Saturday, September 9, 2017

Was it really that kind of day?

As there's a hurricane brewing, South Carolina's overzealous governor cancelled school for Monday yet the hurricane is not due to touch anywhere near South Carolina until Tuesday when the schools are supposed to reopen. How bizarre is that? Needless to say, I predict a few days off work unless I get called upon to drive a busload of refugees from the hurricane zone. Even then, the document I signed said that I might or might not get paid. That, I suppose, gives me freedom to take or refuse the job if and when it comes up.

Needless to say, today I designated as the day upon which I would put my underbus cabling into conduit. Pulling out my Harbor Freight conduit I used my sole 10 foot section of 3/8 inch cable loom. The next size up which was 1/2 inch was too big thus I made the mistake of going to Lowes (hiss, spit). Certainly, they had 3/8 inch conduit and I bought some. When I got home I found I'd wasted my time, gas and money. Their 3/8 inch conduit is woefully undersized.
Looking closely at the looms in the photo, the one on the right is from Lowes (hiss, spit) and the one on the right is from Harbor Freight (hurrah). The Lowes (hiss, spit) loom is small enough to slip inside the Harbor Freight loom. I rather suspect that Lowes (hiss, spit) have measured their loom on the outside as 3/8 inch whereas Harbor Freight measured it from the inside, allowing me to put 3/8 of cable inside. Shame on Lowes (hiss, spit) for selling undersized products!

After returning home to find my newly purchased loom was woefully undersized, I went to Harbor Freight to buy the right stuff. I got some other stuff while I was there - to the tune of $45 (gulp). That was largely just cable loom and fittings though I did get some larger step drills. Those wil come in handy for my next couple of adventures.

So, returning home, I set to work and within an hour or two had two figure 8 cables and a single cable all nicely taped together and slipped into cable loom. There's not much point in returning Lowes (hiss, spit) junk because I'm sure I'll find a use for 1/4 inch loom later in the project.

Those with long memories will recall I bought a nifty little gizmo that allows me to connect the contacts on one side of a cable connector strip together. Unfortunately it seems to work solely on some kind of cable connector I've never ever seen before.
It's not the fact it's too long that's the issue. The problem is that the connectors are well out of synch with the contacts on my connector strip. That blasted thing, including shipping cost me $5 too! This is the problem when there is no Radio Shack. I can't believe that management were capable of running a useful business into bankruptcy. Now that's what I call inept - I'm positive that the average drug dealer could have run Radio Shack better!

Feeling rather irked by the problems, I bought a box of doughnuts then noticed after I'd got home that they'd soiled themselves in the car. Surely I can't be that bad of a driver!
While I was out, I thought about putting running water into my bus. Somebody recommended using Pex piping for the water inlet. Looking it up, it seems it's often fastened with a special Pex clamp and that needs a special Pex clamp tool. Then I found a straightforward Jubilee clip would work well. That I gather is also called a screw clamp. Putting a straight piece of copper pipe through the floor and gluing it with rubber-based glue then putting the Pex on with Jubilee clips seems the best solution. Reading rather, it seems Pex can also tolerate hot water. That means that I might have the problem solved as far as plumbing goes. My next need is to find the original faucet that came with the handbasin!

Thinking ahead, it might be an idea to find some way of securing the microwave to the countertop. Not so much as so that I can claim it's built in but more so that it won't slop about during driving. There's sufficient countertop for me to put my little gas hob elsewhere when I cook - if I ever do get to go away for a few days in my motorhome. For that, I rather suspect that spray painted and pre-bent steel or aluminum strip might work best. I can just bolt through the countertop and be done.

Going further with plumbing - and this is where the undersized loom comes in - I could recycle my 20A cable (or some of it) and put a line from the breaker panel to my bathroom to power an undersink instant hot water heater. That in turn could supply both the hot faucet and a line that goes under the bus and up through into the shower. The instant water heater I'm thinking about is 10A and on full water pressure delivers Luke warm water but on less, produces hot water. That needs an pressure adjustable shower head. I'm sure they're available!

Today one of my ebay purchases arrived. No - it wasn't fish net stockings nor was it a Curt Cobain LP. It was in fact my latest bilge fan. My latest idea is to install two bilge fans and blow double the air quantity out. At 260CFM, I should be able to change all the air in the bus in just 4 minutes. That should provide quite a little breeze. If I can keep doing that and power my two circulation fans then even in the heat of summer, it should be quite comfortable in here.
This is one reason why I've moved the battery location closer to the back of the bus. The biggest power hog needing the heaviest wiring will be at the back. My 30 feet of wiring put in loom today should be long enough for what I want to do. If, however, it isn't, I can always extend it with no great problem. All I need to do is to solder and shrink insulate extra wire onto the ends.

The plan with the wiring is to have a dual cable running between my two solar panels with an extra plugin so that I can put a 50W panel directly facing the sun, on the ground. 50W on its own will provide a maximum of 4A and combined with the 35W already on the bus, should be able to power my fans almost constantly on a good, sunny day. The remaining dual cable will be split. One leg will power the USB charging setup I installed and the other will be spare. That will power any potential permanently-installed lighting. The single cable which is very lightweight will power the ventilation fan.

I have two further wires to install - one that will power the bedroom fan and one to power lighting for the bedroom and bathroom - if I ever install permanent lighting. I might also run an extra cable just in case I want to put in a USB charger in the bedroom.

Thinking about permanent lighting, I'd probably put a couple of "puck" lights up. Thos should throw enough light upwards to light the whole comparrtment. Otherwise, it's lanterns the whole way. My spare cable from the cable run I put in ages ago could be repurposed to power the door lock so that the door lock runs off solar power. Though they have lasted literally months on a single charge, I feel the rechargeable batteries in the door lock are beginning to run low. When they stop operating the door, I'll measure the voltage which will tell me how low I can let NiMh batteries go. Then I measure them on full charge and that gives me a good charging window. The idea is that I can then calculate how many NiMh cells I'd need in order to replace my lead-acid batteries. I'm sure some of my readers will be pretending to split their sides laughing at that one but... I much prefer NiMh to lead-acid and to lithium. There's also no law on this planet that says I cannot experiment with NiMh - even if it proves to be no better than lead-acid. The thing that gets on my tits about people that say "you can't do this" is that they have never ever questioned rubbish they have read online. I offer as absolute proof, the fact that some guy in Nigeria is living well off the proceeds of the Nigerian Prince scam where Prince IWannaRobYourGrave has left loads of money and a corrupt civil servant in exchange for never-ending fees is prepared to share that mythical wealth with you, somebody they have never met.

Tomorrow, my mission will be to clear the driveway so that I can get the bus in and out. That's a long job but fortunately due to the hurricane, the weather has become a lot cooler. As I showed the other day, the branches and small trees are making ingress and egress liable to rip bits off the outside of my bus. Monday, all being equal, I should be able to get out with the bus and get underneath it to work on installing my cables.

While I was at Harbor Freight, I saw a spare battery on sale for my $20 Harbor Freight drill. It was $12 and I didn't buy one. I'm sure I'll probably regret that! I remember somebody in my mysterious past had one of those together with the flashlight that went with it but oddly, only a single battery. That seemed nutty to me! I'll have to charge that battery ready for Monday or I could end up looking a bit silly, taking my bus out and not being able to do anything with it!
And there she is, in all her beauty! My NiCad powered power drill. NiCads went out donkey's years ago but a lot of the cheap Chinese stuff Harbor Freight sells, still uses them. It's a shame because NiCad is quite toxic and should not ever make its way into landfill - which is exactly where the dead batteries end up!

No comments:

Post a Comment