Lift up bed for new self build.

OP
Gromett

Gromett

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Feb 27, 2011
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Hmm, this looks good (ish). Would box a lot in mind you..

 
Oct 2, 2008
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4,247
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Bucher Duro 6x6 motorhome
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since 1968
2 channels for guidance/location , and 4 gas struts , job done :)
have seen several versions on youtube MoHo Builds , Just an idea on KISS principle .

eg @Gromett
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

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Feb 27, 2011
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Would need an inverter to power it though as I can't find a 12v version only 240v but that is not too much of an issue I don't think.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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Counterbalance weights mean you are effectively doubling the weight of your bed - seem counter-intuitive to me (y).
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

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Feb 27, 2011
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Counterbalance weights mean you are effectively doubling the weight of your bed - seem counter-intuitive to me (y).
Not a problem, building in a 7.5T truck :D
 
Feb 26, 2016
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Nottingham
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A Class Laika 712
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6
Whatever you do it has to be failsafe. IMO it’s the most important bit of the MH. Our all singing Pilote Electric Bed was a pain in the neck. Electronically controlled electric rams pushed the scissor action side pieces up and down when it felt like it and not always together. Others we have talked to have had rails pull out of the woodwork. Some others have webbing round a shaft and when it stops you get an electric drill out and fit it to the hexagon end of the motor shaft. If you can do it mechanically all the better. What about using the bed system from an A Class. All it has are a few levers and a couple of rams to help counterbalance it. Works a treat.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

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Feb 27, 2011
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Whatever you do it has to be failsafe. IMO it’s the most important bit of the MH. Our all singing Pilote Electric Bed was a pain in the neck. Electronically controlled electric rams pushed the scissor action side pieces up and down when it felt like it and not always together. Others we have talked to have had rails pull out of the woodwork. Some others have webbing round a shaft and when it stops you get an electric drill out and fit it to the hexagon end of the motor shaft. If you can do it mechanically all the better. What about using the bed system from an A Class. All it has are a few levers and a couple of rams to help counterbalance it. Works a treat.
Whatever solution I choose will be over engineered and designed to be manually operable on case of failure.
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
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Kendal, Cumbria
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since 1999
Whatever you do it has to be failsafe. IMO it’s the most important bit of the MH. Our all singing Pilote Electric Bed was a pain in the neck. Electronically controlled electric rams pushed the scissor action side pieces up and down when it felt like it and not always together. Others we have talked to have had rails pull out of the woodwork. Some others have webbing round a shaft and when it stops you get an electric drill out and fit it to the hexagon end of the motor shaft. If you can do it mechanically all the better. What about using the bed system from an A Class. All it has are a few levers and a couple of rams to help counterbalance it. Works a treat.
Not mine. It has electric rams. They work in approximate synchronisation and because in the down position the bed has limit switches on each end (each side of the van), one for each ram, any minimal out of synch is corrected automatically. Internal limit switches within each ram limit upward movement which, again, maintains synch. The mechanism is scissor arms with one blade of each scissors free to move horizontally within a slide. The other arm of each scissors is linked with a tube through the rear (access) side of the bed. There appear to be no electronics or diagnostics used - all to the good IMO - although a couple of relays may be involved. Observed out-of-synch appears to be less than an inch of bed travel as it hits the limit switches which, as I said, correct it anyway.

A class beds with gas struts do work well but are very load-dependant. I do have limited experience of them but one (probably failing) set had trouble with extra bedding stored up there and required a fair amount of effort to start them off. I replaced them like-for-like which left me with a bed I had to hold down whilst removing the stored bedding and tidying the remaining bed ready for use.
 
Aug 6, 2013
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27,352
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since 1999
Fail-safe: I can't think of any method of making an electrically operated bed easy to operate manually. Winding anything operated by a very low-geared electric motor will be painful in the extreme unless a drill coupling can be arranged. Even then if dual lifting arrangements are used it will need connecting to each strut / winch in turn at very regular intervals to avoid straining the mechanism. If the bed electrics are kept simple and known to the owner (as in this case) access to the ram connections will be the easiest way to raise the bed unless a ram motor has failed. In that case I suspect the easiest method would be to use a trolley jack & spreader pad to (a) remove weight from the rams so that they can be freed (b) raise the bed so ratchet straps could be deployed to keep it there. I think if I was particularly worried I'd carry a spare ram. Or a pair of suitable gas struts.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
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15,452
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Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Fail-safe: I can't think of any method of making an electrically operated bed easy to operate manually. Winding anything operated by a very low-geared electric motor will be painful in the extreme unless a drill coupling can be arranged. Even then if dual lifting arrangements are used it will need connecting to each strut / winch in turn at very regular intervals to avoid straining the mechanism. If the bed electrics are kept simple and known to the owner (as in this case) access to the ram connections will be the easiest way to raise the bed unless a ram motor has failed. In that case I suspect the easiest method would be to use a trolley jack & spreader pad to (a) remove weight from the rams so that they can be freed (b) raise the bed so ratchet straps could be deployed to keep it there. I think if I was particularly worried I'd carry a spare ram. Or a pair of suitable gas struts.
You probably don't know my set up so will explain. The bed will be across the front of the truck box. This will partially obscure the access hatch to the front which will rarely be used in normal operation. The lifting mechanism is basically for access to the storage on each side of the passageway under the bed. If the winch method fails I can simply lift the bed manually and chock it up. Not really any hardship.

Most days the bed won't even get lifted. The washing machine will be under there and the water tank and some storage for little used stuff.
 

Minxy Girl

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
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Globecar Campscout
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You probably don't know my set up so will explain. The bed will be across the front of the truck box. This will partially obscure the access hatch to the front which will rarely be used in normal operation. The lifting mechanism is basically for access to the storage on each side of the passageway under the bed. If the winch method fails I can simply lift the bed manually and chock it up. Not really any hardship.

Most days the bed won't even get lifted. The washing machine will be under there and the water tank and some storage for little used stuff.
How about some sketches Grom?
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
6,101
Kendal, Cumbria
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27,352
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A Class
Exp
since 1999
You probably don't know my set up so will explain. The bed will be across the front of the truck box. This will partially obscure the access hatch to the front which will rarely be used in normal operation. The lifting mechanism is basically for access to the storage on each side of the passageway under the bed. If the winch method fails I can simply lift the bed manually and chock it up. Not really any hardship.

Most days the bed won't even get lifted. The washing machine will be under there and the water tank and some storage for little used stuff.
Sounds sensible. I wouldn't bother with anything in case it goes wrong either.
 
Sep 15, 2018
16
5
North Shropshire
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56,218
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Newbie
LCI seem to have cornered the market in the UK for bed lifts they own Project 2000 and Happijack etc
They have an amazing Van on show at the NEC this week complete with slide out shower, slide out dog kennel and massive Sun roof!

If you are going also look in the overhead locker the lead screw for the sliding door is massive!

I had a good chat with their rep and will be visiting their offices in Warrington in the spring I don't think they have realised the sheer size and potential of the DIY market.
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
6,101
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
LCI seem to have cornered the market in the UK for bed lifts they own Project 2000 and Happijack etc
They have an amazing Van on show at the NEC this week complete with slide out shower, slide out dog kennel and massive Sun roof!

If you are going also look in the overhead locker the lead screw for the sliding door is massive!

I had a good chat with their rep and will be visiting their offices in Warrington in the spring I don't think they have realised the sheer size and potential of the DIY market.
Linear electric rams are available from many sources and automated furniture makers use a fair selection.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
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Linear electric rams are available from many sources and automated furniture makers use a fair selection.
Have you seen the price of them over 1 Metre in length?
 
May 4, 2018
10
2
Funster No
53,724
£750 for four including wiring loom, two switches, and relays.
I’ll pull my finger out next week and get some work done on my bed lift on 1m electric actuators, been moving the business which has taken much more time than I envisaged.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
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15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
£750 for four including wiring loom, two switches, and relays.
I’ll pull my finger out next week and get some work done on my bed lift on 1m electric actuators, been moving the business which has taken much more time than I envisaged.
Bit over my budget... Actually a lot over my budget. In reality it is just me being lazy. I could actually just get under the bed a lift and chock :p
 
Aug 6, 2013
7,498
6,101
Kendal, Cumbria
Funster No
27,352
MH
A Class
Exp
since 1999
Using 4 x 1metre to lift a bed is overkill. With a scissor mechanism mine is lifted by two probably 15" long. Total lift around a metre.
 
May 4, 2018
10
2
Funster No
53,724
yes it’s overkill, does mean I can stop the bed at any level for sleeping, either the bottom dead where we would normally sleep or a bit higher so I can have my motorbike underneath.

I spent ages looking at it all, wanted an all in one solution from Happijac but just couldnt get hold of one.
 

Tim-j

Free Member
Oct 21, 2018
2
4
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56,857
MH
Relay
Exp
Newbie
Hello, first post on the forum. Ive joined cause ive bought a 09 relay to convert and while browsing ive come across this thread and it is somthing that i know a little about.

Im a lift engineer and the one thing i havent seen mentioned so far is safety devices. These sorts of lifting platforms are quite simple enough but you should really consider some simple safety devices
The last thing you would want to happen is a short or some water damaged or corrosion to turn the lift on whist your not expecting it and pin you to the van roof or relieve you of a limb or a head.

Im not having a go at all so dont take this the wrong way and i can offer advise on the type of cut outs used on this type of lifting platform, one thing to remember is that if you have less than 2m head room over the top of the platform while its parked at its upper level it must have bulkhead protection ie a sensitive edge or light curtain to prevent crushing, also if any part of the moving platform passes within 300mm of a trapping hazard it again must have sensitive edges to prevent trapping.

Another lifting method i havent seen mentioned would be ball screws, linear actuators are used on lifts but ive never seen them used in the lifting process, there more commonly used in door opening ramp folding and barrier operation. If i was going to use webbing and a pully system i would be looking at used ceiling track hoists. There often installed in disabled peoples homes to lift them into beds or baths and toilets, there purpose built fairly compact and come in rated loads of up to 200kg, remember though when designing your system that a failure of one part should never be able to lead to a uncontrolled decent.

If you are going to be supporting a 50kg bed with 2 75kg people on it you would have to support it with 2 200kg hoists as if one had a major failure the one remaining needs to be able to hold the weight.

I know health and safety is boring but i presume your kids and partners are going to be in the vans with you, lift engineers die or are badly injured everyday round the world just and thats with training and experience. I wouldnt let children anywhere near something that without the proper safety devices could easliy maim or kill them.

Just be careful people and consider what could happen if something did go wrong.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Hello, first post on the forum. Ive joined cause ive bought a 09 relay to convert and while browsing ive come across this thread and it is somthing that i know a little about.

Im a lift engineer and the one thing i havent seen mentioned so far is safety devices. These sorts of lifting platforms are quite simple enough but you should really consider some simple safety devices
The last thing you would want to happen is a short or some water damaged or corrosion to turn the lift on whist your not expecting it and pin you to the van roof or relieve you of a limb or a head.

Im not having a go at all so dont take this the wrong way and i can offer advise on the type of cut outs used on this type of lifting platform, one thing to remember is that if you have less than 2m head room over the top of the platform while its parked at its upper level it must have bulkhead protection ie a sensitive edge or light curtain to prevent crushing, also if any part of the moving platform passes within 300mm of a trapping hazard it again must have sensitive edges to prevent trapping.

Another lifting method i havent seen mentioned would be ball screws, linear actuators are used on lifts but ive never seen them used in the lifting process, there more commonly used in door opening ramp folding and barrier operation. If i was going to use webbing and a pully system i would be looking at used ceiling track hoists. There often installed in disabled peoples homes to lift them into beds or baths and toilets, there purpose built fairly compact and come in rated loads of up to 200kg, remember though when designing your system that a failure of one part should never be able to lead to a uncontrolled decent.

If you are going to be supporting a 50kg bed with 2 75kg people on it you would have to support it with 2 200kg hoists as if one had a major failure the one remaining needs to be able to hold the weight.

I know health and safety is boring but i presume your kids and partners are going to be in the vans with you, lift engineers die or are badly injured everyday round the world just and thats with training and experience. I wouldnt let children anywhere near something that without the proper safety devices could easliy maim or kill them.

Just be careful people and consider what could happen if something did go wrong.
Some basic info about me. I have a bit of an engineering background (original trade). to answer your questions in no particular order.
* The bed will not be slept in in the raised position.
* The bed will rest on solid support in the lowered position.
* It won't be able to raise accidentally as I always use toggled double pole isolation switches and in this case I will be using a switch with a cover to prevent accidental operation.
* All cables in my vehicle are run through copex trunking to prevent abrasion (avoid fire risk).
* No kids, no partner, just for me. If I kill myself I won't know about it :D
* As for ceiling track hoists. Interesting suggestion but I believe they are mostly 240v and very expensive. If I am going 240v it will be to save money on the mechanism.
* Weight of the bed I am calculating using 100KG as I always over spec/over engineer stuff. I weigh ~60KG so total weight 160KG max. But probably closer to 100KG in reality. (bed will probably be closer to 40KG than 100KG)
* I just considered the accidentally raising with me on it scenario. The truth is the roof strut would probably give way before it could lift me, the bed and crush me in the roof space. I will possibly look into engineering it to fail safely rather than adding safety devices.

A most interesting post though and possible things for others to consider if they are doing things differently from me.
 

Tim-j

Free Member
Oct 21, 2018
2
4
Funster No
56,857
MH
Relay
Exp
Newbie
Ceiling track hoists are battery powered and have a simple set of contacts at the end of the track so charge while parked in a certain spot, the batterys are contained in the unit, its a while since ive looked at one but i think most run on 24v and use pneumaticly activated controls and they use a small 240v mascot battery charger.

Would definatly be worth installing some manual lock out pins in both its upper and lower resting positions in the tracks tied into to 2 independent mirco switches and strobe lights that flash when the pins are removed.

Track hoists are cheap as chips on ebay and as they as designed for lifting have overspeed and emeegency lowering devices integrated into there design.

Im sure running a small invertor to run a 24v 1amp mascot charger wouldnt take much cost or effort.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Jun 30, 2011
3,285
3,340
Durham
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17,128
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Concorde Concerto A class
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Since 2011
Enjoying the thread, 16 feet is less than 5 metres, surely you need nearer the 20 feet at least which gives you just over 6 metres
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Enjoying the thread, 16 feet is less than 5 metres, surely you need nearer the 20 feet at least which gives you just over 6 metres
I initially wanted 20' box. But look at total length of the vehicle and parking spots etc the 16' would allow me to get into some of my regular spots whereas a 20' box would make it tricky.

Have been living in a van for 8+ years with total internal size of 1.8m x 3.4m. Moving up to 2.4m by 4.8m is a massive increase in size for me. That extra 0.6 metres in width is just as important as the extra 1.4 metres in extra length. Also with the height of the box it will allow me to put in a double floor which down each side will be used for routing piping, cabling and tanks etc. The centre section down the middle of the van will consist of lift up panels giving me loads of underfloor storage. It also aids in winterisation.

I will go from having a small combined bed/bench seat/office seat all in one. To a raised bed at the front, with full storage capacity under the bed. This will allow me to carry a domestic combined tumble drier washing machine. Due to the 7.5T I will also be able to fit in a 500-1,000 litre fresh water tank. Have a 200 litre black tank underneath with an RV style toilet and a macerator/pump system.

As with any motorhome, it is all a compromise. I could go all out and get a 28' box but it would mean my options on where I could stay would be extremely curtailed. I do like stopping at CL's and most of these are not designed for big commercial trucks. Or I could stay small in a panel van and lose the comfort but be extremely open in my options. I have chosen to go just a little bit larger. This will stop me going to some of my favourite place but will leave most of them open hopefully.

I have definitely decided to go for a 7.5T and a full box rather than say a 4.5T panel van. The truck will last a lot longer and at a later date I can always move the box across to a new chassis.

It's a very hard decision as a full timer...
 
Jun 30, 2011
3,285
3,340
Durham
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17,128
MH
Concorde Concerto A class
Exp
Since 2011
I initially wanted 20' box. But look at total length of the vehicle and parking spots etc the 16' would allow me to get into some of my regular spots whereas a 20' box would make it tricky.

Have been living in a van for 8+ years with total internal size of 1.8m x 3.4m. Moving up to 2.4m by 4.8m is a massive increase in size for me. That extra 0.6 metres in width is just as important as the extra 1.4 metres in extra length. Also with the height of the box it will allow me to put in a double floor which down each side will be used for routing piping, cabling and tanks etc. The centre section down the middle of the van will consist of lift up panels giving me loads of underfloor storage. It also aids in winterisation.

I will go from having a small combined bed/bench seat/office seat all in one. To a raised bed at the front, with full storage capacity under the bed. This will allow me to carry a domestic combined tumble drier washing machine. Due to the 7.5T I will also be able to fit in a 500-1,000 litre fresh water tank. Have a 200 litre black tank underneath with an RV style toilet and a macerator/pump system.

As with any motorhome, it is all a compromise. I could go all out and get a 28' box but it would mean my options on where I could stay would be extremely curtailed. I do like stopping at CL's and most of these are not designed for big commercial trucks. Or I could stay small in a panel van and lose the comfort but be extremely open in my options. I have chosen to go just a little bit larger. This will stop me going to some of my favourite place but will leave most of them open hopefully.

I have definitely decided to go for a 7.5T and a full box rather than say a 4.5T panel van. The truck will last a lot longer and at a later date I can always move the box across to a new chassis.

It's a very hard decision as a full timer...

Yes I agree it is, we full-timed for 2 years, firstly in a 6.99 metre and then 8.33 metre, If I was on my own and clothing then 6 metres ish would be my choice but no less, we have a 6.48 metre van at the minute and that would be perfect, warmest van we have ever had.
 
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Just a bit of info...

With a 2.4m (2400mm) wide box. I would lose 50mm each side to insulation/wall so my total width is 2300mm vs current 1800mm. That extra space will allow me to have a lateral bed at the full standard length of 1900mm. This would leave 400mm depth at the foot of the bed for a wardrobe/shelf unit meaning that storage is not required anywhere else then.

kitchen cabinets are 60cm (600mm) deep. So 60cm each side = 1.2m leaving 1.1m walk way. In my current van I have to have a very shallow kitchen to allow a reasonable walkway but it is still narrow resulting in the occasional bashed elbow when drying myself after a shower. That extra width really really will make a huge difference.
 
Last edited:
OP
Gromett

Gromett

Funster
Feb 27, 2011
9,641
22,752
UK
Funster No
15,452
MH
Self Build
Exp
Since 2005
Yes I agree it is, we full-timed for 2 years, firstly in a 6.99 metre and then 8.33 metre, If I was on my own and clothing then 6 metres ish would be my choice but no less, we have a 6.48 metre van at the minute and that would be perfect, warmest van we have ever had.
That 16' (4.8m) is for the box. The truck itself is just over 2mtr longer. So it is around 7 meters (roughly).

It will be insulated with 50mm of closed cell 2 part spray on foam which has the highest R factor of any insulation. The roof will have a bit more (to be decided) and the floor will be insulated with perhaps 75mm or 100mm panels of kingspan/celotex then a subfloor. Then a raised floor will be placed above this.

With a 16' box I can fit around 2Kw of solar on the roof as well :D
 
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