Sunday, 9 August 2015

Another set of blinds

When sleeping in the car I had to take measures for covering the windows. The rear window has a roller blind, and the driver-side rear window (over the kitchen) has silver horizontal blinds. The windows at the rear seats I covered with two hanging-down organisors, one at each side, which also provide space for putting some odds and ends there. The front window was covered by a black blanket. Only the very rear passenger-side window did not have any cover.

I fixed that now: another set of horizontal silver blinds.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

First-time sleeping in the camper

I decided to give it a try and spend one night in the car. I put up the bed on the passenger side, because this allowed me to keep the microwave in place.

Quite a cozy narrow room. Probably similar to being in a space craft! The TV works fine, I always had a cold drink available, and the electric heater worked well in this English cool summer night, powered by the external 240V power.

Friday, 7 August 2015

And more finishing touches at the electrics

In principle all the wiring had been completed, but two things needed to be done: the internal lighting of the switch for the external 12V supply needed to be connected, and the ampmeter for the internal consumers needed to be properly wired so that it also would show current when the power supply was used instead of the solar/leisure battery circuits.

The switch does connect the POWER-ON line with the GROUND from the power supply. I decided to use the -12V as the other connector for the switch illumination, so that the direction of the current is the same as originally intended in this switch (there is ACC, power, and ground connection at the switch, and since ACC and power are already on ground level, the remaining connection should not be +12V; this is important if the illuminator is an LED, where the direction of the current matters).

The ampmeter just needed some rewiring of the common ground return cable, which I had connected to the common terminal block instead of going through the ampmeter resistor first. I changed this, and now the meter also shows the current when the consumers in the car are connected to the 12V power supply instead of the leisure battery.

The cabling looks chaotic, but is all well-thought-through :) :

Once the cabling is hidden and the big wiring board is moved and affixed into its position, it looks more tidy. Even the coffee machine is back in place:

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Another Microwave Cooking: Bacon

In the microwave oven I had boiled half a liter of water, had cooked five eggs, and now another challenge would come: I would use the other side of the microwave dish to cook some bacon.

Here is one slice of bacon before cooking:

After 20 seconds:

After 40 seconds:

After 60 seconds:

After 80 seconds:

After 2 minutes:

Tastes delicious!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Finalising the Electrics

Two items still were not yet installed: the 12V power supply from an external 240V mains power, and the recharging of the leisure battery from external 240V mains. I had already made the plans and wire diagrams, I only needed to make the actual connections.

For the battery charger I used one simple toggle switch to trigger two relays which would reroute the connection of the leisure battery: in normal condition the battery would be connected to the whole electric / solar controller setup; when activated, the relays would interrupt this connection (both the +12V and the ground) and would connect it to the output of a 12V car battery charger, which is connected to the 240V mains. A green LED indicates that the battery is being charged.

For getting 12V power while the leisure battery is being charged, it is advised not to draw current while the battery is being charged. The charger only provides up to 4A in slow-charging mode, and it would be overwhelmed to also drive all the consumers, if the battery is already quite flat. Therefore, the power for all these 12V consumers must come from another source: a 240V-to-12V converter was needed. When I checked online, I noticed that transformators and adaptors were either very expensive or did not provide sufficient power. I wanted to be able to have 30A at 12V, which is 360W. The solution seem to be switchable power supplies. And fortunately there is a good source for low-cost high-power 12V supplies available: PC power supplies. They provide high power, stabilised. I got an 800W power supply, which then theoretically could provide 66A. There are many web sites which show how to connect the wires. Important is that a power-on lead needs to be connected by a switch to Ground - this then powers up the power supply. All yellow cables need to be connected for the +12V line, all black cables together form the Ground. There are also +5V lines (all red cables) which I am not using now; and there is also +3.3V. But I only used the +12V and teh Ground. The Ground is steadily connected to the consumer circuits' ground, and the +12V is switched by a relay which connects the consumer circuits either to the solar controller output or to this power supply.

Works like a charm! Now I can go to any campsite with an external power supply and recharge the battery and at the same time still operate all my 12V devices (light, TV, refrigerator).

The power supply and the battery charger are plugged in:

The charger is charging the battery:

The line tester shows that everything in the mains line is properly wired (left picture), and the whole 240V setup is fully functional (right picture):

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Reversing Camera

The view through the rear-view mirror became quite obstructed with all my construction, and when driving with luggage, it will be even worse. So I decided to put a rear-view camera in. The camera already crates a reversed image, like a mirror. This image is then shown on a small monitor above the real rear-view mirror.

I did not want to drill any more holes into the vehicle, so I decided to mount the camera inside of the vehicle. One disadvantage is that it has to look through the tinted rear window, which means that the image is darker, and at night it is basically not usable, except when other cars are there with their headlights. But this is ok - the real mirror is also not better.