Don’s parents had offered to build a concrete pad on their property for us to park the bus on. This will be great to have a level surface while working on the interior like kitchen cabinets, but I think they also wanted to provide us with a place to park whenever we come to visit - it rains a lot here and getting stuck in the mud is no fun!
We dug the hole for the pad and framed it out with wood last summer, but with all the rain it became a swimming pool in the fall, then an ice rink in the winter and when Spring rolled around it dried out but we were unable to get a concrete contractor around because the COVID Pandemic had hit the US and we were all told to stay at home. By Summertime 2020 things were opening up again. The framed out pad was dry and we found a family friend with loads of concrete experience was available and willing to come over. We filled the bottom of the hole with gravel and reinforced it with rebar. We ordered 2 concrete trucks to fill about 14 yards and it turned out to be just the right amount. We were told it takes 21 days to set, but because the bus is so heavy it was best to wait 30 days before moving the bus onto it. What is another 30 days when you’ve been waiting a whole year?!
Meanwhile, inside the bus we needed to add a few more furring strips and were getting started on our 12 V electrical wiring.
After we bought our tongue and groove planks for our ceiling, we realized they were 8 ft long and we should have a furring strip to secure them at the beginning and end. Otherwise it would require cutting down our ceiling planks to meet the beams we had furring strips attached to. This would mean a lot of waste and doubling the cost of our ceiling planks. It made a lot more sense to put in more furring strips (minimal cost with spare plywood and foam insulation) to ensure they planks were screwed in at the beginning, middle and end to a furring strip. This was a simple addition to make that I’m sure will pay off.
We decided it was best to get our lighting plan well organized before installing our wool insulation and ceiling planks. Don’s dad is a retired electrician, so he helped Don create an electrical diagram to plan out the circuits for our overhead lighting and switches. We wanted to understand everything about how our bus works and do the electrical ourselves, however we would not be attempting this without his dad’s help and checking everything we did carefully. I do not recommend doing your own wiring without the help of an electrician. This is the plan we created for our 12V lighting:
We got started on running conduit through the metal beams where possible. Planning out where our lights would be on the ceiling and running 12V marine grade electrical wire as needed. Well, we ordered 100ft and ran out of that after only completing the bathroom and bedroom! We still had the back office/closet and kitchen/living area to do.
We quickly realized this task was a lot more involved than we thought and we still had many more days of figuring things out ahead of us.
Lots more wire ordered and lots more days of figuring out how to run our 12V wiring.
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12V Marine Grade Electrical Wire
12AWG Tinned Copper Duplex Marine Wire in 100 FT roll (100' Red / 100' Black Sheathed). Type III Stranding | 600 V | 105 deg C dry, 75 deg C wet. Designed to meet SAE, ABYC, UL and Coast Guard requirements. Resist salt water, battery acid, oil, gasoline, heat, abrasion and UV radiation