XenaCommanders Place

"Participating in Life"

Truck Blog

Update November 2018 - Nearly Done

Posted by XenaCommander on November 8, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Nearly Done...  Panels Hooked Up

So I have been busy....   and I haven't updated this blog nearly as often as I was going to..   But life has been busy and it seems the last thing I enjoy doing these days is sitting in front of a computer...   But I thought I should do this update... to keep you guys informed of progress.   So the above pic is the latest taken at Lake O..  It shows the panels on the roof...  Everything is hooked up and we are off the grid.    More details below.

Bedroom Cabinets

At the end of the last post...  I said I had gone on and built the bedside cabinets...   I was remiss in taking pics..   but but the next step was to build the over the bed cabinets..   So this pic was part of the planning ...

You can see the top of the bedside cabinets...    I wanted to tidy up all those wires hanging out of the wall..  So that was the main motivation to get these cabinets done.

Now of course nothing in this truck is simple...   everything is bespoke..  and the limitation is my imagination...  I am hopeless at design and visualising how things will look...   But I had an idea of what I want.

Hmmm I wonder if this is how it should be done..  build in place.. or should I assemble in the workshop first.

I decided to modularise it...   Pic shows construction of first component...

Of course each bedside cabinet had to have an entertainment system...    Those wires were needed for all this.

So they assemble as so...  Now to move them into the truck.   and build the same for the other side.

Pic of both top cabinets undercoated and mounted...  Note I was sleeping in the truck during this phase but it had to go to Levin for some rust work so I had to move into the house...  :(

While the truck was down in Levin I attempted to build the center cabinets from measurements I took before I drove it down...   With partial success...  but I didn't trust myself so I concentated on something else..
I had ordered the batteries and they were due to arrive so I got the solar panels and riveted them to the trays for mounting onto the roof.

Of course Murphys law presided once again...  The frames that I am putting the solar panels in only fit one way on the roof...  So I had to remember which way they go....   Yep...  you got it...   I was wrong on every count..!!!

So having riveted them into the trays they were ready for mounting when the truck got back.

Sanity returned when the truck did..   and I could fit the cupboards..   First one going up for a test...  not a bad fit..  but the next one has to fit between...

Starting to look they way I wanted it...  With this one fitted I can get accurate measurements for the last one.  Note I didn't move back into the bedroom while this construction was going on...    Messy.

Dry fit to check measurements...  I will be glad to tidy up all that wiring..

There...  I just need to paint the second door (which I have done but not taken a final pic..  duh...   will do so soon.)   I will put some trim around it once I have done the side cupboards...  Everything has an order to things.

Batteries in Place

The batteries arrived and I went to the Freightways depot in Taupo to pick them up...  lol...   Pick them up is just a term of phrase..    Weighing 55kg each it was necessary to ask my weightlifting neighbour Richard if he would lend a hand...  and muscle...    But I got them onto the workshop bench and made up wiring connections and managed to heft them into the battery tray.

Looking good and the drawer slides in reasonably well with 220kg in it...    These are Crown Lead Acid batteries..  I decided to stick to the plan... but I got 4 x 430 Amp Hour 6volt batteries giving me 860 AH at 12 volt.   Figure it will be enough for my needs...   Now it is all hooked up and I have charged it up with my new charger....   Now to get the solar panels on the roof.

Solar Panels go UP

Now remember I said I had riveted the panels into the trays..   well I also said Murphy was around when I did it..  Because when I hoisted the first one onto the roof and put it on the frame it was upside down to how it should be.   So I had to remove the panel and re-rivet it back the correct way...   This took longer than planned of course...    Like everything in this truck build.

Getting it up there was not easy...  heavy and cumbersome..  but I managed with ladder on a table... and a blanket covered foam squab to take the panel.  Number one mounted...

Three done...  and yes they were all upside down..!!!   mumble......

All four mounted and bolted down...   and wires run to the solar controller...  and generating LOTS of Volts...
On a fine day my batteries are charged up to 100% by mid morning...    Lunch time on a cloudy day..  So I think I have calculated ok.    A big milestone reached....  the rest is just adding comfort.


I chose the material for the curtains months ago...  and they have been in manufacture mode now for "a period of time"  but the friendly manufacturer is busy so I don't like to push for completion...   It will get done.  soon........

A rare moment...  the rarely seen manufacturer bird caught at work...  shhhhh...  don't scare her away.....

Oooh manufacturer cat even posed....   a rare treat...    I think they look great..     More to come.....   soon........

Now I need to get the final squabs for the front seat and bed seat done...  I have a friend in Rotorua who I hope will make them for me...  the blue squabs are a temporary bed.

The manufacturer bird came for another visit and was able to make progress on first roman blind curtain thingy for the kitchen.   I reckon it looks great.  This is temporary mounted until I figure out how to finish the top under the cupboards that are going above window...    Details to follow.

Bedroom Cabinets

Now I need more storage for clothes and stuff..  and my drawn plans had these triangular cabinets in the corner of the bedroom...    Now to make it real...   So being so large I couldn't assemble in the workshop and carry into the truck..  Too BIG...   so I had to make a jigsaw...  assemble in workshop..  disassemble... and reassemble...  Lets see how that goes...   fingers crossed.

So...  measure... measure...  (always measure twice)  cut..   measure...  measure..  cut..  domino...  join...  repeat....   and this is what happens...

Looks ok...     so far...     now the shelves..  measure.. measure.. cut..  repeat....

Aha...  that is starting to look like it should..  more measure measure cut...  until all pieces are ready..  then disassemble and reassemble in the truck.

Haha..  not as easy as that..  it took a lot of gymnastics to join and glue..  then assemble and screw the damn thing in place...   I did take time and put some paint on it first as well..    Lots of drawer space..  now the front goes on...  with door.

There..   I thought it would be a tighter squeeze to get past it but it fits nicely in that corner and with the bed corners cut off it works great.   This side is slightly smaller than the next one as the door slides into cavity behind cabinet.

Looking good..  door on.. and closes ok...   push latch in place but it needs a handle...  Let me see..   I will make them...   out of ply...

Keeping up my theme of exposed ply these were not difficult to route out with the router...   not taking any more fingers in the process... (always a good plan)

Then second cabinet took less time as I knew how to do it..   easy peasy...   the pic is blurry for some reason..  muggy day..

Final pic of the cabinets...  all done..   except now I want to put a nib wall on top of cabinets...  so if I have something on top it doesn't fall off at 90kmh going down the road..     I have made them but no pic yet. will post later.    Thats pretty much where Im up to at this moment..   I have mounted a TV above door and it is very secure.. I am making the electric switch and connection for that now..   


I promised I wouldn't do this until the truck is finished..    but..  being self contained.. and off the grid capable for 6 weeks at least...  I thought it was about time.

Looking good....    I only have a few more cupboards to make..  and trims to do ...   and then it is finished...  But I am sure I will find stuff to do..   Or maybe hit the road...   Now I can.

Stay tuned anyway...


Categories: Motorhome Building

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