Update on ProgressRead Now
Work has been continuing with great success. The bus now is topped with four solar panels securely mounted and wired to all the crazy electronics inside what used to be the TV cabinet. This cabinet also houses the inverter, lithium batteries and all the other bits to make the electrical system work. All the lighting has been converted to LED. The previous system which was designed to run on 120V and 12V both will now be only 12V. We will still have ample 120V power from the inverter or shore power to run the computers etc but lighting will be brighter and less energy demanding. Additional 120V receptacles have been added to accomodate equipment and 12v charging stations added for phones and other such devices. Upgrades were done in a way so as not to destroy the 1960's ambiance.
Although the former TV closet looks like the inside of a space ship, we do still need to finish the task of hooking all the electrical bits together and programming them to play together. For that I am relying on Jason from Long Spring Solar in Eagle River (https://longspringsolar.com/) who designed the system and procured all the bits for us.
The old water leaks which destroyed much of the interior pecan paneling have been fixed and we got a good test of that with the rainy Fall. With those fixed we could start repairing the damage. Fortunately, prior to giving us the bus, Jim had torn out most of the damaged materials and cleaned up the mess. So now, reconstruction of the interior is nearly complete with old paneling reused and repurposed when possible. Two pull-out beds in the rear replace the fixed ones so that the "bedroom" is now both a bedroom and a nice office space with seating for 6 if needed. The front "living room" now also has a pull-out bed but can serve as a great seating and conversation area when that is pushed back in. The dinette area provides another work area as well as sleeping accommodation (albeit for shorter folks).
Some mechanical issues with the bus were tidied up before winter hit as well and there are zero drips now under the bus! That is exciting. In moving the bus to a new location for the winter, I did discover the ignition switch disintegrated and some clever "hot wiring" was needed to get it out of the gas station. I guess I should not complain, it worked for 56 years!
Next up is retrofitting the plumbing system to more modern standards and replacing the inoperable shower controls. The donated electric and engine coolant fired water heater is installed and ready to make hot water.
The lovely run of weather in the 20's has given me much more motivation to work outside in the bus and if this run ends, I may actually have to hook up the propane tanks and test out the two heaters on board.
The goal is to have the bus on the road in April. We also plan to have it at the State Fair in Palmer this Fall as a venue for our Brain Injury Partners to showcase their resources to help al of us.
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