Seekin' My World

Subaru Outback traveling, ATC Bobcat on Tacoma in the past

Solar Happy Dance July 10, 2016

Filed under: Modifications,Solar panels — Sierrashadow @ 3:09 am
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It was a long stretch between panel arrival to installation, but we finally have juice. My poor husband had to work in tight quarters, and we put it off the week the temps were hovering around 100.


I had purchased the 40 foot extension cord intending to cut it in half and use the cut ends with the plug that ATC provided when we ordered the Solar wiring package. But I was overruled. Warren wanted to buy 2 twenty footers (another delay). The beauty of his idea is I can use the 2 twenty footers normally and if I need 40 foot, the two cables can be connected to make a 40 footer to go with the one I bought (you need two cables +/- from the panel to the rig).

Here is my idea for support legs to angle the panel for morning and evening operation. I am using three pieces of PVC pipe and 2 90 degree elbows to make a large U shape. I made 2 elastic bands with round elastic and large buttons. The loop is the same size as the pipe. The panel has holes in the back of the frame. The loop goes through those holes and the button keeps it from going all the way through. Then the pipe gets threaded through the loops supporting the bottom of the U, which is really the top of the support. The bottom of the pipes have tie wrap loops to stake it down. I haven’t glued the PVC together so I can take it apart for transit. This is totally untested, but you have to start somewhere.

IMG_3884    IMG_3878

IMG_3880     IMG_3881IMG_3883

Warren was concerned about the weight of the cables pulling on the butt connectors between the Renogy cables and the connector provided by ATC. So he rigged up a carabiner on the Jack mount point. Then two old fashioned bungee hooks that take the weight off  everything above that. That way if anyone trips over the cables, they won’t yank the whole thing out either. Gotta love that clever man.



Fan modification June 27, 2016

Filed under: Modifications — Sierrashadow @ 5:12 pm
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My husband is such a champ! I found a thread on Wander the west about buying a part from China to change the fan settings on the factory installed Fantastic Fan.

So I bought the part (the larger one suggested later in the thread) without asking him if he could do it. The part was dirt cheap, so it wasn’t going to bother me if he said no. But he dug in and did it. Not without some grumbling, but at least no cursing (not that he ever does). The bigger part almost didn’t fit but we finally found a way that involved putting the wires in opposite of the logical direction. My job was the hot gluing. He blew a fuse and didn’t realize it, so it took him longer than expected to figure out the wiring, but he did. It works so well!

Now I have fully adjustable speed control down to a slow, silent spin. That was my complaint, even the lowest factory setting was too fast and loud.

Next he gets to install the Renogy solar panel I bought. ATC did the solar wiring package, but there is still the matter of installing the controller and connecting to the battery.

Like I said, what a champ!


Carizzo Plain April 10, 2016


This was the weekend for the Wander the West get together at Carizzo Plain. I got there but couldn’t find the dispersed camp, even though I went back and forth twice. It was raining and mucky, and I just chickened out. Headed for Morro Bay instead. I hope a good time was had by all, and I look forward to the reports.

Carizzo entrance      WTW mud

I have a few mods to share. I made a campsite occupied sign out of plastic corrugated sign material. It is called Coroplast. It is lightweight and waterproof. It came with a flimsy metal stake for putting in lawns, but the Death Valley gravel wouldn’t let it penetrate. So now I just clip it to 2 one gallon water bottles. I am hoping this solves my ongoing problem with losing my site even though I paid for it. Unfortunately with a camper you take it all with you. And I don’t want to leave anything too valuable out to claim it.

sign2      sign 1
With some leftover I made two turnbuckle covers that have screening to allow air flow without bugs. It really helps when the fan is sucking out to have cooler air coming in.  I blatantly copied this but can’t for the life of me find it now. He used a picture frame and bungee cords. Mine is lighter and uses the existing slides to keep it in.

vent 1     vent 3    vent 2

I also hung a cargo net I had leftover from my Toyota Highlander from the knobs on the sliding cubbies. It corrals my shoes yet allows opening the cubbies if necessary. I copied this from Bill Harr (Bill’s version). His is first, mine is next.

billharr shoes     net 1

I also got pictures of the ironing board inside as a table, since I shared it on WTW but didn’t have a picture.

table 1

I also needed a better way to corral my step stool. I lost the carpeted area that held it with velcro when I installed the Dometic. So I made two loops through the heater vents with zip ties. That lets me use a bungee to connect around the step. I am really trying not to make any holes in my rig. Takes some creativity, but that is half the fun.

step bungie     step bungie 2

This was the first trip with the Dometic and I have to figure out how to pack it better. But I was so pleased with the way it operated. My secondary battery was a little low when I left, so it was having trouble coming down to temperature, plus I put warm drinks in instead of pre-chilled as advised. So I grabbed the ice chest just in case. But in retrospect, the ice chest rides well in the space, is velcroed down, and fits more cargo than the Action Packer I usually put staple food supplies in, so I will probably switch the ice chest to my food locker. If I pack it with interior containers, I would have the benefit of having an extra ice chest if necessary. Double win! Plus the nice flat, metal top could be cooked on if necessary due to poor weather (like this weekend).

So it was an interesting trip with some high points and some low points, but the adventure continues.