Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fighting real nastiness

Today started with my cutting and welding into place, the sides of the new breaker box compartment. My first side was cut too short but I welded it in place anyway. Then I realised that was actually fortuitous. Being 1/2 an inch too short meant that instantly I had a solution to my drainage problem. Welding was problematic but the first side went on well enough. The second side isn't as secure as it really needs to be but as it's just a side that protects against spray rather than being a side that performed a structural function, it's not worth seating over.
Really and truly, I got a bit fed up of welding today. I spent an inordinate amount of time welding before I found dropping the power of the welder down to 40A meant I was less likely to burn through the metal. I might return to welding tomorrow. It's probably going to annoy me that it's not done as well as possible!

After completing the compartment the next order of the day was to paint it and stand back to admire my handiwork. Having suitably admired my handiwork and run around in circles in the yard yelling "Yay. I am the champion", it was on with the next task. The dreaded hillbilly cable compartment.
As can be seen, the wood looks a little suspect. The cable of my electrical system has acquired a nasty lot of white mold on the outside. Needless to say the whole compartment smelled badly.

Removing the compartment was a huge battle. Just about every bolt was badly rusted. All the screw heads stripped trying to turn them so in the end they all had to be removed using my angle grinder. Having done that, it was already dusk but here's a photo of the now empty compartment.
The wood that made up the old compartment was in truly amazing shape. I'm totally baffled as to why it hadn't just fallen out on the road a long time ago. I have a hard time believing that compartment could ever have held anything heavier than a fart!
The wood is not fit for anything other than a bonfire. I didn't go underneath the bus to see if the bad wood had caused rust - that's a job for tomorrow. I did however try the new compartment in place and it fits in very sweetly. The power inlet will hang down a little below the bottom of the skirt but not hugely. It'll make easier access. I did think about using a proper TT-30 inlet but for some unknown reason, TT-30 inlets are either unavailable or horribly expensive. I'm sticking with my NEMA 6-30 twist-lock inlet instead. I could probably go down to a 20A inlet but to be honest, I think if I am plugged in, 30A will give me more and better options. I don't need huge amounts of power but I can see that a microwave could well use up 10A leaving very little room for anything else.

I spent a while worrying about putting on the new door and putting the infilling up on the side, where the old door went before deciding it wasn't worth worrying about. I'll face that when it's time. For now the task is to install the new breaker compartment. The door can wait! Tomorrow there might be a holdup as I have to put more undercoat on some of the compartment and topcoat on the whole compartment. Ideally I'd paint it white but as I only have black topcoat, it'll have to be black. While the undercoat is drying, I can tape a sheet of steel behind the aperture the hillbillies cut, spray around the edges with orange paint and when that's dry, pull it out and trim the steel with my angle grinder. From there I can tape it into place and weld it in. That welding might well take all day or even several days.

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