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Old 09-10-2016, 06:26 AM   #1
tundrwd
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Question - cover for control panel and lighting for it

Have a 2016 Bullet Ultra Lite - and the control panel (switches for lights, water heater, etc.) is set just at/below my waist height.

Just the perfect height for my 4-6 year old grandkids to get interested with an mess with.

I've been looking for a clear "lockable" cover for the switch panel, but really haven't found anything. Anyone come up with some that work, and don't stick out 3" or more?

Also - due to it's height, and the black background on it, it's impossible to read. Always have to get a flashlight out or something to make sure (yeah, after a few trips all will be memorized, but its more for the wife and others...) So - I'm looking for some kind of LED light strip (horizontal), that won't stick out, and is angled so the light will be cast onto the panel. Anyone found anything like that? Only needs to be about a 6" stick - I'd just use sticky tape to "install", I think.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:01 AM   #2
scott24
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Try a locking thermostat box.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:05 AM   #3
tundrwd
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All thermostat boxes I've seen stick out too far. I'm looking for something that is about 1/2-5/8" thick, since the control panel is right in the "entryway".

If you've seen any that are about the right size, and not very thick - I'd appreciate a link.
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:52 AM   #4
the sodfather
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tundrwd View Post
Have a 2016 Bullet Ultra Lite - and the control panel (switches for lights, water heater, etc.) is set just at/below my waist height.

Just the perfect height for my 4-6 year old grandkids to get interested with an mess with.

I've been looking for a clear "lockable" cover for the switch panel, but really haven't found anything. Anyone come up with some that work, and don't stick out 3" or more?

Also - due to it's height, and the black background on it, it's impossible to read. Always have to get a flashlight out or something to make sure (yeah, after a few trips all will be memorized, but its more for the wife and others...) So - I'm looking for some kind of LED light strip (horizontal), that won't stick out, and is angled so the light will be cast onto the panel. Anyone found anything like that? Only needs to be about a 6" stick - I'd just use sticky tape to "install", I think.
May have to build it up to angle it to read the panel, but this might work...

http://www.hornady.com/store/Lock-N-Load-Light-Strip
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:28 PM   #5
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We had the same concern when we took delivery of our Bullet and started camping in it with 3 children, ages 1, 2, and 5. Well, after a couple of touches and no no's, the camper is too much fun and distracting in other ways that not one of our kids has touched a panel switch in over 50 days of camping in it.

As far as lighting, it would have been a nice feature to have a backlit board to see switches in the middle of night. The LED mod gods are calling your name!
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:12 AM   #6
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You might be able to make one. Take a board the size of the cover needed and the thickness, then take a piece of Plexiglas, place it on the board centered and in the oven, heat it until it molds around the board.

It is a thought?
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:48 AM   #7
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Another possibility is to mount a "décor matching" picture frame with a lexan/plexiglass sheet instead of glass, appropriately sized (custom frame if really picky) over the panel. Mount hinges on one side and a "child proof" latch on the other. If "out of sight/out of mind" is a requirement, then cover the lexan with opaque contact paper???

As for lighting, an LED reading light mounted on the opposing wall (or on the ceiling) and aimed toward the panel ?? Possibly a switch mounted adjacent to the picture frame to turn the reading light off/on ???
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Old 09-13-2016, 03:57 PM   #8
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I hope someone else may have more experience than me, but be careful heating plastic in a house oven. In the past I accidentally heated up a plastic brownie pan cover and it drove us out of the house for a while. And I hadn't even melted it a lot, it was just starting to sag in the middle a little. For the next few weeks after that whenever I would heat the oven it would stink like plastic. Bad smell! I know plexiglass is a different plastic, but I'm guessing no one wants to tick off the cook in the kitchen by using the oven to accidentally fumigate the house.
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You might be able to make one. Take a board the size of the cover needed and the thickness, then take a piece of Plexiglas, place it on the board centered and in the oven, heat it until it molds around the board.

It is a thought?
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:03 AM   #9
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I have twin 3 year olds, and I did think that would be a problem. So far so good. They are more interested in other things. Such as climbing up and down the ladder and playing with their toys. I would give it a try and see if it becomes a problem before doing anything. I do like the idea of a custom picture frame (made from cedar) with plexi glass. You can use piano hinge to keep it low profile. Maybe put a picture of the family on the plexi glass, so you cant see the buttons and draw interest to the kids.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:32 AM   #10
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You might be able to make one. Take a board the size of the cover needed and the thickness, then take a piece of Plexiglas, place it on the board centered and in the oven, heat it until it molds around the board.

It is a thought?
Well, a thought, but having tried that in the past - it's problematic. Too much heat, and you've got a fire. A bit too much and it develops bubbles in the plastic. Hard to get just right. The "drape over mold" does work, but it's very tricky. And I would ONLY do it with a toaster oven, out in a shop. Wifee doesn't like those things in her oven (Try stove-top parkerizing... another story...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Another possibility is to mount a "décor matching" picture frame with a lexan/plexiglass sheet instead of glass, appropriately sized (custom frame if really picky) over the panel. Mount hinges on one side and a "child proof" latch on the other. If "out of sight/out of mind" is a requirement, then cover the lexan with opaque contact paper???

As for lighting, an LED reading light mounted on the opposing wall (or on the ceiling) and aimed toward the panel ?? Possibly a switch mounted adjacent to the picture frame to turn the reading light off/on ???
Both of those are thoughts that hadn't occurred to me. One of those "deep" style picture frames with hinges might work, and a self-stick ceiling bullet light - maybe. I'll have to ponder those and see where they take me. Initial though is that the frame is going to be very "light", not very strong, and easy to "swipe off" the wall as you pass it, if you hit something wrong.

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Originally Posted by taddkiser07 View Post
I have twin 3 year olds, and I did think that would be a problem. So far so good. They are more interested in other things. Such as climbing up and down the ladder and playing with their toys. I would give it a try and see if it becomes a problem before doing anything. I do like the idea of a custom picture frame (made from cedar) with plexi glass. You can use piano hinge to keep it low profile. Maybe put a picture of the family on the plexi glass, so you cant see the buttons and draw interest to the kids.
Again, I agree with this basic concept. Just have to figure out a way to make it "strong" - and the piano hinge might be the ticket.

Thanks all!
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:12 AM   #11
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Sorry I don't have a solution...but I feel your pain regarding seeing the info on the panel. I'm still learning where each switch is and have to crouch down to read the info on the panel to flip the correct switch. I've had to use a flashlight...and forget it if I don't have my glasses on.

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Old 09-19-2016, 06:18 AM   #12
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Sorry I don't have a solution...but I feel your pain regarding seeing the info on the panel. I'm still learning where each switch is and have to crouch down to read the info on the panel to flip the correct switch. I've had to use a flashlight...and forget it if I don't have my glasses on.

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Just one thought to maybe help you, have you ever thought about making a small (maybe 1" x 3" diagram) of the panel with clearly marked switches? Hang that diagram at eye level, then when you need to operate anything on the panel, just look at the diagram and count over to that switch on the actual panel... It wouldn't have to be "elaborate", just something to help differentiate which switch is which that's mounted where you can easily see and read the locations......
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:07 PM   #13
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I actually thought of a cover like that for our control panel, and though I have kids, them "playing" with the switches wasn't what I was thinking of. Rather, it would be someone half asleep, or otherwise preoccupied accidentally using a slide switch instead of the light switches, either grown up or child. Cover would be only over the slide switches, so that a deliberate action is required before you use them. Would also do something similar for the front, as the docking light switch on my trailer is right by the landing gear switch.
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:01 AM   #14
tundrwd
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Sorry I don't have a solution...but I feel your pain regarding seeing the info on the panel. I'm still learning where each switch is and have to crouch down to read the info on the panel to flip the correct switch. I've had to use a flashlight...and forget it if I don't have my glasses on.

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Yeah - same here. Flashlight, find the dang reading glasses, kick the wife, kiss the dog - wait, that's not quite right...
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:07 AM   #15
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I actually thought of a cover like that for our control panel, and though I have kids, them "playing" with the switches wasn't what I was thinking of. Rather, it would be someone half asleep, or otherwise preoccupied accidentally using a slide switch instead of the light switches, either grown up or child. Cover would be only over the slide switches, so that a deliberate action is required before you use them. Would also do something similar for the front, as the docking light switch on my trailer is right by the landing gear switch.
That's a problem too. Might cover whole panel, but have cutouts for JUST the lighting. Wife keeps hitting the propane water heater switch, instead of electric. We don't use the propane much, except to run the stove. Maybe later this year we'll run the heater. Plan on a trip into Missouri weekend before Thanksgiving. Can be cool and wet there are that time.

I'm seriously thinking of some kind of picture frame - one of those made for putting objects in (can't think of the appropriate name for them) - one that has some depth to it for jewelry, medals, etc. - and a piano hinge, some kind of catch on the other side.

Might run to Hobby Lobby/Michaels and poke around. Need to measure and see what size I need.

Either that - or just make one. I've got some oak and mahogany laying around. Something with rounded sides so you wouldn't "catch" it walking by.
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:29 AM   #16
the sodfather
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Originally Posted by tundrwd View Post
I'm seriously thinking of some kind of picture frame - one of those made for putting objects in (can't think of the appropriate name for them) - one that has some depth to it for jewelry, medals, etc. - and a piano hinge, some kind of catch on the other side.
I believe you are looking for a "shadow box".
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:50 AM   #17
Mamarino
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Cover

Did you get a solution? I was able to make a cover that snaps shut. My control panel is 6 by 8 inches with a battery disconnect knob. We will be hosting an 18 month old that loves to push buttons.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:24 PM   #18
tundrwd
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Did you get a solution? I was able to make a cover that snaps shut. My control panel is 6 by 8 inches with a battery disconnect knob. We will be hosting an 18 month old that loves to push buttons.
Sorry for the delay - No, I haven't. Grandkids are growing out of it (so far), so not overly worried. Kids around 18mos - 3yo - I'd worry a bit more. So, I haven't found anything really suitable at this point, and haven't really pursued it for the last few months.

Biggest problem I've had is that the switch panel is too low, not lighted, and can't read at that angle and in the dark. So I have to re-acquaint myself with the switches every trip out (we don't get out too much just yet, 5 or so weekends a year and a week or two out).

Same problem with thermostat - in the dark, no backlight and always have to get a flashlight out to be sure how it's set.

Did find another irritant - the outside refrigerator that plugs in - directly behind the fridge. I don't always want to run it, and it isn't switched. BAD idea. I wound up getting a 3' switched extension cord and plug the fridge into that, so I can turn it off/on when I want to.
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:35 PM   #19
Mamarino
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Cover

Tim, my wife had already asked to brainstorm this control panel thing just recently. I called the RV dealer where I purchased the Viewfinder. They said there was nothing. I started googling and found your post. Now knowing I will be entertaining my 18 month grandson soon who loves to push buttons, I measured the control panel and boom. I remembered I had a first aid kit in the truck that was translucent. I think the attachments below will come through. If not let me know.
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:45 PM   #20
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Excellent!

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