Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Installing the TV

Another important item: the TV. This is a 22" 1080p TV, with built-in DVD player and SAT receiver. I mounted it on a flexible arm, so it can be moved to the side when not needed.

The TV is quite heavy, and through the extended arm there is quite a lot of pressure at the mounting. I knew that the simple laminate board would not be able to hold the TV just by screws drilled into it, so I added a support beam at the other side of the board which would distribute the pressure onto a wider surface. Unfortunately that beam did move a little when I drilled the holes, therefore it is not exactly straight. But at least I think that it is stable enough to hold the TV also through the vibrations that occur during driving.

In my opinion the 22" screen has a reasonable size for this vehicle. I would not want anything smaller, and for a larger display there is no space. This TV also has an HDMI input which I will use for the Raspberry Pi which will eventually be installed here as a "vehicle computer".

While setting up the TV, the reception of the digital TV signal was not very great. I have to try it again in the open field, with good view of a TV tower.

When on, the TV draws from the 12V power a current of 2.2A. This may go up to 3A when DVD or SAT is used - the rating of this TV is 37W. When in standby, the TV uses 190mA. But it also can be switched off completely.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A heavy-duty electric socket/plug

For working on the electrics I have to take that board with all the switches and cables out of the car. It has been easy to remove - just one screw at the top, and I could take the board out and work on improving the electrics. But everytime I took the board out, I also had to unscrew several electric connections: vehicle ground, vehicle battery, leisure +/-, solar panel +/-, lamps. The cables are not getting better from often removing them form the screw-terminals, so I was considering to use plugs instead. I found several connectors at Maplin which were suitable for the lighting connections (ok for 6A) and the solar panel connection (20A is sufficient, as I have seen never more than 6A coming from the solar panel). But I was not able to find a suitable socket and plug for the battery: I have designed everything to be able to support at least 30A (solar controller, thick cables, circuit breakers). Therefore I was looking on ebay, and I found one, shipped directly from China: a heavy duty connector with four pins, used foe 380V and permitting 30A.

This connector is also waterproof. So I connected the leads from the two batteries into the socket, and connected the plug to the board.

Now it takes much shorter to get the board out: simply unplug all the connectors, remove the one tightening screw, and the board can be removed.

And while at it, I also added a cover board to hide the cabling out of the view. And improved the attachment of the board: now with two screws (one at the bottom onto the work surface, the other on the top onto the shelf.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The second bed

For the second bed (on the right side of the vehicle) I first needed to construct the base. This base sits on the larger folded half of the rear bench, which is two seats wide. Due to inaccuracies and a slightly sloping and soft surface of this folded bench it was difficult to get this base straight in line with the already existing bench on the left side (which only covers one folded seat).

This base I did leave more open, so that I would be able to access it to store content, even when the bed is covering it on top. But this also meant that the sides would be inherently less stable, as they would not support each other through right-angle mounting of the side walls. Therefore I put a horizontal bar at the top of the base, which would connect the front and rear walls and also would provide the support for the bed to be on top.

This support is also used to stabilise the bed board on top by fitting between two other support beams which form a grove into which this support bar can fit.

Now there are two beds usable in the MicroCamper. When folded, the bed boards fit behind the driver seat, as shown in the picture below:

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The first bed

The next milestone was to complete one of the bed supports. This is made of two MDF boards which are connected via a piano hinge so that it can be folded. The total length of this first bed is 1.85 m, the width is 0.60 m. I had to cut out some parts on the side where the board touches the vehicle wall. Also, towards the end, the vehicle is tapered somewhat, so the board also becomes more narrow. This would be just a kind of "emergency" bed, due to the quite small size. But it fits in the back with even the passenger seat in its regular position.

In the back there is one foldable support leg, which supports the weight of the person on the bed. When folded, the bed support is just 95 cm long and can be stacked away either vertically behind the driver seat or horizontally onto the folded rear right seat bench.