Sunday, July 3, 2016

Switching out the fan.

Today I braved the heat. It was 109F in the galley and 105 in the bedroom. This heat is ridiculous! Before I did that though, I prepared the scene for the fan change.

If you recall yesterday's post, I'd cut two rings from plastic. Today I added 4 blocks onto the edges as spacers for the screws I am using to hold the fans in place. The finished result looks pretty good.
This is now running off a pair of D cells. The fan is an inch wider than the tube so there's noticeable blowback. Anyway, at about 2:30pm I set it going. Bear in mind I will do this also to the fan on the other side of the bus. The D cells are not very fresh having been used for magnet testing.

Speaking of my magnet, I got really fed up with winding coils and with solder that wouldn't stick and went ahead and ordered a small linear actuator from eBay. It's small with a 4 inch throw and a 500 Newton lifting force. It runs off 12v so should be absolutely ideal. All I need do is figure out a way of making it return automatically when it has done its job. It sounds ideal for a solenoid but the cheaper solenoid a can't lift much. I'm not ready to spend $150 on a powerful solenoid either. $30ish for this small linear actuator is quite enough!
I'm pretty hot in the bus at the moment. It's pretty hot outside too. Thoughts of air conditioning do cross my mind but then I think of the power such things would consume! I'm pretty sure I won't be putting solar panels on the roof nor a generator under the bus. I do notice that it's very much cooler at night which makes me think more toward just staying out of the bus during the hot part of the day and letting nature be the cooling force.

I did look at the Harbor Freight solar offering and wonder whether it could be used to charge either a batch of D cells or a batch of AA cells. Those seem to be my two onboard power sources. I have given a great deal of thought to the big deep cycle batteries but seeing as how all my fans are going to be 3v, there's no need for one. The Harbor Freight panel might be sufficient to charge D cells. I know my existing 5W panel did get my new fan running albeit weakly.
My experience of this solar stuff is that it's basically garbage. My reservation about this unit is the cost. It's almost the same as Harbor Freight's 900W generator. The generator should power far more than the puny little 3 watts actual output of this panel. If I could simply run my ventilation from solar, I'd be very impressed. As it is, I don't think solar has anything genuine to offer.

Returning to yesterday in my time machine, I forgot to blog about my experience of using my AA powered phone charger. It was pretty darned slow but it did work. My Nexus 4 is a horrible power hog and quite probably due for replacement as soon as I get started in my forthcoming new job. Here's a photo of the charging unit. I bought this on eBay several months ago but have only now got around to trying it out.
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It's a nifty thing and cheap too. Heaven knows how long it'll last though. Even if it doesn't last all that long, it's still useful.

By now you should realize that my motor home is designed to be plugged into electricity when available. I'm not bothered about plugging into water as my 5 gallon jerry cans will hold a couple of days worth each. Waste water is designed to be dumped when possible. Indeed, rather than using my waste tanks, I'd rather leave the valves open and empty directly into buckets that can be emptied faster.

Thinking more about cooling, I had a chat with my dad yesterday. He suggested a safari roof. Sadly, that would mean a lot of steel and a lot of work since none of the US school bus manufacturers are bright enough to think of them. I did notice when I bought my bus that there were upside down hooks attached in a few places. I removed them because they were both poorly installed and rusty. I wouldn't mind betting they were put there to secure a tarpaulin. Now the tarpaulin would definitely act as a second skin very much like a safari roof. Indeed, it might be worth buying one just to try since they're on,y about $8 at Lowes (hiss, spit). Somebody else suggested trailer roof paint which is allegedly insulating. An article in Scientific American throws doubt on that though as there have been nose riots studies into the effectiveness of such paint nor the accuracy of claims made about it. Indeed, as Scientific American says, NASA might well use such paint and find it effective -in the vacuum of space- but here on earth is a different matter.

One of the cooling systems I am considering is forced air from underneath the bus via an air filter. There is a suitable hole in the bedroom floor through which a vent could be passed. This has the advantage of being very cheap and easy on power. The big downer with ventilation so far is noise and with the blower systems, inefficiency due to blowback.

Thinking more on the tarpaulin, though Lowes (hiss, spit) has one, Harbor Freight seems to have a better option in that they have a heat reflective tarpaulin. It's not cheap at $25 but it might be worth a try. It is definitely cheaper than the funky paints and might be more effective. The irksome thing will be climbing on the roof and tying it down. Still, for long term parking, it sounds excellent.
As of now (6pm) my extraction fan has been running non stop from two D cells. I'll leave it running and keep checking to see how long two D cells last. It's not shifting as much air as I'd like but really, I'm not sure what to do to improve that. I could, I suppose, buy a new drain cap and rely upon a single mosquito mesh. That might allow pressure to build up in the vent tube thus increasing air speed.

In other news I am topping up the bus batteries again. Since probably April I have not driven the bus. The batteries therefore are a little low. What drew my attention to that was the horn. I pressed the horn button yesterday and the sound was very feeble. The hillbillies left a horn in a box in the bus. I've pulled it out and am going to try installing it via a button that's easier to reach than the current button. Another thing I might do is to look at the proper horn button in the steering wheel. That does not appear to function and I don't know why.

When I installed the access hatch below the front top markers in order to retrieve a vanished cable, I had to remove a large sticker that gave a list of the rules for riding a school bus. That peeled off easily. Beside it was a sign forbidding pistols. That rips every time I try to peel it up. It's printed on metal film with really solid glue underneath it. That has given me a great challenge so far.

Thinking back to a conversation I had when I was putting dark film on the bus windows, I recall a professional film installer telling me to spray with ammonia based window cleaner, to tape plastic over it and to come back 20 minutes later. Well, I tried it with the sign and it didn't work. What seems to work is taking a small amount off at a time with the edge of an old bank card. It's painfully slow but it works.

I'm working toward completion. At least now I'm better prepared to complete the bus this summer.

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