Saturday, March 25, 2017

Getting down and dirty.

Fitting the reversing camera was supposed to be a quick and simple job. It would have been nice if it had turned out that way though. As usual, every problem known to man came along and then a few created by a race of evil beings from another planet for good measure and that was before fate stepped in and Radio Shack did the dirty.

The day started with my fitting connectors to the bundle of wires under the bus. That was relatively easy. The problem came when it was time to attach the video connector to the other end of the video cable. The connector coming from the monitor is male. The connector from the camera is female. I have only male connectors that I can use. I can't see a homosexual connection working that well! If I used a lesbian connector between the two, that'd probably work though - if I had one!

Anyway, after fitting connectors the next thing was to mount the camera. In preparation to mount it underneath the bumper I'd removed the last vestiges of the hillbilly contraption with my trusty angle grinder. It was then that I saw just how thick the steel is and how awkward it would be to mount the camera. In the end it was decided to mount the camera over the bumper, screwed to the body. It was then that even more fun ensued!

I'd been through various ideas on mounting the camera, starting with the most complicated before eventually settling on the simplest - drilling two screw holes and screwing the camera into place. The first hole went well and a self tapping screw made a good thread. The second hole drilled easily enough but the self tapper went in and jammed, breaking the screwdriver. After failing to gain purchase on the head with pliers, I angle ground the head to be easier to grip. Oops I went too far with the grinder and ended up having to grind it flat. Then I tried to drill the screw out in order to start again. The screw proved resistant enough to blunt two drill bits.

In frustration, I used a self drilling screw and burned the tip out of that but got my hole. Using a drywall screw, I cut the thread in the hole. Then I spray painted the bare metal. When the paint was dry, the camera was successfully screwed into place. Then it was a case of connecting all the connectors and putting the cables in conduit before fastening them in place. That was by no means easy either!
Radio Shack is having a closing sale. I'm actually seriously impressed that Radio Shack has lasted as long as it has! I bought a 12v 5ah battery for my ventilation system a year or two back in one of their closing sales. I believe it was a $35 battery for which I stupidly paid $25. Today I found I can get the same battery with free shipping, from eBay for $12. On Wednesday I went to Radio Shack to look for connectors. The door sign advertised they were open but the lights were off, the shelves were full and nobody was home.
As I worked today, I noticed some wasps buzzing around the bus. Clearly I will soon be unable to work under there because they're going to build a nest! As it stands, I need still to replace the reversing horn unit. Other than that I looked at doing something with my battery. The underbus cable is good enough to handle far more than I'm throwing at it from the two solar panels in use.

Given that there are wasps about to curtail my activities, it makes sense to rethink the whole battery issue. I can fit three batteries of 5ah into my steel ammunition box. I can also site that box either under the bus at the back or in the cockpit. The extra wire terminates in the cockpit. Thus, it makes sense instead of the battery box being bounced around at the back of the bus, to have it situated st the front, in the cockpit. I can mix the 5ah lead acid battery with NiMh batteries in two separate storage setups. One for electronic device recharging and one for ventilation. Given that ventilation only works when the sun is shining, I can simply transport the unit to wherever I want to recharge my phone or tablet. It's even conceivable to have two ammunition boxes!

As for ventilation in the kitchen, there's always my window unit fan that I built or opening a window. That actually works quite well, believe it or not! I might make some magnetic screens to slip over the windows though.

What I need to concentrate on next (the new reversing horn arrives on Monday) is the windscreen wiper. That involves purchasing a new switch and a wiper motor. When all that is done, the short in the ABS system needs to be eliminated and my bus will be 100% ready. I could put plumbing in from an outside supply and I could put an external gas supply and a built in cooktop but honestly, what I have will work for now. I do need to sort out the short in the 120v system too. The temporary ventilation system in the cockpit could do with being made permanent as it seems to work.

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