Wednesday, June 15, 2022

We Got A/C! New Inverter. Visitors


In my last blog it looked like we could not replace our Motorhome A/C due to parts not being available.  Yes, there were A/C units...but not the parts to convert our older thermostat to work with it...and the brand new thermostats required a special circuit board, which was not available.  Well, on Monday June 6th Arny and I went back down to McColloch’s RV repair and storage to drop off some donuts since he never charged me for the hour or two that he put in researching a work around for the Air Conditioner.  While there, Nick had a surprise for us...the previous Friday he had found a way to do it!  He had a Class A motorhome in his yard which needed two A/C's.  This time Nick found someone to talk to at Dometic who said that if he put in a thermostat which was not the most up-to-date thermostat, but one that was newer than the thermostat that we had (my motorhome and the Class A he had in the yard), that there was a circuit board which would talk to this thermostat and both the A/C and the Furnace.

Above is the new thermostat which needed to be put in.  The first picture in this post is what the new A/C unit looks like.  This new thermostat has an "inside temp" so that we now can know how hot or cold it is back by the thermostat.  It also has a clock, and it can be programed to turn on at certain times of the day.  This 'might' be good for those cold mornings when we are using our portable heater, that the furnace can come on automatically at 7 am so that the motorhome is nice and toasty when we get up.  

So we committed to the new A/C right then, and three days later (Thursday) we took it down at 10 am, by 2 pm we were on our way to pick it up.  Just can't say enough about the professionalism and the work that McColloch’s RV repair and storage has done for us over the years.  Cost: $2,300, includes the AC Unit (about $1,650), Thermostat (about $200), Circuit Board (about $125), Labor (about $225) and Tax (about $135).  By-the-way, Friday it was 105 degrees, followed by 102 on Saturday, so it was just in time!


Ever since we got this motorhome back in 2014, I always wondered what the 400W inverter, which is under the bed, did not seem to operate any outlets.  I only used it 4 or 5 times, and each time I plugged an extension cord directly into it for a short time in order to make coffee, or run a vacuum cleaner.  Twice I blew its internal circuit breaker (both times running the vacuum).  Well, I lost the use of two outlets, both up by the driver's area, one on each side.  When I got the portable AC, I used one of those outlets, and it immediately lost all power.  It took a bit of trial and error, and found that both these outlets were being served by the inverter, and when plugged into a 110V system, the 110V power bypassed through the inverter to these two outlets.  When I plugged in the portable A/C, the Inverters internal circuit breaker could not be reset.  So I found this 1000W inverter (pictured above) which is also a pass through for those outlets, and it ALSO has a remote on/off so that I can turn it on and off without having to raise the bed, move things around, to get to the inverter to turn on and off.  So "IF" we need 110V while not plugged into 110V, I can turn the inverter on and use one of these two outlets.  Cost:  $175.00, no labor since I did it myself.

Kathryn (my niece) and her fireman husband Dallas came out to visit, and also to attend a few Baseball Games in the bay area where their hometown Royals are playing both SF and then Oakland.  Kathryn arrived on Wednesday (a week ago) while Dallas went fishing at Lake Erie with a dozen or so friends (it is a yearly thing he has done for years now).  He flew in Monday morning, and we had a family dinner Monday night (Arny's famous Tri-Tip).  Tuesday they took Amtrak to San Francisco where they attended Tuesday night's game (SF won 4-2) and today's game (KC won 3-2).  They will also attend a Oakland vs Kansas City game Friday before heading home.  Kathryn is a die-hard fan of both SF and KC, and you can tell by the picture above (stolen from her Facebook page) that Dallas has a KC hat, and she has a SF hat.  Kathryn wins no matter who wins...unless Oakland wins and then they both lose.  But the big winner was her Grandmother (my mom) who enjoyed many hours visiting Kathryn, and also seeing Dallas on Monday.  We almost had to drag her out of Sandy's house to return her to the Independent Living Facility after Monday's dinner!

It has been a busy month and included a visit down to Aunt Florence's house with Mom and Marcia, a visit with Michael (son) and Anna (pregnant wife), a Walmart Day for Mom and Marcia followed by a lunch at Black Bear Restaurant, many visits over to Mom's, some minor work on the motorhome, another grooming for Indy, and some other odds and ends to help Sandy and Arny and even Patti out.  It has been a busy and productive month, and now we don't have to worry about the summer heat!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Two Week Update - Pics From Mother's Day, Visit with Aunt Mary, A/C Problems, Car Update


On Mother's Day we had mom over for Hamburgers, Salad, Deviled Eggs, and a special surprise visitor...

... Pattie's daughter Ashley who not only surprised Grandma, but surprised her mother too!  It was an enjoyable afternoon, mom stayed for a good four or five hours, and it was a memorable Mother's Day for all.

Earlier this week Mom and I went to visit her older sister Mary.  It was a GREAT visit despite the news the day before that their youngest brother, Paul, had passed away.  Mom came from a family of ELEVEN children.  Mary is number #8, mom is #9.

About 18 months ago Mary, and her oldest daughter Debbie, moved to Elk Grove, which is south of Sacramento, from Escalon, about 80 miles south of Citrus Heights where we stay when we are in the area.  Elk Grove is only 30 miles away, so it is much easier/shorter of a drive.  It was interesting to hear them talk about their family, especially their mother who raised 11 children nearly single-handedly since Grandpa was more into the bottle than the family at times.  He died when mom was only 12 years old.  Of the eleven kids, ALL of them were successful in life.  Something like two butchers, three teachers, three nurses, one insurance agent, and one engineer or scientist, or both (Uncle Paul).  The eleventh gave his life in service of his country in WW2, just a month before the war ended.  Grandma sure taught her children how to did my mother teach all six of did most of my Aunts and Uncles teach their kids too.

I mentioned before that the motorhome Air Conditioner had gone out on us.  I thought it was due to the capacitors, but when I replaced them, it worked for about 5 minutes and stopped.  Took it to the RV Shop that we trust here in Sacramento, and Nick said that the coils must have a leak, it won't hold Freon, and it needs to be replaced.  As he looked into a replacement, he found that YES, he can find an A/C and get it in within a few days, BUT the thermostat we have won't talk to the new A/C.  To put in a new thermostat, he would have to run all new wires, BUT, the new thermostat won't talk to the furnace.  There IS a computer type board that one can get which would allow the old thermostat to talk to the new AC while also talking to the old furnace BUT...there are none of these boards available right now, and the waiting list for one is VERY VERY LONG.  So I bought a Black and Decker portable AC to get us through this summer.

We located it in the passenger's driving seat, and vented it through the passenger window.  With the much appreciated help from my brother-in-law Arny, we fabricated the exhaust to fit the window to a "T".  There is no need for tape, as the window rolls up and holds the exhaust in place.  All of the plastic pieces were pieces provided with the purchase of the machine, and it was cut down and riveted together by Arny.  

When we travel it will all need to be put into the bedroom, but that works for me!  Total cost was $475, and it is quieter and just as efficient as the rooftop AC which, if we can ever get on, will cost somewhere around $2,000.  Perhaps some day the computer type board will be available...but for now we are in the cool, so to speak.

As for our HHR, well, it is working just fine, but I have not cleared the check engine light yet for what we hope is the final time.  Some of the articles I have read say that the HHR's computer can take up to 200+ miles to retrain itself.  I am just about there.  I also have a tire pressure sensor out on the front driver's I need to get it over to Discount Tire to have them look into that.  I "THINK" I put four new sensors on when I got my last tire change 2 1/2 years ago, so perhaps this won't cost us anything.  It sure is a pain in the butt to see that flat tire symbol on every time I drive it, let alone the check engine light.

Our fearless cat hunter enjoys being "on duty" each and every day.  So far she has stopped one Grey Cat from sneaking up on a bird or squirrel, she chased a Black Cat she found napping next to the HHR back to its yard next door, with a slight tackle in the process which sent them both rolling on the ground, and just today she saw the Black Cat walking across the Cul De Sac and gave chase again to its home, where it took refuge under a car.  These incidents don't include the many times she has seen a cat up on the fence and chased it away.  So far I have identified five or six cats in the neighborhood which are tormenting this poor little girl.  I think she is having nightmares about them!

So all is good, and I will TRY to write again before so much time passes...but don't hold your breath.