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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ELEMENT MICROCAMPER v2.0

Yes, fans, it's finally done. It has been fully field-tested and is now photographed and described in this thread for you to peruse, dissect, and comment on.

I will begin writing my "E of the month" acceptance speech and take some glamour shots of Ellie this week. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Charge up for the trip...

CHARGE UP

Getting ready for a weekend expedition in Ellie with the new MicroCamper v2.0 setup first involves topping off the 135aH deep cycle battery pack through the built-in AC umbilical... Flip the "charge enable" switch on the power panel and let her drink some electric juice for an hour or so...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Setting up base camp...

BASE CAMP

The Element at base camp- she made it through the offroad portion without too much dirt or damage. Perforated sheet metal grille guard worked great against small branches and stones. Throw the magnetic mount solar panel up on the roof and unload the stuff from behind the rear bench seat. Behind the seat we find an air compressor, an automotive tool kit, two mess kits, and two camping/tailgating chairs... If I'm inviting more than one person, it also contains the huge blue duffel with the "H" on it that carries the new tailgate tent.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Green energy...

SWEET, SWEET PHOTONS

If you're not at a campsite with power, you'll have to harness the power of the sun. An 18W solar panel is mounted on a large magnet with a rubber film underneath to protect the roof's paint. Power wires are routed through the side door or sunroof to the solar charge controller.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Reconfigure and relax...

RECONFIGURATION

After unloading the camp chairs and putting the solar panel up, all of which take less than a minute, it's time to take a look inside at where I'll be spending my weekend. Multiple views of the interior are shown below. The rear seat is a 3-fold black microsuede bench that can fold into a reclined position or all the way down to a twin-sized bed. The countertop and storage area beside it has completely replaced the passenger rear trim panel. Directly beside the seat you can see what I refer to as the "soup drawer". Inside this storage pocket you'll find Starbucks 'via' instant coffee, chicken noodle cup-a-soup, some chili, two cans of sterno, and my trusty light-my-fire sporks and grilliput grill. If you camp and don't have the grill or sporks I mentioned, they're probably the best valued investment I've made for lightweight camping. In the shot looking forward, you can see the Rubbermaid thermoelectric fridge/organizer strapped to the passenger seat. That's been a very useful item as well. Also tucked in the back of the "soup drawer" pocket is a USB drink heater, which I find useful in getting water hot for soup or coffee using the power panel's USB output and an aluminum mess kit mug. Plugged in to one of the two accessory outlets on the panel is a heater that I've used to keep the interior warm during our unseasonably chilly florida winter this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Where's my lunch hidden?

CENTER CONSOLE / COOLER

I just happened to find that a certain model Coleman cooler sits perfectly between the front two seats. After upholstering a cushion for the top and riveting on a few hanging beverage holders, it made the perfect center console. It could be used as a cooler, obviously, but I like having the storage and generally keep my weekend's MRE's and two spare blankets in there. The cushion is velcroed on and removes to yield a useful flat workspace, or the lid can flip over to become a drink-holding tray.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What makes Element life liveable?

INTERIOR SYSTEMS

The many systems crammed into the interior of this Element are what make my weekends out in the middle of nowhere so comfortable... There's a six-pack cooler built into the counter that has a strainer and drain to become a functional sink, and a large, snaking PVC tank underneath to hold 6 gallons of fresh water. A pump supplies pressure to the sprayer/faucet with enough oomph that I can pull the three foot hose all the way out and take a (quick) shower (in more temperate conditions) behind the tailgate with the sprayer held above my head. Interior lighting in the rear is comprised of an overhead light built around the sunroof trim made of 1 meter of very bright warm white LED's. The camera can't adequately capture how bright this is, but think 100W incandescent light bulb. A smaller worklight LED cluster is positioned above the sink on a flexible neck as to be easily pointed where it may be needed for detail work. A built-in inverter supplies AC power to my netbook so I can use my 3G card to stay connected to my favorite websites, and my iPhone happily charges through the USB connector. As mentioned before, the accessory outlets in the back supply up to 15A each, making a heater or other 12V appliances usable in the back.

A side pocket was added where I attempted to blend the panels from the new setup in with the existing door trim. This really worked out well and met the goal of having enough room for my toiletry bag in there... but, I also managed to get enough room in that pocket to add 2 emergency space blankets, a 12V dremel tool and bits, a can of Tuff Stuff cleaner, a tire repair kit (patches and punctures), and an additional multi-headed screwdriver. This is also usually where I slip my firearm if I'm traveling anywhere that people may be very unfriendly to an overnight camper.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What else?

ADDITIONAL AMENITIES, FUTURE PLANS

A few extras that the Element has:

Toilet paper, paper towel storage under the Honda first aid kit in the driver's side rear. Also underneath that are a bag of bungee cords, LED flashlights, glow sticks, and a collapsible shovel / pick / axe.

A midnight potty under the center console that drains outside. (Number one, boys only at the moment)

Coroplast privacy panels (rear windows) and reflective sunshades. (windshield and front windows)

Driver's side rear seat bracket panel converted into small storage area. Holds 3 regular sized bottles of Gatorade.


As for the future...
I've mentioned that I got some bad GPS directions and ended up in some offroad situations unfit for the Element. A lift kit and bull bar are absolutely necessary next. The fuel tank cage will be removed and replaced with a skid plate. A piece of rock salt dropped by a truck during Ellie's holiday snow adventure got kicked up in traffic and cracked my left fog light lens. I'll be looking for some stone guards for those, as well. I am seriously considering making a small fiberglass top that will pop up ECamper style to give standing room and extra gear space in the back while at camp.

There is currently a laptop mount in place of my stereo, and I am nearly finished with the carputer that will take its place. Touchscreen, AM/FM radio, GPS, wifi, blueooth, 3G, HD ATSC tuner, DVD/CD, etc etc...

When the Element is fully paid off and the title is in my posession, I plan to make the entire roof removable, up to the B pillar. An arduino-controlled set of solenoids and actuators will lock and unlock heavy bolts in the areas that primary structure was cut through, and lift the roof to a height that will make the entire rear of the element to have a 7 foot ceiling. Yes, I'm dead serious.
 

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Nice work Justin!

When are you going to come North? I want to see this thing in person.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Driving North...

If I had everything finalized and finished, I'd definitely have driven out of the way to meet a few of you guys when I was up north over Xmas... I've got family scattered throughout the northeast, so it's a popular destination for my roadtrips...

Also, there's 80 degree winters and crystal blue water down in south florida... How about I drive south a few hours and wait for you guys to vacation??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey, RamblerDan...

I saw an EAA sticker on the back of your ride...

Figured I'd mention I'm a pilot and had but unfortunately sold my sportplane two years ago... But... maybe we could grab a few folks and make an Element-powered trip to Oshkosh or Sun-n-fun sometime!

Also, 1 foot of BX = $0.74 .... Not a bad raw materials price!
 

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I saw an EAA sticker on the back of your ride...

Figured I'd mention I'm a pilot and had but unfortunately sold my sportplane two years ago... But... maybe we could grab a few folks and make an Element-powered trip to Oshkosh or Sun-n-fun sometime!

Also, 1 foot of BX = $0.74 .... Not a bad raw materials price!
Oshkosh sounds good. I have not been there for years.

For those that don't know what we are talking about, Click.

Dom
 

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WOW! Come to NC so you can Pimp My RidE! Way cool!!!! 8)
 

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wow thats amazing! I'd be really intrested in a trip to oshkosh if you all decided to do that! or you can travel out to austin and show me the E in person! lol

so what did you do for AC and sink drains? Is it still ran through the spare tire well?

EF
 

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When the Element is fully paid off and the title is in my posession, I plan to make the entire roof removable, up to the B pillar. An arduino-controlled set of solenoids and actuators will lock and unlock heavy bolts in the areas that primary structure was cut through, and lift the roof to a height that will make the entire rear of the element to have a 7 foot ceiling. Yes, I'm dead serious.
Um, you're an ME student, so I'm guessing you thought of this, but I'll say it anyways. The roof is part of the unbody, and the car relies on it to provide structural rigidty to the car. Attaching the roof with bolts, however strong they may be, will change the structure a LOT, possibly with disastrous results. You'll notice the E-camper (Ursa Minor) people left the roof in place, and did so for a reason IMHO.

What you've got so far does look like nice craftsmanship though, I like the idea.
 

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ADDITIONAL AMENITIES, FUTURE PLANS
When the Element is fully paid off and the title is in my posession, I plan to make the entire roof removable, up to the B pillar. An arduino-controlled set of solenoids and actuators will lock and unlock heavy bolts in the areas that primary structure was cut through, and lift the roof to a height that will make the entire rear of the element to have a 7 foot ceiling. Yes, I'm dead serious.
What happened to (click the quote for the original post ;-) ):

??? :grin:

---

Great work on the microcamper v2.0. I would love to see that in person too. Let us when you go up north. :)
 

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That looks great. Of all the flying around the US we did with the Dc3 I have never been to Oshkosh (kosh) I have heard that it gets crazy flying around there.
 
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