Tiny is Street Legal Finally

I don’t have a photo for this update.  I’m not sure it is a good idea to show the world my plate number.  But I can now legally tow this labor of love anywhere in the lower 48 and Canada.

I’ll have to get a spare tire, close up the underbelly, and test the brakes.  Not just with a voltmeter and looking at the lights but an old fashioned ‘jerk test’ like I was taught in trucking class.

More to come soon…

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Tiny House AC…

The summer has been hovering around the 100 degree mark.  After June it was just too hot to be doing anything outside in the sun or in Tiny because once it warmed up it stayed warm.  I could not find anything else I was willing to afford.  The whole point of a Tiny House is affordability and dropping $1200 on a ‘ductless’ unit would raise the project cost 5-10%. So I splurged:  $200 for working Air Conditioning.

Off to Home Depot again.  Toshiba window unit for $109 and then four gutter downspouts at $11 each.  The AC unit is 5000 BTU and suggested for rooms 150 square feet.  My tiny house is about 124ft give or take a little.  After watching the meter now for a few weeks (570+ hours) it is also affordable to operate.  (Next step is to switch it over to the solar and save even more…) In economy mode (low with the fan always on) the usage ranges between 42 and 410 watt’s.  The compressor has a low surge quiet start up.


Because the bathroom was elevated 18 inches the AC unit was installed under the floor where the heat could be vented easily.  There is also fresh (cool?) air for the condenser intake available.  The cool air came out of the top step and the intake was under the bottom step.

The first couple weeks my fan had to be run 24×7, along with the AC, in an attempt to get the cooler air into the loft area.  It was still in the 80’s up there while the floor was around 74.  So I needed to redesign things a little.  All I had to do is duct the cool air along the wall and into the loft.  Now all cool air is discharged on the passenger side, circles around the loft and falls down to the main level.


The ductwork (downspouts) is on the right hand edge.

I now have less noise and a more comfortable Tiny house.  I’ll do a little more cleanup and finish the stairs.  I am also going to use a little more PP sheeting and duct the heated discharge air  closer to the trailer tung and away from the cool air intake.  This is apt to improve the efficiency.

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Why did I buy that tool?

Today I began prepping the drivers side of Tiny for some sheeting.  The OCD part of me could not resist getting out the scales and checking some facts.  I pulled off the side boards and drop as few screws as possible into the lawn.  (I lost three.) . I then weighed the lumber and the screw’s.

The new steel weight is approximately 9.5# including the new screws.  I guess I only saved about half but I know the new design will be more weather tight.  Also, the removed lumber is still fine for crafts and other projects.  (Aged cedar is great for bird houses.)

Now about the tool I purchased in 2009 and never even opened the package.  I knew I needed it, because it was so awesome.  But when would I need it? Today in 2018.  This is a special adapter for the power screwdriver that coverts the torque 90 degrees for fitting into small areas.

In today’s case the bay window roofing.  There is only about three inches between the roof and the eve above it.  There were about 20 screws on each holding the shingles on.   I thought I was going to have to cut all of those screws with the saws-all.  You can see in the pictures how it fits together with the drill and the small space it is able to fit into.

To be honest I have used my SawMax once before this project.  It was for cutting the vent holes in Hickory flooring so the vent covers could fit after replacing old carpet.  This time I am using it for the sheet metal.  Again I wish I had remembered I owned this tool earlier.  Last weekend I used five Dremel blades (those little 1 inch discs) cutting a few feet of steel.  This last weekend I did all of my cutting for the passenger side and still have not changed blades.  The saw is also more controllable and cuts faster.  I highly recommend this tool for sheets of corrugated steel.  Tin Snips would not have done this job acceptably.

Here is a close view of a cut I made as well as the saw with current blade/disc:


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Weather and Weight

I have not had any water leaks.  But I wondered if the exterior siding is going to hold up to highway speeds in rain.  And after talking things over with a very experienced builder, who happens to be my Dad, I also thought it was good time to shave a few pounds of the trailer weight.

I do not want to lose the feel of the trailer.  I like the cabin style and as much wood as I can.  But I am willing to replace some lumber with long lasting steel.  So here is what I have come up with:


Each square foot of steel is around 8oz.  The same coverage in dry lumber is around 16oz.  When exposed to humidity or rain the weight goes up but I do not know an exact value.  21oz would be the ‘wet’ weight.  My estimates at this time would be 20-25 lbs. per side and about 40 lbs at the trailer front.  I have also removed and recovered about three pounds of screws.  About one pound of screws was used to hold all the metal into place.

All overlaps are assuming falling rain and forward motion of the trailer.  Moisture is directed downward and out from the front.

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A Beeping Problem Solved

For those who have been following the build for a while, you might recall nearly everything is running off the 12 volt battery system.  This includes the refrigerator.  And it has all been going fine except for one annoyance.

The refrigerator is plugged into a dedicated 750 watt inverter costing about $40.  This allowed me to use an affordable off the shelf $100 fridge instead of a $800 12 volt or propane version.  Each time the compressor starts a new cycle the low voltage alarm sounds for a few seconds.  I am not really surprised considering the inverter is almost 15 feet from the battery and I only used 6AWG cable.  I estimate the surge current to be around 50 Amps at 12.4 volts.  (600 Watt) . That causes quite a voltage drop across the leads.  Once the cycle is started the voltage returns to the expected 13.2 volts.

I was at WalMart the other day and had an idea.  Why not use a capacitor designed for car audio amplifiers…  They carry a quite large one for $40 so I thought i would give it a try.  Another $35 in miscellaneous hardware and 6AWG cable, from Home Depot,  I have it installed:


Installed Capacitor.


Distribution block.

To be honest I still have a beep.  It’s duration is a fraction of a second at the most.  This is acceptable considering it used to last 2-4 seconds.  I should also gain a little benefit from the cap once I wire in the water pump.  They sometimes cause DC surges/sags as they cycle as well.  It will be powered from same cable so fingers crossed.




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Dinner is Served: From the Oven

After researching for what seems like forever I decided on an oven.  An Extra-Large Convection Toaster from Oster.  I eat a lot of pizzas (Multiple per week) so I needed one that would comfortably fit a real pizza.  Not just a 12″ single serve.  This one fits two 16″ pizza’s.  This one had good reviews and one user even had photo’s of the pizza she had cooked.  Sold!


Additional extension cord now attached.

Now I had to finish the electrical connections.  There was an unprotected outlet that was shared with the whole trailer.  Not the way I wanted to go.  That outlet has been removed.  I have added another outlet that, along with the water heater, has it’s own input on the trailer outside.  I will have to ensure the water heater switch is off before using the oven.  This should not be a problem because I am used to heating water only when needed in my camper.  This saves loads of propane.

So here is the evening progression:

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I used the same time and temperatures as in the house oven.  This Red Barron Four Meat Pizza was a little dry in the crust and the cheese browned a little extra.  There were no burn’t spots or strange toasting patterns that I was expecting.  Next go I will shave another two minutes off and see how it turns out.  In all I’m pleased.

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First Night Results:

Pretty good nights rest.  It was almost too quiet. There are two items needing attention: Ladder steepness and bed density.  The second one is not really a tiny house issue but more of a home issue.  The ladder while functional, is a little tricky when barefoot and half asleep.  I’m working on a version two that is less steep, wider, and enforced a little more.  Same look and feel, just better.

I rode nearly 14 miles and climbed 2000+ vertical feet today on the Fuel.  I also had a little encouragement and example so I rode my first drop today as well.  Four times on the wooden drop and tree off the Shake N Bake rock.  Chain guard earned its value today.  Scraped the rock twice…

So here’s to night two…

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