The Fan is In

The fan is in, but the carpet cuts show

The fan is in, but the carpet cuts show.

The good news is that the fan is in, it works, and it will never leak.

The bad news is that where I cut the carpet to run the wires looks bad.  My sister Gail told me there are videos on Youtube on how to fix the seam and make it invisible.  So that will be my next project.

I originally planned to cut the hole in the ceiling with my Dremel, using a cutoff wheel.  But I didn’t like the way it worked, so switched to my jigsaw with a blade for cutting metal.  It made a very clean cut with no chipping.

I had also planned to use a wood base underneath the fan.  But the screws that came with the fan were not long enough to go through the roof, the carpet and the foam padding and still bite into the wood.  So I had a choice of buying longer screws or trying to devise a way to not have to use the wood.  I decided to use bolts with nuts and washers on the inside of the fiberglass.  That would also allow me to use the garnish I had cut too short.

Scary!  The "What have I done!" moment.

Scary! The “What have I done!” moment.

Ron gave me some much needed help by pulling back the carpet around the hole, threading on the washers and bolts, then holding them while I tightened them from the roof.

I used pure butyl tape (not butyl putty tape) to seal the fan to the fiberglass.  It will never harden, never shrink, will stay flexible forever, and will never leak.  I learned about it from the Casita forums and also noted that Amazon’s vent replacement kits come with butyl tape.  It’s what I used on my Aliner’s fan when the original silicone shrank and the fan started leaking.  After I resealed it with butyl tape, the rest of the trailer fell apart, but the fan never leaked again!

Tomorrow I’ll seal the screw heads with self leveling caulking just to be extra safe.

The major problem I ran into was installing the garnish.  There was nothing to screw into, so I decided to use bolts and washers glued above the foam, protruding through the carpet, where I would secure the garnish holes with nuts.  The only thing is, the fan mounting bolts were in the exact spot I needed to place the new bolts.

I ended up using the fan mounting bolts.  I had to really push to get them through the garnish holes, and the fan is slightly curved up at the corners.

What was hilarious is that after I butchered the carpet running my own wires, I found wires to connect the fan already under the carpet when I peeled it back a little.  So I wouldn’t have had to run my own wiring if I had known they were there.

I would rate this job a 3 out of 5 due to the cosmetic issues.  I’m very disappointed, but at least I have a working fan now.

I’ll give myself a couple of days before I start working on the carpet seam repair.  I’ll probably install the rain cap first.

Camping Plans, a Little Progress & Sheba’s Buddy

Playing is hard work!

Playing is hard work!

I found out today that the campground we were planning to visit next week has still not reopened since the early May floods.  So I’m not sure whether we will get out next week or the following week.

Wood support for the Fantastic Fan

Wood support for the Fantastic Fan

In the meantime, I have just finished making my fourth interior support for the Fantastic Fan installation.  I can’t cut straight cuts with my jig saw, can’t get it to look like I want it to look, so have finally given up and will just use this one the way it is.  Tomorrow I’ll get the wiring done, then, between rains, cut the hole in the Casita’s roof and FINALLY get the thing installed–hopefully this week.

Chase and Sheba

Chase and Sheba

I am so afraid of this job, so have done some serious foot dragging on getting started!  I also have to cut the plastic interior surround down which involves scoring the plastic sides, cutting the corners, then breaking the plastic along the score lines.  I do hope I don’t destroy it in the process!

Today my neighbor Cindy brought her dog Chase down to play with Sheba.  Sheba loves it when Chase comes to visit.  They have a blast together.  They play until they get

Another shot of Chase and Sheba

Another shot of Chase and Sheba

tired, take breaks, then play again until they are exhausted.

In the meantime, Cindy and I get to catch up on each other’s news.

My favorite roses, again.

My favorite roses, again.

 

Doing Things I Don’t Know How to Do

(Casita wiring schematic removed by request.)

Sometimes projects overwhelm me because I have no prior knowledge or experience to draw on.

Installation of the Fantastic Fan is one of those projects.

I suppose my fear of working with anything electrical goes back to the dire warnings of electrical shock and electrocution that my mother instilled on me thoughout my growing-up years — based on a near-death experience during her teenage years.

Anyway, I understand now that if the trailer is unplugged and one cable of the battery is removed (or the breakers turned off) that I’m not going to get fried.  But that’s about all I understand.

These connectors came with the Fantastic Fan

These connectors came with the Fantastic Fan

First of all, most Casitas come prewired for a Fantastic Fan.  The original owner of my trailer ordered it without a roof vent at all.  So there is no existing fan wiring to tie into.

I called Casita, and they said to tie into the dinette lighting.   They are wonderful people, but they are also extremely busy, and my dumb questions apparently frustrated them.  So all I know is that I need to tie into the dinette light wiring.

One size fits all. :)

One size fits all. 🙂

I found a DC diagram for the Casita and it shows me where the wires run.  I will have to lift the carpet inside the cupboards, find the  wires, then glue the carpet back down later.

I am going to have to run the wires under the carpet from the cupboard to the ceiling.  I have some heavy aluminum wire that I think I can create a fish tool from.

I have the wood spacer for the fan cut out.  Just need to sand and finish it.

So now I am down to trying to figure out how to follow the Fantastic Fan electrical directions.  They say, “Hook 12 volt power to fan.”

Two wires are attached to the fan, and the package includes two little blue connectors.  I have never seen connectors like these before.  So I do a web search for a tutorial.  Finally I find an article that says to slide the wires in from both sides and crimp in the middle.  But I don’t know if one crimp in the middle will keep the wires from vibrating apart.  Would it be better to crimp each wire separately near the middle of the little blue thing?  I have no clue.  I’m guessing it couldn’t hurt.

Then I start thinking that if I cut the trailer wires and connect the fan that probably the lights and bathroom fan, farther down the circuit, wouldn’t work unless the Fantastic Fan was switched on.  So I searched the web again and found diagrams of jumper wires that would apparently route the current around the fan if it was off.

So I did a little sketch of how I thought I needed to do a jumper wire and emailed it to a guy who has answered questions for me in the past.  Although he graciously replied, he apparently was amused and his reply was so flippant that I would never dare ask him another question again.  🙂

Next I needed to decide what size connectors to use inside the cabinet.  I know from experience with battery connectors that there is no way I can crimp a wire tightly enough to get it in the size connector that’s supposed to fit.  I finally find some connectors that say they replace several different sizes… kind of an all-in-one solution.

Fortunately I do know how to use them because I have seen my ex connect wires with that screw on type connector.

Once I get the wires fished and figure exactly where to connect them, mounting the fan should be fairly simple — because I have used butyl tape and self-leveling caulking before, so I’m not expecting any hidden monsters to jump out and bite me there!

We have some rain on the way, so this will probably take a while!

The Fan Arrived & More Projects Afoot

The Fantastic Fan and rain cap were delivered today.  I was shocked… didn’t expect them for several days.

However, the job is going to have to wait until the weather is warm and sunny.  Our 10 day forecast calls for cool weather and rain for the next several days.

Today we did errands, went out to lunch — and then to Lowe’s!

I have a project up my sleeve that I’ve been looking for supplies for months.  Despite countless hours searching the net, I couldn’t find anything that would work and look nice.

So today I decided to walk every single aisle in Lowe’s and see if I might stumble upon something that would work.

EUREKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll wait to tell you what it is because it would sound so stupid… but it’s going to be perfect for the job!  You’ll see!  (Hint — it’s for the bathroom.)  🙂

 

Gearing up for My 1st Electrical Adventure!

I have desperately wanted to have a Fantastic Fan installed in my Casita.  The original owner ordered it from the factory without any roof vent at all!  But our local RV shop does such shoddy work that I wasn’t willing to trust them with cutting a hole in the roof of my Casita.  (His fixes were largely responsible for the early demise of my Aliner.)  Also, the Fantastic Fan is made for RVs with thicker roofs, and a lot of shops will tell you a Fantastic Fan can’t be installed in a Casita.

The Fantastic Fan

The Fantastic Fan

I figured the only way I could get it done by someone I trust was to make a trip to Texas and have Larry at Little House Customs do it for me.

But tonight I read this article on how to install one.  It answered my BIG question on where to tie the wires in.  It says I can use either the wires to the bathroom fan or to the lighting.  It also showed me how to score the insert to fit my narrower ceiling.

I think I can find the wires to the bathroom fan without doing any damage to the ceiling carpet.  And I think I should be able to fish the fan wire the short distance needed.  I may have to loosen a little bit of the carpet at the ceiling/bathroom wall juncture.  But I can restore that with contact cement.

Cover for the fan so I can use it when it's raining.

Cover for the fan so I can use it when it’s raining.

My big questions will be which wires to tie to which fan wires.  But I figure I can take a photo of the wires and ask the guys on the Casita forum.  They are GREAT at patiently answering even the dumbest-sounding questions.  (The reason I know is I have already asked several!)  😀

So I ordered the Fantastic Fan tonight from Adventurenet.  I’ve had several positive dealings with them in the past, and they have great prices and low shipping costs.

I also ordered a rain cover for the fan so I can leave it running when it’s raining.  With the MaxxAir vent I already installed in the rear window, I can partially open that window so the fan can pull fresh air through.

I ordered the vent cover with the removable louver so I can clean out leaves and pine straw that accumulate under there.  I was afraid that maybe the louver would loosen in time.  But it it does, I’ll devise a method to hold it in place.

I know that this project (like all my projects) will have me pulling my hair out trying to get everything right the first time.  And I’ll probably be really sorry I attempted it for a while.  But I am SO excited about learning how to do this!

If I succeed at this project, then I’ll try to add a switch so I can turn on the Casita’s porch light from inside as well as outside — another feature I’ve wanted for a long time!

Who knows…. I may even attempt the fast gray plumbing mod on my little trailer before I’m done!!!!

 

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