:06 AM * * *|
Morningstar 'Tristar 45' solar controller.
System 2 battery compartment. Contains 2 x 150a/h AGM batteries on a roll out tray.
Front 'face' of the battery roll out tray. It also provides a spot for the system fusebox & circuit breakers. 'Kitchen' power points. The inverter powerpoint has been modified to fit the red neon light, which operates to warn whenever the inverter is switched on.
Next....yet to be decided
|* * * Solar System1 - Pics * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 08:45 AM * * *|
Roof mounted Solar panels
Steca PR1010 Solar regulator
System 1 battery compartment (Closed)
System 1 battery compartment (open). Batteries are on a slide-out tray for full access.
System 1 fusebox.
Vehicle start batteries rem,ain in original location. Accessed by removing wire baskets & floor panel.
Single LED nightlight comes on automatically when darkness falls.
LED reading lights
Central lighting (12v & 24V) plus sneak preview of the as yet unfinished overhead cupboard doors! ;-)
Next pics of System 2
|* * * Electrics * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 07:32 AM * * *|
I had intended to try & upload 'installments' here in the rough chronological order to which they occurred, but it's just too hard. Many parts of the project have to be done/have been done simultaneously. Many jobs require other jobs to be part completed first. The overall project could be described as a complex 3 dimensional jigsaw that is made up as I go along. The trick of course is to to be able to plan everything in advance. CMCA stalwarts tell me no-one gets it 100% right the first time around. I wonder what I've missed???
So.......having binned the chronological idea, I'll try a 'systems approach'.
I'll start with the electrical system, as this is one part that is complete & installed.(Well 95% of it anyway )
A few comments:
This is one area that has taken up an enormous amount of head space. 'Steep' does not seem adequate to describe the learning curve involved in getting my head around Solar power. I started from a point where I knew it was possible but that was about it. People far more knowledgeable than I hang out on the CMCA's online forum & have put up with all the sort of drivel one might expect from an electrical ignoramus trying to 'go it alone'. Not only have they put up with me, but they have provided me with the knowledge I needed. Anyone in Oz wanting to undertake a similar project could do a lot worse than joining the CMCA just to get full access to the forum.
Another clear concise source of info, that I would regard as an essential part of any bus converters toolkit are several books written by an active CMCA member. They are available from the author at
When I bought the bus, it had 1 x 60w solarex panel, charging 2 x 75amp/hour deep cycle 'wet' batteries at 12 volt, via a basic 4 amp regulator. A fancy electrical box called a charge equaliser had been wired in to allow the vehicle's alternator to charge the deep cycle's as well as the vehicle batteries. Although I never really understood how that set-up worked, it became clear that it was a very innefficient set up, destined to become a long term frustration. The single panel was carried on the bed, & set up outside when required. This was a real pain, always having to move it around.
The System(s) now.
Feb '06. House electrical system(s) completed, connected & operational. :-)
All new wiring. Dual cable throughout. (ie. chassis not used as earth on 'load' side of batteries) for long term reliability.
2x 12 volt 60w Solarex solar panels connected to give 24 volts (front two on roof).
Steca PR1010 24v Solar controller (10amp) - with LCD screen
2 x 90amp/hr AGM batteries (Fullriver DC90-12's), on slide-out, connected in series to give 24volt
As well as being charged by the solar panels, these house batteries are also automatically charged from the vehicles alternator when driving, once the vehicle' start batteries are fully charged., via a Redarc Smartstart 'smart' battery isolator. The Smartstart also allows for the solar panels to charge the vehicle batteries, once the house battery is full, but prevents the vehicle battery from being accidentally flattened.
An extra switch allows the Steca to monitor the condition of either the house or vehicle batteries.
A 12 volt supply is 'tapped' off these house batteries via a Redarc 20amp Charge Equaliser Model CE20). This allows twelve volts to be taken from the 24 volt 'pair', whilst maintaining an equal charge in both batteries.
The supply +ve runs through a fuse (blade) box. There are four separate fused circuits:-
'Lights' covers all interior 12v lighting. -
All 'under cupboard' lighting. A mix of Fluoros, Halogen downlights & LED spots/reading lights.
Two of the ceiling fluoros.
(Note. 2 other ceiling fluoros are 24v, switched from drivers cabin. Powered from vehicle batteries).
'Exterior power point'. This covers just a single external 12v powerpoint (just outside the door).
'Power circuit' covers all the other 12 volt powerpoints inside & the rear external one *except* for the powerpoint on the benchtop next to the single seat (which is supplied from System 2)
Note. The light in the side 'storage bin/fold out kitchen' is powered from this circuit.
'Exterior light'. covers just the light outside next to the main entrance door.
This is a stand-alone solar powered system comprising:
3 x 12volt 125w Kyocera solar panels (KC125G) connected in parallel for 12 volts. (Rear 3 on roof)
Morningstar Tristar 45amp Solar controller with optiona LCD display, & remote battery temperature sensor.
2 x 150a/hr Fullriver AGM batteries(DC150 -12's ) on roll out base, connected for 12 volt.
This system has 5 fused (blades) circuits. The +ve supply runs through a BlueSeas 50 amp DC switchable circuit breaker (which offers electrical protection plus doubles as a Master on/off switch for all the circuits in System 2. This is between the battery terminal & the fuse box. There is a separate Blueseas DC 40amp switchable circuit brealer between the battery & Solar controller.
The circuits are:
'Fridge' Covers just the fridge compressor unit, via a switch that allows fridge to be switched off when bus not being used. The fridge is a 133 litre Vitrifrigo unit with a remote compressor.
'Pump' Covers the water pressure pump, via a switch that allows pump to be switched on/off. The pump is a Shurflo 'Whisper King', (with optional filter) supplying both the hot & cold water systems.
'Fan' covers the ceiling vent fan (Fan-Tastic 3 speed unit with thermostat/auto operation) , the fridge interior light, the oven interior light & the oven electronic ignition.
'Power' covers only the 2 12v powerpoints on the benchtop, next to the single seat.
'Inverter." This covers the built in 300w pure sine wave inverter. The double 240v powerpoint (double pole) that the inverter supplies is on the 'kitchen wall' with a built in light that indicates when the inverter is switched on.
'Air' This covers the onboard air compressor. A heavy duty 12v US made Thomas unit with a remote air tank. Via a switch accessed outside the vehicle. (Air hose stored under vehicle)
A second 'mobile' 150w pure sine wave inverter & multiple powerpoints gives flexibility for use of laptop etc.
To ensure optimum performance, without the problems associated with 'voltage drop' that plagues so many RV electrical systems, the complete house 12v electrical system & is wired with 'oversized' heavy gauged cabling.
All batteries are accessible from inside the vehicle.
Additionally there is a 24 to 12 volt convertor in the passenger cab running off the vehicle batteries, for laptop use/battery charging, /ipod/camera battery charging etc whilst driving. Will also power other 12v cabin requirements - eg rear vision monitor
UHF CB radio.
This is the 240 volt system for when exterior 'shore' power is available. It is very simple & totally separate from any of the other on board electrical systems.
Safety switch/Circuit breaker
Two double power points. (double pole) 1 on kitchen wall, 1 at rear for Fujitsu reverse cycle air conditioner & LCD TV.
Electrical safety certificate.
Pics of some of the above to follow soon.
|* * * Work Commences * * * 21/3/2006 * * * 06:04 AM * * *|
This is where all the work has been done. You will notice that I'm not an obsessional tidiness freak!
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