When we decided to build our own home inside a retired school bus we knew there would be challenges and a lot of learning involved. Among those challenges and learning experiences was working out how we would power our home on the road.
To keep things simple this post will go over the components that we use and not how to hook it all up. You can find thousands of videos online for that and a thousand different opinions on how to do it all. We have provided Amazon affiliate links for each component. Using these links allows us to earn a small commission with no increased cost for you.
There are 3 main aspects of our electrical system; Solar – Generator – Shore. We gave a lot of consideration to how we wanted to live inside our home, how we wanted to live when we are boondocking, and also how to be plugged in for any period of time.
Our solar system components include the panels, charge controller, batteries, inverter, a three way switch, and a few other odds and ends. On our roof we have four Mighty Max 150 watt panels. Because they are square shaped we were able to only take up 26 Sq Ft of our roof space. Maybe one day we’ll get around to adding a deck up there.
We were gifted eight 200 Amp Hour AGM Batteries. With this set up we have about 400 useable amp hours. There are many different battery options out there and many ways of connecting them. Some buses run with just a couple of batteries and some run larger banks, it all depends on the lifestyle and system.
Being able to see the charge status and other stats easily is valuable to us. Along with the Victron charge controller we also have a Victron battery monitor display. It allows us to see the information in the bus and also by Bluetooth on a connected phone. The charge controller is a DC to DC converter that takes the voltage output from solar panels and converts it to a more suitable voltage for a battery bank.
We discussed inverters a lot when deciding how we wanted to build this electrical system. For our projected usage we use this Renogy 3000 watt inverter. It runs everything flawlessly, though just like with any inverter it takes power to invert power.
There have been times when the solar power just isn’t enough or we want to afford ourselves the ultimate luxuries of watching our 55 inch tv, playing Xbox, or running the Air conditioner . In order to do this we have a Three way switch that allows us to switch over to either our generator or shore power. Supplementing our power needs in these times we have a Predator 3500 watt generator. It has worked great every time we’ve used it.
In order to get the power to our bus we use a twenty-five foot 50 amp power cord. We carry a few adapters – dogbones – with us;
That cord gets plugged into the inlet. The Electrical inlet is a small white box on the drivers side of the bus. It is also 50 amp capable. There are also a few other fuses thrown into the it for safety and that’s pretty much the gist of our electrical system. It definitely takes some learning and some time to get it right but it is absolutely rewarding to know that you designed and built the system that powers your home. You will know better than anyone if and when something goes wrong.
If you’d like to see more info about what we used in our conversion you can find that here. We do participate in the Amazon Affiliate Program. Using the product links on this page will generate a small commission for us while not raising the price on your end. We appreciate your comments and thank you for reading.
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