Ark Posted April 29, 2018 Report Share Posted April 29, 2018 Hello Everyone, Recently me and my girlfriend have decided to travel. We are both in the early stages of transitioning into careers that will allow us to work online and continuing our education online. We are fortunate enough to have our own home, and a rental property for monthly income as well. However, we have decided to just go all out, and travel all the U.S. Our plan is to leave in 9-12 months, and stay out around a year boondocking, parking and hiking, sightseeing and exploring. We will be using both properties as rentals to pay our way throughout the trip, so we will be using our Ambulance as our full-time home. Our criteria were to be able to go out for at least 10-20 days boondocking, but be grid compatible to stop, recharge, refill and get back to it. So this week we purchased an Ambulance. It is a 1997 Ford e-350 7.3L Power Stroke. I saw it, runs and drives great, and got it for a steal. Whenever I purchased it, I wasn’t even really considering the current electrical wiring in the ambulance (Which, I should have after years of fire/ems volunteering), I just wanted a good running vehicle with a box that was sizeable for ours designs. I figured anything else attached was extra at that point. Now, part of our plans for our traveling is to continue school, and work online. We will be needing a somewhat sizeable electrical system to maintain us while we are out. We would also occasionally like to watch a movie or use some electronics since it will be our full time home. I have started sizing our needs for our solar, however the extras already in the electrical system due to it being an ambulance raised some thoughts and questions. The ambulance has 2 batteries. One is in the engine comportment, the other in a slide out tray compartment on the side. A 30 amp connector on the side, and a 110 amp connector by the door? The inverter is a tripp-lite 1000w It has a Danhard Inc 115 volt Model 50-2000 ac/heater in what appears to be 2 parts to the system, a “control board” with wiring to thermostat, condenser, heater, etc. and what appears to be the actual AC/compressor on the other side of the cab. Both systems appear to work fine. There is also a volt and amp meter in the cab, when volts start to get low, the ambulance is currently set to idle higher to maintain the system. That is all I really know about the system. My plan, is to ideally continue running this system off the engine and its 2 batteries and just rewire/move it. This would be my back up socket, and ac that we can run of the vehicle if needed. The rest of the electrical I am planning on running of a solar system with battery bank. So I have quite a few questions if anyone has time: 1.) Is the AC or inverter worth keeping? Or should I plan on a new one? They seem to be dated, are they at high risk of failure? Are they going to kill the batteries very quickly if the vehicle isn’t running? Is it something worth the effort to work in my design? 2.) Is it possible to run the AC off of both systems, were, If the vehicle is running it would run off the engine and its two batteries, and if the vehicle was off it ran from solar batteries? 3.) A key point to our system is to have a larger battery bank, charge at campsites, and augment our daily usage by using some solar panels. Say in a large 8+ battery system, can you charge them using Rv 30 amp connectors in addition to solar? Would I be able to buy a splitter and charge both the ambulance batteries, and solar system batteries together? How long does charging this way usually take? Can the charge controller be the same used from the solar? Is there one that allows both solar and 30 amp inputs? 4.) I have been looking for several days now, and can not find any identification markings to find the company that made the back end, any ideas? 5.) I was told this most likely had duel alternators for both batteries, were should I look for the second one? Or is this not likely? 6.) Is the 110 plug by the door part of the back cabs electrical? Or is it used to use the diesel engine in cold weather? 7.) Since I am planning to keep both systems separate other than possibly the ac, is there any reason to use DC items such as lights, AC, refrigerator? Is this just because you don’t get loss in converting from ac to dc? My thinking here is to calculate the cost and if DC items are cheaper since they are more effective to use them. But if the price difference for ac is cheaper, and offsets my cost enough to expand my battery or solar panels, it may be better. Since from what I’ve seen so far, RV related appliances/equipment is often more expensive than comparable “tiny home” style regular AC appliances. Any thought? Is there any other advice, sages to guide me to, tips, tricks, don’ts, you guys have? Cheers, Airrick Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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