Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 11:49PM

Raleigh vehicle work day #2: Power/communications rack

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Last year, we mounted all of our radios, routers and power system to a custom 'center console' made out of two stackable wire desk shelves. The 'console' was placed in the space between the second row seats.


Tom working with the 2006 'console' setup

This year, we're trying to make this setup even more compact as well as moving it more 'out of the way' in the space behind the second row seats. This has been more of a challenge than we first thought. After some lengthy brainstorming, we decided to use part of the old console shelf as a 'rack' grid, mounted vertically at the back of the second seat row. The space is tight, which presents a problem in not only fitting everything back there, but providing adequate ventilation.

Thankfully, Matt had a bunch of spare 12-volt PC case fans that work perfectly, even running straight off of the 12 volt car power. We started the build-out by working on the literal puzzle of fitting everything onto the wire shelf.


Individual components

After a couple of hours of trial-and-error, we finally finished piecing the 'puzzle' together.


Final rack grid assembly

Since this rack is going in behind the second row seats, we left out the CB radio and scanner (which will be installed up front in a location yet to be determined). The inverter will rest on the floor immediately behind the rack, cooled with the help of the four fans. We drilled holes into the rear storage platform and used wire ties to secure the rack:


Rack installed

The top-fastened rack can be swiveled up for maintenance or repair when needed.

Thursday, we'll finish up the wiring from the front of the car to the new rack. Not only is it getting late tonight, but there are storms moving in to the Raleigh metro area from the west - and there is a severe thunderstorm watch in effect. We'll take a break to try for some lightning shots and get back to the car in the morning.

No updates today to the forecast outlook for our trip, so once again the probability table will remain unchanged.

Based on the current outlook, this probability table charts the chance of our trip starting on a particular date:

2007 Weather Expedition - Departure Date Probability as of April 11
April 21-3010%
May 1-1022%
May 11-2022%
May 21-3122%
June 1-1522%
No trip2%

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