Photos of Phones and Phonographs (occasionally)
Since the last post, I’ve rebuilt the bed (replacing all the chipboard with plywood) and done a lot to the electrics. This photo also reminds me that I need to find my stock of rubber feet to pad out the front edge of the under seating storage access hatch so it’s level. I might go do that now.
The grey box top left is a 5V PSU with two 7805 regulators in it. It’s got a USB socket which I had hoped I’d be able to use for charging things, but I’d forgotten that you need to muck about with the data lines on the USB socket to get that to work. My big box of resistors doesn’t have the bits I needed in it, so that’ll have to wait wile I put my next component order together. For now though, it’s quite happy powering the computer speakers I’ve got for listening to podcasts in bed…
As well as the USB socket, there’s a 2 pin din plug which is used to power the LED spotlight shown above which I got from Ikea. It makes for a great reading light. It consumes about 500mA though, which is quite a lot if you ask me!
I’ve replaced the bank of batteries pinched from one of my phone exchanges with a leisure battery, there are now 4 individually switched and fused circuits (all of which go back to an isolation switch and another fuse)
The big cable coming off the battery goes via a fuse and then heads off down the van towards the engine bay. It doesn’t quite reach the engine bay as yet, but when it does so it’ll hook up to a split charge relay so I can charge the leisure battery while driving. At the moment though it only makes it as far as under the drivers seat. Getting any further needs me to take the floor up in the cab, but I need to drive the van tomorrow so that job will have to wait as well!
If anyone else is doing something like this, it seems the cheapest way to buy big enough cable for a split charge system is to buy a set of extra-long jump leads. The ones I got are rated for 800A, were 6m long (giving me 12m of cable to play with) and came in at about the same cost as 3m of similar cable bought off the reel.
Cutlery Charging Caddy
Just a minor alteration to BOV today, I picked up a cutlery holder from Ikea today. It’s the right size to hold a phone/ipod while it’s on charge (or playing mp3s) in BOV. Of course, it’ll be more useful once I’ve got a leisure battery rather than a bank of batteries raided out of a redundant UPS :)
It’s been a long time since I last wrote up any progress on BOV, and I’ve done quite a lot since then.
In September, I fitted a sink/cooker unit, and took BOV to the Bristol Juggling Festival. Just for one night, but that was enough to get stuck on the field and needing a bit of help to get off it again. Note to self: find some planks from somewhere to park on next time I’m on grass. The sink had no plumbing, and there is no gas supply to the cooker yet.
I didn’t do much to the van over the winter, and then in the spring it needed a bit of TLC to make it roadworthy.
- Nice big new battery fitted
- The fuel pump seized because I left it 3 months without starting the engine. I spent a lot of time on this one before I gave in and called out a mechanic. He knew what to hit and how hard to hit it, and we got the engine started again. Note to self, start the engine at least once a week over the winter!
- BOV has made it through its MOT, with a small amount of welding, a new wiper blade and a lot of work done on the brakes (a new calliper, new disks and pads, and a new handbrake cable)
Once it was through the MOT, it was back to working on the interior. The L shaped bed design turned out to be problematic. The loose chipboard covering slid all over the place when driving, and with the sink unit in place it was near impossible to pull the slide out section into position. So, with 2 days to go before the BJC I tore it apart, and converted it to a C shape.
This layout means that the pull out section is a lot shorter and easier to handle. By cutting down the chipboard I was able to add some hinges, creating some hatches for storage under the seating – securing the chipboard from sliding around in the process. There is still room for improvement though, as the slatted pull out design means that the long side of the C can’t be used for storage in the same way as the short ends. I need to think of a way around that.
I’ve plumbed in the waste pipe for the sink, and that now exits the vehicle via the wheel arch. I need to get hold of some flexible hose before I can make that useful though as at the moment it’ll drain water right onto the ground in front of the driving wheels – which is somewhat detrimental to my ability to get off a muddy field. A drain hose from a washing machine looks like it should do the job easily enough.
We needed some electrical supply before BJC for important things like charging mobile phones, or listening to podcasts on powered speakers. The easiest way to do this appeared to be with a bank of batteries pinched from one of my phone exchanges stowed under one of the seats, hooked up to a cigarette lighter power supply bought from Halfords for not much money. It’s wired through a fused switch (fused at 3A) so I can easily isolate the batteries to ensure nothing is left on during the day to run the battery down.
An adaptor plugs in to give a regulated USB supply, although in time I intend to build my own regulated 5V supply which will run some LED spotlights I’ve got as well as a USB charging system.
There’s no provision for a split charge setup yet, but I do have a small solar panel to top up the batteries a little. The phone exchange batteries aren’t the best choice (as they’re not deep cycle batteries) but I’ll replace them with a leisure battery as soon as I find one suitable at a reasonable price. I also want to add a meter so I can check battery voltage without having to dig out my multimeter.
Lastly, since BJC I’ve added some cup hooks so that I can hang up a selection of enamel mugs. There are enough mugs there to fully populate the seating with guests and offer everyone tea and biscuits in an appropriately civilised manner.
Before I use BOV for the Bungay festival, I intend to sort out the last bit of the seating so that I’ve got somewhere easy to store the duvet during the day. I’d also like to build some sort of full height storage system at the back of the van (which will close off the gap in the doors, provide some storage in the living space for clothes, and storage behing the unit, accessible from the back doors for things like tools/jump cables, parking planks, waste water tank, misc stuff that needs to be kept but doesn’t need to be kept in the living space.
If I get time, I’d like to fit a split charge system and a leisure battery and wire in some permanent lighting. I also want to fit kickboards to the under-seat area to tidy it up a bit, and make the storage more useful.
Once I’m happy with the layout of the inside, all my dodgy woodworking will get a rub down and some wood filler added to close up any gaps. I’ll then give it a couple of coats of gloss or something to tidy it all up. That’ll probably be after bungay though so the van doesn’t stink of gloss paint all week.
BOVs Buggered Battery
Not an exciting photo today, but more of a reference for me. BOV has a faulty battery (6 hrs on charge and it didn’t get much above 5V says it’s pretty knackered to me) so I’ve ordered a new one. However, it seems the previous owner fitted whatever battery they could lay their hands on, and if you look closely at the picture in this post you’ll spot that it’s had to be fitted backwards because the terminals are on the wrong side of the battery (see that huge gap on the right? That should be full of battery!)
I took this photo mostly so that I could double check that the battery I was ordering was the right way round. This should tick off one of the advisories from the previous MOT which was “battery not secure in engine bay” (because fitting it round the wrong way means you can’t do up the clip which holds it in place!)
The new battery is on its way to me, and once that turns up and is fitted, I should be able to get the van off the drive and in to the MOT station for it’s (now somewhat overdue) MOT.
Assuming it passes, work will resume on BOV soon, because I want to take her up to BJC2013 – which will be our first BJC since 2007!
BOVs Bed’s got a mattress
It took almost 6 hours of measuring, measuring again, cutting, measuring something else, pinning, stitching and wrestling foam into the covers – but BOV now has a mattress (which is a relief, as I’m supposed to be sleeping in BOV very soon!)
It’s only single stitched at the moment, and for something like this I’d rather have stronger seams, but it’ll do for now. I’ll take the covers off next week and run round them again with a sewing machine. I had a bit of a lie down on it around 00:30 (when I finally got the last piece into the van) and was very tempted to stay there, so I think it’ll work.
BOVs Bed’s been boarded out about a week ago now, but it seems I didn’t post a photo of it. Sorry about that. You’ll notice that the boarding doesn’t quite meet the edge of the slats – that’ll be because I got it out of a skip at Ikea and stuffed it in the car without measuring it properly. I’ll replace that bit at some point. I’ll probably replace all of it actually as I’m not a fan of chipboard, I’d prefer ply, but well… the chipboard was free (my favourite price!)
Tonights progress is the headboard though. I went shopping at lunch and bought the material for the cushion covers for the bed – making sure I had enough to upholster the headboard as well.
It’s constructed from MDF and stripwood, with a leftover length of sheeps wool insulation as padding. It took me ages to fit it to the van (I really should have fitted the uprights before I screwed the bed to the floor – it would have been so much easier) and upholstering it was rather fun really!
Perhaps the experience will spur me on to re-cover the dining room chairs I’ve been meaning to do for 6 years now – might leave that job for the winter though.
Apologies if any of this post makes less than no sense – I’m battling my way through a much hotter curry than I’d intended to make. Seems these new chilli flakes are a bit hotter than the last batch and I’m sweating, dizzy and generally not doing a very good job of writing or proofreading anything! Wooo!
Edit: Oh yeah! And it’s got solar powered fairly lights…
Both a bed and a bench
Quite a bit of progress today. BOV now has a bench, which transforms into a bed when you pull part of it out. All it needs now is a headboard, a mattress (and possibly something to go between the slats and the mattress to stop things sagging) Not much left to do to the bed really, it’s kitchen time next!
I’m roaring ahead with the van conversion this week! Having redesigned the layout of the van on Sunday and drawn lots of diagrams, I bought the wood for the bed on Tuesday evening, cut it all to length and cut half the joints on Wednesday evening and cut the rest of the joints and screwed it together this evening.
I need to buy some longer screws before I put the legs on, but I’m hoping I can get that done tomorrow. Saturday I’m hoping to have bench seating installed in position in the van, with a pull out section which fills the L shape in and makes it into a bed. I may even get the headboard done on Sunday (if I can find some suitable material at the market in the morning)
After that, I start building kitchen cabinets and storage cupboards.
Talking of which – does anyone know anyone (preferably in the Bristol or surrounding area) who is having their kitchen replaced? If so, let me know – I might want the cupboard doors!
Edit: Blimey that curtain is crap. I need to re-do that one at some point, it’s much worse than the others!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here, but 2 months ago I bought an old Royal Mail minibus – which has been christened BOV – or “Buggered Old Van”
I say old, it’s a 12 year old LDV Pilot (which makes it newer than my car).
Wikipedia tells me it was designed in 1997, but given the selection of imperial bolts I’ve found holding it together (nothing original I’ve touched is Metric) I don’t think the tooling at the factory changed all that much since British Leyland started building it’s predecessor (the Sherpa) in the 70s…
Anywho. I bought it about 2 months ago now, with the intention of getting it all kitted out as a camper van in time to take it to Bungay. Unfortunately, it needed a new steering box (a week in the garage and almost £600 in parts/labour) so it wasn’t ready in time. I’m making progress now though.
I’ve got the flooring down, the curtain rails and 2 of the curtains installed, the whole thing is insulated with sheeps wool (and is very cosy!) I’ve made a start on building the furniture – although, I’ve since changed my mind about the layout so have dismantled the furniture again.
Now that I’ve got a solid plan, I’m aiming to have it ready in time for a wedding I’m going to in 3 weeks time.
And of course, Penny is being very helpful.
Or if not helpful, at least interested.