Thursday, July 9, 2009

DC Power Seems So Simple . . .

So, does anyone out there know how to fix 12 volt DC power in an old camper?

I should rephrase that, because, I've found out this evening, there are plenty of people who do indeed know how to do this. But as soon as they start talking about flow meters, solenoids, wiring diagrams and such, I have to surrender. I'm like Dave Barry -- I wish engineers would design products so that when something breaks the offending part, once spotted, waves a tiny little "Help Me!" sign to I know what part needs to be fixed.

I can go the Traditional Guy Route: Replacing the most obvious part -- in this case, the battery -- and hoping for the best. But I'm not optimistic that'll work. I charged the old battery for a few hours last night, plugged it into the camper and voila, we had light. So I thought last night that things were ducky again. But no. Got home from work tonight, unlocked the camper, flicked a switch, and nothing. Nothing at all. So I unhooked the battery and got into the fuse box. Nothing visibly wrong there, except for the rust, which you have to expect in a 23-year-old camper with the fuse box on the exterior. So I've got the battery charging again. I don't know what to think. It's quite likely that the battery is bad. But then again, it's quite likely that it's something else entirely.

The online forums are no help at all. For all my web experience, I can't seem to ask the right question. And there are so many answers out there, all of them a bit different, filled with jargon and spiked with comments like, "If you do this wrong you'll blow yourself up. Let me know what you're going to do before you do it. I'm worried for you." I suspect, since in that particular case, since the puestion-power never reported on his task that he either blew himself up or took the camper to a repair shop that charged him an exorbitant fee to set things right.

Thing is, we already fixed something on the camper this year -- had to replace the propane valve. Did it myself. And that's bad, because now the wife assumes I can fix anything else. And I can't. And since she's got a camping itch for this weekend, I've got to come up with some results or I will not be long for this world.

I know. Petty problems, given the strife that so many go through in life. I don't have bullets flying at me, I'm not starving, I'm not being persecuted. But still, it's a frustration.

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