Friday, June 12, 2015


There are two bird nests that I know of in my garden. One is the robin on the plum tree, and the other is the common sparrow in a fern. I have been monitoring the progress of both. Both had 3 eggs.

fresh water capacity - brunnhilde part 7

I have refrained from cutting into the Todd water tank until the key parts arrive and on hands. The most critical decisions are the arrangement of the ports, the plumbing, and the goal of achieving a user-friendly and reliable convertible system.

coach battery system - isolde, part 2

First thing first. With the void left from the removal of the rear passenger heater I have to first patch up the floor so the deep cycle batteries can sit on a flat surface. I cut a piece of 3/4" plywood scrap that I have.

coach battery system - isolde, part 1

my Apple WATCH developed a hard hang the second day and stuck at the charging screen; the clock does run; i tried both method to reset to no avail - i sent it back for a full refund; i will buy one when they starts selling in store

bamboo invasion from three neighbors' yard; i have to be very vigilant to remove any shoots and cut off the rhizome i find
there were may be 8 to 10 shoots i found
this is the original offending grove in which no attempt was made to contain them; of course the owner that planted this pest has long moved out

i decide to eat one as revenge for my labor
looking for rubber grommet for the soap dish project, and for auxiliary water tank project

spotted shrimps

the robin chicks are growing fast

sometimes they sense me as their mom but most of the time they hunker down

thinking of repurposing this good quality s-video cable for use in projects

this other one must have 8 or 10 pair of wires inside

here is the bamboo shoot from my yard

Japanese Tim Cook

this is the current auxiliary battery in Isolde - in the world most miserable battery box which it fits tightly; i have vow this time around i am not going to try putting a (or a set of) battery here; previously I have gone as far as modifying an Optima AGM to fit in there
the instrument panel still laid bare until the entire renovation is complete; i am minimizing the wear and tear of handling the delicate instrument cluster assembly

here is the "cable chase" that all the wiring must fit for the audio system, as well as the new battery system for the coach

now with the new dc refrigerator, the old flame sense blue LED indicator is now defunct; i would find a way to use it

i debugged the Land Rover Discovery no starting problem - traced to the fuel pump that went kaputt

with much reluctance I started tearing into all this work that invested into fitting the Carver furnace and the speakers; i am removing the rear passenger heater to make room for the coach battery (batteries)

these air vents are some of the best design products - they were from Japan

the genius is the design of the flap door that can be rotated about the inner groove, and stay put where you want it as well as the angle of the flap; good design often looks deceivingly simple

the Carver P4 is one of the best propane furnace ever made - much superior to the Propex in that the fan only run as fast as the temperature needs it; and it is whisper quiet

i was very impressed to see the workmanship of this installation i did about 18 years ago; even the speaker crossover was mounted to save space with a notch cut into the wood shelf (bottom right)
the slot is for air to enter the Vanagon rear passenger heater

here the corner of the heater box was notch to make room for the woofer's magnet
with the heater exposed i have to plan ahead to plug the water lines
seems a 5/8" hose barbs are needed
came across soft shell crabs on sale at Whole Food

it was a scorching hot sunny day so i went shopping for a cheap deep cycle battery and plumbing fittings for Brunnhilde's auxiliary water tank project; i planned my trip well and came home with all these

and a jumbo size watermelon fits inside Isolde's new fridge with room to spare
i have noted a few batteries at Costco from previous shopping trip; i narrow down to between the group 24 and group 27; with a lot of measurements on the space under the bench seat I decided the smaller group 24 is the one; i was planning for 2 but i only want to buy 1 first to test fit in situ

i shopped for plumbing fitting at West Marine, as well as Home Depot, all within the same trip

those OEM hose clamps are very secure so I reuse them

this are the combo fittings that i have to build with off-the-shelf parts i found on the trip

i did it this way for now as i am not too keen to crawl underneath the vehicle to deal with the jungle of water hoses and have coolant douse over my face
the hoses are in remarkably good condition after 26 years
i brought home this West Marine battery box though i was not optimistic it can be use as i am very space confined (as always is in any Westfalia projects); it is a very nice battery box for $16

here you can see that even without the lid, the battery box is no go as it interferes with the driver side woofer

the battery in the box
the depth of the space is about 1/4" more than the length of the group 24 battery

i first need to patch the bare floor and address a mean to accommodate this heater cable

here is the second battery without the battery box

it only has a few mm of space behind the speaker magnet

precision battery installation

With this exercise, I was able to ascertain that up to 2 group 24 deep cycle batteries can fit in the bench seat, while preserving my custom furnace installation. While my goal is to achieve the accommodation for 2 group 24 deep cycle batteries, I avoid the temptation to run back to the store and pick up the second one. I want to proceed this project methodically, and this including determining if one battery would suffice. Note that I bought this Interstate battery from Costco and they don't have any A-hr nor reserve capacity. Looking for this at Interstate Battery site is futile because like most TVs Costco sells, they are models specifically made for Costco. I bought it from Costco because it is the one of the biggest bang for the buck at $77 each. I estimate it to be a 55 to 60 A-hr deep-cycle/starting battery that is the mid range of the series sold at Interstate Battery. I am just tire of buying expensive batteries.

In case you say but, a seal AGM battery requires no venting, in fact you should still do make the provision. In the event of overcharge situation a sealed AGM battery will also release hydrogen gas.

I set up a test to gauge the capacity of the Costco group 24 battery. Since the main power consumer is the DC refrigerator, that is the load that I use. The refrigerator consumes slightly less than 3A when the compressor is on. The actual A-hr consumption is the function of the compressor on duty-cycle, which is the function of the ambient temperature, the internal temperature, the insulation (and hence heat gain), and how well you provide the heat dissipation venting for the condenser and the compressor. Actually the list is much longer.

i charge up the battery first and then proceed to do some warm and fussy capacity test

I don't want to rule out installing only one group battery if it meets the power need. The project will still design and fabricate to accommodate two but with the option to install only one. I also want to keep the system very simple, without going to town with fancy monitoring, electronic management, and more breakers than you can shake a stick at. One main reason I chose this battery is it is most compatible with the existing Vanagon alternator and the starting battery.

As with the existing auxiliary battery system, I plan to continue using the 3-LED voltage indicator that I modified to serve both battery banks. When I need to know the battery voltage more precisely, I will just pull out my Harborfreight $3 DMM (that I have one in every vehicle) to do that.