Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Chris' Confession ... or Lessons we Learn Chalk up another 'Lesson in RVing'. I wonder how many there are under the category of 'Understanding your Electrical System'? We've already learned to be very careful never to plug in to an outlet that has 'reverse polarity' - we have a little tester that we always plug into an outlet before plugging the RV in. We've also learned that you can't run the air conditioner and the microwave at the same time when you only have 15 amp household current. RV parks all provide 30 amp connections (the big RV's even use 50 amp), but when you're plugged in at someone's house, you probably only have 15 amp. When we first bought the RV we had it parked in our driveway and plugged into the house. We ran the AC, but if we ever tried to turn on the microwave, it immediately threw a breaker. One day, the AC stopped working and we ended up with a $400 repair bill for the electrical panel - we were probably lucky that we didn't have a fire. So, no AC when plugged into 15 amp. Wellllll .... I was getting a bit sweaty yesterday morning when I had to get dressed and put on makeup etc. I thought, if I make sure everything else is turned off ... I could have some air conditioning for just a few minutes. I turned it on and it worked fine - I set the fan to low. (Jim was out diving or he would have stopped me from doing this!) 20 minutes later I was dressed and ready to go and I turned the AC off. Then I heard the beep, beep, beep of the computer's UPS indicating that the power was off. Apparently, I had tripped a breaker switch in Donna's house, because nothing I did in the RV made a difference. My lessons have to be very explicit I guess ... it's not enough just to say 'The AC shouldn't be operated when plugged in to 15 amp service.' I need it to say 'The AC cannot be operated, even for only a few minutes, when plugged into 15 amp service.' Ok, Ok, I think I got it now. I wanted to keep electricity on if only to power the electronics for the Satellite dish - so I cranked up the generator. Another lesson we've learned is that it is a good thing to run the generator regularly, so I thought this was a fine solution - at least until everyone was back home and we could reset stuff. OK - so, here's the sad part ... and the new lesson learned. Since Jim only needed one kayak to go diving, he left the other one (mine) on the ground propped up next to the RV. Unfortunately, it was right by the exhaust pipe of the generator. Here's the result: Lesson: the generator exhaust is HOT! HOT! HOT! Make sure the area is clear before turning it on.