132. Just Too Much Excitement. Not.

Here’s my power setup in the Cummins parking lot for the weekend.


Shown is my connection from the 15 Amp power outside box on the Cummins building. It’s one of 3 outlets installed by Cummins for 3 motorhomes spaces to accommodate RVs. Select Cummins facilities are specifically designated as “Cummins Coach Care” facilities. One of “Coach Care’s” set of specific services setting it apart from just being a diesel shop is that they will handle RV system issues which specifically include all internal electrical power from the electric power outlets in the RV to the inverters, transfer switches etc.

So this is what the electrician installed to handle responding RVs. Presumably Cummins specified this. I’m not aware of a single diesel powered RV, now or ever, that doesn’t require at least 30 amp service and probably 95% require 50 amp service. Kind of makes one wonder if Cummins knows what “Coaches” are.

I had nothing available to utilize a 15 amp outlet. I can run on 30 amp with an adapter which just means I have reduced power availability inside. I need to be careful then to monitor how many high draw items are on at the same time (air conditioners, electric hot water heater, toaster, hair dryer, microwave etc). I have the adapter to go from 30amp at the pedestal to my 50amp Coach service. So I went to Walmart to buy a 15amp to 30amp adapter. Shown above is the (blue) 15amp adapter from Cummins outlet connected to my (yellow) 30amp to 50 amp adapter further connected to my (black) 50 amp energy management box(to assure Cummins’ wiring is OK and does surge or drop) and finally to my coach’s 50 amp cord. I reset my inverter to show 15 amp availability of charging power (can’t afford to blow a circuit breaker which is inaccessible inside a locked building for the weekend). I can’t run any air conditioning which isn’t a problem as it snowed last night. No electric heater nor my heat pumps (my normal heat source when outside temps are 45 degrees or higher), no microwave (should be able but marginal and can’t afford to blow a circuit breaker inside the bldg), no elect blanket, toaster etc. My household frig works just fine so my ice cream and steaks stay frozen😎, as well as lights, TVs etc and my Coach batteries stay fully charged. I’m toasty warm as my heat (and hot water) are via AquaHot, the diesel boiler, which easily provides more than sufficient and very even heat utilizing just a small internal fan to move the air (less draw than a small home oscillating fan). So all is fine except for the looks of spaghetti hanging outside the rig.

That was the complicated way of saying my whole rig, and everything that’s electric about it including the charger that keeps the 4 coach batteries full, is plugged into the same outlet that your alarm clock is plugged into. And though you may have many such outlets, they are probably grouped through numerous circuit breakers – which this one isn’t. And I have no generator to fall back on. There, now you know more than you wanted to and I found something to write about!😂😂

Mon., 5/3/21

Day of reckoning. Pulled the motorhome back into the Cummins shop after waiting out the weekend. Added coolant to the overflow tank. Much better but still two small leaks. Highlighted them, got in the car and brought the tank back to the auto body shop to see if they can work on making it leakproof a bit more. They’re going to try and then I’ll sit overnight again to let things ‘cure’ and we’ll see tomorrow morning if I have success.

The problem coolant overflow tank. The yellow cap is the top/handle of the oil dipstick that travels thru a tube from the upper right corner of the tank and exits the lower right corner – which is where the remaining leak is.
The exit at the bottom right, now patched again. It would be a more effective fix if somehow that patch could be inside the tank and around the inserted tube. Will let it cure overnight and tomorrow see if the leak has been stopped.

Tues., 5/4/21

Hooray! Pulled the rig back into the stall this morning. The tank hold water except for a tiny leak way at the top, above the top of the fill line, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Mechanic hooked it back up and we ran the generator and put it under load. It didn’t shut down and it did produce power. 😁 The parts guy found a replacement at the ElPaso Cummins but it’s part of the reserved stock for the US Border Service. The Border Service is being consulted and if they OK it, it’ll be sent to Cummins Horseheads and they’ll let me know. I’ll put in on my CCard and have them Fed Ex to wherever I’m at. There’s little doubt that the repaired tank will again fail.

Went into the office to pay. I’ve been in and out of their bays 4 times, they removed the tank, reinstalled it, removed it again and reinstalled it and then buttoned the generator all up. All of this due to an old and disintegrating part. Four nights of ‘camping’ in their lot and using electricity. Total charge – $0.00.

Total was another miserable rainy foggy day. I had planned to snoop around the Finger Lakes but with the delays and the weather I changed my mind. Sharon & I wandered around there probably 20 yrs ago. I headed instead to Lockport, NY, a few miles east of Niagara Falls. Lockport is on the Erie Canal and is named for the once Flight of Five Locks running through downtown. Those locks later were replaced by 2 large locks. Unusual to have the canal and locks in a city. Many city cross streets have draw bridges. In the late summer it must be a bit of a pain, but also a charm(?), as so many Great Loop vessels take this route on their way to Lk Mich., Chicago, Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. I am staying in the Elks Campground for two nights. Four nice sites in total, level concrete pads and 30 amp service plus water. Wide open grassy area and I can see the ‘canal’ from my site – well I can see the raised banks which form the canal. Too early in the season to see boats.


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5 thoughts on “132. Just Too Much Excitement. Not.”

      1. Oh i didnt know that, but its been while since i have specd out generators. Onan probably still keeps their electrical genious elves in house. Clearly, they did not do the rv thinking at the rv welcome center at cummins. Big corps have a way of being that way. Sadly. You wrote it up so well, you might as well send it to them! And im sure im wrong about the tank, its prob fiberglass…whatever…duct tape while its dry isnt a bad idea but its prob remounted. You dont need my help. Im just enjoying your story!

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  1. Heat resistant duct tape to keep that together? How hot in there? I see the tank looks like a thermo plastic? Exact material specs could lead you to a MSDS data sheet & also its thermal perfomance. Its perhaps a thermal issue causing the tank failure as it is a blocky shape failing at edges. Onan could replace this with a better vessel design if its consistently failing in this structurally predictable pattern.
    Fairly simple. Mere McDonald’s toy design complexity required after the material is selected. In the meantime, gently reinforcing the edges and corners of the thing with duct tape is unlikely to make it worse. You could spend $1 in the sporting goods area on an emergency heat reflective blanket to cut up to cover the tank and yes deflect heat. If you do, wrap up the fills and drains too for a ways away to make sure theres no sudden hot/cool change that could cause a (another imo likely) thermal stress fracture. That’s all the duct tape I’ve got. Good Luck!
    Bubba

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    1. Reading this thru, now I recognize who Bubba is. Guessing I can identify less than 20% who follow and then there are those who just
      ‘Find’ a blog post and drop in.

      I don’t know what the material those tanks are built with but some form of plastic (no fibers). I think they are weakened by age and heat exacerbated by two forms of vibration, chuck holes/general road conditions and the constant vibration of the generator when run for 1, 2 – 4, 5,6 hours at a time. The vendor I brought it to for plastic welding was concerned how it might hold up and so used 2 part epoxy patches over the welds to help reinforce. At least it’s not pressurized.

      I can’t add tape etc to the outside of the tank as it would increase the outside dimensions. The tank in place is bolted in place thru the genset cover which is relatively air tight as part of the system that forces air being sucked thru the little radiator. With just the little epoxy on the side, the bolt hole no longer lined up and the corresponding holes in the cover had to be elongated letting in more air in the wrong place.

      Am guessing I’ll be able to get a brand new tank within weeks and if this holds up, I can keep the new as a spare. If this one fails first, I just won’t be able to use the generator and then if I want power, I’ll need a campground.

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