Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fun Day

Taking a break and just relaxing, playing around or just goofing off is needed.  

Today, it came together, as I opened my big mouth and asked a man who is really into guns, to allow me to accompany him the next time he has the opportunity to shoot.

Well, today was the day.

Yes, fun we had.  He was so gracious and spent time trying to help me NOT look so bad...

Bottom line?  We had a lot of fun!  The Gent was just that...a true gentleman.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Foretravel 2001, LED Tail Light Upgrade

For some time, owners of Foretravel coaches from 1995-2001, have discussed upgrading their tail lights from the Original equipment tail light assemblies, which used incandescent bulbs to new technology using LED (light emitting diodes).
LED's are not important in this application to reduce energy consumption as the engine would be  running and there is an abundance of power coming from the engine's alternator to satisfy all needs; however, the LED technology, allows many, many more lumen's...(Brightness!); so for safety issues, LED's is a very good upgrade if you have concerns for safety.

The problem for me, an owner of a 2001 coach, was that the OEM tail lights in my coach were of the 1990-1995 vintage design, using 3 bulbs and the new LED lights, while physically the same size and shape, had only 2 bulb sockets, not 3, so what to do?
--The ONLY tail lights that seem to be available as physical replacements, that use LED technology are designed for for later....1995-2007 Ford Econoline vans and 2000-2005 Ford Excursions.
--The newer ones Physically fit just fine, but they use only 2 bulbs (rather than 3); so how to rewire for

4.     AND.... BACK-UP these new Tail Lights using LED technology?

 "how to convert easily without shorting out the printed circuit boards on the new lights?    Can this be brought close to "Plug and Play"?  Maybe yes!

At first, I bought a set of the new style LED lights from Amazon.  After seeing the problem with the open printed circuit board and printed warnings.. first hand, I backed off and returned the units at my cost.

I gave it more thought, then reordered them, determined to figure this out.  I had a few ideas but....

I asked XTREME PAINT AND GRAPHICS, in Nacogdoches, Texas, who was soon to repaint my roof, (yes, every roof, needs to be looked after-sooner or later) to consider this project with me and they said 'yes'.

We verbally tossed around varying ideas to install these aftermarket LED tail lights that have a different wiring scenario than original.  The goal was to use the simplest and best way to satisfy all needs for tail end safety, with minimal rewiring difficulty.  It didn't take too long, to realize that there was a simple solution that actually added a couple of benefits.

Solution found!

Wire the NEW LED TAIL LIGHTS to utilize the RED 'Upper' 21 LED's to satisfy the tail light and brake light functions with the upper socket and wiring plug.

Then... utilize the 2nd plug in the CLEAR portion of the New Tail Lights, to hold an AMBER bulb and wire it for TURN SIGNAL application!

Wallah! Next is solution was the real winner!

.... Just Add a Surface mount(not shown) or Flush mount(shown) LED 4" round new a MUCH Improved Back-Up Light!  This turned out to be a win-win thought.   Beyond that, Xtreme tied in the rear corner Docking Light using a diode configuration that Blasts the back end and corners of the coach now, with light when you go into reverse.  I mean, how good can it get?  This really works!

The increased brightness overall is incredible.  This photo below was taken with a camera's FLASH!........and look how bright it is!   (yes, I had already converted ALL the upper clearance lights to new LED's- so they are also very bright.)  No body behind you will miss your intentions!  No one!

Check with Xtreme Paint and Graphics, Nacogdoches, Texas.
....... They are quick and fair and you will LOVE this Upgrade!  Hopefully they will also come up with a near Plug and Play KIT that can be sent to you... Time will tell.

Safety first!

               *****the New Amber light/turn signal, just forward of the rear wheels!  *****

Super bright Orange LED lights, the same as the forward/side turn signals,   were added just forward of the  rear axel!  Yes... safety first! 
 Rance, running the wiring back from the combination running light, turn signal light.
All wiring was installed in a sheath back to tie into the tail and turn signal lights.

Weeks later, I kept thinking about the circuit board on the back of these new tail lights, as the resistors were open to moisture.  In Econolines or Excursions, these would be in a waterproof section of those vehicles, but on a Foretravel, that area is open to water droplets being blown around in that slightly unprotected cavity, when driving in rain.

My solution was to cut up some Scotch Brite pads and glue them together with silicone and attach them to the back of the tail lights over the transistors.

 This will allow any heat from the transistors to dissipate, yet the Scotch Brite will catch any droplets and allow moisture to descend through gravity and never get to the electonics.  A small piece of light plastic was also siliconed on to the top as a protective shield from above the little Scotch Brite Box.
Hope this info helps some who might be considering this project!

Any questions?  Just email me directly  I'd be glad to discuss any of these issues.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Found Star

Some times I'm kind of impressed with something I made today.  Then as usual I get slapped upside my head and brought back to reality.

Look what somebody else made!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cruisers help Guna Indians with Ulu Sails

A few years ago, I decided to make a few sails for the ulus of a couple of Guna men I knew.  That idea quickly blossomed to making 10 sails.  Then I just decided to put x amount of $ into the project.  The end result of that was 30 main sails and 8 jibs, delivered a few months after manufacture.
Started simply, sitting on the floor of a friends garage, but got up to speed quickly with a table and my Sailrite sewing machine.
The first batch of sails were traditional white.

One of the men, Justino Galindo Martinez called me 4 or 5 times in the months following my first delivery and asked if I was coming back with more sails..  More Sails??
A few sentences later, I understood there was a demand for new sails sized to fit their ulus.  I gave it some thought, then proceeded to prep for another stint at sail making.

The result was an order for 1100 yards of sail cloth and all the periferal materials and equipment necessary to produce them, including a location.
I rented a building, set it up with electric, lighting and tables then began cutting material..

 Over a mile and a half of strips cut by hand, for the edges of the sail.
 Rolled out 4 layers of different colored cloth and used a hot knife cutting tool to speed cutting of patterned material.
 There were times, organization ran a muck.
 Colors were mixed and matched for variety I thought the Gunas would enjoy.
 I hoised a set on the wall to give me inspriration during the cold winter of sewing.
 Batches of 10 were vacuum packed for shipping.

Long story made short.. more sails have been made than I can as yet deliver or distribute..

This is where the story takes an interesting and inspiring turn.

A cruiser or two began to contact me, asking questions and lending verbal support to the Ulu Sail Project.  Then one couple, Frank and Gretchen really got behind the idea and began to promote it within the sailing community in the San Blas region, and even got word over to a gent in Germany who did some promotion over there.

Friends of Frank and Gretchen, Tom and Julie of sailing vessel Gris-Gris, happened to be in the U.S. at the time but soon heading to the San Blas, offered to take a few sails south with them for distribution..  A small snowball effect, but things were building.  The sails arrived a month later in the San Blas and with the word out, some cruisers began to purchase a sail or two, at cost later on, be given away or bartered for molas of their choice.

It often takes a village, the saying goes...but it is wonderful to see it happening.  Really, really nice.

...Today, in an email from Frank:

We have sold 12 sails so far to cruisers.  Here is the list of boats, so you can put it on the website:

Respite, Mike and Gloria
Changing Tides, Carl and Karen

Akka, Monty and Chris
Infinity, Frank and Gretchen
Gris-Gris, Tom and Julie
Lion's Paw and Clarity, who split a sail. (don't have all the crew names)
Eileen Farrell, Joyce and Lorenzo

Icarion, Brian and Marilyn
Blue Sky, Breeze and Debby
Islander, Barbara and Connie, who bought two sails.
Hiatus, Owen and Betty
Islander is trying to organize an Ulu regatta, with their sails as some of the prizes.  We'll try to get some pictures for you.

 All I can say and think, is how impressive the cruising community can be.  Really cool!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nacogdoches, Texas: Downtown

A few blocks of red brick streets, have been brought back to near original condition.  As normal, most of the 2nd floor of all buildings downtown are vacant.  Sad to say, this is a wasted space common in most Old Towns of the United States.

Behind the Tourist Center, downtown, is Firehouse #5, houses a basement F.D. Museum.  This Seagraves Engine is a hundred years old..and the first diesel vehicle of the department.  Note the wood ladders above!

Above....Pete, my pooch and I walk for exercise daily, around the Foretravel property.

Below?         Sunrise today.

Saturday afternoons, it is common for musicians to sit outside the downtown General merchantile store and play some music. You never know, who will show up or what is going to be played!  Sit down and relax.. it is all so cool!  Play the above for some SOUND!