Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Visible during daylight

Today was pretty productive. It started with a job interview at 8am followed by my day job. After that a quick drug test which went smoothly. Then I visited Walmart where I was a little stumped by the bulbs available.

Discounting the LED bulbs, I looked at the incandescent bulbs. It seemed that there were three varieties of bulb with two contacts available. Having no idea what to get and no idea of the power of the bulbs, I simply chose the highest model number. Thus I ended up with 4 Sylvania 7528 bulbs. They were a dollar more than other Sylvania bulbs so I figured they might be brighter.

So, having bought the bulbs, I tried them on the bus. One of the sockets took the bulb but the bulb didn't light. Baffled, I dismantled the light assembly and found the contacts on the assembly had been rotated. No idea how that could have happened but I relocated the orientation notch in the right place and inserted a bulb. It worked well.

I removed all the old bulbs as they just seemed dim. It was hard to see the brake lights in daylight. The new bulbs changed all that. Now the lights can be seen easily in bright sun. In fact, every single light on the bus now works well.

It was suggested that I put an intake fan on the front of the bus. I'm not so sure that'd work in wet weather. I'm thinking more of an underbody air intake. There's an existing hole in the bedroom floor where the bathtub drain used to be. Blowing cool under bus air through that hole would cool the bedroom which is the important area. I'll have to put a couple of filters in - probably a drain cover with mosquito mesh inside and a small vehicle air filter underneath. Again, a CPU fan could be used.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A little light laundry with a surprise

Yesterday I went up to the roof lights and made very sure they were correctly sealed. The lights I've put up there are actually trailer lights but the bulb is the same and so is the color. They're a slightly funky shape but they'll do. I doubt anybody will actually notice.

On my way home from work, I looked in a parts store and they just didn't have replacement brake lights. As it subsequently transpired, that might have saved me some unnecessary expense. Still being very tired every day, I'm not achieving as much as I'd like.

When I got to the bus, I started by removing the lens from one of my rear lights. The light assembly was coated with mud inside as was the inside of the lens. In fact, this was the case with all the lights. It's as though the back of the bus had been parked in a swamp!

That's where the spray bottle I used for putting window tint on, a few months ago, came in handy. Using a combination of spray and jet, I hosed out each unit and each lens. Within a few moments the lenses and sockets looked a load better. Half an hour later and it was all dry.

The surprise came in when I pulled out the bulbs. It seems that somebody had put single contact bulbs in, instead of duals. No wonder the lighting was unpredictable and strange. As bulbs are sold in pairs, it's probably worth getting two pairs. That's probably a trip to Walmart for tomorrow on the way home from work. I have a feeling the bulbs might not be as bright as they once used to be.

I've never ever seen a number plate bulb on the bus. Looking at one of the brake lights, I saw the bottom had a transparent panel that illuminated the number plate. I like that. It's a neat solution!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The access panel.

Yesterday, the cord for one of the front top markers disappeared inside the bus. Today, I cut a rather large access hole and installed an access panel. Some further work like that would get me access to the front flasher wires which I could switch from the control panel now that the flasher control is not present. I'm not sure what I'd do with them but it's a possibility.
Today, the foam boards were in place all day. There was a marked difference in temperature. Although the ambient temperature was not over 93, the interior temperature universally wasn't that high.
The cockpit was 100F which is lower than the normal 120. Indeed, it felt cooler. The galley was the warmest place though why, I'm not sure.
Although the given temperature is 93F, the high point was 104F. The recorded temperatures were all done at the same time. It does indicate that my windscreen shields really seem to have attacked the heat problem. Perhaps combined with my vents there might be even greater effect. Beyond that, introduction of outside air might help.
As can be seen, the bedroom temperature was pretty close to the current galley temperature. It does look very much as though I'm getting closer to outside temperatures.

And there we are - the reason for all of today's work and the advances in insulation. The replacement top, front marker lamp. And the astounding cost of this component. Just $2.50!

Maybe by next week I might have a working door unlocker. I know I'll have to have another look at the rear light units. The brake lights are very dim. That sounds a case for new brake light units. I'm definitely getting closer to completion.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Major oops!

Today was designated as a day to work on the door lock. That never actually happened though. I'm pretty unhappy when things don't work so I went up on the roof and started work on the non working rear marker. It turned out that the cross point on the screw was very full of rust. Nothing could shift it! I tried several screwdrivers and even a Grabbit. Needless to say, the Grabbit was as useless this time as it was last time. In the end, the angle grinder did the job.

The new marker light was installed. There was a lot of fiddling involved but it's in place and more importantly, working. It looks a bit different from the original but at least it has a real bulb. There were some LED models but I'm not a huge fan of LEDs in critical or hard to reach places because they fail more often than incandescent bulbs. As an example, I bought 4 LED light bulbs for milady's bathroom on Black Friday. Two have already failed yet those bulbs are only used briefly.

I had all the internal doors of the bus open today with the extraction fan running. They worked well but pulled all the hot air from the cockpit forward. The whole of the interior of the bus was very soon over 106F. That's up from the earlier 99F. Clearly a heat screen inside the windscreen was in order. Thus I started looking for them online. The prices were horrible. Something in the order of $40.

A little later, I had to go on a mission for milady and while on that mission, I paused to buy a front marker. That was about $2.50 in Walmart but while I was there I had a brainwave. Rather than an expensive screen, I thought I'd try some 88 cent foam boards. I bought 5 but 4 covered the drivers window and the windscreen easily. Tomorrow will be the real test to see how much of a difference it makes.
I went up on the hood to switch out the dead lamp. I'd had a look and found the bulb was dead. Then I'd changed the bulb and it lit - until I put the lens back on. It turned out that the socket was worn out. I could wiggle the bulb and get the thing to light then it would go out as soon as I out the cover on. Time for a new lamp! Anyway, I removed it and immediately the wire vanished inside the bus. What a pain. It now means I have to install an access hatch on the inside. That's a job for tomorrow!
In Walmart there was an interesting device that looks like a super cap unit. There are cheaper models and I'm thinking something like this could handle all my USB power needs. Something to think about.
Today was miserably hot. It sapped my strength and made moving really hard. It was 100F outside and high humidity too.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dripping with sweat

After work today, I went to work on the bus console. It took quite a while but I removed the flasher motor with all its connections. Looking at the connections, I'd guess I could reuse the cables easily if I wanted. As you've probably guessed, I'm 50:50 over reusing those cables.

I have two thoughts about the cables. The first thought is to run the extraction fans from bus power while in motion though solar could run the fans too. The second is to use the wires to use solar power to keep the bus batteries refreshed.

Today though, I spent a rather hot, steamy, sweaty hour removing the flasher motor and it's wires and associated switches and lights. One switch disintegrated during removal. I'd guess most of the switches are ripe for replacement.

Having removed it all, I found the 4 holes left are all half inch diameter. Now I know what size blanks to buy to fill unused holes. Next, I switched the bus lights on in order to check for unpleasant surprises. All the lights worked bar one of the three top rear markers, one of the three top front markers and one tail light. I'll try new bulbs in the top markers. The tail light needs replacement. I suspect the brake lights do too. I've had problems with that tail light before.

No photos today. I just didn't feel removing junk was constructive enough to merit it. Another thing I did was to remove one of the two school bus specific signs inside the cockpit. This was the rules for bus riders. It peeled off easily. The no handguns sign is not coming off so easily. It's some kind of metal foil that keeps tearing. I'll nail it though!

This weekend I'll work on my door opener magnet. If it works as desired, fine. If not then I'll try a different system using an electric motor.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

More bloody electronic whizz bang codswallop

As you might have guessed, I'm not a great fan of electronic wizardry. This is purely because so much electronic stuff is absolute trash. Anyway, I played more with that ghastly solar panel today. Putting the power into a capacitor then connecting the fan produced quite a breeze from the fan. That was quite useful. What I need now is to find when the capacitor is full and then put that power through my fan before switching back to charging the capacitor. It would mean an intermittent fan but that's better than no fan or using a fan that needs a battery. It should be possible. Indeed my long gone high school electronics knowledge indicates it should be easy. I just can't remember how. My excuse there is that I left high school over 30 years ago.

Actually, given how nasty my experience of high school was, I'm surprised I remember anything. I recall my science teacher was Mr Pugh and that my favorite math teacher was Mr Gorman and the sexiest English teacher was Miss Browne. I was constantly bullied throughout high school because I was not in the least interested in football, motorbikes or any of the other macho garbage. Bizarre but that was Britain!

So, I'm going to have to find my book on electronics, wherever that might be. I've had a hunt online and not found anything described in enough detail for me. I did try some forums but abandoned them when I realized nobody there knew anything about electronics. It's the same for most forums - people that pretend to be experts while looking up wrong answers from other forums or if the can't find an answer then the person asking a question is the recipient of a tirade of abuse.

Another thing I did was to add another coil onto my electromagnet. I'll stop at 8 coils and retest. Two coils produced enough power to rattle a spanner placed on top of the permanent magnet that is being ejected from the coils. I figure 8 coils might produce usable power. I can keep adding coils. If all else fails, I can go for a DIY plunger powered by an electric motor. Electrically that's much simpler and more in line with my thinking on this electronic junk.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Working in 120F (48.9C)

It was bloody warm today at work. I spent 4 hours working outdoors with no drinks. That set me up for working in the bus after work. The bedroom was 99.6F. The galley was 106F and the cockpit was 120F. Needless to say, I was not prepared to abandon the auxiliary fan and buy one. Thus, I played with it a little more and got it working.

This was not without a mishap along the way! The fan had red and orange leads. The cable in the bus had red and black. Needless to say, I trimmed one of the fan leads shorter thinking it was a 1 speed fan system. Then I found it was 2 speed. Being conservative, I'd left sufficient length on the trimmed lead to attach a connector, which is what I did. That took care of my spare connector.
I think I was working on the fan for about an hour, by which time sweat was dripping off my brow. Testing the fans proved both worked well on high and low settings. Thus, it was time for a well earned break in an air conditioned house, together with a nice cup of Earl Grey.

Returning to the bus, I wound another layer on my electromagnet and sprayed it with paint. The paint glues it all together very satisfactorily. When that's dry, there will be 4 layers of coil. I'm aiming for 8. There's no specific reason for 8 other than I feel 8 might work. They're all parallel coils so current consumption might be high. This is why it won't be powered directly from a battery but rather from a capacitor that's pre charged just before use. Remember my two position BMW ignition key? Two clicks to charge, back one click to discharge and back a further click to release the key.

Another break and I returned to spray the coil with a second coat of paint. The third if it's needed will have to wait. Sitting in the bus, I heard a random creaking. Emerging from the bus, I could see it was raining. Thus I finished for the day, putting my now mostly dry coil away until tomorrow.
Let's just say that what with being out in the sun and the heat most of the day, I'm pretty much knackered until tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two advances but little progress

I had another go with my solar panel and after flicking the fans manually, they did kinda sorta spin. It was a feeble, half arsed attempt at spinning that moved no air whatsoever. Clearly my 5W solar panel falls into the realm of deceptive advertising and fakery. I have officially had it with solar. It's one of those nifty ideas like pyramid shaped tea bags that serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Sure, they probably work well in space where there are no clouds and perpetual sunshine. Here on earth, no. They're just a scam.

I had quite an argument with somebody today over the uselessness of Toyota putting solar panels on the roof of their latest hybrid. By the time the added weight of solar panels plus the fact they get very hot, causing the car to get hotter and hence use more AC are factored in, they rapidly become a negative feature. Needless to say the twit I was discussing this with had been sold on the cannabis-induced delusions of the green movement and failed to see logic. Back in caveman days that sort of person would call the act of rubbing two sticks together as heresy and claiming only God could make fire.

So, after the fans had shifted no air whatsoever and had stopped spinning despite bright sun, I took the panel down. Henceforth everything will be battery powered! This green stuff doesn't actually work and runs the danger of burning my fans out.

I then looked at my electromagnet but couldn't find my enameled wire in order to add a third coil. Thus, I put it to one side after a long hunt and pulled out my two ventilation fans. The replacement fan the hillbillies had bought has the wrong mount. Close inspection revealed that it might be possible just to switch the mount from the old fan to the new one. There, I hit a snag. I couldn't find a spanner small enough to fit the nuts.

In my hunt for a suitable spanner, I chanced upon my coil of enameled wire. Within a few moments I had wound an extra coil onto my magnet, taped both ends and coated it with the first of 3 layers of paint.
My eye then alighted on the dead auxiliary fan and the fan the hillbillies left in the bus. As the hillbilly fan didn't have the correct fittings, I pulled the motor from the old fan and switched the motor in from the other fan. Testing the hillbilly fan, it seemed to spin. After assembly, I tested the fan. It spun a few times then quit on me. It had clearly been cut from another vehicle. It doesn't surprise me that it doesn't work. I'd already written it off as trash anyway.
Finally, I relocated my untested peltier setup. I tried it on 12v and one side became very cool almost instantly. The other side became rather warm.  I don't have much use for such a power hog though. It burns 60W which would be the fantasy output of a very big solar panel. A 105ah battery would run that cooler for just 12 hours! It's another one of those fantasy devices like solar panels. They work in a fantasy world but nit the real world.

Monday, June 20, 2016

They're roaring away as I write

The fans, that is. I'm sitting in the galley area of the bus and the low noise I hear in the background is the roar of my two CPU fans as they blow air out the back of the bus. I'm not sure how successful they are because they have not been running very long and due to the warmth I noticed of the 8 AA batteries, I suspect that they might run better from a more powerful battery setup.

Needless to say, the temperature has dropped a little. Not very much and I'm not sure how much of that has to do with movement of the sun toward the horizon. I did have a go at running the fans off my 5W solar panel and as you might expect, nothing happened. It seems that the 5W stated is a complete lie. If those fans combined are using 300ma then I'd be amazed. I'd guess at more like 230ma for the pair. 230ma times 12 volts is 2.76W. That's around half the stated capability of the panel yet it can't even provide that! The sun is in the sky, it's 5pm and I'm in South Carolina. The sun doesn't set for about 4 or 5 more hours. There's a little gentle shade from a tree but that should not stop the panel from working if it was worth a damn!

My enthusiasm for this solar crap went out the window a while back and has been reinforced by the decision of governments all around Europe to ditch solar as being just a plaything. Rather than spending $100 on a solar panel that might or might not run my fans, I think I'm better off investing in a great big battery and an incy wincy litte generator. Indeed, if the battery could be tied into the alternator either by flipping a switch or by some other method, it could be charged by the alternator on a run and then used as the fan battery the rest of the time. Indeed, I'd imagine a single battery could probably supply all of my minimal electricity needs. I'm not even sure that a generator is worthwhile. Now if the battery could also be charged from main power when I'm plugged in, so much the better.

Thinking in terms of cost, a 105AH lead acid battery would be about $90. A 100W solar panel is about $150. My battery, assuming 50% use would yield 50Ah and allow just the fans alone to keep working for 217 hours. Given that there are only 160 hours in the week, that's ample and then some.
As can be seen, the fans are both wired up and running. As there's no conduit, I like to run my cables behind aluminum tape. The top coil is the extra from my reversing camera. As this is the back of the bus, it doesn't have to look pretty. It just has to be out of the way and tidy. I have not yet decided what to do with the descending power cable.

Today also, I set to work on my handy dandy outside work bench and soldered the wires on my latest electromagnet. The result is quite an improvement. This electromagnet needs a few more coils on it but it does lift my neodymium magnet quite appreciably. 
I'd imagine my guesstimate of 8 coils is not far off right. I'll have to unsolder my power connector from the top wires and wrap maybe another 6 coils then retest. It's just going to be a case of adding extra coils before retesting.

I looked at the front door latch and wasn't impressed by the space I have to work in. I might end up having to attack the problem in a different manner, perhaps using a rotary style solenoid. All I can do is keep trying. As long as I can get in though the back door, I should have no major issues.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Painted and other news

As of this morning, the vents are now painted and the screwed on covers over the other light fixtures are painted also. I'll clean up the dribbles on the glass later.

It's always a toss-up as to whether to waste a 50c paintbrush or to use spray for small areas like this. That was decided by my finding a paintbrush and having run out of spray paint. While I was at it, I hit a few spots that had been missed before. The paint finish will never be perfect. It would only ever be perfect if I were to spend a ton of money on having the paint stripped and painted in a garage by somebody armed with more than my paintbrush and roller. For a 20 year old vehicle, that's just not a wise expenditure.

The whole point of buying a cheap bus is to do the work cheaply, by myself. If I'd wanted to spend $10,000 then I could have walked away two years ago with a ready to run motor home. I wanted something less pokey than the light truck conversion the RV place was selling though. While the shower in it was better, the rest was worse.

Having done the paintwork, my plans for the day came unraveled. I was sent on a food obtaining mission. As milady is still laid up, that meant a load of quick microwave meals. I made use of the time though. I stopped off for stuff in Tractor Supply, Home Depot, Lowes (hiss, spit), Radio Shack and Walmart.

I looked for bits to complete several projects. Having removed the flashers, I can and should remove the flasher controls. That means removing lights, switches and the flasher motor from the control panel. One of my purchases was blanks to cover the switch holes. I'm not sure I have the right ones but I'll try.

As my current solar panel can't be used outside, I'm going to put a power plug on it and a power socket on the console. That way I can plug it into the battery and while the bus is parked, the batteries can get a trickle charge.

I also got a handle which I riveted to the bus door. This way I can pull it closed from the inside. 

Having been woken every 2 hours every night by milady who is sick, I am thoroughly exhausted. This is probably why today has been a day of little achievement. Having said that, I did two other things not already mentioned. The first was to spray the inside of the front wheel arches with under seal. That at least gets rid of the last area of school bus yellow. The other thing was a minor fix for my batwing doors. One had slipped a little so I fixed it.

I'm just hoping I can get a decent sleep. It's really affecting me now.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Successes happened today!

An incidental success from today was that I finally removed the last remnant of the ridiculous tow hook the heathens that owned the bus before me had welded to the front bumper. Oddly enough, that did not take long when I set to work with the angle grinder and a claw hammer.

The first thing I did today though was to attack an old tabletop with my angle grinder and cut out a long strip from which I cut two rust-free squares. Those squares then had the corners removed and thus were turned into octagons. Next, I drilled holes so that they could be screwed onto where the red flashers used to be located. Then another set of holes. Thinking about that again it doesn't make much sense to have screws holding it them on. I'd probably be better replacing the screws with rivets. I might get onto that tomorrow.

After that, I put the new vent together. That went into place where the left amber flasher used to be. I went through everything I did with the first vent and it went together just as successfully. I even went as far as putting my second CPU fan on. All that remains is for power to be routed through it.

The next thing was to put protective paint on it. I'll have to paint it all grey tomorrow. At one point I thought I was going to run out of silicone sealant but fortunately I didn't.

While I was up there, I looked at the hole where the old TV aerial had been installed. The cable had been fixed in place with some kind of hardening paste. I'd trimmed the cable with a wire cutter last year. I returned to it now and cut it off flush with my angle grinder. In fact, I might just remove it totally and rivet a sealed patch over the hole.

Somebody asked me how much is left to do on the bus. That's rather like asking the length of a piece of string. I know I want to do some underbody sealing in a few places. Having seen a hornet doing a deliberate figure 8 pattern beside the bus until it was sure I'd seen it, I know there's a nest somewhere. Given that it flew through a gap under the fuel hatch, I'm betting it's on the fuel tank. I'm glad I don't need to put fuel in!

That's something I might leave to the garage that does the mechanical checkup to resolve as they're doing their checkup! I could wait til a calm day and put a bug bomb under the bus and pray it hits all the bugs.

I have to fit some kind of electrical system. I'm really not sure that solar panels are worth as much as one cent. My experience of solar is that it's just pure garbage. It generates heat, takes up a lot of space, costs a ton of money and produces minimal power.

I've looked at lithium batteries but they seem horribly expensive for not very much power. Typically $200 for just 20AH when $90 would get me 100AH with lead acid. 100AH would run my ventilation system for two weeks, non stop. NiMh seems the next best option though it'd be a case of building my own battery pack from single cells. I can get 100 cells on eBay for $30. Each cell would have about 2ah. Putting 10 in series would give me 10 parallel 12v lines. That would power just about everything in the bus, easily. Putting it in an old ammunition box together with a charger would allow me to charge it away from the bus and even carry multiples. Seriously, my only use for electricity is my shower, lighting, my ventilation system and charging my phone. Of those, D cells power my lighting and my shower. At that, it's really not worth my while to get anything sophisticated.

My fans both use probably 100-150ma each. Assuming 300ma for the pair, running off solar (when it's hot because the sun is shining) I'd probably need a 4W panel. I have a 5W panel and I can tell you this. The calculations are utter bollocks. In direct, bright sun the panels do make the fans turn but not with any appreciable force. If I had a ball being blown by a solar powered fan on the one side and a battery on the other, the battery fan would shove the ball right in the solar fan's face!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Preparations A thru H

Today, I prepared the final face pieces for the ventilation system. I still have to cut some tubing but that's really not going to take long with my angle grinder. I use two tools for cutting most things - either a circular saw or an angle grinder. So, today I cut out the final octagonal surround for the outside of the vent. I still have to trim swarm though. I also trimmed the internal wood for the internal side. I would rather have used aluminum but I didn't have enough and I'm certainly not buying more materials!
The aim for tomorrow is to complete the ventilation system on the right side of the bus and to put blanks over the remaining two flasher holes. I probably won't rivet plates over the holes initially but rather use self tapping screws. That's just in case I want to work solar panels into the mix later.
On my way home from work, I popped into a service center where they worked on Detroit Diesel and Allinson transmissions. To get a full diagnostic would take 2 to 3 hours and would cost around $230. That seems very reasonable to be honest (whoever said owning a commercial truck was cheap).

Meanwhile, I've been reading up on CPU fans. It seems that they mostly displace 25-90 cubic feet of air per minute. I don't know most of the specifications of my fans but I'm guessing about 50 cubic feet and about 130ma power consumption. It will be interesting to see how much air is shifted by both working together. It will be more interesting to see how temperature is controlled too.

I tried my solar panel on the fan that's installed. It really didn't blow as hard as on batteries. Even on freshly charged capacitors it didn't run very powerfully. I'm just getting the feeling most of this funky, fancy electronic and electrical stuff is just garbage. Well, we'll have to see how it all works out.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mildly encouraging.

On the way back from work, I paused to visit Radio Shack and the Dollar Store. In Radio Shack, I picked up some 8AA battery holders. I figure 8 AA batteries should keep my fan working for about 12 hours. In the dollar store, I picked up a pack of 8 AA batteries.

Putting the new battery pack on the fan was almost simple. I could not rely upon a simple magnet to hold the battery pack in place. The pack was too heavy so I just moved a few things around and balanced it all in place.

Running the fan for several hours produced interesting readings. It seems not to be a simple process of sucking hot air out. Mind, one fan alone probably wasn't even tickling the problem. Two, when I install the second fan, might be much more effective. Failing that, I could get 4 inch fans to replace my 90mm (3.5 inch) fans.
As can be seen, the cockpit temperature rose and remained high. This is most likely due to the sun moving. The interesting thing is the drop of temperature in the bedroom.

I haven't done a diagram of the bus interior but it's layed out in the following order... Cockpit, galley,bathroom, bedroom, closet. The fans are installed in the closet. The bedroom is better insulated than any other part of the bus.

One of the interesting things that I noticed is that the vent at the back makes quite a roaring noise. Putting my hands near it, I could feel quite a breeze. Clearly I'm on the right track. I definitely need to install the second fan and possibly to get the correct sized fans too.
I returned to the bus at about 8pm and discovered falling temperatures. This is good news. I'm not sure how much difference the ventilation is making but it surely has to be some. I'll press on with ventilation this weekend.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Today I took a quick trip to Radio Shack for some PP3 connectors. Returning to the bus I attached the connectors to the fan via a terminal block. A PP3 battery was connected to the connector and attached to the bus wall with a magnet.

I didn't use a new PP3 battery and a PP3 battery is not the ideal battery to use anyway. PP3 batteries are good for about 500mah while my fan probably uses around 115mah. Thus, a new PP3 battery would run the fan for around 4 hours maximum. Not only that but as a 12v fan, it won't be running at its optimum anyway.

I took a few notes while testing the fan. I wasn't surprised that it didn't make much difference. With 4 inch tubing I really should use a 4 inch fan. 90mm is not optimal. It's all good for testing though. After setting the fan going, I cupped my hands around the exit vent. There was a gentle rush of air so clearly my fan is expelling air. Putting 12v through should expell more. It's even possible to put a T connector where I currently have the inlet vent and to install two 4 inch fans.

There is room for encouragement. There is plenty latitude in my design for improvement and I am heartened by the outside temperature rising a degree with no internal temperature rise.

When I was in Radio Shack I saw lithium batteries on sale, complete with lithium chargers. That was very interesting. It gave me thoughts about running lithium batteries. They're high capacity though odd voltages! Having said that, my CPU fans can take anything from 5 to 25 volts with no ill effect. Indeed, a single motorbike battery sized lithium cell could provide all the power I'm likely to need for fans, lighting, electronics charging elf. Charging the battery is the big issue however. This is largely why I'm going for disposable save for powering the ventilation which I'll try to run off solar.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's getting quite exciting!

Today there was a tremendous thunderstorm. Enough, in fact, to suggest that my ventilation system does not leak! Thus, I feel good about continuing into stage 2.

As today was a day dedicated to getting milady to and from a doctors appointment, I didn't have work to get in the way. I had taken the day off. Thus I could spend some time in the bus after dealing with milady's issues. Those had me just plain tuckered out at one stage!

On the way home, I stopped off at Lowes (hiss, spit). There, I picked up the final pair of vent caps that will support my mosquito mesh. That was my sole bus purchase today. I must surely be coming to the end of things I need to buy!

Inside the bus, I cut and glued mosquito mesh to the vent caps. Now my fans are 90mm which is slightly smaller than my 4 inch ventilation ducting. Really, I should use 4 inch CPU fans but I'll use what I have.

I connected the installed fan to a PP3 battery and the little fan sucked air out at quite a rate. That's excellent news. What I'd like to do is put a smoke trail but since I'm not a smoker, that's going to be challenging. I believe that two CPU fans running simultaneously should provide quite a throughput of air. There are, however, no data sheets available that give me the cubic feet per minute that my mystery Chinese fans displace. Having said that, at the rate they were going, I'd be surprised if with two running, all the air in the bus wasn't sucked out every hour or so.

The next stage will be to get more PP3 battery connectors from Radio Shack. I'll try running the fans off ordinary PP3 batteries at first. I believe I should be able to get bulk packs, cheaply. If that works, perhaps I can add in some solar panels and maybe rechargeable PP3 batteries.

No photos today. My phone battery was dead due to using it for GPS navigation.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My motor home has its first fan!

Today I went to the bus and installed one of my CPU fans. I tried it with a PP3 battery and it ran well.  My soldered joint then broke, which was annoying. The fan was pumping air quite well though I detected back flow around the edges. I'll put tape around the edges to cure that.
My next thing will be to run it one day off a PP3 battery to see how long it runs and how much difference it makes.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's half way there!

I continued my work on the ventilation system. The temperature was awful. Several times I found myself struggling and dripping with sweat. The following photos best describe how it was all completed. There is no fan installed as yet but that will come next time. That's why I have two CPU fans.

As usual, my workbench was the sandy ground. I completed cutting out the vent hole with a jigsaw. Then I cut the vent hole for the next vent. I did use my vent caps. If I get water ingress then I'll resolve that by putting aluminum tape as a roof over the tops of the vents.

I didn't install the second vent because I don't have any more 4 inch vent caps. Mind, by that time, I was just about ready to collapse on the ground from the heat! If the heat extraction does not work brilliantly then stage 2 will be my planned heat exchanger.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Harbor Freight scores again.

I looked at the steel I'd been trying to cut yesterday and decided to try another route. I have plenty scrap metal to play with!

Heading out, with the intention of heading to Lowes (hiss, spit), I remembered there was a mobile home store on the way. Thus, I headed in and discovered vent covers. There were some nifty plastic covers with lifting plastic louvers. There was also a steel vent cover. I looked at that and realized I had probably found what I need in order to keep water out of my ventilation system.

The traffic heading to Lowes (hiss, spit) was awful. It was backed up as far as the eye could see. Thus, I headed in the opposite direction and looked in Humana Re-store. They had interesting things but nothing I currently need.

I had an interesting exchange of emails with my dad who responded to my comments about the excessive cost of hole saws. I'd seen hole saws of 4 inch diameter going for silly prices. He suggested something called a Tank Cutter. Mentioning it in the Lowes (hiss, spit) across from Humana Re-store drew blank looks from the tool in charge of the tool section. Looking it up on my phone, a few moments later, I found one advertised on eBay UK. I also found one at Home Depot at $25. Thus, I enquired at the Lowes (hiss, spit) customer service desk and the tool there, instead of checking in the computer catalog in front of her, rang the same tool that had been so useless before!

Leaving the circus of Lowes (hiss, spit) and their performing seals, I sat in my car and looked on the Harbor Freight website. Sure enough, they had adjustable hole saws and at $6.95. Needless to say, 40 miles of driving later and I was there. I bought two adjustable hole saws and a pack of 4 inch grinding disks for good measure. I figure if the hole saws disintegrate then I can have two goes and maybe a 3rd by combining the remains. The grinding disk is the same diameter as the holes I need as opposed to my usual grinding disk that's half an inch too wide. That's a last resort to get the steel cut right.

Heading home, I unloaded and commenced work. The new plan is to put plywood on the inside of the bus over a square aperture cut with the angle grinder. I figure there will be no water so wood should be fine. The outside skin will have an aluminum sheet with a hole cut in it.

The adjustable hole saw needed careful tensioning on the grub screws. Out of an abundance of caution, I set up an OSB shield between myself and the work as the cutters will fly off if the grub screws aren't tight enough. I had to pick them up several times. In fact, just about every screw worked loose over the time I spent working.

The first thing I did was to cut two pieces of plywood with 4 inch holes. After that, I went to work on the aluminum sheet. That was a very different story. It took forever to get half way through. Clearly the cutting blades aren't strong enough. In desperation I drilled holes along the length of the track and will get a fret saw to work to join it all up tomorrow.

By the end of tomorrow, I hope to have one vent completely installed, possibly with a fan attached. The other might take a while longer but I'm in no great rush. Yesterday will do just fine.

I leave you with two images. The first is of the stuff I bought today and the second is of my adjustable hole saw in use on my aluminum sheet.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Minor work

Today, not much was done on the bus. It was another night of little sleep. This was caused by the periodical needs of milady for a bedpan etc. Yes, she really is that sick. Indeed, by the end of the day her fever was rising. Clearly Providence hospital ejected her a week before she should have been. This reeks of rank incompetence! Not only that but the nurse and physical therapist promised by the hospital never called nor ever showed up.

So, today, being very tired I did not do much. I put more magnet wire on the copper tube so now I have two layers. After that, I added more spray paint. A couple more coats of paint and I will try to power the magnet. If I'm right, the way to do this will be to charge a capacitor then run the charge through the coils.

Tomorrow, being the weekend, I will work on two of my projects - the ventilation and the electromagnet. I'll probably switch from one to the other as I complete stages such as painting. How I'll cope with tomorrow's 100F weather, I'm not sure. I know it's getting vital that ventilation is installed now.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vorsprung durch Technik

Pinching a slogan from Nazi Germany, progress has been made today. Since my work has shifted from a mid shift to a morning shift, I get plenty time in the afternoons to work on the bus. Well, aside from being on call to help milady.
The first thing I did was to stop off on the way home to buy a piece of copper tubing. The next step was to wind the first coil onto the tube. This time I taped the ends of the coil then sprayed the coil with 3 layers of paint. The result seems to be a coil with far better adhesion. The tube is quite a bit wider than my neodymium magnet but neodymium magnets are easy enough to buy in all diameters and lengths.
The next thing after trimming the mosquito mesh on my new vent cover was to place the vent cover on some steel then to use my fluorescent orange paint to mark the circumference. That worked pretty well. Now this steel is pretty thick which means I should be able to weld attachments to put a removable vent cover.
A few minutes with an angle grinder worked wonders. I now have the tricky task of ensuring the cutout is exactly 4 inches in diameter. That should be trickier. Having said that, only the outside has to be steel. The inside can be aluminum. All that's important is that the system works. As far as powering the fans is concerned, that's a different part of the project. Right now what's important is getting the tubing into place. I know I need extra tubing on the inside but that's again, another task.

The next task will be to complete the electromagnet. That should take about 8 layers of coil. That's not the end of the front door issues yet. As its old and hence sloppy, I'll have to add a guide to make it slip nicely into the receiving slot and incidentally add extra security.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Playing around

I didn't so much as achieve anything today as try a few things. That was largely because I was very tired having only slept an hour the night before there was a reason for that.

After milady was whisked off to hospital on Friday night, she was prematurely ejected from the hospital on Tuesday. She is in no way capable of looking after herself. Hospital staff had to lift her into my car. There was no way I nor anybody else could lift her out nor carry her at the other end. She does not receive the quality of care she needs because I have a job and don't get paid if I neglect it. That leaves her care down to her disabled mother when I'm not around. I cannot lift milady as she weighs double my weight and I'm not light. Needless to say, the hospital used to be run by the nuns of st Augustine and used to be excellent. Now it is owned by some dodgy outfit that puts profit before patients.

Thus, things are now done in five minute segments when I'm not needed for other duties. Don't even mention Obamacare as that only exists in states that have expanded Medicaid to support it. South Caroline's heinous excuse for a Governor refused to expand Medicaid and thus millions have no access to healthcare.

So, today my zener diodes arrived. I'm going to try to put a zener diode into the cooling fan circuit to see whether I can eke a little extra value out of my solar panel. Today though I just put the panel and two fans together. It all worked very nicely.

I had a go at spraying the coil on my brass tube with paint in the hope of securing it better. If it works then I can spray paint between coil windings to hold them in place. The paint used was questionable however.
Another thing was to glue mosquito mesh over the vent covers I bought. That should work well. My biggest issue will be to drill 4 inch diameter holes. The vent covers will be easy enough to construct. I'm planning on getting at least one of the vents installed this weekend.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

No photos today

I didn't do much on the bus today. Yesterday's work was cut short too and I'll explain why. First though, this is what I actually did do...

Today, after returning home, I did go to the bus. Yesterday I had measured the apertures left by the school bus flashers as being 5.5 inches. Today I measured the plastic pipe that will carry hot air outwards as being 4.5 inch outside diameter. The two drain caps which have holes suitable for decent ventilation have a 4 inch outside diameter shaft that fits snugly inside my piping. There's a flange that is 4.5 inches in diameter. It strikes me that the neck between the flange and the tube could be used to attach the tube into place through a sheet of steel or aluminum with a suitable 4 inch diameter hole. That could be inside or outside. Mosquito mesh could be glued on the outside of the caps, allowing mosquito free ventilation. A vent cap would need to be fashioned to prevent rain or spray from entering but that's straightforward!

Now, the reason work was cut short yesterday was that an ambulance was summoned for milady whose ailments had gained the upper hand. Thus, at 9pm an ambulance was summoned. By 11pm milady and I arrived simultaneously at the hospital. 11 hours of sitting in a room in the Emergency area followed during which I was very glad of the long battery life of my iPad. Needless to say, no sleep was to be had. Two further hours and milady was safely situated in a bed in the hospital having already had at least 4 saline drips and 5 pouches of different antibiotics. Interspersed with that were blood samples, urine samples, ultra sounds, X-rays and radiological scans. By the time I left, an MRI had been scheduled for tomorrow and further tests. The diagnosis so far is that she's responding to treatment, will likely be in hospital for several more days and really needs to be on some form of disability scheme.

Needless to say, after working in the heat of the bus, sitting all night in a humid room having been awoken early the previous morning to tend to milady's needs, I felt sticky, uncomfortable and tired. I was also probably quite smelly and was definitely (in stained, torn overalls) not properly attired. Thus, at 1pm I finally arrived home, showered and changed clothes. Then I had a quick breakfast. I was pretty close to being a zombie. Eventually at 3pm I fell fast asleep, waking at 6pm. After that it was time for dinner. I did squeeze in a quick trip to the bus before the light went.

So, quite busy and eventful. It's doubtful whether I get any work done tomorrow either. Needless to say, this could not have come at a more inconvenient time. Work ended for the summer on Thursday. Just before all this happened on Friday evening, I'd been literally enthroned when my phone rang offering summer work. Not being quick to turn down honest income, I accepted. That threw all my summer plans awry. Then events of Friday evening have me questioning whether I'll be able to fulfill my new work obligations as well as caring for milady when she is released from the hospital.

Tomorrows plans basically are to sort out bills that milady has received, take her fresh clothes and particularly more than just the nightie she was wearing and retrieve the stuff that needs urgent washing. When all that plus assorted domestic chores are complete, I might manage to make a quick trip to the bus but I doubt it.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, June 3, 2016

Begone, strange flash lights

They're officially gone! Today I removed the last school bus flashers. It was literally a matter of a few seconds work.

Measuring the holes, it seems the apertures are 5.5 inches in diameter. My fans are 4 inches in diameter. Clearly I'll have to do something other than just sticking ventilation tubing through the holes. That's not a huge problem though. I have some spare sheet steel I can use to cover the holes that I can also drill or cut a smaller hole in. 

The aim is to put a ventilation fan on each side, powered by rechargeable batteries. Those will be charged by one or two solar panels in all probability.

In the store, I picked up some mosquito mesh, some plastic tubing and some plastic drain covers. Those covers should support the mosquito mesh adequately. The fans can simply be screwed down over the lot.

Looking at the front door, it still slips outside the receiver. I tried adjustments but nothing so far has worked and continued to work beyond a few days. The solution might well be to add some kind of guide - possibly at the bottom of the door. Maybe this might be a use for some neodymium magnets?

I had wanted to use the school bus flashers as repeaters for my turn signals and brake lights. That turned out to involve extra work at a time when I just want the construction to be completed. I'm hoping my ventilation fans will resolve the excess internal heat in the bus.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rear entry AND hip thrusting!

Today after a couple of screwdrivers, I thought I'd do some work on the bus. Well, it wasn't quite after two screwdrivers. I'd drunk one and was half way through the second when an idea came to me. That idea quite simply was to look at the inside of the front door to see why it wasn't fitting snugly in its groove.

There was really nothing amiss with the door opening/closing mechanism. Thus I looked at the top roller and while it does have a fair amount of slop, that didn't seem to be the problem since the door fitted in the receiving groove at the top.

As I'm getting very tired of entering the bus from the back, the front door does need to be sorted out. I didn't look at my electromagnet but I suspect removing the Locktite garbage will be both messy and time consuming. Since the door seems to be potentially twisted, I gave it a few good hip thrusts.

I'm pretty sure this has worked. I closed the door a few times and it kept closing in the right place. I don't know what you think but it seems to be sorted out now. Only time will tell!