Friday, October 7, 2011

A BIG thank you - I think we're back in business

Thank you all so much for your suggestions and comments and e-mails about our heating/electrical/battery issues.   I've taken them to heart and I think the problem is solved.  I've been reading my manuals and searching the forums for the past two days and nights, intermittently starting my engine to get some heat.  I knew that was not a good thing to do, but we were COLD, and that's about all I could do to keep us warm.

I called my son to ask him some battery questions, I didn't want to mess with them, but he said it was safe to just pull off the cover on the cells and check them.  Be careful, don't let any acid splash on me.  I was glad he told me about the cover, I wouldn't have known where the cells were from just looking.  Note to self:  they are under the cover .  Yesterday morning I didn't know what a battery cell was, and now I know how to find them and fill them. Every day a new adventure. :)

Unfortunately that didn't solve my problem, so I wrote the blog post asking for your help.

After reading your comments, I made notes and planned to do something today.  I was happy to see you all thought my batteries were probably okay, that it was possibly the connection to the batteries that was faulty. 

I went through all my manuals again, and the one thing that kept catching my eye was my Battery Disconnect.

I do have one, but have never had a problem with it.  It is either ON or OFF.  Then I thought, Battery ON or OFF or Disconnect ON or OFF?  I think I was misunderstanding what the ON and OFF meant.  It appears to be a double negative type thing.  I thought when it was ON, that meant the Battery Disconnect was ON.

The camp host woman came over this morning to see if I was okay - she probably saw me out in the rain yesterday trying to fill my battery cells. I showed her the Battery Disconnect and asked her if it should be on or off, and she wasn't sure, but she gave me the name and address of an RV sales and service shop down the road.  I was already packed up and ready to go to Walmart to get our heaters, so we went to the RV place first.  The service guy there scratched his head, turned it on then off, muttered something to himself like, "let's see, circuit open... mmmmm mmmm, Okay, it should be ON."  He also said if the Battery Disconnect was off, the battery might work for a short time, which is what it was doing.

So... the ON or OFF pertains to the battery, but I was taking it literally.  If the battery disconnect is on, wouldn't that mean the battery is disconnected?  I think that should be clearer on the switch plate, don't you?  Anyway, apparently I have had the battery disconnected all this time.  I think.  No wonder it didn't work!  Thank goodness it was such an easy fix, although it did take me two cold days to figure it out, with help from my followers.  I'm glad I posted about it, because your comments made me think in a different direction, which finally got me the answer.  I was blaming the batteries.

So again, thank you!!!  You don't know how nice this afternoon is, sitting here in the warmth of The Palms.
Yesterday Katie had on her sweater, her quilted coat and two blankets, and I had on a turtleneck sweater, fleece top, down vest and wool coat, jeans, and two blankets.  And my legs were still not warm.  I'd open a cupboard and cold air would come out at me.  Wow.  Today is so much nicer.

After the RV place, we went to Walmart.  They didn't have any Holmes heaters, in fact the shelves in that section had lots of bare spots so they are really selling heaters right now, but I got two of these heaters:

 Pelonis Space Heater, Walmart, $14.74

They are small and light weight, and have safety features that turn them off if tipped or too hot.  They have a fan option as well as three settings on the right side, 1 - 2-  3, and a Minimum to Maxiumum setting on the left side.  I got two and put one in the kitchen on the first setting on the right, medium setting on the left, and put the other one right before you enter the cab.  Same settings.  So we have heat in the front and the rear of The Palms, and we are really comfortable now.  (Thanks, Andy, for your heater comments, as well as all the troubleshooting tips.)

This fulltiming life is challenging at times, but I have to admit I feel really good when a problem is solved.  Every time something goes wrong, I don't have any choice - I have to find a solution.  And there is always a solution.  Usually I just read my manuals and find the answer there.  If that doesn't work, I check out the forums on-line and the answer is usually there.  If that fails, I blog about it, and you guys usually bail me out.  I guess the last option would be to pay an RV service center to trouble shoot and fix it, but I haven't had to do that yet. 

And now I know that my generator has a full oil tank, because I topped it off when I filled my batteries, my batteries have full cells, all my breakers and fuses are working, and today I also had my propane filled. I have two space heaters - what more could a girl wish for?  LOL.

On another subject, yesterday this bird was walking and flying around my site, and I grabbed the camera and got a photo through the window before he flew away.  Isn't he pretty?  He looks really pretty flying, too.  I don't know what kind of bird he is.  Judy?  I'm sure you recognize him with his distinctive markings. :)

No other photos, it's just too cold and windy outside to spend any time out there.  The weekend is supposed to be warm up a bit, so I'm giong to go on a "photo shoot" this weekend.

From Me and My Dog, have a great Friday evening, everyone!  :)


  1. I'm sure glad someone gave me the heads up that you are blogging away but it is down at the bottom! of my blog roll saying it was five weeks ago. Geez. Now I know what to do and I see that you are warm and toasty, although I will have to keep reading to get a clue where you are now! Good to hear from you.

  2. I'm glad it turned out to be something simple, Barbara!

    I agree about the switch's confusing labeling. If I were you, I'd take a piece of opaque tape and cover the word ""DISCONNECT," so that it just says "BATTERY" and "OFF/ON." That will make it easy to remember what's going on.

    The cheap Pelonis heaters you got look perfect--very similar to my Holmes heaters. I forgot to mention two added advantages of cheap heaters like these, compared to ceramic heaters:

    1. Ceramic heaters quickly clog with dust and pet hair, and must be disassembled and cleaned every few weeks. I've been through this with several different ceramic heaters. It's not fun.

    By contrast, cheap heaters that use coils of heating wire are much less prone to clogging, because the wire is open to airflow, and any dust that lands on it just burns off. In fact, after two seasons with the cheap Holmes heaters, I have yet to see any dust buildup.

    2. Fancy heaters with electronic controls, digital readouts and wireless remotes sound like a swell idea, but all the ones I've seen have a very annoying trait: they forget their settings as soon as power is lost. If you move to another campground, or the shore power glitches for a second, or (most commonly) you or your pet bump the heater sufficiently to trip its safety "tipover switch," it reverts to its default setting--usually 75° F. and high fan speed--and you have to push a bunch of buttons to get it back to where you had it.

    By contrast, cheap heaters with mechanical thermostats remember their settings no matter what happens. :-) High tech is not always better!

  3. Glad it was an easy fix. Those heaters you bought look nice. I have never used the furnace and don't plan to. One of the first purchases I made for the coach was an electric fireplace heater from Camping World. It heats the whole 26 foot camper and gives off a pleasant light that really looks like fire. It can be used with or without heat. Has a built in blower and thermostat. It sells for $99. I love it.

    Not sure if you would have room for it in your coach. I squeezed it into my bedroom. The dimensions are 23"H x 17 1/2"W x 9 3/4"D - 120 volts - 1500 watts - 22 pounds.

    Wishing you and Katie a warm and toasty good night.

  4. I got that electric mattress pad too! and LOVED it, kept me so warm on many ocassions and did not have to heat the whole rv all night long to stay warm. It was too bad did not 'discover' it until Port Arthur, Texas!!

  5. I agree with Andy's comments about the cheaper heaters. They work just great. If your water tank, water lines, etc., are below your RV in a heated compartment that is ducted, you may need to run your furnace occasionally if it gets below freezing just to keep things from freezing. If the lines and tank are inside cupboards and it gets really cold, you might need to open cupboard doors when it is freezing. OR you could just get out of dodge and go where it is warmer. lol Glad it was such an easy fix.

  6. Oh Duh, I didn't even think of the battery disconnect thing! Sometimes it's the most simple of things we over look.

    You've been learning so much about your rig - but that's what it takes. Trial & error add up to experience!
    That bird is cool, I've never seen one of those.

    Also maybe you should pick up an electric blanket to warm your bed up with? I know my overhead bed gets cold in the winter! I think the blanket stays on for 20 mins or so, then shuts off which at that point, you are warm & comfy anyhow.

  7. Learned some more good stuff from Andy. So happy to hear you're warm and toasty now.

    I've heard others rave about electric mattress heaters and electric blankets in their RV's. Might not be a bad idea.

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