Archive for the ‘rts’ tag
Over the weekend I installed and connected my second solar panel system on my RTS bus conversion. Now the starting batteries will be kept fully charged even if I don’t start the vehicle frequently, which is currently the case since I’m working on it on weekends and never taking trips.
Since I only drive it a block or two at a time, to move it to the other side of the street for street cleaning, the batteries have discharged several times this year. Since buses have 24 volt starting systems, I can’t get a jump start from my car or a regular tow truck.
What I have to do is take out the 4 batteries and take them home, where I charge them individually on a 12 volt charger. This takes about a full day to accomplish, including charging through the night. I have to wake up once to switch the charger to the next battery. This has happened enough times that I finally climbed up on the bus conversion roof and bolted my set of two 12 volt Uni-Solar 20 watt panels and wired them in series to get 24 volts.
I then ran the wires through the roof and down to a 24 volt Xantrex C35 solar charge controller, which was connected through a fuse to the starting battery cut off switch in the dedicated battery bay in front of the rear wheels.
Everything worked perfectly the first time I switched on the batteries.
It’s hard on batteries to let them discharge to the point they won’t start the vehicle. Keeping the batteries fully charged will certainly make the batteries last longer. I don’t understand why all vehicles don’t incorporate small solar panels to keep the battery charged during periods of non use. You can get small battery maintainer systems for around USD $25.00, and if they were built in, I can see the price dropping by half.
Would you pay USD $12.50 more for a car that would not be stranded if you don’t drive it for a few months? The tow truck operators might not like it, but I think it’s a good idea. Excess solar power could be used to drive a tiny fan to keep the passenger compartment cooler. This would result in less petroleum fuel being used to run the air conditioner on high to cool down an interior that might reach 140 degrees F sitting in the hot sun in the summer. Fewer batteries being discarded prematurely plus lower air conditioning costs? Seems like that would be well worth an extra USD $12.50 per vehicle.
I’ve written about my love of bus conversions. I’ve shown you my first bus conversion, and wrote with sadness when I sold it in January 2011. I’ve written about my new conversion that I got in 2007, but I haven’t posted a high quality picture of it before.
I took this photograph of my 1994 TMC T80206 bus conversions in 2007 soon after I bought it on EBay for USD $10,000.
I love the sleek look, the low height and the fact that it has just two axles. Fewer axles mean cheaper bridge tolls and lower tire costs.
This vehicle only had about 368,000 miles on it when I bought it. Now it has about 371,000 miles on it, as I don’t drive it much.
I had it checked out before I bought it. Mark Waters, the chief bus mechanic at Coach America in San Francisco, California USA, said it was one of the cleanest used vehicles he had inspected. He said the engine computer only had 100 miles on it, which he said means it had just been fully replaced, as the internal mileage counter apparently can’t be reset.
I’ve known Waters since 2001 when I bought my first bus conversion. At the time he was co-owner of Pacific Coast Bus Service. Some time later Coach USA bought his company to get Waters to work for them, as I understand the story of the acquisition. According to WikiPedia, Coach USA West, where Waters worked, is now owned by Coach America and is known as Coach America.
Mark Waters is an exceptional mechanic, and I feel privileged to have had him work on my vehicles for the last decade. He knows both 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines, a rarity among bus mechanics these days. He had to replace a cracked cylinder on my 1967 MCI 5a, and he did the work correctly the first time.
There is no rust on my 1994 conversion as most of the metal in the vehicle is stainless steel or aluminum.
I will have this repainted white at some point as that’s the most efficient color for a habitable vehicle, because white paint reduces air conditioning requirements dramatically, and I hope to cool one room at a time exclusively with photovoltaic panels, as I’ve written about before.
Last year I read the book Take your RV to Europe by Adelle and Ron Milavsky. This book was inspiring, for it made me want to take my RTS bus conversion to Europe, and I have been planning this trip now for about a year. Last year I told my entire family about my plans.
The authors of Take your RV to Europe took their Toyota based class C RV to Europe, and now leave it parked there full time so they can fly over and go on extended multi-month voyages as they please without the hassle of shipping the vehicle over for each trip.
I got shipping quotes last year around June of 2010, and the price is about $7,000 each way to take my 40 foot long conversion to The Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands from The Port of Oakland, California, the nearest large ocean shipping port to my house.
My plan has been to spend a solid year traveling and living in the conversion full time. The book makes it clear that Europe is very friendly to recreational vehicles, much more so that is the United States. In most medium and large European cities there are RV parks, unlike in the US. For example, there are large RV parks in London and Paris. The one in Paris is walking distance to a Metro station… just outstanding. There are no RV parks in San Francisco, where I live, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world… just awful.
Take your RV to Europe makes a strong case that shipping your RV to Europe is the least costly way to travel for an extended time in Europe.
Fuel is costly in Europe, granted, but distances are short compared to the US.
Restaurant food is costly, so being able to cook on board the RV saves a fortune compared to staying in hotels or even youth hostels. I stayed in a couple of different youth hostels in 2009 when I was in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and I recall paying around 40 Euros a night, which really adds up, particularly since you need to buy lunch and dinner on your own. If I were to do an extended tour of Europe, I would hope I had a new girlfriend or wife by then and would be able to bring her along.
While it may be a while before I embark on a European bus conversion adventure, I wanted to share with you my newest variant of my dream, which I am really excited about:
I want to elevate my trip from a mere road trip into a voyage to change the world.
As you know now from my frequent posts about my plans to build many green features into my beloved RTS, I am passionate about living efficiently. While I own a 1,600 square foot house in the center of San Francisco, California USA, I don’t use all that space for just myself. I rent out most of it to my 4 roommates. Divided evenly, that comes to 320 square feet per person, which is close to the area inside my bus conversion.
Most of the inhabitants of the world live in dwellings much smaller than the average US house.
There are many great advantages to choosing to live in smaller dwellings — interest savings, maintenance savings, time savings, energy savings and mental energy savings, for example.
My green bus will be loaded with technology that will showcase how green living can still be richly pleasurable and rewarding. Few people have ever stepped foot in a truly green home, in part because few such homes exist. They certainly don’t exist in every city and town in the US and Europe. But my green RTS can visit such towns and cities with relative ease.
I hope to be able to change the world by showing people my green bus and telling them about it. I am already working hard to develop my journalism skills by building up my audience for this blog at KevinWarnock.com. I am not scared to speak in public, and I’ve been interviewed on the radio before, while I was CEO at Hotpaper.com, my first Internet startup from the first dot com boom in the 1990s.
I envision arriving in a new city or town and parking my green bus conversion right in front of the venue I will be speaking at. There, I will spend the night. I will address the group assembled by my host and then invite the group to tour my green home. Since it will be my actual home for an extended period, it will be believable in a way that I think most model futuristic homes are not, because they don’t look lived in, because they are not lived in.
I will get my start on this public speaking circuit in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there are many receptive audiences for my green messages. As I build my blog readership and get speaking credits, I hope to get more radio interviews and then television interviews.
At this point, when my ideas are getting more attention, I hope that I will be able to recruit sponsors to help me pay for my eventual adventure traveling around Europe, which will cost perhaps $50,000 for the year. I have been thinking of getting sponsors for a while now, but I really decided to try to make it actually happen when I read the inspirational stories at PlanetSolar.org, which describes a solar electrically powered yacht circumnavigating the globe right now to help publicize the potential of solar electricity. The owners of the Planet Solar craft got sponsors to help pay for the project, which probably has a cost surpassing $20 million, since the boat alone reportedly cost $17.5 million. I first learned of the PlanetSolar project in National Geographic magazine, which my roommate Marie had on the dining room table last week. Thank you Marie.
I need to make friends with the Planet Solar team, including Patrick Marchesseau, the ship’s master.
My green bus conversion offers many opportunities for sponsorship. With slide out trays, I could probably fit $20,000 of solar panels on the roof, which would be enough to fully air condition the vehicle on a hot sunny day. For a large house, it might take $200,000 of solar panels to do the same, which is just too expensive for most to even consider. But if people could reduce their living space, all kinds of formerly cost prohibitive technologies become affordable. While $20,000 is still a lot of money, over time it’s not much, considering those solar panels will last for a quarter of a century. Electricity will cost a lot more then than now, so after inflation, the $20,000 really won’t seem like much. Right now I only have $1,000 worth of solar panels on the roof, due to budget constraints.
Buses routinely have billboards on their sides, so sponsors could show off their participation in return for their help. Such ads would help me spread the word as well, as they would draw attention to me and help me start conversations wherever I park.
When I downloaded the picture above of the Planet Solar craft navigating through the Panama Canal, I noticed the SunPower logo on the side. My friend Matt Campbell works at SunPower. Maybe he’ll introduce me to their sponsorship group? Are you reading this Matt?
Once I get sponsors, I would probably have to register my RTS as a commercial vehicle and begin paying commercial vehicle insurance rates. As a side note, I insure my RTS with Progressive Insurance, and I recommend this company.
I want to be perfectly clear that currently I accept no sponsorships and am not running any kind of a business with my RTS. Right now it’s my hobby with no business angle whatsoever. It actually costs me a lot, as you might well guess. Commercial insurance is expensive, so I would love to one day get an insurance company as a sponsor, so they could insure it as part of their sponsorship.
Why would an insurance company care? I suspect that solar panel insurance is going to be big business one day, as having tens of thousands of easily re-sellable and highly durable panels just sitting on a roof makes them a target for thieves.
With the right sponsors, I might one day even upgrade the vehicle drivetrain. It is a bit ridiculous to be advocating super green living while driving a vehicle that gets only 11 miles to the gallon on the freeway. It would be much better to use a modern electric drivetrain, from one of the innovative startups working hard on such things, such as Motiv Power Systems, which recently received a 7 figure government grant to develop electric power-trains for shuttle buses. These drivetrains are expensive for non transit system use, but with a sponsor they could be practical. If my green bus conversion were all electric, I could see getting featured on prime time network and cable television shows in every country I visit. I know the founders at Motiv Power Systems, and they are passionate about their dream to electrify transit buses. I’m not sure their drivetrains are suitable for intracity travel.
Once I tour Europe, I can then see touring Asia and the United States. I don’t plan to tour the US first as I’ve already driven across the US in my bus once, and the distances are so great I fear I would spend more time driving than speaking and showing, which I believe are key to changing perceptions about how much space is needed for a happy life. I also believe audiences in Europe and Asia will be more receptive to my ideas since their residents already live in smaller dwellings and pay much more for energy than residents do in the United States.
I am continuing to work on my RTS bus conversion on weekends and in the evenings.
My current project is designing a sliding window shade that insulates the window when closed. Sadly, the RTS has single pane windows, and double pane windows are not available. For most conversions, one can buy factory new double pane replacement windows from Motion Windows. You send them a tracing of the original windows and they ship you a wooden crate with double pane windows that fit perfectly. That is possible because most buses used for conversions have flat glass in the side windows.
But my RTS was designed by General Motors, and they wanted a curvy modern shape to the vehicle like a car would have. The glass panes are curved, and Motion Windows can’t make a double pane curved pane window.
As a result, I will make sliding window shades that fit in a track lined with wool felt. Passenger airline windows are the closest example of what I envision. When you raise the shade, the shade disappears up into the inside of the ceiling, so that most of the shade is parallel to the roof when raised.
I built a prototype some time back, and the idea worked, but the sliding of the shade was stiff, and it sometimes got stuck and needed to be lowered and raised again in one smooth action. The cause of this was the complete lack of suitable bearings on the shade, which was a piece of unmounted countertop Formica plastic laminate.
I envision that the bearings will roll against 3/8″ square aluminum bar on the left and right of the shade, perpendicular to the floor. What’s been troubling me for a long while is how will I form the gentle yet variable radius bend into the aluminum so that I can install it. Today on YouTube I discovered the machine I need. I don’t know if TechShop has one of these, but if they don’t I suspect some machine shop in San Francisco has one and that I could have them bend the 20 pieces I’ll need to complete the shades. It would seem these could all be bent in an hour or three by someone who knows how to use the machine.
It may also be quite practical for me to simply build a wooden bending form that incorporates the varying curves I need, and just bend them with my own arms, as 3/8″ is not that thick. I suspect this is the way I’ll go. However, the machine I found is so impressive I wanted to write a post about it and show you the video.
I will insulate the aluminum shade with Reflectix brand reflective ‘bubble wrap’ style insulation. This insulation looks like bubble wrap sandwiched between two layers of aluminum foil. It’s very flexible, and the foil part is a plastic foil, not real aluminum foil, so it can be bent many times without cracking. Reflectix is also thin, so it will be able to glide up into the ceiling cavity without binding. This tight fitting shade with its Reflectix backing will probably insulate as well as the costly Motion Windows, and I get a built in window shade that should look high tech and sleek. My prototype certainly looked sleek, and I believe the improved aluminum version will be quite handsome. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
I’m in the middle of converting an RTS bus to a motorhome. I read Bus Conversions Magazine to learn construction techniques. The discussion forum hosted by Bus Conversions Magazine is outstanding, and I visit this forum daily.
Sadly, some bus conversions burn to the ground.
What a tragic event that would be if it happened to my bus conversion.
These things really represent a lot of work, and getting a check from the insurance company would still mean you’d have to duplicate a lot of work to make a new one. Yes, you could buy an already finished conversion, but there won’t be another conversion anywhere in the world like mine when I’m done with it, it’s going to be that unusual.
So I want to make it very unlikely my bus will ever burn to the ground. I’ve already talked about putting the generator on the roof in a previous post. That should help a lot since many bus fires start in the generator compartment, typically in a storage bay, and burn up from there. If any fire started on the roof, it would be hard for it to burn down, especially since the box I will put the engine in will be made of metal and lined with cement board and rock wool type insulation that can’t burn. I will also put auto closing trap doors on the air inlet and exhaust, so that if there’s a fire, oxygen to the box will be shut off in seconds, which should snuff out any fire almost immediately.
Another big source of bus conversion fires are electrical fires. To limit the chance of an electrical fire, I am not going to install many wires in the ceiling and exterior walls, which will be insulated with spray foam. Spray foam is highly flamable, and when it burns, it makes toxic gas that can kill you very quickly. So I will keep most of the wires I add inside metal conduit elsewhere that’s not close to spray foam.
The manufacturer of my RTS, TMC Corporation, ran several large bundles of wire in the ceiling, and these are required for the vehicle to run at all. There are perhaps 100 conductors, and it would be risky to try to make them longer so I could run them somewhere else, so I will leave them in place. However, I am looking into encapsulating them in a fire stop product.
The above precautions are straight forward. What I’m going to write about today is less straight forward, and I would like comments as to whether what I’ve dreamt up would be a good idea to implement.
I’m considering installing smoke detectors that include a relay to control unrelated circuits. If the alarm trips, a totally separate electrical circuit can be closed or opened, depending on how you wire the relay.
What I am thinking about doing is using the smoke detector to control a set of motorized linear actuators that would be installed next to and attached to the actuation paddle of each of the master circuit breakers and master battery disconect switches on board. When the actuator is engergized, and motor inside it turns some gears which cause a plunger to move in a straight line for x number of inches. When the polarity of the energizing power is reversed, the actuator plunger moves in reverse. In this way, formerly manually operated switches and circuit breakers are now electrically controllable.
My RTS before the conversion was started had 2 master battery disconnect switches, in the battery compartment. These switches take some effort to push, thus my selection of an actuator that can push or pull 100 pounds. I would not allow the actuators to operate these main vehicle power switches when the bus conversion engine is running, since it could be dangerous to shut down the engine while underway, even if there’s a fire on board somewhere.
My RTS after conversion will additionally have 3 master circuit breakers, as follows:
- AC shore power master breaker
- 24 volt house battery bank master breaker
- 12 volt house battery bank master breaker
If all 5 breakers were shut off in the event of fire, it would seem that an electrical fire might not get as far as if there were power flowing. What I don’t know though is if an electrical fire has caused enough smoke to trigger a smoke alarm, does that mean that even if the power is switched off that it will accelerate or continue burning?
Of course, it could be traumatic if you’re cooking dinner at night, set off a smoke alarm and are plummeted into darkness. But I almost always have my phone with me, and that doubles as a flashlight, so I’m not that worried about that. In addition, the System Sensor manufacturer of detectors I linked to above offers a model that has two degrees of alarm severity — smoke and heat. A local alarm is triggered with smoke alone and a general alarm is triggered when the built in heat sensor is activated. This might be the model to install in the kitchen/living room compartment of my 4 compartment bus conversion. Many of the System Sensor detectors run on 12 or 24 volts direct current, perfect for a bus conversion, and can be networked together so they all make noise when one activates.
Another downside is a small fire might be safely extinguished with a garden hose, which will need the pump active to pump water. But I would make it easy to reverse direction of the linear actuators so I could turn the power back on quickly, and I could have a dedicated circuit for the water pump that wouldn’t be shut off in the event of fire.
There probably is a good reason not to implement this idea, because if it was such a good idea, why isn’t it implemented widely in buildings? Linear actuators are cheap and plentiful, as are networked smoke detectors that can switch external circuits. If this idea were required by code, the price of these items would plummet, like what must have happened with ground fault circuit interrupters, which are so inexpensive I can hardly trust them, given how critical it is that they work for decades without attention.
However, there’s a chance this idea hasn’t been seriously considered and tested. I would love to start a debate in the comments here or on the Bus Conversions Magazine discussion forum, where my member name is ‘Kevin Warnock.’
I’ve touched on my bus conversion project before. Today I will start writing about it in more detail.
The bus is a 1994 TMC 80206 “RTS”. The engine is a Detroit Diesel Series 50 rated at 275 horsepower. There are but 4 cylinders, down from 6 or 8 in most large buses. Fewer cylinders often mean better milage, just like with cars. This bus gets 11 miles per gallon on the freeway, which is outstanding for a vehicle that weighs so much and pushes so much air out of the way.
When I bought the bus in 2007, my plan was to do a quick conversion to a motorhome and then go on a six month tour of the United States with my girlfriend at the time. She hadn’t yet graduated from university, so there was time to finish a rudimentary conversion. She wanted to take a break after graduation and before starting her career, but sadly, she got offered a great job at Stanford University that she had to accept, since it came through a family introduction. She was most unhappy about not getting to take a break, and I was too, as she never had another break from full time work, and now we’re no longer together. That we never got to take the bus out for even one night really breaks my heart.
Life goes on, and there will be new girlfriends and I hope, another marriage, and, I hope, children.
My enthusiasm for the bus is still strong, and I will finish the project and use the conversion. I’ve invested too much to just sell off the partially finished project, and I would get next to nothing if I sold it today anyway.
Since this is a blog post and not a book, I will focus on just a small part of the project today, the air conditioning system.
Most bus conversions handle air conditioning while parked by installing a large diesel generator, in the 5,000 to 15,000 watt range, and use the power to run 2, 3, 4 or even 5 powerful yet not efficient air conditioners at once, to cool the entire interior simultaneously. Owners that live in hot regions have to run the generator and the air conditioners 24 hours a day for the duration of their travels, it can be that hot out. When I drove my first bus conversion across the United States from California to New York in 2002, I typically ran my 6,500 watt generator from morning until bedtime, which cost me about $20 a day in gasoline, and gas was much cheaper back then. It would simply not be cost effective to build a new conversion that uses so much fuel just to stay cool inside. So I have in mind something better, which I will write about here.
I have in mind covering about more than half the roof with 10 250 watt photovoltaic solar panels. These will cost about USD $7,000. In full sun, they will output 1,250 watts of power at 24 volts DC. Run through my Trace SW 4024 inverter, this is enough to power a 9,000 BTU mini-split air conditioner with a 20 SEER rating. This means the AC will draw about 450 watts of power at 120 volts.
9,000 BTU of cooling is not enough to cool a 40 foot bus conversion all at once, especially one with a full set of original side windows like mine has. The way I will handle this is to break up the inside into smaller zones. Right now there are three zones, the driver compartment, the living room and the bedroom. Eventually there will be one more zone, the guest bedroom, for 4 altogether.
I don’t need to occupy all the rooms at once, and I hate the noise that air conditioners make, so I have a plan to distribute the cool air from the one air conditioner to where it’s needed.
The plan borrows from the commercial air conditioning world, where cold water is used to cool rooms, as opposed to cold refrigerant, as is used in residential room air conditioners.
I plan to modify the inside portion of the mini-split air conditioner so that I submerse the evaporator plate, the part that gets freezing cold, in a large tank of water. This will cool that tank of water over time to about 35 degrees F. Then, I will use this cool water to pump through a distribution system of pipes in the ceiling of the bus to ‘heat exchangers’ in each room, or zone. Since cool air falls, these heat exchangers will be in the ceiling as well. Think of them as mini car radiators. Hot air in the room will pass over the cold fins and be cooled. The cool air will circulate down into the zone since cool air falls. The water inside the heat exchanger will pick up heat from the surrounding air. This heat will be carried back to the large water tank to be re-cooled by the mini-split evaporator that’s immersed in the tank. The mini-split will capture the heat from the water and send it outside the bus to the condensor part of the mini-split, which will be fan cooled on the exterior roof of the conversion.
The beauty of the above system, if it works, is that there won’t be any noisy fans inside the rooms. The inside part of the mini-split will probably be silent since the fan isn’t needed to push warm air over the evaporator. There may be a small noise made by the circulation water pump, but I suspect that it won’t be audible.
The heat exchangers should also be silent. It may turn out I will need a small fan near them to optimize their performance, but a quiet computer muffin fan or two should be sufficient.
Since the zones are fed by cold water in PEX plastic pipe, it should be easy to change which zone is being cooled by flipping regular water valves. No special certification is needed to install water piping, but installing copper tubing for AC refrigerant is not easy.
The final benefit of my proposed system is the sun can be used to cool the water tank during the day, but then the coldness of the tank can be ‘harvested’ at night to keep the sleeping zone cool throughout the night, without running a noisy and fossel fuel dependent generator. When I drove across the country in 2002, I hated to run the generator all night long, as even with ear plugs I could barely fall asleep it was so noisy.
When I add the 4th zone, the master bedroom will be tiny, at about 50 square feet by 4 feet high, or 200 cubic feet. I will have removable 3 inch thick insulating window panels I can press into the window openings to really insulate the compartment. The bedroom door will be weather stripped and insulated, perhaps itself 3″ thick. This will mean that the water tank is not trying to cool a particularly large area. With a 24 volt celiing fan circulating air over a heat exchanger, I think I will have found an essentially silent and free nighttime air conditioner for touring the world in hot weather.
I would love to use ceiling fans in the other zones, but sadly there is not enough ceiling height except over the bed to install a full size ceiling fan.
I can’t take credit for the idea above to dismantle an air conditioner and submerse the evaporator plate in a tank of water. This is routinely done by indoor gardeners trying to use liquid cooling to cool powerful grow lights. They take apart a $100 window air conditioners and bend the copper piping to the evaporator plate to dangle it in a tank of water. Once this water is cooled, it’s piped into the grow light fixtures themselves, which often draw a lot of power and so get very hot. The hot water from the fixtures is piped back to the water tank, where the window air conditioner again cools the water for the next cycle. i found videos online demonstrating the technique. I won’t link to them since these indoor growers appear to be growing illicit crops, which I frown on and have nothing to do with. But I do admire the ingenuity of the growers, and I thank them for helping me formulate my above plans.
While doing my research on this system, I found a venture backed company doing something similar to what I propose, but for commercial installations. They use relatively cheaper grid electricity during the night to freeze a multi hundred gallon tank of water, and during the hot day they melt that block of ice to cool the building. This is clever because grid electricity rates are much lower at night, when the grid is relatively lightly loaded. The company has products installed, and it looks good. I don’t plan to go all the way to ice because that would require something other than a cheap mini-split air conditioner, and I want to keep this system cheap and built from off the shelf commodity parts so it can be repaired anywhere should it malfunction. Also, mini-split air conditioners are available in very high efficiency models, such as 20 SEER. This is an astonishingly high number compared to the non-regulated rooftop RV air conditioners most bus conversions use, which can be around 10 SEER. Going from 10 to 20 in SEER cuts the power used in half, which is a really big deal when you have limited roof space for solar panels, and the panels cost a fortune for enough of them to run even one moderate sized air conditioner.
During the day, I would just cool the living room, of course. I have sliding shades on the windows, and silver reflective mirror on the outside of the glass, which cuts dramatically the heat infiltration through the windows. I also plan to make some 3″ thick removable panels I can press into the window opening to really insulate the windows I don’t need to be transparent. I suspect it would be much more energy efficient in fact to block all 6 windows in the living room and turn on my compact flourescent lights during the day, rather than to leave one or more windows unblocked. The living room is separate from the driver’s compartment, which is full of air leaks due to the transit bus front door, which can’t effectively be sealed. The door between the living room and the driver’s compartment will be insulated and weather stripped. I’ve often wondered why doors are so thin. The walls are often six inches thick but the doors are 1 3/4″ thick. Why not make the doors also 6 inches thick, filled with high density closed cell foam, similar to a SIP panel for house construction? This would require a new type of door knob and lock, but that is an opportunity to sell more expensive hinges and door hardware. I think thick doors should be required by code for all construction, residential and commercial, interior and exterior. Thick interior doors would cut sound transmission and make it easier to implement zones in buildings. The current practice of heating an entire home when the occupants are often in just one room needs to cease. Each room should be insulated from the others, and there should be a way to temper each room individually. How about the idea of having a switch similar to a light switch in each room? To be effective, each room will probably need two parallel systems – one quick reacting and one slow reacting but more efficient over the long time. I have such a system in my bedroom in my house. I have a 400 watt panel heater that contains no fan and thus takes hours to warm up the room. I also have a forced air wall heater that can heat up the room in a few minutes. When I enter the room and it’s freezing, I turn on both heaters, and then turn off the forced air heater after a few minutes. Then the slower acting convection panel heater takes over maintaining the temperature indefinitely. What could work perhaps would be hydronic floor water heating plus a forced air unit for rapid heating. It might even be that both heating systems could be hot water based, with a large heat exchanger mated with a powerful fan for rapid heating, and in floor piping for maintenance heating. I’m quite serious about this scenario, and I can see it being the dominant style of heating worldwide 100 years from now, with the water heated exclusively by solar hot water heating panels.
I can’t promise all my bus conversion posts will be this long, as this took some real effort to write. Please write me a comment if you like or dislike it. I would love to get a discussion going in the comments about the pros and cons of my ideas presented here.
I discovered the box in the upper right to subscribe to this blog has been broken for some time, so I don’t have as many subscribers as I otherwise would have. If you liked this post, and would like to subscribe, please type in your email address in the little box in the upper right. I won’t write useless nonsense to you, I promise. Thank you.
Today I registered my new RTS bus conversion I bought on EBay from Adolfo Sanchez of Merced, California. Here’s a picture of me with Adolfo by a branch of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, right after I registered the former San Joaquin County transit authority bus as a motorhome.
I am so happy! What an adventure I’m about to embark on…
I drove my new RTS bus conversion to the dump today. Specifically, the Recology dump.
Going to the dump is an experience not to be missed in life.
When you’re driving a bus conversion, you have to use the special scale they normally reserve for garbage trucks. The normal scale is too small for the long wheelbase of a bus conversion. After you exit the scale, it’s confusing where to go, and I made a wrong turn and headed into the huge warehouse space where the City’s refuse trucks dump their loads of garbage. I took the picture above, which is strangely beautiful I think.
That’s an open pit of trash about the size of a football field. There is a lone ski boot resting on that metal frame. And then there are dozens of seagulls having a feast. The smell in this building was interesting.
I just drove through and out and on to the correct building for consumer home trash dropped off by citizens. That building doesn’t smell bad as people don’t typically dump wet food trash.
I was there to discard a few of the bus seats from when my conversion was a commercial transit bus.
These bench seats are heavy stainless steel, and way too big to cut up and put in the regular trash.