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May 14, 2014 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Enter your password to view comments.

Re-commitment to CARE

I received a call from CARE facility in Livingston, TX  today. It was just a “are you still interested” in volunteering type of call. I had them pencil me in for the month May.

Now to find a short local shakedown trip to test the road worthiness and habitation worthiness of Barth. The only remaining maintenance item is new sneakers for Barth.

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Status update

Moho air conditioner repairs – appear to work. Saved a bundle of $$$ and problems by doing the repairs myself. The real issue was that if I could not repair it myself, it could not be repaired as a replacement unit that would fit original location is no longer available.

A new inverter/charger has been installed. The replacement unit was not a direct dropin, but I managed to get a unit installed nonetheless. $$ and time. I also upgraded to a true sine wave inverter from the old modified sine wave version.

New engine batteries will be installed tomorrow by me after a delay caused by nondescript abdomen pains. This setback has mostly subsided. Suspecting an ulcer, I have switched back to Oxycontin for pain relief to avoid ulcer inducing NSAIDs.

I am currently thinking about a short local journey into New Mexico in March to test systems, and to see how I stand with the Dog that has not been RV initiated yet.

The next issues that I encounter is a round of six tires for about $3500 and possibly a set of eight AGM deep cycle batteries for the solar panels at a cost of about $1600. A trip test will be required to determine the need for the house batteries.

So here I sit, in a house with barred windows, behind a chain link fence, with a nervous dog that seems to think that there is something outside. Maybe I am contemplating the wrong things at the moment.

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Trip prep #1, Plan B

I had to bite the bullet and acknowledge to the CARE facility in Livingston, TX where I was going to volunteer for the Month of March, that I could not make it because of a power outage in the motorhome. By the time I get the replacement parts shipped to me and get it installed, along with other necessary repairs I possibly could not have met the date.  I simply had too much pressure to accomplish the impossible. The inverter problem popped up unexpectedly, adding more load than I could deal with by March 1, including the 4 day minimum driving time. I was expecting to use one to two weeks getting there to allow easy driving each day and to stop at Escapee Parks that I have never visited.

There is about a 50/50 split in the cause of the inverter problem. First is a end of life inverter that did not survive a modest overload that it should have been able to handle. The second is that my overlooking possible GFCI trip that lead me on a wild goose chase of troubleshooting, blowing the inverter by fumbling test equipment. I will never know it it was the latter, my error, or not.

The good news is that a welding shop which I checked out today can probably provide a solution for some sticky4/0 cable (read: male thumb diameter) extension issues.

Only after the repairs including the incomplete air conditioner are all completed and I am ready to roll, I will recontact CARE to try for a new volunteer date. This may result in being in TX in the hot weather.

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Trip prep #1, Plan A

In my trip prep hopefully near Feb 20, preparation time is getting tight. A suspected bad charger/inverter is unresolved. A new ‘maverick’ control board for the basement a/c has been installed but as yet untested. Ditto for a new thermostat for the new a/c control board. The control board and thermostat are Coleman items that have been rigged to operate existing non-Coleman ac ‘hardware’, i.e. compressor, capacitors, thermal overload and blowers. When Coleman support found out what I am doing, they ceased returning my email queries.

In order to facilitate troubleshooting I previously install a ground disconnect on my 800 AHr battery bank to assist. It should have been there all along. It was harder to retrofit than to have installed it when the battery bank was assembled. And an assembly job it was, cramming eight batteries into a bay designed for four batteries.

I have been thinking 6 hours and probing 2 hours for the last 3 or 4 days on the inverter/charger problem. Today I thought I would try some work to be sure that the inverter/charger is bad. Not as easy as one may think, or maybe I should say as I thought. A through understanding has to be made because it is imprudent to connect a $1200 inverter/charger into a faulty wiring problem just to see it blow up. I may miss something, but I must try. Call this Plan A. There were previously smaller scope plans, but this one was aggressive.

I was juggling disconnected wires, alligator clips, voltmeter, and a blower plug (as a load) and accidentally shorted the ac pass thru output. Huge sparks showered everywhere from the short inches from my hand. Then after I dropped the ‘mess’, lesser sparks shot from the inverter/charger.. Ok, and I thought there was no ac passthru! I guess it is (was) working

[The inverter/charger has 2 modes. 1. if moho is plugged into ac, the charger is connected to the batteries and all ac plugs connected to the incoming ac. 2. If there is no external ac, the charger is disconnected and the inverter draws power from the batteries to create ac and supply it to a few selected outlets, but not all as it has limited power capability.]

I decided it was time to take a break! More coffee!

When I came into the house to check the difference between the terms ac neutral and ac ground, I found my Vz 4G “hotspot” data modem offline. I had to remove the battery and reset. Apparently the spark shower put enough electrical energy in the router to cause an error in the modem. It is now online again, thankfully.

Now I have to go back and develop a Plan B Test. There is a possibility that if the inverter/charger might have been good, it may now be bad, though it is supposed to survive overloads. But a Leonid meteor shower, not sure.

I am too old for this stuff.

Now I have to go back and develop a Plan B Test. There is a possibility that if the inverter/charger might have been good, it may now be bad, though it is supposed to survive overloads. But a Leonid meteor shower, not sure.

I am too old for this stuff.

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