Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Still under the weather

For ages I've been looking for drawer locks. They're horribly expensive but these look like good candidates.

I did have a go at asking Lowe's since buying from Lowe's would cut out the postage element. Of that postage free $4, $2 will be packaging and postage. Thus the real cost is $2 and he's probably only paying 50c per bolt to the wholesaler! Indeed, if it comes from China, it coulkd be even less.

Thus far I've been unable to find a mate for my non-nema inlet socket. I have, however been looking at alternatives. I found some nema 5-15 inlets on eBay. A pair of those would equal 30A. It would also allow me to use a straightforward household electrical cord.

There are twist lock plugs and sockets for 30A available but I'm not sure they are such a great idea. I heard an argument that if somebody trips over an unlocked cord, the cord pops out and that is undesirable. I look at it the other way - if it pops out then it reduces their chance of getting contributory injuries and it reduces the chance of socket damage. On the whole I prefer the unlocked socket.

A pair of these look ideal. They take standard 15A female plugs as would be found on a standard 15A extension cord. This means a standard cord could be used - the kind of cord than can be bought anywhere! Use two plus a 30A Y adaptor and there's perfection!

Indeed, something like this but vastly cheaper. I'm all in favor of using commonly available parts. Commonly available and lower value cables are less likely to be stolen. The ideal would be no cable but since the money for a $3,000 solar panel and battery system does not exist, it'll have to be a cable. The alternative is a $300-$500 generator.

The problem with finding a generator is that eBay and Amazon don't want to sell generators. If they did, they'd fix their search engines. If I type "electric start generator" then everything except electric start generators turns up. Recoil start, pull start - everything except electric start. The idea is simple - push a button, the generator starts and I get 1500w of power - enough to run the microwave or electric kettle. Push a button after cooking is done and the generator stops. How simple is that? Such generators do exist but Amazon and eBay can't sell them to me because I can't find them via their broken search engines and I'm not going to waste time and bandwidth ploughing through 32,000,000 irrelevant listings under "generator" when it'll be found under something unexpected like "porcupines".

The whole idea of how generators work is faintly ludicrous. They're about as Heath Robinson as its possible to become without collapsing into a fit of giggles. It's translating the pumping motion of a piston via a cam shaft into a circular motion to spin an electric motor to generate power. If the generator was also a piston, none of this spinny nonsense would occur and the whole thing would be lighter, smaller, cheaper and vastly more efficient. Indeed a few weeks ago I recall reading that one of the car manufacturers had created such a generator for a concept car. If the generator ever gets produced then sign me up!

Before work, I visited Lowe's and came out with more 10-24 screw eyes - 6 to be precise and a single 2 inch S hook. I wanted to try just one s hook rather than buy a bunch and find they were the wrong size.

After work and after dinner, I got to work and put up 4 rivnuts. I cut down 4 screw hooks from 2" of thread to 1". Then I dipped the threads in silicone sealant and screwed them into the rivnuts. I will put up a further two, when I know where I want them. That is as yet undecided though.

By now you're probably wondering what it's all in aid of. The answer is simple. As I'm not bothering too much with lighting and extra circuitry, I need somewhere to hang my hurricane lamp and here we are!

I put one above the dinette, one above the kitchenette, one above the hand basin and one between the bed and bedroom table. I suspect I'll put one opposite the bed to illuminate the wardrobe and one in close proximity to the shower though as I have yet to decide precisely where the shower is going to stand, that'll have to wait some.

Tomorrow I need to get more S hooks. No point in getting more than 5 as I only have or had six 10-24 rivnuts left after doing the closet chain.

There's becoming ever less that needs doing. Next I have to work on the plumbing. I'll probably try to do it with two 15 gallon tanks, one for white and one for grey. 15 gallons doesn't sound like a whole lot but reading around I don't think I'll need more. I can always add more later though.

A nice side project for a rainy day would be blinds for the windows. That's not important right now though. The outside could do with more grey paint on the roof and inside the front two wheel arches. I think I'll also paint over the NSA 2011 logo. I think I want my grey bus to be as anonymous as possible. Aside from that, the stencilling is a bit raggedy.


  1. I really like your low budget approach and would like to copy your electrical system. Your pictures are very clear but could you post one of your breaker box wiring?

  2. Fairly boringly mundane inside the breaker box hence I never took a photo. As the earth wire isn't insulated individually, they're earthed to the case at the point of entry with a self drilling screw and a steel washer. The case is riveted to the bus body so everything is earthed.

    1. The reason I ask is that you say that the main breaker disconnects both parts of the circuit. I assume that means that both the black and white wires are connected to the main breaker. I'd never heard of that being done and would like to see how you handled it.

    2. Oh... The main breaker is the box shown in the cable bay in one or other of the recent posts.

      I used a dual breaker rated at 30a. As you surmised, I put the black in one side and the white in the other. The earth wires I connected via the bar designed for the neutral wires. My cable bay is plywood so earthing ocurs further along the chain.

      Somebody mentioned cutting off live and neutral at the main breaker and it just made sense.