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UN-Roughing It

A nice Sunday morning in May here at the Secret Hideout — Mother’s Day 2015.  Weather radio just squawked.  Tornado watch her for next 12 hours.  It is Texas in the Spring.  It is what it is.

IMG_6052 (2)

Meerschaum Carved Pipe from Turkey

BFF Cait gifted me something;  a new pipe this week.  Her husband is in Turkey and that is where the meerschaum comes from.   It is a real smoker.  I dig it.

Been here at the Secret Hideout for 60 days now without the benefit of electricity from the Grid.  I guess that would be daunting to some??  I just treat it as another adventure along the way and enjoy it every bit one day at a time.  The weather has been Spring temperate and pleasant. That is not going to be the case going forward and I have adjusted my schedule accordingly.  Mornings are spent with Little Blue, the Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt Portable Inverter Generator cranking out the power to make coffee and charge batteries.  When it starts to get warm inside the No Princess Palace,  I go out and piddle. Beer runs, Post Office, projects around here, stuff such as that.  Along about 6pm, My Bro and I get together to solve most any problem a man might have over a few cold beers.  Retiring back into the Palace about dusky dark, Little Blue is again pressed into service.  Charge the batteries, watch a little TV, run the fans in an attempt to cool things off enough to sleep without sweating the sheets.

Something is afoot when the stepladder comes out

Something is afoot when the stepladder comes out

There is a flaw in this plan.  Bet you already guessed it, huh?  Back in the day,  Texians  engineered their abodes to deal with the heat.  Breezeways and dog trots, separate kitchens, floor to ceiling windows, sleeping porches; all ploys to make it through the sweltering days and hot, muggy nights.  I got none of that as The Palace is even less livable boondocking than the Old Girl was back when.  I got one lousy roof vent in the bathroom with a piss ant $4 exhaust fan.  Two small windows in the bedroom and one of them is not even serviceable since it is covered with cardboard and duct tape.  A battle wound from the sojourn down in the Puckerbrush; that.

The rooftop AC just mocks me when the sweat is running down the small of my back sitting here at the dinette.  It is a useless hulk as long as Little Blue is the sole source of power and I don’t see that situation changing.  Let me back off and change direction here just a little. If anyone has doubts as to the usefulness or sturdiness of Little Blue,   my past 60 days here should quell those doubts.   It has been a steadfast solid performer.  I change the oil every 150 hours.  It eats a spark plug every 350 hours.   Easy Peasy!

Yamaha EF2000is auxiliary fueling setup

Yamaha EF2000is auxiliary fueling setup

I have been promising a HOW TO on the remote fueling system for the Yamaha EF2000iS but every time I set down to do that, I am bored beyond measure by just thinking about it.  So I think what I am gonna do is just show some pics and list the key components and where to get them.  If you can’t figure it out after that, most likely you shouldn’t be messing around with gasoline and electricity to start with.  If you blow somethin’ up or set somethin’ afire, it ain’t my fault.  Just sayin……

Starting at the generator, you have to modify the fuel cap.  Leave those shiny silver metal ones ALONE that they market for just this purpose. They are crap and leak gas everywhere.  Get an extra OEM fuel cap and drill out the center like this here:

Fuel Cap setup

Fuel Cap setup

Drill out the center to fit a Marine fuel quick disconnect and use JB Weld to make it fast.  Another caution here—-  they make a bajillion different quick disconnect pairs to fit 100 different out board motors. Don’t really mater which ‘un you get. Just make sure they match!!

Little Blue does not have a fuel pump, it relies on gravity feed to get gas to the carb and I tried everything I could think of to make it work this way.  No bueno!  You gotta have a fuel pump to do the transfer and I picked the Autobest Universal Electric Fuel Pump because it was cheap and utilitarian. It has done the job!

Autobest Electric Fuel Pump

Autobest Electric Fuel Pump

Notice the quick disconnect on each side.  When I break this system down into components, it fits into the old toolbox the pump sits on.  Nice and neat.  You have to have a 12v power source for the pump and you cannot use the 12v battery charge outlet  on the generator!!! It puts out way too much voltage.  I use this BESTEK® AC to DC Adapter to supply the small amount of power the pump needs to operate.

NATO Jerry Can Auxiliary Fuel Supply

NATO Jerry Can Auxiliary Fuel Supply

On the auxiliary fuel supply side,  y’all know I am partial to the NATO Jerry Can . They don’t leak, vent fumes or pour slow. They ain’t cheap either! Buy once, Cry Once! There is not a better fuel can to be had! If you go this route, you will need to get a fuel adapter fitting which is the black piece in the photo above.

Fuel draw line which goes in the can

Fuel draw line which goes in the can

Set up your fuel draw line with ONLY submersible fuel line!! The other fuel line can be regular grade every day fuel line.  I weighted the end with a 1/2″ drive 25/32 socket.  Who the hell ever needs a 25/32″ socket, tell me that.   It works great!

Primer bulb and filter

Primer bulb and filter

The last two major pieces to the puzzle are the Moeller Primer Bulb Assembly and the Mr. Gasket Clearview Fuel Filter utilized as pictured. You are gonna have to get fittings and clamps and other stuff. I used 1/4″ fuel line throughout.  I need to emphasize once again this is an intermediate hard project.  If you use a screwdriver and end up in the Emergency Room for stitches, do us all a favor and just pour your gas out of a can like everybody else.

Here is a recap of the crucial parts:

Autobest Universal Electric Fuel Pump

BESTEK® AC to DC Adapter

NATO Jerry Can

Moeller Primer Bulb Assembly

Mr. Gasket Clearview Fuel Filter

*********

Frigidaire 5k btu window AC

Frigidaire 5k btu window AC

Now back to the reason I started this post today……….  If I am going to stay here at the Secret Hideout into the Summer, I gotta have me some AC at night to sleep.  I had always planned on putting a windowshaker AC in the broken out window.  No time better than the present, right??????

I poured over the specs for 100 different window shakers.  I had to have just the right one that Little Blue could easily power AND I am a broke sumbitch!  I had to get some real value for every dollar I spent.  I settled on the Frigidaire FRA052XT7 5,000-BTU Mini Window Air Conditioner and that Amazon PRIME had it right here to the Secret Hideout in two days.   Y’all might remember I have installed a window AC previously in the Old Girl. It was utilitarian and 100% functional but ugly as sin. I could do better.

IMG_6061I used a Sawzall to remove the center brace on the broken window and allow the AC to fit heightwise. A 1×4 across the top brace on the AC unit and extend it long enough to catch the inside wall. Some 1/8″ plywood across the top carefully cut to fit the curve of the window and we are looking good.  I measured to make sure the AC unit had the correct downward tilt to drain the condensate to the outside and I was ready to test run it.

Now you have to recall I am running a fairly heavy power load here in the Palace.  All the normal RV type thingies PLUS a 110v chest freezer and residential fridge.  I really did not expect Little Blue to handle all that and the start up load on an air conditioner compressor. I was correct in that assumption. Little Blue just don’t have the ass to do it.  Good thing for me that probable outcome was figured into the Master Plan.

IMG_6063

Finished RV windowshaker install

Little Blue has two 110v outlets.  I plug a switched power strip into each outlet.  One power strip feeds the RV 30amp proper along with a batter maintainer for a spare battery and a charger for my power drill. The second power strip powers the windowshaker and the fuel pump for Little Blue.  The modified night time routine now is along about 10pm I go out and turn off the power strip that feeds the RV.  The fridge and freezer go just fine with no power overnight.  I turn on the power strip that feeds the window AC and go back inside the Palace.  I watch TV or work on the computer for an hour using inverter power supplied by the battery bank until the bedroom is cool.   Little Blue runs the window AC just fine at low speed if that is all it is powering.  3/4 gallon of gas will easily run it through the night!

I took the whole dealio apart to paint it and make the install look halfway respectable.  Slipped everything back together and ran a foam strip around the window frame to seal it nice and tight against, rain, hot air and buggies.  I drove a couple of screws through the wall to hold it and I am all set!

Tracer 3215RN Charge Controller

Tracer 3215RN Charge Controller

I harangue y’all all the time that there is never a substitute for just doin’ it. You buy stuff and leave it to set in the corner or neglected in the garage and you will come up short when it is time to utilize it.  There is always some other part to buy or some hangup to iron out when thinkin’ turns to doin’

I have been struggling with my worn out battery bank every day.  When batteries are old and tired you have to throw beaucoup juice at them to last even through the night.  Big sigh.  Always somethin’ huh!

So I had these huge 250watt panels and I could easily hook them up to throw copious amounts of juice into the batteries right?  Ummm, not that easy, Never is.  More on that project later……..  My goal now is to use Little Blue just the few hours overnight to sleep and have a serviceable solar setup to get me by the other 18 hours of the day.  Stay tuned as I elaborate on that.   I leave you with this pic of the now modified and still in flux solar setup.

Solar Setup REV 2C

Solar Setup REV 2C

End Note:  The Needle and the Damage Done By Cross Canadian Ragweed from the Back to Tulsa: Live and Loud at Cain’s Ballroom

Nice Neil Young Cover. Those Red Dirt Boys do it good.

HOWEVER, Nobody will ever do it as good as Neil Young……

Live at Massey Hall 1971  – Aural Pornography.  One man on stage, one acoustic guitar and then there is magic.  How can that be so??

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3 comments to UN-Roughing It

  • Vince

    Morn’n Andy,

    As usual, lots of usable information and practical application with illustration.

    You’re a gold mine of how to/can do. It will come in handy in the near future. Much appreciated.

    Vince

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  • Joel

    The pipe ain’t that important. It’s the tobacco you put in it. Have you tried the Balkan Sobranie yet?

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    • Andy

      No I haven’t Joel. Not because I don’t want to but because of price and availability.

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