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Apr 292010

Oops.  While the MT643 is indeed a nice trans­mis­sion, the MD3060 is the one I want.  MT643 is a mechan­i­cal con­trol type 4 speed with 3rd and 4th lock­ing.  MD3060 is a larg­er, elec­tron­ic con­trolled 6 speed which appar­ent­ly locks on all gears.  This is good news as MD3060 seems to be very pop­u­lar com­pared to try­ing to locate the MT643.  Only real draw­back is elec­tron­ics con­trol adds a bit of cost, espe­cial­ly if it breaks.

Apr 212010

Wow, test was a breeze this time. A note for oth­ers: There are two man­u­als. The first is a large newsprint type ‘Texas Com­mer­cial Motor Vehi­cle Dri­vers Hand­book’ which has *every­thing* in it. Good to read through, famil­iar­ize, and ref­er­ence. For actu­al study­ing for the test, it is best to use the sec­ond book, a school bus yel­low ‘Texas Dri­vers Hand­book’, chap­ter 15. Also note Chap­ter 8–3 for the speed/vehicle chart.

Also, for record, a ‘non-com­mer­cial’ license is called a Class A (or B) exempt.

Apr 202010

Failed with a 63%.  Major­i­ty of the ques­tions were not ones that I stud­ied.  Found out that I should be study­ing the com­mer­cial chap­ter of the small book, so now I am going over that.  Plan to retest tomor­row.  Grum­ble mutter.

Apr 092010

While research­ing var­i­ous equip­ment avail­able for this project, the Out­back brand real­ly stood out in qual­i­ty, fea­ture set, and price.

One of the big things that quite inter­est­ed me is that all the var­i­ous com­po­nents link up into a net­work to work as a team.  Pairs of invert­ers can be used to give split phase pow­er (what most hous­es have) and all smart charg­ing sys­tems work in tan­dem.  There is no left hand not know­ing what the right is doing.  Best of all, the net­work can be tapped by a stan­dard ser­i­al con­nec­tion open­ing up the door for inte­gra­tion with com­put­er or cus­tom electronics.

Not shown (or yet priced out) is 28VDC  alter­na­tor for bus engine.  Rel­a­tive­ly small 12VDC sys­tem will be kept in place run­ning off a starter bat­tery kept topped off via charg­er run­ning off house bank.

Note that a DC genset was select­ed.  When I looked over what was avail­able, I was extreme­ly dis­ap­point­ed in the noise lev­els, espe­cial­ly for diesel gen­er­a­tors.  A DC sys­tem is no dif­fer­ent save for being con­sid­er­ably small­er.  This results in a unit which can be sound proofed via var­i­ous mats, lead, and baf­fles far more eas­i­ly than a 110VAC set­up.  The sin­gle down­side to be found was that DC gensets tend to be marine equip­ment and cost more, effec­tive­ly dou­bling cost of elec­tri­cal sys­tem.  Obvi­ous­ly the genset is intend­ed to be pur­chased far down the road as it is not crit­i­cal.  Infor­ma­tion on genset cur­rent­ly selected/priced can be found here.

Bat­ter­ies are AGM.  Those famil­iar with them will know they can eas­i­ly pull mas­sive amounts of cur­rent dur­ing bulk charge.  Despite the amper­age of the var­i­ous charg­ers, they are still expect­ed to run 100% for pro­longed peri­ods of time.  Specs show them capa­ble of doing such.

A ran­dom note, 160amps is pow­er require­ment to keep two 15,000BTU A/Cs run­ning hap­pi­ly at 100% duty cycle.

Apr 092010

Appar­ent­ly, a Class A endorse­ment is required for this bus.  Step one is to obtain such.

I’ve locat­ed an appro­pri­ate CDL class which pro­vides vehi­cle for prac­tice and test for $275.  This  seems ide­al and will like­ly be path I take, though with inten­tion of reg­is­ter­ing as Non-Com­mer­cial so far as the licens­ing goes.  Cur­rent­ly study­ing handbook.

Apr 092010

I’ve decid­ed to pur­chase and con­vert a bus into a full-time capa­ble RV.  After research, I’ve decid­ed on the bus I am seeking.

  • 90 pas­sen­ger (40′), Rear Engine bus, prefer­ably Thomas.
  • DT466 engine.  Pow­er­ful, long last­ing, eas­i­ly rebuilt.
  • MT643 trans­mis­sion.  Long last­ing, effi­cient transmission.
  • Air brakes.