I spent some time last night chatting with Andy Baird about my problem and the more we went back and forth about it, the more I knew he was wrong and I was right. It was like graduating from a very difficult technical academy. I suddenly had the assurance to know that someone else might have a good theory, but I had the real answer.
He still thought that my fridge is somehow switching to 120V power even though I never put it on auto and that my monitor is wiring incorrectly and not showing the correct amps going out.
Using his water analogy, I rephrased my problem. I have plenty of water (power/amps), but not enough pressure (voltage) to use that power. I’m having a pressure problem. What causes pressure problems? Too small pipes (wiring) or clogged pipes (corroded or improper connections).
I stayed up late rereading the voltage drop sections of Harold Barre’s Managing 12 Volts and it said in more technical terms what I just said above. I had to check my connections again.
But by this point, I knew my connections and wiring were good. The problem was at the rig’s end. And then I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’ve often praised the high quality of the Glendale Royal Classic’s construction, plumbing, and appliances, but what do I bitch about? Everything electrical. For pete’s sake, my rig has a different wire colour scheme in the front and the back! And never mind the crappy non-existent battery compartment.
First thing this morning, even before coffee, I shut down power to the rig and got my hands on the wire that brings power from the batteries to the rest of the rig. It is very small, #12 or #14 gauge only, so that already told me that I’ll never be able to run all the stuff I want to run at the same time.
I tugged on the lug and it felt solid, but I wasn’t done yet. I snipped the end off so that I could have a look at the lug. You might want to sit down at this point because what I found was shocking.
Only half of the copper from the wire was crimped into the lug. The rest was just kind of smooshed around it and there were broken pieces. This was a factory connection. Even my bad connections were better than this one!
I exposed a fresh section of wire and crimped on a new lug, then reconnected everything and turned 12V power back on.
The numbers before I redid the connection:
Voltage with nothing on: 12.5V
Fridge on: 11.8V
Fridge and computer on: 9.0V
Computer only on: 11.0V
Now with nothing on: 12.5V
Fridge on: 12.4V
Fridge and computer on: 11.3V
Computer only on: 12.4V
I think these numbers speak for themselves.
Now, that I know every part of my system is good, I don’t have to worry if I see voltage in the 11s at night. It’s just that my rig simply cannot handle massive amounts of current at one time because it is underwired. So if I need to use a lot power at night, mostly to charge the computer or use the printer, I can turn off the fridge to get that extra pressure I need.
Everyone who has chimed in about this, Airmon, Dave, Gary, Andy, Croft and I know I’m being bad and forgetting people, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Even though I solved this, I couldn’t have done it without your help. Each of you was like a dog with a bone pointing the finger at one possible cause or another and I worked at each of those causes until I knew for sure that it wasn’t the answer.
I am going to eventually summarize this whole electrical saga into a series of static pages, but I promise, no more electrical posts for a good long while!