We have a lot of projects being worked on at the moment, so this is a list and update of what we have underway. We’ve received a few items to do instals of, but due to the weather right now, we can’t get much of it done. The Smart Home on Wheels project is going strong though, and we should have a core unit when we get to Florida. Also, we are hopefully finally getting out of Kentucky in the next week or so, and then we’ll be on our way south and be able to work on everything in a nice, warm environment. As long as it doesn’t rain all the time.
What We Have Underway
First up is the Tadi Brothers rear view camera. I received it last week and intended to install it right away. Then the temperature dropped significantly. I really don’t want to crawl around the roof in below freezing temperatures and when we get to Florida, I should have the assistance of my brother or brother-in-law to help with running cable and pulling it through and making everything nice and connected. I also have to figure out how to install it all. The instructions aren’t very thorough, there are several wires with no terminal connections, and I’m not sure which path to take it all to make it work. Somehow, I have to get the wire from the top, rear of the RV to the front bottom. I think I know the path, but I’m not certain yet and in this weather, its not going to happen quite yet. I should have enough wire to get from front to back and I should be able to get it past the engine and up into the dash so I can connect it to the monitor. It also somehow hooks into the ignition so it turns on when the RV is put in reverse, but I don’t know how. Fortunately I have a brother who is much more skilled with vehicle electronics and motors, so he should be able to help with that.
Second is the satellite dish from Winegard. We’ll be installing it as soon as it gets warmer, but we’ll also have to wait a bit to get the service set up and get a receiver for the TV. The actual installation isn’t that complex, but the dish itself weights about 60 pounds. I have to get up on the roof, measure where it will fit, and install it. I also have to use Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant and while it should work even in the cold, its better if its above freezing. To move the dish up to the roof, place it where it will be, mark it, then put down the Dicor and replace the dish and screw it in is all things that can be done much easier with assistance. I should have known it would be this heavy, but I can’t figure out a way to get it up on my own. Its not exactly well balanced since most of the weight is in the base and the arm that attaches the dish to the base does move. Not impossible, but not easy either.
The last item we had sent to us is a Tripp Lite 2000 Watt Inverter/Converter. It is also larger and heavier than I expected. I knew this would require some work and I am hoping we can do that as well when we get to Florida. I need to get a higher gauge wiring to go from the shore power-in to the inverter, to the batteries, and then to the breaker box. Right now I’m trying to figure out where the wiring all goes. Its not exactly clear since I can’t get a good view of where everything goes inside. The breaker box is in the back right, shore power comes in on the back left, batteries are near the shore power, and the converter is near the breaker box. My intention is to build a box and make a power center in a basement unit so we can put all the batteries, the charge controller, the inverter/converter, and any fuses we need inside the basement unit. I haven’t figured out which batteries we will be getting yet, but probably just going with regular Deep Cycle lead acid batteries to save on cost right now and save up for the future and lithium batteries. The box will need to be vented, so I will build an enclosed box that holds all the batteries and cables connecting them and has an in and an out air vent with fans to get it circulating. I’ve seen it done with metal L-bars and plexiglass so it should be easy enough once I know how big the batteries are.
One other things I’m working on is the solar power. I want to add solar as I can, but its going to take time. Ideally, the goal would be to have 900 Watts of solar panels, which would be either 9 100 Watt panels or 6 150 Watt panels. There are slightly larger panels as well, so we could get a 175 Watt panel, but that can wait. After the satellite dish is installed, we’ll have a better idea of where we can install panels as well.
We also have to fix or replace the air conditioner at some point. It felt like it was getting a little cold, but the fan wasn’t blowing. Its a 30 year old A/C unit, so its very likely that it simply doesn’t work anymore. I also broke the cover for it a few weeks ago. I was up on the roof and stumbled. I reached out to brace myself and put my hand right through the cover. Its old, brittle plastic and years of sunlight weakened it. A new A/C unit is about $500, and since it is winter, we don’t need it quite yet anyway. Maybe this spring, but it depends on how the weather holds up as well.
Then there is the shelving and desk to build. The ceiling of the closet across from the bathroom needs to be replaced. The vent cover came off at some point so water was leaking in there. The leak has been fixed, but the ceiling needs to be taken down. I’m not sure what we can put in there, but probably just a thing plywood after we tear out the old stuff and cut it to size. In that closet, I’d also like to build some shelving so we can store things like canned foods or dry goods.
The pantry needs to be worked on as well. It has a wire shelf that slides out and I hate it. Its convenient, but it wastes about half the space in there. We could easily put in standard shelves and have more room to store food. That, at least, is an easy fix. There is also a propane lamp that is on the outside of that cabinet, so we might have to figure out how to remove that and close off the copper pipe that leads to it since we have no use for it and the tube is in the way on the inside of the cabinet. On the outside I’ll probably install a single 1U vertical rack mount holder for the server I’m getting and have it stand outside. There is power there and enough space, I don’t think it would be in the way, so that should be a fine place for it.
On the other side, we’ll add some sort of storage under the TV. There was an old table that lifted up and out so there was a small sitting spot there, but we got rid of that. The structure of it is still there though and needs to be removed. At the floor, there is a small 45 degree corner for some reason I haven’t figured out yet, and hopefully its not hiding anything and we can remove it. After that is done, or maybe during the process, we’ll also be replacing the carpet with floating laminate floorings. The carpet is nice, but if we replace the floor, we can put down a subfloor pad that should insulate the floor better and make it quieter as well.
The last thing, hopefully, is the bedroom. I want to pull out everything on the floor back there and build a custom bench that holds the bed and has storage underneath. We need to have some access to things in back since the drains for the fresh water are back there, but right now its a lot of wasted space. If we can put storage in there that we can access when we need to, but not need to often, it should reduce some of the clutter and get things out of the way.
And that’s about it!