Saturday, September 2, 2017

As I watched from my bus...

Driving the work school bus yesterday, I have a 90 degree left hand blind bend to negotiate, on part if my route. Complicating the manoever is a poorly placed road sign. Well, complicating the manover for inexperienced drivers, that is. I will make no references to being able to do it with my eyes shut as that would give a false impression. I will say though that I achieve a great deal of satisfaction from doing that bend while keeping the back wheels on the correct side of the double yellow line and avoiding the road sign. While I drove, I watched a local resident going gingerly around that bend and smiled. I can do that bend far quicker - in a 16 ton, 40 foot bus.

The bend episode had me considering the amateurishness of many bus converters. I have the utmost respect for people willing to get out there and do something constructive. I much prefer people willing to get up off their backsides and do something. I am rather concerned though to read some of the questions I see on the bus conversion pages online. One I saw yesterday had me reeling in horror. Somebody thought they might have damaged their parking brake by driving with it engaged. The horror is that they were able to drive and didn't realise how unsafe their parking brake is. When applied, full throttle on the engine, in the lowest gear should not move the vehicle.

I read stories about people writing their busses off in bad crashes. I read questions about air brakes that just plain make me cringe. The value of having a CDL as I do cannot be underestimated. Today I was almost hit by an amateur driving a U-Haul truck that was clearly too big for them. Just because the law allows people to drive big vehicles non commercially does not mean that people should. Really and truly, some training is needed. Particularly CDL training. The course is not hard and by the end will have been invaluable.

As a schoolbus driver, I see the results of other drivers stupidity daily. I see near crashes, crashes, people pulled over by the police and so on. Only yesterday I sawinsane driving on the interstate. As my old instructor says, 90% of the crashes are caused by people in a hurry. Slow down and take your time. My school bus conversion is governed to 55mph. I'm perfectly happy with that. The fact people scream past at 80mph does not worry me one bit. What worries me is having to detour around their blazing wrecks a few miles later.

Today I didn't actually do too much. Driving schoolbusses in 90F with no air conditioning is tiring and dehydrating. I spend the first day of the weekend thoroughly exhausted. It could have something to do with being 50 too!
Most of the stuff I need in order to revamp and tidy my solar console has arrived. There is one item still on its way however and that is my fuse bar. That will hold 12 automotive fuses. I decided in the end to go with standard sized automotive fuses throughout on account of their universal availability. The glass household style fuses are very nice but there are too many different styles and they're hard to obtain.

In the picture is my timer. As my solar supply is insufficient to keep my extraction fan running constantly, it will have to run in bursts. The timer will make it do so while optimizing its efficiency. There's a connecting bar to connect all my earth connections. That will simplify my wiring considerably. The strange looking object is a 30A self resetting breaker. That will be fitted directly to the battery. Should anything happen, the battery will be protected.

I had been thinking of putting everything into a steel box with a lid - just to protect it from prying eyes. Having found nothing online, I looked in the shed and found the old Square D breaker box from the hillbilly conversion.
After removing the breaker holder and hosing the rat poo off the box, I decided it had too many issues. Number one was weight - it's pretty darned heavy. Number two is the depth - it's way too deep for what I need. I idly considered cutting and welding but that's a lot of work for very little gain. In the end, simply attaching them to the wall and keeping the wiring tidy is all I need do. To hide it from prying eyes, a simple hinged flap is all that's needed.

My 12 fuse bar has made its way from Shenzhen in China to San Francisco. Barring the big earthquake San Francisco has been fearing for decades or another hurricane such as the one that flooded Texas last week, my fuse bar should be with me soon. Once that's here I'll be in a better position to plan my revamped solar control setup.

I suppose the task for tomorrow really should be to build myself a battery holder for my 35AH Harbor Freight battery. I will probably build it so the battery will be mounted width ways across the bus. I'll probably mount it behind the rear wheels, simply because there's plenty space.

Thinking about ventilation I ordered a second bilge fan. While doing so I encountered a 7 inch 8A car radiator fan. Now that promised to shift 700cfm so in two minutes all the air in the bus would be extracted. It might be worth revamping my extraction fan system at some point. For the moment I decided to try installing a second 130CFM fan. I have not as yet decided whether to have it as an induction fan or as an extraction fan. As an extraction fan, the air would move at 260CFM or 4 minutes to extract all the air. I'm nit convinced I'm really getting 130CFM though. I'm getting plenty but is it really 130CFM? It's something to think about.

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