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Posts from the ‘Modifications’ Category

Tweaks To The Closet

Inspired by @advodna_dave, our airstream closet underwent a makeover this morning, raising the hanger bar nearly 14 inches. I’m amazed how much more useful space exists as a result for of this modification.

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12 Volt Twins

Having spent the month of May without full shore power, Kelly and I have been functioning exclusively via solar power.  For the most part, the lack of shore power has been largely a small nuisance, but during this time we’ve come to learn a lot about our power consumption habits and system constraints.

At purchase, our trailer was equipped with an inverter upgrade which allows us to use a subset of electrical outlets since they are powered directly by a pair of house batteries.  Largely, this solution of works well, but does have some gaps – mainly a lack of 12-volt sockets (similar to cigarette outlets, but with greater power capacity) which can be used to efficiently charge various electronics (phones, tablets, etc.) with less power consumption than traditional outlets.

Most annoying is the lack of 12-volt sockets in the bedroom – specifically near the bedside nightstands.  Always looking for a project, today I decided to add a socket to each of the bedroom nightstands.

My first order of business included a trip to NAPA auto parts and Ace Hardware for a few required supplies.

A variety of supplies needed for the project

A variety of supplies needed for the project

Once all parts were organized I began prepping the cable runs.  I wired-in a 15-amp fuse for each of the negative leads, and added heat shrink over each joint.

Positive cables prepped

Positive cables prepped

Initial wiring of the positive and negative cables was straightforward and didn’t take too much time.  When I completed this task, I began thinking about where to locate the sockets.

Kelly’s chief request with this project was that I locate the  sockets discretely, away from plain view.  Our 27′ FB floor-plan situates the bedroom close to the forward storage area … an easy location for tapping into power.  Once I finalized the socket location, I used a hole saw to bore an opening for each socket.  The first image below is taken from the garage (under) bed storage, while the second is taken from inside the trailer after I had completed seating the socket into place.

I repeated this process for Kelly’s side of the bed, then shifted my attention back to the wiring.

One of the holes awaiting the 12volt socket

One of the holes awaiting the 12-volt socket

The socket installed under the bed, next to the nightstand

The socket installed under the bed, next to the nightstand

With the sockets in place, I could then determine how much wire would be needed to reach the buss bars I’d be tapping into for power.  As seen in the picture below, I consolidated the positive and negative wires from my nightstand side of the bed into protective split loom before anchoring the bundle up and out-of-the-way.

Wiring from the far side nightstand

Wiring from the far side nightstand

Kelly’s nightstand is really close the DC (12-volt) electronics bay, negating the need for split loom.  This being the case, I finalized the wire lengths and attached everything remaining into place … doing my best to keep things “tidy” despite the mass of existing wires already in the area.

Then, using my trusty multimeter, I confirmed both sockets were fully powered “hot” at 12.5 volts and ready for use.

Kelly's socket entering the electronics bay.

Kelly’s socket entering the electronics bay.

A spaghetti mix of wires.

A spaghetti mix of wires.

Theoretically, my work was complete at this point – all that remained was to test both sockets.

Power!

Power!

While I forgot to snap a picture of the partition wall which protects the electronics from all the junk I keep in the “garage”, I reinstalled this divider, effectively concluding the project.  Satisfied with my accomplishments, I rewarded myself with a very satisfying beer.

All in, I’m out about $60 in parts, which I suspect will prove to be money well spent.

 

 

 

 

Be Gone Ugly Accordion Dividers

Life on the road isn’t always full of fun and splendor.  Case in point … a few days ago, one of the accordion privacy dividers in the trailer busted, resulting in it hanging limp and pathetic.  Coincidently, I hated the dividers as equipped by Airstream so I was happy to have an excuse to explore a different solution.

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The dragging divider on the floor

For the uninitiated, our coach is equipped with two dividers, each hanging from a ceiling track.  Chiefly, these curtains provide privacy as needed when we find ourselves frolicking about in the nude, but not wanting to display our nakedness in full glory to any passerby onlookers.

(And yes … technically we have window curtains, but the dividers are employed when curtains are not pulled closed)

My beef with the dividers is that they are ugly as shit.  I’m not being dramatic – they are not good-looking whatsoever.  Once the failure occurred, I needed apply only minor arm-twisting to convince Kelly that the only good solution would be to remove the dividers and replace with something better looking.  Henceforth, the search for replacement material commenced.

Once fabric was secured (a fancy looking shower curtain to be specific), we needed to find new track glides.  As fate would have it, Sun City West happens to be home to plenty of RV service and sales businesses, and without any delay we quickly collected the necessary track hardware.

The final step in the planning process was to determine a method of affixing the curtains to the track glides.  Up for the challenge, I went to JoAnn Fabrics (a first for me) and bought a couple of curtain rod slides which, with a little modification, I figured would work nicely.

Hardware purchased for the modification

Close-up of the new ceiling track slides

My plan was to deconstruct the aluminum thingamajig hangers and use one piece to connect into the plastic slide, the other to the curtain fabric.  The idea worked like a charm and I quickly had all the modified pieces completed.

The modified track glide

The newly constructed thingamajig

As purchased, the curtains had a slit which was fished through the open end of the metal hook above.  And with that, I had my solution ready to go.  Easy peasy.   From here, I unscrewed the entire ceiling track assembly and removed the accordion divider.  Once that was done, I threaded the thingamajig into the track and re-installed back to the ceiling.  Then, just like that – bam – I was back in business.

Two accordion dividers retired and replaced with a set that offer a bit less boring and more pop.  So, without any further adieu … I offer the first look at our new divider curtains.

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Faucet Upgrade

I’ve never been a big fan of the bathroom faucet supplied by Airstream.  With a very low profile, a tall guy like me must complete what feels like a full forward bend simply to wash my face … which drives me crazy.  For 16 months I have dealt with this hassle and often made my frustrations clear to anyone listening (i.e. – Kelly).

Likely tired of hearing my whining complains, the other day Kelly suggested we find a replacement unit.  Before she could change her mind, I began my search in earnest, scouring the web for ideas.

During the search process, I came across some pictures of a nice looking unit from Ikea.  The price ($99) seemed reasonable and I decided to purchase one for myself.  Having never placed any online order from Ikea, I was not sure what to expect, but am pleased to confirm that the process was swift and painless.  I placed the order Monday and via standard delivery, received the unit Friday.

Earlier today … in less than 30 minutes I unpacked the new faucet, removed the existing unit, cleaned the countertop, and completed the swap.

Before

Before

Previous plumbing

Previous plumbing

Countertop awaiting a new faucet

Countertop awaiting a new faucet

Replacement (new) plumbing

Replacement (new) plumbing

After

After

Put another way, this is a one beer job.

Time will tell if I like the new faucet more than the previous, but I’m very optimistic.  If nothing else, the new unit looks much nicer, so I’ve got that going for me.