Trailer Battery Woes

dead-batteries.jpgAfter testing the generator last week, I was all proud of breathing life back into the trailer’s electrical system courtesy of our new power source. Good figures are usually diminished by a big BUT, which in this case involved the trailer’s twin golf cart batteries; BUT they were both suffering from internal leakage resulting in overnight discharge.

My neighbor loaned me a battery tester, so I put a load on each six volt battery and found them to be virtually DOA. I called around town to get the best price for replacements and found that NAPA had the best deal.

The Better Half and I took the old batteries to trade in on the new ones that we acquired this afternoon. Back at the trailer, I installed the new ones and tested them with the neighbor’s load box and they seem to be fine.

Just to be sure, I will take the generator back across the road tomorrow and give the new batteries a fresh charge before going back on to the regular monthly charging schedule. Because of the construction going on at the house, we cannot take off in the trailer until all that work is done. We are, however, anxious to head out somewhere this late spring and summer. Wanderlust.

Construction Update VI

RV Utility Hookups

As I predicted last week, the completion of the rough hookups for the RV drive took place on Friday. The Better Half is not pleased with the appearance of the rough installation and neither am I.

I believe these can be improved such as to have a low-profile appearance. First. we will make sure that the electrical box is painted to match the wall. Next, the sewer hookup will be trimmed to be flush with the concrete after it gets poured.

Last, we were asked if we wanted a hose bib hookup; when we learned that it would only be a few bucks more, we said ‘yes.’ That was before we saw how ugly the copper wrapped with electrical tape (to conform with some code somewhere) would look. Either they take the whole thing away or they make it look a lot more unobtrusive than it does.

We’re gonna get this done right, one way or another. Clickable image.

Generator Break-In and Power/Load Test

Power Test

Today, I decided to get the new generator going. I added a half quart of oil and filled the 3½ gallon fuel tank. I turned on the fuel valve, put on the choke, switched the ignition to ‘on’ and pulled the start cable. A after hearing a gratifying putt-putt-putt, I pushed in the choke and the engine purred. It was so quiet that The Better Half, who was inside the house at the time, did not hear the generator.

After the initial run, I took the generator across the road to the trailer and hooked the 30 amp electric cable up. I re-started the generator which was still warm and it purred right along.

I went inside the trailer to check the vital signs. Everything looked good on the various system panels. The radio played, lights came on and the refrigerator started up when I switched it on. I opened the pop-out on the side of the trailer which runs on the 12 volt buss.

Now for the load test. I activated the air conditioning unit, got out of the trailer and went back by the generator. When the A/C compressor kicked in, the red overload light came on for an instant and the engine RPM dipped momentarily, but after the surge, the generator continued at normal RPM and took the load just fine.

After the load test, I turned all the systems off except for the battery charger unit and let the generator run for another two hours while we kept an eye on things from the house. The generator runs so quietly that we would have to walk across the road and toward the trailer before we could tell an engine was running.

Following DrJim’s advice, I marked the calendar to run the generator every thirty days or so, while charging the trailer batteries (assuming it has been idle) and marked another anniversary event to change the oil.

We are pleased with our generator purchase. Clickable image above.

Wheels for the Generator


The generator arrived last week, but we still have not fired it up. I wanted to add the optional swivel wheel kit before adding fluids to the generator.

I installed the wheel kit yesterday and asked a neighbor to help me lift the generator into the truck bed. The next step is to fill the sump with oil, put some gas in the tank and fire the generator up.

After initially running the generator, I will shut it down, drive the truck across the road and hook it up to the trailer to start charging the batteries. I may also test the generator under the maximum load with the trailer’s air conditioner activated.

I took this photo of the generator in the truck bed this evening. On the far side of the front panel is the adapter that converts the generators 30kVA outlet to the 30 amp connector configuration common to most RVs. Clickable image.

Panoramic View of New Front Wall

Panoramic View of Front Wall

Now that the basic construction of all the walls is complete except for paint, I went out front today and snapped three images which I combined into this panoramic image of the front of the property. The total frontage of the lot is about 160 feet and, as you can see, the wall only extends to the point where we believe we won’t need to worry about runoff erosion. Clickable image - scroll across the image to see the entire frontage in the viewer.

On the left side of the image, to the west, there is a short wall which defines the entrance to the RV drive along with the curved segment of the long wall.
For a closer view of the RV drive entrance, click on the link.

At the rear of the house, the electrical and plumbing hookups should be complete this week. The trench may then be filled and prepped for the concrete crew which is scheduled for the first week in April.

Construction Update V

RV Drive

The Better Half was up on the hill overlooking the RV drive yesterday and took this photo of the work in progress from there. The retention wall along the back of the drive is seen in the foreground and the runoff diversion wall is at the far end of that. The trench for the RV utilities has been dug across the drive from the wall to the house.

All of the masonry work is done at this point and the next steps will be to get the RV hookups installed, refill the trench, and start the grading in preparation for the concrete driveway. The (clickable) image above could have served as a ‘before’ shot of the work to be done except that it is more of a ‘during’ shot.

TBH and I will be working on some landscape details now that the walls in front of the house are complete. I will post more on our progress in that effort later.

What’s For Dinner?


The Better Half and I liked our bacon-wrapped asparagus so much the last time we had it, we upped the ante and had it again along with grilled bacon-wrapped top sirloin steaks served with a nice baked sweet potato. I guess we couldn’t figure out how to bacon wrap the spud, so, this is what we had today.

We actually did not eat the entire meal, but saved about half of it for later in the week at lunchtime, as is our custom these days. TBH fixes weekend food with leftovers in mind for later. She does the kitchen magic and I try to keep up with her on the grill or in the smoker. Clickable image.

Construction Update IV

When we contracted for walls and to pave the RV drive, we also asked that the electric and sewer utility hookups be extended to the far side of the drive. That would place them on the same side as the RV hookups when entering the drive from left to right.

Right: one minute video of back hoe digging trench

Our masonry guys dug the trench from where the current electrical and sewer hookups are situated. The trench goes eight feet toward the drive and then to the right toward the center of the new back wall another twenty feet or so.

Once the rough electrical and sewage are in place, the trench will be refilled to prepare for grading prior to paving the drive. When the hookups are finished, they should be unobtrusive, the sewer hookup on a raised concrete pad and the electric hookup in a flip top box on the back wall painted to match.

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