Day 3, 4 and 5 at Newmar – “The Dance”

Haha – the entry steps required a new motor! We were right! Both the motor and connections are exposed to the elements so, apparently, this time, all connections have been sealed with silicone.

Well, they left the most difficult and most puzzling problem to the last!

SOME BACKGROUND

Plugging into 50 amp service is perfect! Plugging into 30 amp is o.k.! Not plugging in – known as “dry camping” or “boondocking” is challenging and stressful (for moi)!

When dry camping we’re relying on our 8 house batteries to keep us “powered”.  Being “powered” is kept to a minimum – I don’t do laundry; rarely microwave; lights are turned off when not required; etc. The residential fridge/freezer/icemaker is what takes the most juice and needs to keep running uninterrupted.

Another feature of the coach is the Automatic Generator Start (“AGS”) which is set to automatically start the generator when the battery levels drop, runs long enough to charge the batteries to full capacity, then shuts itself off.

Monitoring and reporting on all of these features is the “Silver Leaf” computer panel. The pic below is the “Home Screen”.

Silver Leaf - Home Screen

Silver Leaf – Home Screen

THE PROBLEM

When dry-camping the batteries are lasting about 2 hours and then everything dies – including the fridge – and the AGS isn’t kicking in! We believe this is a problem. We know this is a problem.

THE EVIDENCE

Over seventy-five I-PHONE photos of the Silver Leaf computer panel documenting the error’s, the monitoring stats, the amp usage and the power failures.

Note to self: this saved our butts!

WELCOME TO “THE DANCE”

ACT I [Day 3]

We didn’t venture too far off the service property since there were so many different tech’s reviewing the problem and all with different questions.

Do you want to see some pictures?

O.K.

The general consensus was that the photos were indeed puzzling, the problem “never before seen”, and possibly – “human operating error occurred” – compounded by “batteries are not covered under warranty”.

We need to speak to the Service Manager (“SM”)…

ACT II [Day 4]

SM: Mr. & Mr. Johnson – I understand we have a problem… What do you think is the problem?
C: That’s your job to tell us what the problem is and we don’t think your people have sufficiently diagnosed the problem.
All hands are pointing to the batteries – but what part does the inverter play in this?
What part does the silver leaf play in this?
SM: …says a lot of stuff…
C: Do you want to see some pictures?
SM: O.K.
C: It starts on March 12th – in Lafayette, LA. Check out these screen shots.
SM: Wait – go back.
What’s this one?
How come I’ve never seen these before?
Can you e-mail these to me?
I want to send these to the Silver Leaf people and get them involved.
C: Sure – it will take some time.
They’re on my i-phone and I can e-mail about 4 at a time. There’s over 75 pictures!
SM: That’s o.k. Send them all.

ACT III [Day 4]

Conference call – 90 minutes later.  Participants:  Silver Leaf/Newmar/Chuck

More questions!

ACT IV [Day 5]

SM: Good Morning… Well, there were a couple more conference calls and we spent a lot of time on this last night reviewing your photos and I learned a lot also!
We’re going to replace your battery bank and replace a module on the silver leaf that monitors the AC/DC battery currents.
We’ve brought in Tom, our silver leaf specialist, and he’s going to review the on-board computer (the “black box”) and check all your settings.  Would you like him to spend some time with you going over the silver leaf functionality?

C&J: That would be great!

SM: We would also like you to stay the weekend and do some dry camping to test out the batteries and the AGS.  Is that o.k.?

C&J: Not a problem – we’re supposed to be in Grand Rapids Monday morning but we will call and reschedule.

SM: Then we’ll see you back here Monday morning and we’ll take it from there…

Will there be an Act V or is this The End?  Stayed Tuned!

 

 

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2 Responses to Day 3, 4 and 5 at Newmar – “The Dance”

  1. Jennifer says:

    WOW! Dad’s passion for taking pictures of everything finally paid off! I always remember laughing at him for taking pictures of the odometer and the gas pump and the clock on road trips!

    On a completely different note it’s probably warm enough for you to return to Ontario now … we set up the back deck furniture today because it is so nice! Hope things worked out perfectly with your weekend of boondocking!

  2. Jeanne Koselek says:

    Glad they are taking responsibility for the problem. Hope it is now working okay and your fridge is still “fridging”. It pays off to keep records, especially pictures. Good for you guys.
    Nice warm day here today. 19 and sunny. Neighbours and Gil are all out doing yard work. I’m in here on the couch with my box of Kleenex and watching the Masters on TV.

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