Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Small Update

New Hinges to Tilt the Solar Panels Side to Side
Not much happening, but I have done some more work on the trailer.  Changed the microwave, added  a eye level remote switch for the inverter, and the major project - adding hinges so the solar panels can be tilted side to side as well as towards the rear of the trailer.  Photos and more descriptions of the work at the Escape 21 Trailer Modifications page.

Until next time -

Friday, June 1, 2018

More Work on the Trailer & a New Truck

The Lagun Table Mount & Teak Folding Table

I did a few additional modifications to the trailer over the last month.  I keep a page of trailer modifications at my website.

A couple of people have asked about my Nanostation & Air Gateway combination to provide a WiFi connection to the trailer. The Nanostation goes on a pole outside the trailer. It is a WiFi Radio, getting its power from a 12V supply rather than the standard 120V supply that comes with it. The 12V supply is a Tycon Power TP-DCDC-1224 9-36VDC In, 24VDC Out 19W DC to DC Conv / POE. The Nanostation has a range of over a mile when connecting to a good WiFi source, sends the received channel to the Air Gateway via a Ethernet cable (the same cable supplies 24V to run the radio), and the Air Gateway provides a local WiFi that covers the trailer (and, for me, the tow vehicle and area around the campsite).

The last job of the day was a stinky one (actually difficult enough that I would prefer to use another word). I had a slight leak in the 3" slide valve, the dump valve for the black tank. Sometimes, when removing the cap on the sewer connection, about 1/2 a cup of black water would spill. Very annoying, and stinky! I saved it for the last thing for the day because I knew I'd want a shower when done. I have to say that Escape makes it almost impossible to change a valve. 2 of the bolts are blocked by the plumber's tape that holds the 3" drain to the trailer. There is no slack in the system, so getting the gaskets in place, then sliding the valve body in place is a bear. Lots of cursing, but it is done. It looks like it went together OK, and no leaks when dumping on the first trip after the change.

The next project is to replace the Escape provided table & the Springfield pedestal I provided with a Lagun support & folding teak table. While I liked the Springfield compared to the two post system that Escape provides, I can't slide the table off to the side to make access to the under seat storage areas, and even with the table slid as far to one side as possible, turning around to reach into the upper cabinets is difficult. Another advantage of the Lagun mount is the table (and mount) can be removed. The disadvantage is the teak table I am using with the Lagun mount cannot be used as a base for a bed. I'll add a couple of boards that will store under the rear bench seat that can be used to make a bed base.

I added a 5' long piece of 1/8" X 3/4" X 3/4" steel angle iron to the top of the seating front to prevent flexing, and a pair of 1/8" X 8" X 12" AM0812B Workstation Brackets from Woodworkers Hardware (the are also available from Amazon) for additional support. The table is quite sturdy, even though it weighs more than the stock Escape table. The photos show it open & closed in a couple of positions. As most who have made the conversion have done, I switched the slide clamp from the right to the left side of the arm so it clears the converter. A couple of minutes with a triangular file for the switch.

My only complaint is the supports for the slide mechanics extend far enough to hit the arm as you turn it. I added a 1/2" shim between the table & the mount to solve the problem.

I added a switch to shut off the propane detector.  While I generally leave it on, more than once it has gone off for no reason.  In the middle of the night I wanted a way to disconnect it without removing 4 screws & snipping a wire!  I put a protective cover on the switch so it can't be accidentally shut off.

A couple more additions - I added a 120V receptacle on the driver's side of the rear dinette seat for my electric heater.  Escape provided one on the passenger side, but since that is where I usually sit, I kept tripping on the cord.  I also added a pair of switches to make up a 3 way switch system for the radio.  That lets me turn it on or off at the radio or at the head of the bed.

Next was a 12V fan for the inside of the refrigerator.  Moving a bit of air around seems to help keeping an even temperature.   I wasn't impressed with the battery operated fans, but this one works great.

The next addition was a faucet for filtered water.  Since there isn't a lot or room in the cabinet below the sink, I used a refrigerator filter.  Not as good as a pair of 10" filters, but good enough to remove the chlorine taste from my coffee!

I added a Tire Minder system to monitor the trailer tire pressure & temperature.

The next isn't really a trailer modification, but a new truck. While the Tacoma was capable of towing the 21 (it was great with the 17), it spent too much time when towing at 60MPH in 3rd gear at 4000RPM. Gas mileage when towing ran around 11.5MPG. I could live with both of those since I love the truck for off roading & non towing, but the main problem is I was overweight payload wise. At least 150 lbs overall and about the same over on the rear axle.

So, it was off to look at new, full size trucks. I settled on a Ford 150 with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine. A few bells & whistles, some of which are required if you want other things. I had to order it; hope it comes in before I plan to leave for a trip to central Canada in mid August. For those interested, the build sheet is at my Escape 21 Modifications page.

That's it for now, but I'm sure I'll do some more before I leave in August.