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Author Topic: Home Made Central Vac  (Read 3299 times)
captain ron
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« on: December 11, 2007, 07:17:47 AM »

My next "just for the fun of it and something cool" project is a central vac made from a shop vac I just bought from Lowes for $39.00. It's a nice vac for the money, 11 gallon wet/dry and a detachable leaf blower with 250 mph wind force. I plan to run pvc from a mounting point in one of my bays and T off for 2 spots in the bus to connect hose to. I'll run it out of the toe kick of my kitchen/bath cabinets. Then wire 2 switches like you would for a light that can be turned on from 2 different locations. I'll get or make little flappers to seal off the one not in use or both when unit is not being used. Any input for doing a better job will be appreciated.
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Stan
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2007, 07:28:54 AM »

That is about as cheap as you can do it. I would suggest that you wire the duplex in the bay as a split so that one half is switched by your Vacuum switches and the other half will be a convenience outlet in the bay for outside use.
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captain ron
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2007, 08:08:58 AM »

Thanks Stan, I was going to do that as I have one now in my bay that runs my circulating pump for my Pro Heat and I need to split it and put in a switch. I'm also going to fabricate dust pans into the vac outlets to be able to sweep floors right into them.
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DavidInWilmNC
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2007, 08:31:53 AM »

Something like this http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370004597460 will work for you.  Most have contacts that will switch on the vacuum when plugged in.  You can also wire it so that the vacuum can't be turned on from a wall switch unless a hose is plugged in.  Here are the built-in dustpans http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150192615876.  I'm planning on doing something similar on my bus.  I'll hopefully have a shorter hose and an outlet / valve up front so I can keep the stair area clean.  I just hope I remember to run the PVC pipe when I re-floor the front!

David
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2007, 08:44:36 AM »

I have a small canister Hoover that has a long hose and works great for now Jerry
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makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2007, 08:50:44 AM »

Ron, be sure you use the pvc made for the central vac it will save you a lot of trouble later
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2007, 08:53:18 AM »

Has anyone had any luck matching up a shop vac's fittings to the readily available pvc pipes? If so what brand/model? I have been thinking about this for quite a while too, but have not found just the right vac yet. The piping made for the home central vacs is just different enough so you can't easily use the cheaper pvc pipes. I just figured i would have to cobble up some way to attach the hose and tank to the pvc.
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2007, 09:40:30 AM »

I have a central vac in my house and put the same thing in my bus years ago. I used a shop vac and regular pvc . I only have one outlet centered in the bus w/25 ft hose w/a beater bar.  The thing will almost pull the carpet off the floor.In the bay, I clamped the shop vac hose to the pvc and ran the other hose exhausting through the floor of the bay.  Just use lots of glue at the vac outlet and pvc. Works great for the wife since she requested it be installed. I myself don't know how to use it.

Richard
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2007, 09:48:07 AM »

Hi Capt. Ron,

You can use the hose kit from the dometic unit. It stretches from 8' to 30' and is very durable.

I know because I have one installed in the bus. The hose is the greatest thing!

http://www.dometicusa.com/microwaves.php?product=82

Nick-
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007, 10:05:19 AM »

Hi Charley, You are on to a great convenience for your bus. You are going to love it and the lack of Vac noise in the bus itself. I did what you are doing and this is what I did;
I used the big shop vac from Lowes and ran the PVC but to attach the vac to the PVC I used a small section of the big flexible vac hose and clamped it onto the PVC with a worm drive clamp. That avoids any vibration that may come loose going down the road. I then installed a regular wall plug from a house central vac system beneath a cabinet. (I centered the inlet in the middle of the bus ) I attached that to the PVC the same way with a small flexible piece of hose with a clamp on it. I put a switch under the inlet that operates one side of a duplex outlet down in the bay. I went to a local vac store that repairs vacs and they made me a central vac hose that goes to the front or back. The hose plugs in just like a central vac and the other end uses all of the attachments just like a real one. I then created a special drawer that holds all of the hose and equipment and it it all well out of the way and neat and clean.

Here's a picture of the wall inlet set-up.
Good luck,
Dave Siegel
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2007, 10:44:20 AM »

I have a RV central vac thats built in my coach that my wife has decided that she would rather use the space for another use. I can't advertise it here, but email me if youre interested, its less $$ than one can be made up for 14bama@bellsouth.net
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2007, 11:32:51 AM »

I have had a central vac in a house before and I can see the space benefit in a bus, but I have never found straight suction to be as good as a unit with a beater.  Do you find these to be good enough?
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2007, 12:03:07 PM »

Hi Lin,

In all honesty, about once a month my wife brings the Dyson from the house into the bus to give the carpets a

deep cleaning. The Donetic unit we have is very powerful but like you said. Nothing beats a beater...

Nick-
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2007, 12:13:24 PM »

Ron,

I got a job installing central vacuums right out of high school. I think you're on the right track, but for maximum effiency make sure that any plumbing T fittings you use are of the sweep type, more like sanitary fittings, not pressure type. Also make sure they are facing the correct direction, always pointing towards the dump pan.

The VacuFlo brand I used to install have two contacts inside the hose door. When you plug the hose into the outlet, the metal on the hose end closes the circuit, and starts the suction motor.

Hope that helps.

Jay
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2007, 12:36:45 PM »

Has anyone had any luck matching up a shop vac's fittings to the readily available pvc pipes? If so what brand/model? I have been thinking about this for quite a while too, but have not found just the right vac yet. The piping made for the home central vacs is just different enough so you can't easily use the cheaper pvc pipes. I just figured i would have to cobble up some way to attach the hose and tank to the pvc.
>
Ron,
I like the way this word =" COBBLED " keeps following you around,maybe another name change is in order. rotflmao Grin
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John,
 You have to use Hose barbs not pipe fittings, the barbs will mate to the pipe fittings. Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2007, 12:53:03 PM »

I have had a central vac in a house before and I can see the space benefit in a bus, but I have never found straight suction to be as good as a unit with a beater.  Do you find these to be good enough?

My central vac (in the house) has a motorized beater bar.  I honestly can't tell you if it's as effective as a good upright, as I haven't installed it.  The bus has taken priority over lots of other projects!

David
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2007, 01:51:57 PM »

Ron,

Don't forget to add the floor level dust pan  door.

Just sweep it to the opening and it sucks it in.

For those times when a quick sweep will do.

I put my one inlet and the floor opening in the center of the bus.

It came with the longggggggggg whole house hose, but I may look into on like Nick has for storage and handling purposes.  Wink

Main thing is, get in the plumbing and wires in, a little shop vac would really work for the bus and with the exhaust out of the living compartment you will really cut down on the dust etc from a regular unit.


Cliff
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2007, 02:13:20 PM »

Hey...great idea!  Nothin' much to offer, except (again?) use sweeps and don't forget the clean-outs, like with a house's septic/sewer pipe system.  Who knows what you may end up sucking up, getting stuck and later you may really want to remove, like dirty socks, greenbacks, dead insects, mice, rats (big un's too!) missing small pets and stuff like that.  Nice having a remote/QUIET super vacuum system.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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captain ron
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2007, 03:18:36 PM »

I don't have any carpet in my bus at all and don't plan on it but I do have a small dirt devil with a beater bar that I use to clean my futon. I want the central vac cause I work in my bus a  lot and it's a lot easier to just flip a swich than dig out a shop vac and not put it away for 2 weeks and stumbling over it and cussing. I would like to find the soft fabric hose like on an old Kirby so it doesn't beat up the corners of cabinets. I have a 24 inch wide base cabinet that I have not put a toe kick plate in yet so I will make that my storage for the hose. One big question is, will using bigger pvc hose cut down on the velocity of the system or should I stay with the same diameter? The dust pans will be built in at floor level so all I have to do is sweep it into it. I'm going to locate the vac where I can get to it to use the blower attachment to dry my bike if and when I ever wash it  Grin.
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« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2007, 12:52:11 AM »

Guys,

I must have lived a sheltered life...never heard of dust pans except the ones you sweep into and then empty.  Sounds like you have a vac opening on the floor that you can open to suck the sweepings into the vac.  Right?  Got a pic?

Thanks

John
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« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2007, 05:22:43 AM »

Guys,

I must have lived a sheltered life...never heard of dust pans except the ones you sweep into and then empty.  Sounds like you have a vac opening on the floor that you can open to suck the sweepings into the vac.  Right?  Got a pic?

Thanks

John

Check the link I posted much earlier in this thread.
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« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2007, 07:47:57 PM »

David,

Thank you.  Well duh!  Don'tnow how I missed that.  I read your thread and visited the other.

Thanks again,

John
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2007, 07:59:37 PM »

This site,  www.centralvacuumstores.com ,  has vac fittings that allow you to go from thinwall vacuum pipe to standard sizes of pvc.  The important thing to remember about plumbing pipe is that you can have "steps" or ridges where the fittings join together.  It is really important to ream any edges that stick up, and to make sure you don't have any sharp edges that could snag fuzz and stuff. 

Christy Hicks
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2007, 10:00:44 PM »

The central vac in our house came with a couple sizes of turbine-powered beater bars. I have used these with the shop vac, where the house hose won't reach, and they do a great job. No extra cords or power to worry about. Definitely something to consider for the bus.

Suction is probably compromised, so you need enough power. The shop vac is 5 hp and I think the house vac is 6.5 hp.

Don

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