Super Solar Compact Jr. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-27-2008, 08:37 PM   #15
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I finally got the actuator installed. Picture 13 (also shown above) shows the rack deployed. On 12 volts, it takes about 3 minutes to go from fully horizontal to vertical. I'm guessing it will move twice as fast on the 24 volt battery pack that I'll be using in the trailer. Note that I removed the hinged parts of the solar rack, in perpetration for painting.

Picture 14 shows the end of the actuator. I'm probably going to add some extra bushings so the end of the actuator can't move on the current bushing it's riding on.

Picture 15 and Picture 16 shows the other end's mount. Note the bearing that allows the actuator to tilt in and out. I pushed it all the way out for these two pictures.

Picture 17 and Picture 18 shows that same thing, but with the actuator pushed in. Note that it hits the beam. The actuator sometimes twists into this position at the end of it's travel range. Does anyone have an idea how I can lock this better so it won't twist and knock into the beam? I thought one idea was just to place a couple of weld tacks to lock it in place?

Still waiting for the Redrok controller to get here.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #16
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If I bought an $1800 toilet, I'd probably want to sleep right next to it too.
Hmmm.... wonder how you would react to the $3500 air conditioner, or the $7000 in solar panels, or the $9000 in the frame and rack? Not to mention the $15,000 for a new (used) truck to pull it all.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:20 AM   #17
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I think what you're doing is great. The trailer you're building isn't for everybody, but the engineering that's going into it could help all of us at some time. I can see a lot of use for the technologies and use of space for the future that you're proving possible. All innovators have their detractors, don't let them bother you. If we didn't have people like you in the world we wouldn't have a lot of things and methods of dealing with problems that we do. The composting toilet is just one example of showing that there's another way besides the black water tank.

Keep up the good work and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:39 AM   #18
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WOW i am impressed with this project!!..

i agree to keep it small and energy efficient but I am curious as to what you will pull this with..

thanks and keep the photos and info coming..Dee
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:16 PM   #19
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I think what you're doing is great. The trailer you're building isn't for everybody, but the engineering that's going into it could help all of us at some time.
I agree with Byron. I figure my longest-duration boondock experience will be a week or so during the late spring, summer, and fall, so my boondocking modifications don't address black tank capacity or multiple weeks of clean water. My major mods are for a solar setup, LED lighting, catalytic heater, and a low-energy appliances that allow us to live comfortably for a week on battery with 50 amp-hours of usable capacity. So your trailer mods are overkill for my needs, but perfect for someone doing long-term wildlife research or the hermit thing.

But overkill for me doesn't mean bad for me. It's like a scaled-down version of the ultimate boondocking program -- The Apollo Program -- which brought us calculators, memory foam matresses, adhesives, composite materials, lightweight insulation and a host of other technologies we now incorporate into our more humble trailers. As you make your modifications, learn from (and please tell us about) your succeses, failures, and re-designs you'll find ways of doing things no one else here would ever think of, but might well solve some of our more mundane yet vexing problems in an intelligent, affordable, and appropriate way.

--Peter
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:15 PM   #20
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i agree to keep it small and energy efficient but I am curious as to what you will pull this with..
Just a standard 4x4 one ton truck, like a F-150 or Chevy 1500.


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So your trailer mods are overkill for my needs, but perfect for someone doing long-term wildlife research or the hermit thing.

...As you make your modifications, learn from (and please tell us about) your succeses, failures, and re-designs...
Yeah, most of my mods only make sense for a full-timer that likes to boondock. But for a full-timer, it should be one of the most inexpensive and least-trouble RV to operate.

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm building my freezer/frig enclosure. If anyone knows of a website that shows details, I'd be interested. Also, the extensive fiberglass work ahead has me nervous as I've never done any before.
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:54 PM   #21
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Very interesting project.

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Just a standard 4x4 one ton truck, like a F-150 or Chevy 1500.
Do you mean half-ton truck?

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I'm still trying to figure out how I'm building my freezer/frig enclosure. If anyone knows of a website that shows details, I'd be interested. Also, the extensive fiberglass work ahead has me nervous as I've never done any before.
If you can handle metal and wood working then you can handle fiberglass.

By "build frig/freezer enclosure" do you mean the thermal box itself or a cabinet around it? If the latter, that's easy. I have no idea about the former.

Cheers
KB
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:17 AM   #22
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Sounds great except you might want to not have your bed right next to the potty. Maybe those kind don't stink, but I might have a "head" problem with that. -Carole
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Old 05-16-2008, 02:00 PM   #23
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Red face

Haven't done much the last month.

I did get the Compact Jr. body temporarily mounted to the new frame. I used some 2x4 lumber as a temporary spacer between the body and the frame, to assist the under-body fiberglassing (i.e. filling in the body wheel-wells) and to allow me to lay the butyl tape along the top of all the frame members (between the body and the frame.)

The body just fits between the vertical metal supports, so my idea of using insulated window covers on the existing side windows for the hottest days won't work. I was trying to save some money. Instead I've decided to also remove both side windows and fiberglass it all in, then some time in the future, get a couple of smaller double-paned insulated windows that fit between the vertical metal supports. There's an extra $1500 in cost, at least.

Once I start the fiberglassing and insulating, I'll remove the current pop-up top, cut the 2 inch thick insulation panels so they are shaped approximately like I have illustrated on the picture in black. It's flat along the center half or so, and the angles downward to meet the current roof edge. I've then also created new storage along the entire length of the trailer, on both sides. After cutting the panels, I can then fiberglass the whole thing, using the insulation as a in-place mold. I don't have a clue how heavy of cloth to use (what oz.) or how many layers should I build up. In ideas?

Also, I mounted the top solar panels to the rack. In the picture, you can see the top rack extended fully, with one side opened and the other side closed. I was going to also mount the front panels, but I miscalculated and the front of the top panels hit the back of the front panels. I'm going to need 1 inch extension welded into the front rack's main legs (the ones bolted at the main pivot point) to give the proper space between the top and front panels.

Finally, I still have the cardboard on some of the solar panels because I have not yet attached the rubber rub-guards onto the corners of the solar panels. This is to protect the anodized finish of the solar panels for wearing away when the array is closed and the panels are stacked on one another.

(sorry, the pic is a little blurry)

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Old 05-16-2008, 02:21 PM   #24
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I do understand the reasons you give for a small trailer. Heating and cooling and a short wheel base all make sense. And it is nice to be able to park in a pull through double space.
I got a great deal on a Dodge 1500 4x4 standard cab/standard bed for $2500 in great condition. I'll tell you though, I find it almost impossible to back up the trailer with any accuracy. The longer wheelbase of the truck hates the shorter wheelbase of the trailer... I just go around the block When I was pulling the frame with just my tiny Kia sedan, it was still an issue, but easier. I hope I never have to back down 10 miles of a one lane road some day.

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Sounds great except you might want to not have your bed right next to the potty. Maybe those kind don't stink, but I might have a "head" problem with that. -Carole
They don't stink, and I find it better than dealing with the emptying of a black water tank.
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:48 PM   #25
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THIS IS COOL! A very nice research RV, could have used this for Grad school research, many years agol. Keep up the good work and post more pictures

roddy
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:19 PM   #26
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Have not done much of anything on the trailer in the last two months. I got the extensions welded into the front solar panel rack and repainted those sections, so the front solar panels will now fit. I've just been nailing down more details, and reading up on the skills I'll need for the next stage of the project.:

- cut out the fiberglass wheel wells and glass-in the area flush with the rest of the body
- lay down sealant on all the frame members and lower down the body, bolting it into place
- use rigid insulation and create the shape of the new roof section (like a mold), then glass over the insulation to create the roof section
- place the new glassed over insulation on the trailer and finally glass it to the body
- remove the side and front windows and glass-in the openings

I hope to get into this fiberglassing work in the next week or two. The final stage involves ripping out all the interior woodworking and rebilding it/insulating, installing all the interior equipment, installing/insulating the tanks underneath, and finally wiring up the solar panels and the electronics that will track the sun.
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:08 PM   #27
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All I can say is WOW!!! You've taken on quite a big task of engineering, creativity, and just plain hard work, so my hat's off to you bro. I am very curious to see how it goes for you though. So far your pics and descriptions have been great, and I'm curious to see more as the project continues. It's almost a shame that you couldn't find a Havasu with the permanently raised top so it would be one less thing for you to have to do...
Keep up the good work though, and know that there are many of us curious FBRVers who are watching with great curiousity, and sending you some great comradery & spirit! hehe
Joe
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:09 PM   #28
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All I can say is WOW!!!
Thanks for the kind words. I'm actually really excited to start the fiberglass work, after such a long break from intensive work. I was a little burned out and needed a break, and also wanted to save up a bit more money for future work. The frame costing what it did really shocked me, and ate away much of the money I had at the time for the project.

I also lost my (off street) parking spot for my Compact Jr trailer a couple months ago, so I had to scramble to buy the truck, then scramble to quickly (and temporarily) mount the trailer body to the frame.

Anyway, hopefully I'll have more pictures of further progress, soon enough now.
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