Well shoot, sometimes you just need a little bit of help.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog (here’s to all eleven of you!) you’re probably pretty clued in to the fact that progress hasn’t exactly been moving at the speed of light. Mostly we’ve been hung-up on the concepts of electrical circuits and plumbing. Largely to blame for the delay are our collective inexperience, tendencies towards indecision, and fear of making an incorrect choice that will be regretted afterward.
Given that my own experience with electrical work amounts to the impressive ability to flip a light-switch, I haven’t been able to offer any meaningful assistance in answering the bigger questions. Unfortunately, this has put most of the burden of figuring things out onto Ryan’s shoulders. Sure, YouTube helps, but even after watching the delightful couple behind the RV Walk Thru videos multiple times, we still didn’t have a solid plan in place for how to design the electrical circuits for our specific bus. (We do have a better appreciation for their Canadian accents, though.)
Enter the help I mentioned earlier.
Fortunately for us, my Dad is both incredibly handy AND retired. According to all accounts (ahem, ahem, Mom) he has also been itching for new projects now that my parents have finally concluded the 10+ year campaign to build out their own home. So, in need of a catalyst, we flew him down to Texas for a long weekend of hard labor. I know, I know – I don’t even have to get him a father’s day gift now!
I’ll spare you a play-by-play of the entire weekend, but suffice to say that many tacos were consumed, beers tossed-back, and theoretical conversations had in the aisles of Home Depot. Somehow in the midst of all of this activity, we also managed to hammer out a decent plan for the AC & DC circuits and plumbing lines. I’m happy to report that the electrical systems are now about 70% installed and plumbing is, well, at least started.
For those of you who are interested, here’s a basic overview of the electrical plan below. For the other 9 of you, feel free to cut straight to the photos!
- 30 amp power inlet for a standard AC RV hook-up located right behind the driver’s area
- One AC circuit on each side of the bus
- The AC will be used just to power a small air-conditioning unit, small kitchen appliances, and to charge lap-top and phone batteries
- Inverter installed to convert D/C power to A/C power when we’re off-grid
- DC power from two 6-volt deep-cycle golf-cart batteries wired in series for a total of 12 volts
- We were able to run wiring for the DC circuit inside the bus through the inside front panel alongside the existing wiring
- We’ll power LED light strips and the water pump from the DC power source and have also purchased a converter/charger to keep the batteries juiced while we’re using AC power
Eventually we’ll look at up-grading and purchasing an inverter to be able to have AC power even when away from shore-power and may even add some solar panels as we can afford.
Over the course of the weekend, Dad and I also finished building out the in-line storage bench that will serve as the main seating area in the front half of the bus.
We’ve also managed to complete a few other tasks such as installing the ShurFlo water pump, finalizing placement of the inline water heater, and getting the support in place for the kitchen counter top.
All in all, it was a great weekend. Nobody was electrocuted (much to Dad’s disappointment), and we’ve managed to get ourselves past a major barrier within the conversion process. We haven’t cleared all of the hurdles yet and our to-do list still looms large, however it’s the most progress we’ve made in, well, ages. We’ll count it as a win.
P.S. Big kudos to my wonderful Dad who was willing to fly 2600 miles to help us chase this crazy dream. Thanks for supporting us and not minding too much that we’re a couple of weirdos who want convert a school bus into an RV.