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Author Topic: All Electric Bus Conversions-Pros and cons of all electric utilities  (Read 4712 times)
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
1989, MCI 102C3, 8V92T, HT740, 06' conversion FMCA# F-27317-S "Wife- 1969 Italian/German Style"
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« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2006, 06:46:33 PM »

Hi Guy's,

I avoid the older campgrounds anyway. They tend to be too tight for my rig and you know, I

wouldn't want to mess up my new paint...Ha Ha...

Fact is, campers and motor homes are Not getting any smaller. If theese older campgrounds with old electric

and small sites don't upgrade, they may find themselves without customers soon.

Seems RV's are on the rise again theese days but, bigger than ever too.

Nick-
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« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2006, 07:13:12 PM »

I gotta offer this...if you go all electric, and plan to utilize older campgrounds, avoid 220 VAC appliances if possible.  The cooktop would be the only problem as that would likely be the only 220 appliance used.  
RVs don't have 220, even though they use two 110 legs with the 50 amp outlets.   The power in some of the older campgrounds may be cobbled together and not to code.  A lot of older campgrounds only have a few 50A outlets and lots of 30 amp outlets.  As long as you stay with 110VAC appliances, you'll be able to "manage" your power and make most things work...albeit

Okay, I'm confused here.  Why is RV power two legs of 110 volts and not 220 volts?  The 50 amp receptacles are the same 220 volts used for ranges and dryers.  I know true 220 volt circuits don't have a neutral, but anything with a 110 volt load in addition to 220 volt loads must have a neutral these days.  No more using ground as neutral.

My bus is wired as if the 50 amp incoming is 220 volts and not two legs of 110 volts, but I don't suppose it really matters as I don't have anything that runs on 220 volts.  The generator is also wired at 220 with a neutral.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2006, 08:07:56 PM »

MH,
    I opted for almost all electric.  I like cooking on a gas cooktop so that is my only propane appliance.  I use electric heatpumps in moderate temperatures and the diesel fired Webasto if it's really cold.  My refrigerator is a small 120 volt unit that draws only 19 watts average.  I use a Trace SW2512 and have 800 AH house battery.  Domestic hot water is electrically heated if I'm plugged in or heated by the Webasto or engine heat while driving.  Despite what others have said most RV fires are caused by propane refrigerators.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2006, 08:23:07 PM »

I gotta offer this...if you go all electric, and plan to utilize older campgrounds, avoid 220 VAC appliances if possible.  The cooktop would be the only problem as that would likely be the only 220 appliance used.   
RVs don't have 220, even though they use two 110 legs with the 50 amp outlets.   The power in some of the older campgrounds may be cobbled together and not to code.  A lot of older campgrounds only have a few 50A outlets and lots of 30 amp outlets.  As long as you stay with 110VAC appliances, you'll be able to "manage" your power and make most things work...albeit

Okay, I'm confused here.  Why is RV power two legs of 110 volts and not 220 volts?  The 50 amp receptacles are the same 220 volts used for ranges and dryers.  I know true 220 volt circuits don't have a neutral, but anything with a 110 volt load in addition to 220 volt loads must have a neutral these days.  No more using ground as neutral.

My bus is wired as if the 50 amp incoming is 220 volts and not two legs of 110 volts, but I don't suppose it really matters as I don't have anything that runs on 220 volts.  The generator is also wired at 220 with a neutral.


Brian Elfert
Brian,

I hope your not using a range/dryer receptical.... They are 3 prong!   You need 4 prong [nutral and ground] for park connections.

Nick-
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« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2006, 08:29:02 PM »

Despite what others have said most RV fires are caused by propane refrigerators.
Regards Jerry 4107 1120

Yep.  RV fridge is the primary cause of RV fires.  Still very rare.  Improperly installed, or gas leaks, are usually the problem.  LP leak detectors won't sense fridge problems.   
RVs are relatively easy to insure...which speaks to the safety of RV style LP systems. 
Brian, occasionally an older RV park will pull the other leg of the 50 amp from the same circuit (jump the recep), a 30 amp plug, or some other "not in correct phase" circuit.  There may not be a 220VAC potential between the hot leads.  This is not an issue with RVs since they don't use 220V appliances.   It is not to code, and most modern campgrounds are not afflicted with these sort of problems.   
RVs are wired similar to the 110V legs in a home....sans the 220V circuits.  Wiring for only two 110VAC legs  also allows the use of 30 amp adaptors to operate  both legs in an RV.  As long as you manage the power consumption. 
JR
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2006, 04:48:00 AM »

I hope your not using a range/dryer receptical.... They are 3 prong!   You need 4 prong [nutral and ground] for park connections.

I have the correct plug.

New dryer receptacles are four wire as the NEC now requires a neutral if there is 110 volt used within the appliance which dryers do use.  The receptacle used for 50 amp RVs is a very common one available at any home improvement center.  The NEMA TT-30 used for 30 amp is a lot harder to find.  Neither Home Depot or Menards had them at the time I installed my 30 amp receptacle for my travel trailer.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2006, 05:11:18 AM »

Despite what others have said most RV fires are caused by propane refrigerators.
Regards Jerry 4107 1120

Yep.  RV fridge is the primary cause of RV fires.  Still very rare. 


Actually, most fridge fires happen in the spring and are caused by critters making nests beside the burner over the winter.  If the owner does proper maintanance, those fires don't happen. 

Ross
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2006, 05:22:15 AM »

MH,
    I opted for almost all electric.  I like cooking on a gas cooktop so that is my only propane appliance.  I use electric heatpumps in moderate temperatures and the diesel fired Webasto if it's really cold.  My refrigerator is a small 120 volt unit that draws only 19 watts average.  I use a Trace SW2512 and have 800 AH house battery.  Domestic hot water is electrically heated if I'm plugged in or heated by the Webasto or engine heat while driving.  Despite what others have said most RV fires are caused by propane refrigerators.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120

19 watts?  Are you sure?

I've not seen any household 120v fridge less than about 1.3 amps draw, which, by my calculations comes out to about 156 watts.

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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
1989, MCI 102C3, 8V92T, HT740, 06' conversion FMCA# F-27317-S "Wife- 1969 Italian/German Style"
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2006, 05:59:50 AM »

MH,
    I opted for almost all electric.  I like cooking on a gas cooktop so that is my only propane appliance.  I use electric heatpumps in moderate temperatures and the diesel fired Webasto if it's really cold.  My refrigerator is a small 120 volt unit that draws only 19 watts average.  I use a Trace SW2512 and have 800 AH house battery.  Domestic hot water is electrically heated if I'm plugged in or heated by the Webasto or engine heat while driving.  Despite what others have said most RV fires are caused by propane refrigerators.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120

19 watts? Are you sure?

I've not seen any household 120v fridge less than about 1.3 amps draw, which, by my calculations comes out to about 156 watts.



Thr light bulb draws 40 watts....huh.

Nick-
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2006, 06:27:33 AM »

Thr light bulb draws 40 watts....huh.

Nick-

Yeah, but when you close the door, does the light bulb stay on?

Are you sure?  Cheesy
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2006, 07:08:43 AM »

Yes I'm sure my refrigerator draws 19 watts.  It is an Avanti 653 and when I got it I ran it fora couple of days connected through a wattmeter average watts 22.  Then I added 1 1/2" of 'Rmax" board around it's sides,back,top and bottom. After adding the insulation I ran it another day and measured under 19 watts average.  When the compressor is running it is drawing between 110 and 125 watts  and the light draws 25 watts.
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Jerry 4107 1120 
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2006, 12:17:41 PM »

Lots of good responses here already, but I thought I would weigh in with a couple years of real-world experience in answer to the originally posted question.

We did an "all-electric" coach.  I put that in quotes because there really is no such thing -- in all the years I have been researching bus conversions and other RV's, I have only seen perhaps two or three units that were truly electric-only.  Most of the units that are called all-electric have, at minimum, some type of hydrocarbon-fired heating system.  Current marketing wisdom seems to be that, if the heating system is fired by the same fuel that powers the main road engine, then you get to call the resulting product "all-electric."

In our case, we cheated two ways.  First, we do have a diesel-fired heating system.  We have electric heaters, too, and we seldom need the diesel boiler if we are plugged in to 30 amps or more of shore power.  We mostly boondock, though, so the diesel heat and hot water system sees more use.  Secondly, we put an LP cooktop in, along with an electric induction one.  We don't have a built-in LP tank, just a pair of tiny bottles (2 gallons each) to run the stove and the outdoor BBQ grill.

We had many reasons for forsaking the traditional LP-powered appliances, including safety (did not want to have LP flowing to anything while driving, sleeping, or away from the coach), convenience (did not want to have to level the coach every time we stopped), efficiency (pound for pound, LP is a much less energetic fuel than diesel, and absorption refrigeration is much less efficient than compressor refrigeration), and LP-restricted travel routes.

After a little more than two years on the road full-time, we are very happy with our choice.  We never have to worry about whether or not we have enough LP on board, and our heating costs are almost negligible.  With our ultra-safe marine cooktop (a thermocouple cuts off gas flow if the burner goes out or fails to light), we never worry that there is any gas flowing anywhere in the coach when we are not cooking.  And we never worry about being level when parked for the day someplace (we do at night -- I hate rolling out of the bed ;-).

If you do go the "all-electric" route, I can make several suggestions:
  • If you intend to boondock, get a high-efficiency, manual-defrost, DC-powered fridge.
  • Induction cooktops are more efficient than resistive or halogen ones, and also easier to control.  Ours is a tabletop unit by Sunpentown, but built-in types are returning to the market.  You can do a lot of cooking on 120 with these, whereas the resistive ones require 240 for more than a couple small burners.  Downside is you will need to get all steel cookware.
  • Put in as big a battery bank as you can afford.  Even if you don't boondock much, it will bridge the gaps between power poles, and give you the option to at least spend a night in a rest area or a Wal-Mart if you have to.
  • 24-volt systems and inverters are more manageable for all-electric coaches than are 12-volt systems.
  • A large, high-quality inverter is a must-have in an all-electric coach.

With regard to LP restrictions on travel routes, this turned out to be a red herring.  We went with the small free-standing bottles for our cooking gas on the premise that, if we ever came to a point where we would not be allowed to continue with the LP on board, we could just ditch the bottles and pick them up, or new ones, afterwards.  In two years of travel, we have never had this problem.  I know there are some tunnels in the east (e.g. Hudson River and Boston Harbor tunnels) where any LP at all is strictly forbidden, and even empty cylinders are prohibited.  Hard to imagine, though, wanting to take Odyssey through any of those tunnels.  We've been required to turn off our LP at the tanks while going across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, several smaller tunnels, and many ferries.  However, even a fairly good sized built-in tank would have been allowed on those routes, provided the valve is closed at the tank during the transit.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your project.

-Sean
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2006, 06:29:45 PM »

Yes I'm sure my refrigerator draws 19 watts.  It is an Avanti 653 and when I got it I ran it fora couple of days connected through a wattmeter average watts 22.  Then I added 1 1/2" of 'Rmax" board around it's sides,back,top and bottom. After adding the insulation I ran it another day and measured under 19 watts average.  When the compressor is running it is drawing between 110 and 125 watts  and the light draws 25 watts.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120 

Jerry, I think you are confusing some with your terminology.

 As I understand what you are saying is that over a 24 hour period the overall average is 22 watts for a total consumption of 528 watts for the 24 hour period.

You state that the draw is is 22 watts. That is not correct. The draw is 140-150 watts with the light on.

That is my understanding of what you are saying.
Richard
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« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2006, 08:33:08 PM »

Richard,
      Yes it is drawing 19 watts so over 24 hours it draws 456 watt hours.  The actual data was 455 watt hours. over 24 hours running with the door closed so the light was off.    When the compressor runs  it starts out drawing 110 watts and builds up to 125 watts after a few minutes. 
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2006, 05:44:47 AM »

Richard,
      Yes it is drawing 19 watts so over 24 hours it draws 456 watt hours.  The actual data was 455 watt hours. over 24 hours running with the door closed so the light was off.    When the compressor runs  it starts out drawing 110 watts and builds up to 125 watts after a few minutes. 
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120

OK, thanks Jerry. That was what was confusing me. And that is easy to do. LOL

I have  always associated draw with what the current amount of amps are at any one time (AMPS), whether the device is running or not and then average (WH) as to what the total consumption is over a period of time. I think we are on the same track. Thanks again.
Richard
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