Sunday, July 19, 2015

Slow Progress on the Van

Haven't done much, lately.
Did some driving to figure out the Diesel consumption. Seems around 7 l per 100 km. Not too bad, could be better though.

The blind-out curtains came as a pair. In a previous post, you have seen installation of one of such curtains on a shower curtain rod. Light suppression was OK and so was sound suppression during driving.
I figured, double that can't be bad. So, I installed the second curtain back to back with the first one. Doing that not only doubles the thickness, it also adds a few centimeters to the total width. The plan is now to pin down the edges of the curtains to the vehicle by means of magnets.

Also, rerouting of the LED chains was overdue. So, I did that, nothing particularly interesting to report here.

All in all, nothing worth taking a picture of though.

And yes there is more, I did buy a "battery combiner". My choice went to a Victron Cyrix-ct 120A relay. This thing, usually used in yachts. It is good for combining a service battery with the starter battery and can be used in either 12V or 24V systems equally. This particular unit does not require the alternator signal. The unit measure the voltage on the start battery terminal, if said voltage is above 13V (or 26V respectively), it switches through to the service battery.
The next steps will be to shop for a deep cycle battery and to build a mount and panel for it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bluetooth Finally!

It has been a pain in the neck, but finally, I figured out how to pair my mobile phones with the Kenwood radio and Bluetooth gear that came with the van. In terms of communications, at least the cell phone issue is fixed.
I still have to decide if I want to install a VHF radio already in my possession, or if I should go for a digital hybrid. Further more, there is the option of a really cheap Chinese VHF/UHF radio, that covers everything analog.
Also, I am still struggling if I should keep the vehicle as is, or if I should turn it into an officially recognized camper.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Black Out Curtain Installed

Finally, I got the black out curtain installed.
Luckily, the curtain's width matches nearly the vehicles inter width.
To fix the curtain, I used a shower curtain rod. Since the inner of the vehicle slightly wedges, I had to come up with something keeping the rod from falling down. My solution: hooks made from a steel coat hanger.
right side hook

left side hook, with curtain

the curtain installed ... not pretty, but get's the job done

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Reversing Distance Sensors

The previous photos clearly show one feature of the Vito van: no windows in the cargo part of the van. Well, yes, that's what I opted for in the first place. However, reversing is somewhat slow and one need to be extremely careful. The previous owner managed to get a severe dent in the right rear door.
Actually, even changing lanes also needs extra attention, but that's another topic all together.

Reverse parallel parking in front of my house is relatively easy, since I got a nice maple tree in my front yard, which is a perfect visual beacon when looking through the mirrors whilst reversing.
However, some more info would be such a good thing.

Hence, I decided to order an aftermarket distance sensor system. Initially I thought about a camera, however, there seem to be limitation to those cameras. So, a sensor system it is!

After having looked at tons of reviews, I decided go order a relatively simple one from conrad electronics:  Parking aid (corded) Rear acoustic, visual CE

The scariest bit was to drill the holes in the rear bumper. I wanted to remove for doing said task, however, I was unable to loosen the screws, hence, I did it blindly. And yes, I could have oped for marking everything properly and stuff... but that's not me. Holes are in, so so, but who cares?

The hardest thing turned out to find a route for the sensor cable to the inside of the vehicle. For now those cables are just routed from under the rear bumper, over the same and through the left rear door. 
I figure, I will just created a passage through the rear bumper as to better hide the cables. Never the less, those cable will be are routed between the rear door and the door frame.

Photographs will follow! So, stay tuned!

The pictures I promised. The solution is not pretty, as stated above, but, it get's the job done!
the 4 sensors - the dent in the right door was achieved by a previous owner

cable routing - small hole in the bumper, right at the red electricians tape is