Isn't it irritating how much storage space the manufacturers waste? One of the first things I did when I got my current Class C is to add access to several wasted space areas.
The space above the microwave was originally just paneled off, so I added a cabinet door and a floor, and created a space for fry pans and other shallow pans and bowls.
There was a HUGE amount of lost space under the oven, and under the sink. They just sealed those areas up because the furnace was back under that area. By rearranging shelves and re-routing the flex heating ducts, I created a lot of great new storage. Of course I added appropriate guards to keep anything from getting near the furnace.
And aft of the entry door is a wardrobe closet and some drawers. Below the drawers is a very large area where my converter is located. That space had 4 or 5 cubic feet of wasted space that was just paneled shut. I cut an opening and added a nice access door, creating a perfect area for a tool box, hydraulic jack, safety flares, long-handled car-wash brush, ax, folding shovel, etc. Works perfect because I can easily reach that space while standing outside the motorhome... makes it convenient to grab a tool. Again, I added appropriate guards to keep things away from my converter, and I rerouted some wiring to keep it clear.
One other area that had wasted space was under one side of the dinette seats.... by just rerouting the flex heating ducts I was able to create a space large enough to drop two full cases of canned pop or beer into. Access requires removing the seat cushion and lifting a plywood panel - takes about 10 seconds.
The other dinette seat has the potable water tank under it - I couldn't create new storage there, but I did install a 6" plastic marine screw-on "deck plate" in the top of the water tank. This lets me inspect and clean the inside of the water tank with ease. I didn't take a picture of it, but here is a picture of a similar deck plate I installed in my truck camper water tank a few years ago:
You can see the "key" I made out of plywood to unscrew the deck plate.
RVs are expensive, and it is really a shame to see the manufacturers waste so much space to save only a few dollars.
After that, I might change my 26W florescent from 18" tube to a bunch of 12 or 24 LED panels, and see how that works out.
Here is a florescent to LED conversion I did:
This is my main ceiling light, and it works GREAT! I added a push-on push-off switch for the light's main power, and am using the original rocker switch to select the brightness level (rocker selects 3 panels, or all 6 panels).
The blue goop you see in the photo is silicone adhesive - I found that the double sided foam tape that comes on the LED panels often fails in warm conditions, so I have just been forcing a little silicone under the sides or corners of the panels and that solved the problem (the original double sided foam tape is still under there). The silicone is fairly easy to remove if needed. Others have talked about adding screws to the sides of the panels, but the silicone has been working great for me - fast and easy.
I also have a boat which has about a half dozen florescent lights fixtures, several of which are flickering and dim.... so I have begun converting them too. I am starting to use LED panels with 24 each 5050 SMDs (each 5050 SMD actually is a package containing 3 individual LEDs).
What local store might have a digital meter?
We're leaving Sunday, too soon to order off eBay.
Camping world carries a little digital volt meter that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket... they work fine, and cost less than $20. Click HERE.
Did anyone else notice, but the OP (NetBoy) is using a pen that states Stolen From: "the Racer's Store":)
I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that - I made sure the label on the pen was up before I too the photo. :)
Norm, nope, I like the Stanley tape. ;)
Are there any special requirements on the 120VAC meter? What gage wire and any special requirement for a switch, or is the 120v meter always on if you have 120v power?
You can leave the meter on all the time, or include a switch to turn it on only when you want to view it. In my case I am just using a momentary contract switch that I will push when I want to read the voltage.
For either 12v or 120v, it doesn't matter what gauge wire you use.... the meter uses virtually no power, so very small gauge wire is just fine. You can also use just about any switch for the same reason. You will want to connect the wires near the power source (ie, near the battery or near your 120v circuit breaker box) and not at the end of a circuit which has other devices hooked to it, as those devices may pull the voltage down a little.
If you dry camp, having a good 12v meter and that voltage chart in my original posting is quite important -- those will let you know when you are getting in trouble.
Hi, I decided to add a digital volt meter to my motorhome to show the state of charge of the batteries - it will be handy when dry camping.
Here is a table from the web site "The 12 Volt Side of Life" that shows voltage vs state of charge (a great web site to learn about living on 12 volts):
I ordered a digital volt meter from eBay for $5 including shipping:
I mounted the meter, and a momentary contact switch, in a piece of plastic from an old car litter basket:
I will mount the meter in some convenient location in the motorhome tomorrow. And I'll include a printout of the above voltage chart.
Pretty cool for five bucks!
Note that battery voltage should be read when the batteries are at "rest" -- that is, wait a half hour after any big discharge (for example, such as running a microwave on an inverter).
Just because you can't imagine it doesn't change the OP's reality. It seems like his first post indicates he's replaced them before.
I know my kids had to be taught a number of times to quit messing with the switches, and they weren't always as "nice" to them as adults would be. I can see where it happens but I only had to replace one once.
Whatever. What I suggested was that frequently ebay has inexpensive OEM replacements that would probably be less work than conversion to residential style switches and boxes. What I couldn't imagine was kids being allowed to turn on and off the switches so many times and/or so roughly that multiple switches would break multiple times.
I have 13 recessed lights that have 20 watt g4 bulbs, they are small and the panels that most of the posters are using won't fit. They are much brighter than necessary, so I'm willing to accept a dimmer bulb. I have found bulbs that are disks with 12 5050 leds on them that will fit in my lights. My question is that for what looks like the same item I see different sellers on ebay give the the lumens for these bulbs ranging from 80 to 220. Are they really that different or are the listings bogus?
No matter what the ebay ad says, all 5050 SMD LEDs are the same brightness, and each 5050 device contains 3 individual LEDs. So a G4 disk with 12 5050's on it is the same light output as a 36 single LED rectangular panel. I converted some under-counter halogen puck lights to the disks you are considering (SEE HERE), and they are wonderful.... lots of light, no heat, low electricity use. You probably can't go wrong.
My kids will sit there and play with them. I was thinking of cutting a remodel electrical box and wiring with the new toggle switches. Hopefully i can get a shallow box to fit. Thanks for your responses!
I can't imagine how the kids break them (mine have been turned on and off thousands of times), but you can get replacement RV switches pretty cheap on ebay (singles, doubles, groups of 3).
I want to replace the fluorescent tubes and ballasts with LEDs. I saw a step-by-step conversion shown in a SuperBrightLEDs.com blog post that involved ordering LED strips that were too long and cutting off the ones I don't need. I have two questions:
1. Does anybody have a better suggestion?
2. Does anybody have experience with how well these hold up in an RV?
Hi, I have converted a few fluorescent fixtures to LED lighting using rectangular LED panels... one example is shown in this thread. Here is a photo:
I wired this so the light has two brightness levels (either 3 panels, or all 6, are lit). The light is wonderful - bright, no flickering, no heat.
The panels came from eBay, and cost less than $3 each including shipping. I have used MANY of these panels (more than a hundred now), and so far have had no failures. Details are included in the thread referenced above, but basically I just gutted the flourescent fixtures (ie, removed the tubes, tube holders, and ballasts).
Asking the question is a bit like asking why we don't live in 400-600 sq ft Euro houses ....
My friends have been living in various cities in Germany for nearly 10 years, and have always lived in suburban neighborhoods -- their houses have been 2 or more stories, and had 1200 square feet or more... 2 baths, 3 bedrooms, sometimes a bonus room in the finished attic area, etc, and were typical for the neighborhoods.
Anyway, the class C's built on the Sprinter chassis come close to what I am thinking about, but they are way overpriced (in my opinion) for what they are... if they would get the price down to a reasonable price range (say around $50k to $50k rather than $80k plus) I think they would really sell. As it is now, you can get a decent 30' plus Class A for nearly the same as one of those Sprinter Class C's.
My smallish Class C weighs over 10,000 pounds, is built like a tank, and struggles to get over 10 mpg. A rig with the same basic space could easily be built at under 7000 pounds.
The problems mentioned about lack of service and support is a big one... it will take a large US manufacturer and a very popular design to overcome that.
Anyway, I believe that small and light motorhomes designed on the principles of that Hymermobile rig will eventually get popular in the US.... It would be so nice to have a small and nimble rig, with lots of storage, that would get 14 or 15 mpg.
My friends are living in Germany, and they just rented this for a vacation to Denmark:
I looked up "Hymermobile" on the internet, and it looks like the one they rented is built on is on a Fiat chassis, with a 130hp engine. They said it gets really decent mileage, has adequate power, and has a great layout with lots of storage. Click HERE for the website for these motorhomes. They call them B Class, but they look like a mini-Class A. It appears that Hymermobile also makes a similar looking MH on a Mercedes chassis, with larger engine.
I wonder why we don't see similar mini Class A rigs in this country? With fuel prices, and the "cool factor" of how these look, I would think they would be quite popular.