Friday, December 29, 2017

Storing some Juice

The Vista came stock with a pair of NAPA 12 volt, 75 amp hour rated batteries for the coach circuits. Jeff knew he wanted more power, so we started researching 6 volt golf cart battery options. The plan is to put two in place of the original coach batteries under the stairs and to put the other pair in the bay adjacent to the stairs, alongside the solar controller.

The biggest challenge was making the second pair easily accessible for servicing. We ordered a pair of 250 pound capacity, full extension drawer slides and a battery box for the second pair and then I got busy cutting up some wood.
The plan was to build both the base and the drawer from Baltic birch. I did some dry fitting and drilled for screws to hold the major pieces. 

With the dry fitting completed, I epoxied the seams and screwed the pieces together, expoxied the base, radiused the edges and glassed the structure inside and out. With the weight of the batteries and notorious Alaska roads, we wanted to be sure the base structure would not shift or loosen.
The base was painted and the drawer slides were installed

so that I could start dry fitting the parts for the drawer portion. Amazingly, the vast majority of my initial cuts were correct, with just a couple needing a little additional clearance.

Like the base, the structure was epoxied together

and then glassed inside and out.

Amazingly, everything fit without any shims.

The biggest challenge was the installation of barrel nuts in both sides of the base so that a machine screw could be run through the face of the drawer on both sides. These screws keep the drawer firmly closed in transit. The two screws will be removed when opening the drawer to service the batteries.

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