Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The continuing saga... new converter and batteries

The other night my CO2 alarm went off, and it wouldn't stop until I had both large windows open for a while.  I haven't had a problem since.

I woke up this morning, and had absolutely no power, even though the wall unit said there was still 1/3 power in the house batteries, which was normal, but I got nothing.  Well I did get something when I tried to turn on the water pump and a light - a high pitched, continuous screeching beep.  That was a new sound! :( 

So...   I packed up The Palms, and left the campground.  On the way out I asked the ranger at the ranger station if he knew of any RV repair places in the area.  He gave me two business cards, one really close, but he mainly did emergency repairs, and the other was back in the town of Hurricane and is a full repair shop which hopefully would have parts, if needed.  It's called Main Street RV and Marine.  I called and they said they could see me today, so I went down.  I stopped and filled the gas tank and headed down the hill to Hurricane. 

Here's the power center - with the black cover - the converter is under the drawer on the bottom right.

The owner came out to diagnose the problem, and he seemed to know what he was doing.  He thought it was probably a bad breaker, and seemed surprised when they were all okay.

 Power Center

Then he checked my converter and it was dead.

Old converter - D.O.A.  :(

He said the batteries weren't getting charged except when I drove the truck or started the engine.  In fact, when he pulled out the drawer over the old converter, he said, "Wow, do you smell that?"  It was like a burnt match - brimstone.  That might be what set off the CO2 alarm.  And it might have eventually caused a fire? 

I haven't been able to turn on any of the lights in the coach and have been using a small LED Coleman lantern - hard on the eyes, and it didn't give out much real light.  Not so cozy.  :(   So I was really glad he found something that could be fixed or replaced.  The new Converter is bigger than the old one.  The old one is a 45 amp and the new one is an 80 amp.

New Converter - My Hero!

He said I shouldn't have any issues now.  Also, I'll be able to dry camp much easier, but he did recommend that if I'm going to do a lot of boon docking, I should still get some solar.  That is still my plan when I'm in Arizona.

And while he was at it, I had him pull the two new 12V batteries I bought in August and install two new 6V deep cycle batteries.  He gave me a price break on the new ones and kept the old ones.  So now I have better batteries and a new, bigger converter that works.  

I knew the 6V batteries had to be wired in "series," and the 12V batteries were wired in "parallel."  When the owner turned on the system, it didn't work, and he went outside to check the batteries. The technician who was installing the batteries hooked them up wrong.  The owner explained to him that they had to be wired in series because they were 6V and showed him.  Thank goodness he caught that before I left.  When I need new batteries, I'll make sure to mention it, you never know.

I'm sorry I didn't get their names, but Main Street RV and Marine is a husband and wife run business, with the wife in the office and the husband and his crew running the shop part.  

They were both very nice and they had two large dogs there, one was a black Great Dane, a beautiful, sweet girl, and the other was an older black dog with a grey muzzle and white feet.  The dogs kept coming over to say hi, and were very curious about Katie.  The older one tried to come home with us. 

 Here's another shot - this looks like a really nice converter!  :)

I'd recommend this repair shop if anyone is ever in the area of Zion and needs RV help.

When I turned on the lights over the dinette tonight, I almost had to put on sunglasses!  I didn't realize how dim the lights have been in The Palms, but they are sure brighter now.
I took photo this on the way down to Hurricane - so interesting.

I love all the different shapes of these hills and mountains.  The one above looks like something out of Egypt.

 Pedestrian entrance to the park.

 Sunset the other night
Moon rising over the mountains last night from the campground.

Well, it's been more than four hours and the lights are still bright - YES!  And I still have full batteries according to the wall display.  That's a first.  I'm usually very optimistic, but I have to admit this issue has had me a bit worried.  I'm soooo hoping this is the end of it.  Keep your fingers crossed.

From Me and My Dog, have a great Tuesday night, everyone!  :)


  1. You have more patience than I do. Good gravy. Let's hope this is REALLY the last of it!

  2. I was afraid awhile back that it was your converter, but that was when you misunderstood the battery shut off. So I'm glad you finally resolved the issue. I put a new converter in my RV today too! Bought it about a month ago, but it had a screw so tight that I could not get it loose, so a friend finally loosened it for me so I could install the converter. I know what you mean about bright lights!!! My converter has been bad for years, but I always thought I was just getting bad batteries, till I had to buy yet, another battery in 3 years! Last one only lasting 8 months. Then PPL told me I probably had a bad converter. I got the same brand as you did, except I got the 9100 series with the inteli wizard (yours has one built into it). My RV only runs off of one battery. Now I have nice bright lights too!! I just thought 12 volt lights were just probably duller..little did I know!
    The C02 alarm goes off when batteries get low. My fridge constantly flashed low DC at me when I'd turn on a 12 volt light, which was a huge clue. But I've also had the alarm go off too. Did it the other day in fact.

  3. You made a wise choice with that Intellipower 9200, when you do get solar it will put the juice back in the batteries quick, and it comes with the Charge wizard which keeps your batteries from boiling the water off. I had one in my old fiver, and when the converter goes in the new one I'll buy another one. The 6 volts will give you a little more capacity but with just two batteries it is much more than two group 27 12 volts,However if you add two more when you do the solar route 4 will give you and awesome capacity for just you & Katie.Glad to see you headed in the right direction as far as power management. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. I'm so glad you finally got that figured out. Would this have been something covered under your warranty?

    The pictures today are beautiful. What a gorgeous area.

    Enjoy the light!

  5. Glad to see you got that problem fixed. Lovely photos. keep having fun!

  6. Patience pays off - glad you have gotten your problem fixed. The photos are terrific. Life is good again.

  7. I know it takes me a bit to feel comfortable again after having problems. Hope this is the end of troubles for you.

  8. Glad to hear you got your problem solved fairly easily!....now onto enjoy the light show!!

  9. So wonderful to find good repair service and to get everything all taken care of before any fires or other more serious issues. Now hopefully, you can relax and enjoy boondocking in the desert.

  10. Barbara, those are beautiful pictures...the new camera is working great! We so admire you for the way you move out into the unknown, and tackle problems head on, and get them solved! You are a real inspiration. So glad we got to know you a little better before you had to hit the road from Eugene. Give Katie a hug from both of us. She is one of our favorite furry kids!

  11. Let there be light!! Glad you got the problem solved.

    I am just salivating over those pictures. I have wanted to visit Utah for years...maybe 2012 will be the year.

  12. Thanks for sharing your experiences so clearly. Your conversational style of writing and good balance of content (information, photos, and personal sharing) has made following your adventure a delight.

    Not only am I getting vicarious travel, but also an education in the day-to-day issues in living on the road. Thank you so much!

  13. I love it when people get good service from a company! I wish I was one of them but perhaps this week will be it! I'm glad they solved your problem and you switched to dual 6 volt batteries.

    Hopefully the repair is long term!


  14. You are in one of my favorite places in the world, Southern Utah magnificence! So glad you are doing it with problem solved and some LIGHT! yes!! I too admire your chutzpah...getting it all figured out on your own. You go Girl!!

  15. HMMM. I feel like the lighting in the Alfa is rather dim. We are going to have everything checked over in January when we go to the Alfateers repair center. I guess I'll ask about the lights as well.


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