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Converting a MCI bus into an RV...

ka0tyk

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The other option is putting the bed on top of the intake box and making the rear closet area smaller. Depending on mattress it would make the bed kinda high off the ground. But we could regain almost 18” that way. The wife will be editing another video where I walk through it all.
 

zhandfull

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The other option is putting the bed on top of the intake box and making the rear closet area smaller. Depending on mattress it would make the bed kinda high off the ground. But we could regain almost 18” that way. The wife will be editing another video where I walk through it all.
Higher the bed the more storage space underneath.
 

merc_400r

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my scale drawing in sketchup. we have 39' forward the intake "box" at the rear of the coach. theres a queen, then a wall with pocket door. then 4x bunks with a "narrow twin XL" mattress. another wall with pocket door. then a 34x48" shower with a 12" closet for towel storage, vanity and toilet on other side. door. then kitchen. depending on our cabinet choices it should leave us with roughly 12'x8' forward for living area. plus maybe 20" if we turn the queen bed sideways.
View attachment 960383
I would swap the location of the bunks and bathroom. That will separate the main bedroom from the bunks with a bathroom and make both places feel more private. Having the bunks right next to the main bedroom will make it feel like you are in one big room. And every time you need to go to the bathroom at night you don't have to walk past 4 sleeping people and wake them up with lights or worse stepping on toys in the dark (ask me how I know).
 

hallett21

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I would swap the location of the bunks and bathroom. That will separate the main bedroom from the bunks with a bathroom and make both places feel more private. Having the bunks right next to the main bedroom will make it feel like you are in one big room. And every time you need to go to the bathroom at night you don't have to walk past 4 sleeping people and wake them up with lights or worse stepping on toys in the dark (ask me how I know).
Agreed.

Or could you make the bunks queens, push them to the left/right and put a hallway to the master.

Seems like you’d want more privacy in the master.


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lbhsbz

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Agreed.

Or could you make the bunks queens, push them to the left/right and put a hallway to the master.

Seems like you’d want more privacy in the master.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
This
 

fmo24

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Agreed.

Or could you make the bunks queens, push them to the left/right and put a hallway to the master.

Seems like you’d want more privacy in the master.


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Ever try to make a queen bed up from one side? Bunks are narrow enough to reach in but a queen you would be crawling all over wrestling to get the fitted sheet on. Lol
 

Done-it-again

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Just buy these.

 

4Waters

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Ever try to make a queen bed up from one side? Bunks are narrow enough to reach in but a queen you would be crawling all over wrestling to get the fitted sheet on. Lol
Full mattress at the most but I would do a twin or full extra long, something kids can grow into.
 

Bigbore500r

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This is an awesome project! Gonna go check out the youtube vids
 

That Guy

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This is incredibly impressive. Your knowledge of...well....just about everything is awesome! 👍 Enjoying watching the transformation.
 

outboard_256

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I would swap the location of the bunks and bathroom. That will separate the main bedroom from the bunks with a bathroom and make both places feel more private. Having the bunks right next to the main bedroom will make it feel like you are in one big room. And every time you need to go to the bathroom at night you don't have to walk past 4 sleeping people and wake them up with lights or worse stepping on toys in the dark (ask me how I know).
I agree too. It makes much more sense to have the bathroom between the 2 sleeping quarters. I modified your drawing so you can get a visual. I am not very good with computers but you get the idea.


floorPlan.png
 

ka0tyk

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I agree too. It makes much more sense to have the bathroom between the 2 sleeping quarters. I modified your drawing so you can get a visual. I am not very good with computers but you get the idea.


View attachment 961719
two issues.

the plumbing would be right where the rear wheels are.

it pushes the bunks where the kids would be forward towards the living area. So at night and morning it would be louder.

I’m not opposed but this weekend we are gonna look at where things would end up, windows being blacked out etc.
 

braindead

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two issues.

the plumbing would be right where the rear wheels are.

it pushes the bunks where the kids would be forward towards the living area. So at night and morning it would be louder.

I’m not opposed but this weekend we are gonna look at where things would end up, windows being blacked out etc.
considering you’re probably going to be keeping this thing for a couple years, do you want to hear your kids in the bathroom every time you’re in your bedroom or do you want your kids to have to listen to you in the living room? I know my vote
 

ka0tyk

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What a crazy project. How many fortune cookie wrappers and chopsticks did you find when ripping out all the interior? :)
the interior was absolutely disgusting. theres probably $20 in change alone. no chopsticks. but i did find one of those fold out fans.
 

buck35

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This is fascinating! Please keep us up to date on the process.
 

jones performance

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just saw you latest upload. heres a link to matress man website. http://www.sleepmattressman.com/ he custom makes mattresses to any dimension you want.

just my thoughts on cabinets and such.. i think box store cabinets are not the way to go. building cabinets to fit the space i think is a better option and more efficient use of space. if you havent already, watch some of andrew steele's walkthru videos of high end coaches. you can get a ton of ideas on use of space seeing how the conversion companies fill it all out.
 

AZmike

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Looks like this is going to be a great thread to follow. I just subscribed to your youtube page, I love watching stuff like this on youtube. Right now i'm following a couple that's using an HDT (Big Rig) to haul there fifth wheel around. I'm a truck driver and would love to retire and travel around in a Semi with my fifth wheel following behind me.
 

ka0tyk

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so are you trying to monetize the YouTube channel?

my buddy was telling me there’s no $$ anymore in it?
eh i think it'll be fun to look back at the videos and see what we did. that and *IF* (very slim chance) i have to sell it, the new buyer would be able to see exactly whats done to it.

as far as monetization you need 1000 subscribers and 4k hours of watch time in 6 months. is it doable? sure. I watch this bus conversion channel. guy is pretty thorough whereas so far I've really just been demo'ing. recording video, talking, working, setting up "b roll" shots all takes time. id kinda rather be cranking away working but eh some of our friends/family members enjoy watching the progress. editing all the footage in the world is the hardest part into making it something someones gonna want to watch.


this guy has 10k subscribers with videos averaging 3-10k views each. from a quick google he probably makes $25 per video on average. so roughly $3k so far made. better than nothing!
 

ka0tyk

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Ok now for all you electrical nerds...

I grabbed a 50 foot 50 amp cable.

816V3Cxc1EL._AC_SX425_.jpg


That will enter the bus thru a 50 amp receptacle.

61rxjKXIFTL.jpg


Then it will go to a 50 amp "surgeguard" hardwired surge protector (highly recommended by many to get a surge protector, I figured if I get one I'd rather have it wired into the bus than dangling off a power pole all mickey moused into my extension cord).

55-2727-2.jpg


Then from that it'll go to a 50 amp breaker panel as my first breaker.

square-d-spa-panels-home250spa-64_1000.jpg


then from there to a load center 12 space panel and I'll be doing the following:
1x 15a for rear bedroom, bunks, and living room wall outlets
1x 15a gfci for kitchen and bath
1x 20a for induction cooktop
1x 15a for fridge
2x 20a for rooftop ac
1x 15a in storage bay
81QGJjC1W3L._AC_SL1500_.jpg


I'll be using 14/3 marine stranded and tinned cable for all the 15a circuits and 12/3 for the 20a. All the runs should be sub 25'.
41Pq-SWDArL._AC_SL1000_.jpg


Wall outlets will have leviton built in usb plugs.
51hccHCiDDL._AC_SL1000_.jpg


Kitchen and bath will have gfci outlets.

Does that pass planning inspection?
 

Kbach

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Ok now for all you electrical nerds...

I grabbed a 50 foot 50 amp cable.

View attachment 962041

That will enter the bus thru a 50 amp receptacle.

View attachment 962047

Then it will go to a 50 amp "surgeguard" hardwired surge protector (highly recommended by many to get a surge protector, I figured if I get one I'd rather have it wired into the bus than dangling off a power pole all mickey moused into my extension cord).

View attachment 962049

Then from that it'll go to a 50 amp breaker panel as my first breaker.

View attachment 962050

then from there to a load center 12 space panel and I'll be doing the following:
1x 15a for rear bedroom, bunks, and living room wall outlets
1x 15a gfci for kitchen and bath
1x 20a for induction cooktop
1x 15a for fridge
2x 20a for rooftop ac
1x 15a in storage bay
View attachment 962059

I'll be using 14/3 marine stranded and tinned cable for all the 15a circuits and 12/3 for the 20a. All the runs should be sub 25'.
View attachment 962057

Wall outlets will have leviton built in usb plugs.
View attachment 962056

Kitchen and bath will have gfci outlets.

Does that pass planning inspection?
Don’t forget the transfer switch.
 

ka0tyk

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Don’t forget the transfer switch.
I'm figuring that part out. I'll need some type of "switch" once I get into adding the DC side with a power inverter and solar. Just looking around on RV conversion sites and diagrams on the best way to go about it.
 

fmo24

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My generator also goes thru the surge protector. About a 30 second delay going from land line to generator as it checks if clean power.
 

Tank

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WOW! This is awesome. Man your skills are impressive.

When I see all that storage space underneath I immediately think "you could put a couple quads under there" and then I started to think, that just seems like such wasted space. Wonder if anyone doing one of these conversions has ever put a ladder from the upper portion to the storage area from inside and built a bunk room in part of the storage area. Think of the aft cabin in some 40+ foot boats where the helm is over the room so the ceiling is super low but you have a couple single beds and a tv. Could even put windows in down there for air and light. That shit would be DOPE!!!
 

ka0tyk

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My generator also goes thru the surge protector. About a 30 second delay going from land line to generator as it checks if clean power.
ah that reminds me of the generators. im waiting for a HF special on the predator 3500's. ive seen one running and its pretty dang quiet. I'll be tossing it into the spare tire area up front and insulating the heck out of em. that should give me roughly 50 amps of generator power when parallel'ed together. normally they're $799, ive seen specials and coupons for mid 600's.
 

ka0tyk

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WOW! This is awesome. Man your skills are impressive.

When I see all that storage space underneath I immediately think "you could put a couple quads under there" and then I started to think, that just seems like such wasted space. Wonder if anyone doing one of these conversions has ever put a ladder from the upper portion to the storage area from inside and built a bunk room in part of the storage area. Think of the aft cabin in some 40+ foot boats where the helm is over the room so the ceiling is super low but you have a couple single beds and a tv. Could even put windows in down there for air and light. That shit would be DOPE!!!
It *HAS* crossed our minds to put a hatch in the living area where the kids can go down into the front storage bay while parked. Obviously its very low priority though. I'll be putting up divider walls between the storage bays and probably just some carpet on the walls and floor. As far as space goes, I can fit 3 of my kids power wheels down there no problem. Its a crazy amount of room.
 

fmo24

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ah that reminds me of the generators. im waiting for a HF special on the predator 3500's. ive seen one running and its pretty dang quiet. I'll be tossing it into the spare tire area up front and insulating the heck out of em. that should give me roughly 50 amps of generator power when parallel'ed together. normally they're $799, ive seen specials and coupons for mid 600's.
I would look for a used Cummins 10000 or bigger. I’m surprised it does not have one already. We run ours while on the road to run roof airs to keep coach cool.
 

Kbach

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I would look for a used Cummins 10000 or bigger. I’m surprised it does not have one already. We run ours while on the road to run roof airs to keep coach cool.
Completely agree on going with a dedicated diesel genset. Not necessarily as big as 10k but a 7.5k minimum.

Dealing with separate generators paralleled, trying to remotely start them, adding gas instead of it being hardlined into the diesel tank...all PITA factors that will outweigh the cost savings as far as I’m concerned. They can be found on Craigslist and forums fairly cheap compared to what they cost new.
 

Kbach

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I'm figuring that part out. I'll need some type of "switch" once I get into adding the DC side with a power inverter and solar. Just looking around on RV conversion sites and diagrams on the best way to go about it.
The main transfer switch will be independent of the 12V side of things. My Monaco has an Iota ITS50 which was the same as my old Southwind gas coach had so they’re fairly common.

Also, some invertors will have a transfer switch built in to them as well to feed either genset/shore power or power from the inverter.
 

Waterjunky

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Completely agree on going with a dedicated diesel genset. Not necessarily as big as 10k but a 7.5k minimum.

Dealing with separate generators paralleled, trying to remotely start them, adding gas instead of it being hardlined into the diesel tank...all PITA factors that will outweigh the cost savings as far as I’m concerned. They can be found on Craigslist and forums fairly cheap compared to what they cost new.
Absolutely 100% correct here. Don't waste time or resoures on the gas unit, you all ready have a fuel supply in the bus. Stay with that.
Make sure you get one of the newer quiet ones. some of the old ones are about like construction site generators....... Ideally with an inverter for the electronics

As a second note, if you have not already bought the surge guard, hold on that and seriously look into this:

Amazon.com: Hughes Autoformers RV220-50SP Voltage Booster (with Surge Protection), 1 Pack: Automotive

by far the real issue in most campgrounds is low voltage. This is incredibly common. This does the surge protection and fixes reasonable low voltage automatically. I will be installing one in my unit in the next few months.
 

outboard_256

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Completely agree on going with a dedicated diesel genset. Not necessarily as big as 10k but a 7.5k minimum.

Dealing with separate generators paralleled, trying to remotely start them, adding gas instead of it being hardlined into the diesel tank...all PITA factors that will outweigh the cost savings as far as I’m concerned. They can be found on Craigslist and forums fairly cheap compared to what they cost new.
Lets see 2 $600 harbor freight generators or a $10,000 diesel generator. I think we all know what is going in this build.
 

ka0tyk

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Absolutely 100% correct here. Don't waste time or resoures on the gas unit, you all ready have a fuel supply in the bus. Stay with that.
Make sure you get one of the newer quiet ones. some of the old ones are about like construction site generators....... Ideally with an inverter for the electronics

As a second note, if you have not already bought the surge guard, hold on that and seriously look into this:

Amazon.com: Hughes Autoformers RV220-50SP Voltage Booster (with Surge Protection), 1 Pack: Automotive

by far the real issue in most campgrounds is low voltage. This is incredibly common. This does the surge protection and fixes reasonable low voltage automatically. I will be installing one in my unit in the next few months.
so thats the thing. all the onan units i find are all clapped out 3 billion hour units... or theres some nice marine units with extremely low hours but I think they're setup with jacketed exhaust pipes, etc and they're like $6000. Heres my reasoning with the HF units. Yes they will be more effort, but they're extremely quiet and they have a killer warranty. Also we're pretty new to this and trying to find out where to go, what resources we will have available to us, etc. So I dont want to go bonkers with a boondock setup if 99% of the time we're gonna have a plug within 20 feet. The HF route is a little hokey but it gets us on the road and it doesnt cost a fortune. If we find out "hey we're running on gen power or our solar/battery bank cant keep up and we REALLY need a solid genny setup then I'll already have the front bay setup for it.
 

fmo24

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We travel full time and run the gen constantly. Keeps the back of coach cool so at end of day at rest stop or truck stop back bath is not a 1000 degrees. Plus during heat of day jeeps the dogs more comfy running roof airs. I think our gen is getting close to 1000 hours. Coach is 2017
 

gqchris

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It *HAS* crossed our minds to put a hatch in the living area where the kids can go down into the front storage bay while parked. Obviously its very low priority though. I'll be putting up divider walls between the storage bays and probably just some carpet on the walls and floor. As far as space goes, I can fit 3 of my kids power wheels down there no problem. Its a crazy amount of room.
You gotta do this bro. I saw Meet the Fockers last week and thought of your build!

IMG_3799.jpg
 

Taboma

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Absolutely 100% correct here. Don't waste time or resoures on the gas unit, you all ready have a fuel supply in the bus. Stay with that.
Make sure you get one of the newer quiet ones. some of the old ones are about like construction site generators....... Ideally with an inverter for the electronics

As a second note, if you have not already bought the surge guard, hold on that and seriously look into this:

Amazon.com: Hughes Autoformers RV220-50SP Voltage Booster (with Surge Protection), 1 Pack: Automotive

by far the real issue in most campgrounds is low voltage. This is incredibly common. This does the surge protection and fixes reasonable low voltage automatically. I will be installing one in my unit in the next few months.
Before buying into the "Autotransformer" marketing hype, you may want to research it a bit more. There's a reason the National Electrical Code under chapter 5, article 551 (Recreational Vehicles & Recreational Vehicle Parks ) section 20, states "Autotransformers Shall Not Be Used".

Why ? Because it's not a "Free Energy" magical device. It doesn't create energy, it's not a boosting generator, it doesn't absorb and output energy from the universe.
What it does is, boosts your voltage using step-up transformer windings, which results in placing a higher amperage (Load) demand on the RV park's already struggling system. If the park's system wasn't already struggling, then you wouldn't need the Autotransformer in the first place.

In other words, your voltage improves causing those around you to suffer in order to make your life better.

There's nothing new tech about using Autotransformers to boost voltage. This one has fancy lights and an undervoltage relay, but I carried a similar sized autotransformer in the late 60's performing electrical construction roughing in tract houses. We called them Buck and Boost Transformers, when drilling (Augering) holes for the romex we'd often have 200' feet of cord laid out. The resistance of 200' of cord resulted in lower voltage at the drill, this low voltage slowed the drill down, caused it to bog, caused it to STOP when encountering a nail --- stopping was bad, because when these high torque drills suddenly stopped, they tended to twist you up like a pretzel.
So by placing this magical device between the first 100' of cord and the 2nd, it boosted the voltage so with a sharp auger, we could blow through nails and make the big $$.

These devices have been discussed at length on various RV forums.
Here's one if you care to explore the subject further.

 

Flying_Lavey

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Ok now for all you electrical nerds...

I grabbed a 50 foot 50 amp cable.

View attachment 962041

That will enter the bus thru a 50 amp receptacle.

View attachment 962047

Then it will go to a 50 amp "surgeguard" hardwired surge protector (highly recommended by many to get a surge protector, I figured if I get one I'd rather have it wired into the bus than dangling off a power pole all mickey moused into my extension cord).

View attachment 962049

Then from that it'll go to a 50 amp breaker panel as my first breaker.

View attachment 962050

then from there to a load center 12 space panel and I'll be doing the following:
1x 15a for rear bedroom, bunks, and living room wall outlets
1x 15a gfci for kitchen and bath
1x 20a for induction cooktop
1x 15a for fridge
2x 20a for rooftop ac
1x 15a in storage bay
View attachment 962059

I'll be using 14/3 marine stranded and tinned cable for all the 15a circuits and 12/3 for the 20a. All the runs should be sub 25'.
View attachment 962057

Wall outlets will have leviton built in usb plugs.
View attachment 962056

Kitchen and bath will have gfci outlets.

Does that pass planning inspection?
How are you going to power the converter/charger? Or do you plan on not having any 12v in the coach? Likely just be the lights, fart fan, range hood furnace, and fridge if you do a 3 way..

I'd strongly suggest you decide exactly how much battery/inverter capacity you plan on having now before you begin wiring everything. A residential fridge is nice for size, but it comes with a lot of other power requirements. Its kind of sounding like you aren't planning on any propane system?

Sent from my SM-G781V using Tapatalk
 

Canuck 1

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WOW! This is awesome. Man your skills are impressive.

When I see all that storage space underneath I immediately think "you could put a couple quads under there" and then I started to think, that just seems like such wasted space. Wonder if anyone doing one of these conversions has ever put a ladder from the upper portion to the storage area from inside and built a bunk room in part of the storage area. Think of the aft cabin in some 40+ foot boats where the helm is over the room so the ceiling is super low but you have a couple single beds and a tv. Could even put windows in down there for air and light. That shit would be DOPE!!!
a basement bedroom
 

cxr

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your already this deep into it add some slideous for more bedroom, closet and bunk rooms lol
 

Sleek-Jet

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Before buying into the "Autotransformer" marketing hype, you may want to research it a bit more. There's a reason the National Electrical Code under chapter 5, article 551 (Recreational Vehicles & Recreational Vehicle Parks ) section 20, states "Autotransformers Shall Not Be Used".

Why ? Because it's not a "Free Energy" magical device. It doesn't create energy, it's not a boosting generator, it doesn't absorb and output energy from the universe.
What it does is, boosts your voltage using step-up transformer windings, which results in placing a higher amperage (Load) demand on the RV park's already struggling system. If the park's system wasn't already struggling, then you wouldn't need the Autotransformer in the first place.

In other words, your voltage improves causing those around you to suffer in order to make your life better.

There's nothing new tech about using Autotransformers to boost voltage. This one has fancy lights and an undervoltage relay, but I carried a similar sized autotransformer in the late 60's performing electrical construction roughing in tract houses. We called them Buck and Boost Transformers, when drilling (Augering) holes for the romex we'd often have 200' feet of cord laid out. The resistance of 200' of cord resulted in lower voltage at the drill, this low voltage slowed the drill down, caused it to bog, caused it to STOP when encountering a nail --- stopping was bad, because when these high torque drills suddenly stopped, they tended to twist you up like a pretzel.
So by placing this magical device between the first 100' of cord and the 2nd, it boosted the voltage so with a sharp auger, we could blow through nails and make the big $$.

These devices have been discussed at length on various RV forums.
Here's one if you care to explore the subject further.

You can take your Ohm's Law bullshit and go stand over there....

No body got time for that nonsense.

🤣
 

LargeOrangeFont

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so are you trying to monetize the YouTube channel?

my buddy was telling me there’s no $$ anymore in it?

Many of the successful You Tune channels are just merch sales that happen to have YouTube channels these days. The merch sales far outweigh the YouTube revenue.

Much like having a real estate business with a web forum :)
 
Last edited:

Waterjunky

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Before buying into the "Autotransformer" marketing hype, you may want to research it a bit more. There's a reason the National Electrical Code under chapter 5, article 551 (Recreational Vehicles & Recreational Vehicle Parks ) section 20, states "Autotransformers Shall Not Be Used".

Why ? Because it's not a "Free Energy" magical device. It doesn't create energy, it's not a boosting generator, it doesn't absorb and output energy from the universe.
What it does is, boosts your voltage using step-up transformer windings, which results in placing a higher amperage (Load) demand on the RV park's already struggling system. If the park's system wasn't already struggling, then you wouldn't need the Autotransformer in the first place.

In other words, your voltage improves causing those around you to suffer in order to make your life better.

There's nothing new tech about using Autotransformers to boost voltage. This one has fancy lights and an undervoltage relay, but I carried a similar sized autotransformer in the late 60's performing electrical construction roughing in tract houses. We called them Buck and Boost Transformers, when drilling (Augering) holes for the romex we'd often have 200' feet of cord laid out. The resistance of 200' of cord resulted in lower voltage at the drill, this low voltage slowed the drill down, caused it to bog, caused it to STOP when encountering a nail --- stopping was bad, because when these high torque drills suddenly stopped, they tended to twist you up like a pretzel.
So by placing this magical device between the first 100' of cord and the 2nd, it boosted the voltage so with a sharp auger, we could blow through nails and make the big $$.

These devices have been discussed at length on various RV forums.
Here's one if you care to explore the subject further.

Right after having to replace thousands of dollars worth of stuff in your RV because of low voltage, You get less sympathetic about this whole thing. I am not willing to garbage the entire electrical system in my RV due to this. I am well aware there is no free lunch on this. I can also just charge the 12v house batteries and run everything off them if things get too crazy. Inverters and generators are a real plus. As said, I will be hard wiring one into my coach this spring.
 

Racey

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so are you trying to monetize the YouTube channel?

my buddy was telling me there’s no $$ anymore in it?
I watch a ton of YouTube channels, over the last year or so most of the channels I watch that have been around for a long time seem to have pulled the plug on youtube monetization. They all seem to have made deals directly with sponsors, YouTube now tags the video as 'Includes Paid Promotion', so either the video includes some kind of promotion or product placement if it's related to the content, or they will just cut in halfway through the video with a short promotion for the product.

In other words the content producers are making their own commercials and putting them in the videos.

I never see the actual youtube ads because i run uBlock on all my devices, it's painful to watch without it as they will just chop in right in the middle of the video with some completely unrelated loud 15 second video.
 

Taboma

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Right after having to replace thousands of dollars worth of stuff in your RV because of low voltage, You get less sympathetic about this whole thing. I am not willing to garbage the entire electrical system in my RV due to this. I am well aware there is no free lunch on this. I can also just charge the 12v house batteries and run everything off them if things get too crazy. Inverters and generators are a real plus. As said, I will be hard wiring one into my coach this spring.
Certainly understand the frustration. Also understand the popularity of RV autotransformers and the perplexing problem using them creates. Good Luck 👍
 

ka0tyk

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Last weekends progress video.

Finally the aluminum pieces are all gone. Went through lots of planning for rooms and space. Made some adjustments and squeezed about 20” more room to the living area. Electrical pieces are starting to come in. Wiring etc all planning for where to run everything. Finalizing our cabinet order. Looking into ordering our plumbing parts once we get the last 2 walls in which will solidify where the toilet and shower go so I can send off fitting dimensions to the tank place. Should be 100gal fresh, 100 grey, 50 black.


might have an opportunity to get a diesel generator. I think it might fit.
 
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