Saturday, August 29, 2015

Electrical Fix, Next Trip Is…

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay, Continuous Duty Solenoid, fuses and electrical lines.

I have showed this picture above before…it is the heart of my electrical problems…this is he place where the Florida Rat had made a nest, but the rat is unrelated to our problem.

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay     Continuous Duty Solenoid

To recap what I previously posted, this gizmo to the left is the Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay, while the one on the right is a 12 Volt Continuous Duty Solenoid, which allows for the interaction between the house batteries and the engine battery.

Continuous Duty Solenoid

I replaced the solenoid today with this Cole Hersee 12V Insulated SPST Continuous Duty Solenoid that Amazon delivered Thursday.  Temps were still over 100 on Friday, but a comfortable mid-80’s today…so today was a much better day to do the work in.  Here are my steps:
1)  Disconnect Engine Battery.  Got a voltage meter read on it before and after the disconnect, and after.  Battery was reading 12.6 either way.

2)  Disconnect House Batteries.  Got a voltage reading on them combined and separated…one at 12.86, the other at 12.91.  Combined they were at 12.89.

3)  Did a reading of the Solenoid and there was no juice coming to it.  So I disconnected the wires, making a mental note of what goes where…knowing I ALREADY had a picture just in case…and then removed the old Solenoid.

4)  Installed the new Solenoid, hooked up wires, made sure all wires were tight.   Then hooked up the house batteries.  Then hooked up the engine batteries.  Then tested…..AND…..

Tripping and Falling

Ever have one of those days….everything just seems to be going along just fine, and CRASH!   Well, that’s how my day felt when I tested it…and it still did not work.  Engine running, no charge on house batteries.  Engine off, electricty plugged in, no charge to engine battery.  Time to bring in the big guns….HEY ARNY!!!!!

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay, Continuous Duty Solenoid, fuses and electrical lines.

To make a long story shorter….Arny wants me to look for connection problems, ground wires especially.  While I look, I decide to wiggle the various fuses along the right side.  See those ones in the middle of this fuse bank…the ones which look metallic?  Well, I wiggle the one on top and I hear the Solenoid engage with a very loud CLICK  CLICK  CLICK.  I push it in further, it clicks, and run my tests….all works.

Breaker Fuses

So I run over to the nearest Napa store, and I pick up two, a 5 amp and a 10 amp, Circuit Breaker Fuse.  WHY 2?  Because what I take out is a 10 amp, but it calls for a 5 amp.  The one right below it is a 20 amp, but it calls for a 10 amp. 


If you look at the picture above, along the bottom it says 15A Max, and it has a blue fuse in it, which is a 15 amp fuse.  The next one is a bit hidden, but it says 10A Max, but the gold metallic thing says 20A when I take it out.  The Silver one is hidden, but it says 5A Max, and it had a 10 amp in it…it was the loose one, the one which I needed to replace.

Breaker Fuses

Looking again at the replacements you can see that the metal attachment legs have three parts to it.  The “Universal” to them is that you break off the length to fit what you need.  On the one that we replaced, the person who “broke off the legs” was not careful, and it broke off below the mark…making it too short…so it wiggled (vibrated) out real easy.  Hopefully this will end our problem.  And just to be sure….I have a 5 amp and a 10 amp coming in from Amazon as spares, and I saved the 20 amp that I replaced with the 10 amp because there is a 20 amp in this fuse box at the very top…and it is in a 25 amp max location, so it is definitely good.  These Circuit Breaker Fuses act like a fuse in that they will break the circuit if to much of a load (amps) are put on them.  The difference is, with a fuse, you have to replace it.  With a Circuit Breaker Fuse, it will reset itself once it cools down and will allow for the circuit to connect again.

Map of next trip--Santa Cruz, Pinnacles National Park and Monterey

So now we are ready to test it out on our next little trip….which will be to the Santa Cruz, Pinnacles National Park, and PROBABLY Big Sur areas.  I have reservations at Sunset Beach for Monday-Thursday, September 21st-24th.  Then we will go to the less crowded Pinnacles National Park for the weekend, then PROBABLY go to Big Sur for the Monday-Thursday of the following week.  These popular State Parks are busy on the weekends, but you can get into them on the weekdays this time of year.  Pinnacles National Park is just not busy at all…being one of our new National Parks, they will struggle to get people there for awhile…but the plus is that they have ELECTRICITY at many of their RV sites for under $30 per night (half that for seniors with the senior card).  Another draw….they have California Condors there!   These rare birds nearly went extinct (down to around 20 birds), but now boast a population of nearly 500 birds.  As ugly as they might look, I want to get a picture of them.  Also, this time of year is good whale watching time…and we can’t pass up a visit to the Monterey Aquarium, which I have been to a number of times, but Marcia has never seen yet.  We also hope to find time to visit a cousin or two that live in the area.  And why “PROBABLY” with Big Sur?  Well, we might just want to go back to Sunset Beach again…or try one of the other beach camps in the area.


But first thing first…and on Monday, mom has her surgery.  Mucinous Carcinoma represents approximately 1% to 2% of all breast cancers. The main differentiating features are mucus production and cells that are poorly defined. It also has a favorable prognosis in most cases.  This is the type of Breast Cancer mom has.  So of all the breast cancers out there, she has the one which is the better one to have…not that anyone is standing in lines hoping to catch it.  All Breast Cancers are bad…all Cancers are bad…there are just some which are better to have than others.  This is the case with mom’s.  My next post will probably be “post surgery”, so prayers and precious thoughts for mom from here on out would be appreciated.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Triple Whammy


Can you even imagine what it is like to be sitting along the beach, 72 degree weather…and two weeks later be sitting in the Sacramento Valley with temps up in the 100’s?  Well, that is our triple whammy…temps in the 3 digits.  But alas, things are looking better…

Weather Forecast

…two more hot days, then the possibility of tens days with temps under 90.


I mentioned that we had two small issues to fix…first, the lower part of tis mirror had become loose.  I took it off before the wind while driving blew it off.  That was an easy fix, Arny said he used a tape that would not come off.

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay and Continuous Duty Solenoid

Second, we had the electrical problem that we had before.  It worked fine until we left Port Angeles…then I noticed that we were not getting a charge from the engine when we were driving.  So today I did some research into these two gizmos, because one of them is most likely the culprit. 

Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay     Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay

The bottom one had the words “Ignition Proof Coach Chasis”, with a label which read, “01-00055-010 / 17704 /  BD Relay”. Quickly I found that this is part of the Intellitec Battery Disconnect Relay, which is what normally is called, “Storage Shut Off Switch” for when you want to kill the drain on the batteries when you go into storage. (Which gives you more time, but let’s face it, you store it for more than a few weeks and you batteries are going to be DEAD)

Continuous Duty Solenoid

Which leaves this little thing….no writing on it, but a little research and found out that this is a “12 Volt Continuous Duty Solenoid”, which are easy to find, and found one on Amazon for under $20 which will be here Friday.  I am 90+% sure this is the culprit.  I figure that when we had loose wires eight weeks ago when this first went out, that the sparking and arching which took place as the loose wires did make contact just sore this thing out.  If I tap on it, it will make the recharge light flicker…so the solenoid is probably just wore out.

Bubba and Skruffy

Yesterday I spent the day grooming the dogs. With this hot weather, I think they will both enjoy the loss of fur.  I can tell that Bubba is already feeling better, but so is Skruffy.

Hummingbird    Hummingbird

The hummingbird is still protecting “his” bird feeder…only letting his mate use it, chasing away all the others.

Young Scrub Jay

This blue Scrub Jay is a bit younger than the others.  The older ones are very mean, chasing away the doves, even going after the squirrels sometimes.  This younger one is also picked on…but that is how it will learn the trade I reckon.  Since Saturday we have seen two non-native birds which I have not gotten my camera lens on yet.  One is a Parakeet…the other looks like a small Parrot, perhaps a type of Love Bird. They don’t come around very often, and seem to hang out with the finches…but I hope to get a picture of them soon.

We have a number of birthdays in our family in August.  My brother Roger, Sisters Sandy and Patti, and brother-in-law Arny…the only Patti having celebrated hers already, and the other three take place in the next four days.  So HAPPY BIRTHDAY all of you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Trip Memories 2 – some previously unpublished pictures

South Beach Sunset
Yesterday’s post we covered the first part of our Washington trip from the Port Angeles area through La Push.  Today we start with South Beach, were I will start with a panoramic sunset…nothing like a sunset over the ocean, and we had some real nice sunsets in South Beach.
South Beach

South Beach where the campsites have no boundaries, camping is cheap ($7.50 with senior discount), and the campers are as friendly as can be.

South Beach     South Beach

Where people come to walk, fish, relax and just kickback listening to the ocean, basking in 72 degree weather.

South Beach Sunset

And the sunsets can be out of this world…

South Beach Sunset

And we have now exited Olympic National Park…but we have the rest of the Washington Coast and half of the Oregon Coast to go…

Long Beach

Our next stop was at a Casino in Ocean Shores where we were surrounded by Seahawk Fans, but it gave us a chance to do laundry.  Then we had an overnighter in Long Beach (above), and all of our stops from here on out are one-night stops until we reach the Sacramento area.

Long Beach

Besides, after spending all that time with the Seahawk Fans, EVERYONE else looked pretty friendly.

On way to Tillamook

Our next stop was in Tillamook, and we had some nice ocean views…

Tillamook Tillabar

….and some very nice taste buds explosions.

Newport Area

Next we went to Newport, and on the way, Marcia was surprised that we stopped at one of her favorite Ocean views…this little waterfall to the right off-set by the motion of crashing waves all around.

Newport Area

Even the birds enjoyed the view….

Newport Area

And Newport brought our last sunset along the ocean.

Coos Bay Area

On our way to Coos Bay we got a dose of reality again as to what some Ocean Days look like.  Thank goodness we had seen this area back in 2012, but it would have been nice to enjoy to its fullest again this time.


Inland we find I-5 near Roseburg, and we find a couple of covered bridges in the Tri-City area.


And although we had not encountered smoke from the fires yet, we did encounter some helicopters which are fighting the fires.

Nearing Medford

But as we get close to Medford, and on into California, the smoke is thick at times…yep, the fires are bad, real bad.

Nearing Medford

There are many reasons we choose going to Washington and visiting Olympic National Park and cruising down the ocean shores.  We had not been up into Washington like this before, we knew it would be cool, we knew it was doable in four weeks, though five or six or even seven would not have been enough to get a full feel of it all.  But high on the list was that it would get us out of the heat, and had we known that so many fires were going to blow up in the areas, staying away from the fires would have been high up there too.  Along the ocean the fire dangers were there, but not as high as east of I-5 was. Overall, we enjoyed the trip immensely, and are in awe of that which has been provided to us for enjoyment.  Next trip will be a number of week away as we spend time with family, and with mom’s surgery next week.  But something tells me that our next trip might also be along the coast…because I am fairly sure these fires will still be burning….

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trip Memories – some previously unpublished pictures

Heart of the Hills Campground

Tall trees of Heart of the Hills Campground.  We will remember this place for the high trees, thick brush, and secluded from society’s mad rush. The trees bring with them birds and small ground squirrels, and shade and coolness which we were seeking.

Heart of the Hills Campground

The thick brush hides fellow campers, muffles most noises, and are fun little places for the ground squirrels to scamper around in.

Victoria Parliament Building

We took one day away from nature and traveled over to Victoria to visit the gardens.  We found ourselves in the middle of a large bustling city, with lots of people, lots of commerce, and capital of British Columbia and all that comes with that. 

Victoria The Empress Hotel

Yes, it was nice to see the gardens, but the other side of the “teeter totter” is the hassle which comes with taking the ferry, driving through big city traffic, and the hustle and bustle of it all.  Victoria is a pretty city though…but not for us.

Klahowya Campground

So back to he wilderness we go, and hide out at Klahowya Campground.  We could have stayed there longer, but I did not want to get shut out of the next, more popular Mora Campground…

Mora Campground

Mora Campground is more popular, but you still feel away from everything…isolated, peace and quiet.  And it is close to the ocean, a river, and not too far from a nice Indian Community.  And….

Mora Campground

…it is deep in the woods too.

Rialto Beach

This is also where we ran into the most logs along the coast…and I will always wonder what a guy in a white shirt and tie is doing out in the middle of this pile of wood taking pictures for.  Take off the tie, roll up the sleeves, and enjoy life man!

La Push Harbor

And over at La Push we had the first of many wonderful sunsets that we enjoyed along the coast.

La Push Harbor

When you have a good sunset, you have so many pictures of it that you can’t use them all.  The harbor picture was in the posting for that day…but this one here did not make it…along with about a dozen or more which are just as good.

La Push Harbor

Like this one here too.  Oh, they can go on and on…but the memory of each is embedded in my memory. Tomorrow, the rest of the story….

Note:  Only two of the above pictures were previously published…there are many many more that remain on the hard-drive…and stored within our memories.

Lemonilla Tillabars

PS:  Sandy had a Lemonilla Tillabar today, and she said they were the best lemon ice cream bar she ever had...Arny got a bite, I know how he feels....