Friday, May 25, 2007

no more training wheels

I realize its been a couple of weeks since I posted anything. Life has been busy with a job change and a kitchen remodel taking place at the same time. So, I haven't really had any time to do anything on Hapy other than look at him. With Camping season approaching, I realize I'll have a lot to get done in a very short window of time after the Memorial Day break if we plan on getting out much this Summer. Last Spring, the same thing happened. In fact, this story comes from last Spring when I was trying to get the auxillary battery operating the way I wanted it to: just power the interior lights. Electrical stuff always takes longer than you think it should, and this was no exception.

It was a warm Spring day, when I discovered I had a couple of hours to devote to chasing one of the pre-Summer projects on Hapy. The lawn had been mowed, the roof had been swept, even the gutters were clean. I had not completed the installation of the 1979 Westvalia interior, so I wanted to focus on that. After much thought and discussion with friends, I decided that the little early baywindow bus alternator would not be able to support the demands of the late baywindow electric refridgerator. "Ok, so no fridge," I thought. "who cares?" In fact, the wiring of the whole secondary circuit assumes that the only thing that second battery is going to power is your fridge. Even the water pump for the sink ran to the primary (starter) battery through the main fuse panel. I thought it was really stupid to have all this extra wiring just for a tiny fridge, so I figured no big loss. I traced the lines on the wiring diagram and spliced into the line that was carrying the juice to the refer. I routed this to a small fusebox that I buried in the cabinet behind the fridge. The fridge would now be used to hold bottled water. I ran wire from that fuse block behind the cabinetry and inside the ceiling to the dome lights. I ran more wire behind the stove to a 12V power jack I installed into the stove. All of ths took me about 2 hours, and sets the stage for the real story taking place outside the bus.

As I mentioned above, it was a beautiful Spring day when all the kids in the neighborhood are playing in the street. We hadn't had many yet that year, especially on a weekend, so it was rockin'. My 2 boys were riding their bikes around the street with a couple of the neighbors and there were a few others shooting hoops. I had been working inside Hapy for about half an hour when my younger son (4 years old at the time) came up to me and asked "can I borrow a grinch?". Hmm.. I'm thinking. I wonder what a "grinch" is... "Of course," I respond. "Help yourself." He climbed up into the bus, pawed around in my toolbox, and set off. I didn't really notice what he'd been doing as I was up to my armpits in wiring. About 15 minutes later (and not much further along with the wiring), the corner of my eye spotted some movement right outside the window above the fridge. It was my 4 year old riding by on his bike - without the training wheels. In the time it took me to figure out which wire was the "hot" wire, my 4 year old had learned how to remove his training wheels, removed them, replaced the nuts and learned how to ride a 2-wheeler. By the time I finally gave up on my re-wiring attempts that day, he was riding the bike off the curb.

The wiring is still not perfect, but the dome lights run off the accessory battery, as does the water pump for the sink. The 12V accessory jack is powered that way too, and all of them run off the shore-power when I plug it into an outlet. All that's left is running a car stereo off that battery and I'll be satisfied. As for my 2-wheel riding 5 year old, he rides his bike down stairs and off rocks now that he's 5. He bunny-hops his scooter too, but that may be best left for another day.

More next time...

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