Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Plumbing Mods

From the first time I looked under the curb-side dinette seat, I wondered what Scamp had in mind when they scattered fresh water system stuff haphazardly. Out of sight, yes. Out of mind, nope! With the parts in hand to install a water transfer pump, it's time to reorganize a bit under the bench. By the time I took this picture, I had the bench top removed and the convenience outlet dismounted from it's original location. Also discovered that one of the tank hold-down straps had pulled loose.

I dismounted the pressure pump and moved the tank forward almost to the grey water vent line. This moves 100 pounds of weight (12 gallons) forward about 8 inches and inboard 3 to 4 inches.

This left room to move the pressure pump to the back, shortening both lines to it. I would have re-positioned the pump differently, but I didn't want to mess with the tee in the line from the street pressure connection.

The output from the transfer pump needed to be plumbed to the tank somewhere. I was hoping to tee into the gravity fill line, but I wasn't successful creating a tee to fit the 1.25 inch smooth bore hose and the half inch outlet from the transfer pump, so I ended up with a tank fitting that I didn't trust enough to put on the side of the tank. The fitting goes into a 1.125 inch hole and then is tightened, compressing the black rubber seal.

The transfer pump pulls from jerry cans through a 6 foot long half inch flex hose. It feeds from the pump to the tank via half inch PEX. I seated the fill port with 3M 5200 sealant. The drop on the gravity fill port remains the same as it was but the gradient is less given the longer distance.

The project was a fair amount of work just to avoid pouring 50 pound jerry cans through the gravity fill port while trying to avoid the drips, but it sure is nice. 'Sides that, it's sure easier to get to the tank drain valve now that the hatch is installed.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Egg is Hatched

Today we'll cover the cosmetic portion of the project. Installation of the hatch was an important part of my approach to increased water capacity but for many, a hatch installation could be a project without any relationship to a plumbing project.

Some people have installed relatively large hatches although that can be a challenge because of the curves of the trailer. I elected to install a Tempress 1115 Cam Hatch that I got from Amazon. The outside dimension is a nominal 11 x 15 inches - the inside dimension is approximately 7 x 11 inches. It's big enough for my intended use. The desired location required removing the convenience outlet to be re-positioned.

The hatch comes with a template and basic instructions - most of which I ignored, (its a gender thing) although I did use the template to drill pilot holes for the corners.

After drilling the 1/8" pilot holes, I followed up with a 1" forstner bit for the corner radius, taped the layout of the straight edges, and then fired up the trim router with a straight bit to freehand the cutout. The router allowed me to cut through the insulation without getting into the "rat fur" on the inside of the wall.

Scissors work much better for cutting the rat fur.  I didn't cut the complete hole in one pass because there was an electrical wire near the right edge that needed to be moved out of the way before finishing the cutout.  Don't ask how I knew that.*

The next move was to tape the flange in place so that the best location for the convenience outlet could be determined.  The piece that had been cut out included the original mount for the convenience outlet and made a great pattern for the new cutout.

The flange was bedded in 3M5200 marine sealant and attached with stainless machine screws.  Inside, you can see the subject of next post including relocation of the fresh water tank.

All done except for the stress test with a garden hose.

* What's that doing there?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Elective Surgery

For months, I've been considering ways to increase the amount of fresh water available in the trailer. In fact, I joined the migration of snowbirds to Quartzsite last winter for a few days specifically so that I could look at mods to a similar trailer including one that doubled the fresh water capacity. After making space under the street-side dinette bench for a second fresh water tank I had second thoughts. As I started researching for the planned Alaska trip next summer, I realized that a lot of remote fresh water sources were classic pitcher pumps - something that doesn't lend itself to refilling onboard fresh water supplies.

Ten days ago I started collecting the parts and pieces for my approach to increased fresh water capacity. The plan is to install a 12 volt transfer pump that will pull water from jerry cans to refill the onboard fresh water tank.  In the process, I may do some reorganizing of the original plumbing routing. The biggest step in the job will be to cut a hole in the curb-side of the trailer about where the convenience outlet is currently located and install a hatch cover to allow outside access to the area near the fresh water tank. Now all I have to do is get up my nerve to start cutting Saturday morning!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So Much For That Idea

Back in mid-July as we came south through Reno, we stopped in and cruised through the Sierra Trading Post Outlet. Didn't see much we needed, but I did mention a teaser about getting something for our Green River trip in late September. So much for that idea. It's a really neat (I was going to say cool, but that doesn't apply in this case) lightweight miniature grill designed for use on a back-packing stove.

The Green River trips have included a history of someone bringing an unnecessary but memorable addition to the trip. The first trip, in September 2000 included a Outback Oven resulting in homemade cinnamon rolls the last morning of the trip. One year included an inflatable pink flamingo that was passed on to the river Ranger to take through Cataract Canyon. Last year included a miniature barbecue & some rib-eye steaks. This year it was going to be the folding grill and chicken kebabs but they just got cut in the menu planning process. If any of the rest of this year's gang wants to try it, you're welcome to borrow it.

We did test it with what I thought was a pretty tough test - new potatoes and chicken. Worked well. It could be fun to mess with if someone wants to try.

And you wonder why we're talking menu a month before the trip. BJ has a major trip to Glacier planned with her hiking girlfriends between now and then so she's been in trip planning mode. I'm looking forward to the Green River trip but dreaming of Alaska next summer!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Is it Dreaming or Planning?

I suppose it depends on your point of view.  I know it's about 9 months away, but I make plans for river trips that far in advance, so it seems only logical that it's time to start planning for an Alaska trip next summer. Everyone says that Mike & Terri Church's book is an important source so Amazon kindly dropped one at our doorstep a couple days ago along with bits and pieces to install a forced air duct to the upper loft in the Scamp. Right now I'm having fun with the book while we wait for cooler weather in the garage before tackling more Scamps mods.

A quick, random look through the book confirms that it's full of good info - better in many ways than the Milepost that we used when the son and I drove up in February a couple years ago. I can see hours invested in making a list of "don't miss" places!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rites of Fall

While the college schedule doesn't ease up as much in the summer as it did years ago, the beginning of the Fall Semester is always an important milestone. Tomorrow is the day that the faculty return for the beginning of a new year and the pulse of the campus (and the volume of e-mail) picks up. I'm finding this Fall to be very different, recognizing that it's my last semester on campus. Lots of opportunities for memories, but no personal regrets so far.

I gave notice much earlier than necessary so that the President could determine her plans for replacement. The good news is that she's accomplished that. The bad news is that I've got a semester to go with very little to do since nearly all of my duties have now been assigned to others. From a campus perspective I'm hopeful that all of these individuals will realize the importance of the campus to  our communities and neighbors. 

On a different note, we stopped by Harbor Freight to pick up a 12 volt water transfer pump that I'm going to install in the Scamp for an auxiliary water source.  The rest of the pieces for that project are on order and once the temps drop some, I'll get it installed.  I'm already starting to pencil places to wander onto a calendar for the spring.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Deal with Stinkin' Hot

This week is turning out to be one of the hottest of the summer. Of course, that's saying something for the Phoenix area! Our daughter's Facebook posted picture says it all.

Thankfully, one of our Green River Wandering friends wanted to take her boat out and get wet. Paddling is something that we haven't done much of this year, but any excuse is a good excuse, so I joined BJ and Candice at the lake for a while this evening, getting our time in ahead of the developing thunderstorm. BJ and I took our short boats out to wash the dust off of them.

I'm been paddling canoe much more than kayak the last several years and haven't done any rolling for at least the last three years. With lake water that felt more like bath water, it was a nice chance to see what I remembered. The form was terrible, but all four rolls - a couple on each side - were successful. Being wet felt really good!

BJ decided the easier way to cool off was to just settle in for a float.

We got home in time to get the boats hung back on the rack before the storm decided to dump some rain, lowering temps to just 100F. Now that's nice!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wandering with the Hotspot

Decided to go for a drive this morning with the goal of doing some testing of the Millenicom 4620 Hotspot.  In order to set a baseline, I took a reading using before leaving the house.  The Hotspot was indicating 3 bars of 4G and the test indicated 20Mb/s download and over 7Mb/s upload.  Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, once we got away from 4G service, the speed dropped off precipitously. Parked across the road from the cell tower in Rye, with the cell tower filling our windshield and showing 5 bars on the Hotspot, we got our best 3G speeds of the day, less than 1/10 of the 4G performance.

It appears that signal strength does not have as much impact on speed as I'd anticipated. Further tests suggest that it may be related to time of day or luck of the draw for the ISP the hotspot uses. It took several tries when we got home to connect to the specific ISP used for the baseline test, and the afternoon results were notably slower than the morning.  We'll see if there are other factors we can control as we get more experience with the Hotspot.

Meanwhile, we had fun touring a bunch of streets, roads, and backroads on the north side of Payson. Found several nice looking houses at reasonable prices. Even found a boondocking spot with a great view of the rim.

Fire Control Road (NF-64)  is 10 miles of gravel that connects Highway 87 to the Houston Mesa Road. There are several spots at the western end that would be viable. The one I liked is south of the road about 100 yards, about 2.5 miles from the intersection with Highway 87.