Super Solar Compact Jr. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-13-2008, 06:53 PM   #1
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Trailer: Compact Jr (Super modified)
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Thought some might be interested in my Compact Jr. Rebuild.

I want to build a small trailer that can be pulled down just about any road, and give me total independence for at least 30 days. I've had the Compact Jr for a couple of years, while I figured out the design. I'm already well into the project, and have some pics for you.

Picture 1 and Picture 2 shows the new interior layout. From 9'oclock clockwise--

A composting toilet means no more black water is generated, and does not use any of my 95 gallons of fresh water.

A vented catalytic heater (the only one made) for dry propane heat.

Multi-use counter space with surround sound system sub-wolfer, inverter, and storage underneath.

Floor to roof pantry, with freezer/frig compressor on floor

Floor to roof 10 cu. ft. freezer/frig (almost all freezer)

Sink/Stove/Oven with storage, water pump/accumulator tank and 3 watt tri-band cell phone amplifier underneath.

Couch/Bed Platform; pulls out to butt the toilet and back cushion drops into space for sleeping, pushed in with back cushion resting on top for sitting. Lots of storage under, as well as 4-8 L-16 batteries (undecided). Above, a MX-60 solar charge controller next to a Link-10 battery monitor.

Under the floor, one 95 gallon fresh water tank, and one 95 gallon gray water tank.

Everything insulated with 2 inches of polyurethane insulation (Freezer/Frig 5 inches.)

Picture 3 shows the current pop-up "hole", and the surrounding line of pink insulation shows where I'm building the new permanent roof out to. Between the old roof and the new roof will be storage all along the left and right sides, probably using curtains as a cover. Only light stuff will be stored up here.

picture 4 shows the new roof. Vents for the toilet, heater, stove, antenna for the satellite radio, and (most important to me) a 4800 B.T.U. 24 volt DC air conditioner keeping the interior under 70 degrees F even if it's 135 degrees outside.

Finally, to power it all, eight 195 watt BP-SX3195 solar panels giving me a peak output of almost 1600 Watts. To make all these panels fit, I have a custom mount described further down.

To support all this, and have something I can tow down the worst 4WD roads, I needed a new frame, made of 2" X 4" X 1/4" steel.

Picture 5 shows the new frame and solar panel mount (unpainted as of yet) without the panels mounted. This is the travel position. Also shown is the large wheels that allow for tons of clearance under the frame, and room for the two huge 95 gallon tanks that fit just fore and aft of the axle.

Picture 6 shows the half-deployed position. The winch (or linear actuator, described later) pulls the top rack vertical, parallel with the front rack. A pin is dropped in to hold the two racks together, making one big rack. The locking pin is shown in more detail Picture 11

Picture 7 show the the bottom half of the rack fully deployed by opening the two wings on each side. Do the same for the top rack and it can then be tiled to either a fixed angle, or using a linear actuator can track the sun in the E/W axis. More on that later.

Picture 8 shows the rack from another angle, horizontal in this case.

Picture 9 and Picture 10 show the detail of the hinges. stainless washers are welded into any location where there is metal to metal rubbing.

Finally, Picture 12 shows how the 36" linear actuator will be mounted between the diagonal brace and the rear hinge of the top rack. Controlling the actuator will be the $50 Redrok Energy Solar Tracker. With actuator, I won't need the winch to deploy the array, and the tracking will gain me 10% more energy production vs a fixed angle.

Anyway, that's where I'm at now.

PS: Forgot about the shower. A marine deck fill with push-up cap leads to the gray water tank via a short length of hose to form a water trap. A shower basin with a small nipple on the bottom, is placed over the deck fill, and a curtain is hung. Problem solved.

PPS: Forgot about some fiberglass work. I'm removing the front window, and the wheel wells.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:47 PM   #2
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Wow that is some project! 95 gallons of water--650 Pounds---Cool.
You have obvioulsly spent a great deal of time and effort on the design....keep us posted.

Garo
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:14 AM   #3
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I agree with Gary. Keep it coming!

Tom Trostel
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:39 AM   #4
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I notice you're using stainless washers as rub points.

Just a word about stainless: Using stainless nuts and stainless bolts together can result in galling--the two parts seize firmly together. I'm refurbishing a trailer just now, and had planned to use stainless screws in conjunction with stainless tee-nuts. I did a test run, got the screws halfway out again, and bango! seized solid. Had to saw it apart. It was surprising to me how quickly it happened and how immovable the result was.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:22 PM   #5
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I notice you're using stainless washers as rub points.

Just a word about stainless: Using stainless nuts and stainless bolts together can result in galling...
Thanks for the note. I'm aware of galling, and don't plan on using SS nuts or bolts. I'm only using welded-on stainless washers, as shown in some of the pictures. Do you think galling would be a problem in this case? If so, I can add nylon washers between the SS washers.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:40 PM   #6
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Wow that is some project! 95 gallons of water--650 Pounds---Cool.
You have obvioulsly spent a great deal of time and effort on the design....keep us posted.

Garo
That's only a hair over 3 gallons a day. Enough for drinking/cooking and a quick shower every couple of days.
I wish I could take even more water, but the available larger stock tanks are not sized correctly for my use. I'll probably also take some extra 6 gallon portable tanks after I discover how much extra gray water tank capacity I have (95 gallon tanks, both fresh and gray.)
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:10 PM   #7
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Just curious, have you figured out how much this thing is going to weigh when loaded?
Will a single axle handle that weight?
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:08 PM   #8
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Just curious, have you figured out how much this thing is going to weigh when loaded?
Will a single axle handle that weight?
Projected fully loaded weight, loaded with food water and all other personal items is 5020 lbs. That's a 7000 lb axle on there.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:18 PM   #9
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I have a question somewhat related to the weight. Why, if you are going to pull 5000 lbs, would you want to be limited to the size of a Compact Jr?

Bobbie
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:23 PM   #10
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I have a question somewhat related to the weight. Why, if you are going to pull 5000 lbs, would you want to be limited to the size of a Compact Jr?

Bobbie
A few reasons.

First, it's designed for one person, and I was able to fit everything in the small footprint.

The shorter length (the huge under frame clearance) allows me to pull the trailer down very rough 4 wheel drive only paths. The longer the trailer, more likely to drag the rear end, and the weaker and less stiff the frame gets. The new frame is virtually bomb-proof.

Smaller is easier to heat and cool. I only need 1000 BTUs of heat in 10 degree weather (historical low temp for my area of interest), and the 3000 BTU heater will maintain 60 degrees inside, all the way down to -50 outside! Cooling, the 4800 BTU Ac unit can maintain 70 degrees inside, all the way to 134 degrees outside -- the hottest recorded temp on I plan on hanging out around Death Valley where the record high is only two degrees behind that. Global warming, anyone A larger trailer would require more AC, and even more solar to power it.

A larger trailer would weigh more, even with the same stuff "spread out" more in a larger trailer. This might mean a need for a larger truck, and more gas usage, and less off-road-ability.

It's also easier to find a spot to camp or park in town when needed (all I need is a double space).

Lastly, because I tend to like compact designs. Just more efficient, but very un-American. For example, whenever I finally decide to build a house, it will be 600 sq. ft. or less.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:44 PM   #11
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For example, whenever I finally decide to build a house, it will be 600 sq. ft. or less.
I currently own a 600 sq. foot cabin.

Living "normally" in it is a challenge, even for one person.

It's different for a trailer.. hard to explain.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:08 PM   #12
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I have a 600 square foot cabin, and love it. Not much space, but easier to clean. Not so easy to make the beds, though, since they just barely fit into the bedrooms.

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.

Plus on the Washington state ferries I pay about 1.5 x what a car alone does instead of 3x as much or more for a longer, taller trailer.

Bobbie
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:04 AM   #13
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If so, I can add nylon washers between the SS washers.
Couldn't hurt. Or polyethylene washers cut from milk jugs.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:41 PM   #14
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If I bought an $1800 toilet, I'd probably want to sleep right next to it too.
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