Nov 012009

The strong winds that had been hammering northern Indiana Friday continued all night long, and continued through much of yesterday. There was no question about it; we were not getting out on the highway. We really, really wanted to be on the go, but we really, really didn’t want to be blown all over the road and waste a bunch of fuel fighting the wind.

So we spent the day listening to music, cruising the internet and hoping that today would bring us better weather. About noon, our friend Michele Henry from Phoenix Commercial Paint stopped by to visit, and later on we went to dinner with Greg and Jan White. We all got a laugh about the fact that this was our third “farewell dinner” in as many days.

Back at Elkhart Campground, I spent some time studying our planned route, while Miss Terry decided to try making a batch of pumpkin cheese bread in her convection oven. This would only be her second attempt at baking in the oven, as she transitions from the gas oven we had in our bus conversion.

While Terry was using her electric mixer to blend the ingredients, we suddenly lost all electrical power in the motorhome. The Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) unit I got from Lawrence RV Accessories was showing 125 volts of power coming in. I pushed the button to turn our inverter on so we had power again from the inverter and battery bank, but the battery charger was not working.

I flipped all of the breakers on and off, went out to the campground’s electrical pedestal and flipped the breaker there off and on, but we still were not getting any shore power, just the inverter feed. If I turned off the inverter, we went dead again, though the EMS still showed incoming AC power.

Having exhausted my small store of knowledge, I called Greg and he came over. We ran through all of the things I had done already, and then Greg had me turn on our Onan generator. Still no power to the inverter, except what it was drawing from the battery bank. We both agreed that the problem might well be a blown transfer switch, which automatically switched between shore power and generator power.

After studying the books that came with our motorhome, I logged onto Winnebago’s website, where owners can download electrical and plumbing schematic drawings, along with paint codes and a ton of other valuable resource information for anything Winnebago has ever built.

With still no luck solving the problem at that point, Greg checked our inverter and pressed the reset button for the incoming breaker on it, and suddenly we had AC power again!      

Apparently all incoming shore power is routed through the inverter, which really doesn’t make any sense to me, because if the inverter goes bad, we’d be stuck with no power to the motorhome at all. The way I wired our bus, the inverter was a supplementary power source, and taking it out of the line would not disrupt power to the coach. But we have to learn all about living in a factory made unit again, including engineering designs that boggle the mind.

With power restored, Miss Terry finished making her pumpkin bread, and it came out looking great. She is her own worst critic, but even she said it was pretty darned good! I thought it was delicious!  

While I was enjoying a slice of yummy hot pumpkin bread, Bad Nick was busy with a new Bad Nick Blog post titled A Campaign Ad I’d Like To See. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest to God. 

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “Electrical Gremlins”

  1. Nick,

    My boyfriend, Len met you in Tuscan, AZ last year at Life on Wheels and visited with you and Miss Terry in your rig. He has been following your blog, but really enjoys Bad Nick’s Blog.

    I love your thought for the day! It is the way I have tried to live my life. It has worked for me!

    I can so relate to Miss Terry and the convection oven. Did she use one of the recipes out of the cookbook that came with oven? Would love to see you do a class in March on cooking with convection ovens. Any chance of this happening?

    We are thinking of coming to your rally in Yuma. Look forward to meeting you both.



  2. Good morning Nick…..I realize there is no way you’re up this early, maybe the time change has you all goofed up….LOL

    My Tiffin Phaeton is wired the same way. Of course when the wife causes the inverter breaker to flip using a hair dryer or something, it’s always raining or windy and cold! We too were befuddled the first time it happened. The GFI tripped out in the bathroom and would not reset until we checked the inverter breaker and found it too had tripped. Crazy!

    Have a safe trip.


  3. Nick, Our Itasca Meridian 2006 is wired the same way and it has tripped once on us. I agree with you on why. I think it is so that they can have a cheaper “transfer switch”, since the inverter includes a transfer switch when you go to inverter power.

    It has been about a year plus since I commented about the excessive amount of eating out. Remember, every thing in moderation!

    It is great to be in Arizona right now after some cold midwestern fall weather.


  4. Nick, the reason the inverter is wired that way is because it is the cheapest way to do it. It does not require a separate A/C panel or external transfer switch for the 120v circuits that run off the inverter. My 5th wheel was wired that way and I finally rewired it after I tired of going out in the bad weather as, Paul mentioned, to reset the dumb thing.


  5. I use Mozilla Firefox. For some reason this am I can’t get to bad nick. Tried to link direct from the two links here and I also have it listed in my rv blog folder. Any one else having this problem?

  6. Please ask Miss Terry to publish her recipe for the pumpkin cheese bread. It sounds delicious.

    When we picked up our fifth wheel, whenever we tried to use our microwave, we lost electric. Turned out we needed an inverter which would allow greater electrical use (from 15 up to 20) so the breaker would not flip.

  7. Re: Mozilla Firefox, to Linda…Linda, have you been letting Firefox get updates? You should be on version 3 by now. If not, go get a free new version loaded. That’s all I can think of – Bad Nick loads fine for me on Firefox, so it can be done!

  8. It is Nov 2, 5:03am CT and No Nick! What shall I do, What shall I do! Coffee is made ….

  9. I believe your inverter is wired in what is called “pass through” mode Nick. If the problem recurs try giving the inverter case a moderately hard smack – a little harder than you would knock on your neighbour’s door. If that cures the problem then you have a relay failing in the inverter. They are relatively cheap to replace – if I recall I paid about $120 this spring to have both of the relays in my Freedom 25 changed out.

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