Friday, May 31, 2013

Privacy Curtain to Isolate Front Cab to the RV Cabin

I decided to add a curtain behind the driver seat for privacy and to isolate the front cab to the cabin. It literally takes seconds to pull the curtains close vs. the RT standard draw curtains that goes all around the windshield and the front windows which takes a bit of effort to close, as does securing them back in place. Also, there are times that you want the cab area open for viewing outside while keeping privacy to the  back of the RV.

The curtain track was purchased at a local IKEA store; model name is “KVARTAL”. It is 55 inches long which is the perfect length for mounting it under the overhead cabinet of the cab. I also purchased 3 ceiling mounting brackets, and a box of curtain rollers designed for the curtain track. I mounted the track to the corner trim piece (don't know what it's called) of the overhead cabinet. The installation is pretty straight forward; first locate the placements of the 3 curtain track ceiling brackets/mounts, one in the middle and one on each side, next drill the pilot holes, then mount the ceiling rod brackets using wood screws. The curtain rollers were not used in this project, it will depend on the type of curtain you will be using. I found a blackout curtain at home depot with rod loops on top, which works really well without the track rollers, I just slipped them on the curtain track. The curtains were shortened to about an inch and a half above the floor then hemmed. A word of caution though, if you constantly hitting your head on the  overhead cabinet when getting into or out the cab, I guarantee that you will be hitting your head more on the curtain track… did I say ouch!
With the curtains drawn open

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Preventing Accidental Activation of the Fridge Mode Selector Button

The Dometic fridge that came with the RV has selectors buttons mounted on the front plastic cover housing making it susceptible to accidental activation by simply leaning against it. The energy selection button (Mode) is the one that really concerns me. It happened to us once during dry camping; the fridge was running on propane and was accidentally switched to 12 volt, if I have not caught it early before we left the RV for a long hike, it could have easily depleted the house batteries.

To prevent accidental activation of the fridge “Mode” selector button, I covered it with a plastic switch guard pictured below. The switch guard was purchased at our local hardware store; it comes in tan and white color. I spray painted mine black to match the fridge cover. The mounting holes were cut off (optional) for an OEM look. It is then mounted over the “Mode” selector button using a double sided tape.
Plastic switch guard spray painted black.
Switch guard covering the fridge "Mode" selector button.

Compact Camping Propane Lantern

A good bright reliable camping light is essential for camping safety and comfort. For general camp lighting, an LED lanterns are good choice because of their low power consumption. The brightest LED lantern I can find is the 580 lumen Coleman Twin High Power LED Lantern, but it is too big for storage in an small RV where space is a premium. A compact/ smaller LED lantern like the 300 lumen Rayovac Sportsman LED lantern is another good option. For brightness, it is hard to beat the twin mantle propane lanterns, but again they are bulky and heavy.

For the above reasons, I really like the Primus EasyLight Lantern it is bright enough (max. 490 lumen's as per manufacturer) and packed really small into the included plastic internally padded storage case. We've been using one for couple of years without any problem. Amazon link/ reviews here: Primus EasyLight Lantern. The lantern is very fuel efficient for the amount of light it gives off, an 8oz. fuel canister should last about 12 hours on maximum brightness to 24 hours on lowest setting. The lantern also has an attached wire for easy hanging on trees or poles.

Primus EasyLight Lantern with an 8oz. Isobutane/Propane cartridge.

Plastic storage case. Size is about 3.3" x 3.3" x 5"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Adding a Slide-out Pantry

Added a full extension slide-out pantry to one of the lower cabinets located below the microwave. The cabinets here are placed so low to the floor that sometimes it's a pain in the back to get stuff out. I decided to add just one slide-out pantry for now. The slide-out draw is made using 1/2 inch birch plywood with simple butt joints. It is then sanded, stained, and added 3 coats of wipe-on polyurethane matte finish with light sanding in between coats. Also added 1/2 inch, 1/20 in. thick aluminum angle bar for accent (see pictures below). I used an 18-inch long full extension slides with soft-close feature that were purchased from our local hardware store. The outer extension slides were riveted to (6) zinc plated corner braces (3 on each side) which are then secured to the floor using wood screws. The cabinet door hinges were removed, and then it is mounted in front of the slide-out using 4 wood screws.

Update: The self closing mechanism of the slider is not enough to hold the pantry shelve from inadvertently opening while driving especially if filled with heavy items. I decided to reinstall the plastic push latch on the door panel, which is my original plan after all.

With slide-out fully extended.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Modifying the Small Vertical Pull-Out Pantry to a Waste Bin

Our small rectangular trash can tucked behind the driver seat has worked great for us, until I started using that space for the hinged front mattress. There is no alternate placement for the old trash can, for that, I decided to modify the small pull-out pantry as a waste bin with some extra space for storage. The size/shape of the modified waste bin is really dictated by the location of the sink drain and electrical outlet box for the microwave, which mostly occupies the back of the pantry space. After double/triple checking the shape/ dimension, and design of the waste bin, I started cutting pieces of ½ inch birch plywood. Pieces are then butt joined using a nail gun and lots of wood glue. It is then sanded smooth, stained, and coated 3x with wipe-on polyurethane matte finish with light sanding in-between coats. Pieces of 1/2 inch, 1/20 in. thick aluminum angle bar cut to lengths are then glued around the opening of the trash receptacle for accent.
Finished project pictured below.
 Noticed the right outer panel is only secured with wood screws for easy removal if it needed thorough cleaning inside the container.