simple/solo boondocking: Promaster 159 high roof

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frater secessus

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Quick notes before bed:  

  • ordered a set of factory refurb Ryobi drill and impact driver off amazon for $96.95 shipped.  Two Li batts, charger, case.  They are stamped/branded RECON.  Work great, 1yr warranty.
  • took a chance on a small 300w inverter to run the ryobi charger on the road.  They clam it's PSW but for less than $50 I suspect it's a very smooth MSW.  Regardless, it runs the Ryobi charger, a Black & Decker screwdriver charger, Maha NiMH charger, etc without warming.  Also runs my garage sale 200w dirt devil like a champ
  • The water pressure accumulator I was watching popped up with a used one for $24 so I bought it. Almost half price and looks perfect.   Was using camelcamelcamel.com to track the price. 
  • No bluetooth on my base model radio, so picked up a groovey BT/FM trans.  Yes, they used to suck.  But this one pairs to the phone by BT and has a great interface.  No static.  I listen to podcasts from my phone whenever I drive so I had to have some kind of BT solution. Very happy with it. 
 

frater secessus

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Forgot to mention:  when I first saw the van it had not yet been cleaned/prepped.  Still had documentation in the glovebox, including original registration info.

So I know it was registered to an Enterprise rental company and rented to a FedEx contractor named Lee.  :)  There's even a map of where he made some deliveries.  

[img=200x112]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/H...dE1Qylzt9YwO8tnozA646toSg=w1711-h962-no[/img]
 

frater secessus

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Maxxfan still on backorder at e-trailer.  

Right now I am bottlenecked at installation of power distribution junctions;  been pondering it.  I decided to 
  1. put a 1/2" polyiso panel against the van wall behind the power blocks/junctions
  2. install the junctions, connect wiring
  3. install wall insulation.  Still pondering if polyiso there or maybe Roxul (spun basalt) which seems like a good candidate and is available locally.
  4. wait for the arrival of the maxxfan
  5. man up and cut the 14"x14" hole, install the fan
  6. insulate the ceiling with 2" of polyiso
 

caretaker

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FS, i read that stuff adsorbs moisture, plus just thru vibration and movement the stuff will shed a little bit, so be careful it doesn't plug your weep holes, if its the stuff I'm thinking of. what I'm thinking of is called rock wool. what I'm going to do is attach closed cell foam(won't adsorb moisture) some way to my wall covering before i put it up that, way nothing comes into contact with the outer skin of the van and it can't squeak. i know it won't be a perfect fit but I'm not gonna be in an area where I'm gonna need a lot of heat or cool so i feel the walls don't matter that much. I'm gonna do it mainly for sound deadening.
 

frater secessus

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That's the stuff.

It isn't a moisture barrier but cannot support mold or mildew. Closed cell foam (eps, xps, polyiso) board can absorb moisture; some of it can't be used below grade for that reason. Thanks for the tip on weep holes.

The folks on the Promaster forums who glued foamboard directly to the walls said it doesn't squeak. I guess I'll find out soon!
 

caretaker

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what you need to worry about when you adhere stuff directly to the skin is you can trap moisture which will eventually cause bad things to happen and when you find out its too late. just my 2 cents
 

jonsun

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It almost certainly is an MSW. but as you experienced it works just fine....which is my experience. I for the life of me cannot fathom why PSW's are so popular for everyday use.
 

frater secessus

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Ok, made some progress.

over cab power

I have been running a dashcam and radar detector plugged into my truck's ciggy outlet, but I hate the hanging cords.  So I bored a 1.5" hole in the overhead storage so I could pass power and other cables more neatly to the rearview mirror area.   I'll line the hole with a 1.5" desk cable grommet when it comes in.  



The cables can't be seen from the front because of that opaque area on the windshield.  I think it's there to support the rearview mirror mount or something.  

backup cam

Now that I could power and connect to the rearview mirror / backup cam I could run the LONG cable to the rear and figure out how to mount the backup cam.   On the OEM cam install the rear center running light is replaced by a fixture that holds the camera.  I wanted to retain this placement so I could get a 45deg angle looking down while backing.  License plate mounts are too straight on and door mounts are useless if you have the back doors open, as when backing up to a dock.

So I removed the assembly, disconnected the wiring, removed the bulb, and drilled a hole on the bottom to run the cam wire through.  I mounted the cam to the (empty) assembly.



Will end up sealing the bottom cable entry, but in the meantime made a couple of weep holes in the lowest point.  The lens is sealed and any water that flowed uphill into the assembly has no path into the van:



Not very noticeable if you're not looking for it




I will be running the cab power off the house bank which isn't installed yet.  So I haven't the cam in the van yet;  works fine in the house.  To keep from dragging down the house battery, cab power will be switched by a rocker over my left shoulder, John Denver style.  (too soon?)


insulation behind power distribution points


In order to get the battery bank in I needed to get the connection points in, which means I needed to get minimal insulation in place in those areas.  

Started by removing excess adhesive with a razorknife and a spatula so the .5" polyiso would lay flatter.

before


after - some of the foamy adhesive remained adhered (the tan stuff) but it doesn't stick out any more:



There is an angle/crease/buckle in the body on this lower section; you can see it to the left.  I cut the measured piece in two there, then slit partway through on each where it angles in so it would "bend".  Will tape over the resulting gap.



With that minimal insulation in place I can put in the main power center, banks, etc.  Soon it will be time to punch a hole for the shore power plug.  F33R!  

Then I need to repeat the .5" setup in a couple other places, install those power distribution points.  Then the rest of the insulation. 

plates and registration sticker


Got the registration sticker and plates in.  I've never left any dealer advertising on my vehicles before but these guys were terrific so I'll let them have the freebie:

 

frater secessus

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Got a bit more done, although most of it isn't visible (tinning and terminating more wire, sitting and staring at the space).  I did finish that hole I cut in the overcab storage with the desk grommet.  The cover isn't on yet:



I installed the switch and usb driver to complete overcab systerm.  

I did pick up some used XPS off CL that will be used where it's not seen.  That should cut down some of the insulation bill.  The deal required I also pick up some homemade sawhorses (which I needed) hardie board which I didn't need and some OSB .  I cut the OSB to fit the area where electronics will be mounted. 

I ordered a H3 two-bar rack for the roof ($200). The mounts are $100 which means the crossbars are only another $100 so I got them.  I will have to see them to see what will be possible with the solar panel mounting.  Sunelec says they have warehouses in Dallas;  if that's true it might be a good way to pick up some Grade B or used panels.  Ordered a 40A controller (4215BN), based on my experience with the older 1210A.  I'm using the smaller one as part of a configurable diy converter. 

During the wiring fun it start to rain lightly which I found annoying.  I had been thinking about using the Promaster built-in rack mount stubs as quick way to rig a tarp.  Bowline loop thrown over the nub then staked out with poles.  Couldn't find a tarp so I used a poncho.  Only took a couple of minutes;  I can reach the nubs by standing in the side door and stretching a bit.  



Couple of boy scout sliding hitches and yer in bidness:



Didn't have any poles so I just staked it out.  Even something relatively short like treking poles would give more headroom.  

I've assembled everything for the shore power port but the sikaflex;  it will be here monday.  Going with a Rustoleum primer+paint rattle can to seal the cut and sanded edges.
 

frater secessus

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Completely tired, so short post.

cut the first hole in the van!   It was for shore power.  Here it's been sanded and I'll paint it shortly:



Painted, shore port installed with (too much) sikaflex; my first time working with that stuff.  

[size=medium] [/size]

Now the van is on an outdoor extension cord in the driveway.  It was next in the order of events but makes a huge difference to my ability to do work in there.   Fan, light, etc.


Ugly proof of concept house power install scrounged together:  2 golf cart batts sitting in a tub but cinched into a corner; 80A fuse on positive.  Alternator charging installed and working (battery doctor, which is the favorite in the PM forums) with 80A fuse at starting battery.  Starting battery is under panel below driver's feet, so easy access and short wire run.  .  DIY converter installed and working. 

[size=medium] [/size]

[size=medium]40A charge controller put in place (and tested earlier) but no panels yet.  [/size]

The house power wiring isn't connected yet because I will run the normal and opportunity loads off relays triggered by the two controller's LOAD outputs.  Haven't installed those yet (tomorrow) so not running any loads yet.

Rack and OEM window vents arrived today but ran out of time.  Also bought stuff for oil change, quick drain valve and oil analysis but it wasn't to be.  


Also set up another virtual server to store pictures like I used to do on photobucket.  Wrote a script to index, thumbnail, and output cut/pastable links for jamming into forum posts, etc.  It's how I did those pics above.  The thumbnails are aggressively optimized to tiny filesize to minimize impact on folks with limited internet connections.  

I am going to slip into a coma now
 

frater secessus

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Relays installed for the normal and opportunity loads.  Connected the first circuit (cab); came online with no drama.



The blue thing over the fuse panel is a 12v timer.
 

frater secessus

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Oil stuff

At the first oil change (since I've had it) I installed a fumoto valve for easier/cleaner changes in the future.  

Sorry about the zoom;  I accidentally hit 4x zoom on the camera while I was trying to take a one-handed pic.

While the oil was draining I took a sample for oil analysis, as I intend to catch any incipient problems during the warranty period:


The window sticker suggests the stuff that was in there was Valvoline dino that was put in about 4500 miles ago. 

Tossed in the highly-regarded Wix oil filter and 6qt of Castrol edge synthetic; the latter had the twin benefits of meeting [font=Arial, sans-serif]Mopar MS 6395 and being on sale at walmart. [/font]


[font=Arial, sans-serif]window vents[/font]
[font=Arial, sans-serif]Also installed the OEM window vents:[/font]
[font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font]
[font=Arial, sans-serif][size=medium] [/size][/font]
[font=Arial, sans-serif]They don't look as good as the weathertechs I bought (and returned) but at least they don't shatter during installation.  :-\  I've had the 'techs on several vehicles and really liked them but their design for this vehicle was poor.[/font]

[font=Arial, sans-serif]Ordered my butyl tape and lap sealant for the upcoming roof vent cut.....  :-0  Bought a pool noodle and use as bumpers so the ladder won't scratch the van.[/font]
 

frater secessus

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roof vent frame

A frame isn't required but will give the screws something to bite on, and will give me some jigsaw practice.  

I was thinking about making a frame, pondering the 14" ID and 16" OD.  Looked around at the various pieces of scrap I had lying around.  Then I remembered I needed to remove my thrift store sink from the section of counter it was cut out of:



Here I've laid the Maxxfan mounting frame on the scrap for size.    Downside of using this piece is it's particleboard so will be heavy and not as strong as lumber. 
 

Putts

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Ooooooooo....pool noodle ladder bumper. Noted!

Nice work on the electrics. Just about to do that myself. So, how many hours did you spend looking at that blank piece of particle board figuring out where to put everything. I think I'm at about 30 hours.
 

frater secessus

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It's pretty rough (first timer and I don't know what I'm doling) but I mocked it up on paper and in photoshop (gimp) a few times. I tried to use actual schematic software like kicad but the learning curve is so steep.

It'll get fleshed out more as I hook up the other circuits.
 

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