Category Archives: Internal

Slide Out Cutlery drawer

This was the second attempt at utilising the available space below the compressor fridge. The first attempt was not brilliant and I kind of knew I wouldn’t be totally happy until I had a solution that was on a par with the chopping board. What I mean by that is the chopping board had a lot of time dedicated to it to make sure it worked and could stand the test of time. The first incarnation of the lower fridge draw was really just an alternative place to store stuff like batteries, fuses, headphones etc. Basically it was adequate, but not brilliantly executed. We were also having to make do with a flaky solution for our cutlery, which was a draw in front of the sink which has a large portion deeply recessed to make way for the sink waste pipe. Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not having ago at VW or the coachbuilders Westfalia. They did the best they could with the components and space they had at the time. But things have moved on and I was going to make sure I took advantage of this.

So with all of the above in mind I set to relieving the already crowded cutlery draw by relocating below the fridge. This meant that the fridge had to come out along with its shelve. I worked out the space I had to work with and started to look around for suitable parts. I knew that it would need to slide out a lot further than the chopping board so a pair of double extending draw slides were purchased from Screw Fix (UK). From there we took a trip to B&Q  and found an amazing solution which would save a great deal of time in this project. Basically its a bamboo cutlery drawer that expands to fit different size draws in a domestic kitchen. This worked really well as all I needed to do was mount the inner part of the hinge into each side of the cutlery drawer, and the outer part of the hinge on the inside of the unit. Simples!

Components purchased…just a lot more faffing to do 🙂
Drawer fixed to hinge, and hinge fixed to unit

What I did do to make sure the drawer wasn’t going to slide open as I drove around was to mount a block of wood at the back of the drawer to act as a stop buffer. On both the buffer and the tray I attached a magnet so that it would connect as they became close. As you can see from the below video, everything seems to be working a treat 🙂

So this was all well and good, but I needed a front facia and handle. Fortunately the DIY suppliers provided aluminium angle extrusions that perfectly matched half of the depth of the drawer (See below as I measured for size).

So I cut two pieces to the required width, drilled, countersunk and screwed one at the top, and the other at the bottom.

Handle fitted to match the Chopping board. Red anti rattle foam dropped into the compartments.
In place
Nicely flush with the bespoke surround

GPS HUD speedometer

My stock speedometer is woefully inaccurate. It used to read in kilometres per hour due to its European origin. To try and make it usable in some way shape or form, I fitted a Backlit Gauge Kit from Brickwerks.

The kit certainly adds that modern look to the dash and converted to MPH. However, I think in stripping the speedometer to installing the kit I may have upset the calibration of the device. That or it was inaccurate before I started tinkering.

Anyhow, knowing that it’s out by a good 10mph, and I run the risk of getting a speeding ticket I tend to use an app on my phone to accurately monitor my speed. This is all well and good, but a tad inconvenient.

With all of this taken into account I have decided to look at a Head Up Display (HUD) GPS speedometer. It’s cost me £38 from eBay.

I’m going to have it wired into the ignition live so it comes on automatically and test it on my dash pod. The other option is to plug it into the cigarette lighter (12v) socket but this is too messy a solution for something I want to work each and every time I use my van.

It’s yet to be delivered, but I’ll post up with feedback once installed 😊🖖

Dual Power Fridge Vent (CVC)

12v Cigarette lighter + 2xUSB
12v Cigarette lighter + 2xUSB

Some time back I had replaced the original rusting fridge vent for a stainless one with a 12volt socket incorporated. This was obviously an upgrade, but since I had installed my solar panels we have not had to use electric hook up and this will be the case for the foreseeable future. The knock on effect of this is that we don’t have a 240volt option for charging phones tablets etc. So the single socket we were relying on in the stainless vent just wasn’t enough. It looked nice, but function was more important now.

Vent1

Seeing the Campervan Culture ‘multi socket fridge vent it looked like it would answer all of my prayers. The grey is a good match for the later Westy interior in the Atlantic, and installation was pretty straight forward, daisy chaining one socket on to the next with the main feed from the leisure battery (fused at 20A) .

CVC 12v Fridge Vent Socket
CVC 12v Fridge Vent Socket

So here is my installed unit with a splash of red from my braided USB cables courtesy of the Pound shop (they were £1 before you ask 😉 ). We have only done a couple of weekend getaways since installation, but it’s already come in really handy!

2016-07-24 19.01.47 (Small)

Lower Fridge Drawer

2016-07-31 14.24.47 (Small)

Knowing I had the extra space below the new Waeco Fridge , and not wanting it to just get used as a lazy storage area where things would get crammed and look messy, I decided to make a drawer. This was always my intention, but rather than be prescriptive and methodical from the outset, this had to be fluid in its design. Basically the slide out chopping board established the height the fridge needed to sit in the aperture available. It wasn’t until I had fitted the fridge that i knew the depth i had to play with for the drawer.  The ‘hole’ has been handy to store some tools for the last month or so, but items like these that should only get used occasionally, are far more suited to a less accessible area, freeing up this space for things that get used in a daily basis.

So the draw….Initially I was thinking of a drawer on rails. In fact i brought two pairs of rails, one for the chopping board which are utilized and effective at present, and the second set for the drawer. However, the slide out action of those particular rails is such that they only extend about 30cm out. For a drawer that has a depth that goes back far further than that it didn’t seem like an effective use of space if you can only access the front  portion of the draw. There are other rail systems that extend out double the length of the rail, but these tend to be quite deep in design and would take up quite a lot of the already limited space, making the draw a lot narrower.

So the solution was a far simpler one than having to mess around with rails. We found a very low profile storage box that had an insert for the top portion allowing small items to be segregated. Things like fuses, light bulbs, remotes for devices etc. The bottom part was shallow, granted, but this would be for our tablets, blue tooth speakers etc. We brought the box from Rymans, and if I am honest it was a bit of a stab in the dark in terms of the size . I’ve got a pretty good eye for judging space and to me it looked too deep, which actually turned out to be the case. However, when the lid was taken off it fitted perfectly. So we lost the lid, which probably would have become a bit of a hindrance anyway.

So the basic elements can be seen here.

The basic elements
The basic elements

It doesn’t get much more complicated than this and it took me best part of an hour to construct. The drawer handle had been brought at the same time as the handle for the slide out chopping board. The white thing in the photo above is the aluminum sheet with its protective film on (which was a slice of a larger sheet that a friend got me for another project). All that was required to complete the construction was a small spacer to bridge the gap between the internal tray plastics, and the extruded strengthening  elements surrounding it. This came in the form of a piece of hardwood that I found in my wood-store. Two holes were drilled in the Aluminum, wood and plastic tray to marry up with the holes on the handle. The screws for the handle needed cutting down a fraction, but all in all it was a really simple process.

Draw complete with top devider
Draw complete with top divider

This was all knocked together without having access to my van as it was in storage so I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to fit. I had used the original Westy fridge as a reference as this was in my garage, and a few photos of my fridge install from my phone.  However, I was relieved to find that the drawer fit perfectly 🙂

FridgeDraw (4)

At present the drawer is no more than a push under tray with a suitably matching front fascia on. I will most likely stay in place during transit, but I have acquired some very small, high power magnets. I plan to stick a couple of these on the back top edge of the aluminum drawer fascia, and a small countersunk head, ferrous metal screw at the corresponding edge of the framework on the lower fridge support. This should allow the drawer to locate shut with a nice crisp click 🙂

Fridge Upgrade (Waeco CRX50)

Fridge (Mobile)

My main reason for upgrading my fridge was due to the fact I had established a very effective Solar Install. It seemed silly not to take advantage of all of that free energy to power a compressor fridge. This type of technology is far more effective than the stock fridge at doing it’s job. It actually has a dedicated freezer draw which is great for Ice Lollys on a hot day 😉 .

Anyways, on to the installation: I wanted this to sit just below the slide out chopping board as I wanted to maximize the depth of the draw I am going to fit below it. So after some careful measurements i set to positioning a couple of pieces of angle aluminum to sit the shelf on. The shelf was then made by two pieces of marine ply. The first was the full width and depth required to seat the fridge on. The second was a slimmer piece with two holes drilled into them where the two front feet of the fridge will locate. This will stop the fridge from sliding about as there are no real fixings as such everything is having to be bespokely made. The two pieces were glued and screwed together and painted grey.

After this i needed to find something that would provide padding either side of the fridge to wedge it in place. I wanted this to be something that wasn’t going to get affected by damp or humidity, but provide a nice gentle compression on either side of the fridge. After some time i decided that kneeling pads would be just the right depth to bridge the gap (the sort of thing you get for gardening). These cost me £1 each from Wilko :) . These were sprayed black at the front and they were screwed to the inside of the fridge compartment (two screws at the front and 1 at the back. each screw head had a large washer on it to pull the padding in and I tightened the screws up enough so that they sunk in and didn’t catch the fridge when being slotted in. The heads were also covered with a piece of insulation tape to be ion the safe side.

Here you can see the fridge in place:

From here on it was just about trimming the surrounding area. I brought angle aluminum from B & Q and cut and drilled to size. I had to make some bespoke brackets to mount the whole lotso it wasn’t straight forward. However, i’m pretty happy with the end result :)

This has then been connected directly to the leisure battery with a 5 amp fuse in line. I really need to get an additional fuse board fitted as there are way too many connectors tacked on to the battery at the moment. I will seek to have this done professionally to get things tidied up :)
PS. There is a gap either side of the fridge of about 5mm. The finished photo here doesn’t show that and is a little miss leading. I feel this is enough of a gap to let air circulate and stop any rattles through vibrations :)

Anyways, here is the finished article after the lower draw is fitted.

2016-07-31 14.24.47 (Small)