Dana Lee
Dana Lee Dana has been a truck driver, power plant operator, pre-press operator, graphic designer, pressman, art director, and publisher to list just a few things.

Our Skoolie Battery Story!

Shining Light on the 12v Coach System!
Our Skoolie Battery Story!

She said, “Its dark in here!” and she was right. Spending the day in the bus down by the beach was great. But as soon as the sun goes down it gets dark. Shocker I know! We need to get a Skoolie battery and some 12v electrical systems going.

I know just enough about electricity to hurt myself. For a long time blowing up voltage meters was a hobby of mine. To this day I really don’t know how to use them correctly. I prefer to use the simple tester that just lights a bulb if there is power. But I can’t let my inexperience stop me from moving forward. That is what being a Skoolie is all about. Learn as you go.

Best Skoolie Battery

My choice for a battery for our bus is the Relion 12v 200AH Lithium battery. Before you start, yes it is very expensive, but if you look at the specifications it is our best choice. To start with we are going with just one battery. Eventually we plan on having two of them but at $2397 each we can only afford one for now.

I could go into a lot of technical reasons why we are going with Lithium but I would not do as good a job of it as the Wynn’s did in their blog. They explain the benefits of lithium very completely.

Best Place for a Skoolie Battery

Because the Lithium battery is sealed and doesn’t produce any dangerous gases we are putting them inside the bus. The main reason we are doing this is the lack of places to mount an external battery box. Our propane tank, water tanks, and gray water tank are using up all the under-bus real estate. For that reason and for the ease of access we are mounting the batteries inside.

Lithium battery boxes

We purchased two NOCO commercial grade battery boxes, the 8D size from Amazon. They are very sturdy and well made. Yes, we only need one right now but we are going to use the second one for additional storage until we can afford a second battery.

skoolie battery boxes with the lids open.

Wiring a Skoolie Battery

I am going slowly and working out they systems as best I can. Below is a rough schematic of how I am going to layout my main electrical panel.

skoolie electrical panel wiring plan

We will have 110v power only when staying at a place that offers it, or when at home. For the rest of the time we will rely on 12v power. We do have a 300 watt pure sign inverter for whatever we might need 110v power for while dry camping.

Our main concern is to have everything grounded and fused properly. From what I have read that is the most common mistake people make. If we can get the power we need, safely, then we will be happy with our efforts.

We Could Be Wrong

As with every aspect of converting a school bus to an RV we have no idea what we are doing. We might find that 12v power is not enough for us. We might find that two batteries is not enough juice for comfortable camping. We just don’t know for sure so we are making a leap of faith. That is the hardest part of being a Skoolie, you are constantly confronted with your own shortcomings. But that is also the best part of it. Our work might not be the best, most skillful work but it is ours and we take great pride in it.

We have all the part and pieces, so now it is time to start putting things together.

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