Friday, January 4, 2019

Project 23: Solar System

A long vacation for the summer of 2015 was decided upon.  I understood the benefits of being self reliant.  Having what you needed without relying on outside support and having what's needed to fix anything  along the way is crucial to maximum safety and pleasure.  Being a 'traveler',  (Tourist= Point A to Point B and back to Point A)  (Traveler = Point A to Point B to Point C, D, E.... etc.  Life as a 'journey') I build what I need for boat or RV and set it up to take care of all essentials.

Enter 'Solar'.

Not expecting campgrounds with power while visiting Alaska or the many many miles before getting there, I rethought what I might need on a daily basis. Power, both 12 VDC and 120VAC was going to be needed.  I had earlier installed a 2nd House battery under the dinette seat, fed by 10 gauge wires off the Ford OEM installed battery located up in the cramped engine compartment.  The original had lots of connections already, so one more small one was deemed OK.
Later though, I installed a small 'modified sign wave' (square wave) inverter for simple 12VAC loads like shop vac, microwave, electric drill etc.  The things you might need on occasion but hopefully without the need to start a big generator(which I had already removed).
Project 19: Generator Upgrade

I ordered a package of 3, 100 watt Solar Panels

Installed the 3 on the Forward roof of the Tioga
and a MPPT Controller with optional Remote Monitor, in March 2015.  All worked out well but could have used more House Bank batteries. The land of the Midnight Sun has much less sun anytime when compared to my prior experiences in the Lower 48.  Alaska's high Latitudes significantly reduced the power of the sun's rays.  The output of the panels were augmented by my frequent drives. The engines alternator kept introducing a charge to the batteries, so between the alternators charge and the solar charge I was receiving, all was OK.  However, in Alaska I was using my Propane Heater more than I've ever done before.  The electric motor powering the heaters 'fan' was a constant draw on the batteries, so having a larger bank of House batteries would have helped keep the voltage up.  I made note of that.
When I returned to Florida 8 months later, I added another battery a few feet away from the other 2 (that now makes 3) batteries in the "house" system.  Have to admit though, having these additional batteries fed by only a 10 gauge wire limited the benefits when charging by the engine.
The solution from many standpoints was to increase the House Bank of Batteries to 4 - 'Series 29' big boys and install larger wiring.

Now, Dec. 2018, I did just that.

Engine Compartment Driver's Side BEFORE:

One House Battery was the Original configuration from the factory and still the compartment was cramped.

Wiring was 'do able' but NOW I've cleaned up this area and made the whole House Battery Bank 'System' better.

Engine Compartment Driver's Side after relocating this and ALL house batteries behind the driver:
Engine compartment will get a good cleaning next!

First mod: Adding a single additional battery tied into the front OEM House battery.
(under forward Dinette seat)

Later increased number to 2  batteries and placed under the rear dinette seat.  This was for the Alaska trip.

Installed these under the Rear Dinette seat instead of Forward Seat.

 but NOW...., the final Upgrade:  Went back to the Forward Dinette Seat and installed:  (4) large "Series 29" Marine/RV Deep Cycle Walmart Max-EverStarts.  (Walmart brand,  if needed anywhere in the US). Total Amp Hours now in the House Bank is 350.  (RC@ 25 amp figure for battery, multiplied by .4167)
(Installed them under the forward Dinette Seat/same compartment as Water Heater.)
Added a 3/4" separation panel between batts and Water heater and had to shift some plumbing lines to make room.

Also improved the quality of A.C. power by upgrading from my earlier less expensive modified Square wave inverter to a Pure Sine Wave 1000 Watt unit.  This output equals the quality of electrical power at home, which is important especially for sensitive electronics in the RV
Mounted this PROwatt SW 1000 in the small space below the refrigerator.  Perfect!!

These mods, can be done to most any RV.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Rubber Roof Renewal

In April '09, I was installing a new Dicor Rubber roof on my 1991 Class C.  The original roof was 18 years old which had it's share of minor delamination of the thin plywood under the original rubber membrane at some of the roof edges that had been poorly protected by cheap original manufacturer installed moldings. Repairs were done by selectively cutting out bad material and replacing with new.

 Glued in first, then seams taped with fiberglass cloth before being trimmed with an additional 1" of framework

and filled with foam insulation before finally topping with a 1/4" layer of plywood.

Dicor says it's membranes are good for 10 years.  Everything looked decent now in 2018,  I could see very minor crazing in the white coating of the Dicor product that covers the actual rubber membrane.
I ordered 2 gallons of Dicor's more expensive re coating product, called Signature Extended Life RV Roof Coating.

 rather than the cheaper more common liquid product Dicor also has on the market.  The reason for the choice is 'longevity'.  The cheaper product sold everywhere is good for 3+ years but the more expensive product is good for 20.

Since the job of re coating is labor -read that "time"-intensive, I chose the more expensive product so I will not be doing this job again for many years to come or ever...

The original Dicor membrane being installed.
and completed in early May 2009.

The condition of the same membrane after 9.5 years shows dirt stains and a close up view showed the white film seen on the surface was crazing, so no longer could be trusted to protect the actual rubber beneath it.

The solar panels and some other items had to be removed first.
The roof needed pressure washing as seen below. The area under the solar panels were really dirty but were in generally good condition, as they were mostly protected from sunlight.
 ...but now quite clean, the new coating was applied to edges first, with a brush.

OK, 2 coats have now been applied on edges and 2 complete coats to everything, by roller.  Solar panels reinstalled.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Garland Veterans Build #2

 As bad a condition as we found House #1, an attempt has been made to prepare it for another 100 years.  In essence, to do things well.

Burke St.
Once the area that would be the new kitchen floor was opened up,(the floor was so rotted, an employee fell through it) I verified that the doorway shown on the left, was depressed 1 inch.  This was caused by the homes center line girder being replaced with a 5' section where originally there had been a central fireplace and chimney. The problem was the new central girder was not tied in properly and had absolutely no integrity nor any support.  It was just a chunk of wood stuck in place...and not treated as a 'structural member'.

I jacked up the girder on both ends 1 inch, installing support below and sistering up the repair with multiple layers on both sides using new 2x8" lumber and support below, before adding new joists.
Jacked up, (temporary support shown) full support was put in place prior to removing "anything"!
The joists here as in most of this house, had been completely pulled away from this center line and/or perimeter girders, caused apparently by the move to this new location.  Was this to be left and covered up? No, not by me...

 All old joists were removed.
 Girders repaired and supported, new joists with hangers installed 16 on center.
Randy and his grand daughter Victoria finishing the rough in of plumbing by installing waterline for refrigerator location.
Kitchen floor area nearly prepped.

Outside of the home had been left opened up for months with interior exposed to the elements.  I made it an issue to do repairs and begin to dry it in.
Seeing what was necessary to address the 1st home on Burke Street, I drove over to the 2 homes the Executive Director of the affiliate was leading efforts, both on 6th Street.

One home had been moved and placed over a property line and that portion of the home (and it's roof) has to be cut off, who takes responsibility for such errors?
Work in Progress.... 6th St. Green Home.
When the work done to 'attempt' to rectify this glaring error, is this kid of work acceptable? Photos don't lie.
What do you then do with the roof line, or set back requirements?  Looks like 'nothing'!  The building department will just LOVE this.

 Are #10, 1.5" nails adequate for exterior sheathing? No, they are too short!
How about no OSB joint spacing for possible expansion?
(Supposed to be 1/8th inch gap)

 I believe in the Habitat's concept of presenting decent, affordable housing.  It's the Habitat For Humanity mantra. I do not believe in poor quality work, cover ups and building for some, at a 'lesser quality', for any reason.
I do not agree with delivering garbage to anyone and will not be a part of any efforts to do so.

These 2 homes have many glaring problems including rotted studs. Now, the day I am leaving, I see these items are in the process of being covered up with exterior OSB, hidden and they hope forgotten.

This trash approach is not acceptable to me but is the quality of home and rebuild that is now going on in Garland's HFH 6th St. location by 'choice, not error'.

Worse yet, the media pitch, is that these homes will go to Veterans.

                               Are Veterans less worthy of conscientious, quality construction?

....Elsewhere in the U.S. some organizations are doing the right thing.
in Long Island, NY, units for Veterans.

...and the VA itself?
well I think there are steps forward HFH and others could take if a top down rather than the slow and sloppy, inefficient and uncontrolled bottom up approach was taken.

Monday, October 22, 2018

God Bless Middle America

Do you think this may have upstaged the kneelings players attempt for attention?   Fantastic. 
   ...Leave it to middle America !

The Chief's were playing the Raiders, it would have been great if it had been the 49 ers and C.S. Kaeperknick had been on the field.

As you may remember to save money, cuts eliminated the military flyovers at large events  Well, there's a group of guys in Kansas City who do some formation flying, in their own planes, and decided they'd volunteer to pick up the slack.  They invited a couple of other groups to join them and before they knew it they had 48 guys with their own  airplanes signing up to join in.  If they had more time, they probably would have gotten an even larger group as people kept joining and a 49th was added near the event.

One additional feature of the flyover was the use of pink smoke for cancer awareness.
The folks from the Guinness Book were there and are expected to confirm it as the largest formation flight ever.  And to top it off the crowd later set the record for the loudest gathering at a football stadium.  Be sure your speakers are turned up... best if watch at 'full screen'.