Ski Bum Truck V2.0, F450 Rough Road RV

java

Expedition Leader
If you want to heat your batteries, I suggest insulation them. 1/2" foam is the minimum I think. Otherwise that 65W of heat will get lost to the atmosphere quickly. Another option is a fiber blanket. Thinsulate or similar works fine. Just don't put anything flammable within about 2" of the terminals, as a poor connection could cause a fire.

Also note those batteries are dense. It takes hours to change temp if they are allowed to get cold before turning the heater on.
Good idea, I was really just messing with it. The reason it didn't turn on is they never went below the setpoint on the Tstat (50F IIRC) They are sitting on 1" of foam, and the wall is 1.75" of spray foam, but nothing on the living side. (Footnote: I found the battery issue.... In some of the next posts.)
 

java

Expedition Leader
Ok checked. 87.7% lowest SOC. temp was 9C or 48.2 F at the battery terminal

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this is under a little load, but lowest voltage I could find.
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Thinking about doing an airdog system. I was given some tunes and I think they may be really stretching the stock pump. Thoughts? And now I need to find a H&S tuner.....


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Good weekend, with every electrical issue I can have :********:

Friday night parked the truck and relaxed. Nice stars. And my lovely turn signal arrow....


Started fine Saturday AM, 10-15 minute drive, parked in on spot, decided to move, started fine again. Skied all day, a little microwave use (high draw....) another 10-15 min drive. House Batteries were ~90ish % If i remember right.

Well overnight the house batteries got cold and angry….. 12.1V resting in the AM. And apparently the start batteries were pissed off too, cranked over, real slow and wouldn't start..... Luckily a ranger was driving by and gave me a jump.... Because trying to jump off the house batteries sure wasn't working....

So to do list..... Get battery heater setup working. Replace start batteries.... Add switch for self jumping (using a piece of wire sucks) and prove it will work (I will try to start it with the start batteries removed?) . Test to make sure I don't have a ton of parasitic drain (turn signal dash light.....). Maybe buy lithium jump pack (diesel sized??) oh and my battery chain saw decided to ******** off too.

Need this resolved.... We camp in the middle of ************** no where a lot. I got lucky with a jump this weekend.

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Well I got under there to pull them apart and get voltages of the cells.

And I think I'm an idiot :rolleyes:

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java

Expedition Leader
So, you're posting all these pictures of nice, glorious snow to help reinforce how hot it's going to be in the PNW over the next few days?
Ha bad timing I guess


That will do it... Good thing that didn't ground somewhere.
I lifted it up for the pictures, it was tucked behind the terminal, just touching, but not enough to give good amperage when there was a draw.... But yes, good thing it didn't ground out. But I have pretty specifically tried to use non conductive stuff in that area.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
If you need to carry a jump pack, there are capacity based ones which are pretty reliable. They require charging from a battery, even a mostly discharged one will do it, though it could take 20 minutes. Then you get a single crank. They should work fine even when cold.
 

java

Expedition Leader
If you need to carry a jump pack, there are capacity based ones which are pretty reliable. They require charging from a battery, even a mostly discharged one will do it, though it could take 20 minutes. Then you get a single crank. They should work fine even when cold.
The capacitor style? I didn't think that would have a chance on a big diesel.

In theory I can jump from my house bank too. But that was before finding my issue.... Both starting batteries have been replaced.
 

java

Expedition Leader
Start to a possibly stupidly overcomplicated project. I want to be able to work from this thing occasionally. I need better cell/data service. The aluminum box kills it, we have a little mifi device, and it works ok inside usually, but it generally better on the roof. Plus I seem to always end up in marginal coverage areas....

So, I will be adding a cell system to the truck. Part one, antenna lifter. I don't want giant ass antenna on the roof, one it will put me over 12'6 and two it will get ripped off by branches. 32" stoke pneumatic cylinder should do the trick. Antenna is 30" tall. The plan is to mount the antenna to the top. Hopefully it doesn't flex the shaft too bad... Its 6.2 lbs. Shaft is 5/8" SS

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Data and plumbing parts.
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Got a couple bid ass nuts to mount the cylinder. 1 3/8" fine thread. I powder coated them which turned out to be a bad idea. If anyone knows where to find a 1 3/8" aluminum nut let me know.... I see some as "panel mount rings" but they don't specify thread pitch. More jamb nut style ideally, these are huge.

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A couple quick mounted to bolt to the door.

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Mounted the cylinder.
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Antenna get mounted on top of the cylinder.
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Bulkhead fittings for the air lines get them inside, then air switch.
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And it goes up!
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Goes up, goes down. Feels pretty solid locked in the down position. All the weight of the antenna is right at the bottom which helps. Uses a lot of air. Compressor kicks on about half way up.

Ignore the booger welds.... Wjust stick the clevis that came with the cylinder to a piece of plate. Powdercoated it and bolted the antenna on. Get well above the roof line!

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Need some cable management, I am thinking a piece of light pressure surgical tubing, that should help pull the cables back inside.

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luthj

Engineer In Residence
I ended up with a pivot mount and a thumbscrew. What is the gain on your antenna? I have found the key to reliable service is to have two different carriers, so you have a backup in areas of poor coverage. At least until starlink allows mobile intsalls!

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java

Expedition Leader
Weekend report. It works GOOD.

I have a leak somewhere, it drops down over night. I was closing the valve I put in between the compressor and switch since as I was about the leave it started leaking/blowing fittings off. I didn't have time to ******** around with it yet. May be a little more pressure than the switch is happy with.

Router got installed on the back wall above the toilet.
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Signal at the router.
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Straight from the phone
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On the wifi. Almost double the speed.
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Warm weather feels pretty damn good.
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Pizza was good too. Pellet fired oven is pretty slick.
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I ended up with a pivot mount and a thumbscrew. What is the gain on your antenna? I have found the key to reliable service is to have two different carriers, so you have a backup in areas of poor coverage. At least until starlink allows mobile intsalls!

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That's a pretty simple way to do it!

Antenna specs:

Frequency Range698-960/1710-2700/3300-3800 MHz
Peak Gain4~6 dBi freq. dependent
VSWR< 2.0
Radiation PatternOmni-Directional
Impedance50 ohms
PolarizationVertical
Max Input Power50 W
 

DzlToy

Explorer
For sealing roof penetrations, consider using polyurethane concrete crack filler. It sticks to anything, handles UV well and never completely hardens. Another option is to steal a page out of the marine world's handbook and use butyl tape. I have never really had great luck with silicone, caulking, RTV and that kind of thing. It works for a while then fails. If you don't want something to EVER come off and you need to seal it up really well, just mix up some 30 minute epoxy. It is sandable, paintable and can be UV stable.

For a ladder, I like the extendable/collapsable aluminum ladders and would prefer it to having something mounted to the truck, for several reasons. 'Tis a bit of a hassle to pack and unpack, when compared to something permanently mounted. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both.

A rip-stop nylon sheet can be laid perpendicular to the house and staked out or left to hang. When the roof packs with snow, pull the left side over the right side or vice versa = snow dumps in a matter of seconds, no shoveling required. Fans/vents could pose a problem with the tarp, but if your roof is covered in a foot of snow, I presume the same issue would be present.

If you have the cash, throw in a pair of Aussie lockers. They 'unlock' off-throttle to allow some slip whilst cornering, lock 100% under throttle and require zero maintenance. Additionally, there are no air lines or wires to run to the pumpkin.

In regards to heating, consider electric, underfloor heating mats (12VDC - 230VAC depending on output desired) from a company like Thermosoft. A thermostat can be tied to your existing system to cycle the mats off and on, maintaining a perfect 75*F temperature in your battery bank, assuming you have the heating capacity and insulation to retain the heat.

If the pneumatic cylinder does not work out for you, consider an extendable, carbon pole from a company like DragonPlate. They are lightweight, strong and impervious to road salt, mud, etc.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Another tip on the cell service. If you didn't already know, its common for towers to shunt you to a frequency which results in poorer throughput. In remote areas channel 13 (around 700mhz) often has the best throughput, especially when you have trees or poor line of sight. In more crowded areas changing channel width or moving to a higher (less crowded) frequency can give you better throughput. The channel with the best strength isn't always the one with the best throughput. Being able to lock your router to a specific channel can significantly improve performance.

Can you adjust your routers transmit power? In many cases you will have great downstream signal/noise ratio, but upstream is so slow that many web applications won't function properly.
 

java

Expedition Leader
For sealing roof penetrations, consider using polyurethane concrete crack filler. It sticks to anything, handles UV well and never completely hardens. Another option is to steal a page out of the marine world's handbook and use butyl tape. I have never really had great luck with silicone, caulking, RTV and that kind of thing. It works for a while then fails. If you don't want something to EVER come off and you need to seal it up really well, just mix up some 30 minute epoxy. It is sandable, paintable and can be UV stable.

For a ladder, I like the extendable/collapsable aluminum ladders and would prefer it to having something mounted to the truck, for several reasons. 'Tis a bit of a hassle to pack and unpack, when compared to something permanently mounted. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both.

A rip-stop nylon sheet can be laid perpendicular to the house and staked out or left to hang. When the roof packs with snow, pull the left side over the right side or vice versa = snow dumps in a matter of seconds, no shoveling required. Fans/vents could pose a problem with the tarp, but if your roof is covered in a foot of snow, I presume the same issue would be present.

If you have the cash, throw in a pair of Aussie lockers. They 'unlock' off-throttle to allow some slip whilst cornering, lock 100% under throttle and require zero maintenance. Additionally, there are no air lines or wires to run to the pumpkin.

In regards to heating, consider electric, underfloor heating mats (12VDC - 230VAC depending on output desired) from a company like Thermosoft. A thermostat can be tied to your existing system to cycle the mats off and on, maintaining a perfect 75*F temperature in your battery bank, assuming you have the heating capacity and insulation to retain the heat.

If the pneumatic cylinder does not work out for you, consider an extendable, carbon pole from a company like DragonPlate. They are lightweight, strong and impervious to road salt, mud, etc.
I used Sikafelx poly on the roof last time, it didn't last well. This stuff is supposed to be bullet proof. So far it seems to be holding up. Slippery as balls in the snow though.

I don't want to have to stow a ladder, they do work fine, I just would prefer fixed in place/no set up.

I like the sheet idea! I'm not sure I would be strong enough to pull though, we are talking hundred (thousands wet?) of pounds of snow.

The rear is LSD, nut sure aussie even makes one for a 110. I just need a little more friction modifier in it I think. Not a terrible idea for the front though! I know its available for a D60

If I were to build another truck, it will have radiant floor heat throughout. One thing I REALLY wish I had done. It will be hydronic though. I did look at adding the electric ones, but its a hassle with my floor already in. For heating the battery or future lithium, I have a PID controller and silicone heating pads in the garage..... Just have not gotten to that project yet!

Same thing with the ladder on the cylinder, I don't want something I have to store and set up. I looked at the carbon poles, but its another chore, especially when you move often. My antenna works pretty well in the down position even. But I don't know how it will hold up long term. Its a ~1/2" stainless shaft. Antenna is 6lbs IIRC




Another tip on the cell service. If you didn't already know, its common for towers to shunt you to a frequency which results in poorer throughput. In remote areas channel 13 (around 700mhz) often has the best throughput, especially when you have trees or poor line of sight. In more crowded areas changing channel width or moving to a higher (less crowded) frequency can give you better throughput. The channel with the best strength isn't always the one with the best throughput. Being able to lock your router to a specific channel can significantly improve performance.

Can you adjust your routers transmit power? In many cases you will have great downstream signal/noise ratio, but upstream is so slow that many web applications won't function properly.

Interesting on the bands, I didn't think about that! I think I can switch and force whatever band is desired on it. I will have to play around in the settings.

I am not sure on the power.
 

java

Expedition Leader
How about those cascading projects? :********: I wanted to add a tank level sensor to my Color Control, the little icon says "no tanks" had stared at me long enough. I have a SeeLevel gauge on it, JUNK. Stick on sensor that doesn't stick on, is inaccessible etc. It sucks.

So Victron makes a resistive sensor adaptor for the color control. Easy, it uses the can bus connection and I have a free slot there. Order the stupidly over priced adapter. Add tank sensor (KUS REALLY nice piece for the price). Run the wires, which is a major **********, they are at the back of a 48" deep, 9" wide drawer. I cant reach it, and I don't fit in that hole. But the wires are run, ends terminated, hook it up and nothing. After some googling, Well it turns out the color control does not power the can bus network. you need another over priced widget to power it. ******** this ********. For a few bucks more I can get the Cerbo, and the touchscreen. It has way more capability than the color control, including built in tank monitoring for like 6 tanks?

Returned the over priced adapter, ordered a cerbo. Oh but wait, the touch screen is a different size than the color control, of course it is.... And I have a cutout sized for the color control. Some more googling says they make an adapter. OK fine. Order that too.

So all the connections are at the back of the color control. The cerbo is a bigger box.... So I will need to re route all this ********.
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Sender in the tank, set in 3m 4000. Its all stainless, fuel and water rated. And the stupid adapter thing I immediately ripped back out.
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Big ass hole.
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And the adapter, the bezel is so ************** huge. Well that wont work either. (and I didn't set up an acct when I ordered it so I cant return it now....)
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Fawk it. Sheet of abs, make my own damn adapter.
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Mounted the cerbo on the other wall, re routed all the cables. Meh. Its a little messy. Oh and why do they put ************** blinking LED's on everything?? Electrical tape to the rescue.
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Well it works and I can see my water level. Now to run a wire to the propane tank :********:
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