Truck Update 1/16/19

  • Started laying out water tank position in aft dinette bench
  • Cut and bonded side of aft dinette bench
  • Ordered water plumbing quick disconnect fittings
  • Ordered additional water jerry can
  • Ordered additional LED strip light
  • Finished fabricating aft dinette bench
  • Laid out seat cushion base for aft dinette bench
  • Cut plywood for aft dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Started laying out charge controller side of electrical system
  • Reviewed Planar heater installation options
  • Received water jerry can lid wrench
  • Cut aluminum channel for water jerry can support
  • Fit checked aft dinette bench
  • Looked at candidate locations for charge controller
  • Measured for forward dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Painted aft dinette bench
  • Match drilled locating holes in aft dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Cut plywood for forward dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Fit checked forward dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Painted charge controller mount
  • Masked, prepped, and bonded aft dinette bench
  • Match drilled locating holes in forward dinette bench seat cushion base
  • Discussed adjustments to heater position under bed and heater duct routing options

We have debated for over a year how much water we want to carry, what type of tank we want, and where we want the weight of the water inside the habitat. We decided that we want the water fairly far forward on the right side of the vehicle and as near the center line as possible. We have had a spreadsheet with our anticipated water use, and we really feel that if we can find water periodically, 30 gallons likely meets our general usage for about 10 days.Ā  More water would be great, but like everything, it comes with a list of downsides as well.

When we rearranged our dinette seating, it really opened up a lot of configuration improvement opportunities. One of the opportunities that we liked the most was that we were able to move our water storage from under the bed to under one of the dinette bench seats. That moved the weight of the water forward about 4 feet and allowed us better access to the volume from inside the habitat.

We have the ability to filter purify our water, so we can fill up our tanks from clean streams and other water sources. For that reason, we actually started leaning towards ease of filling being a priority over total volume. After much debate, we started to really favor transportable jerry cans over a single fixed tank. It should give us the ability to grab 5-30 gallons easily from a gas station, garden hose, spigot, lake, stream, etc. We really feel that this will be easier for us than having a larger integrated tank where we would have to take the truck to the water supply. We are sure that others may disagree with this approach, but we feel like it is the best option for us. The location where we are going to store the jerry cans can easily accommodate a fixed larger tank in the future if we or a future owner decides that is beneficial.

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Truck Update 1/13/19

  • Continued Routing wires under bed
  • Installed over kitchen LED lighting
  • Installed all AC receptacles and ran AC wires to inverter area
  • Ran wiring for small ventilating fans
  • Finished all kitchen wiring
  • Received small ventilation fans
  • Received additional water jerry cans
  • Purchased additional wiring (again…)
  • Wired heavy gauge wire to distribution panel
  • Installed ANL fuse
  • Organized and secured wire runs
  • Terminated wire run at distribution panel
  • Fabricated over bed fan mount
  • Installed over bed fan
  • Started running wiring for engine pre-heater
  • Finished all distribution panel wiring
  • Wired and mounted temporary DC power supply
  • Turned on power for the first time!
  • Tested all circuits
  • Wired and function checked refrigerator
  • Function checked all fans, lights, etc.

Truck Update: 1/9/19

  • Mounted refrigerator slide on refrigerator
  • Installed refrigerator and slide in habitat
  • Test fit, masked, prepped, and bonded forward bench riser
  • Final installed forward bench cabinet face
  • Installed battery tray and footman’s loops
  • Test fit, masked, prepped, and bonded under bed divider and storage partition
  • Purchased tie down straps for batteries
  • Started finalizing electrical system layout
  • Started bulk habitat wire routing
  • Received bungee cargo net and carabiners
  • Received candidate water jerry can
  • Machined end brackets for under bed partition diagonal brace
  • Installed under bed partition diagonal brace
  • Machined refrigerator and fill pump electrical socket mounts
  • Installed refrigerator power socket
  • Installed under bed storage LED lighting
  • Installed water tank fill pump power socket
  • Extended several wires that were installed 6 months ago
  • Started running wire for each system
  • Installed over table LED spotlight
  • Wired over table LED strip light
  • Wired entry LED light

Truck Update 1/6/19

  • Purchased material for remaining dinette bench and bed divider
  • Received:
    • Eating area spotlight
    • Dinette seat upholstery cloth
    • Dinette aluminum support material
  • Fabricated:
    • Under bed divider
    • Driver side under bed storage partition
    • Under bed partition diagonal brace
    • Face of aft dinette bench
    • Side of aft dinette bench
    • Forward bench riser
    • Lithium battery tray
  • Painted:
    • Under bed divider
    • Driver side under bed storage partition
    • Forward bench riser
    • Lithium battery tray
  • Fit checked:
    • Under bed divider
    • Driver side under bed storage partition
    • Forward bench riser
    • Lithium battery tray
    • Refrigerator mount
    • Bed opening oak trim
    • Aft dinette bench wall mounting strip
  • Modified based on fit check:
    • Under bed divider
    • Forward bench riser
    • Refrigerator mount
  • Touched up paint on:
    • Forward bench riser
    • Under bed divider mount stops

Truck Update 1/2/19

  • Fabricated standoffs for distribution panel shield
  • Fabricated high current positive bar for distribution panel
  • Purchased material for refrigerator mount
  • Cut lumber and bonded refrigerator slide mounts
  • Purchased foam for dinette cushions
  • Purchased trim lumber for refrigerator opening
  • Installed distribution panel
  • Wired distribution panel from switch panel
  • Cut opening for refrigerator slide in lower bed wall
  • Installed trim around refrigerator opening
  • Bonded refrigerator slide mount to habitat floor using Korapop 225
  • Measured and started design work for:
    • Under bed divider
    • Aft dinette bench
    • Riser for forward dinette bench
  • Fabricated under bed storage bins out of old water tank
  • Cut access opening in top of calorifier cabinet
  • Trimmed away unneeded wood on aft table support
  • Clearanced pantry trim near sink cabinet door
  • Painted
    • Calorifier cabinet
    • Aft table support
    • Refrigerator mount
    • Trim around refrigerator mount
    • Pantry trim

Truck Update 12/30/18

  • Ordered dinette cushion upholstery
  • Rough cut polycarbonate for distribution panel
  • Started laying out distribution panel
  • Machined shower hose quick disconnect mount
  • Final sanded and finish sprayed urethane on new dinette table
  • Drilled and tapped shower hose quick disconnect mount for set screw
  • Drilled and tapped mounting holes in distribution panel
  • Received refrigerator slide
  • Received power strips
  • Received kitchen throw rug
  • Started preliminary layout of dinette seating design
  • Test laid out all systems underneath bed
  • Installed shower hose quick disconnect mount
  • Wired relays on distribution panel
  • Fabricated polycarbonate distribution panel shield
  • Ordered:
    • Candidate water jerry cans
    • Eating area spotlight
    • Omnia oven kit
    • Table support
    • Wire labels
  • Discussed water system layout

This has been an interesting phase of the project for us. We are on the home stretch and we are starting to get excited about our trip and preparations for this summer. That being said, some interesting planning topics have come up with finishing out the interior of the habitat.

Our normal procedure is to review a lot of options for any particular build detail. After comparing the options, we pick one as a baseline and intentionally leave the topic for a while. Picking a baseline lets us move on with other layout topics in the area. Then,Ā  right before committing to the baseline, we quickly review all the options again (usually on our evening walk). Usually the review strengthens our decision to go with the baseline, but occasionally a few details have matured and changed enough to cause us to change the baseline right before committing.

During this phase of the project, we are finding that we are actually changing the baseline more often than we would normally expect. The main reason is that an improvement to our plan in one area often cascades to changed requirements and improvement possibilities in other areas.

A good recent example of this is that we changed the layout of our eating area and really improved the seating options in a dinette. This has lead us to reconsider all kinds of things including light placement, refrigerator placement, fresh water tank position, water tank filling location, storage, battery charge controller position, wire and water routing, etc. Overall the new layout is very much improved over the original baseline, but it has required re-thinking most things in the area.

Some experienced designers that we know often use the term “old-timey brain”. Old-timey brain, in our context, is the pitfall of moving forward with a requirement or assumption that is no longer relevant due to other recent changes. Basically, in an integrated system like the habitat design, when you change one thing, you really have to re-evaluate many other things in the area. It is surprising how far reaching the changes can spread.

Overall, we are really happy with how things are progressing.

Truck Update 12/26/18

  • Ran wiring for
    • Eating area
    • Entry light
  • Installed breaker switch panel
  • Secured wire harness leading out of breaker panel
  • Milled down height of terminal strip to use as ground bus bar
  • Fabricated copper ground bus bar distribution strips
  • Assembled ground bus bar
  • Removed passenger side table from habitat
  • Fit checked bus bar under headboard
  • Started designing passenger side benth seat
  • Purchased oak for new passenger side table
  • Started bonding oak for table top
  • Ordered Milepost guide book for Alaska and Western Canada
  • Ordered Dometic fridge slide
  • Routed edges of oak plank
  • Bonded oak plank for new table top
  • Touched up paint from table removal
  • Routed profile of new table
  • Ordered more marmoleum
  • Measured size of kitchen throw rug
  • Ordered kitchen throw rug
  • Routed end profile and corner fillets on new table
  • Fit checked new table in habitat
  • Drilled wire passthrough hole in table
  • Sanded and applied urethane to table