Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Escaped Houston, TX, now stuck in Breaux Bridge, LA

Never never returning to Houston.  They have the worst road signage I have seen in the whole country and people there drive like they are in the Indy 500.  Yikes.

Now, yesterday there was this huge clap of thunder very close to me, right over my head.  I was in the van catching up on Facebook when it happened.  It felt like my heart tried to jump right out of my chest.  I continued what I was doing while waiting out the storm.  It was raining very hard so no point even thinking about driving, and I was a wreck from the trauma of escaping Houston.

I didn't think much of the thunder but later I noticed when my house batteries showed a low charge level, and I started the car to boost it... nothing happened.  No charge was coming through from the solenoid to the house batteries.  Whoops, with no sun in sight for a few days so I could get a charge off the solar panels, this is not good.

Called for help on Facebook and soon, friend Phoenix Hagar responded and talked me through the trouble-shooting phase of the problem.  It was getting dark.  I had checked for loose connections and anything else that could be wrong.  While chatting with Phoenix about this, with the engine off now, I hear this clicking on and of and on and off under the hood.   The engine is off and so the solenoid should have switched off and should not be making any noise???  Jumped out to look, and on the side of the current solenoid is a little black box... and it had a green light on it going on and of and on and off... kinda crazy like.  I was pretty sure by then that the close lightening had damaged the switch... and thinking that can't be good, I disconnected the positive cable going from starter battery to the solenoid.

Then Phoenix suggested putting my jumper cable on between the starter and house batteries to charge them back up a bit.  I did that for 20 min.  Got it up some, but it did not hold all night, with both a 12v freezer and 12v fridge on the system (and me watching some dvds to unwind)... and this morning was only 12.02.  It's 13.29 on the jumper cable with van running right now.  Auto parts store is 15 minutes away.

I'm off to an auto parts store to by a new continuous duty solenoid and install it.  That will be my third one.  Do others have them go out that often... six years?  I am also putting a heavy duty inline fuse in.  One was installed on the first one (installed by Sportsmobile of Austin, TX in 2009), and then it went bad, and Steve Spence suggested one which I ordered and he was kind enough to walk me through that install.  Ended up not using the inline fuse for that one, and I forgot why.  So with the new one, I am installing this near the house batteries, on positive coming off the new solenoid.  (Clear as mud right?)

And then maybe it will stop raining and I can see if the solar is still working???

There goes my gas money!!   (now to unpack the storage area under my bed and find my volt meter and electrical stuff and tools)

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.