Two More Days … Was it too Much to Ask?

Saturday, 10 August 2014
Gulf Waters RV Resort  — Port Aransas, Texas
Temps: Hi 89F (32C) / LO 82F (28C)

Two days — actually, a day and a half — and Mui would have been home to deal with this afternoon’s electrical emer-
gency.  But no, the transfer switch had to short out today, leaving me powerless — in the ways that matter on a Texas summer day … NO A/C.

Before I tell the story of my emer-
gency … let me assure you that all is well now.  The A/C is on and has already cooled the coach down to a comfy temp.

The Automatic Transfer Switch is the open box with all the wires and other geegaws.      

It all started with a power flicker.  It didn’t last long, and the control panel immediately showed the system in inverting mode.  I had a general idea of what to do, but got on the phone with Mui to verify the steps with him first.  Luckily, he was at dinner with his mother, and I was able to reach him … a few more hours and he would have been asleep.

After confirming with the GWRVR office that the power wasn’t off throughout the resort, I set to work.  I shut off the 50A breaker and started the generator to get the A/Cs going.  The system showed inverting.  I waited.  The status did not change.  In the meantime, I asked the campground handyman to change out the 50A breaker.  When that was done, I turned off the generator and plugged into shorepower again.  No go; still not budging from inverting.  OK, let’s try the 30A breaker.  Still no go.  I shut the inverter off, and powered it up again … nope, no change.  I even checked the fuses; no problem there.  I suspected the problem might be with the automatic transfer switch, but since I wouldn’t be able to do anything to resolve it if that was indeed the problem, I didn’t open the box … some things are better left to the professionals.

My big issue was the A/Cs of course.  Can’t live without them in the sweltering August heat here in Texas … not even at the beach.  Both units were clicking on, but that was it … no air.  I called a fellow-Phaetonite to see if he had any thoughts.  He verified the steps I had taken, and came to the same conclusion I had — time to call an electrician … and on a Sunday to boot!

You can clearly see the short in the transfer box in this close-up.

I gathered my laptop and cellphone, and sought refuge at the GWRVR office where I could at least work in air-conditioned comfort.  The first call went to voice mail; I left a message.  The second company didn’t answer at all.  The third one — Southern Style RV Service — answered.  The tech was booked solid, but the lady on the phone asked me to explain the problem and what I had done, and promised to call the tech — who, it turns out, is her husband.  She called back a few minutes later … “Dale considers having no A/C an emergency, but he can’t be there until 4:00p,” she said.  No problem, I can hangout for another two hours at the office.  In the meantime, I started searching for a hotel — plan B in the event I couldn’t remain in the rig overnight.

Dale showed up shortly before 4:00p.  He listened to my description of the issue and the steps I had taken to rectify it; he looked at the inverter; and then — just as I expected — he checked out the transfer switch box.  Yup … there it was — the short that was the cause of my problems.  Since friends had experienced a similar problem earlier this year, I was hopeful that Dale would be able to do a by-pass to get power into the rig to run the A/Cs.  And that’s exactly what he did.  Half an hour later, I was signing my name on the dotted line for today’s work — payment to be made after Dale completes the installation of the new automatic transfer switch I’ll be ordering from Tiffin first thing tomorrow morning.  Expedited shipping should have the switch here in a couple of days, and all should be back to normal soon after that.

The cables Dale disconnected to by-pass the transfer switch are capped
and waiting to be reconnected when the new automatic transfer switch arrives.

Phew!  Could have been worse, I suppose.  But I still would have preferred not having to deal with this little emergency today.  I can’t say enough good things about Southern Style RV Service.  Turns out, Dale and his son — if Dale’s the surgeon, his son is the surgical nurse — were working on some rigs somewhere south of San Antonio when they got my call.  He could have just said he couldn’t make it down to work on the Phaeton.  But no; he drove all the way back to Port Aransas to help me out.  I appreciate it — especially since he’s going to have to return to San Antonio to finish the job up there.

Considering this is my first time alone in the rig, I remained surprisingly calm in the face of today’s little emergency.  Yes, I did utter a few choice words at first, but then I buckled down to getting the problem resolved.  I think I even managed to impress Dale with my succinct summary of the problem and what I’d done to diagnose the issue.  Too bad this blog post isn’t just as concise ;-)

Today’s experience was yet another reason to be glad I am in the familiar surroundings of GWRVR.  Peter, the handyman, had checked on me just yesterday to make sure all was well in Mui’s absence, and he stopped by several times today to make sure things were progressing smoothly towards resolving the electrical issue.

And, knowing that our Texan friends, the Zs, were just a phone call away helped my peace of mind immensely.  I knew they weren’t above hopping in the car and coming down to GWRVR had I asked them to do so.  It’s nice to have people around who sincerely care.

As for Mui — he proved himself to be his usual calm self when I called about the emergency and helped me walk through my diagnostic steps.  Many thanks; but, “get your butt home, Mr Mui” before I have to deal with another emergency — like a full black tank ;-)


On another note … other than today’s emergency, life alone in the rig hasn’t been bad at all.  Until Friday, I was able to maintain my morning and evening walks, but the humidity has been a bit too much for me to venture out for exercise these past couple of days.  I do get to sit in the breezy shade when I take a break from researching and planning for our New Zealand trip — made good headway with a bare-bones plan for South Island … have plenty to discuss with Mui when he returns.

The resident dragonfly of Site 408 entertains me when I sit outside in the breezy shade.

As for Mui … his brother-in-law was laid to rest on Monday.  Since then, he’s done a couple of handyman type projects for his sister while she is busy accepting condolences from the large circle of friends and associates who have been popping in daily.  He begins his return trek to the US with a flight from Ankara around 1:00a CDT tomorrow morning.  If all goes well, he’ll be home around 10:00p — fingers crossed.

25 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! Have to say I am impressed with your aplomb in the face of no AC! you got it all handled just as smoothly as Mui might have done if he were home. Minus the overseas phone call to you, but he still would have had to call the electrician. Good job, Girlfriend!! Glad you are safe, watched over by friends and handymen, and again COOL! We are at the moment in Bonners Ferry Idaho, waiting to cross the border in the morning. It is now 6:40pm and the temp is 97 degrees! Just checked in at home and it is 75 degrees and storming. We are in a casino parking lot with the genny going and the air conditioning on full blast! whew. take care.

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    1. Safe travels ... I think I know where you're heading ;-)

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  2. Good job, Erin. It's amazing what we women can accomplish when we have to. And then there's my very smart friend who says she can fix anything with two tools - a phone and a credit card.

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  3. All of us would have been there in five hours flat, speeding tickets be damned! But you handled it beautifully, and we got to lounge around on a Houston rooftop and see the super moon rise over the city.
    Well done! Off to bed. Domani.

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    1. I spaced out on the super moon rise ... your call should have triggered a reminder. Glad one of us got to enjoy it.

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  4. Congratulations are staying calm and handling this emergency:) No A/C is an emergency for sure in TX. Glad you were able to get a quick fix. It is amazing what we can do when we have to! Hope Mui gets there safely and can tackle that black tank flush for you!!!

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  5. Wow, very impressed indeed. I think you handled that very well, I don't think I could have managed that in quite the same manner.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  6. Erin that you were able to get someone to bypass the transfer switch for you. Also, way to stay calm. I'm sure that I would have been pretty flustered, to say the least.
    Also, don't forget about the TRVN forum. Those folks are very helpful when you have a problem such as this one.
    Wishing for Mui's speedy return to you.

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    1. Thanks .. I was looking for the TRVN password when the electrician arrived ... yes, the forum is a good place to get answers. Might still post there to see if anyone has thoughts on why the ATS short would have kept the system in inverting mode.

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  7. Way to go Erin! Good job of handling that electrical emergency. You may have been sweltering in the heat, but you kept a cool head.

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  8. Looks like you handled the situation with aplomb! Better be careful or you will end of as the to go to person for these emergencies:).

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  9. Flushing the black tank is a cake walk compared to the electrical stuff.

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    1. Yeah ... and probably easier than dealing with the extended insurance people as well ;-)

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  10. Geçmiş olsun, neyseki sorunun çözülmüş.

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  11. Great job, Erin! If you need any help in the next couple of days or want to go out and do something, I could drive down to Port Aransas. (Not working until Thursday.)

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    1. Thx, Susan ... I'm doing chores today ... cooking/cleaning ... before Mui gets home tonight. Appreciate the offer, though.

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  12. You are much better at that type of emergency than I. It is very nice that you were in familiar surroundings. I am so glad to read that you found a very reliable company and that Dale could fix the issue so fast. We know how it is to be in Texas and not have A/C. It happened to us our first year on the road...yuck.

    Saying a prayer for Mui's safe return. I am sure you two will have a few cocktails and talk into the wee hours of the morning.

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    1. If he makes it home ... right now his flight shows an hour's delay, which might make getting to Hobby for his CRP flight a challenge ... fingers crossed.

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  13. Just goes to show you can work (and survive) outside your comfort zone. Great job on defeating Murphy! :c)

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  14. Well done for sure. You handled it fabulously! Watch out Mui this girl is great on her own. With FHU, the black tank is no problem. But I know you want Mui home even with the crisis taken care of. Safe travels to him.

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  15. well done Erin! you handled the whole process like a pro!..now as for the black tank?..I am sure that will be a piece of 'cake' for you!!

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  16. Great job, now did Mui get home before the black tank was full. Now we know who to call if we need anything while at GW, glad they were able to get a temp fix for the problem, I can imagine how hot it would be with out the AC.

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    1. Yup ... Mui made it in time to empty the black tank ... with two days to spare ;-))

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  17. I would not know for sure if I was on your shoes. But being in familiar grounds helped eased your anxiety. Well done and you must be proud of yourself.

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