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Kitchen Aids:

I had lived with this kitchen for over a year and didn’t much care for it. Two of the problems with it was that there’s really nowhere to hang a roll of paper towels and there’s no where to put dish scrubbers. Then one day, after an entire year, I noticed there was plenty of room on the backside of the cabinet door under the sink. Doh! Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.

So here’s what I did, once I found the style towel rack and tray I wanted at the Dollar Store. Here I put a new fat roll of towels in the towel rack to guesstimate where to hang it so removing a paper towel wouldn’t be interfered with by the tray above. Also made sure I had plenty of wood behind the tray and rack so the screws used for mounting wouldn’t poke through and mar the front of the door:

And here’s the tray filled with the everyday items I’d usually have on the counter behind the sink. Now it’s a bit more organized and not as unsightly. Plenty of room to close the door without interference. So that’s another small project completed. I like it better already.


Black & Decker SpaceMaker Coffee Maker:

Model ODC 150 Type 1 – This model came with the RV.

I really like this coffee maker. It’s mounted right over my work/dining table, hanging on the bottom of an open shelf so it’s not taking any kitchen counter space, has a 12 cup glass pot, and a removable tank that fits nicely under my filtered water spout over at the sink. The removable tank means I don’t need to try to fill the tank over my computer with the glass pot like most coffee makers. It’s easy in the morning to pull out the tank and coffee basket, step over to the sink to fill the tank, and reach up to the cabinet over the stove for the filter and coffee.

I know they’ve been put into thousands of RVs as an added option, have seen them in many used RVs I’ve toured, so I was surprised that I couldn’t find a new glass carafe for it in the aftermarket easily at a reasonable price. I discovered a vertical crack in the glass from the top to around 1/2″ from the bottom of the pot. The carafe had fallen out of the brewing cubby, bounced off the table, and hit the floor. I park it empty on the edge of the coffee maker frame while the hot plate is cooling off…so I don’t get that dark oily covering on the inside bottom. That’s important because I only wash the carafe a couple times a month. I was lucky it was still in one piece. But it did force me to get into the habit of checking that the carafe was in the right place before driving the RV. The design prevents it from bouncing out too easily on the road…if I remember to push it all the way in after drinking the coffee and letting the hot plate cool.

Anyway, the best price I could find online for a used carafe on eBay that would fit this model…$13 plus $10 shipping. Yikes. Mine wasn’t leaking at the crack yet, so what I did to continue using it was run a strip of clear packing tape over the crack to hold it while I scoured the thrift shops as I traveled. Nearly a year of checking online and 10’s of thrift stops later…still hadn’t found the glass carafe at a decent price. But the tape was still doing the job so not really an emergency. I did try a ‘universal’ pot once but it was not satisfactory. Sure, it sort of worked, but it just didn’t fit well.

So when I stumbled upon a nice looking and complete coffee making unit in the same style in a San Felipe, Mexico thrift shop, for only $250 pesos ($13 USD), I grabbed it. Even if it didn’t work and I only used the carafe that came with it, I was still saving money. The entire unit for less than the price of just the carafe! I love thrift shops.

Wondering what was wrong with it, took it home and wiped off the dust, plugged it in, dumped in some water, and…no problem at all. Worked great. Except for a bit of dust, very clean too. Like it hadn’t been used much. Two days later, still don’t see any problem with it. It came with the added bonus of having the ‘Auto’ brew function. Turns out it’s a newer, better model, ODC 325 Type 1. Unlike my model 150, this one has the ‘Auto’ brew function, a digital clock, and an auto shut off of the hot plate after two hours of operation. I have inadvertently left the carafe empty or nearly empty on the hot plate numerous times with my model 150.  When I do that, sometimes the coffee boils off and starts smelling like an electrical fire. Worried myself several times when that happened. So that last feature is going to be very useful.

After testing and finding it to be in excellent condition, I decided to use the newer 325 to replace my 150. It has the same form factor as my old one so I wouldn’t need to modify the mounting setup. And the first thing I had to do was find out how to remove the 150. It’s not that obvious at first glance. First I felt around this shelf it’s mounted too, and discover 4 screws up on the shelf arranged down though the shelf holding the plastic brackets from above. But there isn’t much room between the screw heads and the ceiling, so can’t use my battery screw driver. Gah, I hate using a stubby Phillips screwdriver in tight spaces on long screws.

So I went online and asked how people get them out. And someone answered that you just push up at the bottom rear, and slide it out. I tried that, but mine didn’t budge. (BTW, I have the users guide, and it tells how to install it, but not how to uninstall it). Then I used a flashlight to try to see what might be holding it and found two metal brackets screwed up into the bottom of the shelf from underneath. Removed the two screws holding the brackets, one on either side of the coffee maker, pushed up on the coffee maker, and slid it forward. Success!

And here’s a look at the top of the unit after removal. The two metal brackets are double sided taped to the top of the coffee maker. The foam also has 2-sided tape holding it in place. Pried those items off to use on the new coffee maker. Replaced the tape with my own stock. At first I thought I’d need to mark the brackets as to get them in the same place on the new unit, but eventually realized I could just screw them in place under the shelf, then work the unit into place and once in place push down on the brackets or up on the coffee maker to stick the tape. Another method would be to loosen the upper screws so the unit was 1/4″ lower. Slide it into place with the tape protectors removed, tighten the screws, and viola’, tape is stuck in the right place. That way didn’t have to find just the right place to stick the brackets first so that the screw holes would line up between the brackets and holes in the shelf or have to make new holes. Clever. That foam piece just gets stuck on the new unit in approximately the same place.

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Here’s a shot (below) of the under shelf area where the coffee maker hangs from those two white plastic brackets. There are long slots on the outsides of the unit that slip onto them. Then to prevent the unit from sliding forward out of the brackets, there’s just a tab and notch arrangement holding the maker in the brackets. This is to prevent it from sliding forward when you pull out the coffee basket or the water tub.

In an RV, there is the added excitement of the coffee maker bouncing around while driving. So the metal braces and foam tape are added insurances it won’t bounce out while driving. I tested it and without those braces taped to the top of the coffee maker, it doesn’t take much to simulate a road bounce that gets the unit to come loose and slide forward. Even with the metal braces (not stuck down with the tape yet) and foam in place. Likely only the carafe would fall out, but having the entire unit drop onto the table than floor wouldn’t be good, and that’s possible…though unlikely.

So here’s the old 150 model after removal. Note the metal braces and the foam tape on the back edge. Those 3 pieces don’t really come with the coffee maker and were installed by Winnebago at the factory. Nice touch. Quality.

And the new unit. I already like it better. Model ODC 325 Type 1.

After installation, all snug and working fine. Looks good too.


Front window privacy Curtains:

The curtains in this RV are the white, stiff, pleated kind. They are much better looking than the fabric curtains I had in my Bounder from both the inside and outside. And it seems they’ll be easier to care for.

The Velcro type edges that hold the curtains together when closed will be a problem if washed via machine as they are so stiff (and meant to be), so I’m thinking most people remove and then gently wash these curtains by hand. You can see a bit of dirt on the bottom of this one. 

When I bought this rig, those curtains had lots of unsightly dangle-y down threads. Unsightly enough that I wanted to do something about it within the first couple weeks I owned it. I formulated a plan where I would just use scissors to cut off the threads but on reflection, decided that probably wouldn’t do as the threads were unraveling and just cutting them off wouldn’t stop the unraveling. I knew I’d probably need to melt the threads at the point they were unraveling to ‘fix’ them in position, but naturally, I didn’t want to burn the RV down. Hmmm. I do have a couple soldering irons, and a heat gun but thought using them for this job would be cumbersome, leave unsightly discoloration, and likely be unsuccessful. After some thought I did come up with a simpler and quicker idea. I’d burn them with a lighter while twisting the curtains mostly horizontal or more.

I just left the curtains hanging from the rails, and where I had access, I tightly bundled the bottoms of the curtains a small handful at a time, and forced them horizontal or more so I could get at the bottom edge easier. Then used the lighter to gently melt all those loose threads. No more dangling threads so far after 1.5 years. I was worried the process would leave black marks all over the bottoms of the curtains but the only place that happened was at first when I tried to tap the burning thread with a finger. Only did that once. If I just removed the flame and blew on the burning thread or just let it burn out, the black dots that are there are so tiny as to be hardly noticeable. Holding the pleats tightly prevented the fire from spreading to more of the curtain. I did take the precaution of having a squirt bottle of water nearby.

There was only one area where it was difficult to get to the bottom of the curtain and bend it up enough and that was the 2″-3″ of curtain behind the driver. But there were so few dangling threads in that area that I didn’t bother to take the curtain down or anything. Just very carefully torched the few dangling threads I had and then quickly squirted the area with water. Worked fine.

I did wonder what I’d do to clean them and eventually I got around to asking on one of the RV’ers forums I frequent. What people do is remove them from the aluminum slides/guides they hang from and loosely bundle them up. Then they slosh them up and down in a tall garbage can filled with water, some dish detergent, and some bleach. Depending on the depth of water, then you flip them over and do the other end. Then use a hose to rinse. Allow to drip and air dry.

Cleaning the curtains – Dec. ’17:

Following the advice I’d read online, I carefully removed the curtains from the racks. There are 3 of them, one covers from behind the driver to the middle of the front window, the next covers the passenger side of the window and has a split in it where the door is for access to the door, and the third curtain is on the passengers right side. When you’re driving, these are all bundled up behind the driver and passenger, than strapped in place.

Here’s what those aluminum rack hangers look like, there are three of these screw type ‘stops’ on the two separate hangers that are removed so the curtain sets can be removed:

Right off the bat, as I removed the curtains and tried to bundle them, found that the numerous little devices that hung the curtain from the racks were going to be a problem. On each of those devices, there are two small plastic rollers that attach to a bendable U shaped piece of metal. And there are hooks that attach to the U. Those numerous hooks are inserted into brass eyelets at the top of each curtain, holding it up. As I remove each curtain, I bundled them up and slipped a rubber band over the end to hold it, making it easier to handle. Than preceded to remove those little hooks with the plastic wheels from the curtain eyelets. And some of those little rollers fell. Had a devil of a time finding them in the carpet. Moved to a place where I’d have less difficultly finding them if they did fall out. Which they did often. Also missed removing one assembly in the house and it fell apart outside…onto sand. Took at least 15 minutes finding that pair of rollers, the hook, and the U.

And here you can see what those assemblies look like. The hook that attaches to the eyelet, the metal U shaped piece, and one of the two plastic rollers (the other roller is on the other side of the channel).

On the drivers and passengers sides, the curtains are screwed to the wall slightly behind the person. Once those screws are removed, than the small thumb screw clamp is removed from the end of the aluminum channel the curtains hang from, and you just slide the curtain off. The middle curtain has a convenient thumb screw at the end of the aluminum channel in about the middle of the dash ceiling because it’s not all that easy to slide it all the way to behind the passenger seat in order to remove it back there.

After I had the curtains free and the hardware removed and safely stored in a plastic bag, I left the curtains rubber banded and sloshed them my garbage pail filled with warm water, Dawn Liquid, bleach. After one end was done up to the middle, I’d flip the curtain over, move the rubber band to the top end, and slosh the other end. Water got surprisingly brown looking.

Spent at least 3-5 minutes sloshing each end of each curtain up and down. Like an ol’ timey washer woman. I then used small bungee cords to hang them from the awning arms while I rinsed them softly with the hose, than let them drip dry in the warm sun.

After all three curtains were clean and dry, moved back into the RV and began attaching the hardware…and dropped rollers over and over again. I did not have the best method of reattaching them. They should be hooked at the eyelet, that hook squeezed shut so it won’t drop off, than the U piece with the two rollers should be squeezed together too, so the rollers won’t fall off so easy. When that’s done, it becomes difficult to attach that U piece with rollers interfering over the rail from the awkward positions you find yourself in…and I got impatient. Which explains my having to chase those little rollers all over the inside of the rigs front area several times, including the dash. I’d anticipated though and covered those large dash vent holes. I was sure I’d lose several of them but eventually found them all.

One other thing I learned from all this is that I should have used starch. The curtains came out clean and white, so I was happy about that, but they could use some extra stiffness that starch would provide. I’ll do that the next time I clean them. They look really good now though. Noticeably cleaner and brighter. I think I’ll use bluing next time too. That really brightens whites.

So that’s how you clean the pleated curtains of this style. Fairly easy job, as long as you keep track of those tiny rollers and hanger assemblies.

I found the little hanger assemblies here in Yuma, Arizona at the Southwest Exchange Home and RV Superstore. Cost was ~$6 for a packet of 14 of them. The U, two small plastic rollers, and the hook all included for each one. The hooks do seem to be a tad shorter then the originals but, they’ll still work regardless. I had lost a single roller recently so the cost was a bit much, but, whatever, I wanted it. Once installed, works great and I now have quite a few spares. Probably will never need them so if you need one, let me know. Made by JR Products. Wheeled Curtain Carrier w/Hook. P/N 81155, Type B, Lifetime warranty.

One trick I learned is that it’s far easier to add the hook/U/roller assemblies to the end of the channel and than reattach the hooks to the curtain than try to add the U mid curtain. Rollers keep dropping off and disappearing when you do it that way.

Good luck!


Living Room overhead fluorescent lamps:

I have three 22″ long, 6″ wide dual tube ceiling light fixtures that work fine, it’s just that the 3-way light switches at either end of the LR are in the wrong sequence and it bothers me to have the main switch I use to be bassackwards from what I want. So today, time to reverse the switch.

Here’s the lights…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first fixture in the above pic lights up when the ‘Galley’ switch is operated, it’s the fixture opposite and nearest the stove, then the other two are turned on by the ‘Lounge’ switch next to that one. The other 3-way switch is down next to the stairs so you can turn them on when you enter the house. I like them to all to have their paddle handles in the same orientation

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What I had to do was carefully pry off the plastic surround from the assembly. Under that were four wood screws holding the assembly to the wall. Removed them and pulled that out along with the wires attached to the switches.

Then it was just a matter of swapping the outer two wires of the three on the terminals of the ‘Lounge’ switch, leaving the center terminal wire in place. This is equivalent to just rotating the switch 180 degrees.

And here’s a shot of the plate down at the stairs. It would been just as easy to swap wires down here, but I wanted to open up the control panel and have a look inside for future reference so I worked there instead. (The top right switch is the ‘Ceiling’ switch in the following picture).

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Control Panel removal…

I’m not having any trouble with the control panel, I just wanted to see what was behind it in case I ever need to work in there. There are two visible wood screws holding it, one at the top, one at the bottom. Remove those, and the wood surround and the metal panel easily pulls out as an assembly.

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And here’s all the wiring behind the panel. There’s a good look at the wiring for the 3-way switch for the Lounge lights too. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALots of wires in here, and also the vent pipe for one of the tanks. Probably the black water tank.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A look up to the ceiling…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd down to the floor…
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Those shots may be helpful someday, but naturally I hope I’ll never really need them. If I ever do any remodeling in this area, there’s plenty of room in there for new wiring, plumbing, etc..


Door lock issue…

One of the things that happened on my shake out trip with my brother back in May of ’16, was that several times when he got in the RV, and slammed the door, then the next time we tried to leave, it wouldn’t open. I’d have to open the conveniently placed window beside the door, reach around and operate the door handle from the outside. That must have happened at least 6 times while he was with me. After he left, I had no issues with that. It just didn’t happen to me. Until late November. It happened once while in Rosamond, and then again after I got to the Salton Sea. I was never quite sure if it had done it on it’s own, or if my knuckles had bumped the handle and that causes it. It’s that red bumper lever shown below that’s so easy to hit with a knuckle while operating the door handle.

So I’m now down in Mexico and it happens again. None of the three times it’s happened to me did I have to do more than operate the lower ‘Lock’ lever to get out of the RV. It’s never happened while I was outside. But to be on the safe side, I have added a zip tie to the lower lock actuator so hopefully, I will never be locked out…

I still have the deadbolt I can use, and pry bar entry attempts by burglars are quite rare so missing one of the locks isn’t too stressful for a fulltimer. More often than not, the little spring holding that lower lock breaks and it locks the owner out…and they have to pry bar in. I don’t want that to happen, so zip tied it in place from now on. I’ve left the zip tie loose enough that if I do feel the need to lock both top and bottom locks, it’ll slip right off.

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Propane Tank…

Here’s a view of the innards of the typical, horizontally mounted RV propane tank. Looks very much like mine.

Typical propane tank components—-left to right
*Tank liquid level magnetic gauge assembly
*Relief Valve/Stand Pipe set above liquid level in vapor zone
*Fill Valve with OPD Float Assembly
*Bleed/Overfill Valve –Stand Pipe set at 80% liquid level
*Vapor/Service Valve-Stand Pipe set above liquid level in vapor zone


Typical RV propane tank shown. Virtually all horizontal tanks will be built this way.


Typical 30 amp ‘dumb’ Automatic Transfer Switch device. ATS. Parked here for reference.


 

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