12V :: Charging Station

10.10.2012 – Wednesday

Just two weeks ago the woods looked like this:

It was perfect jeans and T-shirt weather. The earth was dry. The sun was warm. I took this opportunity to familiarize myself to the upgraded New Holland tractor. Up from 33 hp to 35 hp the most notable change is the tires. Instead of agricultural tires the new Ford now has Industrial tires. The 440 pounds of wheel weights have also been replaced by over 750 pounds of fluid in the rear tires. The difference is overwhelmingly obvious. The rounded surface on the old agricultural tires meant the tractor would sway a bit. The perfectly flat, and wider industrial tires give the new Ford a planted and very stable base. It’s still taking some getting used. The extra tire and the dry earth made for quick work of the slope. I have done battle with the hill in the past and this time it looks like I’ve come out on top. The trail was widened a bit more on the bottom and I was able to use the back blade to cut into the hill on each side of the trail in an effort to persuade water to run away from the center of the trail. Hopefully this cuts down on erosion during the Spring snow-melt.

An oddity this Fall: a blue-green mushroom

So that was two weeks ago; now to the present. Since my last visit the basement stairway has now been paneled. And because of that my makeshift charging station has been removed and will no longer be of any use. The automotive style outlets were mounted, but a lot of good that does when there is no place to set a phone in need of a charge. I went to work. Again proving the utility of a pencil and a 4×6 notecard I had a working concept and then spent the next two hours in the basement. Since all the tools needed for paneling are at camp, everything was set up nicely for a small project. I had originally hoped to find a shelf at an antique store but so far my searching has been fruitless and it is obvious it is much more useful to have a shelf now than to wait another few weeks. The design I chose is simple and reflects the beam and log architecture of the cabin. I would have preferred to make it out of ash or some other hardwood, but since there was a handsome supply of scrap 6″ pine paneling freely accessible I settled on a more practical wood. Pine is also very easy to work with and fit, since a little sanding goes a lot farther on pine than oak or ash. As a result, the shelf matches the 12V outlet faceplate and the paneling perfectly.

An additional feature of the shelf is the cord-lock. I used a power sander (SoniCrafter) to sculpt a 45° bevel on the opposing surfaces of the cord-lock block and the back of the shelf. The result is a pinch point that won’t even damage Apple’s soft white USB cables. A benefit of using a cord-lock is that the cables hanging down won’t get caught and send a brand new iPhone off down a flight of stairs. It also keeps the ends of the cables orderly. I subscribe to the philosophy that organization and function should go hand in hand.

If a criticism could be found, it is that the cords hang down over the railing. The opposing wall is going to have fire extinguishers mounted on it so there wasn’t too much we could do about the positioning. Placing a fire extinguisher under a railing would detract too much from the hurried retrieval of the device. An unexpected benefit of having the shelf where it is relates to the light switch. It is easy to find the light switch when reaching around a dark corner. Hand finds shelf – down to the left is the switch.

…the leaves continue to fall. Soon it will be winter.


1 thought on “12V :: Charging Station

  1. akwoman

    I was excited to find your blog as I’m in the process of planning a new cabin on my property and will have to be entirely self sufficient in terms of power…and water…and septic. I’m especially anxious to see how your solar works in the darker winter months…


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