Saturday, December 2, 2023

No Shore Power!


Saturday - Another RV repair. Yesterday afternoon while I was getting dinner going, I noticed that we were running off of battery power. The Progressive Dynamics EMS system was disconnecting power due to low input voltage. When the voltage was measured at the pedestal, it was 123VAC. A bit high but definitely not low. If I bypassed the EMS and measured the voltage on an outlet not controlled by the Intellitec Smart Energy Management System, which had disconnected all the other outlets and appliances, it was only 75VAC. I disconnected from shore power and started the generator. Everything worked so the Smart EMS system worked as it’s supposed to. 

We ran off battery power last night using the propane furnace for heat. The batteries were down to 40% by the morning. 

When I measured the voltage on the automatic transfer switch with a very small load, the input voltage was fine but the output voltage was low. After picking up some fine sandpaper, I used it to clean the relay contacts in the transfer switch. I also reeled out the shore power cable. And tested again. All worked as it was supposed to. No low voltages. I will be replacing the automatic transfer switch as the contacts are still running warm. But the real culprit is the cord reel. The contacts inside the reel are probably burned and depending on the position of the reel, it works or not. The contacts are needed to transfer power from the rotating reel and the stationary hub which feeds to the EMS. The contacts are non-replaceable, according to the manufacturer, and a replacement reel is $1200. I will probably remove the reel and replace it with a twist-lock connector for the shore power cable. But for now, power has been restored to the RV.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


Monday - I rode into town this afternoon to pick up some stuff at Tractor Supply including the Ortho Home Defense stuff I had used on the spider. I also picked up some small hooks to hang Christmas lights on the casita/shed. 

I picked up this TP-Link “smart” outlet strip from Amazon and used the Kasa-Home integration to connect to HomeAssistant, the home automation software I’m running on a Raspberry Pi. Before the evening was done, I had the Christmas lights plugged in and running on a schedule. Turn on at ten minutes before local sunset and off at 9:15pm. The ability to use sunset as a time is kind of cool as the software could use location information from the phone. The “off” automation was tested and we’ll see if they turn on tomorrow. I had a different brand outlet strip with more USB charging ports but it died in under a year. 

Tuesday - Even though it didn't rain (yet), it never really warmed up with a high in the low 60s (°F). We made a quick trip to Tractor Supply to pick up a few more items for our outdoor Christmas decorations and Walmart for a few "critical" grocery items. Critical items such as half-and-half for my coffee!

I joined the afternoon test session as there were three candidates. And I joined the VARG session at 7:00pm as there were five candidates signed up.

Wednesday - BTW, the automation running the TP-Link outlet strip works as it's supposed to. There really isn't a good site for identifying what works with HomeAssistant so there is some trial and error. I do have several WiFi-enabled relays that could be used either with 110VAC or 12VDC. So I'm thinking of installing a couple of them in the casita/shed. 

I mistakenly used up a good chunk of my iPhone and hotspot data plans as I had left auto-download updates enabled on my Mac. The last update was 14.4GB. Plus the Microsoft Office suite updated. Auto-update is now disabled.

Thursday - Another wet morning though the temperature is about the same as yesterday's high. I'm outside waiting for the morning test session to start after running (actually drove) into Hondo to get some groceries. I was planning to make pineapple fried rice yesterday but discovered that we didn't have any cashews. It just isn't the same without them. So we went to Cowboy's, a small restaurant in D'Hanis which is only about two miles away. The chicken fried steak was decent though not outstanding. I'd go there again. The park is actually located within D'Hanis though the post office is too small to handle the mail hence the Hondo mailing address.

This morning, I configured the TP-Link outlet strip to also work with Alexa. "Hey Alexa, turn on the Christmas lights" It seems to work…

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Rest of the Holiday Weekend

Saturday - It has been raining on and off for most of the day. All we had “scheduled” for today was helping out with Christmas decorations in the common areas. 

I just started the turkey breast that I had picked up last week. It’s in the sous vide for the next 24 hours. The bones are simmering and I might make a small pot pie as we have an extra pie crust in the fridge. 

This is one of those days when I’m glad to have a 50amp shore power connection. Heat pump, convection oven, sous vide, induction cooktop. No problem running everything at the same time. 

Sunday - Another cool-ish day with a high temperature of only 62°F with mostly cloudy skies. But it was windy this morning and that made it feel much colder. 

After the ice cream social, I went out to get a couple of pictures of the lights. The iPhone does on OK job on these night shots. I did use a small, tabletop tripod. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Black Friday

Friday - Nothing to do with any kind of shopping frenzy, but I did run into this while working in the compartment with the hydraulic pump and valves. It’s clearly a black widow spider. Not something I want around. A neighbor, who also happens to be another ham radio operator, let me use his gallon bottle of Ortho Home Defense. I sprayed it on the spider and what I’m assuming are egg sacks. Then vacuumed the whole compartment with the shop vac. Then emptied the shop vac into the dumpster. 

I guess I’ll be picking some up the next time we go into town. I’m installing switches to manually control the hydraulic pump and the solenoid valves which extend and retract the slides. There are two solenoids per slide one each for extend and retract. Plus, two switches for control of the hydraulic pump. I have a bank of six switches so I can control two slides.