Monday, June 7, 2010

Spaghetti and electricity

When they converted the frenchy-bus from a tour bus into a motorhome they relocated the front electrical panel that should be easily accessible from the outside driver’s side.  It is now located under the top step as you enter the coach.  I suppose the idea was to allow a completely smooth exterior and for the most part it works.

IMG_3262 But its also more or less a spaghetti bowl.  It needs to be regularly cleaned because dirt migrates down into the box.  And like the rest of the bus it didn’t come with any schematics.  I have the schematics for the original coach but there have been several changes since then.  Some of them I have caused (and sometimes forgotten why I made the change).  Others were no doubt made by Doofus (the previous owner) whose grasp of electricity was possibly worse than my father’s.  I think father was always surprised when he cut into a wire and found that it wasn’t hollow.  He was never afraid to tackle a project but whatever I know about electricity I surely didn’t learn from him.

The project for this week was to get my hazard flashers wired so that they would work without having the key turned on.  That’s kind of a basic first principle for hazard flashers – that they should work all the time, whether or not the engine is running.  At the same time I elected to move the headlights and clearance lights onto an always-on power source as well.  That will no doubt be a mixed blessing and will likely be a genuine pain in the ass the first time I discharge the batteries by leaving the lights on.  However I think it is the “right” way to have them wired so I went ahead and moved them anyway.  As it turned out there were no always-on power bars inside the electrical spaghetti bowl so I had to relocate some circuits in order to free up one bar and convert it to an always-on.

I also happened to have a daytime running light module kicking around in the tool bay so I installed it as well.  It was a leftover from a repair to the Exploder that ended up not needing the module.  I’m still looking for a 12 volt buzzer to warn me that I have left the lights on with the key off but otherwise the changes are complete.  More importantly for future reference I have made extensive drawings describing what I have done and filed them away for the future.  Its surprising how clear something can be today and how completely forgotten it can be a month from now.

Over the weekend we participated in the customer appreciation nonsense that Holiday Trails put on.  On Saturday I showed up at 7:30 to help cook pancakes and yesterday Marilyn scrubbed dishes after the barbeque.  The more we learn about this outfit the better we like it.  Right now they are in the midst of building a campground completely from scratch about 10 miles east of Hope on #3 highway.  When that is complete it will be a year round facility which we will have access to at no additional cost to our membership.  It sounds like a first class facility with all 50 amp outlets and large semi-private sites.  They are also expecting imminent approval for their development proposal for a piece of property that they own in Osoyoos.  I believe the intent is for that to be a year round facility as well.

The guy next to us told me yesterday that they were paying $50 per night and he didn’t seem to be complaining.  It was just a matter of fact statement about what he was paying.  In that light the $600 per year that we pay for unlimited camping doesn’t seem like very much.  And once there are a few more year round facilities then staying in them year round becomes more of an option for us.  Not that we want to be here in January but BC winters aren’t necessarily bad and several airlines fly out of Vancouver every day through the winter.

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