End of 2017 (Recap and plans)

2017 has been a very exciting and different year for us. It was the first time in over 45 years that I have not been gainfully employed. Thankfully, due to CalPERS, we have a consistent income. It took us 4 full months before both the house and trailer were ready. In May we hit the road for 4 straight months, returning back to California for Atlas’ birthday. We turned around and headed to Eureka for over one month. We have been back in Visalia staying next to our son’s rental until hitting the road again in 2018.

A few numbers. 240 nights in the trailer. $15.59 average nightly cost. Just over 10K miles on the trailer. Over 22K on the truck.

While back in Visalia I addressed my rib and tailbone issue. Just over a year ago, after Thanksgiving, I injured my ribs and tailbone from a ladder fall. It was still hurting and not getting better. The doctors tried a few procedures on both. The tailbone and ribs are a bit better but I will still have to wait a bit longer.

Throughout our travels this year we have been having a problem with odor in the trailer after traveling, black tank odor. I tried changing the vent tops in Washington DC. I found that by setting a Fantastic Fan to suck air INTO the trailer when traveling it would create a positive air pressure inside the trailer and we had less smell. This was a clue.

While at our son’s house I let the black tank get a bit more full than normal. I usually dump it, if I can, before it gets half full. By using the tank a longer period it reached a point where ‘material’ started to leak out of the pan that surrounds the black tank on the underside of the trailer. It was pretty gross and stopped after I emptied the tank. We now know where the smell was coming from. I made an appointment to have the trailer fixed and have since dropped it off for repair. Toscano’s (Airstream dealer in Los Banos, CA) came back and said the tank is broken and the pan was full of sewage. Now we get to wait for the repair.

The repair has taken a few interesting turns. We found out that Airstream does not have the tank and their tank vendor does not make the tank anymore. Nor does the vendor have the MOLD for the tank! We will have to pay for creating the mold as our extended warranty does not cover it. Our extended warranty will also only cover a specific number of hours for removal and replacement of the tank and pan. I am not quite sure how good this extended warranty is and it is the most expensive level they had. On the other side of the coin, anything they cover we don’t have to pay.

The latest update is the tank should be delivered to Airstream on 1/23 and then it needs to be shipped to California.

After we get the trailer back we will do a few things that I need to do then get back on the road. We have plans to go to Canada with some friends this summer and take our granddaughter but other than that who knows where we will go? But that is the whole idea about retirement.

Refrigerator issue – Ideas needed!

We have had some ongoing issues with our Domestic RM3962 in our 2012 31’ Classic. The last known time it was working was Christmas time and it worked fine.

We have been getting ready to full-time from Jan to May of this year so the trailer was going through some changes and the refrigerator was not turned on at that time. The trailer was hooked to shore power throughout and I have a Boondocker 4 stage converter/charger so being continually plugged in does not bother me. We have a 50amp shore power connection that I have a 90-degree angle plug and then a 50 to 30amp adapter for the power from the house.

When I was installing the Solar panels and controller we had to remove the refrigerator to gain access to the roof vent. We reinstalled the refrigerator and I turned it on. All parts seemed to be working. This was when it was on the street with a 50-15amp adapter.

Once we were 2 days away from launch I turned on the refrigerator but there was no response. No display, nothing. I checked all the power points on the lower control board and the seemed to be responsive. There is also an upper eyebrow control board but I opted to replace the bottom one. The switches ohmed out just fine.

I replaced the lower control board with no luck. I then ordered the upper control board and had it shipped to my mother’s house where we would be in a few days. We took off without a working refrigerator.

When the upper control board arrived it would not fit. One connector worked fine but the other one was a 4 prong connector but I need an edge connector. No go with that.

I read somewhere that there is a reset switch on the heater flue so I tried that and it seem to be tripped. I disconnected 12v for 30 sec and reattached it. I heard the propane start up (I disconnected the 120v)! The display was flashing 8’s. However it appeared to be working. I put a remote temperature sensor in there and it started dropping.

I let it go for 2 days before it seemed like it was doing OK. We loaded it with groceries and left my mom’s house. I still couldn’t control it at all. The buttons did nothing.

The refrigerator kept items cold for about 2 weeks then the other day it just went dead again. No life, nothing. We moved all our items to the parks’ community refrigerator and contacted a local RV service. They planned on getting there that afternoon, to our trailer which surprised me. The helpful lady on the phone asked me about the voltages I was getting and I told her, via my IPN-Pro, that it was 13.2v. My solar kicks in a .1v below the threshold for my converter so the converter has priority when we hare hooked up. I also read in some troubleshooting that some converters also throw in a bit of AC when charging the DC. New to me but the Dometic refrigerator could not handle more that 6V AC. I ready 0V AC on the DC. But it got me to thinking a bit.

Prior to our trip, I put in a Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C surge protector inline inside and I had heard it click on and off a few times while here. Most importantly if I would turn off the breaker for the converter/charger and then back on it would click (the surge protector). At this RV park, I only had my 30amp setup (90-degree connector and the 50-30). I started to wonder about that.

I got out my 50amp cable, plugged it directly to the trailer and the pedestal. Reset the refrigerator and it came right on! All functionality with buttons and everything. The RV repair guys (3 of them!) showed up shortly after this. I told them all that I had done, they wanted me to keep an eye on it and didn’t even charge us! Great people here in Texas.

It is now 5 days since then and all is good with the refrigerator.

In my pea brain thinking it appears some kind of short or bad connection occurred in the adapters I was using. We had a lot of rain at home and some large amounts here. There was a bit of water that came out from the adapters when I disconnected them! This short/bad connection caused the 120V AC to do odd things to the refrigerator or perhaps the charger/converter was sending bad 12V. Thoughts and ideas are welcome. Anyone with any ideas why some short like that might cause this issue?

I will be decommissioning my twist-lock 50A connectors and getting a SmartPlug setup but for now, we have a working refrigerator again!