Saturday, January 26, 2013

The RV Blues

You know how sometimes you get the blues, well LivelyRV has them now.

There are many challenges to living in an RV, especially when doing it fulltime, but one of the worst for me is figuring out all of the systems on the coach, to include the electrical.

The control panel on the RV is where you see what's going on with most of its components such as the electrical system, generator, holding tanks, and other items.
2011 Fleetwood Discovery 40G control panel.
The first time I was introduced to it was when we had our sixty second briefing on its use the day we took delivery of the RV from the dealership.

It can seem a little intimidating  but really it is not and once you get used to it, you will probably wish it had more gauges, indicators, and meters on it to give you better information for everything in your RV.

All of the gauges or meters are important, but probably the most important or used will be the ones for the holding tanks.  On our coach you push a button and it will show you the levels for the black tank, grey tank, fresh water tank, and LP gas tank.  

This way you know when you have to drain the holding tanks or fill the fresh water or LP gas tanks.  You can also tell when your black and grey holding tanks are full when they start backing up into the RV, but that method is not recommended.
Pressing switch to view the RV's tanks statuses.
 I'm not going to go into detail about anything here since this is not a technical blog, but knowing where everything is on your RV such as breakers and switches is a must.

Unfortunately this is easier said than done and the unknown far out weighs the known, for me anyway.

When we first picked up our RV it was July and about 90 degrees outside.  We stayed on the dealerships's RV lot so that we could try it out before we drove it home.

We hook it up and turn on the air conditioner, but there was no air.  I rechecked everything making sure it was hooked up properly, but no air.  It was a Friday night and the dealership was closed by the time we realized we had a problem.

I looked at the user's manual for the RV, but it was so generic, it was no help at all.  I called our salesman who came out at 10 PM to help us and he could not get the air to work either.  So we end up sleeping in the RV with the temperature close to 100 degrees inside.

Well long story short, the thermostat went bad and once it was replaced, we had air, which was the next day.
Thermostat on the control panel in our RV.
The following winter while we were staying in the RV I joked to Misty about how the first time we stayed in it overnight, we roasted and so now watch us freeze to death since this was the first time we were staying in it while it was cold.

Well you know sometimes you need to be carful what you say, because it just might happen and in our case it did.  The heaters would not stay on and we shivered all night in 28 degree temperatures.

The next day I got a service rep out to the RV and they figured out that the new thermostat, that was replaced last July, had not been programmed for heat, so the fix was simple, but at the time, I did not know what to do.

It also seems anytime we lose power, the circuit breaker box is not the source of the problem, but it is something like fluctuating power coming from the service line or the switch is not working properly that switches the power from the generator or shore power or the inverters.
So far, the breaker box is rarely the culprit when we lose power.
 So this morning when I woke up, we had no power and the house batteries were down to 10 volts, which is not good.  Even though I showed 220 volts coming in from the pole, it was not getting into the RV.  I checked all the breakers, fuses, resets, ground faults, and anything else I could find, but no luck.

I had to run our generator all day, but it still seemed our batteries where not charging until I started the engine and the only way I could get 110v to the outlets inside the RV was to turn on the inverter, which is not right.

So tomorrow a friend and I will embark on a fact finding misson to see if we can determine what the problem is with the power or lack of.  Wish us luck and say a prayer please.

I did get the power from the pole to be recognized once again and the batteries seem to be charging, but if we lose power again tonight, then not only will we feel blue, but will be blue from the cold.

Until next time, we hope God keeps your power on.

Don, Misty, and Kids...


  1. Everyone, I just wanted to post an update on our power situation. After posting on FMCA's forum about the problem I received some info on how to properly reset the inverter on the coach and sure enough, that was the problem. We now have shore power and everything seems to be working as usual.

    Thanks to everyone who replied back to us in one way or another on our problems!


  2. Glad to hear that your blues had been fixed. Recently we had a leak coming from the slide lock. We have not fixed it yet but we are keeping an eye on it, the joy of RVng.
    Also I stumbled on this blog which you can relate to, but with 12 kids in an RV!

  3. We are happy too to have full power back. I think that the relay is still messed up and will fail or stick again, but hopefully next month when we put the RV in the shop for a small leak we have, I will get them to check out all of the electrical components.

    I have not read the story about the 12 kids in an RV yet, but Misty has and keeps asking me to read it soon. It just gives her more fuel on us having more kids.

    I hope you get your leak figured out soon and fixed.