Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bathroom Light Switch Modification

The bathroom light fixture has a built-in switch into it. The light switch is covered with rubber to prevent water getting in, small kids find it difficult to push the switch on/off. It's also mounted close to ceiling making it hard for them to safely reach it.

To solve the problem , I installed a pull chain switch. It's a pretty simple project; first, I removed the light fixture assembly from the wall (held by 4 screws). Unplug the light fixture from the coach wiring by pulling the bullet connectors apart. I then made a hole that is big enough for the pull chain switch mounting base to pass through to the side of the light fixture body. Installed the new switch, then rewired the black wire (+) to the new switch bypassing the old one. Put the whole thing back, and problem solved. Now, I can also easily turn the lights on when I need too while doing my business, no more reaching for that darn switch!

I also replaced the light bulb to an LED bulb from Home Depot, it's energy efficient and puts up  more light than the original bulb. Here is the link: Philips Accent LED 3-Watt. It provides cool bright light at 100 lumens (@ 4000K color temp) which is more than enough light for the bathroom. Of course, you can get one cheaper and has more lumens from Ebay, but not at this color temp range.The picture below doesn't do justice, it's a lot brighter than that.

New light switch installed

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quieting the water pump

The stock water pump that came with the RT is not the quietest by any means, but there are things you can do to make it less noisy. The surging/pulsating of water as it exits the water pump creates vibration to the rigid PEX tubing's.

The first thing I did is to insulate adjacent tubing's by wrapping them with inexpensive foam pipe wrap. I use zip-ties to secure them in place. I then install flexible tubing's between the pump and the rigid PEX. A "Pump Silencing Kit" by Shurflo is also available Amazon. Lastly, I installed a small Shurflo Accumulator Tank after the water pump to prevent annoying water surges. You could install a bigger accumulator tank instead to reduce water pump cycling, they are kinda expensive though. For cheaper alternative, a water heater expansion tank  as an accumulator tank should work. I do prefer the smaller accumulator tank for fear of leaks, the bigger tanks obviously holds more water and will cause more water damage if it leaks. 

Pictures of install below, I apologize for the fuzzy pictures.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adding Bluetooth audio streaming (A2DP) capability to TomTom Eclipse II

The Navigation/ Audio/Visual unit (Eclipse AVN4430) that came with the RT has a built-in Bluetooth but with no audio streaming capability (A2DP). I bought a Bluetooth bridge (Sprint Anycom A2DP receiver) from ebay for $19, this was several months ago. I was shock to find out that this receiver is now selling for over $90 (Amazon and Ebay) Anyway, there are other cheaper Bluetooth bridge available out there, just look around. The things that I like about this receiver is it doesn't need an external power and it uses an Ipod connection, which Eclipse has. I do not own an Ipod or Iphone, so the Ipod dongle adapter is useless for me (until this).

*Note to Iphone users: Iphone4 connected via Ipod dongle adapter works really well with the  Eclipse head unit (thanks to Trekker of Sprinter-Forum for the info).  Iphone music playback can be controlled within Eclipse.*

Anycom Sprint A2DP BT Receiver

Sunday, November 6, 2011

DIY: Compact Bathroom Trash Container

We try to limit tossing used TP into the toilet, plus the ladies prefers to use disposable wet wipes which cannot be dumped into the RV toilet. I really needed a small trash container inside the bathroom, but since RT Agile SS bathroom is so compact/ small, the smallest trash container I can find is still way too big for the bathroom.

I got an idea of using a toilet brush container as a trash can, it is small in diameter but taller which is a perfect size for RT Agile small bathroom.  I found one at a local thrift store for about $5. The container has a removable plastic liner inside so it was perfect for the project. I removed the brush from the lid and replaced it with a drawer knob. I then added a suction cup to one side, this attaches to the bathroom wall to keep the trash can from tipping over during travel. Pls. see pictures below (Click to enlarge).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Castaic Lake Campground, Castaic CA.

Castaic Lake Campground, Castaic California

Address: 32132 Castaic Lake Drive, Castaic, CA 91384
GPS Coordinates: 34.500522,-118.607124 (Campground entrance kiosk)
Website:Click Here!
Online Reservation: Click Here!

Castaic lake is located in northern Los Angeles County, just 45 miles north of downtown L.A., and 40 miles south of the Grapevine, off the 5 Freeway in the City of Castaic.

Family camping in RV’s or tents is available on the east side of the lower lake lagoon. The campground is divided into 3 lots (Lot A, B, and C). Lot A and Lot B are paved, Lot C is unpaved. Lot A (A7 to A16) is for RV's only. Lot A has more shade trees, Lot C is mostly open.

Swimming is only allowed during the summer season. The Swim Beaches are located on the west side of the Lower Lake Lagoon.

Boating (Upper Lake)
Camping: Fee: $20 per night (No hook-ups for RV, fresh water and dumping area is available)

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Swim Area

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Removable Countertop 2.5 Gallon Water Container Holder

During travel, I prefer to carry bottled water for drinking. I don't trust the fresh water tank for our drinking and cooking needs. We usually get the 2.5 gallon water container (2 packs) from Costco which is usually cheaper than getting it from our local grocery stores. I used to secure one 2.5 gallon water container on the countertop either using a rope or any kind of tying material to prevent it from falling off while underway. It was a big hassle to do, plus it's not very secure at all. After some brain storming idea, I came up with the design. Using pieces of scrap plywood, I made a water container holder, painted it black to match the appliances.  I've been using it for couple of weeks years now and has performed better than I expected.

Click photo's to enlarge. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Custom Rear Seats Cover

Pictures explains itself.

Custom French Memo Board

I found a use for the extra thin MDF and piece of fabric laying around. I made a french memo board. It provides a decorative accent and a perfect spot to place photos, memorabilia and coupons.

I first made a paper template, then transfer the shape to back of the MDF. Cut the MDF to shape using a jigsaw. Using a spray adhesive, I glued a thin piece of foam to front side of MDF, then covered it with fabric (left over from the back seat covers I previously made). Tack the fabric to back of MDF using staple gun. Added the ribbons and buttons...secured it on the wall using plastic hook n loop fastener..and voila.

Click on photo's to enlarge.

Remote Winegard Antenna Amp Switch

Are you tired of reaching for the tiny antenna switch inside the AV cabinet when watching TV? Do you forget to turn the antenna amp off? Well, you are not alone. My kids will even use the TV and TV wall mount as a monkey bar just to get to the antenna switch. This remote ant. power switch will make your life a lot easier. It's plug and play, no cutting of on-board wiring's.All you need is a on-off switch (I opted for lighted on-off switch) some wires, male and female crimp-on connectors/ crimper tool, a soldering iron/ solder wire, and a small plastic project enclosure for the switch. I use velco to attach the remote switch to back of the TV for easy access. If you decided not to use a lighted switch, you can skip the 3rd wire (negative wire).
Pictures of the install below.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Electric Step Disarm Switch

There are times when you don't want the electric step to automatically open with the door. For instance, when street curbs or other obstructions get in the way. One way to do this is to add a second switch in parallel with the door mag switch.

The door magnetic switch is a NO (Normally Open) switch. When the door is closed, the magnet which is located on the sliding door activates and closes the magnetic switch contacts thus in turn closes the circuit. Opening the sliding door deactivates the magnetic switch and the circuit opens. 

The rocker switch addition wired in parallel with the magnetic switch fools the step controller that the sliding door is in closed position thus preventing the step from extending.  

Fishing the wires where I want the new switch mounted (next to the electric step override switch) can be difficult. I removed the footwell plastic trim (passenger side) to see if I could route the wires from there, and lucky enough there was a hole opposite to where the mag switch is located. I pulled the door mag switch from the pillar and used a heavy gauge solder wire (can't find a hanger wire when I need it) to fish the wires to the opposite side of the pillar. See pictures below.

UPDATE: I just found out that you can easily access the magnetic switch wires by removing the lower sliding door stabilizer reciever plate. Just make sure to mark the exact position of the reciever plate for reinstallation.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quieting the Onan Generator

In my search to quiet  down the Onan 2500 Microlite propane generator, I decided to install an Onan Resonator (Part# 155-2449) which was recommended by couple of members

To start, first determine the placement of the resonator. You could either install it at the end of the generator exhaust pipe or somewhere in the middle section of the pipe. If you decide to install it towards the end of the exhaust, you may need a bigger U-bolt pipe clamp to accommodate the bigger resonator body. For cleaner/ stock look I opted for the later.

I removed the generator exhaust pipe by unbolting it from the internal muffler flange, then removing the 2-rubber hangers that holds the exhaust pipe. The exhaust is not a simple straight pipe rather it has 2 opposing 135 or so degree bend towards both ends.

Using a marker, I made a straight line along the middle section of the exhaust where the resonator will be installed, doing this made sure that the geometry and shape of the exhaust will remain same after installation of the resonator. Same straight line was made along the resonator body, this line should be in-line with the line made on the exhaust pipe once installed.

Using a metal cut-off saw, I cut out about 10-inches long (double check resonator length, from collar to collar) section of generator exhaust pipe. I fitted the resonator, made sure it was properly aligned and then held it in place using tube clamps on each end. I then took  the whole exhaust pipe assembly  to a local welding shop and have the Onan resonator welded in place. The welding cost $10 and took less than 5 mins. I then painted the whole exhaust with heat resistant paint, or you can just paint the welds to keep them from rusting. If welding is not an option, a U-bolt clamp like this (U-Bolt Exhaust Clamp) maybe used to connect the resonator into the exhaust pipe.

Onan Resonator Specs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DIY: Hardwiring power protection to your RV.

Power surge protection is a cheap insurance for the RV in the long run. Although power surges are not very common nowadays, but when it happens, I know my electronic equipment's are protected. I opted for Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C hardwire unit with remote display, as pictured below. It is also available as a portable unit. The EMS-HW30C is a power protection all in one unit, it has a built in voltage protection, a time delay for the AC compressor, a 3 mode surge protection, reverse polarity protection, open neutral protection, open ground protection, AC frequency protection, and accidental 220 volt protection...Amazon link to PE EMS-HW30C.