Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DC Power

As many of you know, I'm a cop.  I work in the schools, and as a school-house cop, we work a lot of extra hours.  PTA meetings, games, concerts, the school-house cop is there, and when the kids are off, we get to take those extra hours we've earned and take some down time.

The kids last day was yesterday, and we're working today, and a bunch of us, PawPaw included will be off tomorrow for several weeks.  I've been a school-house cop for thirteen years now, and this is what happens every year.

So, I plan a project.  Nothing big or fancy, but something to keep me occupied.  This year, I'm building a replica of a Conestoga wagon.  It will look kind of like a Conestoga if you're half blind, squint at it, and use your imagination.

I've got a 16-foot, double axle utility trailer that I've had for almost 20 years.  I want to put some minor modifications on it so that I can use it as what the CFDA calls a Town Folk Alley trailer.  A Town Folk Alley is a place where we introduce people to the sport of Cowboy Fast Draw.  Because our sport uses low-powered wax bullet ammo, we can construct a suitable range out of almost anything.  Wax bullets are easy to stop and many clubs use archery netting.

Something as simple as a tarpaulin will stop wax bullets, so I intend to create a trailer where I can set up two targets, cover it in PVC pipe and tarps, and let new shooters try their hand at Fast Draw.  I wish I could say that I came up with this idea, but many clubs use them, and some of them are very nice, dedicated to the game.  Mine won't be.  It'll be basic, but designed so that we can tow it to a site, set it up, and be firing in about 30 minutes.  After the event is over, we tear it down, tow it home, and it becomes a utility trailer again.

One problem on my checklist is that our timers are electrically powered.  If you have a source of AC power, that's not an issue, but many places don't conveniently have access to AC power.   Our timers, like most modern electronics, run off DC power.  The power cord converts the AC in the outlet to DC at the device.  And, our designers thought about this before-hand.  Our timers and lights require 12 volt DC power.  We can power our lights and timers off any 12 volt battery.

I've got a buddy named Rick who runs an electrical device shop.  I took him my factory built power cord and asked him if he could fashion a cord that would let me hook my timers to a convenient battery.  He looked at my connection plugs, while he heated his soldering iron and in a few minutes had fashioned a cord that is just exactly what I need.

Factory AC cord on top, RIck's DC cord on bottom.
When I asked what I owed him, he scoffed at me.  Wasn't worth writing a voucher on.  So, now I can power my electronics with a battery and I don't need an AC outlet.  Tomorrow, I'll start doing the prep work on that trailer and hopefully next week, my son and I will do a little welding.

That's one thing off my checklist.  This might be a fun project.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

It's nice, having competent friends!

Unknown said...

For a nice appearance to the wagon top (instead of a blue tarp), Harbor Freight sells huge undyed cotton drop cloths for cheap. Pick one or two up with the 20% off coupon from their circular.

Old NFO said...

You won''t be bored...LOL