Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The door can now be unlocked electrically

Today was the first day in a long time that I haven't been suffering from some dread virus. I had two viruses back to back that hit me on Thursday and kept going until yesterday.

Anyway, the first thing I did today was to build my 15A connecting cord that will allow me to connect my bus to a standard household 15A cable. There are loads of those lying around here. My 20A cable is just big and bulky.
After that, I put my second jubilee clip on my door unlocker system. That took a lot of wiggling and fiddling. It was really hot in the bus so I was dripping with sweat. Fairly quickly, the linear actuator was installed permanently.
The next stage was to install a connection between the linear actuator and the locking flap. That was harder to do than might be imagined! My chain was rather bigger than really needed but since it was off cuts from my closet chain, I figured I'd use it rather than buy something new.

I had a problem, as you can see, to attach the end of the chain to the hole in the linear actuator. A chain link didn't do what was needed so I resorted to one of my zip ties. I bought a pack some ten years ago and only used a few. I believe I bought them as a quick fix for an old mailbox where the hinges had broken. As I said, I could afford to replace the zip ties multiple times over the cost of a new mailbox.

Attaching the chain to the flap was challenging. I used a leftover bolt receiver from when I installed bolts on the drawers. The hard bit was drilling into the flap. The steel was very thick and very hard. It took a long time to drill pilot holes. Widening the holes was taking forever using a drill so I switched to my reamer and had the job done in seconds.
As can be seen, this is the setup. I might replace the zip tie eventually but it's not a priority. It works and if it keeps working there's no point in changing that. It doesn't look pretty but it works which is more important.
This is what it looks like when the linear actuator is fully extended. Notice how it has lifted the latch? I'm currently running it off 8AA batteries. We can regard this as a complete success.

The next part of the project is to install the key switch on the outside of the bus together with some connections. As the switch is SPDT and the polarity on the actuator needs to be reversed in order to close the actuator, 2 DPDT relays will be involved. I got those in Radio Shack on Thursday. At the same time, when in Radio Shack, I bought a momentary action lever switch. That will work brilliantly as a horn button. I had intended to install it today but forgot before I closed the bus up for the day.

In other news, my 12V CPU fans arrived. At 120mm they're big! They're also big enough to put where I currently have my battery powered fans. I'll do a test with a battery fan blowing straight at a 12V fan then I'll see which is more powerful by putting a foam block between the two and seeing which way it moves.

By the end of the weekend I should have the key switch installed and the fans sorted out. Perhaps I might even have the solar panels installed too. Heaven knows when I'll fill the hole in the bedroom floor or install the fresh air inlets and the kitchen extraction fan.

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