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Installing a Computer Workstation

(May 5, 2007: The keyboard tray has been moved to our new Cameo today. The story below is of the original installation in our King of the Road. For the story of the move, click here.) Gwen and I chose to remove the TV and make the TV location into a computer station. We have another idea of mounting a TV near this same location which will be the subject of another page when we start that project. I began by ordering three special parts for the computer station: a sliding, height adjustable keyboard slide , a keyboard tray and a wire access grommet to take the computer wires through the countertop. I began by creating a plywood backing for the sliding tray mechanism. Installing the sliding tray support
Click to see What's New at RVeCafe   Handle allow computer tray to be at an angle and height adjust I did this because I needed the tray to be slightly lower than it would have been without the plywood. The mechanism is mounted to the plywood and the plywood is mounted to the underside of the countertop. This mechanism allows the keyboard tray to adjust in height and angle, then locks into place.
The keyboard tray has a raised lip to support a pencil and keep the feet of the keyboard in the tray. Computer Tray
Predrilled holes in the bottom of the computer tray make mounting easy The holes in the bottom of the keyboard tray are predrilled to match the support, even the mounting screws were provided. I would have mounted the tray first then installed the whole unit under the countertop, however, I was afraid of interference from the tray to install the plywood to the countertop.
  A hole must be drilled through the countertop to allow for the keyboard wire and for power to the labtop. I purchased a computer wire grommet especially for this purpose. Once the whole is drilled, the wires easily fit through and the grommet gives this a finished look. Drilling through the countertop for wire access
  Wire Grommet inserted and wires pass through the countertop to the computer

This is Gwen's laptop. Note that she has a wireless mouse and now she has an external keyboard. When she is at home in the RV, she only uses the monitor, it's much easier to use the external keyboard and wireless mouse than to use the laptop keyboard and mouse pad.

Now we have the ugly TV cabinet hole to repair. Below is what the hole looks like before the repair. Part of the left and right walls were removed by KOTR (King of the Road)

The ugle TV hole
  when they fit the huge 27" TV into the space. The walls had to be removed so the TV could fit the space. The removable TV platform left two bottom corners which will also need repair. Bottom corners must be repaired
Oak Bead-Board cut to size for the back two walls

I used Oak bead-board to cover the back two walls. This is the same bead-board I used in the bedroom remodel.

For the floor, I purchased peal and stick plastic (Armstrong) flooring.

  This flooring is easy to install, just peel the tissue paper from the bottom and stick the plastic flooring to the plywood. Peal and stick plastic flooring
  Last piece in the front of the cabinet I started from the back and came forward with the tile.
  The last piece had to be trimmed to fit using a utility knife and steel ruler. Trim the last piece
  Make a paper template for the odd shaped corner pieces The corner pieces had to be cut to fit. I first created a paper template by laying the paper in the space then cutting for a perfect fit.
  I layed this template over a tile, then cut the tile to fit. I did the same for the right side. Use the paper template to cut the left and right corner pieces
  Great fit

It came out perfect. The hole in the back of the compartment was originally for the TV cable and electric cords for the TV. We still need the hole to access the 110 outlet which is located in the VCR compartment below.

Remember the removable platform that was screwed to the bottom of the TV? I have access to a tablesaw so I ripped the back off this platform then cut a

  portion of the bottom, again using the tablesaw to fit over the new plastic flooring I've just installed. This finishes off the compartment with a very nice solid Oak piece of trim board which will make a nice foot rest and also give a lip to help keep item in the compartment when we are moving. I've also installed a surge protector that I brought from home. I plugged the VCR into the surge protector because it needs surge protect too. Looks pretty good, huh. Finish piece is cut to fit over the plastic flooring
  The computer workstation project is finished
August 11, 2006: The computer area has a different plan now. Originally, the plan was for Gwen to use this area with her laptop computer because it easily fits this small area. (You can check the building of this station above.) Gwen did not like this corner of the trailer because she could not see the scenery while working on the computer. Today, I took over this computer area because I like the idea of a compact area to work on my computer. I had delayed moving until today because I did not own a laptop until today. I've succeeded in transferring all my important data to the laptop and have begun to enjoy it's features. I purchased a Dell at the recommendations of the college help-desk folks. It has one of the new Centrino Duo microprocessors with an 80 gig hard drive.
This is a relatively small hard drive however, I intend to use an external hard drive which I had already purchased with a capacity of 250 gig. The only reason a person would need this much storage is for digital photos, music and digital movies or video. I expect to store a great number of photos and may store music but don't currently have much of a music collection. One feature that I got with the new laptop was the ability to run two monitors from the laptop. I already had a nice flat panel monitor which I used with my previous desktop system so I used it with my laptop. I can view email on the laptop while viewing Internet links on the separate monitor. Or I can modify photos on one monitor while inserting the modified photo into a Webpage on the other. I continue to use my desktop keyboard with the laptop (I dislike those little laptop keyboards) and my cordless, Logitech Optical Trackman which I used with my previous system. Finally, one of the big benefits is the size and portability of this system. It easily fits in this small space and I can take it with me to coffee shops or libraries to gain faster upload speeds if needed. So what happened to my working desktop system? Gwen's daughter and grandchildren have been needing a computer system for quit some time, so I've cleaned up the system of the programs they would never use and given it to them.
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