In the end, all it takes to fix an intermittent electrical problem is to painstakingly replace every component in said electrical system until you finally stumble on the thing that was causing the heartache and head-hurt in the first place.
What was the magic? LED tail-lights. Seems that our precision-manufactured Toyota Matrix has only enough juice on the tail-light circuit for its own bulbs, never mind a few extras. The added strain of 4 more bulbs, 2 of which were meant to blink sometimes, was far too taxing for its delicate constitution. This strikes me as strange, because even regular bulbs don't use much power compared to other car-powered electrical things, like, I don't know, engine starters. How about a little more amperage in that circuit, hmm?
Anyway, the LEDs draw less power, which I guess was what needed to happen. So, Hooray! And if anyone needs some electrical components, most of which presumably still work, you know, get in touch. I've got piles.
Net result -- we got to go camping! Here's the hatch of the Egg, performing just as it should do:
Here are a couple of dirty happy boys chowing down on whatever they found in the hatch. Looks like one of them got into the coffee:
The wet weather pointed out the much-needed addition to the Egg -- a rain and shade canopy, which is currently in the design process. We spent a fair bit of time in the rain on this trip, much of it fiddling with tarps. I'm planning to rig a simple system to extend a cover in a variety of directions. Pending.
The rainy weather on both of the Egg's first 2 trips have been an acid test for the sealing system. I'm pleased with the results. The hatch is water-tight, while the doors score about 9/10. I think adding an extra inner frame, planned since the beginning, will help considerably by keeping the mattress out of contact with stray drips. Pending.
This trip was primarily to go to a mountain bike race a friend and I were entering in Golden. I was working there for 2 days prior, so I towed the trailer down with the truck. My partner took the truck home when we were through, and Terri and Fin came over with the car. When we were done camping for a few nights, we did the inaugural tow with the car towards home.
For those of you who know BC, Roger's Pass, between Golden and Revelstoke, is an intimidating hump for any large load, and I wondered (fretfully) how the trailer would tow and track on the journey home. Things were fairly sluggish on the long climb from 700m to 1300m, but we kept up with bigger trailers towed by bigger trucks. It handily descended and made its way through the windy road from Revelstoke to 350m Salmon Arm without incident. Here's photo evidence from the top of the pass:
Fin seems concerned about the connections. Who knows, maybe he should be:
Overall, the fine combination tracks well (no sway, no effects from passing large trucks), brakes well, and recovers easily from bumps. It's sluggish, as expected, but it's by no means the slowest vehicle on the road. On normal terrain, it keeps up with traffic just fine, and looks pretty good doing it.
A few fellow campers asked about the Egg, but in a "where did you get it" context. I'm realising that, from a distance, the thing looks factory-made. That feels nice, but also means it's less of a conversation piece than I expected. That's fine -- conversations are often easy for me to start!
There are things to improve, but the Thunder Egg is now substantially complete and ready for the remainder of a summer of camping. I'm pleased with what we've done.
Dare I call the project a success?