Desert Dawg - Electrical System
Part II

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      - Updated 11/24/2009
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      - Updated 11/24/2009
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February 24-25, 2007

Once again it's time to do some electrical work. The electrical system in the trailer is pretty straight forward with only 12 volts to worry about. Still I need to install the AM/FM/CD player and its speakers. I also need to install the 12 volt outlets so I can plug in a portable DVD player or a laptop computer. Lastly, I want to have a place to mount my XM radio so I can listen to music regardless of how remote my campsite is. Did I mention that I LOVE my XM radio?

Here are all the "goodies" that I need to install in the cabin.

I want the "entertainment center" to be in the center of the lower shelf.

I want to take up as little space as I can so I made a test layout on cardboard to see how everything fits.

Here is the face of the cabinets. Of course the two large circles are the speaker cutouts. The small rectangle is the radio cutout. Just below the radio will be the 2 12v outlets. I will install all of the sound equipment once the cabinet is done.

One of the things I have been thinking about is how to mount the radio antenna. Then it occurred to me that I also have a magnetic XM radio antenna to mount somewhere on the top of camper. Along the line somewhere I came up with the idea for a roof mounted bracket to hold both antennas.

Let's see. Some 3/4 by 1 inch tubing and some 1 1/2 flat steel. That will do just fine.

After some cutting and welding, this is what was left. Still a little rough but it will work.

The AM/FM antenna mounts on one side and the XM radio sticks to the other side.

A coat of paint to match the trailer and the antenna mount is ready to install.

The antenna wires feed into the tubing and then straight down through the trailer roof. I will mount the antenna bracket in a bed of silicone so that water can't get in underneath. I think it's going to look pretty cool. (Cool? I'm dating myself. At least I didn't say Groovy)

March 3-4, 2007

I want complete the interior electrical today. That means finishing up the radio and 12v electrical outlets. None of this is difficult work but it does require a bit of attention to detail. I hope I'm awake enough to pay attention.

I have installed the speakers and am test fitting the radio bracket. Of course, my coffee is close at hand.

I've decided to use corrugated plastic tubing to run the wires in. At this stage there is wire everywhere.

Now that it's in place I don't like how the plastic tubing looks. Still it will protect the wires from the "stuff" that I'm going to be storing up in this shelf.

The 12v outlets are mounted and the radio slid in place. Now I have to solder the radio wiring harness to speaker wires and hook up the power.

All of the speaker wires are soldered and have heat shrink tubing to keep them from shorting out. I always solder wires that go in a moving vehicle. Some folks use the little wire nuts that come with the speakers. I throw them in the trash. I also use heat shrink tubing to insulate the joint. Out here in the desert, the heat often causes the tape adhesive to come loose. When you use heat shrink tubing, remember to slide it on the wire before you solder the wires together!

This makes for a neat and tidy installation.

I still need to install my XM mount. Apart from some cleanup I'm done.

In looking at the radio installation I wish I would have prewired for the speakers like I did for the electrical. I didn't originally plan for speakers in the galley and a radio in the cabin so it looks like an "add on" rather than a built-in. Now if I just had doors one the cabinets no one would see the wiring.... Hmmmm?