Monday, December 20, 2010


Las Cruces to Phoenix. It's getting harder and harder to post stuff because all we do is drive. I don't think. I sit and I listen to music. I entertain kids and I keep the van and trailer between the appropriate lines. Hour after hour, mile after mile. I drive. I hate driving. I hate sitting and doing nothing. I'm ready to be at my destination and get out a bit and leave the van at home.

I can share a little of drama for the trip. Before we left, we had some electrical issues, but I took care of them (after hours and hours of looking around and fixing stuff, I replaced the battery and it worked). On Friday night the battery was charged and it powered the heater all night Friday night. On Saturday we did the same thing, except when we woke up on Sunday morning it was very cold in the camper and none of the lights worked (dead battery).

Automotive problem... I do what I always do, call my dad. He suggested a blown fuse and gave me a few to look at to see if they were blown. I checked and they were all good. He said that he would look further into it. He called back later and gave me a few more to look at (as I think back on it, I think he may have just had me check all the rest). This time I found a blown fuse.

I had found the problem, now all I had to do was find a 40 Amp fuse and replace it. We stopped by the first store we came across and they didn't have anything automotive. I then stopped at the next gas station/convenience store and they did not have any fuses. Finally I stopped by a place that had fuses, a Flying J, but they didn't have any 40 Amp fuses. So I bought a 30 Amp fuse because I figured that it might blow, but it certainly wouldn't do any damage. We drove a bit further that night and when we got to our destination I went back to the camper and the lights worked. Problem solved.

When I woke up Monday morning, the lights didn't work and it was rather cold (although we were far enough south that the low was 48 so we really weren't suffering). I checked the fuse and it had not blown, but I opted to replace it with a 40 Amp fuse anyway.

We had stayed the night in a Wal Mart parking lot (the only thing that Wal Mart is good for) so I checked to see if they had a 40Amp fuse. They did, but it came in a set and was going to cost me $20 and would come with $17 worth of fuses that I didn't need and would probably never use. I decided to keep looking. At 6:50 am I asked a Wal Mart customer where the nearest auto parts store would be. He directed me to turn left and go aways and it would be on my left. I decided it would be a good time to go for a run. After running for about a mile, it looked like I was about to run into the desert. I didn't figure I would find an auto part store in the desert, so I turned around. On the way back I asked more people about where I would find an auto part store.

Finally I found the right guy and he told me where to go. I went and spent $3 for a fuse. The electrical has been working all day. I like to think that the battery is fully charged and that everything is working as it aught to, but really, I've thought that before. Tonight I'm plugged into an electrical socket, so I won't really know. But by the time I get to where it really matters, I will find out whether my electrical is working or not.

Sometimes I like to think that this is preparation for building a house that would easily run off of simple 12 volt electric and run off of solar and wind power. A 12 volt house would lack some very helpful appliances, but I think about that sometimes. I think it would be easier to make a 12 volt system off the grid than making a 110 volt system off the grid.

1 comment:

Emily A. W. said...

I hope you find the issue for the blown fuse. Electrical problems are a real bear to diagnose sometimes. Usually a blown fuse indicates that there is a grounding issue somewhere. Like, a couple wires that are worn and touching, or a wire that is broken or almost broken. Or even a connection that isn't 100% in contact.

I don't know why you think 12 volt systems are easier to work with than 110 volt. (BTW, I think you mean 120 volts like in a house)?

Some appliances need more electrical "push" to operate right, but there are MANY appliances that will work just as well with 12 volt as with 120 volt because they have transformers built in or plugged into the wall via a "wall wart" that change the voltage from 120 volts down to the needed voltage of the appliance.

The transformer also changes the electrical energy from your wall socket from AC current to DC current. (Sorry if you already know this stuff and I am not being helpful at all).

The difficulty is getting the voltage to match the needs of the appliance, and each appliance varies in its needs.

You can install solar panels in series to get up to the 120 volts needed to run appliances. And the battery packs would be 12 volt batteries hooked up in series as well. There is much more discussion we could have about this, but I am sure you don't care to read it right now. Lol.

Hows that for a little electrical discussion? Lol..sorry...we should talk about solar energy systems when you get here. Its a passion of mine! :D