Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby KCStudly » Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:27 am

:thumbsup: 8)
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Re: Little Ferdie - April Update

Postby plectrudis » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:05 pm

I've been lax about posting lately, mostly because my progress hasn't been especially photogenic. But I've been plugging away at my usual, erm, stately pace.

Over the past three or four weekends, I've:

(1) Disassembled my dry-fit walls
(2) Glued & screwed the walls, replacing one frame piece that didn't fit as well as it might have
(3) Applied The Mix to the inside surfaces of the walls to waterproof
(4) Unscrewed the bolts holding the floor to the trailer frame so I could counter-sink them, as I should have done the first time (as they were, they prevented the walls from sitting flush on the floor). Fortunately, I had some spare nylock nuts for the re-bolting. Took the opportunity to make sure there was plenty of marine sealant (I think Loc-tite brand, in this case) in and around the boltholes.

Following Wyoming Woody, I had used stainless steel bolts, but zinc pronged washers (because you can't get those suckers in stainless for love or money), and I had slathered the underside of bolt heads and top of the shafts with Henry's roofing asphalt (same as the underside of my floor) to prevent galvanic corrosion. It works! There wasn't a lick of corrosion on any of the components. Gratifying.

Back in March, I bought all the textiles I'll need for decorating the cabin. My mom & I had worked out a scheme for the decor at Houston's awesome High Fashions Fabrics a year ago, but I didn't buy anything at the time. We're still a LONG way from needing curtains, but I was afraid one or more of the patterns would be discontinued, so I went ahead and bought all of the coordinated fabrics that I'll need.

Next steps:
(1) Fill in the bolt holes with, I guess, gobs of wood filler.
(2) Before I put the walls up, buy the remaining plywood I'll need. (And the aluminum for the roof? Not sure. Do they usually sell it rolled up?)
(3) Also, buy the cross-pieces that will support the roof/hold the walls apart.
(4) Buy windows and cut holes now, while walls are horizontal.
(5) Erect the walls for real.
(6) Then, the Electrical!!!

I don't have any new pix of the build, but here are the textiles.
The aqua floral will be the bedspread, the tan/metallic weave will be the pillow shams, the diamond-quilted taupe will be the padded headboard, and the sparkly champagne will be for the curtains. It's turned out a bit glampier than I intended, but I love it anyway. It's a little more practical than it looks--the bedspread is a nice, heavy cotton, and the shams are a sturdy upholstery weave. The curtains... I'm not entirely sure I can defend the curtains, but I'll use lots of ScotchGuard.

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Re: Little Ferdie - Conduit Question

Postby plectrudis » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:10 pm

I just posted a question over in the electrical section about using pluming fittings on electrical conduit: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=68295#p1201669
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby Nobes » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:40 am

Great to see you building again. I like your interior plan. I'm putting the last of the exterior trim on mine tonight and leaving tomorrow for a week-long trip (only camping 4 nights, also seeing my parents). I'm thinking I'm going to get my water test in the next 10 days.

I can't help you on electrical stuff, I went super simple on mine. I will say this: I paid A LOT extra to have 30 amp service, and if I was doing it again I would go with 15. Basically I just need an extension cord with several outlets, allowing me to energize small devices at various points. I've camped my whole life with no electricity, and pretty much all we do is charge up phones.

As another poster says--"your mileage may vary."

Keep up the good work!
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby plectrudis » Tue May 09, 2017 8:21 pm

Thanks for the suggestion on the 30-amp vs 15, Nobes. Really, the only AC appliance I plan to use is the air conditioner, whose maximum need is 13.5 amps, so you're probably right. Why add expense for something I probably won't use?

In terms of progress, I haven't done much since my last post. I'm starting my electrical phase, and it's a little paralyzing. Even figuring out how to run the wire leaves me wracked with indecision.

First I thought I'd run them via conduit under the floor (not IN the floor, but UNDER it) for ease of access, but I got spooked by the idea of drilling a bunch of holes in my painstakingly waterproofed floor. Then I thought I'd run them through the ceiling, but I still want to use conduit, and didn't like putting all those holes in my crossmembers. Now I'm thinking I'll run them in the walls (still in conduit), but I'm still not ecstatic about cutting holes in my studs, either.

I realize I could make this decision less painful by abandoning conduit, but I really want the flexibility that conduit provides. I'm just too new at electricity to be comfortable installing wires that can't be uninstalled.

An added measure of annoyingness: the 1/2" conduit is just slightly wider than my "half-inch" wall studs, meaning that the wall would bow out slightly wherever the conduit is. Grr.

While I struggle with these issues, I'm also about to buy my PD4045. Or should it be 4135? (I posted this question in the electrical forum http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=68489). It's probably going to take me half the summer to accumulate all the big-ticket components of my electrical system, which will give me the time to tinker incrementally. And to re-read the RV electricity safety guide: http://noshockzone.org/rv-electrical-safety-part-1/
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman: Windows and Tinkering

Postby plectrudis » Sat May 13, 2017 8:49 pm

Tinkering with Electricity

As promised, I've been tinkering. I can't make any final decisions on the wiring route until I order and try out some 3/8" conduit, which is super-hard to find. Probably this means that it's probably not actually a good idea, or else more people would be using it. It's certainly pricey enough--$10 for 10 feet on amazon. Or I could get the split stuff, would could presumably be squished to fit my slightly-less-than-1/2" wall cavity. Will try both and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I'm grappling with another (probably stupid) electrical question, which is whether or not to put plastic boxes behind my light fixtures.

I played around with one today, and if I use my cheapola vibro-tool from Harbor Freight, I can cut it down to a height that fits my walls. I blocked one in just to see what I think. It's clearly doable, but is it worth the trouble? I mean, what are those boxes really for, anyway? Fire protection? Because the open face will be covered by wood, so how much protection can they offer?

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Here it is held in place by scrap blocks, which is what I'll be screwing the light fixture into (the screwholes on the fixture, interestingly, are j-u-s-t wider than than the blue box).

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My First Window

I also cut out my first window hole today, which made me exceedingly nervous.

Went fine, except that I'm not 100% sure how the things are supposed to assemble. When I fit it all together, the metal rim didn't sit flat on the skin--it was slightly above. And when I install my interior skin, it will be even higher. Is this a problem? Or should I just plan on slapping sealant every-which-where to bind it all together?

See? Not perfectly flush:

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Here's a birdseye view. The creepy hand under the window is mine, holding it place. Not, as you might suppose, some miserable prisoner that I keep chained under my workbench.

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I'm also not perfectly confident about what I'll be screwing the metal frame into. The screws are supposed to go into this gap that goes all the way around the window, yes?

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Weird Switches

Lastly, I just received my first light switch in the mail, which I'll be using to control the passenger-side porch light and the light over the luggage shelf inside.

Only... it has two small plugs on the back. Why plugs? I was just expecting wires, like on a normal light switch for your house. Does this mean I have to buy some other item to plug into? If so, what?

Image

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Electricity! I love you, but you're a pain!!
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman: Windows and Tinkering

Postby KCStudly » Sun May 14, 2017 10:24 am

plectrudis wrote:... it has two small plugs on the back. Why plugs? I was just expecting wires, like on a normal light switch for your house. Does this mean I have to buy some other item to plug into? If so, what?

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They're not plugs; they are tabs. Tabs for "spade" connectors. If you have limited space behind your switches you can get 'F' of flag style spade connectors which will help. They provide a little more back clearance than the straight type and you don't have to allow as much room for the wire to train in a radius. They come in different crimp sizes for the different wire gauges and in a couple of different spade/terminal widths.
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On the windows, they are probably intended to be used with trim/clamping rings which would be where the screws go. The clamping action of the trim ring, which must be sized for your wall/door thickness, would likely fatten the flange out and take up the gap (that and the putty tape/sealant and/or gasket).
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My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby KCStudly » Sun May 14, 2017 10:31 am

So with 120v 60Hz the electrical boxes are intended to add fire protection in the event of a short or failed light switch. UL listed wooden switch plates will always have a thin metal backing plate to fireproof the wood. Household light fixtures are intended to be mounted to square "quad" boxes, not usually a duplex outlet or switch box, so that is probably why the screw holes don't match.

For 12v stuff I worry a lot less about fireproofing.

Be careful with how small you go with your conduit/wire routing. Those wires add up very fast and you want to keep air space around them so the don't overheat. You also need to allow plenty of space for turns, as you don't want to have sharp kinks in the wires.
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My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby ELM » Sun May 14, 2017 4:51 pm

I used poly flow tubing to run a few wires through in a few spots in my teardrop where I wanted to be able to pull more wires if needed. I know this tubing is not made for this purpose but it worked for me. ;)
It comes in 1/4",5/16",3/8" and 1/2
"https://www.lowes.com/pd/Samar-1-4-in-x-25-ft-Polyethylene-Tubing/50315907
My Build journal. viewtopic.php?f=50&t=65395
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby plectrudis » Sun May 14, 2017 6:40 pm

Thanks, guys!

KC, as ever, you're an education. Those tabs sound great.

ELM, it never occurred to me to try other kinds of tubing--good to know I've got options!
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman: Visions of Conduit

Postby plectrudis » Sat May 20, 2017 8:47 pm

Mostly been standing in the garage staring at the prone drivers-side wall, muttering to myself.

But I've made some decisions! At last!

I tried out some 3/8-in "split loom" (conduit), and I think it will work! I've been figuring out how many sets of conduit I'll need to run (two 12v on driver's side; one 12v on passenger's side, one 120 AC under the floor, and one 120 AC in the galley). Also, making sure the various tees don't run over one another.

Here's where we are, mocked in place with masking tape, the Hesitant Teardropper's Best Friend:

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And here are the actual figures:

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There are 3 places where I need to tee off a wire to run a couple of fixtures in parallel. I'm thinking of using these connectors to make the tees. Does that seem... okay? I like that it looks tidier than wire nuts.

https://www.amazon.com/Electrical-Connectors-T-tap-Splice-Stripping/dp/B01M6E4WSS/ref=pd_sbs_60_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01M6E4WSS&pd_rd_r=B2EHN0CX8XBP4VM5MH8N&pd_rd_w=5No3d&pd_rd_wg=lG6Qr&refRID=B2EHN0CX8XBP4VM5MH8N&th=1

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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman: Forgot to Mention

Postby plectrudis » Sat May 20, 2017 8:48 pm

...Forgot to mention: I posted a question about copper-clad aluminum on the electrical forum: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=68555
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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman: Visions of Conduit

Postby KCStudly » Sun May 21, 2017 9:25 pm

plectrudis wrote:Mostly been standing in the garage staring at the prone drivers-side wall, muttering to myself.

Been there, done that, welcome to the club!

T-taps make me cringe. The only place I have ever used those is where they were totally exposed on my UT (The Charcoal Briquette) when I just didn't care about cost, time, or having to do it over again some day soon.

Ditto wire nuts on a moving object where flex is a constant concern. They are not allowed on boats, so why would I use them on my camper where all of the same issues exist (constant flex and water proofing issues)?

Just saying, you have come this far, if you are not willing to learn how to solder and use shrink wrap, then get you some good quality crimp connectors and crimping pliers. (There is a whole 'nuther argument for why soldered joints are not ideal in flex situations, but I won't go into that here; I've used them for many years with no issues. Nuff said.)
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My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby Redneck Packrat » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:58 pm

Just read through your whole thread, and I've gotta give you one of these: :thumbsup:

I understand completely your desire to be able to replace a wire sometime in the future without wanton violation of your finished surfaces. I read somewhere in someone's build journal where he used a distinctive-colored pex tubing. Can't remember if he used the red because he had no hot water plumbed in or what exactly his designation for "electricity is in this water pipe!" was, but it made sense. I've never used the stuff, but I think I've seen at least 3 different colors of it. Having the wiring in some sort of tubing makes it so easy: Just tie/tape the replacement to the old one and pull it through.

I am going to run my road lights to the back the same way I do all my trailers: In 1/2" EMT conduit. No ends, just pookie the ends up generously. Main thing I'm worried about is getting something snagged or something.

I'd also suggest to have your power inlet as close to the biggest power user as practical. Less 110v running around in the trailer, and let the extension cord to the pedestal cover the distance. This might not work if you're trying to separate your batteries from the a/c for balancing, though.

NOW I remember what I was wanting to get at re the 110v wiring part of it: Run it under the trailer in electrical conduit. Both for protection and ease of access if you put at least one openable junction box on it. You'll only have to go up through the floor in two places, at the a/c and at the battery charger. I suspect one of those two will be near where you might want a plug in a wall in the galley or the like.

Y'all are doing good stuff there! Keep pluggin' along!
Bill
Texas Gulf coast, near Corpus

Working on this, started 5/2017: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=68614

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Re: Little Ferdie - 11-ft Grumman

Postby plectrudis » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:54 pm

Thanks, Bill! I'm glad to hear you suggest running the 110 under the trailer, as that's what I'm planning to do. It will be out of the way, but accessible if anything goes wonky.

All the wires in the driver's side wall are now run in their conduits, and after thrashing about quite a bit trying to avoid it, I finally caved and soldered some stuff. And now I remember why I had been avoiding soldering--that stuff is crazy ornery. Probably my soldering iron is under-powered, and definitely I'm operating under an epititude deficit, but the upshot is joints that look more like small wads of aluminum foil than like a nice, smooth union of wires. And since these were three-way connections, I couldn't use heat-shrink, so they're solder blobs surrounded by electrical tape blobs. I did test with an ohm meter and they do function, but still. Barf.

I left plenty of spare wire sticking out of every junction and fixture spot, so I can cut the joints out and try something else if looking at my handiwork just makes me too sick. Maybe closed end crimp caps?

On happier news, I acquired a new favorite toy: a label maker that prints on (among other things) heat-shrink tubing! Every wire in my wall is now labeled at both ends. So tidy.

And the driver's side wall is now (almost entirely) insulated. It's starting to looks more wall-ish!

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So my next steps are:
Shave the insulation down with my oscillating tool so that the insulation is flush with the studs (it's just slightly thicker than the studs, naturally).
Put wood frames around my door hole and my window hole.
Route/sand off any irregularities on the edges of the wall so it's nice and smooth.
Cut out the interior wall from 1/8" plywood.

Then repeat the whole thing with the passenger's-side wall, only hopefully much faster this time and with less dithering.
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