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Everything posted by eric

  1. I'm going to make a couple of assumptions: One is that there are no other electrical connections to your trailer except the extension you plugged in, the other is that your extension is a 3-conductor one. If that's the case, then there is most likely a circuit to ground inside your power converter somewhere, or the wiring to it, that is causing the GFI to fault. If the extension cord with something else plugged into it doesn't also cause a fault, and given the time of year, condensation inside the power converter might be the culprit. You might try putting a low-powered space heater inside the bench where the power converter is to dry the area out for a day or so, then try the extension cord again. The fuses are all for DC loads and shouldn't have any effect on the GFI.
  2. Do you have a link to a source for that fill cap? I haven't seen that type before.
  3. The VoomPC has room for a laptop-sized hard drive, I have 500GB installed so I didn't see any need for an external drive. The monitor arm was part of the factory configuration, but the original owner opted to not put in the Jensen TV.
  4. The Forum has been pretty quiet lately, so I thought I'd fill the lull in activity with a little bit about the computer I integrated into my Oliver for those who have discovered their inner geek. The keyboard and optical mouse are wireless and run on batteries. The display is a Samsung P2370HD, a 23-inch 1080P monitor with a HD receiver. As far as I know, it's the smallest 1080P monitor/TV out there and weighs about 12lb. Unfortunately, it doesn't run on DC like the standard Jensen TV, I was unable to find one that fit all my other requirements (like a VESA mount) that did. But on the ProSine 2.0 inverter, the monitor pulls about 3A with the brightness turned down a bit, and less than an amp when on standby. Getting the DVI video through the overhead storage required a change to the factory connector panel. I found a reasonably flexible panel system that went in with just a little bit of hand modification. An HDMI connector would have taken up less panel space, but for some reason the computer I'm using produces a noticeably sharper image from the DVI port. There are also a pair of USB outlets in the panel and two coax fitings -- one F-connector for the antenna, and one mini-UHF for ham radio. The computer itself lives in the overhead compartment. The case is a VoomPC-2 enclosure for mini-ITX motherboards, with a M2-ATX intelligent automotive power supply. The supply can turn a computer on and off with a car's ignition switch, in my case I wired it to a spare switch in the panel by the door. Turning the switch off puts the computer into hibernation, turning it on wakes it up again. The motherboard is loaded with 4GB of RAM and uses a dual-core Intel Atom processor which has very low power consumption. The Nvidia ION chipset provides pretty good graphics capability, I can play DVDs and 1080P video files, and I hope to have Blu-Ray capability once I work the bugs out of the player program. Also connected via USB are a WiFi adapter (Zonet ZEW2500P) and a GPS receiver (Holus GR-213-USB), both stuck to the inside of the trailer roof to "see" through the fiberglass. Audio output to the Jensen trailer stereo is via an optical S/PDIF cable which prevents ground loop noise from getting in and produces excellent audio. I run Windows Server 2008 on the box, it's a lot like Windows 7 but without many of the extra gizmos that take up CPU and memory -- something you have to be careful of with the slower Atom processor. In addition to the usual computer stuff, the PC holds PDFs of all the trailer manuals, which saves space over carrying them around with me. There's also a good library of books, MP3s, and videos on the hard drive for entertainment when outside of civilization.
  5. I would think pop rivets would work, it's what Oliver uses for the bracket that holds the main dinette table. Oliver probably backed the fiberglass with metal washers to add holding strength, but if you aren't putting much weight on the shelf it should be OK. Rivet metal L-brackets to the wall and mount the shelf to those.
  6. I finally found a drawer organizer that fits the utensil drawer in the Oliver that I'm happy with, except for one thing: There's no room for my kitchen knives. (I had an insert that held the knives separate so they wouldn't loose their edge, but it took up half the drawer.) Looking around for an alternative place to put them, I hit upon the tall drawer below the sink. Perfect! It's right next to the cutting board I put in above the refrigerator where the knives would be used. Using some of the pine butcher block material left over from the cutting board, I made a knife block to fit in the front of the drawer that will hold one large and two medium kitchen knives. Right now it's just squeezed in tight between the two walls. If it doesn't shift around, I'll leave it that way to minimize alterations to the drawer.
  7. There is nothing inherently better about 6v, it's just that that particular battery (also known as a T-105 battery) is cost effective because of its wide availability and volume production. Most "RV/Marine" batteries are a compromise between a high-current starting battery and a deep-cycle battery. These batteries are often installed in trailers by manufacturers because most of their customers will be staying at RV parks when they travel and will only need a small amount of battery capacity while on the road. They're cheap and readily available and satisfy most RVer's needs. If you're going to be dry camping, though, you'll want a "deep-cycle" battery. These have heavier plates of solid lead so that they can sustain repeated deep discharge cycles with less damage to the battery's capacity. There are certainly 12v versions of these batteries, but the most common and easiest to buy are the 6v ones. Lots of battery FAQs out there on the web, try this one and see if it answers your questions: http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Battery_FAQ.htm
  8. I sorta understand but not totally why 6 volt parallel? battery connections is totally sufficient instead of using 12 volt batteries Actually, the 6v batteries need to be in series; a pair of 12v batteries would be in parallel. The major difference between the two configurations is that 6v batteries usually means "golf cart" batteries, which are designed to take repeated deep discharge with less damage than conventional "RV/Marine" 12v batteries. The 6v cells are the most economical configuration available of the deep discharge batteries because they're manufactured in large quantity. That's for flooded cells. When it comes to AGM batteries it gets more complicated, and I'm a little bit out of my depth.
  9. A few quick thoughts: As SeaDawg mentioned, your tongue weight will go up at least by the weight of the batteries, probably more because you are simultaneously removing weight from behind the axle. Depending on your tow vehicle, that could be a big issue. If you are running an inverter, there will be limitations on how far you can separate the batteries from the inverter, check the inverter's manual. You will also need heavy cable for an inverter which will add even more weight, be expensive, and hard to route through the Oliver's available spaces. The last point is an issue even if you are only running DC loads. To get from the tongue to the bench storage, you have to get around the bathroom and its associated plumbing. My recommendation would be to see if this is even possible before you go ahead with your plans as it may not be. I wouldn't have much concern about the batteries being near the propane tanks as long as you're properly fusing the cables on the battery side to deal with a potential short. You'll also want to run the cables through some kind of conduit until they're inside the trailer chassis to give them protection from abrasion, rocks, etc. Are you really running out of battery capacity? The Oliver will easily accommodate 220AH in the standard battery box. Having built a few solar-electric systems, my experience is that it is much cheaper and easier to increase efficiency and reduce power consumption than it is to increase power generation and storage.
  10. That's COOL! It sort of defeats the purpose of having a battery box to isolate their air supply from the rest of the cabin, though with AGMs it's not a big deal. I also put in a Prosine 2.0, pulled from my old Casita, they are great inverters (though reviews seem to indicate that later manufacture ones have some reliability issues). The battery cable on my Oliver was 2/0, and wasn't quite up to Prosine spec as well as not very flexible, so I recently brought it up to 4/0 using welding cable. Getting 4/0, even the super-flexible welding cable, to bend with the battery as it slides in and out on its tray was a daunting task, so I came up with this alternative arrangement using an Anderson SBX-350 connector which can be disconnected before pulling the batteries out. Oh, yeah: Kudos on your ham radio antenna!
  11. It's hull #40, I think it was a 2009 model. The guy I bought it from didn't want the microwave so Oliver put in the doors. I'm sure if you asked them they could tell you where to get them.
  12. I took the "cutting board" concept literally and made this to replace the original wood (maple?) using butcher-block pine from Home Depot finished with walnut oil. The board hangs out about 5 inches beyond the cabinet edge, giving me a useful amount of work space. I've bumped into it a couple of times when the bathroom door is open, but the larger size hasn't been a problem other than that. It's easy to make a smaller one to replace it if it becomes an issue. The overhead spot light is a 1W LED module from Deal Extreme http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11263 The light pattern is actually a bit too tight to cover the whole board, two of them would be better, but it puts a lot of light where you need it for very little power. Right now it's just stuck on with foam mounting tape, I haven't decided on a final mounting method yet. Drilling a hole through the fiberglass ceiling and inserting the fixture through the hole from behind might work, but that's a bit more destructive than I'm willing to go just yet.
  13. I used 8 mil security film on my door, seems to be adhering well after a week. Trimming the film is the tricky part, you can't cut against the glass like the instructions say to do or you'll scrape the reflective layer off. I ran a plastic squeegee down the edge under the film with the knife on top trimming the film. This worked well enough, but you can't see exactly where the edge of the mirror is, so you end up trimming in from the edge a bit. The security film is very tough and should give lots of protection to the mirror.
  14. One good thing about a window film is that, if the mirror were ever to break, the film would hold most of the pieces of glass together.
  15. A couple of quick comments that I hope are not repeats, I didn't have time to go through all the posts in the thread: If your batteries are kept fully charged, they can be taken down to below freezing without damage. The electrolyte of a fully-charged battery has a higher specific gravity and a lower freezing point -- as low as -92F according to Trojan Batteries. When batteries are discharged they are much more likely to be damaged by freezing. Water maintenance can be reduced significantly by having a good quality charger that floats the battery at the proper voltage (which reduces the amount of water broken up into oxygen and hydrogen), and by using Water Miser battery caps that will precipitate the aerosol produced by the bubbles that form while charging back into the battery. One downside of solar charging for battery maintenance is that many controllers will take the battery up to finishing voltage every (sunny) day which unnecessarily hydrolyzes the water, while an AC charger running continuously will maintain it at float voltage.
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