This blog is posted when we travel overseas taking a break from our Fulltime RV Life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

There are days, and then there are days

Yes, it's what it looks like. This is definitely not good. Think of the car along the road, the hood up and some poor unfortunate person peering under that hood, as if looking at it could solve what ever the problem is. One thing for sure, our refrigerator wasn't working, but then again, that was nothing new.

Backing up a bit, she who sleeps past dawn was heard to be moving about in the back, I ground her coffee beans and started to brew a pot. Thinking good thoughts, I proceeded to begin fixing breakfast only to brought up short when I opened the refrigerator to find it dark inside. A glance at the controls confirmed it was once again not working, a not so surprising event given the way it has performed the past few months, but still it was, shall I say, disconcerting.

Eager to share the news with her royal highness, I opened the sliding door and approaching her as she perch on the throne, blurted out, "The frig isn't working again." I have no recollection of what she said in response, or of the next few minutes for that matter, as she calmly proceeded to put her herself together. Having been down this road more times than we would like to admit, her first step was to open the door and let more cold air out of the frig. Guess it was a case of seeing is believing, because she was shortly telling me that I was right, it wasn't working because the green light on the panel as well as the inside light was out. Like I say, I married a very smart woman.

The next step was to head outside and check to see if the red light on the safety module was on, hoping it was like bad and we could bypass it and get the frig back up and running. While it may appear the red light is on, it most definitely wasn't, indicating we were facing a far more serious problem, or at least it was something readily apparent.

Here we were, once again pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which is where we like to be unless things like this happen. We had several options, we could head east to Las Cruces, or west to Tucson. The other option was to see if we could diagnose and fix it ourselves.

First things first, and having been down this road before, that meant testing for power. After confirming we had 12 volts going into the module, it was off to the Internet, where everything was pointing to a problem with the control board in one way or another, whether the board or one of the two fuses on it. There I stand, looking at the mass of wires, etc. in that tiny opening while thinking that I really don't want to drive all those miles to get it fixed.

That was when Linda piped up with, "Why don't you call Murphy?" She was right, I knew none of this was his doing, after all he'd just installed the safety module, but he had said we should call him if we had any problems. A brief conversation, and I was testing the DC voltage at the blue wire coming out of the module, and then the AC at its outlet.

Both were good, and I called back, hearing that the problem was either a fuse or the control board itself. I listened as Murphy explained that there would probably be three screws to remove, before I could pull off the cover of the control board to be able to check the fuses. He mentioned disconnecting the various wires, and the fact the igniter wire, the orange one on the right side as he pointed out, should be pulled off very carefully as the terminal extended far out from the board and pulling on it wrong could rip it off the control board. Then the call was over and we were on our own.

Some things are easier said than done, and this was definitely one of them. The heck with seeing the three screws which were nowhere in sight, it was hard to even see the cover itself, which is black, rectangular in shape, and has a white label on it. It's what has the white line drawn around it.

This was really not looking like something I could do, but by reaching in, moving wires, etc. to the side, I was finally able to located the three screws, all of which seemed to be in non-accessible locations. At least I could give it a try, and eventually I was able to loosen the most readily accessible screw a few turns. The problem was, the temperature was 34, my fingers were so cold I cold barely feel the tools, and there was no way I could get the socket on the other two screw heads.

With that I gave up, telling Linda we were going to have to take it into the shop, and I was going inside to get warm. I don't know what happened, but as Linda told me, as I got to the front of the coach, I stopped and said, "The RV techs have to be able to take the cover off." Then I turned around and headed back. As I got up on the stool, Linda said, "I'm your helper." There was no longer any doubt about getting that hidden cover off, and I began by disconnecting and removing everything that was preventing me from reaching those screws. All the while Linda was great, handing me any tool I needed, getting labels ready so we could mark all the wires, and making a diagram of where each connected. I know I often embarrass her by bragging about her in the Daily Journal, but dog gone it, she's that awesome and far more.

I wanted the problem to be a blown fuse, did I ever want it to blown fuse. But unfortunately it was easy to see the 8 amp, AC fuse was till good, then I pulled the 5 amp DC fuse and tested it. Bad! Was this the problem? The mind in this situation is a dangerous thing, and I wondered if maybe the tester was bad.

Good! The new fuse tested good and maybe, just maybe, we had found the problem.

Sometimes I wonder why I buy all those extra fuses, switches, pilot lights, connectors, wires, latches, etc., etc., and it is times like this that confirm the wisdom of those two boxes of parts we carry. Call me superstitious, but I was not going to put the cover back on before making sure the new fuse solved the problem. Something had to cause that fuse to blow, and maybe it would just blow again when I hooked everything back up.

After plugging all the electrical connections back in, we looked at what the situation was, and it was time to call Murphy again. Hint, look at the smile on my face. I let him know the frig was once again working, and thanked him for helping us out. He's a really great person besides being a great RV tech. Murphy is a mobile RV tech who covers the San Antonio and surrounding area to the west. Murphy owns and operates MATTHEWS RV REPAIR, check out his website here.

In the end we decided to just leave the control board cover off for a few days, just in case. Something tells me our problems are now behind us, but I don't doubt for an instant that there are more adventures waiting somewhere down the road. As for us, we will stay put here at Pancho Villa State Park for Christmas, waiting for the snow that is predicted, going down to The Pink Store, and being thankful we can live the Life we do with each at the others side.

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