Sunday, October 15, 2017

Double the power!

Most of today was spent hunting for a fuse holder. A while back I bought a fuse holder online. It took forever to arrive! Without Radio Shack around the corner, it’s quite a challenge to get hold of electrical and electronic components. Everything has to be done online and you know just how much I adore dealing with eBay and so on.

Speaking of eBay, I made a purchase of a security camera back in July/August. It never arrived though the seller pocketed the money. I went for a refund and immediately reordered from a seller in a different country. That was on September 8th. Apparently I have to wait until November 4th for the last quoted delivery date in order to file for a refund. I seem destined not to get my camera. Needless to say this is not the only seller giving trouble. I’ve been very lucky with eBay until now. I ordered something from a seller in India and that seems destined not to arrive. Look at this!
That’s such a bad score! I’ve never ever seen anybody with so many failures to deliver. 200+ failures to provide the goods and yet when I ordered, his score was almost perfect. I note eBay has not calculated his feedback percentage correctly. 200+ failures and 65 good sales does not equal 50%+ feedback. It is something like 20% feedback.

So currently I have two bad eBay sellers and both delivery periods end in about 2 weeks. Needless to say I’ve had six bad experiences over the last couple of months and can’t say that bodes well for my continuing to make purchases via eBay. Let’s see - I had one item just not arrive and two more about to be filed as not arriving. I don’t think there’s much chance of two items arriving after 5 weeks. A further two items were clothing. They weren’t of the size nor condition described. Then there was the infamous solar panel. I think the world is trying to tell me to stay off eBay.

Today I had, as I said, to hunt for my fuse box. That’s going to be used with my 12v electrics. It took a long time to find it but find it I did. Now I have a problem in that I need to connect all the spades on one side to a common rail. I recall having some female spade connectors that had no plastic on them whatsoever. Can I find them? The answer is no. Now what I could do is to hunt for a different kind of fuse box that has a common live wire. I’m not averse to that given that the current fuse box appears to have been put together by a monkey armed with nothing more than a mallet. Needless to say, it’s Chinese! My friend in the dark barbaric land they call France, did tell me there was a car in Britain that had the perfect fuse box. I’m not sure if it was a Vauxhall Corsa or not. Anyway, Chevy makes the same car under license here. If I can recall the model then I’ll look in Autozone next time I’m there.
It would be somewhat of a challenge to make the one end of that fuse holder into a common positive rail. In fact, it would invite a lot of soldering or a ton of crimping. That just seems like so much hard work to be honest when I can just find a better fuse holder. In fact the fuses don’t slip into this one particularly easily anyway.
It was harder to disassemble the old ventilation system than to construct the rest of the new one. I’ll have to put some kind of mesh filter over the intake. What that’ll involve is making a ball or cone that has mosquito mesh over it. That way the mesh should not provide too much air resistance.

Out of interest I tried running the vents in reverse and that worked quite well. I’ll have to see whether I want to run them in reverse on dry days and forward on wet days. I have a feeling they might suck more efficiently than they blow.

The plan is to install the fuse box and a timer so that the vents can be operated on a schedule rather than operated until the charge controller cuts the battery off as now. The timer will be a problem because the screw holes are smaller than my preferred self-drilling screws. That might necessitate a smaller size if such exists. I can say I’m not happy with my fuse holder. It’s not right. I can use it if I must but I’d prefer to use something suitable.

While I’m ordering or buying my new fuse holder (which I hope will take the same fuses that my bus takes), I’ll see about a couple of relays. One to operate my door lock together with my fancy keypad and one to work with my charge controller should the controller go bananas if I combine the negative of the battery with the negative of the powered circuit. These Chinese things can do wacky things and since the output voltage is uncontrolled, it really doesn’t make much odds whether I run stuff straight off the battery connection anyway. Thinking further, a simple switch that will allow me to reverse the direction of my two blowers also sounds a very good idea. That’d have to be double pole with three positions - on, off, on.

In case you’re wondering, the temperature in my bus today is 84F and 69% humidity. Outside it’s cooler. As soon as I get the ventilation working properly I shall be cool. This coming weekend looks like being cool enough to go underneath to complete my wiring too.
I think you’ll agree the back looks a lot better without flexible air ducting drooping about the place. It was fine in its place but wasn’t a great idea. I think reversible ventilation using two bilge blowers sounds a far better idea.

While I worked on my vents, I noticed my injected foam has expanded brilliantly and now holds the ducts perfectly in place. I’m not sure about how good it is for insulation but it’s bound to be better than an air gap even with a heat bridge.

Where now? Well, I suppose I need to buy my fuse holder and a pair of relays as well as a double pole two way switch. A small tube of silicone sealant would probably be helpful too. I’ll probably run the cables through the rear bulkhead so they’re out of the way.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Is the anal probe coming soon? Read on to find out!

This morning broke like just about every other morning. The blackbird didn’t speak though because the hillbilly living next door had already shot, plucked, cooked and eaten him together with the four and twenty others. So, rising, I headed to the bus. 

It was a slow day that started with my black spray can putting more paint on my hands than on the object to be painted. Anyway, that having been completed as far as possible before the spray can coughed it’s last drop, my attention turned to the digital door lock. Thus far I’m really not liking any of the potential locations. So, after a morning studying possible sites, that idea was shelved.

As I really didn’t feel like going under the bus, I idly read one of those forums I had returned to in what I can only assume was a fit of insanity. Sure as eggs were eggs I was being lambasted and my code compliant electrical installations were being declared dangerous, illegal and so on. Given that I’d held my tongue on the sheer bad driving that caused one fellow to write his bus off and kill another motorist while claiming it was the other motorist’s fault and proving it by posting a video of it on YouTube, I thought it a but rich to be lambasted so. It’s not as though the other posters were professional drivers either. To be quite frank, the descriptions of how they fix their busses and get them home makes me shudder. It’s not just amateurish but rank amateur. I’m hardly surprised when I read about engines blowing, brakes failing etc when they do no daily checks, no running checks, skip on necessary expenses etc.

Let’s just say that by the end of today’s reading I’d had my fill. In fact my advice to them was that they needed to pull their heads out of their rectums and that I wasn’t going to hang around while they did so. I don’t know how they achieved such a seemingly anatomical impossibility but they did and more stunning still, they’re proud of it and proud of their ignorance!

Owning busses is expensive. Tires are $250-$500 each and most busses take 6. Because of the cost, many school districts run exclusively from remolds or part worn tires. The engines take 17 gallons of coolant, 15 gallons of oil, 12 gallons of transmission fluid, a gallon of brake fluid (on hydraulic busses). Air hoses and all other rubberwear needs frequent replacement. That all costs money. Only fools think they can get away with no maintainence because of lower mileage.

So, not feeling too much like going under the bus and being acutely aware of the mess that constitutes my ventilation system, I set about redesigning it. That did entail a trip to the hardware store where I got what I needed. It wasn’t much - just a plastic elbow and some steel brackets. That allowed me fairly swiftly to rebuild one side of my ventilation system.
As can be seen, my new plan is to have my exhaust fans blowing straight out. I’ll build some kind of filter to fit onto the other end that’ll stop trash flying into the duct and remaining there forevermore. Doing it this way affords me more space to install my fan control unit and my fuse box. Heaven knows, I might even install a few switches if everything pans out right. For some reason, I have a feeling that a switch that allows me to switch the battery out as well as the solar panels could be very important. Being electrically silent could be very important in the future. The only immediate benefit would be being able to operate the bus after an EMP.

Tomorrow’s work might well involve doing the other vent like this. After that, it might be time to get underneath to complete my wiring. I have a feeling though that completing the ventilation could take all day, particularly if having done that, I dive in and install my fuse bar and my control unit.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A mission from ISIS!

As many of my regular readers know, I’m a real school bus driver, driving real children to real schools in real life. Can’t get more real than that - actually you can. I drive special needs children to school. These are the children with various issues that mean that an ordinary bus is not suitable. Don’t take that the wrong way - many of them are particularly gifted children whose problem may be emotional and behavioral rather than anything else. That, however, is beside the point.

Driving around my routes I see driving behavior that causes me to wonder whether there are drivers out there on a mission for ISIS to cause chaos, to cause injury and to cause death. Alternatively there could be some McDonalds out there that I don’t know about, issuing free driving licenses with every Happy Meal. If a day goes by when I don’t see some road user doing something suicidal, I’m relieved. Today there was somebody in a pickup truck weaving through the traffic, causing cars to brake and swerve as he cut in front of them. No use of turn signals, of course. Then there was the guy following me, 6 inches behind my rear bumper who didn’t understand that’s why I kept slowing down and so kept blowing his horn. Sorry, mate, I’m not speeding up til you speed your happy arse away from my back bumper. I can do without being rear-ended.

Being a bus driver means I also know more about vehicles than most. Two weeks ago the local dealership gave me a horrendous price on replacing what boiled down to a $1.50 part wrapped in plastic. By the time I had done a deal with the Devil it had cost me $330. Now my car is showing me a check engine light. Reading the error using the tried and true method of turning the car on, waiting 3 seconds then pumping the acellerator 5 times in 5 seconds then waiting 7 seconds before pressing the acellerator for 10 seconds then releasing, I read the code. The code flashes out in 4 blocks and came up as 443 which is something to do with the vacuum pump switch.
Having had to do business with the Devil and being determined not to do it again, I bought my car manual for a massive $25 and will henceforth attempt my own repairs. The part needed is $65 online but I’ll get the car spares shop to check my diagnosis with their reader while getting the needed part from them. Fortunately my bus has no built-in electronics. It’s pretty much pre-electronics which means diagnosis is simpler and there’s a load less to go wrong. Honestly the things that go wrong in my car are all to do with the onboard diagnostics rather than actual problems.

The manual for my bus or rather for the DT466 engine is somewhat daunting at about $150. Carpenter went out of business years ago but left a handy circuit diagram on the cockpit wall. Unhelpfully they ran their wires underneath the roof panels. As for the transmission, it’s a standard Alison 542 or similar. I don’t expect to have to work on that or the engine.

Today is a day off from work but I’m not doing anything today. I’m still exhausted from work over the last 4 days. One of the major problems with school bus driving is South Carolina’s reluctance to put air conditioning on their busses. On the special needs bus I drive, the children have air conditioning. It doesn’t reach the front though. That means that I have a choice. I can either chug water while I drive and hence chug kiddie germs or I can avoid the kiddie germs and dry out which has the unfortunate side effect of inducing a constipation that can last the whole work week. As my own bus does not have air conditioning but does not have children aboard, I’m luckier in that I don’t have to make a choice between missing days from being sick from preventable airborne germ ingestion or spending the weekend trying to get things working normally again.

Tomorrow the plan is to continue work under the bus on securing the wiring to the underside of the bus and continue on to pass the wires through the floor at the back of the bus. Once that’s done, I can work on the electrics at the back. Alternatively I can start to install my electronic door unlocker keypad. It depends what I feel like doing, to be brutally honest. I need to extend the wires under the bus as some are a shade too short. That’s probably going to be spade connectors. Soldering would be nice but spade is more practical if I’m doing this on my favorite piece of roadway.

And now the obligatory photo down the aisle of my bus.
It’s not too bad. Still a bit cluttered with construction debris in places but it’s getting there. If I feel so inclined, I might even forgo getting under to install my wiring and just concentrate on building a battery holder for my Harbor Freight 35AH battery. Although I don’t really want to weld to the bus body, I think I might have to weld a couple of brackets in order to hold my battery more securely.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Joining the legions of the undead

Though I’m pretty sure a good number of my dear readers would probably love nothing better than for me to join the legions of the dead, I’m not quite that far gone yet. I shall be sticking around in order to be a constant irritant to those that dislike me. In fact, should my current miserable virus be bad enough to cause me to get near deaths door, I’ve arranged to remain undead. That should bring fear to the hearts of my enemies, whose livers I shall savour with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

Yes, I’ve fallen victim to one of the viruses my passengers has brought aboard on my work bus. As those of you in the know, know, I drive a special needs schoolbus. So, I drive from 5:40am til 8:45am then again from 1:30pm to 4:50pm and while the children have the benefit of air conditioning, I sweat it out at the driving seat in 90F. By the time I’ve done for the day I’m usually a little unsteady on my feet.

This weekend is an almost lost weekend as far as I’m concerned. I can’t go far or do much. Thank heavens it’s the weekend though and I’m not missing work. I did make it to the bus for ten minutes and though it’s 73F, those ten minutes almost did me in!
This is a spare bilge blower and I wanted to see how much difference my mosquito mesh filters would make to airflow. I have a feeling my existing exhaust vents and mesh filters could be causing a problem with throughput. Thus, using my anemometer and a spare 12v battery, I experimented and recorded the results below.
First I tried measuring outflow then I measured inflow both with and without meshes. Now I don’t regard my eBay anemometer as being the best tool out there. It was cheap and can be used as a rough estimation of airflow. My fan is rated at 130 cubic feet per minute. The anemometer is rated at feet per second. There’s a disparity of measurement that I can’t be bothered to calculate.

Needless to say, with no filters I got about 2200 feet per second. With two meshes I got just over half at 1400 feet per second. Then things get interesting. It seems the fan is more efficient when blowing than when sucking. The blow rate was 1600/1400 feet per second versus the suck rate of 1400/1200 feet per second. That goes against all the online mumbo jumbo that I’ve ever read. I can’t argue with my figures - they’re there in black and white.

Now, assuming I use a more appropriately sized large mesh for the inlet and no mesh for the outlet, I should get a throughput of 2200fps. Using two 130CFM fans I should be able to evacuate all the air from the bus in just over 4 minutes. That sounds promising.

I currently have mushroom vents over my vent pipes. If I were to replace them with flapper vents, that would increase airflow though I’d still need some kind of hood to prevent the wind from opening the flappers enough to allow critters inside. I’ve already noticed that with my mushroom vents, I get air blowing in when the fan is turned off.  I shall have to investigate flapper vents further.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bugger! No negative ground?

Today I tested my charge controller to see if I could put a negative ground for the battery. I've got the bus body as the negative ground for all my solar powered devices so far. Intreaguingly, as soon as I connected the negative of the battery to the negative of the lines to powered devices, the devices sprang into life, despite the charge controller having left the devices turned off. Clearly the charge controller flies in the face of conventional logic and switches only on the negative side. Now that's truly and utterly bizarre. That means that unusually I will have to employ other methods.

Given that the charge controller does not regulate voltage output at all, I imagine a relay will be very useful there. It'll be a constant drain on power though. That would allow me to use the bus body as the negative for the battery and for the circuits. Indeed, lighter wiring could be used to power that relay. The downside is that I'm going to have to rethink some of my circuitry. The alternative would be to use a negative and a positive cable from the battery and just isolate the battery from the bodywork. That flies in the face of conventional vehicle wiring but if it's what must be done then it must be done.

I can hear it now. All those morons saying "shouldn't have bought Chinese crap". I ask the question - how do you know what's Chinese or not? How do you know whether something Chinese is good or bad? It's just not possible. If a company buys the electronics from China and assembles in the USA, is it American or is it Chinese? The Chinese can produce some darned good stuff. They can also produce some bloody awful stuff. In fact the vast majority of what they throw out on eBay tends to be the rejects and low quality stuff but a lot of it is still good enough to use. The exception being clothing - a Chinese XXXL will be Medium to the rest of us.
One of the easier things to do was to fix my batwing doors. Well, they're not actually saloon style batwing doors though this is what I'd have loved to have but they're in essence batwing doors. One of the doors was out of synch and needed a stabilizing screw and another screw tightened. Now though they no longer swing to the center and close automatically because the plastic bits have worn down in the past two years, they still look pretty darned good.

Looking at my pushbutton door controller, I found that it was possible to change the on period for the relay. I changed it from 5 seconds to 10 seconds so now when I open the door using the pushbutton, it will take just one operation. Similarly the wrong key entry alarm sounds for one minute after a wrong key entry. I was going to put a piezo buzzer under the hood but decided in the end that I might just as well connect to the vehicle horn.

I decided to run the door controller off the driving battery because if I run it off the door battery, it burns up door battery power at the rate of 30ma. In a day that would be 720ma. In 3.4 days that would drain my door batteries flat and that really wouldn't be helpful. At least I can disconnect the driving battery when I park. Now in an emergency such as my leaving my keys somewhere, I can just connect the bus battery and boom - I have power to the door lock. Of course, if I then go on to put a lock on my battery compartment then that gives rise to a new problem!

Thinking of locks, I'm thinking of putting locking latches on the fuel cap and the battery compartment on the basis that some people just are too dishonest. That being the case, it begins to look as though I will have to provide a totally different power source for my door lock controller. Perhaps just run it off the door battery as before but with a pushbutton switch to power it up while in use? That being the case, putting a wrong key alarm seems a bit pointless. Far better then to keep the wiring simple.
As can be seen here, it's just a few pairs of wires in use. That plus a power pushbutton should all work really well off my simple 8AA battery power supply. Having no permanent power drain, my emergency entry lock should work as required. Clearly a pushbutton door close switch will be needed inside. Then another thought is that if a 12V lithium battery were used to power just the unit itself and a relay then the 12v lithium battery could be just installed and forgotten about for a few years as with a momentary on button there would be no current drain and lithium batteries have a shelf life of about a decade. That could happily be installed inside the vehicle.

Thinking along the lines of specialty batteries, I realized eventually that my current setup using 8AA batteries is best. If I put - as I said - the momentary on switch to power the keypad when required, I can run the emergency unlocker from the ordinary lock batteries. Indeed, if I'm not likely to be accessing the lock for a long period, I could even replace the standard alkaline batteries with lithium AA or even go up to C or D cells. The current rechargeable AAs have been in use now for several months without having been recharge between whenever it was I last charged them and now. Sometimes just sitting, thinking about all the funky and complicated ways of doing things, it turns out the way I am doing them is still the simplest.

Having spent most of the day looking at and considering options, I'm not really convinced that putting the button control in the engine compartment is the right place. Similarly I'm convinced that underneath and inside any of the existing hatches is probably also the wrong place. I've been looking at other latches thinking that it might be possible to install a whole new door. I could simply label it DEF so that anybody looking would think that's for Diesel Emission Fluid instead of having a keypad concealed. Thinking further along the lines of the existing door lock, I'd probably be best keeping the existing arrangement but purely to prevent an accident that will never happen, I'll put a relay in that cuts power from the key lock side while the codepad lock is operating. I might as well run that straight off the solar battery.

I'm hoping that next weekend I will be less exhausted. The problem is I take my work very seriously and put 110% into what I'm doing. I do this with every job I do. That means that I tend to use the weekends recuperating.

For the moment I shall put the keypad controller on the back burner while I complete the final wiring. That involves getting under the bus on tarmac again to fit more cable attachments and also to extend any wires that are too short.

Finally, today I saw a video online of a driver who drove straight into a bus and had a head on collision. It is not known whether the driver fell asleep or whether he was on his cellphone. That driver is now dead. The driver of the bus had a hard job keeping the bus upright and ended up way off in the fields and the front of the bus is a mess but the occupants survived. I feel happier to have an old schoolbus because I feel they're better built. So, let that be your lesson for today - that text message, phonecall, facebook message - it could just put you into the next world.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Absa-bloody-lutely exhausted

This has been a standard week for work - driving school busses from the bus yard to the school via children's homes and the reverse. Well, it all sounds standard until you deal with no aide on a bus that absolutely needs an aide and where an aide is a legal requirement. What do you do when there's no aide? The children still have to get to school! It makes the driver's life harder to the point almost of distracted driving. It has been this way for a couple of weeks since my aide has been driving other people's busses while they have been off sick. Needless to say, that leaves me just absolutely exhausted. Exhausted to the point I just want a dark corner with my tablet and a bottle of cheap vodka, from where I would probably post regrettable comments online.

After Eric left, I noted that the toilet despite having two days of poo in it did not smell. That cat lit sure does the trick! Anyway, as said before I was absolutely shattered after long days of driving, many with no midday nap. You try driving from 5:30AM to 4:50PM without having a nap between shifts if you think that's wimpy! Then try it with a 35 foot, 16 ton bus in heavy and unpredictable traffic where people can and do ignore stop signs, flashing lights and can't see a great big yellow bus on the road. More than that, try it with a bus load of hyperactive, sometimes violent children with behavioral disorders. Then try it on roads that are collapsing due to underground subsidence. So, I was exhausted most days.

The bag of poo that I jettisoned out through the side door was still where it was when I threw it out during the week. Hence, today I got a shovel and buried it. I chose an anthill as the best place to dig because the ants had already loosened the soil underneath. Then having buried the aforementioned bag of poo, I covered the lot over with the leaves that had been there before I started.
I have to say that it looks almost as though there never has been any digging there. That's pretty good in my opinion as I can clearly disguise burial sites without much difficulty. I wonder whether it would be as easy to disguise the burial sites of the bodies of unpopular figures such as Saddam Hussein etc? Oh well, since no government never took me on as a hit man on one of their assassination squads, I guess I'll never know.

Inside the bus was a pleasant 75 a few minutes ago though this has now climbed to 77. I expect my extraction fan will kick in sooner rather than later. I sit here looking at all the stuff I want to do and not feeling like doing anything. I am literally exhausted.

I need to get down to welding a holder for my 35AH Harbor Freight battery. Researching online, I found a nice PDF of bolt strengths. My preferred bolt for fastening things under the bus is a 5/16 though I have reservations as to how strong the C section steel girders are. It seems they should hold 270LBS each at the thread root. I'm not worried about sheer strength which is pretty impressive for that size of bolt - something like 4000 - 8000 pounds.

My battery weighs about 20LBs so supported in a welded cage suspended from two lengths of angle iron, both bolted using four bolts each end, each bolt will be supporting just about one pound of battery weight plus a portion of the battery holder weight. I'm going to say that it all should work out nicely. I see what the bus mechanic from work said when he saw my waste barrel attachements as he asked how many tons of lead I wished to put in them.

Eric is somebody that has done a lot of his own welding in the past. He used to run a taxicab company and left me with the advice that the only thing that separates amateur welding from professional welding is that professionals clean their welds using an angle grinder. That would probably have two advantages. The first is that it reduces the surface area, eliminating nooks and crannies where water can accumulate and cause rust and the second is just that it looks more professional. From a personal point of view, I don't give a rat's arse what my welds look like as long as they work.

Another bit of advice Eric gave was again based on his taxi company. In an effort to maximize profits, he experimented with tyres buying new off brand tyres, new premium brand tyres, remold tyres and used premium brand tyres. The best value for money was in used premium brand tyres. Now that's something I had considered. I have four remolds at the back and two undated premium brand on the front. I'm concerned about the lack of a date on my front Dunlop tyres. I'm not a fan of remolds having seen remolds fall apart.
As can be seen, this remold has fallen apart. Worse - it happened while the user was driving, last year. I've seen all kinds of horrible things happen with remolds which is why - no matter how little I earn - I refuse to touch remolds. They're for the truly desperate. For my daily vehicle, I use premium brand tyres and it shows - I've had the same tyres now for 50,000 miles and there's still plenty tread.

So, what needs doing on the bus?

  • I need to complete the wiring that runs from the front to the back, underneath the bus - including adding in a section where one wire is too short. 
  • There's a wire that needs to go from the bedroom to the back of the bus.
  • The battery controls all need to lead to the back of the bus as I decided that's where I was going to put everything.
  • The battery cage needs to be built and mounted under the bus. Then I need to run wires from that to the control box at the back of the bus.
  • I'd like to add a water inlet so that I can have fresh water going into the handbasin. That would involve finding the faucet I removed from the handbasin when I said I was just going to use a jug of water only. I'm not sure where that faucet has vanished to.
  • I have a timer unit and a fuse box I want to put on the solar system together with installing a second fan and possibly changing the exhaust vent covers from the current mushroom vents to a louvered flap vent.
  • I'd like to install an instant water heater. That involves a little plumbing and some wiring from my 120v distribution panel.
  • I have a code lock for my front door lock - I just need to install it and to add a button on the inside that allows me to close the door lock from the inside, without a key.
  • Although my toilet works just fine, I want eventually to put in a flush toilet. Thinking about it, if I can use an old stainless steel beer keg (that involves welding stainless steel and buying a respirator) then that shouldn't be too costly.

In terms of doing stuff today, I'm rather disappointed that I really don't feel like doing anything much. I'd love to dive straight in but I'm just exhausted from the week just past. Normally when I felt like this in the past, I'd just go to Harbor Freight or someplace else for supplies but I have enough supplies to finish the electrical work on the 12V side and don't want to go overboard. I've tended to skip from one project to another throughout the process and it has worked. I want to complete one project at a time now since so few projects remain.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tested and found passable

A few days ago a message appeared on my phone. It was my old buddy Eric. He'd been wandering the icy wastelands of the far North in the strange land they call Canada. Yes, that's right - the land of the Labbatts swilling Mountie. Those same Mounties that so famously sang the chorus to Monty Python's Lumberjack Song.
I never wanted to do this job in the first place!
I... I wanted to be...
A lumberjack!
(piano vamp)
Leaping from tree to tree! As they float down the mighty rivers of
British Columbia! With my best girl by my side!
The Larch!
The Pine!
The Giant Redwood tree!
The Sequoia!
The Little Whopping Rule Tree!
We'd sing! Sing! Sing!
Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay,
I sleep all night and I work all day.
Chorus: He's a lumberjack, and he's okay,
He sleeps all night and he works all day.
I cut down trees, I eat my lunch,
I go to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays I go shoppin'
And have buttered scones for tea.
Mounties: He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
He goes to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays 'e goes shoppin'
And has buttered scones for tea.
I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing,
And hang around in bars.
Mounties: He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women's clothing
And hangs around.... In bars???????
I chop down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspenders and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie
Just like my dear papa.
Mounties: He cuts down trees, he wears high heels
Suspenders?? And a.... A Bra????
(spoken, raggedly) What's this? Wants to be a "girlie"? Oh, My!
And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!
All: He's a lumberjack, and he's okaaaaaaayyy..... (Bong)
Sound Cue: The Liberty Bell March, by John Phillip Sousa.
So,with a couple of days notice I was able to hide incriminating evidence and bury the bodies that had been so carefully stored on my bus.  The water came from a 6 gallon jerry can and Eric would be happy with that, I figured, as that's largely how his house in the South of France worked. The toilet was based on one of Eric's toilets that he'd shown on his house-building blog.

With that, Eric rolled up at 4pm on Saturday and was introduced to the bus. I have to say I didn't think my first guest would have been a man. I thought it would be a woman. With that being said, he was there and had light, a bed, water, a shower and a toilet.

The verdict on the bed was that it was very comfortable and just the right height.  No mention was made of the toilet nor handbasin save for that he was used to that kind of thing. He did ask to spend a second night which indicated things weren't that bad nor did he request to be pointed to the nearest Motel 6.
The toilet was clearly acceptable and worked, judging from the fact it was used. I'd opted for a bucket with a plastic liner and cat lit in a bucket beside the toilet. After he'd been using the toilet for number one and two for two days and nights and the temperatures being quite warm, I have to report that the place still smelled fresh. Clearly the cat lit works.

Emptying the toilet was interesting. I'd not expected the bag to be quite so heavy. I'll have to give consideration to emptying more frequently. I'd sited the toilet by the emergency exit with the thought I could unload the toilet via the emergency exit door rather than carrying containers full of nastiness through the kitchen. That worked well though simply tossing the bag out onto the ground probably isn't the best solution. Likewise, burying the bag isn't probably the best solution either.

I'm giving more thought to a 15 gallon barrel solution with some kind of big faucet that I can open in order to pour the content into a 5 gallon barrel that I can carry to a dump site or perhaps attach to a waste pipe and just plumb in temporarily. That could work with a flush toilet and providing I don't pee in the handbasin nor the shower, both of those could be water sources for the toilet.