Trailer Build Four-Wiring!

Wiring!

The installation of the power center is now here. I ran wiring to the battery under the trailer and pulled it up to the power center area. Now, with the power center installed, all that was left was attaching the wiring. Here are my individual circuits:

2 lights on exterior sides

2 interior reading lights, one on each side at head area

2 interior 12 volt plugs for cigarette lighter type appliances or USB items

2 kitchen 12 volt plugs for cigarette lighter type appliances or USB items

1 Fan

2 interior top lights

1 water pump

3 110 plugs, (2) on interior rear wall (1) in kitchen area160

The use of the power center is optional. I felt that with that many circuits, the use of straight 110 plugs and that all the wiring was enclosed in walls required the use of a power point that would give me more safety against fire and damage. The power center is a converter and can power your trailer from exterior power sources.169

 

Here is where you can get the Power Center.  Again the use is optional.  I overbuilt the trailer in many ways, because I could.  I didn’t want to be caught later wishing I had added more circuits or have to tear out something due to a short.  Just follow the directions, if you don’t feel comfortable with it, take the trailer to an electrician who has knowledge of 12 volt systems.

As you can see the trailer wiring and electrical system creates many different configurations of lights, power and convenience.   I also have an 2000 watt inverter that is stored under the kitchen table and another 500 watt inverter that is installed in the pull vehicle.  I carry a spare 12 volt battery (use it with my trolling motor on my kayak), a small lightweight generator and extension cords.  My generator has a 35 amp plug that connects to the side of the trailer.  Or I can use the plug and cord for campground electrical connections.

Later in the install I added a solar panel on top of the trailer and ran the wire through the wall and beneath the trailer.  It’s controller is in my (vented) battery box.  I am still working on a wiring harness to the battery so I can charge it on the road from the tow vehicle.

 

 

Trailer Build Five-Kitchen

Kitchen!

The kitchen build was trial and error. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted and I knew the space I had was limited. So before I started building, I took everything I thought I would need in the kitchen area and laid it out. The items included many things:

Camp cook stove

Utensils (knives, forks, spoons, spatulas, etc.

Cutting board

Bowls, cups, plates

Napkins, Paper towels, washcloths, dish washing supplies

Water bottles, coffee supplies

Spices, Matches, Can Opener

Camp stove gas, grill brush, hatchet

Electrical cords, wasp spray, bug spray, cleaner

At this point, I wasn’t sure what would fit, and still needed to add what I thought would be important to have:

Water supply

Faucet

Sink

Lights

Power connections159

I made some decisions that would hopefully be the right ones. I opted to for a 10 gallon water tank and connected it with a small 12 volt pump and faucet. I nixed the sink due to the need for space and drains. I didn’t think I would be using a sink that much and it took up too much room. I figured that I could always make a portable one. Since I had the pump, tank and faucet, I added an inexpensive shower head to the outside of the trailer. My reasoning was that it would be good to have to rinse off dirt before you got into the trailer. It could clearly be used to wash off dishes if there was a catch bowl.

Once I figured out what I really needed, I built the cabinetry to fit. I must admit, that I made a later decision that has worked out pretty good. On one of my trips, the wind was blowing pretty hard and my gas stove kept going out. It became a real pain in the you know what. So I removed some of the cabinetry and installed a small microwave. Other than the power that it drains from the battery, it really saves time and trouble for many meals. I also have an electric coffee pot that makes the mornings pretty good!

Next: The Skin

Read the next installment here

Other installments

Trailer Build

Trailer Build One

Trailer Build Two

Trailer Build Three

Trailer Build Four

Trailer Build Five

Trailer Build Six- the Skin!

IMG_2706The exterior of the trailer was probably the hardest part for me only because it exposed my mistakes.  I previously stated that I had built the trailer sides to be connected to the trailer’s wooden frame.  My thinking at the time was that it would give me a slightly bigger interior and I didn’t know at the time, that decision would come back and bite me.   I wrongly assumed that sheet metal could be bought at pretty any length and width.  Of course it can if you have thousands to spend.  The size of sheet metal (finished) is usually 4 x 8 feet or you can find some specialty sheet metal that is 5 feet wide up to 10 feet long.  Because the wood frame set outside the 5 x 8 trailer frame, I needed 5 foot 2 inch wide sheet metal.  Needless to say, I could not find it at a decent price and was lucky to find even the 5 foot wide metal close by.  I did have to travel about 75 miles to pick it up.  If this becomes your situation, be careful, make sure you have it tied down on a pallet and strapped to the vehicle.   Not that it will blow off (it will) but because you don’t want to have any creases or bends in it.

Once I got the metal home, it was easy to set a few nails in between the metal trailer frame and wood frame.  This is what I set the metal sheet on and aligned it with the trailer side.   Once I had the skin set, I screwed the end piece to the wooden trailer side and slowly worked my way down the side.  Along the way I would put a screw in the top and bottom at the same intervals.  Since the door and window openings were already cut out, I also put a screw at each corner of the door and window openings.  After getting the entire sheet attached, I used electric sheet metal scissors ($20 at Harbor Freight) and cut the excess off.  It was actually pretty easy.   I used no glue and figured that with that many screws there was no way it would come off or ripple.  It also allows the metal to expand in the heat.

By this time I had already put luan on the top and created a good base to apply the top sheet metal.  Since the top was probably where any water would have its best chance at getting into the trailer I took some spare house wrap and placed it on the sides and rear deck points and also included the cutout for the fan.  So in reality, my top had only the fan cutout that water could get in.   Again, I started in the rear and slowly laid the metal over the top with it going from back to front.  My 10 ft in length metal only made it to the halfway point of the front but I didn’t mind because that was also going to be covered in sturdier material to keep the metal from being damaged from rocks and debris while travel.

I did have some help with this part because it was difficult to work the metal over the top.   I also needed help with the slight bend in the metal that corresponded with the cuts on the sides.  Again I used screws to ensure the top was square and could be attached properly as I worked my way down to the front of the trailer.  After a few minutes, it was done.   Take your time and you will have a pretty good finished product.

 

 

Trailer Build-Finishing up.

Still with me?  After you get the skin on, you now will need to put in the windows and doors, finish up interior items and install finishing touches.  Your windows and doors are pretty important so make sure you purchase quality ones which you can get online through ebay, amazon, etc.

I sealed my doors and windows with special RV caulk which is better than plain silicone.   It too can be purchased online.  At this point, you should be itching to try your new trailer out.  I waited until my mattress arrived and purchased my bedding.  I installed a dual power television and mounted it inside.  I also purchase a small computer stick which can be plugged into the television to give me the ability to get online when there was WiFi.  It works great and if no WiFi, use the antenna and see if you can get over the air tv.IMG_2739

My door for the kitchen was an idea from a friend.  I was going to put in two doors that would swing open.  After thinking about possible water intrusion, I opted to build a swing up door which can also double as a rain cover while cooking at times.IMG_2746

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Finishing Thoughts at end of build……

Trailer Build- Final Thoughts

I have now used my camper to visit dozens of parks.  I has exceeded my expectations.  No leaks, no issues with power, no problem sleeping and getting a good nights rest.  It is easy to tow, coming in at less than 900 pounds, easy to set up, easy to keep clean.  Combined with my truck, I can carry all my gear and still haul my own wood for fires and my kayak.  I have changed out some of my gear, put in different storage combinations, taken out things that I haven’t or don’t plan to use and basically just enjoyed the simplicity the trailer has made of camping.IMG_2663.JPG

Some things to ponder:  without a bathroom, make sure you  have access.  Knowing that my better half won’t lock me out at a campsite because she has good clean bathrooms and shower facilities is pretty important.  Make sure you work through any problems that might arise with storms, uneven campsites, wind, etc.   I actually carry an extra two man tent, poles, tarps, etc.  for emergencies.   You need flashlights.  Get a dozen.  Carry one on you at all times.  Have a double walled 20 oz or more container, (Walmart-$7.00).

You need some good camp chairs.  Cheap ones hurt your butt after a few minutes.  Camping is about relaxing, not cramps and back pain.  Get a good stick, maybe a broken shovel handle like mine, to move your wood in the firepit.

If you want to really enjoy your trips, go where others don’t go.  If you must stay at busy campgrounds, be courteous to others.  Keep your radio low, turn off all those extra lights.  Shut the generator down as soon as possible and keep noise down after dark.  Take good coffee, creamer and a good book.  Don’t stress over no having phone service.  Play with your kids if they go.  Walk.  Swim.  Sink your toes in the river.  Enjoy.

I suspect that I will be building another trailer soon.  It was a joy and I can give this one to my sisters so they can come camping too.

Dale

Watch your six.

 

Trailer Build Three

So now you the sides are up and now it is time to start thinking about enclosing the trailer top. At this point we have a trailer with sides, rear “frame” holding the sides together, and have cut out the window and door areas. 158Our sides have been scabbed with 1 x 1s around the openings and top to give support and to allow the installation for insulation and wiring. The interior walls made of luan were measured, cut and installed. Of course, insulation was included. I continued with the 1 x 1s across the top by using gorilla glue and screws. Leave enough space between the cross pieces to install the fan on the top.

I stopped at the rear wall so I could pull my wiring to my power point. I also wanted to concentrate on the top. After installing the interior skin, you will now have a enclosed sleeping area. I built storage areas and dry fit the exterior top. Because the interior top in on, you now have a “container for your insulation.164 Using rigid insulation, I cut and placed insulation into the spaces between the ribs. If you do a good job, you will definitely be able to tell that it works. Make sure you stain everything and seal it before you install. It will be much easier doing it now.

It is probably time to talk about wiring. Since I had no plans, I had no idea about wiring, lights, etc..

You may want to visit a RV center and just check out their smaller trailers for ideas or search the web. This might help with determining how much wiring you will need and how you are going to install it.167  As you may be able to see, I brought all my wiring to the rear part of the top.  If you have trouble remembering like I do, you may want to label all your wires as to the fixture so when you do your connections, you will have the right amount of amperage.   The rear part of the trailer top I left open so that I would be able to connect the wiring to the control panel.  I also had wiring coming up from the sides of the rear kitchen area.  To be honest, it was a challenge for me.  I had to re learn wiring for 12 volt instead of 110 house current.  168

Next up:  Wiring on Trailer Build Four  read it here.

Trailer Build One

Trailer Build Two

Trailer Build Three

Trailer Build Four

Trailer Build Five

Homemade Teardrop

So you want to go camping?  Tired of tents?  Getting rained on?  Muddy equipment?  How about a home built trailer?

I have been camping for years, been pretty much around the country and hiked through many boots.  But nothing compares to a easy meal and a great bed when it comes to camping.  You get the great outdoors.  You get your fires.  You get to spend time with friends and family.  But when the sun goes down after a long day on the water or a great hike, you want to sleep without bugs, without rocks in back, without wind, rain and other elements.

A “teartdrop” trailer is your answer.  I was going to build a teardrop but after looking at many that are online, I decided to wing it and build my own design.  I was wanting something that could be used for many things.  I think I have been successful in building a camping trailer for two, a great simple kitchen design, huge storage, and simplicity.  Check out the build and let me know what you think.

Dale

 

Watch your six.