Light switch hack
June 20, 2020
One thing we haven't liked about our new 5th wheel is the location of the main living/kitchen ceiling light switch. We don't like the location behind a cabinet door (thankfully they didn't put all the light switches back there) We also didn't like that the lights were so bright and 8 of them to boot! It was an all or nothing deal and too bright for us almost all the time when we wanted some added light in the room. As a result we just don't used them.
I installed a dimmable switch for these lights near the controls for the fans and air conditioner.
This is a pretty easy modification if you have some basic electrical skills. The switch has 3 wires that need to be tapped into the 12v + and - and a third wire ties into the single wire that heads into the ceiling for the lights themselves. The lights already have a ground wire somewhere on the chassis as typical in RV's and cars so just the single 12v power wire is all that leaves the switch to the lights.
I used heat shrink butt connectors and added enough wire to snake down behind the wall to wire in the switch. The hole in the wall was cut using an utility knife and several carefully passes to make a neat cut. The style of the switch is very similar to the factory switches and looks stock.
Here is a link to the switch. It works great with the factory LED lights. The dimming is very smooth, not flickering or weirdness at all.
Here is an easy mod/upgrade.
June 5, 2020
Our last big trip reminded me of a little problem we had. Well it's not really a problem but more of a irritant. When using our onboard water, every time you open a faucet etc. the water pump starts clattering away in the basement.
It was very irritating at night to try to get a drink of water as the pump is under the bedroom.
I added a pressure buffer to my water system to match what is done for home well systems. At the local big box store, masked, gloved, I bought a 2 gallon regulator tank. It contains an air bladder that is inflated to just below the pump activation pressure. (the initial setting was fine. It was factory set for 25 psi and my water pump activates at 30 psi.)
The tank will hold about a gallon of water with the bladder compressed. This water is used when a faucet etc. is opened instead of needing to run the pump. Eventually the water pressure drops and the water is used up and the the pump will activate normally. It will run after you cut the faucet off, to replenish the water in the tank.
I found a vacant spot in the basement area between the furnace and the hot water heater and under the shower. I tapped into the water distribution lines just after the city water connection. To get to that area, I removed the external shower compartment and added a "T" fitting.
PEX water lines is the only way to go! On the tank, I used a Shark Bite threaded adapter and for everything else I used PEX crimp connectors. Finding enough room to operate the crimping tool was the biggest problem with this little mod.
Note: I was also adding an exterior faucet and had to move the water pump. That is when I discovered that it had been installed incorrectly and the body of the pump was vibrating against some of the wooden framing. You really have to love those factory people!
Tip of the day-using a garden liquid sprayer to fill your large lead wet cell battery bank!
June 2, 2020
--------------------Tip of the day!----------------------------
Using a garden liquid sprayer to fill your large lead wet cell battery bank.
You can use a small garden sprayer for filling your batteries by removing the nozzle tip turning the sprayer into a portable watering hose for your battery's distilled water.
This is a big deal for those that have very large battery banks, and need to fill multiple batteries.
The plus is you can put the tip back on and use the sprayer to spray off the batteries after you clean them with baking soda water.
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Eddie --- Mobile Homestead Solar Services (252) 475-8034
Recovered the valances & curtains
May 20, 2020
We took down all the valances & curtains in our 5er and put new, brighter material on them. We also did the seat cushions & headboard. Not hard to do, just a PIA. We like how they look now that we've got them back up. Problem is they now make the walls look dull!
The Covid-19 Thing, idle hands......................
May 17, 2020
This Covid-19 "Stay at home" thing, (What ever that means for a fulltiming "Off-grid" family) has made my creative juices flow.
About two months ago I found this old style headache rack for $50.00 at the local steel recycling yard...... well I bought it and just got to work.
All this you see was done with a 5500 champion generator, 140-amp Lincoln /115-volt welder with 0.35 flux core wire, and several grinders (7.5" & 4.5", ect.)
I still need to weld some to the tread plate, and the "D" rings for tie-downs. Also need to run wiring for lights, and paint, paint, paint, a lot!
By the way, did I mention we are "Off-Grid" 16 miles up a dirt road with no one for miles. This project is for sure a "Mobile Homestead" original!
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