Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lowe's again?

Today started with more of an idea of what I'm going to do. For practical reasons, the number of sockets will be three and as Monty Python would have carried on "and the number of sockets shall be three, not four nor two and five will be right out". The thinking behind this is simple. If one is used for the fridge and another for a microwave then a further socket could be used for a phone charger.

After attaching one socket box to the side of the breaker box in order that the fridge can be plugged in and forgotten, I realised my plan for more sockets on the side wouldn't work due to space. Interestingly, the sockets seem to be made of zinc. That was obvious when drilling rivet holes and a cable hole.

The 30A cabling bought yesterday will be perfectly adequate for the task intended. Today though I bought some 55a cable together with more breakers and a solution to a problem only noticed today.

Where the 55A cable will pass through the bus floor, the hillbillies had drilled a 42mm diameter hole. That means something will be needed to close the hole in order that critters don't enter around the cable. Fortunately in Lowe's I met a very helpful and knowledgeable assistant who selected a cable grip/grommet thingy. My 55A cable goes through it then a nut squeezes the grommet to ensure a watertight seal. In doing so, it also acts as a strain relief block.

The problem is that the bit that's supposed to grip the metalwork of the bus is considerably smaller than the hole in the floor. Thus I'll have to install a sheet of aluminum with a hole drilled in the center to fix the problem.

This leads on to a conversation I had with my dad. In order to get the bus reclassified as a motorhome, rather than fiddling around I'll just put a 30A plug on the other end of the 55a cord and leave it initially as a pigtail connection. That'll get the essential electrics out of the way.

The shower base mount is not high priority right now nor are drawer catches. I have a feeling that drawer catches will end up being pairs of screw eyes with nails passed through.

After working out pretty much how I'm going to do the electrical system, I found a small square of steel plate that I'd used to cover the old electrical hole. I drilled a nice hole in it and then after a lot of finagling managed to get it in place under the steel floor with a metal sleeve passed through for the cable. At the bottom will be the rubber grommet. That should keep critters out. I don't seem to be bothering with steel ducting. Time will tell though.

Meanwhile, I noticed just how badly rotted the wood of the underbody compartment is. That should last long enough to use as a pigtail store while I get the bus reclassified. After that, it'll be removed.

I have half a mind just to tidy up the mess the hillbillies made of their cable compartment by removing the wood and treating the rust. Then, rather than fiddle fart around with batteries, just rivet the door over the hole and have done.

My honest opinion of batteries and solar power is that it's a load of garbage. For the money people blow on batteries, solar panels and inverters they could just buy a cheap generator and have enough left over for several years worth of generator fuel. A 12 amp generator will produce enough power for running a microwave or boiling a kettle and use next to no fuel doing so. The cost of the generator - about $300. The cost of batteries $100 each, solar panels $200 each, a decent inverter $400. 5 or 6 batteries and 5 or 6 solar panels would be needed. That's easily $2000 which would pay for a $300 generator and $1300 of fuel. Even assuming the generator was run enough to use a gallon of fuel a day, at $2 a gallon that's 650 days or two years worth of power. Of course given that you'll be plugged in at home or at a campsite or RV park a lot, that 2 years worth could end up being several more years. I just think people are suckered by the thought of free solar energy without realising just how abominably expensive the infrastructure to use it is.

On my shopping trip, I made another blunder! I bought two 15A fuses for my main breaker without realising that a main breaker needs to be double pole! I'll have to sort that out.

Also while I was out, at Walmart I found some very interesting adaptors. They convert a 30A RV plug to a 15A plug and to a 50A plug. Very useful. I'll be putting the RV plug on the end of the pigtail. Then using the adaptor, I can have power in the bus for the first time ever. Who knows - I might even celebrate by making a cup of tea and drinking it in my galley!

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