Charging a AGM Battery

Last week I forgot to Turn of my chassis battery switch. Yesterday I went to check on something in the motor home and the steps would not come out. Nor would the Motor Home start. The chassis (Starter Battery) was dead. I had left the radio and a couple of other things on. Normally I disconnect the battery using the Chassis disconnect switch by the door when I am not going to be using the Motor Home or when it is stored. Senior Moment I guess. I thought no problem I will get the Battery Charger and recharge the battery. Little did I know what I was in for. I hooked up the battery charger and it kept cycling on and off. I checked the terminals and they were clean and the charger was hooked to the correct polarity. Hmm What to do. the battery was almost dead. The battery charger needs 10.5 volts to run. This is a safety feature of the battery charger. Oh well I will use my 10 amp trickle charger. same thing with it. So I decided to remove the battery and bench test and charge it. (what a job). The battery sits way down to the left of and between the radiator and grill, (see Picture below). 


The battery weighs 50 Lbs. I had to bend over the opening and reach way down to unhook the battery using a 10 MM and 6 MM socket and end wrench. I got it all loose and now the hard part getting it out. I bent over the opening with the hood up and started to lift the battery out. It was awkward and heavy, I was barely able to get it up to the lip of the opening, and had to tip it on its side. It was a good thing that it is a sealed AGM battery (which I did not know at the time). After getting it out, that was when I noticed that my right arm was bleeding. The metal fins of the grill just inside the lip opening had cut the inside of my right arm from my elbow to arm pit. (see picture below of fins.

The red arrow shows the metal fins. I doctored my arm and cleaned the cuts and applied some disinfectant. Got the battery on the bench and discovered that it was a AGM Battery. I did not have a AGM Battery Charger and none of the 3 battery chargers would start because the voltage in the battery was almost dead. So I did some reading about AGM batteries. There are 3 methods of charging a Dead AGM Battery when you don’t have a AGM Charger. I will only cover the one that I used.

I took a set of battery cables and hooked to a good wet cell lead acid car battery in my jeep and hooked the other end to the AGM battery making sure pos to pos and neg to neg. I then took my 10 amp automatic battery charger and hooked it to the agm battery. I Left this setup for one hour checking to make sure the battery or the cables were not getting to hot to touch. The voltage from the jeep battery tricked the battery charger in to running because it could see 10.5 volts or more. After an hour I checked the voltage of the AGM Battery, with everything unhooked, making sure I had the 10.5 volts so the charger would work without the jeep battery. I continued charging the AGM Battery until I had at least 12 volts. I checked the wires and the battery to make sure it was not getting to hot to touch. This in case there was a internal short which if badly overheated could cause the battery to explode. I then installed the battery in the motor home and started it up to finish charging it. I did use a piece of carpet over the lip when reinstalling the battery. I learned a couple of lessons today. I also wonder how many people have replaced a AGM battery because they could not get it to charge after being run down.



Computers and Eye Strain

Computers and Eye Strain

I sit for long hours at the computer both day and night. Lately I have noticed that My eyes tear a lot at night while sitting at the computer, and sometimes during the day too. I was having a hard time sleeping after sitting at the computer for several hours at night and sometimes I would have a headache. I happened to run across an article about something called Blue Light and Eye Strain. My Monitor is a Sanyo 26 inch HDTV and even though it has automatic Light adjustment for Day and Night viewing I found it was not enough to protect my eyes from Blue Light. Another symptom was having a hard time going to sleep on many nights and headaches, which I never had before.. In reading the Article, it stated that the blue light fools the body into thinking it is daylight when in fact it could be the middle of the night. It will often time strain the eyes as well as make it hard for you to go to sleep, especially if you have spent long hours at the computer.

What is the answer you may ask. I found a neat little Utility called “F.LUX” for Windows 10 and Linux. What it does is filter out the blue light according to the time of day or not. You set it up according to your Location and it will take care of the filtering according to the time of day or night. There are several other Utilities that do the same. There are other Physical filters that slip on the screen to do the same thing, But I like this handy little utility and it does the job for me. There is also one for Chrome Browser called Midnight lizard that you can add to your chrome browser. The “F.LUX” has been a blessing especially on my Laptop with the glaring white screen. I would suggest that you read up on Blue Light and eye strain. Save Your Eyes.


Arm Rest Console My Latest Motor Home Mod

DSCF0003.JPGI have been wanting to solve 3 minor problems in my 2006 Four Winds Hurricane. First was the controls for my Leveling system. The controls were way down on the left drivers side wall just below the dash. Hard to reach and hard to see. The second problem was no drink or coffee cup holder on the drivers side wall. Yes there was a drink and coffee cup holder on the hump, but it was hard to reach and you had to take your eyes off of the road. The next problem was A place to mount my TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system)

Continue reading “Arm Rest Console My Latest Motor Home Mod”

Installed new Upholstered Cushions for Dinette

About a Month ago in my post about Winter Doldrums

I told about how I was bored and decided that the The Old Cushions and trim in the Motor Home Dinette, were looking a bit ratty and worn, so I took them to the upholstery shop to get recovered. The picture below is how they looked Before they were recovered.

 Old Cushions and Trim

Old Cushions and trim for Dinette Before having them recovered.

A few days ago after almost a month the upholstery shop called and said they were ready to be picked up. So I went and got them day before yesterday and set them on the bed in the spare bedroom. This afternoon when the Sun Finally came out I installed the Cushions and trim. Below is a Picture of what they look like now. DW is happy I am happy and I think they turned out well.

New Re-upholstered Cushions and Trim covered with a heavy material. It should wear well. We are pleased with the results. It was a small Mom and Pop company that we had do the recover job. They were $400 cheaper than any one else. It pays to shop around.





Dash Cam for Motor Home

After a close call with a car that cut in front of me that I missed hitting by inches, I decided it was time to install a Dash Cam looking out the front windshield of the motor home. I wanted one that would run in a continuous loop with plenty of capacity and no batteries to replace. I did not want to spend a fortune on one, but wanted one that had good resolution and a G Impact sensor with a USB, HDMI, And memory slot. I finally chose a Black Box G1W-CB from Amazon for $58 Using prime it was here in 2 days.

This is what came in the kit. I also ordered a 32 GB mini memory card. Next was where to install it. Because it has no batteries it has to have a constant 5 Volt to operate. So I ordered a 12 volt to 5 volt battery adapter with a mini usb connector for the camera. I could have used the Cigarette lighter Adapter that came with it, but did not want a bunch of wires hanging down and blocking my vision. I could also mount it at the bottom of the windshield, but I have a very wide dash and did not want to run wires across it. I decided to hard wire the camera and mount it under the overhead cabinet on the drivers side. I needed a smooth surface to attach it too, using the suction cup mount that came in the kit. I solved the problem by sandwiching 2 pieces of Lexan together for strength, and mounting it on the underside of the overhead cabinet on the drivers side. see picture below.

Camera mounted on the Lexan piece installed on overhead cabinet With power wire wire coming through hole I drilled in back of the cabinet on drivers side.






Picture above is the Map light and speaker enclosure on the left drivers side. I removed the speaker so I could snake power wires from the map light around behind the overhead cabinet to the TV cavity and the battery adapter for the Camera.

This is the  TV cavity in the center of the overhead cabinets, with the LED 32 inch TV removed. You can see the switch and the red and black wire on the left in the TV Cavity. I drilled two holes in the aluminum structure on the left for a switch and a fuse holder. I wanted protection for the camera from stray currents so I installed a fuse holder with a 1.5 amp fuse before the on off switch. I wanted a way to turn the camera off without having to be a gymnast to reach the camera while bending over the steering wheel and ducking under the overhead cabinet. I installed the on off switch in the Cavity, which I can reach from the shelf below the TV. the battery adapter should be here today and I will finish up the job.


LED Reading Light Mod

My 2006 Hurricane Motor Home only came with a Light above the Bed on the overhead cabinet for reading in Bed. I decided it was time to install some decent Lighting for reading while in Bed. I wanted something That I could mount on the side of the shirt closets on each side of the bed. My DW has a eye problem and needs good lighting to read by. So I started looking for a pair of 12 volt reading Lights that were LED and low wattage, but would focus a adjustable bright light on the reading material without disturbing the other person in the bed. I finally found what I was looking for on Amazon. It was 2 of the following Lights

Ming’s Mark 9090108 LED Reading Light LED RV Reading Light with Brushed Nickel finish with an on/off switch and MR16 base LED bulb. The LED bulb features 8-30v DC; 66 high power 3528 SMD LEDs; beam pattern 120 degrees; luminous flux 190 lumens; 3.12 watts; color temp 4000-4500K Natural White. The 12v DC fixture is made of steel with a brushed nickel finish and comes with an on/off switch and the MR16 LED bulb noted above. Applications include 12v DC marine and recreational vehicles. (Green LongLife LED replacement bulbs that can be used in this fixture include part numbers 3528104 and 6060105.)   

 Now the problem was to install the lights on each side of the Bed on the side of the shirt closets. I would have to run new wires and I did not want any wires showing. I could get 12 volts from the light in the center of the overhead cabinets and run the New Wires over to each side of the bed to the shirt closets. I discovered that the sides of the shirt closets that I wanted to install the lights on were hollow, so if I could get in there I could run the wires down the side without the wires being exposed. I also found that if I removed the speakers and the center light fixture on the overhead cabinets above the bed, that I would have room to access and run new wiring for the new reading lights.

You can see in the picture access to the hollow section of the overhead cabinets by removing the speakers to gain access to run the new wires. The next problem was to get into the Hollow sides of the shirt Closets so I could run the wires for the lights down the hollow section of the side of the shirt closet to where the lights were to be mounted. I took a hole saw with a short drill bit to drill a 3/4th inch hole in the side of the shirt closet, without punching through the inside. I then used a angle drill with a spade bit to drill through a 1 x 2 board in the overhead hollow space to access the hollow side of the shirt closet. see picture below. I did this through the speaker opening using the 3/4th spade bit and right angle drill.

In the picture above you can see the hole I drilled and ran the wires trough to the hollow side of the shirt closet. I then used a wire clothes hanger straightened with a hook on one end which I ran up from the 3/4th inch hole I had drilled in the side of the shirt closet, and fished the wire down to where the light fixture will go.

in this picture above you see everything put back together and the wires coming out the side of the shirt closet waiting for the new light fixtures to get here. When I install them I will add a pictures of the finished product.


I got the New Light Fixtures in the mail Today a couple of days Early. So I installed the Lights and this is what they look like. They are bright and very good for reading. See pictures below of the finished Mod.



Lights installed on the left and right side of bed on the shirt cabinets

The finished result







Upgrading the 30 Amp Service to a 50 Amp in my Motor Home

Upgrading 30 Amp to 50 Amp Service in my Motor Home

           My Motor Home has a 30 amp system in it. The previous owner had installed a second air conditioner in the rear bedroom. They installed a 3 way toggle switch to switch between the front and rear air conditioners. Could not run both at the same time without overloading the circuits. I decided to upgrade to a 50 amp service so I could run both air conditioners at the same time when hooked to shore power. I did not want to run both air conditioners with the generator, and did not want to buy a 50 amp Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). So this is how I did it.

I already had a 50 amp 30 ft extension cable from a previous motor home. I just had to change the Cable end to match the New 50 amp Input Receptacle on the Motor Home. I purchased a Marinco 50 amp receptacle, Marinco 50 amp twist waterproof plug and cover off of Ebay for $130. The cable can be unscrewed from the motor home receptacle with a half turn. The old 30 amp receptacle was the same size so the new one fit without any modification.

I ran a 8 ft piece of #6 Cable 3 wire w/ground from the new receptacle to a 70 amp load center that I purchased along with a 30 amp and 20 amp breaker. The 30 amp breaker will feed the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and the 20 amp breaker will feed the rear air conditioner. That way the 30 amp system will remain the same except there will be no Toggle switch to change AC’s from front to rear. The original 30 amp circuit from the motor home distribution panel, will feed the front AC. The rear AC will be fed by the 20 amp breaker in the 70 amp load center. Here is a explanation of what I have done and why.

In a 30 amp system you have 2 wires L-1 and Neutral, and a ground wire 120 volts between L-1 and Neutral. In a 50 amp system You have 3 wires L-1, L-2, Neutral and a ground. 120 volts between L-1 and Neutral, 120 volts between L-2 and Neutral, and 240 Volts between L-1 and L-2. So with the 50 amp service we now have 2ea 120 volt legs or circuits. One for the ATS Switch and one for the rear AC unit. The 50 amp Cable from the Input Receptacle goes to the 70 amp Load Center, the L-1 and Neutral 120 volts goes thru the 30 amp breaker in the load center, which goes to the Transfer switch. The transfer switch 30 amp, automatically transfers power between the generator and the 120 volt line to the motor home distribution panel. L-2 and neutral goes thru the 20 amp breaker in the Load Center which goes to the rear or second air conditioner.

The reason for the Load Center is for protection of the 30 amp wiring, the 30 amp Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), and the Motor Home Distribution Panel. The 30 amp breaker in the load center protects all of 30 amp system. If you were to run the 50 amp cable direct you would not have any protection between the distribution panel and the ATS in the event of a short circuit. The switch could be damaged or the wiring could burn before the 50 amp breaker would trip in a campground pedestal. So the 30 amp breaker in the load center is necessary for protection. The rear air conditioner needs to be protected and the 20 amp breaker in the load center does that.

 I removed the toggle switch and hooked the original wire from the front air conditioner circuit breaker in the motor home distribution panel to the front AC line using a metal junction box and wire nuts. This is the way it was before the second AC and the toggle switch. The line from the Second (Rear) AC is hooked direct to the 20 amp breaker in the load Center. 

Finished it up today and tested it. It Works Great. Now when it is hot and we are hooked to shore power I can run both Air Conditioners at the same time.

Below is a link to pictures that I took showing some of the details.


For Pictures CLICK HERE