Glück Auf is loosely translated as "good luck to us all".

Monday, November 14, 2011

UEV 490 Conqueror Australia off road trailer

This Australian Urban Escape Vehicle has a ton of great features to consider when we renovate our Airstream. We aren't quite as concerned about off-road capabilities, but we've actually discussed some of these design ideas. I especially like the idea of a fan with a good filter to pressurize the inside of the trailer to help prevent dust from coming into the trailer during transit. I am pretty sure that most of our dirt and dust gets tracked into our trailer when we go in and out the door, but this feature is worth considering.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Eco Airstream On The Green Road

Jetson Green has a brief article about the final result of a green Airstream renovation.

This appears to be a removal of the functional interior that was installed at the Airstream factory and installation of a bunch of "green" products. This "green" Airstream has been featured in a few trade shows and used to promote the products that were donated.
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Friday, August 12, 2011

Airstream Caravel Rebuild

Here is a great rebuild I found on one of the Airstream forums. Lots of great ideas!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New tires for our Airstream

We are planning our first long road trip to Idaho. So I decided to get new tires. The spare was 20 years old and cracked and one of the other tires had a slow leak. The guy at Discount Tire told me that trailer tires are designed for heavier loads, but they can overheat if you go over 65 mph for ver long. So, I decided to go with passenger tires that are rated for higher speeds and we will just have to be careful not to overload the trailer.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sawyer Water Filtration Systems

Sawyer makes several water filtration systems for camping and other applications.

.02 filter claims to filter even bacteria.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Rotating Solar Boiler

Back in 2005 a fellow named Jeroen van Luijtelaer did his Master Thesis on the the Rotating Solar Boiler at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. You can download his thesis paper from

Several prototype boilers were build using different materials, but all boilers shared the following basic design components:
  • An absorber tube that holds and heats the water
  • A transparent cover that holds and heats the air
  • A reflector that reflects the light onto the boiler
  • A motor that rotates the boiler at about 60 RPM
According to the thesis paper, convection significantly reduces the efficiency of conventional solar collectors. The rotating solar boiler rotates at about 60 RPM in order to prevent convection. The centripetal force pushes the heaver colder air to the outer surface and the hotter lighter air stays near the absorber where it is transferred into the water. The paper doesn't say for sure, but I would imagine that the centripetal force also pushes the water onto the inner surface of the absorber for better conduction of heat.

The paper indicates that the prototypes where about 4.5 square meters and typically produced about 1 kilowatt of steam at 100º C. That's about 1.3 horsepower. The efficiencies of the different boilers were measured and the maximum experimental efficiency with reflectors was 46%. So, based on the data in this thesis paper, it seems feasible to generate enough power to turn a very small 1 HP generator with a boiler similar to the prototypes. The steam could also be piped through a condenser and collected for water distillation and provide for several basic survival needs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Composting Toilet

Ever since I first started thinking about buying a vintage Airstream and remodeling it, our hippie friend has been suggesting a composting toilet. He forwarded me a link to The Eco-Discovery Tour - Flying Cloud, which includes a description and photos of the Composting Toilet they chose when they remodelled their Airstream.
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Earthen plaster walls, in an Airstream? Why yes!!!!

One of my most important goals for remodeling our Airstream is to make it comfortable to live in with limited access to power or water supply. Since we live in Texas, we will probably be doing most of our camping in the southern states where temperatures are often quite high. So, air conditioning is a necessity, and that means we will have trouble powering the AC with solar and/or wind. My hope is to use insulation and unconventional cooling systems to reduce the power requirements. I've been thinking about materials to use for extra insulation and I want to consider all reasonable options. I figured that I would add at least a couple extra inches of insulation on the inside walls and that we would need to add some sort of surface material to become the new interior walls. Then I stumbled across this blog post and thought maybe it might be worth investigating the use of plaster, clay or some other type of soil.

Source: On the Green Road - green rv life

Plaster on the wall of a moving airstream…. are you nuts? Well, maybe but we know it’s possible. American Clay Earth Plasters are a natural, environmentally friendly way to finish an interior.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Solar Powered Fridge

I've been trying to think of ways to equip our Airstream for comfortable living for at least a week without power or water supply. This article describes a very simple design for a solar powered refrigerator.

Amazing solar-powered fridge invented by British student in a potting shed helps poverty-stricken Africans | Mail Online

I wonder if this would work with larger dimensions. It might he worth a little experimentation to find out! The Solar powered fridge above is apparently based on the anchient Zeer Pot-in-pot Refrigerator.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Airstream Rebuild Ideas

I have been brainstorming quite a bit lately about renovation of an Airstream camper trailer.

This is a rough combination of images to demonstrate the design ideas described in this article.

Here are my primary design goals for this camper trailer:
  • The ultimate goal is a perfect bug out/survival shelter.
  • It should have EVERYTHING required for survival.
  • It should have ham radio transceivers supporting all bands.
  • It should have wireless antennas for receiving and sharing internet access.
  • It should have a satellite dish for receiving television broadcasts.
  • It should have wind turbine(s) and solar panel(s).
  • It should have generator(s) to produce power.
  • It should be able to store power from solar, wind, and generator in batteries.

Here are some of my ideas on the rebuild process:

  • Buy a used ~18 foot Airstream trailer Bambi preferred.
  • Buy a ~25 foot flatbed trailer.
  • Install a hot tub on the flatbed trailer.
  • Install a wood/coal/pellet fired boiler/stove on the flatbed trailer.
  • Install and connect plumbing on the flatbed trailer.
  • Gut the interior of the Airstream so it is wide open inside.
  • Remove wheels from Airstream trailer.
  • Cut holes in the Airstream floor so the hot tub and stove fit trough.
  • Lower and mount the Airstream trailer on top of an flatbed trailer.
  • Leave a gap between Airstream and flatbed trailer for storage.
  • Place the Airstream near the middle of the flatbed trailer to leave room on front and back for tanks, generator, grill, motorcycle, bicycle, and/or golf cart.

Final thoughts about functionality and and some finishing touches:

  • Store batteries, bladders and/or tanks in the storage gap between trailers.
  • Also store aluminum beams, polls and panels in the storage gap.
  • The beams, polls and panels form a tent-like structure attached.
  • Some panels are photovoltaic. Some panels are Plexiglas.
  • Install all new, state of the art, energy efficient appliances.
  • Line the interior walls with canvas.
  • Paint murals on all interior walls.
  • In the end, the Airstream is like the bathroom, master bedroom and kitchen.
  • The tent is like the living room and can be used when the weather is nice.
  • The boiler/stove can function as the heater, hot water heater, oven, and/or still.
  • Maybe the boiler could even run the AC, refrigerator and/or steam turbine.
  • The trailer should have a telescoping tower for a wind turbine.
  • The tower should also have ham radio/wireless antennas and satellite dish.
  • A dual-fuel unleaded/LP generator should be mounted on back or front.
  • Batteries will store power from solar, wind and generator.

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