Updated September 12th, 2017
Essentially, we have this plus an extra panel:
But I’m not 100% confident about that. Also, I’m not sure if I recomend this solar system yet.
It seems to be working fine for small loads at this time but I can’t say for certain that I think it’s a great system.
Basically, I don’t know anyone who knows about solar so I just had to buy stuff and plug it together. We’re still parked under a tree so we haven’t had the chance to give it a great test.
It’s working fine for lights, charging power tool batteries and fans. If we try to run the refrigerator on solar AC power right now, I find the system can’t keep up.
But again, we’re parked under a tree in the forest. If we were parked in a place that doesn’t have shadows from trees or clouds (ideally a empty Nevada desert), I bet we would have dramatically better results.
Solar power is really cool when it works. I’ve got battery powered tools and I can charge all of them using my solar kit. I’m cutting wood and drilling holes and cutting metal with solar power nowadays. It’s kinda awesome.
Mt Rose is sort of like my home away from home. I’ve been a pass-holder there since 1992, which is probably longer than I’ve ever done anything in my life.
The Mt Rose Crew
Every once in a while the stars align and everyone is up there. Today was a pretty astonishing day because we had an epic group.
Here’s the trail map that was marked up for the making of the video.
The Chutes at Mt. Rose are pretty incredible. They almost never get much sun so the snow stays really soft. The thing that makes them extra fun is that they are really steep. Not approved for first time skiers.
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If you’re reading this, I’m in the process of designing the flooring system. So my notes and ideas are shown in real time in this blog.
Once I commit to a strategy and implement it, this blog will explain of the floor’s design and the implementation process.
Later, once we spend more time in the home, I’ll share my results here. Thank you for reading.
To Remove Existing School Bus Floor or Not to Remove
From the looks of our existing floor, it seems like we might not need to take it out. I can’t see any places where the flooring is in terrible condition.
That said, we’re building something that we want to last for at least 100 years. I can’t make the assumption that everything is fine under there. We’ve decided to take the existing flooring out so that we can seal the existing metal floor with anti-rust paint and rebuild a bulletproof strategy for going forward.
Rust Proofing the Existing School Bus Metal Floor
I’m going to experiment with bondo and epoxy to plug any existing holes in the floor. We want to the bus to be water tight. All the holes made to secure seats will need to be sealed in a bulletproof manner.
Once the floors are all sealed up, we will be using Rust-Oleum 7792 Gloss White paint to seal the metal school bus floor.
Flooring Insulation and Finishing
Choosing School Bus Conversion Insulation
We would like this bus to be rated to live in Lake Tahoe in the winter so we are going with the upper range of Zone 5 as recommended by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
This means the following insulation ratings for our walls, floor and ceiling if we’re to spend much of our time in the Lake Tahoe area:
- Floor – (R25 to R30)
- Ceiling – (R49 to R60)
- Walls – (R15)
So it turns out that in order for us to get that DOE rated insulation, we will need to extend the roof of the bus. To get simple R15 insulation, the best thing I could find is 3 1/2″ inches deep which is too little insulation in too thick of a space.
I couldn’t find any R50 insulation that is 2 inches or less in thickness. Indeed, we would need another foot in the roof to get close to the reccomendations suggested by the DOE. This doesn’t seem prudent to me.
Also, the DEO is writing these requirements for relatively large homes. The heating expense of this bus will be a fraction of what a normal house would require.
The Plan for the Ceiling Insulation
We are very lucky with our bus. The existing insulation is in excellent condition. There isn’t a drop of mold on any of the main parts. The biggest weakness to the existing insulation is that it doesn’t fill the roof cavities entirely.
To solve that, I plan to buy some spray insulation to fill the gaps left from the regular insulation. I’m exploring the following products:
* This spray foam could be used on the bottom of the bus as well as the product brags that it adheres to metal
Floor Material Design
We don’t want to build up with floor height much as there is limited vertical space in the bus. That said, the bus needs to be as comfortable as possible. Here is how I see the plan for floor materials:
- Vinyl Plank Flooring (1/16″ – 5/16″) – Floor & Ceiling
- Plywood (3/4″)
- 1.5″ Insulation (link) + Framing (2×4 s are actually 1.5″ thick)
- Existing School Bus Steel Painted with Rust-Oleum
I Hope You Found This Useful
Please let me know any thoughts or comments you have in using the links below. I’m done on the computer for the day, it’s time to go out and remove the rest of that floor in the bus.