Electrical Upgrades

 Posted by at 2:55 am  Nick's Blog
Mar 262015

Yesterday was a busy day doing some electrical upgrades in our motorhome. When we installed our Samsung residential refrigerator back in December I knew it would not work well with the existing modified sine wave inverter that came from the factory in our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. The refrigerator requires a “cleaner” pure sine wave.

Since then we have left it off when traveling, which really hasn’t been much of a problem, but we wanted to get it powered up. The original plan was to install a Magnum Energy pure sine wave unit when we got to Arizona. That’s what we had in our old MCI bus conversion, and in my opinion nobody makes a better inverter. However, we ran into a problem; the Magnum is an inch longer than the inverter we have now, which meant that it would not fit where our inverter is and would have to be relocated. That involved a lot of labor time and the related cost, plus the loss of part of our pass-through bay.

The alternative, which was suggested by several tech types whose opinion I respect, was to install a smaller dedicated pure sine wave inverter just for the refrigerator, for a lot less money and labor. We very seldom dry camp any more (three nights in the last three years), so all the inverter would do is power the refrigerator going down the road. So yesterday I had Phil Botnick install an Aims Power 1200 watt pure sine wave inverter that mounts under our bed and will power only the refrigerator.

New inverter small

Phil does good work, and with Terry helping him and me staying out of the way, the job went pretty smoothly. And the way Phil wired things up for us, if we do decide to upgrade to the Magnum somewhere down the road, it will be pretty simple to put it under the bed and hook it up.

Ever since Camping World installed the Interstate batteries in our rig back in February of 2010 they have not impressed me. Anytime we were not plugged into shore power they drained down very quickly. Again, in our bus conversion we had Lifeline AGM batteries, which were excellent. So I bought three of them from RV Renovators in Mesa and had Phil install them once the inverter was done. Some people have said if we don’t dry camp the AGMs are overkill, and that may be true. But sometimes overkill is a good thing.

LIfeline bateries small

Installing batteries small

As with everything he does, Phil did an excellent job on everything, and I think we’re in good shape from an electrical standpoint now. The next project will be to buy a couple of new steering tires and move the ones on the front now to the left rear, where one of the dual tires has a persistent leak and the other one got chopped up on the outside edge. Hopefully we’ll get that done before we leave the area, but it’s not a critical issue, the tires are five years old and have a lot of life left in them.

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Chesapeake 1880 by my friend Ken Rossignol, a tale of life in the Chesapeake Bay region as the industrial revolution changed the world forever. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.


Thought For The Day – I wish the buck stopped here. I could use a few.

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Nick Russell

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  2 Responses to “Electrical Upgrades”

  1. We get new tires every five years no matter what. Over the 19 years we have been traveling we have blown two right rear inside duals and one right front tire. The duals were not a problem as there is another tire to hold you up. The right front tire was NO FUN. I know, I was driving. Fortunately our Safety Plus worked as advertised and we were on a flat interstate with a good run off lane. After we stopped and got done hyperventilating, we took stock. There was some damage to our fiberglass, big awning (the tread damaged the front awning support as it was bouncing around) and we needed a new tire and rim. But we were safe. So please think about the tires, really check for crazing and maybe think about getting all new tires. I know it’s expensive but we want you two to be safe!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I had an inner dually that was an inconsistent persistent leak. After having it pulled, inspected, nothing found, and reinstalled 4 times at 4 different shops, finally had a tech really look. Found that there were 2 tiny rust through holes in the steel wheel! That would open when air temp (overnight) was too cool. And close as the tire warmed up so shops submerging the wheel/tire didn’t find a leak. They didn’t have a replacement wheel and couldn’t find one quickly so cleaned then just put Eternabond over the holes on the inside of the wheel. Going on four years now it’s still holding air fine.

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