DIY Projects

Extend-A-Stay

Extend-A-Stay is a T, with check valves, it fits between the vapor outlet and the regulator. This allows you to use an auxiliary LPG tank and save your main LPG tank when you are on the road.

Because of the leveraged, additional weight of the Extend-A-Stay, I
added a double L support bracket.

Parts:

  • Extend-A-Stay $33 from RV Surplus
  • Auxiliary LPG Bottle $175 Local LP guy
  • NOTE – The bottle was full of fuel
  • 3 – #12x3/4" self-tapping screws (replace nuts/bolts)
  • Homemade double L bracket support
  • Small hose clamp
  • Soap/water solution in squirt bottle

Install:

  1. Turn off all gas appliances and main valve.
  2. Disconnect RV regulator using a 7/8" wrench. Remember its is left hand thread.
  3. Install Extend-A-Stay and do not use any pipe dope or teflon tape.
  4. Connect RV regulator to the Extend-A-Stay using a 10" adjustable wrench and 7/8" wrench.
  5. Attach the double L bracket to frame with 1 #12x3/4" self-tapping screw.
  6. Turn on the gas and check for leaks with soap/water solution. Use 2 wrenches to tighten any connections that leak.
  7. Install regulator cover with 2 #12x3/4" self-tapping screws.
  8. Install the hose clamp to secure & support the regulator and Extend-A-Stay.

Before

After

Return to DIY Projects

EMS-LCHW50

Parts:

  • Progressive EMS-LCHW50 - $279 from RV Upgrades
  • 4 - 5' of #6 wire - Black, Red, White, Green
  • 1 - 5' piece of gray flex cable cover
  • 4 - #12x3/4" Self tapping screws
  • 2 - 1/4"x3/4" bolts/washers/nuts
  • 2 - 1/4"x3/4" Flat head bolts/washers/nuts
  • 2 - 12"x3/4" flat stock for mounting brackets

Install:

There are 2 possible ways to install the EMS-LCHW50

  1. You can install it by moving the shore power cable to the input side of the LCHW50 and the output side of the LCHW50 becomes the input to the transfer switch. But, this does not protect the coach from the generator.
  2. You can also take output side of the transfer switch to the input side of the LCHW50. Then the output side of the LCHW50 becomes input to the coach. This protects the coach from both shore power and the generator. This is the method I chose.

The EMS-LCHW50 also has a remote display that can be installed inside the coach. This allows you to see what is going and not have go look in the electrical bay.

Each install will be different and the instructions supplied with the EMS-LCHW50 are more than adequate to finish the install.

Before

After

Internals

Return to DIY Projects

EMS Failure

In Sept of 2009 we decided to quit fultiming, after 4 years, and build a house. So now we are just doing weekend club rallies and a few longer trips. I have had my EMS LCHW50 installed and running continuously for over 3 years without any problems. But, all good things come to an end.

I was really surprised when I got to the RV Park for Dec 09 club rally and the EMS showed a blinking 888 when I plugged in the shore power. I thought I had a bad plug-in and was about to move the rig when the RV park maintenance guy came by. I asked if they were having any electrical problems and he said no. So, I decided to test the generator as I have it inline with the EMS. That test worked. I stopped the generator and plugged the shore power back in and everything was normal. Hummm, cold weather maybe?

After a really cold weekend we returned the rig to the RV barn and sure enough I had the same problem as when I plugged into the RV park shore power. After a few try’s I finally got it to work. So, now what do I do as this thing is way out of warranty. I decided to send Progressive Industries an Email to see if they had any advice on the blinking 888 error as the manual really didn't have any information on this particular error code. I sent the Email very late in the day, like 11 PM. Boy was I surprised to get a reply back the first thing in the morning with a diagnoses and a fix. Progressive Industries offered to send a replacement main board for FREE. It arrived a few days later via USPS Priority Mail. It took about 30 mins to install and test. I returned the defective part via USPS Priority Mail. My total cost was $4.80 for Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box.

So, if you are looking for a great product and great service the Progressive Industries EMS system is the way to go.

Here is a photo of the defective part.

EMS Bypass

The EMS main board failure got me thinking about how do you bypass this kind of error without taking the EMS cover off. My solution is not new as any number of other RVer's have done the same thing. You rewire it to use some range plugs and receptacles. I picked up the receptacles at Lowe's for about $10 a piece (standard 50 amp range receptacle). I got a 6' and 4' range cord off the Internet for less than $30 shipped. By getting 2 long cords you have enough wire to make all your connections with buying any extra wire.

I orginally had my EMS setup to protect the generator and shore power. This setup forced me to fab a bracket for mounting the EMS because Newmar didn't leave enough wire to allow me to remout the EMS where I wanted to. Now by adding the plugs & receptacles I can mount the EMS box where it is out of the way and easy to see.

The re-wiring goes as follows:

  1. Return the output from the EMS back to the transfer switch.
  2. Remove the shore power cord from the EMS and install a receptacle on the end of the cord.
  3. Install a short section of the 6' range cord, that will reach the shore power receptacle, to the input side of the EMS.
  4. Using the left over wire from step 3 install a receptacle at one end and the other end to the output side of the EMS.
  5. Trim the 4' range cord so that is long enough to reach the EMS output receptacle AND the shore power receptacle.

WARNING
You must maintain the wire color continuity from receptacle to plug through out the install. There is 1 red wire (hot), 1 black wire (hot), 1 white wire (netural), and 1 green wire (ground).

Now all I have to do if I have a EMS failure is swap 2 plugs and bypass the EMS system.

EMS Inline

EMS Bypass

Return to DIY Projects

Battery Boxes

I got real tired of cleaning batteries in my slide out battery tray. They were open to road dirt and really get dirty. There was a lot of corrosion and one of the jack springs was getting nasty looking from the out gassing. So, I decided to put them in battery boxes. The bottom line is, no more mess, very little corrosion and less water usage or seems that way.

Parts:

  • 2 Group 24 battery boxes - Wal Mart - $13.00
  • 1 Can of white paint - Wal Mart - $1

Install:

  1. Remove the coach from shore power.
  2. Put the coach batteries in Store mode.
  3. Remove the batteries.
  4. Clean up the batteries and battery tray.
  5. Paint the tray and move the battery hookup schematic.
  6. Trim the handles off the battery boxes so they fit in the tray.
  7. Reinstall the batteries and hookup the cables.
  8. Trim the battery box tops for the battery cables.
  9. Install the tops and strap them down.

Before

After

Return to DIY Projects

Extra 110v Outlet

I only had one 110v outlet in a storage bay on the passenger's side. I also have a small compressor that I use to air up my tires and run a few air tools. But, it is in a bay on the other side of the coach. Thus I had to either run an extension cord to it or remove it and plug it in on the other side. This was a real pain, so I decided to add another outlet to the other side of the coach.

Parts:

  • 1 - 1/2x10' Flex conduit - $1.97
  • 1 - Shallow electrical box - .97
  • 1 - 15A outlet - .49
  • 1 - Outlet cover - .44
  • 6 - 1/2" conduit clamps - .60
  • 8 - #12x3/4" Self Tapping screws - .25
  • 10' - 12/2 wire - $1.50

Sources:

  • Home Depot/Lowes

Install:

  1. Remove the power from the coach.
  2. Remove the existing outlet.
  3. Add the new wire to the old outlet and remount the outlet.
  4. String the wire through the flex conduit, route to the other side and install the conduit clamps to hold everything in place.
  5. Mount the new box, trim the flex conduit if necessary, hook up the wire to the outlet, mount the outlet and add the cover.
  6. Recheck everything, restore the power and check the circuit for proper polarity.

Before

After

Notes:

  • The original outlet uses wire slice contacts for the connection (no screws) and small plastic clips that hold it in the mount, similar to old construction add on electrical boxes. Tighten them to tight and they break. They can also break if you pull to hard plug when you remove a really tight plug.
  • These outlets are light duty - in my opinion due to how the wire is connected to the original outlet.
  • The outlet box I installed is only good for the 1 set of wires.

Return to DIY Projects

400 Watt Inverter

I have a Garmin GPS 18 that interfaces to my laptop via the USB port. I use it for my navigation. But, I really didn't like using a cigarette lighter type power source to power my laptop for long periods of time. So, figured that I needed an inverter to power the 110-volt laptop AC power brick. I was about to go buy one when I remembered that I had one in my electrical supply box that I bought on clearance at Target.

I kept the battery clamps and the cigarette lighter plug-in so I can use the inverter outside of the motorhome if necessary.

Parts:

  • Inverter Target - Clearance $15.00 Coleman - 400/800 watt
  • Bag Cable Ties Harbor Freight $ .08 - I used 4 of 100/$1.99
  • #12 Red wire Wal Mart $ .37 - I used about 4' of 25'/$2.34
  • #12 Black wire Wal Mart $ .37 - I used about 4' of 25'/$2.34
  • Wire lugs-3/#8 Local Hardware Store $ .40 - I used 2 of 10/$1.99
  • Wire lugs-3/#10 Local Hardware Store $ .40 - I used 2 of 10/$1.99
  • Cable Clips Wal Mart $ .56 - I used 2 of 6/$1.67
  • Wire Cover Harbor Freight $ .32 - I used 4' of 25'/$1.99
  • Total cost less than $20

Install:

  1. Find a location to set the inverter. For me it is the top of the doghouse next to the firewall.
  2. Drill a hole thru the firewall to run your wires. Be careful of where you drill and make sure it clear on both side of the firewall.
  3. Use a meter to find a 12-volt source. I used the 12-volt fuse panel that has switched and non-switched 12-volt sources. I used a switched source that cut off when the coach 12-volt supply is put in store mode.
  4. For safety reasons you may remove the shore power and disconnect the negative side of the coach batteries before you attach any wires.
  5. Run your cable cover thru the firewall, run you red and black wires through cable cover t the power panel and ground, attach the terminal connectors on end of the wires and hook them to the power source and ground and each end.
  6. Reconnect the coach batteries and test your install with a meter. If all is ok reconnect the shore power.

Return to DIY Projects

Replacement Horns

My coach came with 2 standard horns and a pair of roof mounted air horns. The standard horns are pretty wimpy. After hearing the "Bad Boy" WOLO horns that my buddy mount on his rig to replace his standard horns I decided to add a set to my rig. I was about to order some off the net when I go a Harbor Freight flyer and what do you think they had on sale, Yep, "Bad Boy" WOLO.

I liked the sound of one horn but it seemed unbalanced. So, when Harbor Fieght put them on sale again I bought a second one, fabed up a bracket and installed it on the other side of the coach.

Before

After - Horn #1

After - Horn #2

How does it sound ?

Press the button to listen

 

Return to DIY Projects

Awing Support & Lock

How much does an 18' to 20' awning weigh? A bunch and awning really bounces when you go down the road. I only had my class "C" about a month before I started to see the center of the awning start to sag. That's when I decided to install an awning center support brace. I have done the same thing on my class "A". Why the OEM's don't install this as a standard feature is beyond me. You can get the center support brace from any good RV dealer or even Camping World. The key to mounting it is to make sure you hit one of the metal wall studs. To find them just wait for a heavy dew and the stick out like a sore thumb.

If you look at the inner workings of an awning you will find that it is nothing more than a great big shade just like the one you have in a house. Now if the "ratchet" portion releases when your diving down the road at 60 mph you just released a 20' sail. Once the wind catches the awning you can kiss it goodbye along with the arms that support it.

There are any number of ways to fix this problem and the one I chose was a very simple solution for metal clad awnings that I found on the Discovery Owners forum. You can get the parts from Zip Dee. The different part numbers are for large and small latches. You will need 2, one for each end of the awning. You may, as I had to, install some aluminum spacers to install the latches.

The neat part of this project is that you can use your awning rod to open and close the latches.

Parts:

  • Zip Dee - 800-338-2378 and ask for Parts
  • Description - Patio Awning Latch
    PN 299120 Quantity - 2 Price - $10.50 each
  • Description - Window Awning Latch
    PN 299344 Quantity -? Price - $10.50 each

Installed

Open

Closed

Return to DIY Projects

Custom Painted Vent Covers

This not a beginners DIY project. I added it just to show that if you have the time and are willing to put forth some effort you can do just about anything yourself.

I decided to cover my bathroom vent and Fantastic-Fan vent with a Max Air vent covers. But, when I went to install them the white color just didn't look right. I thought about black or even the smoke versions but they didn't look right either.

I stopped at my local paint & body shop for an estimate and got the shock of my life, almost $350 apiece sight unseen. That's when I decided to get the old spray gun out and do it myself. My final cost was about $200 for both. The paint was about $35 a pint and when mixed it makes about a quart, enough to both covers. But, when youy add in plastic primer, thinner, sand paper, tack rags and last but not least clear coat the cost goes up. I even bought a new spray gun, on sale at Harbor Freight.

Before

After

Installed

Return to DIY Projects