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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MOTORHOME MODIFICATIONS *B* and Steve Painting and New Quilt Started

I am going to start off the new year with posting three of our motorhome modifications at a time. I will post repairs, modifications, or neato things we have found for RVing.  I have lots of pics in my files so I will do them in alphabetical order.

Underneath that stuff, I will post my regular daily stuff..... kinda sorta fun, eh?

So here it goes:


Backup Camera Monitor Replacement:
We are up to the letter B in my files of Motorhome Modifications.  This one is about our backup camera monitor.  The camera is working fine, even at 20 years old, and is located behind a little glass lens in the rear cap. Access is through a rear cabinet over our bed. We did replace the glass once, as the previous stuff was a plexi plastic that was scratched up. We use it to check on the Tracker as we tow it down the road, or to check while backing up into campsites.  Even while parked, we use it as a security set of eyes when boondocking and we want to see if someone is back there.

Our camera feed comes through to the tv up front over the drivers seat.  It worked out really well to see what is going on out back with a glance at the big screen overhead. But the problem is that the cabinet the tv is housed in hangs down so low over the driver's dash. It is commonly known as the ''Head Banger'' and Steve's head has enough lumps to prove it.  Soooooooooo

You just KNOW that Steve has to make a change to it, don't you?  He removed the tv and the cabinet. He cut it down from the top edges to make it the same size as the other cabinets across the front of the rig.  A fellow Safari-owner had an extra smoked plexiglass door for us to cover up the existing hole.
 No More ''Head Banger'' !!

We bought a lighter weight flat screen tv we hung from a bracket over on the side of the living area instead for better viewing than in the original position.

That leaves us with the dilemma of how to view the backup camera, since we removed the monitor source from overhead.  Steve rerouted the cable down from the top cavity along the padded covered windshield side post.  He found this great little LED monitor that runs off DC power from Amazon for $50.  Easy peasy!

 We positioned it between the two dash consoles.
We can swivel it for either the driver or passenger to view it.  
I seem to use it more from the passenger seat
to check on the Tracker being towed behind

Basket by the Door:
This may seem kinda lame, but how many of us have shoes piled up the door?  And dog leashes. And tie out ropes. And moccasins for Steve to wear inside when he drives.  Well, there have been a few times we have accidently tripped over them and almost fell down the stair well!  Also if you want to sit at the table and shove back the chair a bit, the legs end up knocking over the shoes or sticking inside of them and crooked seating etc.  So we keep a little basket by the door as a catch-all.  It is much safer and easy to pick up all at once for vacuuming underneath. And saves us from a broken neck. 

Before I even start talking about our battery set-up, please take the time to understand most battery systems on RVs by reading these two posts. They really helped us understand when we first started going to multiple battery banks and solar power setup.

Our motorhome has four deep cycle 6 volt batteries hooked in series and in parallel to make a 12 volt system with 220 amp hours each.  This powers the camping portion ''coach'' part of the system.  We also have two larger 12 volt batteries for the driving portion powering the engine and headlights etc. known as the ''chassis'' part of the system. 

We check them monthly for electrolyte level, and only add distilled water.  Twice a year we do a massive overcharge process called ''equalization'' to knock off the sulfate buildup on the plates. Our batteries usually last about 5-6 years and the current set is going on 8 years in February.  Holding on well, so we will see how they go for another year or so? 

Here is how they look and Steve keeps them cleaned up and makes sure there isn't any corrosion buildup on the posts. The whole drawer pulls out (with a bit of ooomph) and he can access most of the area for checking levels.  Some people put on devices to water the cells when they cannot reach the back caps. 

 A while back Steve decided that we should get six batteries for the coach area, when we added more solar to the roof (5 panels at 100 watts each)  So he made this handy dandy rack for back in the engine compartment to move the two driving (chassis) batteries back there.  But...  we never did.  We found we have more than enough power with the four for the coach, so we never used the rack. Yet.

 Here is how our four 6 volt batteries are hooked up....
and how they could be IF we went to six of them. 

We refer to this diagram of our own set up for when we change out the batteries.  Be extra careful to be sure you label each wire and put each wire back correctly. And take photos of your original setup with a cell phone.  One crossed wire can goof up your whole electrical system!  There are sometimes extra small wires that also go on the posts along with the main cables. Be sure you put each wire back exactly as it was or you will be pulling your hair out with problems.

That is it for the three B's on tonight's blog. 


This morning Steve got a nice call from the local Fastenal store in Brillion. Yay! He had ordered a reverse thread screw for his obsolete Craftsman radial mitre saw.  So we hopped in the car to go get it, and he dropped me off at my favorite thrift shop, Hidden Treasures in Brillion.  

I found some treasures! 
 A stained glass candle holder for 75% off. 
 It was only 75 cents! 

Stocked up on Christmas cards, wrapping paper and also more of my silver plated dinner forks for the tools I make and sell.  Now add in a circular knitting needle and a tupperware lettuce keeper WITH the spike inside. (my other one is missing it)  So for only $14.40 I got a whole bag of treasures. 

Steve left after lunch to go help his brother Pete on his new house. Pete's painters had been there to spray the primer and base coat.  Then Steve and a few of Pete's friends and stepson got out all the tools and painted the chosen colors in the rooms. They spent the afternoon and got about halfway done. He said he is going back tomorrow to help finish up. Tonight his shoulders are sore and he is not a fan of painting, but it is nice that he can help out his brother on his dream home. 

While he was gone, I finished up putting away more of the Christmas decorations. I got the village taken down and packed away. I was able to reload the china hutch with my pretty Arcopal dishes. They are nothing more than a cheap type of Corelle made in France. They were carried by Walmart about 30 years ago,  and I bought three sets of 4 place settings each.  So I had 12 place settings.  Over the years, some have broken here and there. I was down to about 9 settings, give or take. I have searched many thrift shops and never found any. The Replacements.com site has them for outrageous prices like they were fine china or something! 

Luckily a few weeks ago I saw sets of 11 more place settings on Ebay being sold by a charity shelter in Colorado. They were teaching people how to photograph, list, sell, pack and ship donated items.  I snapped up all 11 settings so now I have MORE than enough for any family gathering.  I can keep 8 settings in the china hutch and 12 more or so in the kitchen.  And now if one breaks, I won't have a heart attack! 

I also started putting together some blocks on my newest quilt.  The fabric is from Moda called Kansas Troubles.  The pattern is called Log Cabin.  I put together 8 blocks in a row and attached two rows together. I am going to like this one a lot.. it's for ME as a cuddly quilt to have on the livingroom couch for chilly winter evenings. 

Wind chills forcast tonight of 25-30 below... brrrrrr  I do not mind the snow, but this sub zero cold stuff is not fun.  We have the furnace cut down at night to 50 in the house and have an electric mattress pad on the bed to keep us snuggly warm.  And a quilt on top, of course!

Well, time to wrap this up,
 tomorrow will be more B items 
of Motorhome Modifications! 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Karen and Steve! What a blessing and a joy to follow your life! And all the neat little tricks and techniques........... So amaZING! Love that china ;(


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