Sunday, March 4, 2012

There goes the TV!

Today was a gorgeous day in Quartzsite.  Warm, no wind, a beautiful evening.  I even sat outside and read for a while this afternoon, and walked over to the Dingbat campfire to visit this evening.  It was just perfect.  

Campfire at Dusk

My campsite is right in the middle of a pretty plain area, with no special bushes or trees to attract birds or critters, but - unlike my last, really nice site where I didn't get TV signals, this site had pretty good reception. I got the three main channels and a few others, too, so I decided I'd stay here.
The Palms - near the campfire.  See the wood on the right?

Unfortunately, last night I lost my TV (see below), so when Katie and I took our walk this afternoon, we walked all over the area, looking for a better, prettier site.  I'm going to move sometime this week, but I'll stay in this general area because I'm enjoying the companionship of the Dingbats and want to be fairly close to where they are all camped. 

This little area is where "Santa" was camped in December-remember that photo?  He has left and his camp site is vacant.  This area has little trees, is right off the road, and near the dumpsters - but not too near.  An easy walk.  Nice, level spots.  Lots of places for birds and critters to hide and eat the seed I'll put out.

 An easy walk over to the Dingbats social hour or campfire, or just to visit.

I think when I drive into town tomorrow to Discount Solar, I'll take this spot if it's still vacant when I return.

If you're tired of my generator/electrical issues, stop reading now - otherwise:

The ongoing saga...  I really wish repairmen would do their jobs 100%.  The 98%ers are killing me!  And I'm not accepting work done by anyone but the very experienced techs anymore.  Tech errors are costing me MONEY, time and aggravation.

So, the other day a man was riding his bike through the area when I was out walking Katie, and he stopped to talk.  Somehow we got onto the subject of my electrical problems, and he asked if he could check out my system.  That was David, and he didn't have any solutions for me.   I still planned to go to Blythe Monday morning to have things checked out.

Then yesterday morning David was back with Roger, who is camped near him.   Roger is an electrical engineer, and said he'd like to check out my system.  He went over everything carefully and found that the three fuses in my converter were bad.  One was blown, and the other two had black wires, instead of the original silver.  We went into town and bought some fuses and he installed them, and that seems to have taken care of the problem with the generator not charging the batteries - the converter wasn't doing it's job with the blown fuses. 

Things were working fine, until last night when I smelled an electrical fire odor.  I looked up and there was smoke coming out of both sides of my TV.  

I jumped up, unplugged it, got my fire extinguisher ready, unhooked all the wires attached to the RV (my Wii was set up to work through the TV), got a screw driver and unscrewed it from the mount and put it outside, away from The Palms.  That was scary.  :(

Soooo, this morning Roger drives over to see if everything is working okay, and I told him the generator/converter is charging the batteries, and that looks okay, but... and told him about the TV.  He went back to his rig and came back with more testing equipment and he tested all my outlets, and he found the AC outlets all work fine, but in checking the outlets that work with my inverter, he found they weren't grounded.  He doubled checked the inverter, and there was no ground wire.   He suggested taking The Palms into town to Discount Solar and see what they'd charge to put the ground on.  Probably an easy task, but getting the inverter out may take some labor time.  So, I'll check that out tomorrow.

I was relieved that all the outlets tested fine, and he checked out again how things were connected and wired and everything looked okay.  Roger looked at the TV and said the lack of a ground to that outlet wouldn't have affected the TV so that's not what caused the problem.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the TV was bad?  Some component in the TV shorted and started burning? Why would it do that?  Could the voltage surges I've been having burned out the TV?

Roger did a little research on-line last night, and brought over a page he printed out about my converter, which he said is a really good one.  It said the ONLY way the fuses would blow is if the battery or DC output leads were connected in reverse, even for a moment.  When my new golf cart batteries were installed, the tech DID install them wrong. The owner installed the new converter, and had a tech install the batteries.  When he checked the system and it wasn't working, he went outside to check the batteries, and saw they were connected the same way 12 volt batteries are connected - which is wrong, and he corrected it.  He told me the tech had never put 6V batteries in, and didn't know they weren't connected like 12V batteries. That short time they were connected wrong must have been what caused the fuse to blow, and I'm hoping that replacing the fuses solves this ongoing generator/battery charging problem.

Sorry if you guys are getting bored with all these electrical issues, I KNOW I AM.  But I want the documentation, even if my memory or interpretation of the facts might be a bit off.

After Roger left, I had a discussion with Hazel, my neighbor.  I guess my take-away is that sometimes it takes a while to get your rig, especially if it's a used RV,  exactly the way you want it, with everything working.  I could have bought a new one, well, I wouldn't have paid the price, but I could have. There still would have been issues, probably covered under warranty, but I still would have the bother.  By buying a used rig, I spent a lot less on it, and the trade off is that things aren't under warranty and I have to pay to have repairs done. 

So, I've blown a GFI in the bathroom, burned out a TV in the front of the rig, and replaced blown fuses in the converter.   I'm hoping those are separate issues that have been taken care of and not all part of an electrical problem that hasn't been found yet.  I guess only time will tell, but I've sure got my fingers crossed.

 My Pillow Pup
Last night's sunset was a beautiful orange.

That's it for today - from Katie and me!  :)


  1. As one of your long time readers I appreciate your technical blogs as i am learning from you and a few other's so when i do finally hit the road i am as prepared as can be,hopefully.I always enjoy reading your blog.

  2. Well Katie doesn't seem to be phased by no TV! LOL I love the sunset pic. I enjoy all your comments on the electric problems, it gives me something to look forward to! LOL It sure was nice to have someone around that could check things out for you. Hope all goes well in town.

  3. I agree by sharing Tech issues your helping someone else. As usual your pictures are beautiful as is your little pup Katie. And yes that one floppy ear still kills me.

  4. Love the "pillow pup"! My inverter went on fire a couple of months ago.

    Electrical stuff scares me mostly because I don't understand it. Hard as I try, I just can't grasp the ins and outs of it.

    Glad you found your problem. Don't fool yourself, brand new expensive rigs can have some big problems. Ask me.

  5. I enjoyed the memories of Quartzsite. I think only RVers who have been there really appreciate the wide open spaces, little brush and activity. Thanks for the look back.

    The tech issues get all of us. We have had several supposedly RV repair individuals and companies work on things that we've had to have redone over and over. It's money out the door and we get tired of it too. The problem is when you're RVing you can't take it back to them to do it right so you pay someone else to do it again.

    Even though some folks don't like Camping World we do for that reason. If they don't fix something right in Portland, we can have them redo it in Mesa or wherever without an additional bill.

    Hopefully, we'll see you next year someplace around "Q" again.

  6. Ah yes, don't you just love all those little technical problems? I try to tell myself that it keeps life interesting. :)

  7. I am so glad you are back to 'ordinary' problems that can be fixed with fuses and tools and such. I think that is much better than trips to the medicos. I always enjoy your writings.

  8. It seems to me that people who buy new rigs have the same problems. A lot of the workers in factories have no more knowledge of electrical systems than you or I, and quality control leaves a lot to be desired. I'd rather have a gently used RV any day, and hope some of the problems have been discovered and corrected.

  9. my goodness you are really having a time of it!..sorry to hear about your TV..hope you get the issues solved soon!

  10. I hope your electrical issues are solved too. You're supposed to be enjoying life, not be frustrated by problems. I have to ask...was your TV a Sony Bravia? I've read that they can have some electrical kicking out some smoke.

  11. Sorry to hear about your technical problems. That smoke coming from the TV would have scared me, too. Hope all gets resolved soon.

  12. Didn't you know? The smoke is what makes the TV work. If you let the smoke out, it's done.

  13. Katie has that 'poor mom' look. Can just imagine how frustrated you a car that's just not right and no one can seem to figure it out. but this is where you live so makes it even worse.
    Good luck getting it all straightened out.

  14. Hope you can get those electrical problems fixed once and for all. Good to hear that your around a good group of people, makes being there that much more fun.

  15. We're playing with the idea of going through Quartzsite on our way back to C.C.California. Maybe we'll bump into one another!

  16. Fire is the one thing I worry about. I can't imagine how scary that must have been! I learn so much from you Barbara. Thanks for sharing all that you do. It really does help. Sorry you had to go through it tho. Maybe that's the last of it for awhile. Fingers and toes crossed for you.

  17. WOW, That smoke from the TV would have scared the crap outta me for sure !!

    So glad to know though that you are back in Q 'cause I know how much you love it there. Wish I were there too !!


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