Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ready to Go!

West Marine High Back Chair
I finished the rest of my planned trailer modifications, and just returned from having the bearings repacked, new tires, and the brakes cleaned & adjusted.  As far as I can tell, I'm ready to go.  I still have too many other projects to get out of Oswego for awhile (in fact, I'll probably need to do the first lawn mowing before the end of the week and hope to get my vegetable garden planted in about two weeks), but at least the trailer is ready.

The tire change was interesting - I wanted to switch from the Goodyear Marathon tires to Maxxis.  The only problem is the only Maxxis tires in my size (ST205/75/15) were "D" rated with a sidewall maximum inflation pressure of 65psi.  Both Maxxis & Goodyear supply tire pressure/weight tables that give tire pressures for the trailer weight.  Both the RV shop that did the work as well as the tire store that did the mounting insist that trailer tires MUST be inflated to the maximum pressure.  I'm a bit concerned about this since my rims are rated at 50 psi, and the weight tables show the proper inflation for my trailer would be around 45psi.  I know there are believers in both schools, but why are there tables if you can't use them?

In any case, I covered the plywood storage cover with black vinyl, tried the chair (very comfortable & a good height for the table), ran the wiring for the new antenna, and closed up all the things I opened to make the modifications.  Here is a link to my trailer modification page with the latest photos. As the title says, I'm ready to go.

Till next time

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Modifications Continue

The New Switches
We had another nice day yesterday so I was able to pull and connect the wiring for the new interior switches for the porch & strip light.  Everything works the way it is suppose to.  More photos at the Trailer Modifications page at LakeshoreImages. Unfortunately, today it is raining so I can't work on the next project; changing the cell antenna.  We have a front moving through this afternoon, and it is expected to drop into the 30's tonight - hopefully, it will clear up Sunday.

For those wondering what I do (or, at least photograph) when I'm not traveling, I spent the last two evenings photographing rehearsals for a production of Once Upon A Mattress at the State University of New York at Oswego, my previous employer.  The large images are all around 200K, so if you are on a slow connection or have limited data, be warned.  I post large sized images so the students can use them for their portfolios.

It is an interesting production - the queen is an actor in drag (and excellent).  I generally take many, many photos (over 2000 for the two nights) of which 10% - 15% are usable - actor movement, long exposures and harsh lighting take their toll.  This production presented a new problem for photography.  The lighting designer is using a number of LED fixtures.  It is amazing how bright they are, however the problem is the pure, narrow band colors they produce does not photograph well, particularly when combined with standard color media used in incandescent fixtures.  The human eye adjusts to the color quality, however the camera's sensor does not.

I will do a photo call tomorrow night after the performance to shoot posed images, necessary to avoid blurring during dance numbers and large groups where someone always moves during the rehearsal.

Until next time!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Modifications

New Taillights

It finally warmed up here in Oswego.  Yesterday it hit 49°F and today at 5:00PM it is still 71°F!  I started some of the modifications & additions to the Escape trailer yesterday.  In addition to the things I haven't thought of yet, I'm adding a set of upper tail/brake lights so I can put a bike or storage box on the rear 2" receiver without blocking the lower lights (well, I will be blocking them, but the upper ones keep it legal).

I did discover something that Escape does different from the norm - standard trailer wire colors are white for ground, brown for taillights, green for right & yellow for left.  For what ever reason, Escape switched the brown & green.  Maybe it is a Canadian standard?  In any case I should, of course, have checked before I wired it.  Instead, I had to do it twice.  It is done & I now have upper & lower lights.

I'm in the middle of a couple of other changes.  The porch light on the Escape has the switch built into the bottom of it.  While that works well when you are sitting outside & want light, it isn't so useful if you want to turn it on (or even more necessary, off) from inside the trailer.  So, I'm changing the single pole, single throw switch to a single pole, double throw switch and running some additional wiring, and making it work like a household 3 way switch.  Since running the wiring is the most difficult part, I'm also adding a second interior switch for the strip light I added last year and a pair of indicator lamps to tell when they are on.

Other additions include adding a fabric cover for the front passenger side of the dinette seat so I can leave the cushions off and use my new high backed chair from West Marine when sitting at the table. I also added a 12V fan to the cooling fins of the refrigerator.  I have a battery operated one I used last year, but I'm hoping the new one will slow down the frosting of the fins.

I'm replacing the cell antenna with one that is rated for Verizon'S 4G LTE frequencies.  I still have not decided if I'm going to switch to 4G Millenicom service but want to be ready if I do.  It is an additional $10.00 per month so it isn't the money, but they use a MiFi device rather than a USB modem, which won't work as well with my WiFi Ranger router.  While the old antenna might work, when I was unscrewing the ground plane laterals so I could tip the antenna down to put the cover on the trailer, one stuck and sheared off at the threads.

One suggestion for others wanting to run wiring from the rear to the front of an Escape - rather than ask to have the wiring run at the factory, ask for a piece of 3/4" or 1" plastic conduit run from the storage cabinets on either side and behind the shower.  That way making a change will be much easier.  I did manage to run a snake from back to front, but needed to use my digital inspection camera to find a path. I did add an AT&T Sleek for my iPhone in the RAV4 & it works well.

In addition to the projects described above, on my list of possibilities are finding a way to add a larger table that attaches to the sink for eating meals while sitting on the bed.  Since I'm adding the comfortable chair to the front table, I may not need the eating table at the rear so I'll probably hold off on that change.

While not a project, next week I'm having the wheel bearings repacked, brakes adjusted, new tires & metal valve stems and the trailer alignment checked.

Until next time!