Even More Construction

Construction continues.  All kinds of parts and pieces are coming together.  No epiphanies on anything else because I’m too busy working in Texas heat to think of anything else.

As I mentioned in my previous posting, I was looking forward to getting the new topper on the Great White Knight.  Here’s a before shot of what the truck looks like.

And an after shot.  I personally like the appearance of the truck better without the topper, but the topper is basically a requirement for the upcoming travels.  It’ll hold all kinds of tools and supplies, plus it’ll serve as a windbreak for the trailer.  It’s pretty much just a necessity.

Working on all of the under-floor systems.  Got all of the drain lines from the holding tanks to the outside set up, added supporting beams for the future floor above them, installed the shower sump pump, ran all the pex lines for everything that needs water, drilled holes in the holding tanks for inputs and vent lines.  Lots of prep work before the flooring goes down.

I’m testing an awesome feature of the inverter by running the water heater: Support Mode.  In this mode, I can limit how much draw I’m pulling from shore power or a generator, and if my demands exceed that (which an electric water heater will almost always do), it’ll draw from the battery to make up the difference.  When the load goes down, then it’ll go back to charging the battery.  Makes actually living in the RV much more house-like and smoother/easier to live with.

In the image above, the water heater needs 2.0kW (kilowatts), and it’s limited to 0.6kW from shore power.  It’s using 1.4kW from the batteries to make up the difference.  Awesome!

This is one of the pieces that makes up the floor in the kitchen area.  This particular piece goes over the black tank and has cutouts for the toilet input, vent output, access ports for the electrical on the fridge and freezer, and spaces for pex lines and electrical lines to other systems.

The patchwork of flooring in the kitchen area is nearly complete!  It’s really nice to be able to walk around in it instead of very carefully planning every step trying not to step on something important.

I’ve started on the third layer of soundproofing material in the crypt: Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV).  This stuff is heavy at 2 pounds per square foot, and this is one of the main reasons I’m building my own RV instead of buying something else: nothing else has the carrying capacity to handle it.

To protect all of the electronics, I’ve added a EMS (Electrical Management System), which is a very fancy little box.  It’s primary and more important function is to be a surge protector and sacrifice itself instead of letting surges come into the inverter and possibly other parts of the system.  It also detects every kind of wiring problem I could run into when trying to connect up to shore power.  It’s all automatic, so I basically don’t have to think about it, which is nice.

I put flooring in the loft, added paneling on the walls, and all of a sudden, it’s starting to look like a real RV!

I added a large number of LED lights, and it really shines in there now!  300 watts of LEDs is a lot of light, whether you’re in an RV, sticks’n’bricks, or wherever.  When working on any construction project in there (or in the future, cooking or doing laundry or whatever it is I want to do that requires light), there’s plenty now.  The camera does a good job of making things well-lit whether the lighting is good or not, so it’s not nearly so dramatic in photos as it is in real life when I turn on these lights.

With the air conditioner and solar panels on the way, I decided it was time to make the unit ready to be moved outside.  Before I do that though, I figured it would be easier to insulate the underside while it’s still in the garage instead of on the ground outside.

Insulation added.  To keep the insulation from falling out…

Aluminum skin added.  This will hold the insulation in place, and should protect it from various road debris.  It also looks pretty nice too!

Solar panels came in!  2,130 watts.  Yep, that’s a lot of watts.  I’ve designed but not yet completed the rack that will hold them, that’s something that has to wait until the rig it outside.

While I’m waiting on the air conditioner, the next project is to create kitchen cabinets.  I’ve never created kitchen cabinets before, and they seem like a lot of work.

They are.

These cabinets aren’t standard either.  They’re deeper than normal cabinets so they can hold the appliances I’m putting in them. They’re not built in the standard way (built in a shop then carried in and placed in a house), I’m placing each piece in the trailer and then screwing it down to the floors and walls directly for additional strength.  Oh, and there’s a v-nose that adds a whole other layer of complications too.  Did I mention I’ve never built a kitchen cabinet before?

So far so good, I think!  The counter top is simply placed on top right now, it isn’t mounted down, I was just testing for size and fit.  A cutout for the washing machine will be made, the sink needs to get installed, and I have laminate that’s going to cover it too.  Lots more details before it gets screwed into place.  Oh, and cabinet doors too.

Air conditioner, air conditioner, air conditioner!  It arrived!  It came in Wednesday (yesterday) late in the day.  It was only late this afternoon that I figured out that I needed to order a longer line set than it comes with, so my installation has been pushed back until probably late next week, which is very unfortunate.  It’s getting really stupid hot here in Texas.  If doing construction all day isn’t bad enough, doing it in high heat is just… I’m looking forward to getting the AC running!

And the truck camper sold today.  I got more for it than my minimum, just slightly less than I wanted, so it’s all good.  That spot under the overhang has been cleared up and is waiting for the trailer to be moved out.

In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to make the unit “livable” by mid-June.  I then want to spend the next two weeks after that moving out of the Tyler house and tidying up everything there, both inside the house and in the shop.  After that, I’m still hoping for a July 1st launch date.

PS: I forgot to mention when I first hit publish on this – I’m doing a lot more updates and quick photos on Instagram these days.  I figure I’ll use Instagram for more of the quick and easy photo types of things and I’ll start using the blog for more long-format posts, probably with fewer pictures, when inspiration strikes.

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