Monday, June 27, 2011

"Chandelier v1.0"

Parts and pieces laid out.

I had this idea for a movable, more direct and functional light for the camper that was also 12 volt (most of our camping is dry) and "cute".  My idea was to take a work light meant for emergency tire changes or working under the hood on the side of the road and add a cheap little lamp shade from the craft store to give it that "I'm not a work light" look.  So I picked up this cheap little work light from eBay (there is still 364 of them left, lol) and then I bought a little shade meant for the candle lights that people put in their windows at Christmas time (using a coupon it came to $1.40).  I liked this light because it had the longer, straight cord at 10 feet.  It can reach anywhere in the camper and my 12 volt plug is pretty much in the center of the camper.  I also liked it because it was really small.  I was also looking at this one at Walmart for $6, but it is much bulkier (can't find the Walmart link at this moment).  But it has a retractable cord that is maybe 6' or 8'.  But again bulkier.  The only reason I may still try something out with it is because I am sure it is much brighter than this little one I choose over it.  So all I did was open up the wire of the shade that goes over the bulb a bit then slid the cord into an already opened up piece of a clip that went around that.  I used a suction cup on the window itself, my walls are textured even though a command hook will work if I decide on a permanent spot on the wall that folds in first. I have one up already in the  center for a little sign I hang up when camping.  Here are a couple pictures.  I'll call this Chandler v1.0.  I am happy with the concept, execution and the looks of this but I just wish it was a bit brighter.  The clear plastic is just glued to the red top over a bulb soldered in, maybe I'll drag Mike over to radio shack to help me find one just a tad brighter.  Either way for a total cost of $5.65 I am very happy with my little light and will give it a test run this coming weekend at Otter River.
My movable 12 volt Light

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Burlingame SP, Charlstown RI # 416

Mike and I spent the weekend in Rhode Island at Burlingame State Park at site 416.  This place is huge!  My dad says this is the first place I ever camped as a baby.  It's pretty much a village with something like 700 or 800 sites.  The ones away from the water are best because they are spread out and bigger.  I don't like being right on top of other people while camping.  If you don't mind that then a site close to the water may be okay for you.  The lake was perfect.  Mike caught one fish there and one in another we found roaming around.  It'd be great for the canoe if we brought it.  They rent them out too.  We didn't feel like working so hard this weekend though.  We saw two other Aliners.  One was maybe an 03 or 04.  A couple of ladies were camping in it.  They came in right after us and slowed to look at ours but when we went by and said hi they didn't seem to into being social so we went on our way.  The other one we saw was an 09 Classic and it was a couple camping with their grandson.  He was pretty happy to tell us his story and listen to ours.  I guess sometimes you get the vibe that someone wants to tell or not.  We always want to tell, lol.  We don't mind show and tell at all.  Everything about this campground was great except the showers.  They were pay which was fine but there was no way to adjust the temperature or to shut it off when you were done.  Thankfully I only put in 50 cents and I was well done and gone before it shut off.  It never warmed up to anything that resembled warm in any way.  The people in this part of the state/country seemed pretty grumpy and short too, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
We'll be going back out in three days.  Well Mike, Kenzie and the dogs will go out Thursday and I'll be out with Taylor Friday after we're done with work.  We'll be at Otter River site #50.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solar Panel continued (Plug details)

This post contains a bit more detail about the solar panel setup and connector.  Search the blog for keyword solar for other details.

Solar Panel --->2-Pin Connector--->Controller--->Battery.

Two Pin Connector From Radio Shack

2-Pin Plug Opened, Plug in only one way.

Small controller that came with solar panel (3 amp, max output of the solar panel is 1.68 amp).

Alligator clips on battery from controller.

Simple power gauge.

Line in from the solar panel (to the connector).  Plug is before the controller.

Cable from panel through power opening.

Front view.
I'd like to either mount the panel to a multi-directional pole on the front tongue or add an edge over the bubble so the panel sits a bit more secured.  The 2 pin connector was bought at Radio Shack for a couple dollars.  The wires off the panel were bare and easy to crimp into the connector.  The connection from the controller was easy because it came with alligator clips.

eta on 6/30/2011:  I came across a website today about RV mods and it had a really good solar write up.  It has a lot of the information I found all over the place in one place.  Granted the install is more complex than mine and it's meant for a larger camper with a full roof and permanent set up but the general info and background is very useful if you're researching for your own project.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Drawer Stop

 This mod was done a couple months ago and I kept forgetting to post an update and I'm not sure why because this is a pretty valuable one, especially for those who don't like picking up the contents of a spilled drawer or having damaged stuff from a flying drawer.  Before this mod we would try to remember to take the drawer out and put it on the floor before traveling, we have forgotten more than once.  We'd also try to pack up around it so it didn't have the opportunity to fall out, that didn't always work well

either.  So after replacing the locks on the access panels (lost keys) we looked to see if there were similar "locks" but as a thumb turn rather than a key lock.  A key lock would've done the trick too, but I didn't want to have to worry about losing the key to something else again.  We found such a thing at Lowes.  
Mike notched out enough room for the stop to turn and hit the back of the cabinet.  It's perfect.  I know that most do not have household oak cabinets in their campers so if you're doing this to your camper you either may not have to notch out anything or you may have to add some thickness or something for it to catch on and where it catches may need to be reinforced on a thinner camper cabinet.  This, along with the bed lift is on my list of favorite add ons.  

Looking Top Down

From Inside, notched out.  Catches on the cabinet facing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tiny House Blog Likes Us

Yesterday we were featured on the Tiny House Blog. Although the Aliner is not really a tiny house it's related :) I read the blog a lot, daily usually. The Aliner is as close to living in a tiny house as we get. With two kids, two dogs, 2.5 cats (the half cat adopted us when the neighbors up the street left their foreclosed home and him behind) plus the two of us. Someday a simpler life will be the way, but for now the chaos is awesome. But the Tiny House Blog generates a lot of creative ideas, methods and choices for not only a simpler life a better one. Most of us only need or use a fraction of what we have, it is the American thing to do after all. And honestly the more we pair down or the more we camp in our small, simple, contained unit the more content I am. Don't get me wrong I make sure I have what I want but think about how much easier less is in the long run. The KISS method is making it into my top 5 a lot more often than it used to. And one of our goals this year has been to purge and re-access what we really need in our space(s). Here is the link to the write up on the Tiny House Blog but take some time to look around at the rest of this blog and become inspired by the less is more frame of mind.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aliner Project Mobile

Now you can read this blog on your mobile device!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend 2011, ORSF #28

Memorial Day weekend, from Thursday the 26th until June 1st. We had a quick thunderstorm on Saturday and a bit of a shower Monday morning, otherwise it was a gorgeous, sunfilled, warm weekend. The new LED lights and solar panel did great. The battery kept a full charge (at least according to the simple gauge mounted inside, forgot the digital voltmeter at home). I am sure the LEDs had a lot to do with it too. The LEDs were a bit dimmer and we may need to add a reading light but that shouldn’t be too hard and well add another LED. I think even some of those solar powered landscape lights would do the trick. A lot of them are pretty nice. Or an LED strip, people seem to be outfitting their cars with them, it would work well in the camper.

Mike went out on Thursday and I came out and helped him finish setting up after work. My dad came up for the afternoon too, so that was nice. I was back out Friday after the kids went to school and we went to Mackenzie’s Memorial Day function at school. Then they didn’t come out until after her school dance that night. Mike was in his cast and sling all weekend but he still did some cooking and got some fishing in. It had to be the quietest Memorial weekend ever at Otter River, it was wonderful. I guess the party animals found somewhere else to go other than state parks. I wish I could have stayed longer but the girls and I went home Monday evening and Mike stayed out until today (the first). He had his cast removed yesterday and is really sore so I am going to leave work early to pack up whatever the girls and I didn’t pack up the other day before we left. He kept Deogee with him and we have Haily. It’s pretty pathetic how much they miss each other, even though they saw each other yesterday when Mike came home for his doctors appointment. Mackenzie called me this morning to let me know Haily was acting funny again, depressed.

We are planning on host camping in August, then we have the Rainbow girls for a weekend at camp too so we will probably do both trips back to back so we’ll just move from the host site to the group site. I’m hoping Mike and I can get a few weekend trips in too. I’m gonna end up using most of my vacation in August for the host trip, but that’s okay, I’ll work when it’s snowing out this winter!