Sunday, September 3, 2017

What an idiot!

I'm an idiot. I went to Harbor Freight and got all the stuff I wanted but completely forgot to go to the hardware store for 1 gauge wire. That means another trip at some point.

Overnight I'd had a brainwave or a brain fart depending on your point of view. Just down the road from me is a school. That school has a huge tarmac car park which would be ideal to lie on to work under the bus. The only thing better would have to have a creeper to lie on as I work under the bus. In a spot of short sightedness I didn't buy a creeper. I figured I'm so close to completion I could do without it and indeed I can. The problem is it would speed things up no end but only if I'm working on tarmac.

So, on my shopping expedition I bought a cordless rechargeable pistol drill, some more wire conduit and attachments and a metric spanner set. Within a few minutes of remembering what I'd bought after I got home, the windscreen wiper washer angle had been adjusted using the 12mm spanner. I regret not spending the extra $30 on a creeper to go under the bus on tarmac. On the other hand, how many more times am I likely to want to go under it for the moment anyway?

I looked at lanterns while I was out, at KMart. They had a nice looking hurricane lamp that takes oil for just $8. Reading around it appears that 12oz of oil will keep it lit for 35 hours. The downside is it produces heat, is a minor fire hazard and produces only 200 lumens.
It sure looks nice and the price is very acceptable as is the run time. I'd like for it to have decent light output though which is where I have to pass on a real hurricane lamp.
Next on the menu was a double mantle gas lantern. Again the same issue of it being a fire hazard together with an explosive hazard too. It is, however, the brightest lantern to day at 7,500 lumens. That's 7 times brighter than I've assessed as being the minimum requirement. I did check their figures and 600 Candela does equal 7,500 lumens. Nice, but I'll have to pass.
The last lantern was a strange one. I've mentioned LED beam technology before. This is a beam lantern. It has three long LEDs emitting light. While it claims to be 1,000 lumens I'm not entirely convinced. I'm mightily perplexed as to why they have a brightness control knob on the thing as 1,000 lumens seems a bit minimal to me. Apparently the knob can reduce light to 100 lumens or about the equivalent of 8 candles - that's probably not enough to distinguish between a turd and a mars bar.

The problem with all of these LED contraptions is they're directional lighting elements being used to spread light in all directions. It just does not work. When the lamp is unshielded as most are, the light is just plain dazzling. It's not very bright but it is shining right in one's eyes continuously. The only way around that is to diffuse the light by putting a piece of paper around the glass of the lantern. By the time the light is diffused enough to be pleasantly usable, the brightness is negligible.

I'm having a great deal of difficulty in seeing the advantage of LED over incandescent bulbs for lanterns to be honest. I'm just not seeing any worthwhile light from LED lanterns. What does seem to work with LEDs though are the puck light type of lighting. I've seen quite a few battery powered LED puck lights. They use the benefit of LEDs directionality. Having said that, my 6 LED Harbor Freight magnetic task light is not quite as bright as it could be.

Looking at eBay today I saw somebody selling a pack of 10 Lion 3.7V 6AH batteries for about $10. Put together in fours, 4 packs would cost around $40 and produce 60AH or rather would be the equivalent of 60AH. That would be quite decent had I not already committed to my $70 Hacrbor Freight lead-acid deep cycle battery.

Thinking on ventilation and hard on the heels of my purchase of an extra 2.5A 130CFM bilge blower, I decided to spend the money and buy an anemometer. That was I'll know exactly how much air is being blown out of my bus.

Having thought about moving the bus to hard ground to work on it and thus avoiding the ant problem and possibly displacing the wasps in the process, I've realized there's yet another problem.
The driveway is overgrown. I'll have to cut some bushes back. Last time I tried this driveway without cutting bushes, the bushes snapped my CB aerial and ripped off one of my marker lights. Both of those cost money to repair. I can see I'm going to have to get happy with the pruners to make myself some space!
While I was in Walmart looking for a kitchen faucet for the house here, I looked at some handbasin faucets then remembered that my bus came with a faucet. I'm not quite sure where that faucet got to through. If I could find it, I'd put it through the dishwasher and make the first moves toward putting a cold water connection and maybe then a hot water supply into the bus. I've already worked out that the hot water can be plumbed straight to the shower. The reviews of the low amperage instant water heater indicate that the water is warm and not hot unless the water is drawn very slowly. That, honestly, sounds ideal.

I'm still mulling over the air conditioner issue. I'm hoping that with the fans running, if I really can extract 260CFM then 4 minutes should see all the air changed in the bus. Running either continuously or in bursts, that should keep me as cool as air conditioning. Indeed, many houses do use central ventilation as opposed to air conditioning because it really does work. If I stand outside though the temperature outside the bus is the same as inside, it really does feel cooler outside. That's purely because the air is moving. Inside the bus I have some fans that I use just to make the air move and it makes a difference.

A wise fellow once told me that avoiding air conditioning would reduce my energy costs to very low levels. That tallies with my experience. I lived without air conditioning and was the envy of all around me - because of my electricity bill. In the whole 3 1/2 years I rented a nasty little hovel in the center of Lexington, my electricity bill was never over $30 even on the hottest summer.

The new plan for ventilation is to install my two bilge blowers on the bulkhead partition above the rear door as opposed to the ceiling where they currently reside. They'll be wired in parallel in order to reduce wiring and because there's a risk if just one operates of it sucking air in through the other exhaust vent. The noise level will, of course, increase and I'll have to design new air intakes for them.  Before that though I need to test to see if my exhaust vents can handle 130 CFM which is where my forthcoming anemometer comes in handy. At 260 CFM I should begin to feel air movement from the front toward the back of the bus.

Today my only score is that I adjusted my windscreen washer jets so now they hit the center of each half of the windscreen. But wait - in the best manner of the TV salesman - there's more! I used my magic box - the purple box containing two voltmeters, two switches and a pair of dual USB chargers. I charged not only my phone but my tablet and it worked very well. Both were fully charged in about the right amount of time.

If I can get under the bus to do the wiring sooner rather than later, my first task will be to connect the two sets of solar panels so that they double up the power coming to the battery. Initially my 35AH battery will be situated in the cockpit but while I'm under the bus I shall measure in order to install the battery underneath. I'm leaning toward installing it behind the rear differential on the basis that there's plenty unused space there.

This weekend I'm in no hurry to do anything because I hurt my thumb on Saturday afternoon, trying to open of all things a ziplock bag. It's a lot better today but needs to recover more for Tuesday because Tuesday I'll be back behind the wheel of a 16 ton special needs schoolbus. Yes - I drive the short bus!

No comments:

Post a Comment