Fifth Round of Gear

Between yesterday and today, a bunch of new gear has arrived.  Time to review all of it!

Portable toilet.  I’ll use public services when available, of course, but there will be plenty of times where those services will not be available or convenient.  Yep, an adventure this will be.

Car adapter for my MacBook.  This is useful both on travel days where I can then plug my laptop directly into the truck and when I’m in the trailer.  When in the trailer, I’ll have a big 12v battery bank available.  I could use one of my AC inverters and then plug my regular laptop power cord into that, but it’s rather inefficient.  Going from DC to AC to then go back to DC isn’t the greatest route.  With this adapter, I’m going from 12v DC to 16.5v DC.  Much easier.  I tried it out briefly, and it seems to be working fine and the laptop can’t tell the difference.

Z-bracket mounts for the solar panel.  I’ll be permanently mounting the solar panel on the roof, and this is what I’ll use to do it.

Various plumbing fittings and connectors and so forth.  Turns out I didn’t really need all of them since other pieces of the plumbing system came with some of these pieces and adapters and they didn’t bother mentioning it in their descriptions.

Propane-based tankless water heater.  This unit comes with more pieces than instructions, which makes things a bit confusing.  One example is the two black-and-orange pieces which combine together into a quick-disconnect coupler.  No mention of it in the online description nor in the manual or on the box.  Just some random extra part.  I did figure out it was a 3/8″ NPT to 1/2″ pipe fitting, which is actually really handy, and if I’d known the system came with that pieces, I wouldn’t have purchased a similar piece from another vendor.

Another example of confusing pieces is the seals.  In the same bag as the shower attachment portion were two different sets of seals, one white and one black.  No information in the manual.  I’ll use a try-and-fail approach to see which set actually works the best.

I’m choosing not to bench test this item before bringing it with because of the difficulty in draining the system.  When I come back to MN, everything is going to get completely frozen on the way, and I don’t want to be freezing and bursting the little pipes in the heat exchanger of this unit.  This is going to be one of my on-the-road projects.

A couple pieces to go along with the portable shower: a tarp and a 10′ piece of flexible hose.  For the shower design, I’m going to do a little engineering so I can use a 2×4 to prop open the rear cargo doors of the trailer at a perpendicular angle to the length of the trailer.  I’m then going to use this tarp across the open side of the doors, effectively creating a virtual privacy wall.  I’ll also put another tarp on the ground to serve as the floor.  The water heater will be mounted in the trailer, all the way in the back on one of the sidewalls.  The shower head will be mounted on one of the cargo doors.  At that point, I’ll effectively have a 4’x8′  private outdoor shower stall.

Black and Decker battery-operated toolkit.  I’ve been of the opinion, for a long time, that I would much prefer to have a regular electric cord on all of my power tools because then there’s no batteries to wear out or need replacing, and corded power tools are generally more powerful as well.

Well, that works great until you don’t have a household electric outlet with at least a 10-amp circuit.  For my on-the-road projects, I’ll only have my battery bank and a solar panel, or the truck as available power sources.  For that reason, I picked up this set which runs off of batteries.  I can then charge those batteries, either in the truck or on solar power, as power is available.  The electric draw rate of the chargers is also quite minimal, so I don’t have to make any special accommodations for them.

And yes, I got all of the tools to fit in the bag that I also purchased to go with them.  Much nicer than trying to keep everything in the original box.

That’s going to be it for deliveries for the next couple days.  I’m going to be hibernating at home as the weather goes from bad to worse, and the only  scheduled delivery is a pack of MC4 solar panel connectors on Tuesday.  I still have to figure out proper security measures for the trailer, and I’ll have a post covering some of those concepts soon.

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