It has been a long week with some projects done, some in process, some parts arriving, and plans for future items. We haven’t been posting because, well, we’ve been busy. It seems each time we get to a new campground, we have plans of things we are going to do and things we are going to work on, and only some of them ever get finished. So here’s the list of what we have done, we have to work on, and what we have planned to do at the next campsite.
I bought a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Kit and installed RetroPie on it. I would write up a guide to installing it, but its all pretty easy to figure out and find on your own. The hardest part is getting ROMs of games to actually play, but its against the law to post ROMs to download or even tell you where to get them, so Google away and you’ll figure it out. I already had a microSD card big enough for all the games we would want to play, so after downloading the newest image of RetroPie and installing it, it was just a matter of transferring over the game files and that’s it. Still downloading them from my cloud backup though, but it should be done today for the most part.
The Exhaust System
We are heading to the mechanic’s shop on Tuesday and scheduled to get the manifolds replaced on Wednesday. I don’t know how much more work there is to be done beyond that, but I do know they will need to bypass the smog emissions stuff since it is badly rusted. Instead of replacing it all, we are just going to plug the holes and ignore it. Florida, where we are registered, does not have laws that require it, and its well beyond the age that it would require emissions testing anyway, so we’ll do without. We also have to get some spark plug wires replaced because they are melted once again. I am hoping they can get it all done in one day, but we’ll see. It really depends on how hard it is to get everything out, but putting it back together should be easy. We’ll also figure out how much more of the work needs to be done afterwards, since some of the rest of the exhaust system likely needs work as well. For now though, if we can get the manifolds replaced, we’ll be good for awhile. At least then we won’t be melting any more spark plug wires.
The Closet Shelf
I bought a simple wire shelf to install in the closet, but haven’t gone through the effort to actually install it yet. Its not complicated and would help us out a lot to have somewhere to store some stuff, as well as force us to clean out that closet and get rid of some stuff, but we just haven’t bothered with it yet. I’m hoping to take care of that today since it has been and will continue to rain all day, but I have to pull stuff out of the closet, put the shelf in, and reorganize everything. Its not a huge deal, but means moving around a lot of stuff.
The Center Console
There was a small TV in the center of our dashboard. I took it out awhile ago and threw it away, leaving a large, gaping hole. I need to fill it soon, I just haven’t figure out how or what to do with it yet. I have a backup camera display, a better stereo, and I want to add a GPS and USB ports, but it requires running power from the battery, through a voltage regulator and through a small fuse box, then distributed to the items to power them all. Its not a huge deal either, but I haven’t had the funds yet to get everything to make it happen. I am hoping to be able to take care of it in June though since we’ll be in Florida and have access to some power tools and wood to make a panel. There are also things like elbow bracket mounts to hold it in place, as well as the wiring to get power from the house battery to the dash. Not difficult to get it up there, just difficult to figure out how much I need and what gauge to do it. That project can probably all be done for about $100, so hopefully it’ll be done in June.
Winegard ConnecT 2.0
I received a Winegard ConnecT 2.0 and was able to install it without difficulty. I’ll be putting up an installation guide and review of it later this week. It wasn’t too difficult to install, but the review and getting photos together requires a few more days.
Winegard DirecTV Trav’ler dish
I did install the Trav’ler awhile ago, but haven’t been able to get the receiver and service for it yet. We have some bills at the moment that are taking precedence, so once those are done, we’ll be getting the DirecTV service set up. Its been proving difficult to contact someone at DirecTV who deals with RVs as they always want us to call them and won’t chat online, which I would prefer. Seems they won’t just send me the box either, they want to send someone out to check on the wiring and such, even though I literally just want the box. Everything else is brand new and we don’t need an installer to do anything at all.
We are planning on putting up a faux-tile backsplash in the kitchen and putting subway tile in the bathroom. Cost has been the prohibitive factor with this. Its not very expensive to buy the tile, but having the money to buy things for this when we have more important things like food, makes it move down the pipeline. Hopefully next month when we are at a campground in Florida, we can purchase and install the backsplash in the kitchen at least. It won’t be a huge difference in appearance, but I think it’ll make it look nice and give us some practice for when we do the whole bathroom. One step at a time.
The Stereo System
I’m trying to figure out the best way to make it so we can play music throughout our RV and control it from either our phones or Fire tablets. Still working on this, but its a long shot for priorities at the moment. I’d like to do it with a Raspberry Pi, and I think I can do it by building a custom web page that has links to Pandora and our Plex Media Server, I’m just not sure how to get the sound out to the stereo yet. We did buy a used Kenwood before we moved into the RV, but I haven’t installed it yet. It has Bluetooth, so I think I can set it up to sync with a Pi over Bluetooth and play our music that way throughout the RV. We may also need to upgrade the speakers though, add an amp if there isn’t one in the stereo, and connect it all together. I”m not sure how to all do this, so that’s why its waiting.
SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV
We are getting a SuerCall Fusion2Go 3.0 RV to replace the 2.0 we have. We’ll be testing it out to see if it improved things, testing it in a few different locations to see how it works, and giving away the old one. I’ll be adding a contest sign up link when we have the 3.0 and asking for emails for the giveaway for the old one. Its not broken, works great, and I figured it was best to just pass it along to someone else who may have use of it. Stay tuned for that contest.
Ova Easy Eggs
We received some Ova Easy dehydrated eggs to test out as well. We’ve made a scrambled egg omelet thing in the microwave so far, but we’ll be baking some in some other recipes as well and writing a full review for how well they work.
And that leads to the solar oven. I found a company that is based out of a garage in Wisconsin, which was litereally about four blocks away from where we used to live. They focus more on shipping out solar ovens to third world countries where residents don’t have access to electricity, but I figured it would be a nice addition to the full time RV lifestyle as well since so many boondock for months at a time and need to limit the electric use. Why not do that with a solar oven? As soon as we are somewhere where we have enough time to use it, as well as clear skies, we’ll test it out and show that.
And Some Other Minor Things…
I also want to add some USB outlets in the back so we can plug in our iPhones and tablets at night. Its not a difficult or expensive project, but one that hasn’t been an immediate need. If we can just plug our phones into a USB port in the cabinets, it would work better than plugging into an AC adapter that plugs into a power strip and adds cords, tangles, and takes up space.
Still have to figure out what to do about the dinette. I want to put a desk in there, I’m just not sure how to go about it best.
Also have to figure out how to do the openHAB setup for the Smart Home on Wheels project, but that requires a bunch of purchases we can’t afford at the moment.
Eventually, and I have no idea when this will be, we’ll get to North Carolina and visit my sister and her family. I’ve got an Xbox 360 waiting there for me that I’d like to be able to play.
We also need to reseal the roof. Its about $100 for the supplies, but we need a place where we can do it since most RV parks won’t allow work like that at the park. If we get our tax refund before we get to Florida, then we’ll buy it then and do it at our home base where we can work on it, assuming it doesn’t rain. There aren’t any leaks in the roof, but its badly peeling and the aluminum is showing through in a lot of places.
I need to replace three roof vents and the air conditioner as well. The roof vents are easy. I’ve heard the AC unit is easy to replace and getting it onto the roof is the hardest part, so maybe we can do that in Florida too. At least then I’ll have my brother’s help for a day and can do it all at once. If we can do the roof vents and AC in one day, the sealant the next, then we should be pretty well off for awhile.
Finally, we need to get the front windshield replaced. There is a place in the town we are hoping to stay at in Florida that can do it, I’ve already talked to them, but we need to be there at a time when they can do it. Hopefully it isn’t as busy in the summer as it would be in the winter, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Its just a matter of being there, ordering the glass, and getting it installed.
And that, I think, is that. Seems like things come in groups, nothing ever gets done on time, but we are getting through the pipeline slowly.