Mere minutes had passed since our last post on June 2, when at the door a knock was heard. Not a strange one, but one we knew all too well; Murphy was back! Why he has to show up and rain on our parade when we have plans is frustrating, to say the least. CC was in the process of preparing a gourmet meal of frozen pizza, when the lights went out….BAM! I’m thinking either power outage of blown main circuit breaker. The neighbors had power and our breaker was not tripped. Hmmmm……………
We also had no DC power, and the voltmeter indicated 10.5V, which had shut down the inverter due to low voltage. Hmmmm……….A check of all circuit breakers on the rig showed no signs of tripping. Hmmmm……….All I’m trying to do now is to quickly find the problem, get it solved, so CC can continue baking our dinner, as it is now approaching 7 pm. Ah…..start the generator and that will power the oven…..NOT! Double Hmmmm……….No power, AC or DC anyplace in the rig. AH!!! Start the engine and let the alternator quickly charge the batteries, but there was barely enough juice left in the chassis battery to turn over the diesel. Finally it started, but running the inverter to power the oven wasn’t going to happen. I’m getting hungry, and I tend to not think very straight when my blood sugar drops. GET THE PIZZA COOKED!!!!!!
So, I grab an extension cord from the basement; plug it into the 110V 20A outlet on the shore power pole and the other end directly into the oven cord, thus by passing the outlet. HALLEUIJAH!!!! Now we look like the Beverly Hillbillies with an extension cord running out the front door. At this point who cares? CC finally is able to finish baking the pizza, which by this time doesn’t look very good, but at this point I am hungry enough to eat a shoe.
Now that my blood sugar levels have returned to normal, I can think more logically. But what the hell is going on; I am definitely perplexed. It is now close to 8:30 pm on Sunday night, so calling ANYONE, anywhere in customer service is not an option. I am quickly running out of options. AHH!........Get on the internet you idiot! Right, I’m on it. Now close to 10:30 pm, and I’m no where closer to finding the problem than I was when Murphy first reared his ugly red head; he has really outdone himself this time.
Luckily for us the weather is cool enough that we don’t need the air conditioners to sleep, and my thinking, at this point, is maybe if I sleep on it, a solution to the problem will present itself. Hell, I’d be grateful to just isolate the problem, and then work on a solution to resolve it. CC reminded me of one of my favorite sayings, “Problems don’t exist, but situations that need to be corrected do.” OK Houston, we have a situation.
The following morning, I was up early, again searching the internet for troubleshooting the situation. I sent an e-mail to the engineers at Winnebago, and upon sending it immediately got a reply e-mail notifying me that they would respond within 48 hours. Well isn’t that just great. So I try calling them, and get some rookie in customer service that spends the first 20 minutes telling me to check what I have already checked, as she is obviously just reading off a checklist. I once again tried to explain my problem, but she was more interested in completing her checklist. OK, we’ll do it her way. By now 45 minutes into our call, we have completed her checklist, she informs me she will pass along my information to their engineering department, as she hasn’t a clue what might be causing me to have a “situation”.
One thing I’m sure of, the four 12V coach batteries are drained. They are the originals, and they are four years old, so I make the decision to replace them. I called a local NAPA and ordered replacement Group 31 AGM’s with a capacity of 200 amp hours each, as the originals were wet cells with 150ah. The local NAPA didn’t have them in stock, so they will have them shipped down from their Indianapolis warehouse. So far Murphy’s visit has cost me ten Benjamins, and I still haven’t isolated the “situation”.
OK, the microwave oven worked when plugged into an extension cord, would that possibly “fix” the refrigerator as well? Only one way to find out. VOILA!!! Houston we may have come one step closer to a solution.
What we have so far, no AC power coming to the AC outlets in the rig from our 50 amp shore power cord. The only way the microwave/oven will operate is though the inverter, thus draining our coach batteries, AND the charger on the inverter is not charging the batteries. When the Winnebago engineers designed this rig, they put a 120VAC sub-panel in the breaker box, and there are three breakers; (1) Receptacles, (2) Microwave, (3) Refrigerator. Hold on Houston, we’re getting close!
Next verify from the Dimensions Inverter Manual what might be happening. By cracky, I think we may have isolated the “situation”. I send an e-mail to Dimensions, outlining my predicament, and within two hours they reaffirm my evaluation; the external AC relay/switch on the inverter has malfunctioned. Their only solution, return the inverter to them in St. Paul, and they will repair and return it within two weeks. Gee, thanks Murphy, another six Benjamins.
Oh, what about that return call or e-mail from the Winnebago engineers you asked? E-mail actually, and I did get one, with a .pdf attachment. Of what you asked? The wiring diagram of our rig. And yes, I did have a few expletives to describe what I thought of them. Other owners of Class A’s tell me Winnebago is one of the best. I must admit, they are; at passing the buck!!!
So, here in Georgetown, KY, just north of Lexington we live, at Whispering Hills RV Park; waiting for our inverter to be returned, hopefully by week’s end, but most likely the next. While we wait, CC and I will once again, be on our quest to conquer “The Bourbon Trail”.
Until next time, take care and stay well.......................