More Water & Power

Today I learned a custom 15x15x15″ 13.5-gallon water tank would cost about $2,000 — so that’s out. Plan B is to order their 11 gallon off-the-shelf model, which is 15.375×13.5×13.5″. That will fit into my cabinet with a little room to spare, and it’s only about $170 with fittings and shipping.

Another day, another hole saw. I cut a 3-1/2″ hole in the hull on the driver’s side, for my ShurFlo “city water” inlet. That fixture acts as a pressure regulator when you connect a standard garden hose to it.

The hole inside is 2-1/8″ on panel P1, behind the refrigerator. That hole allows ample access to the big thumb screw on the elbow fitting. I’ll connect this barb to the tank’s inlet fitting with five feet of 1/2″ braided nylon hose. This fitting is pretty low to the floor, so I’ll have to cut a hole in the galley’s wooden footer. I wish I could have put this inlet higher, but I wanted it in the “hinge” position on my clapboard graphics on the outside, matching the shore power port on the passenger side.

None of these connections will be visible from the inside because they’ll be blocked by the refrigerator. I may even run the hoses into the side of the stainless steel galley cabinet for the same reason. That way most of the plumbing is accessible by simply pulling the fridge out (not the galley).

My drain hasn’t arrive yet so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I also need to finalize the water tank’s fitting positions by then to get that order in-process.

So next I cut some holes in the helm to route the RETROscanner’s USB power cable out of view. I also received my fancy 12″ USB cable for the iPad, so now nothing needs to be bunched or tangled up.

And finally, I received my last round of custom AC/DC panel labels today. It took forever to remove the old adhesive residue cleanly from the window ledges, but finally they all fell into place — and they look fantastic.

Here’s the DC panel. I wound up swapping the 3rd and 4th circuits into a more logical order, compared across the board to the AC panel. That was relatively easy from the backside, and this time I didn’t drop either terminal screw into the abyss.

And here’s the AC panel. The 1st and 2nd positions act together in tandem, controlling 30A service to the remaining circuits. The reason the 2nd indicator light is unlit is because that is a special red warning LED that only lights in the event of reverse polarity (a mis-wiring condition). That was clear from the panel’s original labels, but in the RETROvan I’ve wired that master breaker not to shore power, but rather to the inverter’s output. It’s the inverter’s transfer switch that decides whether to produce 120V power from either shore power or the battery bank, which is kept charged by either shore power or the solar panels.

Everything you see above is fully operational, but I haven’t yet pig-tailed in my 12V water pump cable. I did run that cable through the wall and the galley cabinet today, under the sink. I wish I had left a dedicated circuit for that, but the pump will only run intermittently so I’ll just tap it off the lighting circuit co-labeled “GALLEY 12V.” I thought about tapping off the ventilation circuit, but those vents are more power-hungry. So I think it’ll be fine.

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