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Posts Tagged ‘rv repair’

PostHeaderIcon Lots Of Construction At The Off Grid Solar Homestead

There was a lot of construction going on at the off grid solar homestead yesterday. Joe, a friend from NJ came up to help out. He works in construction and was a great help in getting some of the larger projects finished on the property. I worked on RV renovation and clean up trying to get ready to move into the old motorhome soon.

Saturday night TJ and I set up the LED disco lighting that I bought off herbsterplace1 from youtube. This is an LED light rope with different colored LEDs and a remote control so you can program it or use various preset programs. It is really cool and we played a few hands of UNO while the radio played in the background in the new RV. We also sat on the new homemade battery box/bench in the RV and played our game of cards. It felt good to use the bench that we build with our own hands. I just had the LEDs taped onto the walls for now but later I will install them properly.

The weather was nearly perfect all day Monday except for the humidity. There was a light breeze and the high was in the 80s with no rain.

Joe arrived in the late morning and he started working with TJ on the rain water collector, solar shower and building a work bench. Together they rebuild the whole rain water collection system and reinforced the struts. They also built it to take more panels and increase rain water collection.

In the mean time I was cleaning the RV closets and fastening some of the fixtures and window screens back in place. I found another old ant nest in the closet underneath a board that covers the propane lines.

My little Harbor Freight 800 watt portable generator got a good workout with Joe and TJ using it to cut wood with a circular saw while I used it to vacuum junk out of the RV. With a spark plug change, the little generator really performs well. I also read that you should burn premium gas in it for best performance, so I will change to that with the next fill up.

I also dug out the removable living room table that goes into the floor in the center of the RV living room. It sits perfectly with the new homemade bench. Without measuring the two, they make a perfect match for one another. Its like they were made for each other. I really like it. I washed the table up nicely and left it there. I think it will be very useful. With a couple fold up chairs I can easily seat 6 people around my table in the RV living room.

I used some Minwax wood hardener in a spot on the bathroom floor which was weak due to the ants. I is just an 8 inch round spot that gives under your feet when you step on it. I figured this stuff may help reinforce the floor so I dont have to cut and patch in a new piece of wood. It is supposed to seep down into the wood fibers and form a plastic like material with it. Well, it failed in my case. Now the floor is brittle and cracking where before it was just spongy. Now I need to repair it for real.

TJ and Joe reinforced the solar shower and finished it up by placing the Coleman solar camp shower on top so we can take real hot showers from now on. They leveled the shower stall off on the ground nicely as well. Now we have a real stand up solar hot shower in the off grid meadow. I still want to clean up an old 30 gallon metal drum and use it for showering but I need a water fitting for the shower head first.

I started working on the conversion of my RV electric control box but that will be a video all of its own. I removed all the 120 to 12 volt conversion circuitry and will wire in my solar panels and inverter to the original RV wiring. This will save me a lot of work and I can leave the original wires, circuit breakers and fuses in place. When I have the conversion finished I will upload the video separately and do an article on this site.

For the last project of the evening TJ and Joe build a very nice, rugged work bench so we dont have to work on the ground anymore. It is made up of all scrap materials. The frame was found in the forest and the top is made out of pallet wood.

Joe also gave me an electric fence tester and we tested out all the fence lines. I discovered that the fence ground is very poor and needs to be replaced asap.

A package arrived from Rich at Around The Cabin which contained some hard drive magnets for my wind turbine project, a fan for my RV, some balls for Baby cat and a couple 9 volt batteries. Thank you Rich. Every Monday night at 9 pm EST you can join me on for a live talk/chat show about The Off Grid Project, survival, outdoors and alternate energy.

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PostHeaderIcon Reinforcing Chicken Tractor And Gutting Out The RV More

I worked quite a bit today on reinforcing the chicken tractor, making the electric fence, gutting out the RV some more and painting the bathroom walls. It was a hot and very humid day, so work was slower than it could have been, but I am satisfied with a good day of work.

It rained all day yesterday and into the night. This morning it rained on and off and threatened to rain all the rest of the day. We had some sprinkles, but no real rainfall. The problem is that it was very humid and in the mid 80s outside.

During the last two days it rained so much that I collected about a gallon and a half directly in a 5 gallon pail. Just from rain water. My wash pail was also half full. This is so convenient because I needed the water for washing today. But that sure is a lot of rain to fill up that much water in a pail that fast.

I soldered the electric fence circuit together nicely and use crimp connectors to hold the relay in place. This will allow me to replace the relay if it ever burns out. The circuit looks good now. It is also rugged and stable. It gives off a very good spark. I think it will make a good electric fence. Now I need to get a good battery charged up so I can put the whole thing out in the chicken coop.

I started to tear apart the old chicken bunker to get parts for my new chicken tractor. I want to reinforce the chicken tractor until it is raccoon proof. I pulled off the heavy gauge wire from the old chicken coop to put around the outside of the chicken tractor.

During dry periods I worked in the RV. I washed the unpainted bedroom walls and then washed the entire bathroom. While I was at it, I finished gutting out the shelving underneath the bathroom sink. I found more filth that needs to be cleaned up so I am happy that I did that. I removed all the light fixtures and power plugs in the bathroom to prepare for painting. Then I removed the heating duct. That is when I found a nightmare.

I looked inside to see what was back there and found a burst water pipe. There is also another mouse nest and a chipmunk nest under there. This is underneath the bathroom closet. I went out back and found that with some demolition work I could access the water pipes. Then I found that the other pipe was burst as well and they were both burst in multiple places. I need to redo the pipes in the RV. This is sad news because I was anxious to get in there full time as my new home.

After the demolition work I started to paint the walls in the bathroom with primer. This was slow work because of all the trim in there. I want to do a good job, so I took my time and did it right. I used a small artist paint brush all around the trim first. Then a normal paint brush around that. Then I used a roller to paint the rest of the walls. I had thought I could get the bathroom and bedroom done today, but I was wrong.

Just with the white primer on the walls, the bathroom looks amazing compared to how it looked before. I cannot believe that anyone would put dark wood paneling in a bathroom. It might be good for a den or man cave, but the bathroom was dark. Now it is so much brighter in there. I cannot believe the difference. I cant wait to get it fully painted. It will be so nice in there. I will paint the cabinet doors with the same pale green as the bedroom for a contrast.

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PostHeaderIcon Awesome Harbor Freight Deals And Painting The RV

I heard about the driveway alarm you can get cheap and use for my chickens. Found one at HF and took a ride out to get one. I found some nice deals while I was there. I am stepping up the RV work to get it done asap. I want to finish the RV and get on to other projects right away.

When I move into the RV I want to improve my water collection system. I want to have pressurized water from the tanks in the meadow, feeding into the RV. I also want to have the ability to take a nice, hot shower. That would be awesome. Winter will be here soon so I need to get a fireplace going for the RV. I also have an idea for an oil burning stove that burns waste veggie oil or motor oil I can get for free. Cold food storage is important before the harvest. And A solar oven and food dryer need to be made asap. Although the sun does not shine much here, it will be helpful. And there are many more projects in The Off Grid Project to be finished.

I went to Harbor Freight to get a driveway alarm to protect my chickens. Someone posted in my comments that you can find them pretty cheap. I had found only expensive ones but HF has them under $20. When I was there I also found the perfect windmill frame. It is a mole chaser that is supposed to spin in the breeze and vibrate the ground to keep moles out. I dont care about that, or its claims, but its the perfect set of windmill blades. All I have to do is add a motor and let it produce power for me. If this works, I will get a couple more of them. If you look for windmill blades on ebay, you can pay about $80 or more for them. This was on sale for only $10.

The driveway alarm I put out by the chickens to warn me if an animal approaches them at night. It is a wireless sender and receiver pair. The sensor goes out by the birds and the receiver stays inside my camper. When something approaches, a very loud alarm goes off, which would wake me up and alert me to the danger.

I got a package from my youtube friend “douglasfi2re”. He knows that the mosquitoes are very bad here and we had been talking about a bug zapper. I cannot find a cheap one around here so he sent me one. Thank you douglasfi2re again for your help out here.

I amped up the RV work to get it finished faster. The heat has slowed me down a bit and I am behind schedule. I worked on the bedroom area on the bed side. Where the wheel well is, I fixed the hole in the fender cover and then used spray foam and rigid styrofoam insulation to fill in the areas better. I have some old 2 inch thigh foam insulation laying around that fit perfectly around the wheel well. This was an uninsulated area before. After putting in the solid foam insulation, I then used spray foam to fill in the gaps perfectly and then put the water tank back in place and connect it.

Sadly while putting the water tank in place, I shorted out my new cigarette lighter socket and blew a fuse. It sticks out just a tiny bit too far and hits the water tank. I did not foresee this when I put it in there. Stupid planning on my part.

I was able to get the while bed put back together now. The foam has been sitting in the sun for a while on both sides to kill any bacteria and freshen it in the clean air. It does not smell at all. This was the clean mattress. The mattress cover will be washed and sanitized carefully and then also set out in the sun to clean it well.

The bedroom is coming along very well now. Well, half of it at least.

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PostHeaderIcon Vehicle Work RV Work And More

On Saturday I was working on my truck at a friend’s place and got my lift bed going. It looks so awesome. The truck looks like a show truck now. I was painting my RV and working on my off grid air conditioning system.

Saturday I was repairing my front brakes on the old truck and fixing some wiring issues. I also finally got my lift bed going. The truck looks like it belongs in a show now with the lift bed. I think I will paint it up nicely and take it to shows. It is so cool.

87 GMC Pickup Truck With Dump Bed
click for larger image

I painted the bedroom wall of my RV with the darker green color and I am happy with the results. It is a darker color for sleeping but not too dark. I still need to do the second coat of paint, but it is looking very good now.

Today it was 92 degrees and humid out. After months of cold weather, having it turn hot like this is hard on the system. I am not used to the heat. It has been in the 40s and 50s at night and 50s and 60s by day. Suddenly we went up to high 60s and 70s at night and 90s by day. I worked on the wiring in my old camper to get the air conditioning hooked up.

I got it wired and fired up the old generator but the wire I was using got very hot to touch. So I replaced it with a 15 amp plug and it worked fine. The air conditioner works well. But the only problem is that the generator kept shutting off the AC line every few minutes. I am not sure why. It may have been the extreme heat causing it to trip off. I will have to look at it.

When the AC did run, it made the temperature in my old camper tolerable. Even my cat showed signs of life. She has been laying around sprawled out all day in the heat until I got the air conditioner going. Sadly it did not last long due to the generator kicking off.

I spent a lot of time today inside working on the computer. I got a bit more caught up on my messages and video comments. My Wilson Electronics phone amplifier works so well. I am very pleased with its performance. It boosts my phone power and internet speed. I have 4G internet in the middle of the forest. Now that is cool.

I wired up a cigarette lighter socket in the RV today under the bed. I want more power outlets in the RV. There is only one single cigarette lighter socket in the whole motorhome and that is up by the driver. It does not even work either.

I got a cigarette lighter socket at the auto parts store today and mounted it into the frame under the bed. I used the wires that go to the heater blower motor under the bed. That fused line should be powerful enough to handle anything I will ever plug into the socket. After cutting a hole through the wall and mounting the socket, it almost looks like it was installed by the manufacturer. I can now plug my phone in to charge while I work in the RV.

Today I patched up the screw holes in the bedroom wall of the RV to prepare for the final coat of paint. I was not sure if I wanted to fill the holes or not, but decided to make the bedroom look brand new. I filled the holes with wood filler. After painting you will not see them anymore.

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PostHeaderIcon Foraging For Wild Edibles In Nature’s Supermarket And RV Work

It was a warm, sunny day yesterday with low humidity for once. No rain in sight either. I washed some clothes with my new hand washer, went foraging for wild edibles in nature’s supermarket, went browsing in my junkyard store and did a lot of work on the RV. A full day all in all.

Since it was finally not supposed to rain at all for a couple days, I got my new hand washer called “The Breathing Mobile Washer” that I got from a fellow youtuber named “darfirst”. I have been itching to use it since he sent it to me but we have had constant rain every single day. I was also nearly out of clothes so it was past time to get washing.

I loaded up some clothes and my new hand washer and went down to the creek for laundry day. I put some clothes in a bucket with water and soap and then agitated them a little. The hand washer feels a lot different than the toilet plunger I have been using. It has a pushing and sucking action on the clothes, literally forcing dirt out of the clothing fibers. After just a few seconds of agitation, there was a lot of dirt visible in the water already.

I left the clothes to soak a bit and went exploring on the property. I live on 90 acres of wild land, next to state land and wild country.

After browsing through the old junk pile on the property I headed out to the swamp that borders the land. It is very beautiful out there. There are blue berry bushes and shrubs up to 12 feet high. The berry bushes literally cover the land as far as you can see. Most are between knee and waist high and they are all loaded with berries. The larger shrubs are so packed with berries that I will be able to literally pull off huge handfuls of berries when they are ripe.

I entered the swamp to get some cattail shoots for breakfast. You find young cattail shoots and grab a handful of the leaves in the center. Simply pull straight up and the soft core pulls right out. You can eat it as is right in the swamp. It is a bit like asparagus, but very mild in flavor. You eat the soft part and toss the rest.

The cattail plant has been called Nature’s Supermarket because it is such a useful plant for survival. You can eat every part of the plant at all stages in life. The roots make good flour if baked, dried and ground up. The shoots you eat raw. At the base of the shoots is a slimy material that can be used to numb pain. The leaves are edible. The green cigar like head is edible like corn on the cob if boiled. The pollen head is edible and make awesome pancake batter. The dried leaves make good basket weaving material. When dried, the cattail fluff on top makes good tinder or insulation material. There are many more uses for the cattail. It is an amazing plant. And very healthy for you.

Sadly, in NY where there are deer, there are deer ticks. Lots of ticks. On the way back out of the swamp, I took a shortcut right through the berry bushes and got covered in ticks. I had about 30 of them on me all at one time. It is a disgusting and scary feeling. Deer ticks carry lime disease. Fortunately they move slowly and you can get them off before they can do any damage. Ticks take a long time to find a good place for lunch, so if you check yourself regularly when outside, you should be safe. You have to strip down totally and check your clothes and body all over to be sure. Then there will always be one or two that you missed and show up later on you. Check yourself a couple times after being in the woods.

I had four more show up hours after I had checked myself. They were probably inside my clothes hiding in the folds.

On the way back to my laundry, I found a nice, large green tarp that I can use to cover my water tank to help prevent the growth of algae.

I washed my clothes with the new hand washer and I must say it is very good. Once you get used to its function and feel, it really works well. They claim that this little thing cleans clothes better than an actual washing machine and I can attest to that myself. You should see the filth that was sucked out of my socks. They are cleaner than they have been in a long time. Living in the woods and working in dirt every day, your clothes get very dirty. This hand washer is great. (No, I was not paid to do this).

My friend Chris came over to help me with the RV a bit. He was working on the stereo while I washed the walls. Sadly, after three hours of working on the wires, we could not figure out what wires went to the speakers. We had the right colors, but the speakers would not work at all. The previous owners did a hack job of installing a stereo, CB radio and a speaker set. It probably never worked because it was not working when I got the RV. We ended up running new wires to the front speakers for now. I have a new CD and MP3 player stereo I picked up at a garage sale for only $20 that works nicely in the RV now.

Chris helped me get the dog house open and we had our first look at the RV engine. I never saw it yet until now. It is surprisingly not bad at all considering all the mouse and squirrel damage in the rest of the RV. I think I can get it running easily enough. Its a Chevy 454 big block with a 300 turbomatic transmission. The label on the air cleaner shows that it is a 7.4 liter engine.

I finished washing all the RV interior walls with vinegar and water finally. All but the living room walls that is. I cannot work in the living room due to the bed boards leaning in there against the walls. They are always in my way. For this reason, I decided to paint the bedroom walls right away and finish the bedroom fully so I can put it all back together and be done with it. Then I can work in the living room better with those boards out.

I washed the walls on one side with fresh water and let it dry. Then I painted with white primer and left it over night to dry. I cant wait to get the room finished so I can see how it will look. I am getting very excited.

The white wall makes it so much brighter in there. It will be dark green in the bedroom later, but for now the white gives me an idea how the living room and bathroom will look when they are done.

It is going to be great.

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