Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just before dawn - A wonderful sky!
Jorge and Little Mavicto saw the wonderful dawn sky forming, and went out with Tri-Pod to capture the dawn!
Gorgeous dawn!

7AM - Working with Mr. Datastorm.
The first thing to do was to get Mr. Datastorm's cables hooked up. His base was screwed down solid to MsTioga's new roof yesterday.

After the control cable was attached, we raised Mr. Datastorm's dish up manually to attach the other cables which are on the inside of the base. Jose was curious, and went up on MsTioga's roof to take a peek.
Jose looks at Mr. Datastorm.

1PM - Mr. Datastom may have a bad controller.
After working with Mr. Datastom all morning long, we were not able to get him to work properly. Something happened when we were trying to log onto our new Space Station. Since then, Ms. GQ our laptop computer has not been able to talk to Mr. Datastorm.

This is not a terrible thing here in Mexico, because we are usually near an internet cafe, as we are here in the City of Constitucion.

2PM - Salvadore putting bondo on MsTioga.
Since early morning, Salvadore [Jose's only employee], has been putting bondo on MsTioga. Salvadore has finished the bondo all around the top of MsTioga's roof.
Salvadore is very experienced with Bondo.

4PM - Re-Engineering Mr. Sunny's tilt-up assembly.
Several readers emailed wondering if it is a good idea to put all of the six panels on one tilt-up assembly. We found out yesterday that it is NOT a good idea. Six panels weigh over 100 lbs. Just too much to lift into tilt-up position.

Our first engineering change was to split the tilt-up into two assemblies. Instead of aluminum extrusion, we are using wood 1"x3"s. Also, the hinges are now hefty.

We will begin to transfer the panels tomorrow, after painting the1"x3"s.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

7AM - Mr. Datastorm and Mr. Sunny's Going-Back-Up Day!
Yes! Today is the day that Mr. Datastorm and Mr. Sunny get to go-back-up on MsTioga's new fiberglass roof!

However, much work needs to be done!

11AM - Mr. Sunny is rewired.
We have been working on Mr. Sunny this morning, wiring up his six panels in parallel so that 12 volts are delivered to the battery charge controller in our office.

But the work is not easy. The sun is bright today, and Jorge does not work well at all when it is hot. Jorge needs many breaks, and a ton of water. Wow.

1PM - Time to go back on the roof.
Jose and his friend Johnny help get Mr. Datastorm and then Mr. Sunny on MsTioga's roof. We use a towing strap to lift up everything. Johnny and Jorge on the roof, and Jose on the ground.
Back on the roof!

2PM to 4PM - Screws and Hinges.
First Mr. Datastorm is secured with screws to his new base. Then comes the time to assemble Mr. Sunny's hinges.

The hinges take the most time. They are made from "L" brackets, because hinges of a correct size could not be bought. When the hinges are installed, it is found that the six panel solar assembly is MUCH too heavy! A 2x4 wood brace must be installed to tie the panels together.

4PM - Buying the 2x4 and a new cable.
We go off to buy the 2x4. Also, a new #10 cable must be bought because Mr. Sunny is now a bit further away from his battery charge controller.

5PM - Gran Pollo.
We go to Gran Pollo to buy BBQ Chicken, which is so good! Jorge is starving, and this chicken and the French fries are worderful.

6PM - Getting photos of the raised panels.
Just at sundown, we are out in the parking lot of Gran Pollo installing the 2x4 so that you may see what the raise solar panels look like!
Little Mavicito's view of Mr. Sunny raised up.

View showing 2x4 and temporary brace.

Bottom of panel assembly showing hinges.

Hinge assembly.

8:45PM - Rushing like crazy.
The internet cafe closes at 9PM. We are rushing like crazy to get today's blog published. After we arrived at the Internet Cafe, Jorge was soooooo sleepy, so he took a nap inside MsTioga. And he woke up at 8PM!! Wow!


Monday, February 26, 2007

7AM - Learning about being a fiberglass guy!
Does your RV have those screwed on clearance lights? Hmmmm? MsTioga has those screwed on lights too. However, Jorge has been learning by watching Jose the fiberglass guy. Jorge is making plans to be his own fiberglass guy!

Did you know that it is easy to make a mold, and create a fiberglass part? For example, we are planning to buy a nice clearance light, create a mold from this light, and added the fiberglass part from this mold to be a "built-in" clearance light.

Everybody on The Team is sooooooo excited about this bulit-in clearance light light project!

3PM - Jose adds fiberglass to MsTioga's left side.
It is very difficult for Jose to make all of his customers happy. He received one new job yesterday, and another job [a BIG one] today. We understand his dilemma, and although we want our work done, realize the problems Jose faces with scheduling.

Yesterday after painting MsTioga's roof, Jose promised to work on the left corner this afternoon. The pics below show this work.
Jorge watches Jose add fiberglass to left side.

Fiberglass added to corner.

MsTioga has a design flaw that allows her right and left rear bottom panels to sometimes touch the ground. Of course this damage is hard to repair. In the pic below, Jose adds fiberglass to the rear bottom which Jorge has altered to reduce contact with the ground..

Jorge has removed a little over an inch of the bottom panel. This panel used to have a sharp corner, and now has a curved corner. In the pic below, Jose is fiberglassing this once badly damaged panel.
Jose fiberglasses the formerly troublesome rear panel.

4PM - Wiring the solar panels.
The tilting solar panel assembly is finished, and tomorrow the roof will be dry enough to return the solar and Datastorm.

In the pic below, Jorge is re-wiring the solar panels.
Panels are wired in parallel to deliver 12 volts.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

6AM - The beauty of fiberglass, Part #1!
This morning it came to me that I no longer have to do ANYMORE caulking on MsTioga's roof. Wow! No more Eternabond too.

In the pic below, I am cleaning all of the caulking and Eternabond from the flange of my Dometic refrigerator roof vent. This vent has 32-holes in the flange, which are required to make a good caulk seal in order to prevent rain water passing by this vent. I had to clean 16 year old caulking from each of these 32-holes AND the Eternabond that I had used to seal up this vent. Tough job!
Cleaning caulking for the last time!

This morning after this vent is cleaned, I will fasten it to MsTioga's new fiberglass roof with only about 8-screws. Jose the fiberglass guy will fiberglass the flange to the roof, sealing it perfectly. No more caulking, no more Eternabond. No rain will ever pass by this vent again!

7AM - The beauty of fiberglass, Part #2.
There are always dings that happen to RVs. Perhaps I will drive too close to a rock in the desert, and hear that terrible crunch sound once more! However, with a fiberglass RV home, all that needs to be done is grind away the crunch. Then apply the fiberglass. Sand it. Apply Bondo. Sand it. Then repaint!

I plan to become my own fiberglass guy, and do repairs myself!

830AM to 3:30PM - MsTioga's roof gets painted.
This morning, Jose will paint MsTioga's new fiberglass roof with a brilliant white marine quality paint. This paint selection is based on Jose's 15-year experience as a successful fiberglass boat rebuilder.
In order to prepare the roof for this paint job, I had some work to do:
  • Mount a base for the Datastorm antenna.
  • Place a junction box for the cables that go from the roof to inside MsTioga.
  • Add blocks that will provide a base for the new tiltable solar panel mechanism.
  • Mount vents so that their flanges may be fiberglassed.
The pics below tell the story:
Datastorm base and junction box.

Solar panel tilt mechanism mounting blocks.

Work requires a BIG breakfast!

Jose fiberglasses a roof vent.

Jose begins the painting.

Painted roof from 2nd story of Internet Cafe.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

9AM - Shopping for fasteners for our tilt-up solar system.
The selection here in Ciudad Constitucion of bolts and nuts is sort of limited. We felt lucky to find three hinges that fit our assembly. The bolts are not the size we need, but they are close

We has used sheet metal screws with lockwashers, but these proved to weak. That is why we changed over to bolts..

11AM - Mounting wood base on MsTioga's roof.
Our Datastorm and tilt-up solar panel device both need wood bases located on MsTioga's roof. All of the bases will be covered with fiberglass to prevent water from harming the wood.

2PM - Fiberglassing the wood bases.
In the pics below, Jose is applying fiberglass over the wood bases that we have made up. There are three layers of fiberglass over these bases.
Fiberglass over the Datastorm base.

Datastorm base close-up.

Close-up view of fiberglass.

8PM - Stolen cell phone charges, latest news!
I have been helped by reader Tina, who contacted T-Mobile on my behalf. Tina is sooooo successful! We have a HUGE credit shown on our T-Mobile web page. We have not been able to get the details yet, but everything looks really good!

Happy Anniversary, MsTioga and George!
Tomorrow, February 25th, 2007, is the fourth anniversary of the day that MsTioga met George in Manteca, California! Wow!

Soooooo much has happened in those four years. It is hard to believe!