Category Archives: Wiring Projects

87 Microwave Gets a Facelift (removal++)

On our project list for our new to us ’87 Avion was to remove the original 1987 humongous microwave.  In truth–the edges of interior box were rusty and surely this behemoth sucks a huge amount of juice when “fired up” and running.  Plus…do we really want to trust the safety of a 33-year-old Microwave?

As an aside, in case you don’t know…Kevin and I have over 30+ years of 18th century living history reenacting at historic sites, museums, national and state historic parks from Nova Scotia to Colonial Williamsburg.  Yes…we are THOSE people who make and wear clothing and live the life of our forefathers and mothers in 1757-1781.  As a result of the immersion into this hobby, Kevin and I have long ago learned how to cook, clean and survive without a microwave for days on end.

Yes, at home I do use a microwave, but camping life and its pace and fresh air seems to shrug microwaving for us.

When we bought our ’73 Avion right off the bat we began looking to see what cabinet we could retrofit to install a small microwave thinking we needed one in an Rv.  Doesn’t every RV have one after all? (our Class A did).  But our common sense took hold and I asked discerningly- “what do we really use it for??”.  Perhaps heating a left over cup of coffee (can be done in a sauce pan), or reheating a left over (we rarely have leftovers and if so, tin foil can do the trick on the grill, in a covered pot on the stove or in our Avion oven)So did we REALLY need a microwave and to hack into the pristine, original cabinetry that Avion’s were/are known for?  We decided to wait a year of using our 73 before we hacked.  A year turned into three and there was no doubt, no microwave was needed for us.  We are resourceful camping souls from the 1700’s after all-  having logged literally 1000’s of hours in reproduction canvas tents, hauling water and cooking over an open fire even in 95 degree summers (with 3-4 layers of wool and linen clothing to boot)!  Running water and a toilet are high style for us!

So fast forward to our newly purchased ’87 Avion.  The 32S has a front kitchen.  It’s one of the big reasons we love this floor plan.  Here is a photo of the behemoth microwave that came with her off the assembly line in Michigan 33 years ago this past February. Yeah, the # buttons were like the size of a postage stamp!

orig microwave in our 1987, 32S_ march 2020

Here below are some photos after the microwave was removed, and the cabinet interior cleaned up, a floor created over the framing and wiring for the stove exhaust hood safely wrapped, encased and secured.  Kevin did a super job on this and WOW!!  Look at all this space I have now!  More than enough for some modern convenience contraptions I really do use like…my air fryer, small InstaPot, my crockpot and metal stock pot (for the occasional Lobsta’ dinners now and then or the rally chili cook-off contest!)  Plus maybe even some oversized boxes perhaps of dry cereals, oatmeal, etc.

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2020-05-17 13.36.32

I had the brainstorm one night that instead of trying to salvage some original Avion cabinet doors to put in here, how about a corkboard?  In 225 Sq Ft of living space you always want to err on the side of versatility and each thing, full timers will tell you, should have at least 2 purposes!  So onto Amazon I went and found this beauty–a wood framed, magnetic chalkboard!  I have the link for it in our page that features our Favorite things/resources. (no, we do not have an Amazon store, we do not get any residuals from anything you order, its just us helping you to find things we love, use and have tried before)

 

I love the way the black chalkboard matches the look of the black front refrigerator and oven.  Really looks like it belongs!

So let us know?? what cha’ think?  We simply love it!  We used the same hardware as we had replaced in the kitchen (seen on right photo above) and so here is the big reveal below side by side….you decide!!  BTW…this board is chalkboard and magnetized so i am thinking a fun place to put grandsons current photos and some little magnets from special places we go to around the USA!!

 

Another project checked off the list!  This one took about a total of about 3-4 hours total including refit of interior cupboard, staining of frame, going to store to get hinges and the intallation this evening

Happy travels!

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Avion ’73 Fuse Panel Upgrade and Wiring Mess Cleanup

May 7, 2017- Fletch (Bill Fletcher) has sent over this photo update today to show how they have upgraded the fuse box to a more modern system and also cleaned up and provided some safety and order to the wiring that goes to the inverter box which is under our curbside dinette bench storage.

We had previously experienced some problems with the fuse box (old glass fuses) blowing really when they should not have.  Also, the location of the fuse box was on the front wall of the interior of the rig, just to right of center.  This location was fine when the rig was new and it had a jack knife or pull out sofa covering it.  Since the front of these rigs, like Airstreams are bowed, and the manufacturers used to build a little shelf at just under front window height with under-storage and so the sofa back could be folded down and access to the fuse box was easy, but when the sofa was used on a regular basis the fuse box was safely hidden (in other words…away from little grandson’s curious hands and eyes).  Since this was no longer the case– our rig’s former owner had removed the sofa and put in a custom built dinette with two benches.  The fuse box now was completely exposed, ugly and unsafe.

We had hoped that Fletch would be able to have enough wire and a clear path between the wallboard and exterior of rig to snake all the lines to underneath the dinette bench and completely relocate a new fuse box under the bench.  Not to be.  Avion’s are so well constructed there are steel braces, sprayed in solid foam insulation and other supports that prevented him from getting a straight shot.  So we opted for retaining the same location, but a wood box cover would be made to install over the top.  (see below)

We not only wanted a more modern fuse system, but that area had to be secured and look better since now it is visible (….and remember those curious grandkids….)

So here is his carpenter, EJ’s handiwork, a great upgrade and custom made cover which we will stain to match other woodwork or paint.  I have not decided quite yet.

From Fletch on May 7, 2017:
Hi Luisa,
 Here are a few shots of the work I did yesterday and today.
 As you will recall the factory fuse panel and wiring looked like this.
old fuse box wiring set up
The first step was to unhook all the connections and remove the panel.
 Various wires had to be traced to find what and where they went.
old fuse box removed, bare wires
 [yes, he did make us a template with a mapping of what wire goes to what.]
The larger ‘hot’ wires had to be lengthened to reach the appropriate terminal on the new box.
All wires that needed extending (6 on the panel box) were soldered together.
wire extensions completed
And finally we ended up with this. Modern fuses and a compact design.
new fuse box upgrade, wires wrapped
The wiring on the converter wasn’t much better. Rather a rats nest.
Fletch was able to make some improvements here as well.
 Below is the wood cover E.J. made for the fuse box exterior.  I requested that the cabinet door be hinged on bottom so that it flips down, fully exposing the entire panel with out it being in the way when you want to work in there.  We will also doubleface tape the wiring plan and key to wires on this inside of the door (smart eh?).  Magnetic closures on the top fully secure the door (we can always put a 90 degree angle hasp and lock if need be to keep out little fingers).
Here are a few shots of the electrical box cover that Fletch sent over:

We are very pleased with how this fuse box project came out and feel much more confident and safe with our electrical work now too!