I went through my photos and picked out a couple dozen that show key parts of the trailer.
1. The exhaust fan: I chose a MaxxFan 12V Maxxair RV fan. It's oversized for this small trailer, but with 3 speeds and both intake and exhaust, it should help with those hot desert nights:
2. For cold desert nights, I've got a HeatSource 2000 propane furnace. It's built into a 20x5x10 inch box:
The furnace output blows into the foot well area, and the furnace intake flows under the bed and sucks air from the front of the trailer.
The 10 pound LP tank mounts in an AT Overland carrier that bolts to the rear of the trailer:
3. This shot shows the solar panel sitting on top of the trailer, and the "attic" floor in place. The solar panel is a 235 watt unit from Sharp with a black anodized aluminum frame. This solar panel will charge up the 184 amp hours of house batteries that power both the 12V DC system (including dimmable white and red LED lighting), and the inverter that provides 120V AC for the microwave and various camera chargers.
4. After I got the basic frame built, I sat inside and decided the shelves and microwave placement in the original design were not the best. I moved the microwave to the "attic" to simplify the mounting and save weight.
When I bench tested the house battery / inverter / microwave, I discovered that I needed a different inverter. The "coffee test" passed with a Schumacher 1500 truck inverter that I bought at Tractor Supply:
The microwave is a 700 watt unit, and the two batteries needed to supply 40 amps each to keep up.
The coffee test showed that I could heat a cup of water from room temperature to 160 degrees F in 2-1/2 minutes.
5. Rather than build a whole shelf strong enough to hold the microwave, I decided to mount it directly to the attic floor with a couple of angle irons welded underneath to hold the weight. I'm using "Vibration damping sandwich mounts" from McMaster.com to provide shock insulation. Since the microwave has an oddly shaped bottom, I made a tray out of LEXAN and aluminum to hold the microwave:
I'll have a big velcro strap to hold the microwave down...
You can see the black rubber feet that protect the microwave from the big bumps involved in driving over washboard roads to the actual camping trails. Here's the finished look of the microwave:
6. I love to go into Canyonlands, and the Maze is miles from the nearest town. Hite crossing has fuel near the southern entrance, but prudence demands a generous fuel reserve. So in addition to mounting two cans on the rear, and two cans on the Chaser frame, I added a couple of mounting brackets for a pair of AT Overland fuel carriers on the front:
7. Last week I started mounting the eleven body panels made from 0.032 and 0.05 inch 5052 aluminum.
The key design element of the skin is that every panel overlaps its neighbor by at least 1 inch on a flat piece of tubing that can be bolted down with flanged button head capscrews. In some of the corners that meant adding triangular gussets to back up the sheet metal.
I anticipate another week of bending aluminum sheet, drilling, and painting.
I hope to take it for a shakedown cruise in October.
This build is taking many more months than I thought it would, but I'm very proud of the strength and durability of this trailer. I hope to enjoy it for many years.
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