Started the Fan Project

Tied into the dinette light wiring

Tied into the dinette light wiring

Traumatic!  That was today.

First, I tried to run the wires under the ceiling carpet with a coat hanger.  But the foam under the carpet caught where I connected the coat hanger loop, forming an impenetrable glob.   So I ended up having to cut through the carpet, pull it out a bit, and push the wires back under.  When I’m through, I’ll go back and contact cement the foam to the fiberglass and to the seam, and I am hoping it will be invisible.

I had never cut wires, connected wires, or used a connection crimper before, so I had to learn to use the tools as I went along.

First of all, the trailer wires were too short to connect with the new wires.  So I had to splice in an additional length onto the main white and black wires.

Cutting the hole in the carpet was nerve-wracking!

Cutting the hole in the carpet was nerve-wracking!

I’ve seen guys tighten a wire stripper around a wire, give a little yank, and it was done.  Not me.  I tightened the wire stripper, then tugged and tugged with all the brute force I could muster, busting a knuckle against the top of the cabinet in the process.  No dice.  So then I tightened the crimper on the wire, then turned the wire a quarter turn and cut from that side, too.  Finally I got one wire stripped.  Then I repeated 7 more times.  Next I connected the two bunches of 4 wires each.    When I finished the second bundle, I noticed that there were only 3 wires in the first bundle.  One wire had worked free.

Apparently I hadn’t stripped the wire far enough, so I had to disconnect that connector, and restrip the wires.  In the process I accidentally cut off one of the little copper strands on one wire, and two on another.  I remember an electrician telling me that was bad news and could make the wire overheat.  So with almost no wire left on the dinette light, I had to cut it even shorter and strip it again.  Finally I got them bundled back together.  This time I checked to make sure all the wires were secured.

Testing the fan to make sure it works.

Testing the fan to make sure it works.

Just to make sure the fan wasn’t defective — or that I hadn’t wired it improperly, I reconnected the battery, taped my black wire to the black wire on the fan, then touched the white wires together.  IT WORKED!!!!  Beautifully!

I decided to cut the hole in the roof from the inside to minimize the time I have to spend up on the trailer’s roof.  But first I had to cut the carpet away so I could see what I was doing.   I Just knew that I was ruining my little Casita.  But eventually I managed to get the area cleared of carpet and it doesn’t look so scary now.

I probably would have time to finish the installation today, but I’m going to wait until I get a good night’s sleep and my blood pressure goes down a bit!  🙂

 

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Doing Things I Don’t Know How to Do

(Casita wiring schematic removed by request.)

Sometimes projects overwhelm me because I have no prior knowledge or experience to draw on.

Installation of the Fantastic Fan is one of those projects.

I suppose my fear of working with anything electrical goes back to the dire warnings of electrical shock and electrocution that my mother instilled on me thoughout my growing-up years — based on a near-death experience during her teenage years.

Anyway, I understand now that if the trailer is unplugged and one cable of the battery is removed (or the breakers turned off) that I’m not going to get fried.  But that’s about all I understand.

These connectors came with the Fantastic Fan

These connectors came with the Fantastic Fan

First of all, most Casitas come prewired for a Fantastic Fan.  The original owner of my trailer ordered it without a roof vent at all.  So there is no existing fan wiring to tie into.

I called Casita, and they said to tie into the dinette lighting.   They are wonderful people, but they are also extremely busy, and my dumb questions apparently frustrated them.  So all I know is that I need to tie into the dinette light wiring.

One size fits all. :)

One size fits all. 🙂

I found a DC diagram for the Casita and it shows me where the wires run.  I will have to lift the carpet inside the cupboards, find the  wires, then glue the carpet back down later.

I am going to have to run the wires under the carpet from the cupboard to the ceiling.  I have some heavy aluminum wire that I think I can create a fish tool from.

I have the wood spacer for the fan cut out.  Just need to sand and finish it.

So now I am down to trying to figure out how to follow the Fantastic Fan electrical directions.  They say, “Hook 12 volt power to fan.”

Two wires are attached to the fan, and the package includes two little blue connectors.  I have never seen connectors like these before.  So I do a web search for a tutorial.  Finally I find an article that says to slide the wires in from both sides and crimp in the middle.  But I don’t know if one crimp in the middle will keep the wires from vibrating apart.  Would it be better to crimp each wire separately near the middle of the little blue thing?  I have no clue.  I’m guessing it couldn’t hurt.

Then I start thinking that if I cut the trailer wires and connect the fan that probably the lights and bathroom fan, farther down the circuit, wouldn’t work unless the Fantastic Fan was switched on.  So I searched the web again and found diagrams of jumper wires that would apparently route the current around the fan if it was off.

So I did a little sketch of how I thought I needed to do a jumper wire and emailed it to a guy who has answered questions for me in the past.  Although he graciously replied, he apparently was amused and his reply was so flippant that I would never dare ask him another question again.  🙂

Next I needed to decide what size connectors to use inside the cabinet.  I know from experience with battery connectors that there is no way I can crimp a wire tightly enough to get it in the size connector that’s supposed to fit.  I finally find some connectors that say they replace several different sizes… kind of an all-in-one solution.

Fortunately I do know how to use them because I have seen my ex connect wires with that screw on type connector.

Once I get the wires fished and figure exactly where to connect them, mounting the fan should be fairly simple — because I have used butyl tape and self-leveling caulking before, so I’m not expecting any hidden monsters to jump out and bite me there!

We have some rain on the way, so this will probably take a while!

Demolition Update

We got the water heater out of the camper today.  It was a big job because I had sealed it really well with butyl tape the last time I installed it.

I wrote Joanne at Our Aliner Restoration for advice on my project since she and her husband have been through a floor replacement and complete rebuild of their 1998 Aliner.  She suggested that I take out all the old wiring and have it redone from scratch later.

So I did.  Actually, I’m glad to have all that stuff out of the way while I’m working in there.  Especially the old Elixir converter.  I also removed all the plumbing.

Was too tired to do any more this evening.  I’ll plan on removing the gas lines and the wiring underneath the trailer tomorrow, then start digging out the staples that hold the aluminum siding to the bottom of the trailer.  That project will probably take a few days.

I keep having to fight off thoughts of simply towing it to the junkyard!

One good thing about working on the trailer… I don’t have to cook tonight.  Ron is on his way to pick up KFC.  🙂

 

Undoing the Solar

Where the wires go

Today’s project was undoing the solar wiring so I could remove the charger and solar controller.

I have a pretty high IQ, but I am brain dead when it comes to electrical stuff.  Probably because I don’t want to know how to do it.  My dad did wiring, my ex did wiring, and somewhere along the way I internalized the cherished belief that I didn’t need to know how to do it.

Now I am doing it.  Sort of.  I’m taking pictures of every connection and making labels for the wires to remind me what goes to what when

The solar controller

I start putting it back together again.

I also got the other bed removed.  Tomorrow I’ll remove the water heater and water tank and label more wiring.  🙂

Everything is photographed and labeled now, so it can be taken apart.

Stored in the spare bedroom until time to put it back together

Tomorrow's project

Getting the Wiring Done

The little Aliner is in the shop.  But first she got her walls and ceilings scrubbed, curtains washed and ironed, floor scrubbed, cupboards cleaned, and her exterior washed and waxed.

The wiring should be finished in a couple of days, I hope.

Then, next week, she will hit the road for a week of camping!

Going to the Shop

I talked with the people at the RV repair shop today.  The only reason they can think of why my water heater may have rusted out so badly is that I could have run some bad water through it.  I had wondered if maybe some kind of industrial fumes could have caused it.  But I’m not aware of having parked around anything like that.

We use water from everywhere in the camper, so I have no idea where we could have picked up something corrosive in it.  We’ve never parked the camper at the beach, so it can’t be salt air.

In any case, I have an appointment to take the Aliner into the shop Monday to have the wiring on the new water heater hooked up.  I should have it back by mid week.

And then we will go camping.