After over a decade of service my original coop controller finally died. This was no fault of it’s own the old 12V AGM battery died and when I hooked up the new one I did so with the incorrect polarity. This was rapidly followed but a “pop” and the dreaded magic smoke escaping from it. The flyback diode took the brunt of the damage it followed by the speed controller FET. Because of this I felt it in my best interest, instead of reviving the old board I would start anew with more goodness. The original controller suffered from a few problems:
- It was difficult to tell if the door was actually up or down from the house
- When it got an error (i.e. chicken poop prevented the door from closing) it was hard to reset
- It utilized a CdS sensor I pulled from a smoke detector which wasn’t temperature stable year round
- It was a custom arduino board and the chip needed to be pulled and put in a programmer to update the firmware (whch is lost to time)
I am writing this post to let new owners of a Jayco Jayfeather X213 or similar recreational vehicle what they need to bring along with them on their camping trips. The camper comes well equipped from the factory but several items are required to make your vehicle completely usable and enjoyable on a camping trip.
- Utilitiy Connections
- 30A to 20A Adapter – You might not be able to run everything but you will at least have power if you need it and there isn’t a 30A Socket
- Also handy when you are setting up at home since more often than not you will not have a 30A exterior socket on your home.
- A heavy-duty extension cord would also be good. If using a cable over 25 feet get a 10 Guage one instead.
- Sewer Hose and Clear Elbow – If you are going to make a sewer connection or clean out you black and grey tanks
- The clear elbow makes it easy to tell when your black tank is clean
- You will also need black tank deodorizer. I prefer the Porta-Pak portioned tablets but there are many options out there
- Rapid dissolving toilet tissue is also highly recommended, the last thing you want to do while camping is unclog your sewer line
- A hose support is also good to have to keep sewer moving in the right direction
- Fresh Water Hose – to connect to the city water connection
- Optionally a fresh water filter will remove some of the bad odors that can be found in some campground water
- Sometimes water pressure can be amazingly high at campgrounds and as such can damage some of the plumbing in your camper. This makes a water pressure regulator also good to have and is cheap insurance against over pressure damage.
- If you are dry-camping but have access to a spigot you can fill your freshwater tank with this water bandit.
- Important: Never use your freshwater hose to connect to anything other than city water and never use it near a dump station!
- Site Setup
- Wheel chocks such as these light weight ones for lots of travel or these heavy duty X-Chocks when you are going to be around for longer
- I have these One-step chocks and they lock the wheels nearly as well as X-chocks but setup way faster
- Leveling blocks like the Tri-Lynx to level your camper side to side
- You could use wood, however you don’t want to carry wet or insect laden wood between campsites.
- Some campgrounds may prohibit any wood from being used
- Stabilizer Jack Pads – to protect your landing gear from rusting on the ground
- A Tongue Jack Stand or something hard like the stabilizer jack pads for the tongue jack
- A tongue or coupler lock – nothing can shorten a trip like a missing camper
Once you have the basic supplies for your site setup you can prepare your camper for the road. I always go-through my pre-travel checklist to make sure I am ready to go.
A lot of the Sate and National park campgrounds we visit to do not have full-hookups or RV sites. To counter this I wanted to make our camper a little more capable of boondocking or dry camping. The first upgrade that one can do is install some solar panels to keep the lights on, heater running and the water pumping. So I set out and did some research as to what others had done and how they had done it. I settled on a Renogy 200W Monocrystalline Solar system to start with and can upgrade it trivially up to 400W with the addition of two more solar panels – which should still fit on my roof when done.
New 3D printed hiking pole end caps. Designed to fit into the repurposed golf clubs my wife used. Find it on Thingiverse.
Sometime around May 2004 we decided we were going to get chickens. We decided to build out own coop. I researched several designs online but wanted something that wouldn’t stick out and would blend in with the existing shed it was going to be placed near. I made some measurements of where it would be placed and got to work sketching out what I wanted for a coop. I refined the design and came up with how it would be framed on paper.
Faced with the challenge of carrying a a 16′ Old Town canoe, a kayak and all the gear and accessories and camping supplies in the 5 and a half foot bed of my F-150 SuperCrew I set out looking for options. First and foremost how to transport the canoe without being a hazard on the road to myself or anyone else. The prerequisites were as follows:
1) Should allow safe operation of the vehicle
2) No drilling or permanent modifications to the truck and should not interfere with or require the removal of the toneau cover I have installed
3) Must be easy to remove and install
4) Loading the canoe must not be difficult
5) Should hold at least one canoe – two would be better
6) Should look halfway decent
7) And the ever present engineering requirement of cost