The First Real World Test Of The Caravan!

Hello all!

It’s been ages since I last kept you all updated on the progress we’ve made with the caravan! So let me list what we’ve done so far!

The Bed

It took long enough, but we finally got round to actually buying a mattress for our bed! Its a full size double bed, which is something I was very specific on. I didn’t want to have an oddly shaped bed, or a bed that was compromised in size, so me and Jen put a lot of effort into hand-building a bed frame that would both fit the caravan, as well as a full sized double mattress. I’ve spoken about how it hinges up before, but now we’ve moved the batteries (after a minor catastrophe where they fell off the shelf i built for them) under the bed.

Batteries

Since we last spoke, I’ve put in an extra two batteries. Which is good because we’ve now put my full sized (and quite powerful) PC in under the desk. so finally we’ll be able to go traveling and be able to get all our work done.

TV

We’ve also put a TV in, currently it sits happily on a swing arm overlooking the bed, there’s a few tweaks to be done with it but its ideal at the moment. It can also be turned to face out the window, in case we’re having a BBQ or something.

Our test

We spent a few days at Midsummer common, while helping out at a vegan stall. We managed to test out everything that the caravan had to offer, from the heating, to the stove, to the internet, to the TV. You name it and we used it. The only thing that failed on us was the fridge. It was never meant to be used constantly on its own 12v system, and being as old as it is it uses a lot of power, so we had it on about half the time, just to keep the beer cool… but we completely forgot about the frozen vegan burgers, which melted in the heat, I didn’t feel comfortable using something that old on gas. We are planning on getting a new fridge, but they’re pricey, so we’re holding off until we really go traveling.

Just in case you’re wondering, the Jimny did manage to tow it!

The future

We’re still delaying it getting the correct flume for the wood-burner, but we have managed to paint and clean the thing, so hopefully it won’t be long until we put it in. A few holes need to be drilled in the feet to stop the thing from falling over when it’s being towed though!

 

More on the Caravan

Well its been a while! And lots has happened!

Since I last wrote on here, I’ve set a deadline for me and Jen to get some parts of the caravan finished. That being the first weekend of June.

We’ve got a pretty exhaustive list of things we want done by then. The bedroom, Wood-burner, Lights, Mains voltage system, WiFi… paint… I’m sure I’m forgetting some but that’s the general gist.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif.gif

Over the easter weekend we worked long hours to get as much done as possible, and probably will be until our set date.

The kind person that owns the land has been instrumental in helping me get everything sorted. He’s built houses in the past and knows more than his fair share about everything automotive so his input is always valuable.

I’ll probably make a video soon to show you the progress!

Hope you have all enjoyed your easter!

We have power!

Afternoon/morning/G’d evening all,

As you may have suspected from a number of posts to this blog and all over my social media, I’ve recently been working on converting a caravan.

Recently I got a package I was very excited about. My inverter arrived! To my surprise, after i wired it up and plugged in my laptop, it used up so little power that the batteries were still charging.

If this is all a bit confusing I understand, here’s a helpful diagram:

(yes i know i made it in paint, i’m writing this in my lunch break cut me some slack)

It’s pretty exciting, at least to me. My propane system now works so its actually not freezing in there anymore which is defiantly a bonus.

All I’ve got to do now it build a desk, by a mattress and paint the place before I can actually start touring.

Do you even solar?

I’ve just spent the day with hands covered in silicon adhesive, blood from stabbing myself with cables and wire cutters as well as motor oil.

In other words, I’ve spent the day finalising the battery charging solar system. It’s not quite done but the most important parts are done, one out of the two solar panels is hooked up and working, the solar charger is working and the two extremely heavy batteries are installed. Now I’m just waiting for the inverter to be installed and then we’re set! Fully off-grid power!

But for now, the 12v system in the caravan works. The two batteries are hooked up in series to make it 24v, with the PWM charge controller prefers, and reduces some of the power loss in the wires from the battery to the inverter.

It’s weird, it’s all coming together now, I’ve just taken delivery of what will be the four USB ports next to our bed, which will charge our phones and what not.

I can’t wait until the 240v system works, then we can get to installing the workstations, which will be even cooler…

Caravan Update

So as you may have seen from my previous post, I got a job. Job = Money. Money = Caravan renovations. Well, at least that’s what it means for me; some people could get nice cars and watches and eat out all the time but that kinda stuff, while it nice, doesn’t really satisfy me. Everything I want to do I want to do because it broadens my skill-set and/or helps other people, the caravan project does both, and that’s why I’m so excited about it.

This week, or maybe next (not too sure on when really). I’ll be making my first mark on the caravan, we’ll be moving it, cleaning it up and hopefully if we can find the right paint, painting the outside. The paint I’m using I believe is called bitumen paint. It’ll be used to do the sides and back of the caravan while maintaining a nice white top so I don’t actively boil to death during the summer. As well as that I’ll install some solar panels on the roof which hopefully should also act as a double layer and keep the sun off the top of it…

Not too much else is planned other than making the custom bed frame which shouldn’t take too long and hopefully it will fall well within this months budget for it.

I’m hoping to take a bit of a closer look at the electrical stuff that’s already on it and possibly install a breaker panel that is high enough quality to be found in a home, it may not need that in the end because currently there’s only the one 240v circuit. Hopefully, soon we’ll find out if the lights inside are 12v because then I can replace them myself with LEDs to save some power.

I reckon if everyone starts hoping for the price of inverters goes down now, then I may be able to afford one by 2038… Should be alright actually…

More updates to come soon.

 

 

 

The office UK 2k17

So the last few weeks I’ve been working in an office, something that I pledged to never do back when I was in full-time education.

I hated all aspects of the concept; a set place to sit, work, someone telling you when to be there and what to do, work, someone telling you when you can eat lunch, shirts, suit jackets, uncomfortable shoes, artificial lighting, increased risk of death by boredom…

But actually, it’s not too bad. It’s not something I could do permanently, it’s in the centre of London and I’m with my dad nearby during the week. I don’t know, I think maybe I’ve become accustomed to the countryside, for all its disadvantages it is nice and fucking beautiful.

I’m there until mid-August and then I’m on my own in the big bad word… To be fair I’ve always been alone in the big bad world *insert Tumblr-esque shit here*

Update on the Deliveroo malarkey

I’m genuinely considering handing over my kit soon. That email I sent off ages ago? Yeah still no replies, and on top of that I keep getting freaking emails and text and phone calls about why I haven’t been riding, it’s silly. I reckon if someone actually read my email then they’d know not to contact me until the issue was resolved. I find it kind of shocking that they get away with this stuff. It would help if my ‘manager’ wasn’t also the manager for seemingly half the fucking globe.

I did courier work before with a different company, it wasn’t food but just general small packages and mail delivered within like 20 mins of pickup. We got to set our own rates, and the people requesting orders could see us all on a map and pick what one we wanted. Kinda like the Uber model but we got to select our prices, both pickup fee, and distance fee. No idea if that company’s still going and I can’t remember the name but there ya go. It would be nice if Deliveroo and similar picked up on that demand from the riders.

What happens next?

So my immediate plan after leaving this temporary position is to start work on the caravan, really begin to build it up and hopefully move in. Maybe I could pick up some social media consulting freelance jobs over the net until I figure out a permanent travel-freelance career.

Would you like to give me a job?

So far after leaving college, I’ve been looking for part time jobs to fill the void between college and finding a yacht I can afford, but so far I’ve found the square root of bugger all. Everywhere is either taken or pays 1.50 an hour plus a free coffee coupon each month.

I have a few ideas for self-made stuff long term, but for now, I’m stuck.

As you may know, i’m currently working for Deliveroo and I mentioned this in one of my youtube videos. Currently, it pays something like £5 an hour average for me. Which is great for working out but doesn’t pay the bills, or the inevitable dental expenses when I rack my teeth on the back of a Cambridge taxi. Hopefully, it won’t take too long before UberEATS is in Cambridge, where I’ve seen a much better deal for riders (keep ye fingers crossed for me).

If you’ve got any jobs going hmu.

The Caravan

Upgrades

Whats up all, I thought I’d share some of the ideas behind what I’m doing to do with the caravan and hopefully what it will be used for.

So far I’ve done bugger all with it. It’s just sitting in storage, but I have plans in the near future to upgrade and renovate to suit my needs as well as make it very helpful in the situations it will be in.

First things first, I want to upgrade some of the creature comforts. As this caravan isn’t a “fixed bed” style caravan this means that in its stock configuration I’d have a seating/communal area that converts into an oddly shaped bed, as you may have noticed in the video. I’m going to turn this area into a full fixed bed system. Underneath the seating currently is a plastic container that holds the fresh water. I want to preserve, and possibly expand this holding tank for longer off-grid adventures but I’ll keep the stock setup for now. The top of the bed itself I would like to hinge up so you can access under the bed, which I think would be a really great place for some storage, especially more bulky items like my guitar.

Moving onto what is currently the dinette. Due to some of the stuff I want to use the caravan for, my plan is to completely remove this area and replace it with a two person, side by side desk compleat with two proper desktop computers and monitors. Why two? well hopefully I’ll have someone coming with me, and no doubt, a majority of the time this will be Jenny.

Moving onto some less pressing things I’m planning on doing in the longer term. I would like to add a beefy inverter that allows me to run everything completely off of the battery back, which is a nice segway into the battery setup.

Ideally, I want to have quite a few batteries, I’m not sure how many but judging by what I’ve seen from peeps on youtube (especially Gone with the Wynns) 5 12v batteries sounds about right. To charge them I’d charge them off the hook up or, rather more interestingly, I’d charge them off some solar panels mounted to the roof. I’ve seen this work before, however, I’m quite a technological person so hopefully, all my various gadgets won’t drain the batteries too much, but we’ll wait and see.

Being someone who is rather concerned about the current state of the atmosphere, I did some research about ways of running various kitchen appliances off of the battery. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that the idea of having an induction cooker in the caravan running off the batteries is completely implausible. However, replacing the current propane fridge with an electric one sound be no problem at all, provided I can find the right one. Frankly, out of the stuff I eat, not much of it goes in a fridge; like maybe some beers, coke, hummus and veggies…

Onto some somewhat cool stuff; Because of the kind of places I’d like to take it, things like wifi just aren’t gonna happen the normal way. So the plan is to put in some 4g boosters to make the phones work and possibly something that transmits a wifi hotspot off of 4g, as well as a wifi booster to save money in the long term, that way I can connect to the Starbucks a block away or choose to use my own 4g, that sort of setup would be nice.


As well as this, I’d like to add UHF, VHF and CB. (for those that don’t know, it’s just different types of two-way radio). This is mostly because of some of the remote places I’d like to take it, I’d feel much happier giving someone a handheld radio when they go away from the caravan than relying on mobile signals that may not be reliable or even existent. As well as this various activist camps use UHF and VHF all the time or organise operations so having a powerful base station to broadcast to various groups.

What do I want to do with the caravan?

Well, I’m not sure yet. I’ve previously played with the idea of moving in full time, that’s definitely still a possibility. I want to be able to move into it, hence the upgrades, but for now, it’ll just be a home away from home, at least until some of the upgrades are done.

It’ll definitely make its way to a multitude of activist things, whether it be a fundraiser or an actual ‘deployment’ of its services. I may even set it up to we can do an online live podcast and use it to do PR, but who knows.

When?

When I get paid goddammit deliveroo.

 

Video:

My first blog post

Hey there everyone,

Just thought i’d write a quick post about why i’ve decided to start a ‘blog’ and what you can expect.

I’ll be posting on here every so often, usually in correspondence to a video over on my youtube channel or retrospectively about stuff i’ve failed to record. The usual kinda content you can expect will range from aimless rambles to updates about my activism and so fourth. I may do some sponsored content or monetized stuff just to recoup some of the costs of running this site.

You can definatly expect some updates about my caravan!

– Mikey