Technical Projects Oct 04 - Dec 04
READ THIS FIRST!
Disclaimer: The stories you read here are what I did personally. You should not assume that you can, or should, do anything that I've done. Don't assume they are safe, and don't assume they will work for you. Do more research, and make your own choices. I will not be responsible for your outcomes! :-)
Over the last 2 months we've boondocked several days while hiding from hurricanes and traveling to and from Mississippi. We have the standard Wingard crank-up antenna, and have tried to watch TV on it several times. We'd crank it up, find the channel with best reception, and then turn the antenna to tune it in. Often turning the antenna had no positive effect on the picture. In fact, we sometimes got a better picture with the antenna cranked down against the roof than with it extended! Sometimes, even inside a metro area, we could not get a single clear channel. So, we concluded that there was something wrong with the antenna and we may as well get rid of it.
Today, I was thinking about doing the roof coat sealing, and thought that I may as well take the antenna off and patch the hole it leaves behind. I got out the owners and installation manual and started reading to learn how to disassemble it. I decided to give it one last try before removing it, and to check each of it's connections from the TV all the way to the roof. What did I discover? Our antenna has an amplifier, and it's hidden in the overhead compartment behind the VHS/DVD player. I read through the owners manual so I could verify how it is hooked up, then I turned it on. Red LED glowed bright, and the TV screen changed from mostly snow to a clear picture! Now we have local TV coverage YEAAAA!
Read about our project: Refurbishing the Rubber Roof
Our rubber roof was in bad shape. We looked at various options and it was going to cost a lot of money to have it replaced. So we found a more economical way. Click the link above to read about it.
Read about our project: Solar Power Project
Planning to boondock as much as possible, we needed solar power. This is the story of our planning and installation of a solar charging system.
Honey, Does This Washer Work?
We have a Bendix all-in-one washer/dryer unit, similar to a Splindide, but a less popular brand.. No, for you non-RVers it's not like an apartment unit that has the dryer above and washer below. This is what's called a "condensing dryer" and the clothes dry in the same tub where they were washed. Apparently it's popular in Europe.
Well, short story on this one because I still need to learn a lot about this washer. Today Chris asked me why don't we try it out, and we did. After an initial leak from the filter, which we re-seated, it seemed to wash OK. However, there were a couple of issues. A previous owner had removed the hot water supply -- not just disconnected it, but removed the valve from the supply line and capped it off. Why was it capped off? Had there been a leak in the hot side within the washer? No way to tell, and I'm not sure if I want to hook it up again and find out... or maybe I do. We'll have to see.
This technical issue actually came up several weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to writing it down.
We have hydraulic jacks to stabilize and level the coach when parked. We were traveling, and one morning as we prepared to leave I was retracting the jacks and the warning light stayed on indicating that the jacks were still down. I thought, Uhh-oh, that's not good, so I walked outside and saw that they were in fact up, not down. I tried several times running them up and down and the light wouldn't go off. That wouldn't have been so bad, but if you try to drive away with the light on you get a buzzer, like the seatbelt buzzer only it never stops! I finally unscrewed the control panel, and disconnected power to the jacks so we could drive away.
This kept happening for a week, and I imagined there was some sensor malfunctioning and I'd have to find and replace it. One day I finally pulled out the owners manual for the jacks and saw that it had a troubleshooting section. I read through the symptoms and came to "jacks are down light will not go out" and the likely problem was "fluid level low"! You see, a sensor in the fluid tank is exposed when fluid is pumped out to raise the coach. This is what causes the warning light to be lit. If your fluid is too low the sensor thinks the jacks are up! So the fix was to add fluid. That's easy right? Well, somewhat easy.
First we had to get the correct fluid. The owners manual called for "Type A" automatic transmission fluid. I vaguely remembered Type A from automotive mechanics class in high school, so I did a google search. Type A is now known as "Dexron" (and has been since the 60's. I'm surprised a owners manual written in 1995 still referred to it as Type A. So, we picked up some fluid, now just pour it in, right? Well, first you have to find the fluid tank. We traced out hydraulic lines and finally found the tank and pump assembly mounted on the passenger side in the front wheel well behind the mudblap. Took out the plug/dipstick, and sure enough it was low. Poured a little over a pint of fluid in (and nearly a half cup on my arm and on the ground), caped it off, and bingo, problem solved.
Moral of this story? Keep those owners manuals! Also, if you are looking at a used coach to purchase ask if the owners manuals are still around.
Wow, 2004 is gone and so many things left to do, and to write! I'll catch up in January, I promise! :-)
In December I purchased a new inverter (1500 Watt pure sine wave). Also purchased new batteries and started the project of installing it all.
it's hard to believe that in just two months we've experienced so many issues and done so many projects!