Thunder cat’s Upgrades and Mods

Mods and upgrades to Thunder Cat so far:

Our original dual lead-acid battery bank was getting pretty tired, so this season (2020) we’ve opted to upgrade to a LiFeMgPo4 138amp-hour battery. With the additional cost, theft value, and temperature control requirements, we have opted to relocate the battery inside the rig, I used some 6awg welding cable and moved it in the cubby under the bed. I’ve added an additional fuse box to tidy things up in there. I have also installed a 200amp catastrophic fuse on the battery post just in case.  Battery is strapped down with D-rings and ratchet straps.

I also added some USB charging ports to the nightstands for the 2020 season, these are wired independently to the new fuse box under the bed.  These specific USB ports were chosen due to them not having any lights or indicators on them, do not want lights shining in the bedroom at night.

In-counter mounted soap dispensers in both bathroom and kitchen ($5 each on clearance at Home Depot).  We were tired of hand soap containers taking up valuable counter space and having to stow them securely every time we traveled.  These are fixed in place, and have a smaller footprint than counter top dispensers:

Low flow sink aerators, a fixed 0.5GPM in the bathroom, and a selectable 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5GPM aerator for the kitchen.

Marinco Park Power conversion kit, which replaces the typical “mouse hole” shore power inlet with a high quality marine grade locking removable plug.  As an extra bonus I ended up with about 2-3 feet of extra cable that was previously secured as “extra slack” in the electric service panel bay, I purchased a few feet of 8awg wire (I really only needed 10awg, but I figured I would go bigger to be safe) to run from the service panel to the Marinco plug socket at my local home depot, other than that wire, the kit included everything I needed.

12Volt receptacle in entertainment center so I can run the TV off a small 100w inverter, I will also use it for charging laptops and phones.  This receptacle is sharing power with the factory radio/dvd unit which is wired/fused for 15amp, but the TV (even with inverter losses) is only about 3 or 4 amp, so it should be pretty safe even with the radio going too.  I added an additional one next to the bed in the bedroom for charging phones at night, this one is run off the solar controllers load terminals and independently fused for 10amp (will probably be at most about a 2amp draw).

Camco screen door closer spring set for main entry door, don’t have to worry about closing the screen door, this will keep it closed for us, which is nice for keeping bugs out.

Camco door window cover for the window on bedroom entry door to block out the sun.

 

JackQuick 3000 power tongue jack, rated to 3250lbs (we are under 1000lbs).  Not the fastest jack, but it sure beats hand cranking this heavy trailer.  Easy install with basic hand tools (wrench or socket, size will vary based on bolts used on your trailer, and a wire stripper/crimper), it does NOT come with all the hardware you need to wire it, I bought a ring terminal for the battery lead, and a butt-splice for splicing on the included fuse leads (and a 4 pack of spare fuses, one spare WAS included), I used heat-shrink tubing over all the splices to protect them from the elements.

Sewer cap with 3/4 hose connection for draining gray water (to the ground where permitted, or to a nearby gray water drains).  Useful when boondocking (off grid camping) easy way to dump some gray water away from the camper, the gray water can also be useful to snuff out camp fires.  Gray water is not sewage, just used soapy water from sinks and shower,  so in many areas you are allowed to discharge it on the ground, but PLEASE check with local park rules before attempting it.

Solar power install.  I installed two 100 watt flexible panels onto the roof, ran the wiring down the fridge vent, then followed water lines under the kitchen cabinets to bathroom, then outside below the shower following the factory low point drains, then drilled some holes up into the front compartment and mounted the MPPT solar charge controller, and ran cables down through the holes I drilled, and up to the battery on the tongue, its about 20′ of cable from panel to controller, then about 18″ from controller to fuse block, all 10AWG cable.  I fused the solar panels at 30amp, and the charge controller battery feed at 30amp.

Supco SPP6 Hard Start Capacitor for the Dometic 13,500BTU air conditioner.  Before installing this hard start kit, the air conditioner would overload our Champion 3100 watt inverter generator, now with this capacitor installed it will run the air conditioner with ease.  Dometic cheaped out and did not install a start capacitor from the factory.

Champion 100204 Dual-fuel Gasoline/Propane 3100 watt inverter generator.  I am quite happy with this generator, it will run my air conditioner, and its very quiet at doing it, can hold a conversation right next to it without shouting.

CCTV Backup camera.  I used an old security camera, and ran cable through the enclosed underbelly of the RV.  Then I installed a power switch for the camera, and additional 12v outlet, tapping an unused fuse location in the fuse box.