Thursday, April 17, 2008

Camper Repair

Not our RV but rather the younger son's 19 foot Rockwood. Seems that the last time they were out, there was a big storm and the lightening was in the electrical system at the state park. Something was fried and the battery has never worked since.

He returned the battery because it was bad last fall, but the folks said it was OK! But they refunded it just the same. So today we bought a new Interstate Deep Cycle RV-Marine battery to reinstall. Trouble was it still didn't make the stuff in the rig power up. If you plugged into the AC with the shore power cord, all was well and everything seemed to run fine.

So we disassembled the inverter. Took the whole thing off the wall and traced the wiring back down through the floor and underneath the rig, back to the tongue where the battery is in its box. Everything seemed intact.

Time for the meter! The inverter was providing 14 Volts to the main fuse board, but switching it off proved that there was no battery voltage. The red wire went out of the back of the inverter and into a wire loom, and then trough the floor. Underneath it ran to a 4 inch square metal wiring box with a screw lid on it and came out the other side. From there it went through a fusing device with two posts on it with hex nuts holding wire terminals.

I finally found battery voltage on the wire that went directly to the battery. But no where else. So I suspected the circuit breaker fuse. Disconnecting the battery and measuring continuity through the breaker proved it to be making contact. Humm!

I took the lid off the electrical box along the frame rail and found an extremely large wire nut with four wires in it. Wire nuts on 12 Volt circuits?

To make a long story shorter, I reconnected the wire nut after cleaning the wires and wrapping them around each other. Then reinstalling the scotch lock style nut. I carefully re taped the entire joint and replaced the cover. But this box is not water tight and the water from the road splashes directly on it.

I also took the circuit breaker off and banged it on the vise in the garage. Then I hooked it up to a battery pack and ran a ham radio with it. The transmitter pulls about 15 amps and it held in there just fine.

After putting the whole thing back together, everything works. So who knows which connection was bad? Or is it the automatic circuit breaker, that was reset as I whacked it on the steel vise. Better go see if we can find another replacement sometime soon. I spent the next hour trying to draw too much current through the system in order to cause another failure. It worked like new.

Now all of that is to set the stage for the family going on its first spring outing this weekend. To Longview Lake, on the South East side of Kansas City. It is between the towns of Grandview and Lee's Summit. Not really even out of town. But it will be fine for checking things out and getting the cobwebs out of rigs that have been stored all winter.

Of course ours has been stored for about seven weeks since we got back from Texas, but watch, we'll be the one with something broken!

So tomorrow we go get set up on this camp ground. I'll fill in the details as I learn about them.

Oh and we have the big Ham radio Hamfest in the Shriner's temple on Saturday morning. But the campground is closer to the location than here at home. Just have to get up early!

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