Tiny Camper Project

In late 2016 I started on a journey to convert a sixteen foot v-nosed toy hauler into a Tiny Camper while retaining the toy hauler functionality.

Original as purchased.  Marking plywood side-panels and removing them to add insulation.

All of the original plywood removed.  Now to add the insulation.  Note the welded steel strip.  This was factory and is used to secure the D-Rings on the wall.

As you can see..the vertical channels are Omega shaped so you can’t simply insert the polystyrene insulation.  First challenge. 
So the solution was to split the insulation without cutting the reflective backing, fold the panel and insert it into the slot.  Pop it down and…
waa-laa  Now onto the remaining.  I had to cut pieces to fit behind the horizontal metal mounting plate using the same method then sliding them down behind the plate.
One wall completed.
got the nose done. Some funky angles to deal with there and now I’m starting to reinstall the plywood panels.  All the wiring is going to be in exterior channels so that and fixes or additions won’t require opening up the walls.
kept the two original air vents.  One on the upper left side and one on the lower right.

Thicker insulating material in the roof and the use of adhesive to keep it in place until the paneling is installed. 
Almost done.  Blocking the insulation in place until the adhesive dries.  Note the pre-run wires for the planned LED lights and roof vent.
Adding some eco plywood now.  This is a nice straight grained 3/16″ pre-primed plywood made from renewable resources.  Cuts easy and is nice and light weight.

Paneling up and testing the electrical.
New lights.  These are like 16.00 for a pair from Amazon.  They are RV style lights with a built in switch.  One side, both sides or off.  Nice bright white lite.
Testing.
put some metal trim around the door.  Found this at Lowes in the flooring section.  Had to bend the channel a bit to accept the paneling but it worked quite nicely.
Cutting in one of three windows. (Back right, Mid Left and small round one in the door)  It was fun to find a window that would fit between the vertical channels.  I didn’t want to cut channels and have to weld in supports.  Some searching and I found a couple that would fit.  Had to take just about 1/4″ off one side of one upright support to make it work.
Outside view before inserting the window.  Painters tape to keep from marring the aluminum skin.
Inside bezel and weatherstripping added.
Added small strips of paneling to cover the seams, painted the walls and ceiling and added vinyl flooring. 
Decided to use this for floor molding.  🙂
Looks good and it’s functional.
Couple of monocrystaline solar panels for the top.  200 watts total.
The battery box I’m going to use.
Inverter to run the refrigerator and some small AC items.
Starting work on the cabinets.  Note the screen door.  This is a magnetic type.  Real slick and inexpensive.
Door added
Progress.  Testing fit of refrigerator and water jugs for fresh water and gray water.
Doors going on.
Doors on.
Test fit counter top.
Cutting in sink and adding primer.

More to come…

Fixing the iDrive controller on a 2007 BMW X5

I started having a problem with the push function on the push/rotary selector on my 2007 BMW X5 E70 series. Seemed like a software bug because it was doing strange stuff. After hours of searching the web I found a guy who had taken his apart and cleaned the sensor and claimed that fixed the issue. Knowing a bit about electronics 🙂 I found those results to be questionable unless there was grease or something in the optical sensor for the push-button. I didn’t find that. There was, however, a 4-pin connector that uses friction fit (square peg in a round hole) type manufacturing. I’ve seen these before on back-planes of telecom equipment and know that they can go bad. Especially in environments where there is vibration, extreme hot and cold (hmm…Alaska can get pretty dang cold). So I took to soldering these 4 pins and reinstalling.

BMW X5 iDrive Controller Fix

So the 4 little pins got soldered to the main board and reinstalled in the car. Functional test? WORKS! Happy camper. Saved $300.00

Does the US really want us?

Today…after finishing my taxes I told myself…”it doesn’t appear that this country really wants me to stay”.
For the first time in my life I actually wrote a letter to the White-house.
Over the next few months I’m going to set out on a mission to document the “real” tax rate for our family.
This will include all those hidden taxes like Healthcare (remember the supreme court ruled the mandate survives as a tax..just try not having healthcare), property tax, energy taxes, telecom taxes, any mandatory insurance premiums and so on.
I predict that it’s going to look more like Canada or parts of Europe than we think.

March 21st. Back from California

It’s official. You can take California (or at least all things San Francisco and south) and add it to my list of the worst possible places to go or live. For the life of my I can’t understand why anyone would put up with the traffic. If you were to just find a way to get half of the people off the roads half the time you could add millions of man-hours to the labor pool. They complain about the environment yet 90% of them seem to be driving somewhere (by themselves) to do something that for the life of me I can’t quite figure out. I’m sure there are nice places in CA…but the large cities and connecting roads are NOT any of them. Ugg….

December 28th

Got DNS resolution for www.fitzpatricks.us fixed with a little help.  For those of you who just have to waste time putting in those three little “w’s” you are all set now.

Got the scrolling parallax images working.  This is a pretty cool feature of the “twenty seventeen” theme.

Time to start working on content, cleanup, keywords and such….

December 27th

New host server installed,  Intel NUC PC.  All server instances are virtualized.  Mail is up and now I’m working on the web server. (which this is running on….so things might be going ok) 🙂