Monday, December 5, 2016

300 watt Solar Panel Upgrade and AC/DC Compressor Fridge Upgrade


I recently replaced our 3-way Dometic fridge to an AC/DC compressor fridge which I should have done long time ago, no more scrambling for a leveled parking spot with the new fridge. The compressor type fridge is also consistent in keeping the set temperature and cools way faster than the Dometic 3-way fridge. The only thing I like about the 3-way fridge is it uses minuscule amount of DC power when operating on propane, a big plus when boondocking.

I went with Norcold DE0788 as it was locally available, saving me shipping fees and long wait. At first, I was contemplating of getting the Nova-Kool with the proven Danfoss compressor, but I really did not like the mounting location of its compressor and electronics. The Nova-Kool compressor/ electronics are mounted on the bottom rear of the fridge; this location is prone to getting wet from water/rain intrusion through the open side vents. I plan of leaving the old fridge outside vents open for the new compressor fridge venting and ease of access to the condenser for cleaning.

600 Watt Microwave Replacement to Run Off Our 1000 Watt Inverter

We do use the RV microwave quite often but doesn’t like the idea of running the generator just for few minutes of MW use. There also times that we refrain from running the genset so not to upset our camp neighbors, especially early in the morning/ late at night or during no-generator times at campgrounds.

Right after the installation of our new Magnum MMS1012inverter/ charger (see this post) I started on replacing the factory installed microwave/convection oven with a smaller 600 watt microwave I got from Amazon (600-watt Westinghouse Counter Top Microwave). The microwave works really well with the Magnum MMS1012 PSW inverter; it draws around 950 watts. I can heat up a cup of water in less than 2 minutes. The MW outlet was rewired to the inverter output at the GFCI outlet located above the sink. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Magnum MMS1012 PSW Inverter Upgrade and Lifeline AGM Batteries Replacement

Our 2011 RT Agile came with a Tripp Lite 750 watt inverter/charger from the factory. It works ok for the most part, but the built-in charger has limited charge parameter setting especially for AGM battery which we had.

The factory installed coach batteries (US Battery AGM2000) lasted us about 6 years, until it was “cooked” by the Tripp Lite charger during our recent summer roadtrip. I was able to temporarily replace it with a Walmart battery the following day, and that saved us the rest of the trip.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Overhead LED Lightning Conversion plus LED Mood/ Party Light Combo

The interior fluorescents lights were actually converted to white LED’s a few years back and the Wi-Fi/ BT/ RF controlled RGB LED mood lights were added recently. Both LED lights are independently controlled and can be switch on at the same time for extra brightness.

Parts used: (Amazon product links)
Optional SMD 5050 white LED light panel: Search Amazon

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fixing the Drippy Bathroom Faucet in our Agile

Our bathroom faucet started leaking around the handle so I decided to disassemble the faucet to see what’s causing the leak. Here is how I did it.

First turn the water pump off, then open the faucet to release the water pressure. Remove the handle lever. The handle is held by a single screw hidden under the red/blue plastic plug. Using a mini screw driver or something pointy, remove the red/blue plastic plug on top of the faucet handle.

Monday, March 7, 2016

DIY Hitch Cargo Carrier and Side Mounted Hitch Receiver for Roadtrek Agile

Agile's Continental spare tire carrier location prevents the use of hitch cargo and bike carriers without any modifications. I've seen people use hitch extensions to clear the spare tire carrier, but this defeats the purpose of buying the shorter Agile not to mention its considerable influence in dynamic loading of the rear suspension over bumps and other road changes. Hitch baskets and bike racks mounted towards the rear of the spare tire also prevents the spare tire carrier to be folded down when needed.

I fabricated an extra hitch receiver that bolts-on into the right side of the factory hitch arm; it can accommodate medium sized hitch cargo carries/basket.  I will be fabricating a hitch cargo/bike carrier combo that swings to the side for easier access to the rear of the RV. For now, I'm using a small fabricated hitch cargo carrier for small loads like firewood/ ice cooler/ tool box, etc.

The receiver tube is a Harbor Freight tube cut short, and then welded to the fabricated bracket.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Automatic RV Hot Water Recirculation System

To minimize waste of water while waiting for the hot water in the sink or shower to come through, I installed a DIY automatic hot water recirculation system in my Agile. I can also use it to prevent the water line from freezing when camping below freezing temperature. I'm already thinking of re-plumbing the hot water line under the RV to provide heat into the fresh and holding tanks via a DIY heat transfer plates which will be installed under each tanks. A manual diverter valve will be used to divert hot water away from the heat transfer plates when it is not needed, that would be my near future project.

The DIY hot water recirculation system is installed into the galley faucet hot and cold water line which is the point farthest from the water heater. It is fully automatic with manual switch override. A digital temperature controller is used to switch the pump on and off to automatically recirculate hot water back into the cold water line. The adjustable fan-control thermostat switch (see below) monitors the water temperature in the water heater tank and the system only becomes active when set temperature is achieved. It will shut the system off when water temperature falls below the set temp, doing this will prevent the recirculation pump to continuously run when water heater is shut-off and hot water falls below a certain temp.

Hot water recirculation system wiring diagram.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

120- Volt Electric Conversion to Suburban Gas Water Heater

Warning: The post below is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation to modify your water heater and other products mentioned here. I will not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages or personal injury that may result from following this blog post.

I recently installed an aftermarket 120-volt electric heater element to my Suburban gas water heater. This mod should help cut my water heater propane usage when shore power is available. I opted for the "Lightning Rod" brand as it is the only electric conversion unit with built-in anode rod. Suburban does recommend using an anode rod in their porcelain lined steel tank for corrosion protection. Although the anode that came with the electric conversion is a lot smaller than the OEM anode rod, it is still a better option than no anode at all with the competing aftermarket products. I'm not sure how well the small anode will last or perform. I will update this post after a few months of water heater use.

Friday, March 4, 2016

RV Exterior Hand Held Hose/ Showerhead Replacement with Magnetic Pin Mount

I finally replaced my bulky, leaky, hard to store exterior showerhead and hose attachment. Found a small showerhead with built-in shut-off lever on Amazon along with a very flexible stainless steel hose, a shower pin wall mount (optional) and a pin mount swivel connector. Actually, the pin wall mount/ swivel connector was salvaged from an old showerhead I had, but it is available on Amazon (clickable Amazon links above).

Replacement is pretty straightforward, just unscrew the old hose and the showerhead then attach the new ones in place. I just made one minor modification to the new showerhead by drilling a bigger hole into the water saver valve (located on the water inlet of the showerhead) as the water flow is weak and restricted by the smaller hole.

The new hose is very flexible and really easy to store, unlike the factory hose which is a pain to store into the storage compartment, just coil the new hose about 3x and the door will close with ease.