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16  Main Forum / General Discussion / Running Engine and Generator at Same Time on: December 04, 2013, 10:53:59 pm
When we first got our PC, I read thru most of the General Discussion and Tips and Tricks forums, but don't recall seeing this discussed.

The rig is stored outside at an RV storage facility, mostly blocked from sunlight by the unit next to it.  While we're having this unusually coll weather, I'm trying to go out at least every other day and run both the engine and generator.  I'm wondering if there is any reason I couldn't run both at the same time.  My concern would be primarily with the electrical system, including house battery charging.  I'm thinking if the inverter is set to the "Line/Charge Only" position, I should be okay, but I'm not confident enough to give it a try without some feedback.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Thanks in advance,

GeorgeB
17  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Question on propane furnace on: October 20, 2013, 10:49:56 pm
Full-timing from the middle of Oct 2012 to the middle of Jan 2013, living in various parks on the Oregon coast (Florence south to Bandon).  That section of the coast gets a lot of horizontal rain (60+ MPH winds), so we had to keep the windows and vents closed.  This was in our 26 ft 2551, the two of us plus our Airedale.

Don't know about other models/years, but our coach is definitely not air-tight.  Since then we've run the furnace many times with the unit closed up, and would do it again.  We suffered no ill effects (knocking on wood).

One side note:  with those 3 warm bodies, plus cooking and boiling water (coffee, tea, etc), we had to get a dehumidifier.  Because we had to stay closed so much of the time, we had a ton of excess moisture in the cupboards, under the driver's & passenger seats, also under the dash; almost seemed like it was raining under the seats.  There was even excess moisture in the outside mirrors controller, luckily we caught that in time.  On many occasions, we dumped several pints a day.  We haven't used it since then, but keep it handy in case we're in a similar situation.

GeorgeB
18  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Questions from a Newbie on: September 19, 2013, 08:14:58 pm
I'll tackle a couple of these with which I have first hand experience:

1.  There is a rocker switch that has been installed by PC on the lower dash immediately to the left of the steering column.   It seems to activate something under the hood.  Is this a temporary transfer switch to start the vehicle with the coach battery in case of failure of the chassis battery?   That is the only thing I could think of.  What is this switch?

Barry is correct:  The white rocker switch is NOT an emergency start switch.  It is used to boost the engine battery using the coach batteries.  Put the ignition switch in the accessory position just before the start position, then press and hold the white rocker switch for a count of 30 (about 20-25 seconds - I count fast).  Release the switch, then turn the ignition switch to start, and the engine should fire up.  This may need to be repeated a second time, if so, wait five minutes.  I've never gone past twice.

Some models may work with the generator running and charging the coach batteries.  I'm pretty sure that's not the case with the older models with different inverters.  I haven't tested this.  Yet.

And FWIW, a word of caution based on personal experience:  don't forget to turn off the lights in the outside compartments; I have one in the side rear compartment, and the macerator compartment.  Also the wardrobe closet.  That's why I have personal experience with the white rocker switch.

5.  In regard to the refrig, I assume with these two ways (I have not had anything but a three way) you just run down the road on gas like the trailer folks do.  Or, just keep the doors shut for a short trip and keep the thing shut off.   That is not an option with my wife!   

Again, different models/years will result in slightly different responses.

The refrigerator should automatically switch to propane when disconnected from either shore power or generator power, and switch back when one of those is operating.  In my 8,000+ miles over the past 13 months, it has worked flawlessly, except on two occasions:  once when the sensor at the back of the refrig went gunnybag, and once when the propane dealer forgot to turn on the propane at the tank -- I now monitor that personally.

So far we haven't forgotten to turn the house disconnect switch back on after refueling.  I'm sure that day will come for us.

I've also seen recommendations that the switchover after disconnecting from an AC power source should be checked to make sure that it has actually switched, but I frequently forget to do that also, but so far it hasn't caused a problem.

Welcome to the forums.  We had absolutely no experience with RV'ing prior to getting our 2008 2551 13 months ago.  No RV, no trailer, just some tent camping 30+ years ago.  These forums were our primary source of education on the functioning of the PC, and a major source of RVing in general.  The search function on this site works extremely well (in most cases).

Make sure you set your preferences to monitor the forums so that you'll get an email notifying you of new posts.  Invaluable.

Hope this helps,

--GeorgeB
19  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Leveling on: September 17, 2013, 08:20:59 am
I've had random/intermittent problems with the side entry door, but I never connected it to the leveling issue, but now that I think about it, it seems that there may have been a cause/effect relationship.  I'll start keeping track of level vs. door problems.  So far, we've haven't had to use the coach doors like dickreid1 mentions.

As I indicated above, there is a definite relationship with the cabinet door latches, primarily in the back half of the coach (mainly the cabinets over the beds in the 2551).

We've put on about 8,000+ miles in the past year, but we noticed this right from the start.

Either ironically or serendipitously, last night we landed on a campground site that is absolutely level.  The outside bubble levels, as well as the bullseye level inside in several locations (including inside the refrigerator), all indicate level.  The side entry door and all cabinet doors are working pretty much flawlessly.

So I'm concluding that level is somewhat critical for more than just the refrigerator.

Has anyway tried the Camco Tri-Leveler?  http://www.amazon.com/Camco-44573-RV-Yellow-Tri-Leveler/dp/B000BUQOFO.  They're rated for 3,500 lbs,  Each level looks a little small for an RV tire, and carrying 2 or 3 of these would be an issue.  I found these all over the web, except not thru Camping World, which may or may not mean anything.

--GeorgeB
20  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Leveling on: September 15, 2013, 10:16:43 am
In the old days the refrigerator had to be within 4 degrees of level to operate. It was measured on the freezer shelf. Now they just say level enough to be comfortable. I try to get so my head is higher or even than my feet when I sleep. I used a small bubble on the floor near the cab, it was level, then in the middle of the bedroom, it was low in the back, then in the rear bathroom and it was level again. So I figure that I have a slight bow in the middle of the rig.

I'd forgotten about the refrigerator.  I knew that it would give a fault code if out of level, so didn't think past that.  I just looked in the Norcold manual, it says a max of 3 degrees side-side, 6 deg front-back.  So I need to go shop for a level that will help me out with determining degrees.  My "bullseye" type just has lines, package didn't say what they indicated.

There's a gold-colored "coin" in the kitchen counter-top:  I accidentally discovered that it has the same "level" as the bottom of the refrigerator.  Don't know if that's by accident or design.

I always suspected that different parts of the rig could be bowed or torqued, glad to learn someone else thinks so too.  I'll go around checking different surfaces for level when my back will permit me to crawl around on the floor.

Thanks for the feedback.

We have the HWH leveling jacks and John (being an engineer) goes by what they say is level. No matter if I say, "Look, all the water in the pan is flowing toward the rear passenger side". His reply "the jacks say we're level". So we go by what the jacks say and if the refrigerator goes into fault mode. So far, so good. There has only been one time when I was concerned the slope would be enough to roll me out of bed but John was happy and the refrigerator was happy so we were "level".

OK, good point:  if I roll out of bed, the coach is out of level!  Smile  If I had the leveling jacks I'd probably go by what they say also.  Probably a guy thing.

We've never gotten the out-of-level fault code on the refrigerator.  But sometimes the cabinet latches don't line up.  And that can result in causing the catch to pop in so that the door latch doesn't latch; I've also broken a couple (now carry several spares).

I need to do more research on using leveling blocks.  On a couple of occasions we had to go 4 blocks high just to get close to level.  Fortunately, it was just the front.  That would take a lot of blocks to get the back that high; in sites where that would have been needed, we've spent a lot of time angling the rig so that we just needed to raise the front.

Any further opinions/advice, especially on the use of leveling blocks, would be welcome.

Thanks for the replies,

--GeorgeB
21  Main Forum / General Discussion / Leveling on: September 14, 2013, 10:28:09 pm
After living 10 of the last 13 months in our 2551s, I'm still not sure about proper leveling.  We use the Lynx blocks for leveling.

I used a 4-foot bubble level on the floor to initially determine level, and pasted those little curved bubble levels on the side and rear.  I also have a small round bullet bubble level that agreed with the others.

The outside bubble levels don't always agree with the inside bullet bubble level.  But it feels like the inside level is generally more accurate.  This is based mainly on how well cabinet doors close (if level, open doors won't swing further open or shut).

But getting level is often a real pain, and sometimes impossible.

So just how level does the rig need to be?

And is it more important to be level front to back, or side to side?

And what else do we need to know about leveling?  Any suggestions on methods/techniques?

--GeorgeB

22  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Moisture In Back Up Camera on: June 29, 2013, 08:40:08 pm
Wow!  That's almost half the price I paid for just the camera. 

Good pictures. This post is bookmarked, I'll be working on mine this winter and have a backup for my backup (camera).  Thanks for the follow-up.

--George B



23  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Inverter/Charger Piercing Sound 2008 2551 on: June 25, 2013, 12:11:45 pm
George B.
 Good post and good follow up.. hopefully everyone will follow your example and do a final solution so all us can learn.

Plus it will be a lot easier for me to find in the future if the info's all here rather than on my local PC.   Smile

Quote
  I have been getting some beeps on my detectors,, I replace all the 9volts,, but will keep an eye on them a little closer..especially since I am that 5year area of age now..
David Sparks
2008 PC 2350
Houston

I knew that smoke detectors had a maximum 10 yr life, and just read that propane leak detectors should be replaced every 3-5 years.  (Side note:  here in Oregon, smoke, gas leak, and similar detectors must have a 10-year battery if they are not wired to AC power; have gone thru many 10-year batteries every 2-4 yrs.  And they've cost me anywhere from $7 to $10.)

But I do confess that I'm having issues with considering advice/recommendations on propane leaks from someone named "Sparky"!  Grin

Cheers and regards,

GeorgeB
24  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Inverter/Charger Piercing Sound 2008 2551 on: June 24, 2013, 08:34:12 pm
Yes, it turns out the screeching sound was definitely the gas leak detector.  It makes that noise when there is either a loss of power, or when power is restored.  Accompanied by a yellow warning LED.  Several months ago, we would get the sound whenever we pressed the "store" button while getting gas, although it didn't make the sound when switching to "use", until this recent incident.   It's mounted under the bed on the driver's side, about 12 inches from the inverter/charger.  Unless you've got your ears right near the detector, down near the floor, it still sounds like it's coming from the inverter/charger.  Strange acoustics in the coach, I guess.  But I will be changing this out before we head out on the road again.

Thanks for the info about the Safe-T-Alert, George.  I forgot to get the CCI model number today, and there are several variations of the 7770, with variations in the Safe-T-Alert replacements.  I'll be ordering one when I know which model to get.

We ended up replacing the coach batteries.  Possibly due to my neglect or inexperience, but definitely beyond hope; but I'm not ruling out a bad battery (at least one very bad cell).

Ron Dittmer:  fiddling with the plug behind the wall-mounted Tripp-Lite remote was more than the wife wanted to deal with, so with the new batteries, we had a cut-out installed, purchased from Napa Auto Parts; it's easily accessible, and meets the requirements of the family-mandated KISS principles.  Because of the battery compartment configuration, it had to be installed on the positive terminals, and they had to account for the fact that the batteries are wired in parallel.  But initial testing indicates that it is working like we want it to.  If anyone is interested, ask me again in 6-months if we're still pleased with this set-up!   Smile

One other point about my inverter/charger:  it doesn't have a plain ol' on/off switch.  It has a 3-position slide switch, Auto-Remote, DC Off, or Charge Only, in that order left-to-right.  It's set for Auto-Remote, been working fine for the past 8-months, so will leave it be.

I really appreciate the pointers to the gas leak detector.  Since the manual didn't mention any audible warning sound, I didn't really look at that as the source of the problem.  Greatly relieved that it's nothing to do with the Tripp-Lite!

Thanks again for all the input, feedback and hand-holding.  It's nice to know we're not alone out here.

Cheers and regards,

--GeorgeB

p.s.-- so now I count 4 George's.  Can't decide if that's good or bad...  LOL

UPDATE re: master "OFF" switch on the Tripp-Lite:  something kept nagging me, so I went back thru the owner's manual I'd downloaded for the PowerVerter MRV DC-to-AC Inverter Charger; I'm guessing/hoping that it is the same as what I have, crawling around on the floor trying to get the m/n was too tough, expecially considering eyesight & lighting.  Anyway, that manual refers to the "Operating Mode Switch" which I'm pretty certain is what Ron Dittmer was referring to, and has the following regarding the "OFF" position:  "OFF (most models)", and "DC OFF (select models)", obviously I don't have a "most model", but a "select model" -- whoo hoo!!  Now we know why I was confused.  But I'm still not changing any settings.  For the foreseeable future, anyway.
25  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Inverter/Charger Piercing Sound 2008 2551 on: June 23, 2013, 04:47:50 pm
Driving over tomorrow to visit the coach.  In the meantime, online searching resulted in thinking that my propane leak detector is a CCI Model 7770, designed specifically for RVs.  Unfortunately, the company went out of business in 2009.  Fortunately, I was able to download the instruction manual (I think I also have one in the rig).

If I do have the CCI 7770, according to the manual it doesn't have a low-voltage alarm, only a warning LED.  I'm pretty sure I haven't seen that warning light.

Also according to the manual, you can test the alarm by using a butane lighter, without the flame, pointed at the detector.  Anyone tried that and lived to tell about it?  Grin

There are some direct replacements being offered, Safe-T-Alert for one.  If anyone has any experience with replacing the propane leak detector, please let me know what you bought, also, how easy was the installation (i.e., a DIY project?).

Thanks again, and cheers and regards to all,

GeorgeB
26  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Inverter/Charger Piercing Sound 2008 2551 on: June 22, 2013, 11:49:34 pm
Good points, Ron.  The propane leak detector is about 12-inches from the Tripp-Lite.  I did double-check the propane valve, it was mostly off, turned just a tiny bit.  Oh, except it happened again after I was done exercising the generator and the propane valve was totally closed by that time, and the coach door had been open during the testing.

But that makes me think of something else:  maybe the propane detector has a battery backup, and it's gone dead?  I'll have to look into that (all the books are in the van, of course!).  And/or maybe that need to be replaced like smoke detectors, etc.

You recommend that the little switch on the inverter be turned off.  On the front of the control panel, there is no on/off switch, just a slider for "auto invert" or "line/charge only".  Exactly which little switch are you referring to?  And other than inconvenience, what's the downside to disconnecting the battery negative terminal while in storeage?

I'll look for those two input jacks.  The 2-page owner's manual I downloaded doesn't make any reference to either that I can see.

Thank you for the quick and helpful reply,

GeorgeB
27  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Moisture In Back Up Camera on: June 22, 2013, 11:17:23 pm
Interesting.  Our 2007 has the same brand camera.  So far so good.

But we loose sound at times.  I thought it was an intermittent failure but concluded we loose sound only when driving in the rain.  I think water covers over the outdoor rear microphone.  When it's dry outside, all is well again.

Sound.  Zounds!  I forgot about that possibility.  The picture was so poor from the old camera, it made the entire screen almost unreadable.  I'll have to see if that's an option on mine, and if so, was the moisture problem in the camera interfering.  Good points.  More research.  Thanks,

GeorgeB
28  Main Forum / General Discussion / Inverter/Charger Piercing Sound 2008 2551 on: June 22, 2013, 09:54:28 pm
A little background before getting to the point:  I was dozing while the wife was driving down the highway of life in our PC, so I didn't notice when she took an unexpected off-ramp.  Next thing I know, we're no longer full-timers, but now home-owners and part-time RVers.  All in less that 30 days.

Our base of operations when we started full-timing was the Oregon coast, 90 miles away; our home port is now on the I-5 corridor.  That original base was also where we had paid for RV storage thru Oct of this year; but we were actually storing our non-towable van while out in the PC.  The coach is temporarily there now, making it a little tricky to work on my problem, especially while we're trying to move everything out of storage and get settled in the new abode before hitting the road again.

The coach was in storage for about 16 days when we went by to check up on it, and exercise the generator.  All was fine, except that the house batteries were very low, and wouldn't start the generator.  I finally figured out that if I turned on the ignition, the generator would start (and I could shut off the engine).  During this preliminary exercise, I somehow triggered a very piercing sound.

I've since researched the forums here and found lots of good info, but it does take some digging.  But this is one problem that I haven't seen addressed:

Something in the inverter/charger or the remote panel for it (both Tripp-Lite) started squealing like the proverbial stuck pig for 3 to 5 seconds (actually, it's similar to a smoke alarm sound, which is what I thought it was at first).  This happened a couple of times, and I was never able to determine the exact sequence of events which triggered that sound.  And it was so piercing that I couldn't really locate it's source.  Other obligations meant we couldn't stay and work on this longer.

I have downloaded PDF manuals of units which look exactly like what I have, and no mention is made of any such sounds for either unit.

There seems to be some correlation with the door battery kill switch, which can either start the sound or stop it.  But maybe no relation.

Once the sound stopped, I ran the generator for 20+ min, first with the A/C on (too cold, kept shutting off), then with the heat strips.  Everything else seemed to work fine.

For the record: for the prior 2+ weeks, the battery kill-switch by the door was in the "store" position, and the inverter/charger was set to "line/charge only".  While running the generator, the kill switch was in the "use" position, the inverter/charger in the "auto invert" position.  Obviously, it seems I needed to disconnect the battery.

I'm no diagnostician so I haven't figured this out yet; and this set-up seems to be alien to the repair techs I've talked to (one of the few downsides to living in the Pacific NW?).

If anyone has any insights whatsoever, please pass them along.  Monday (or Tuesday latest), I'll be back at the RV, with tools (didn't have any with me last trip, boy was that dumb).  I was rattled enough that I didn't think to disconnect the battery post, so I may be looking at buying new batteries (I've read Ron D.'s post on this several times -- again -- just a brain cramp); I also appreciate the post on battery types..  Once I've opened everything up, and verified what I have, I'll try to call Kermit.  So even suggestions as to what to ask him would be appreciated.

And apologies for being so wordy, just wanted to cover all the bases.

Thanks,

GeorgeB

--p.s.:  I could find no mention of the audio-style plug connector (which Ron D. refers to) in the downloaded manuals.  I'll check my remote, but which I can get to, but if it's on the back side of the inverter/charger, then I'm in trouble (it's mounted to the floor under the refrig).
29  Main Forum / General Discussion / Re: Moisture In Back Up Camera on: June 22, 2013, 08:48:35 pm
We had the same problem in our 2008 PC (2551s).  Same year as yours, so possibly the same model camera.

In early April, I contacted Zone Defense about fixing this; I was hoping to obtain some kind of gasket kit.  Unfortunately, such was not available.  Woody Vosler, the Engineer at Zone Defense, promptly replied, first to inform me that no gasket was used in that model year, but that I could use a silicone sealant to re-seal; also he would provide additional repair instructions if I wanted, which I did.

I'll include those instructions in this reply in case anyone else is interested, but first, in the interests of full disclosure, I'll confess I wound up buying a new camera from PC-USA thru Carol.   Grin

Here are the instructions (emphasis mine):

"Over the years we have changed the way we sealed the cameras, therefore I will explain the most difficult and the easier will be no problem.

Remove the 4 screws from the rear of the camera.

Place the nut on the rear of the camera (compression fitting) in a vice without damaging the cable.

Pry on the boss at the bottom of the camera (1/4" threaded hole) using the vise as leverage.

The housing of the camera will release from the back plate. The back plate will have the electronics and cable, the housing will be empty.

Check to see if the glass is screwed in place and remove and clean if possible. If the glass is siliconed in place, do not try to remove it.

Once the camera is opened, let it sit inside the house over night if possible to completely dry out.

Clean the sealer from the mating surfaces and reseal tightening the screws evenly so the back plate fits into the recess of the housing.

The best sealer is Permatex Right Stuff (very expensive and large container for this job). We have used Permatex RTV silicone sealer with no problems and it is much easier to remove if you need to open the camera again."


Which is why I went with the new unit.  Easy change-out.  I did use extra silicone sealer at the opening in the coach, even with a new gasket.  And I had to "convince" the camera cord to go where I wanted (taped it in place for a couple of days).

I still have the old camera somewhere in storage.  Someday I may attempt the above repair. 

Hope this was useful.

GeorgeB
30  Main Forum / Tips and Tricks / Re: Improvements & Enhancements, 2007 PC-2350 on: November 03, 2012, 09:54:39 pm
Definitely good info Ron.  But at this point everything is working fine.  Don't need the original remote except when we move on to the next CG.  The universal remote does everything needed day-to-day, even when un-hooking/re-hooking to the site cable service.  I've filed your info for when the remote gets worse.

Dremel:  haven't needed it yet, but it is definitely along for the ride -- wouldn't travel without it.  And have a couple of handfuls of various small tools including electronic corrosion brushes (esp. good for leaky batteries), burnishers, de-burring tools, small screw drivers.  Collected over many years.  Don't take up much room, but are reassuring to have along.

Here's a remote story:  we're on our 2nd Airedale.  I've decided that these beasts should really be named Airehead Chowhounds. Came back into the living room, and my pal was chewing on the remote.  As you can imagine, I was quite unhappy.  Turned out, I had been handling the remote while eating fried chicken.  Fortunately, didn't hurt the dog.  I've come to respect your skills, Ron, but I'm pretty sure even you couldn't salvage that mess!  Grin  Totally off-topic, but I couldn't resist.

--Just George
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