Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Soldering LED Rope Lights

In order for the LED rope lighting to be installed it first needs to be cut and soldered at the appropriate lengths.  Here are some pictures of a soldered length of LED rope light with some added shrink tubing.

Console Electric

The initial wiring is complete and I'm happy to say, but I still need to install the four power strips.  Two power strips will extend from the two switched outlets on the left, and two power strips will extend from the two switched outlets on the right.

Here are some pictures of the wiring of the power strips in the console area.

Switched Outlets

I was sitting at the console trying to decide how to wire the console portion of the AC electrical system in the cargo trailer. I knew that I wanted to provide myself with an easy way to shut off a whole bank of power outlets.

 I decided that I would wire the console electrical system utilizing 4 sets of electrical switches and each would control one power strips worth of outlets.  I believe that the switched outlet system will make it easier to control power use inside the cargo trailer as long as I pay attention to where I plug in various items.  Here are some pictures of that wiring process.

Tiling the Console Area

The green marble adhesive tiling that I ordered online from Amazon.com finally showed up and I knew it was time to get busy tiling the floor and the counter top surface in the console area. 

I decided to start with a counter top surface and then work my way to the floor.  I wanted to get the counter top done first because I had to move all the stuff that was on top of the counter top to other locations. Here are some pictures of the resurfacing of the counter top with adhesive tiling.

I knew that when I was done with the counter top, not only could put back the stuff that was on top, but I can also add new things that may have been on the floor.  Here are some pictures of the process of resurfacing the floor with the same adhesive marble tile.

Wiring the Batteries and Charger

A few posts ago I mentioned the kitchen cabinets I was building for Food Storage and additional items.  I also mentioned that those particular shelves would be removable.  I created removable shelves because I knew that the batteries would need to be wired to the electrical system and to the battery charger.

I also knew that I would have to drill a hole in the floor and install a 50 AMP plug which would also be wired to the electrical system.  Here are some pictures of the other end of the 50 AMP plug after I pulled it into the closet area of the cargo trailer.

I purchased a brand new IOTA 50 amp RV AGM battery charger.  My friend Shane O. who has kindly loaned me his Milwaukee circular saw and Dewalt 18 Volt battery drill, happens to know a person who works for an RV Manufacturing Company, and he got me the IOTA at wholesale pricing.

Another friend of mine named Shane F.  Helped me out by loaning me a pair of heavy duty crimpers, and a pair of heavy duty cable shears.  Shane also gave me the necessary lengths of 1/0 & 2/0 copper wire.  There is no way I could have accomplished the process of wiring up the batteries this quickly without the help of both of my friends Shane F. & Shane O.  Thanks guys!

There are some pictures of the wiring of the battery charger, the batteries, and the connection to the outside.  There are also pictures of the many tools and materials I used to accomplish the task.

Where to put the Microwave?

So there I was thinking to myself... where am I going to put the microwave?  I completely forgot to engineer a spot for the microwave.  I looked all around the inside of the cargo trailer and decided that I could hang the microwave under the storage shelves to the left of the color laser printer and above my feet when sleeping on the futon bed.

I went ahead and built a makeshift shelf in that location to try it out and see if that will be acceptable in the future.  Here are a few pictures of the installation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Safety Devices

Safety is a very important concern of mine which is why I purchased a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide sensor, and a fire extinguisher, just in case.  You never know what could happen and I would like to stay alive no matter what the occurrence.  Here are some pictures of my safety devices.

[ Theres an analog thermometer too... :D ]

 I believe I am now armed with the appropriate safety devices.

Door Mirror and WIFI Solution

I got this fantastic full length mirror from Wal-Mart and decided to mount it on the inside of the door.  What do you think? Cool huh?

I can still remember the day that I hooked my laptop up to my Alfa AWUS036NH 802.11g wireless adapter, I was in heaven.  Knowing that Alfa makes fantastic wireless adapters I went ahead and purchased the 802.11n wireless adapter also.

I wanted to have a semi permanent external waterproof way of accessing either antenna from inside the cargo trailer until I came up with a better solution.  Here are some pictures of the method I used to accomplish that task.

Keeping Warm

Winters here in California can get very cold which is why I have been using a combination of electric and gas heating.  I did a bunch of research on the Internet and came to the conclusion that the Mr. Heater brand MH18-B Big Buddy propane heater that has three settings for 4000 BTU, 9000 BTU, and 18,000 BTU would be the best heater for my purposes.

The MH18-B Big Buddy propane heater goes for around $180 on the Internet.  I didn't want to spend $180 so I looked around for a refurbished unit from the manufacturer.  Lucky for me they had the exact heater for around $85.00 but they wouldn't ship it to me in California.

I got a hold of a friend of mine who has a buddy who lives in Oregon.  His buddy agreed to have the company ship the heater to him, and then he would ship it to me.  The shipping fiasco took about three weeks but in the end I only paid $115 for a perfectly good working unit from the manufacturer with a full length warranty. Here are some pictures of my brand new refurbished Mr. Heater brand MH18-B Big Buddy propane heater.

These types of heaters are considered to be ventless.  California has a law in place that forbids companies to ship ventless heaters to residents because no heater is really ventless.  There are severe safety issues regarding these types of heaters and their use.  I rarely use mine on the 9000 or 18,000 BTU settings.

I never leave the heater on while I sleep. The safety features built in are fantastic but I went ahead and bought a battery operated carbon monoxide sensor as an additional safety precaution. These types of heaters burn propane but they also consume the oxygen in the room which can lead to insufficient air to breathe.  I also use an electric ceramic heater and I alternate the use of both.

Two Closet Design's

The first closet design was to be the last, but that didn't really work out because of space constraints. Here are some pictures of my first closet design. 
 The Closet bar is nice and level but I was a bit concerned about the fact that the closet rod sits parallel to the side of the trailer which means that when clothes are hung up on the rod and I'm driving down the road with the trailer in tow, the clothes are going to get all bunched up near the shelving every time I hit the brakes.

My fix for this dilemma was to change the orientation of the closet rod and make two of them instead of one. Here are some pictures of the re-designed closet.

I believe that this new orientation of the closet rods will help with the low space requirements and still provide efficient area for hanging my shirts.

The Kitchenette area

Here is a picture of the kitchenette area shortly after I built the upper shelf over the workspace. I created some pegs to hang pots and pans over the burner area. My intention is to add a forced air vent above the cooking area but I want to wait a bit and get other things done before delving into that project.

I added some plastic water resist material to the floor and sides of the wash basin area to allow easier cleanup of spills. At some point in the future I am going to put in a real sink in this area with a pump style faucet from a freshwater tank.

Bathroom / Shower area & Kitchen Shelving

Here are some pictures of the bathroom shower area when I first framed it. I connected the right side 2x2 frame to the over bed storage shelving. The left frame had to be joined to the wall and floor. I used the super thin Luann board for the walls.
In the top left picture you can see a small part of my futon bed on the right under the overhead shelves. The bottom right picture shows the almost completed shower area. Each area requires certain processes to be finalized before moving on to the next phase.

Directly across from the shower area is the recessed battery area where I have decided to put more shelving that will accommodate my RV fridge [someday when I have the funds to buy one] and a bunch more tote containers to store tools, food and clothing.

You can see the two AGM batteries poking up a bit from their partially recessed location. I built shelving directly above those batteries for my future fridge, food storage area, and totes with additional items in them.

The shelves in this area will be removable because if I should need to change out the AGM batteries or make changes to the wiring of them, I'm going to need a lot of space to work.

I Guess I Was Wrong

Well, I guess I was wrong, I have done lots of additional things to my stealth cargo trailer. I guess I didn't think much was done because I've been primarily busy with college. I just looked in the pictures folder and to my surprise, there are tons of potential posts to make based all of the small projects I have accomplished over the past year.

Here are some additional pics of the console right after I built it. The finished surface is 3/8 plywood on the 2 x 2 skeleton frame.

I ordered green marble stick on flooring to use as the counter top surface and for the studio area floor.

I wired a lot of LED rope light to the underside of the console. Being a former motion picture studios electrician, I have spent many days contorted into small spaces with inadequate lighting to do my work. I wanted lots of light to be available if I should need to spend any kind of time under the console in the future.

This console area is going to become the main area that I spend most of my time when inside my home, so I want to engineer it to fulfill many different uses.

Basically, this spot is my office and studio rolled into one. My intent is to fit the office equipment and the studio computer and equipment into this area in a very workable configuration.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A whole year...

A whole year has gone by and I haven't done any blogging... I haven't done that much additional stuff to the cargo trailer but what I have done has been very helpful. I have continued to take lots of pictures and document everything I do, but I have dragged my ass on posting it to the blog. Why? because I'm a full time college student now and I have been mega-busy with classes. But there's more... I have been genuinely not interested in updating the blog because I got used to not doing it. Yeah, I know that's a lame excuse but at least I'm being honest.

So.. Anyway,

I decided today that maybe I should get some new posts up and motivate myself to continue posting my progress. I'm currently listening to high energy trance music and I'm in that kind of hyper busy mood to get back on track. I Love trance music!!!

Right after my last post in 2010, I purchased a brand new Thetford PortaPotty... I was driving to fast food restaurants and using the occasional tree, but that was getting frustrating. I believed that the new PortaPotty would make life in a stealth cargo trailer far more acceptable.

I was right, the PortaPotty is a necessity, and I can say that the past years use of it has been a wonderful treat in comparison to the previous method. It's well made, easy to clean and empty out, and it works very well! It's a welcome addition to my living space.