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Monday, February 5, 2018

MOTORHOME MODIFICATION - *D* Dash and Desk and Frosty View

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, we are up to the letter D now!


Dash Componants:
We didnt do a lot of modifications to the dash, but I thought it would be interesting to go over our dash and cockpit area of our motorhome, just for grins.

Our motorhome dash is protected from the sun damage by lowering the MCD powered windshield shade all the way down when we are parked in the yard.  The shade also can ride at any height as a full-width sun visor! Easy to adjust with the push of a toggle switch to raise or lower it.

Of course, Steve's side is like an airplane cockpit, while mine has all the comforts of home. I have the pretty woolen woven mat from the Grand Canyon for decor and the computer, GPS, remotes for the stereo indoor/outdoor thermometer, backup camera monitor, and of course, my own horn button! You can read about that horn button here:

I will start over on the driver's side.... the console underneath the window has a lot of fun stuff. From L to R is the ash tray, (we do not smoke) but it has a 12 volt cigarette outlet that we do use from time to time.   Next are the buttons for the cruise control, fast engine idle for starting, and adjustment device for the power mirrors.  After that are three lit toggle buttons: exhaust brake, backup camera, and the third is called ''BLINK''!  It is used to flash off and on your clearance and marker lights all around to let passing truckers know they are fully past you and can pull back into the lane ahead.  Seriously! 

Ahead of the 3 toggles in the touch button shifting pad and a tiny micro bubble level.

Round the corner to the area to the left of the steerig wheel are all the electrical buttons for lights, dash fans, mirror heaters, music and side docking lights. They are huge spotlights that help light up around you during backing up at night.  Underneath that is a set of switches to run the hydraulic levelers.  There is another set of the same leveler buttons in an outside compartment.  The big yellow knob is an emergency brake release, by the main headlight switch. 

Here in the middle are all of the gauges and idiot light panels.  Ignore the dust the motorhome has been sitting since the end of October and we will spiffy it up and dust it off when we get ready to go sometime in spring.  The gauges are all kinda extra bling, because Steve mostly uses the Silverleaf VmSpc computerized unit on the far right.

The top is the Silverleaf unit. It gives more accurate readout of the computerized functions of the engine and transmission.  It gives, of course, speed and trip mileage information.  But it gives instantaneous fuel consumption, fuel mileage, turbo boost pressure, engine temp, tranny temp, rpms, driveshaft rpm, road speed, cruise lock speed, turbo temp, and current charging voltage from the alternator.  So it gives a LOT more information than the needle gauges.  Underneath are the dash ac/heater controls and a stereo system hooked to the surround sound in the rig. The far right is the handheld CB that I talked about in my blog yesterday.

Underneath on the far right of his foot pedal area is the traditional ''red box'' that all Safari motorhomes came with.  Filled up chock full to the brim with all the manuals, books, and data sheets for everything that came with the motorhome. The ''Handing Over of the Red Box'' is a momentous occasion when someone sells their Safari motorhome to the next guy.

Between our two dash consoles is the new little back up camera monitor. I wrote in a previous blog about how we moved the camera cable from the overhead tv down to this little 12 volt digital monitor. It is setting on my cute little woven mat we bought in the Badlands of South Dakota. 

Of course, you need cupholders... 
Here is one modification Steve did-  the center console cabinet used to just have a shelf,
and you had to dig wayyy back to get anything and shuffle around in the dark. 
Much better! 

Underneath our dash, wayyyyy up high upside down is a 120V AC outlet.  WHY>>>> on earth did they put it there?  You have to crawl under the dash and reach wayyy up and move over a ventilation hose to even plug anything into it.  Sooooo we ran a power strip to the side wall and mounted it tight.  Now we have four outlets close to the front.  I used it mostly for plugging in my computer while we have the inverter on when driving down the road.  (since then I have bought a 12 volt cord for my laptop that plugs into a cigarette lighter)  The outlets are also handy for vacuum cleaning to reach the front areas of the coach.   The dogs lay out of the way on the pad by my feet. It is actually a baby changing table pad with a nice soft flannel cover. 

That beige printed pad on the floor is really flannel sheet stretched over a baby diaper changing pad, but it makes a GREAT doggie bed for the muttenheimers.  They love having a place of their own to nap or hide out, especially when we are parked and the passenger seat is turned to face the livingroom.  They can sneak behind the chair and lay down in peace and privacy, out of the way.

Since I got the 12 volt cord for the laptop, Steve installed this 12 volt outlet under the dash near the console.  It has two USB charge ports that we can plug in our tablet or cell phone while travelling.

We set the tablet or cell phone over to Hot Spot for data and tether our laptops to it.  I can be online while we are driving down the highway. And why would I want to do that?  Because I have this Super Cool Slide Out Computer Dash Desk! 

It extends out into my lap and can fold up and out of the way in a flash to get up and out of my seat. The cord in the pic is the 12 volt cord for the laptop. It is such a nice handy setup for putting the computer inside and folding it away when stopping for a short time like at a store, so nobody can see it from looking in the window.

 See?  closed up toot sweet! 
I just think it was really state of the art stuff to include a laptop desk wayyyy back in 1996 when this rig was built.  I know computers had gone from the all in one units of the 80s to the huge desktop computer towers, and big CRT monitors and coily cord connected keyboards in the 90s.  Not too many folks had laptops. I think laptops back then were about $2,000-3,000 range. I remember my first Compaq was in 1999 and daughter Erin bought a Dell laptop in 2002 for well over $1,000.  So Safari was way ahead of their time by creating this work station for laptops back in 1996.

Here is my laptop setting on the desk.  Kinda cool to be zooming down the road, working on my blog, editing pictures, Skyping with the grandkids, looking up campground information or anything interesting in the towns coming up on the road.

One of my favorite things to do with the laptop is run Microsoft Streets and Trips!  Yes, I know it is no longer supported, but the maps still update.  I have a GPS dongle that attaches via USB port, and the whole screen becomes a huge GPS! 
I can mark multiple stops, zoom in and out, calculate a bunch of mileages between towns or campgrounds without disturbing the original settings, and I can even mark notes at each stop of items like cost of fuel, dump stations, campground ratings and other information.  I keep entire maps of each trip we take and save them in separate streets and trips files.

And best of all, it leaves a blue *mouse trail* of the exact route we travelled, 
and if you zoom in you can see exactly 
where you drove, parked, camped or even turned around!

Looks like this with info and routes travelled. 
I sure wish it was still being supported by Microsoft. It's the best GPS I have found to work with, and find it the most handy for our needs. Isn't it always like that?  When you find something you like, the powers that be go ahead and change it. Argghhh! 


We are in the sub zero temps again and should be each night for most of the week.  The south facing guest bedroom windows are covered with this lovely lacy frost pattern (on the outside glass) and it is just amazing with the sunshine streaming in this morning!

It is mind boggling that Mother Nature can create such intricate designs,
from a bit of moisture and cold temps. 

By noon this will all be melted off, and we will be back to a normal with a view to the south.  Interesting though, it formed on only these two windows previously when we also had damp winds from the south.  These are new storm windows and the frost is forming on the outside, not in the house. We have the same new storm windows on the upstairs east and north sides that are clear. Who knows? But I love the patterns!

While I was sewing last night, during the Super Bowl, with on the tv in the background.... I could hear a repeated "squeak squeak" sound.  At first I thought it was the sewing machine.  Nope....   it was coming from the open doorway, somewhere out in the hall.  "squeak squeak"   pause  "squeak squeak".

It was BINNEY!  She was out in the hallway, playing with a little squeaker in the tail of this stuffed squirrel.  She NEVER plays with toys in front of us. See, Binney is a rescue dog, and we know all of the gorey details of her and Finnegan's mommy's past. She will only play with toys when nobody is around. This strange behavior is a paranoid throwback to her days she was stuffed in a hoarder's pit hole where she was trapped in for the first year of her life. Along with 37 other dogs, (and a few dead ones), they had NO toys, no running water, and barely any food. Here it is, 3 years later and she is slowly learning to enjoy toys. At least she plays with them even if it is in secret, when we are not looking.

We leave toys laying all over the house, so she can play with whatever she wants. I snapped this pic of her out in the hallway, just beyond the door to my sewing room.  LOL ... look at that face!

"I wasn't playing with that squirrel, honest, I wasn't!"

Oh, and I am having a lot of fun making swirly stitches on my 
Twin Turtle Coffee Quilt

Back to the sewing machine.....

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