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.