Sunday, August 6, 2017

The French Maid

Today brought out the French Maid in me. Somewhat dubiously, I'd bought a bottle of some urine-colored cleaning spray in a dollar store that called itself "Awesome". Now normally I would just bypass anything with such a stupendously silly name. I figure that if something has to call itself "the best" or "better than anything else" then it has to be complete and utter garbage and the name and possibly a pretty packet are there to lure the guillable into parting with their money. It had been recommended by somebody I knew so I thought I'd give it a shot.
So, in the best tradition of French Maids, clad in their delectable white apron and their black minidress, heels and fishnets, I rolled up my sleeves and began scrubbing away. Had I actually worn a French Maid's outfit, I'd imagine I'd have looked like Brenda in the Plenty advert! (Brenda & Audrey - Bounty/Plenty paper towels advert.) In all truth though, the French are slightly less clean than my bus before I cleaned it. Back in 2001 I took a night train from Oostende in Belgium to Berlin. The French carriages were added to the train at Dijon. I was already having to sleep on the floor in the corridor because the train was overcrowded. The French when they got on, used the toilet and left the door open and didn't bother flushing nor washing their hands. One at least used the connecting corridor as a urinal. At least one pulled the window down and tried to stick their backside out in order to take a poo!

Well, the good news is it did actually clean some of the grime from the inside of the cockpit though not all of it. Stuff that looked caked on, came off easily but that looked more like tobacco residue than anything else. Need I mention this school bus came from Louisiana? Anyway, it cleaned the easier grime and residue fairly swiftly. The downside was that it didn't clear the stuff I wanted to clear - just the stuff I didn't much care about. It also had me choking on the fumes. Nowhere on the bottle does it say "use a respirator" or at least, if it does, the text is so small as to be worthless. The other downside is it removed some of the paint from my first aid box.
To be honest, this stuff does not deserve a name such as "Awesome". It should have a label that says "Average". If It had said "Average" then I might not have walked past it so much. The really stupid thing is while it removed the painted label from my first aid box, it did not remove dripped paint off my stainless steel handbasin.

My decision to use the bus body as the negative connection for the battery side of my power system seems to be good. I connected the front fan to my new fuse set up. I had hoped to use blade fuses but they don't seem to be available in values as low as 0.5A which for a 0.5A fan with fine wires is rather important. Radio Shack's bankruptcy sale helped out with fuse holders. As I said, I picked out things that would be useful like switches, fuse holders etc. I dodn't bother with the rubbish like relays, resistors, transistors, capacities etc. They're all well and good but by the time you've bought all the bits and got your device to work, I've bought something that does the job and was cheaper and been using it for a few weeks.

The bedroom fan I connected to one of my 7ah batteries (which was fully charged) and it does a wonderful job. I really do need to get under the bus as soon as practical to get the underbus wiring done. Somebody suggested spraying the area with some form of insecticide but I'm not sure I'd get all the hostiles in one go. The only way of doing it would be to drive North and spend a while in sub zero temperatures or just wait for winter and do everything that's doable inside until then.
I tried the unfortunately misnamed cleaner on my PVC planking floor in the bathroom. It didn't do a bad job though it's not perfect. I think it's just going to take time and elbow grease. I'm constantly amazed at the quantity of sand that gets into the bus. I swept the floor beforehand and though it's not been long since I last swept, a lot of sand was present.

Today I had all three fans going at the same time. The recorded temperature was 95F inside when I started but though I hadn't had the front fan going long, it was noticeable that the bedroom where I sat was hot and muggy while the galley was cooler. When the system is working fully, I think I might have something!

Meanwhile, in an email discussion with my dad, I mentioned that I seemed to have encountered a brick wall with heat; that I'd painted the roof white but that I figured I was into diminuishing returns without splurging on air conditioning. He mentioned that the flat rooves in Britain are usually painted with a silver reflective paint. That had me looking online for similar products. The only one I could see that was fairly similar was a $25 pot of Black Jack elastometric reflective roof coating. That has a silicone base so I never can put anything on top of it and expect it to stay on. That seems to be the one everybody is putting on RV rooves. There is a tar-based coating that people also use. I think I might try the Black Jack. A 3.6 quart can should do my entire roof. I recall using about half a gallon of white Rustoleum last time. This time I will get better masking tape. The last stuff I used looked like masking tape but was the Devil to get off as it probably wasn't.
That's how my fuse panel looks now. The fuse is actually 8A but I'll order some 0.5A fuses and some 2.5A fuses. I'll also have to order fuses for other things like my USB charging panel. That needs a box to mount it in too unless I just go and buy a USB charging panel that I can just screw into place. That wouldn't have the benefit of a voltmeter built in but that's not strictly essential. There are some very nice USB sockets that connect to 12V sold in the car stores for not that much money.

I went to the shed and found some wood with the idea of making a mount for the USB socket/voltage meter gizmo I ordered from China. After marking it out and getting tired of the mosquitoes outside, I went for a cup of tea. Returning, I found my hole saw needed adjustment so I completed the adjustments just in time for a torrential downpour.

I'd been thinking while I was indoors about whether I should install USB power sockets and whether perhaps I should install straight 12v power sockets instead. The pro of a straight 12v power socket is that I can use a great many other 12v things such as my 12v to 120v inverter. Sure, it only produces at most 200W but it might be good for something though quite what I'm not sure. Perhaps running a 120v lamp? The downside of a 12V socket is that if a spider crept in and caused a short circuit there could be a fire. I'd also have to get 12V to USB adaptors to instal in my 12v sockets. Equally, I could get a 12V USB dual socket and install more USB if I needed to. In the end, I think convenience wins and despite already having the stuff I bought from China, it looks like a better idea to install a read made dual or quad USB socket that has a mounting built into it - something I don't have to build into a panel. When I bought the stuff I did, I did so because the plan was to build them into my ammunition box battery packs.
I'm all for simplicity. I generally start with the most fiendishly complicated ideas and designs then end up building things far less complicated and lavish. Now that I took out the other two charge controllers, that looks a lot better! The wiring is clearer too.

When I first started the bus project, the first thing I installed was a 12V power socket and a USB socket. This was because I use GPS navigation and liked to keep my cellphone charged. It also now powers my GPS speedometer.
While these are most definitely not the prettiest objects in the galaxy, they are practical. With straight forward USB sockets, if I had 4 sockets at 2.1A each then I'd be able to say I'd need an 8.5A fuse though in all likelihood, I could get away with just an 8A fuse as not all would be in use simultaneously. I could mount those sockets on a cross beam, aimed down to keep dust and debris out. That looks quite promising!

One of the things I hate is not using stuff that I've bought. The problem is, for me, because I buy stuff on ebay it can't be returned. I don't return things just because I change my mind about using them either because to be frank, that's not the seller's fault.

My afternoon's work was curtailed by a sudden thunderstorm. I'd been out to put the now wet wood back in the shed when thunder began to roll and I heard the crackle of lightning. Thus I decided to sit out the storm in the nearest shelter which happened to be my bus. Knowing how South Carolina storms like to rumble on for hours, despite it being only 5pm, I called it a day.

I'd have liked to dash out to get a pair or more under dash USB connectors but given the storm and the fact I have to go on a training course tomorrow (which means I'll be out of the house anyway), I decided to save the fuel and wait until tomorrow. I have to hassle Walmart about my prints too - I've not heard a word about those yet despite the fact they were supposed to be in Walmart on Friday.

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