Saturday, March 26, 2016

Investigations revealed that it's possible

To put two 15 gallon barrels end on end on one side of the bus but only one on the other side. That's pretty much what I suspected. It's not possible to put them side by side due to there being insufficient space between the chassis and the skirt. Thus, it looks like I can squeeze in a 15 gallon freshwater tank and a 15 gallon dirty water tank on one side. There's no room for a black tank but that's fine. I went with a bucket solution anyway.

Today was one of those grey, miserable days that threatened and delivered on its threat to rain on everything. What with that and the darkness that comes with rain, nothing was actually achieved on the bus other than to put my latest bus purchases onboard for later use. Last night or this morning, I had an epiphany. I'd previously decided to put the barrels sideways because the ribs would act as stabilisers. Without the ribs as stabilisers I have to put stabilisers. I considered things like plastic door wedges etc but ruled them out as too small. Then I realised brackets would probably work. If the brackets are snug to the sides of the barrel then the barrel should not slop about. 

Lying in the yard from demolition of the hillbilly construction was a 14 inch bracket. As it is strengthened with folds, I picked it up and failed totally to bend it. Thus, 14 inch brackets were added to my shopping list. Clearly today was a shopping day - it just wasn't fit to do anything else!

The first port of call was the local Barnyard flea market where there was a CB kiosk. Those with longer memories will recall that on my trip out with the bus a few days ago, the flexible CB aerial was snapped off by a low hanging tree. Incidentally, it was that tree's turn to meet its maker yesterday morning. For days I had been plotting my revenge on that tree but had been too tired after work to be bothered. Yesterday however, m'lady had somebody in to plough the ground for crops. This is a homestead, after all! On its way out, the tractor clearly had encountered the tree and had snapped it off. Problem solved! It would however have been better timed if the tree had not been snapped off before I went to work. I had to go to the immense effort of getting out of my car to move the corpse before I could exit on my way to work.

Thus the first purchase was a longer CB aerial that I will install after I exit the property and remove before I enter the property! After that it was on to Tractor Supply. There, I found 8 more brackets, some chain that would support 450lb (15 gallons of water is about 125lbs) and some steel cable fasteners that looked idea to secure one end of the chain. The other end can be secured with my U bolts. With the length of the U of the U bolt, they can also be used to tighten the chain.

There are several tasks to be completed this week - the first being the electrical breaker box. Then there are the luggage restraints in the back closet and finally the grey water barrels. The fresh water barrel does not currently exist. Though I bought 3 barrels, they were all used and thus unsuitable for potable water. I'll do the fittings for a fresh water barrel but will have to wait until I am near a U-Line supplier that actually has new barrels in stock.

I've been thinking one way and another about the battery system and the ventillation system. Although I looked into installing a smaller 12v battery, I think my original idea was probably best. That idea was just to use tiny dedicated rechargeable lithium battery packs at $8 each. I figure 4 or 5 is all I'll probably need to power my tablet and phone over a few days without power. 

The solar fan is something I have investigated. There are several around but judging from what people seem to be saying, it's pot luck as to whether or not they actually work. Truth be told, the message coming across from all this solar and wind stuff is that it's very expensive. It's an idealistic thing that really isn't financially worthwhile. As an example, I could spend three or four hundred dollars on a set of solar panels plus about the same on batteries to get the same amount of power I'd get out of an 800w generator that I can get for $100. Given that I just don't have any real use for electricity with my butane stove, an 800W generator seems a trifle excessive! A 400W generator seems more realistic but such generators seem very hard to find. 

For the moment, the solar fan seems to be unavailable. The next thing I looked at was wind-powered extraction fans. Those seem to be massively expensive and available only in Britain though. There are some attic fans available but they're too tall. I don't want to raise the operational height of the bus beyond the three inches of the front vent. The alternative is a small computer fan and a battery or perhaps some kind of roof vent. Perhaps some form of anodised aluminum tubing could be used to draw air out by convection. That would seem to be the simplest and most environmentally friendly option with the bonus that it might even work during the night.

Plans to replace the top flashers with metal blanks still exist as does eventually a plan for a tow hook. There are quite a few underbus plans. One is to put a second video camera and another is to rewire the reversing horn but to a switch on the console. That way I can choose to operate it or not. It doesn't become one of those bloody annoying things that screams at people who aren't there at ungodly hours.

On the whole, things are looking promising. The biggest issue I have is with cutting through the environmentally friendly bullshit. As I've said before and it is a very unpopular argument, solar and wind power are the biggest most steaming piles of bullshit I have ever encountered. I have a 5W solar panel that I have played around with and the amount of power generated wouldn't light a fart let alone a light bulb. Years ago I was suckered into buying a solar panel after listening to the environmental bullshit. I wired it up to charge a flip phone and left it hooked up in a sunny place for a week. At the end of the week, the phone had enough power to operate it for a massive 15 minutes. Let's just say I was distinctly unimpressed. Solar and wind power just don't produce any worthwhile power but let's see who the proponents of solar and wind power are shall we? Impressionable students and salesmen actively trying to sell the crap. Now you know why it doesn't work!

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