No Full Throttle Sloonshine.. It didn’t get delivered to the liquor store today.. So, I may try some Viognier Wine and see what that is all about. AND, I found a 30 pack of Genny Light at the liquor store too.. First time I have seen in in the south, since I moved down here 15 years ago.. May have one or two of those as well..
Our generator has been broken for over a week. This is largely because almost nobody in Arizona services Generac generators (something I would have liked to know before purchasing this rig) and because D, try as he might, is lacking the facility out here at Imperial Dam to lower said gennie from its casing down to the ground. The only way out is STRAIGHT down and that’s just not happening in the absence of a transmission jack that can squish down to like 3” tall. Good job making all the important mechanical parts totally inaccessible, Generac. Yeesh.
We consulted some mechanically-minded friends and they seem to think the motor has seized up, which is a very realistic possibility. Even if it’s just the starter that’s busted, that’s over $400. So, chances are we will buy a new unit entirely. But we’re thinking of going smaller, because we’ve realized over the course of this past week and change that….we really don’t need a generator as much as we thought.
Seriously, after Day 5 I was almost like, “Who cares?”
So we can’t microwave anything. The nutrients in all our food are rejoicing. And we can’t wash our clothes with our washer/dryer. Annoying, but not something we were terribly diligent about in the first place, plus there is always hand-washing or laundromats. We can’t watch TV, but we never really did that anyway. We’ve got the 400 watt inverter wired into the DC power up front, so it’s a round robin of charging our electrical devices all day; we make it work. And…we have to turn the chassis battery on and fire up the engine on our little motorhome for an hour or two a day to keep our three coach batteries topped off while I charge my computer. Meh. Seriously, costs are down because we’re not draining fuel through gennie usage. Power consumption is down, which hasn’t been a burden yet, plus yay for the environment. I do kind of miss the toaster but I’ve found some workarounds. For all the modifications/irritations…so far it’s actually working just fine.
Realistically I know that if it were this easy, everyone would do it. We’ve also benefited from sub $2 gas prices (now on the climb, ugh) and just enough wind that we can survive an 87 degree day without needing A/C. Conditions have been undeniably favorable. This is, knock on wood, not the crisis I’d imagined it would be.
This non-crisis is brought to you by the following items:
- Our inverter. D bought a 400 watt Cobra inverter over 10 years ago and it’s still kicking ass. 400 watts isn’t a lot, so we’ve gotten our hands on a 1500 watter — but that means bigger power draw, etc. It has greater requirements to keep it running smoothly, so it’s not installed yet. So far, the smaller one has us covered.
- This 6” car fan by Schumacher. Again I benefit from having a husband who doesn’t care about cannibalizing the innards of our old defunct front TV cabinet to drill a new 12v receptacle and jack it into our current system. It comes with a clamp and beats the heat. For $12 at Walmart, we bought 2 extra just in case.
- D’s Craftsman portable fan that runs on the same 19.2 volt batteries as “Dutch” the drill, the sawzall, a band saw, and our brightest flashlight, as well as a host of other tools he invested in over a decade ago. It doesn’t appear they even sell this anymore, but it’s been a tremendous asset. The fact that you can point it up or down also saves fat, hot corgis from overheating on 90 degree days.
- New lighting hacks! We STILL need to invest in an LED lighting upgrade, but in our current situation, even those would draw unnecessary power off our coach batteries. D got a wild hair up his ass back in Redlands about spending a few bucks on LEDs that run off AA batteries — and we have been maximizing the heck out of what we bought. First there are these LED tap lights that aren’t very bright, but definitely do the job. We placed one under the cabinet above the kitchen sink, one in the bathroom above the toilet, and one of either side of the bed. They take three AAs each and cost — get this — $4 for all four of them. Our other purchase was a set of two GE Wireless Remote Control LED light bars. Both lights and the light switch run on AAs, no wiring required. They’re brighter than the taps and we’ve mounted them on the ceiling — one over the main living area and one in the “hallway” outside the bathroom. So far it’s proving to be worth the $26. And where do we get our batteries? Costco has a 40 pack of AAs for $15/ Perhaps in the future we’ll get all rechargeables, of maybe we’ll just swap out 12v LEDs out for LEDs as originally planned. Either way, I’m interested to see how long the AAs will last in all of our purchases. That will determine the ultimate value of these back-ups. They’re definitely don’t provide as much light as we would prefer, but we’re not in the dark at least!
- These Capstone motion sensor capable LED lights have also been assisting since we got them at Costco last spring. I keep one back by the bed and D keeps one up front that he sometimes leaves on motion sensor for the evening. They were handy for outdoors at the old RV park (though they were frequently set off by raccoons and skunks), and now they’re handy inside. They run on AAs as well, and one of them finally burned out after a year of use just last Thursday.
- Reflectix insulation. Any RVer will tell you these are a must-have for hot AND cold weather. When it’s hot but not breezy here (like it was last Monday), we put these up to block the blazing sun out of the south side of our truck. The cross-vent it always preferred, but sometimes it’s just better to keep the sun out altogether.
- All our other devices that require very few amps to charge. This little Dirt Devil Easylite — which we bought to clean up bird mess during our hotel stay — charges on mere milli-amps. All our phones and tablets and D’s laptop are low wattage. Even the charger for the 19.2s can juice a lithium brick in 20 minutes when plugged into the 400 watt inverter. Amen for efficient technology.
- And finally, our three on board deep cycle coach batteries. I know there are better ones out there, and ours are all a couple years old, but these guys are hanging in there thanks to the alternator in our chassis. D topped them off with some distilled water to keep them healthy.
I’m certainly no expert at this, but I’m pleased with our ability to finesse this scenario into a seemingly functional system. Still — what would be on my wishlist to pull us out of our current low-light life?
- An Onan generator. Or maybe even a portable Honda 2000 watt-er. I do still think there’s life left in our old girl, but when the time comes to replace, I’m going with a brand any RV repair facility will work on.
Now excuse me while I go hand wash my daily laundry. As far as “glamping” goes, this is roughing it.
Full disclosure: Motorhome on the Range participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that allows members and their websites to earn advertising fees by advertising products and linking to Amazon. If you click on the above Amazon links and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. With that in mind, I only link to products I know, use, and/or personally endorse. All opinions about linked and advertised products are my own.