"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

another project

Our work week passed pretty quickly and before we knew it we were back in the cafe doing our weekend breakfast shifts. Saturday morning the campers arrived early and never let up. We are only open for 1 1/2 hours and during that time Rudee and I served 48 meals. That's one meal every 1 1/2 minutes! The owner said the record for breakfast was 55 meals making this the second busiest day they ever had. We were both hot and tired by the time the dining room emptied out but also a little proud that we had accomplished a very busy morning with very few problems. :-)

Sunday was a lot more laid back shift and we were able to visit with some of the customers after they finished their breakfast. The tips were certainly not as good as Saturday but we needed the rest!
Right after work Rudee headed to Indy to attend a former co-workers baby shower leaving me to fend for myself so I decided to take advantage of the time and tackle a project.
When Mike and Les were here last week we went to Sam's club since they had a membership there. I bought two 6 volt batteries to replace the single 12 volt one on our 5th wheel as well as a 2 ga battery cable and new battery box.
Our existing battery was over 5 years old and I noticed the other day when the power went out the 12v lights got dim really fast so I figured it was time to change.
I went with the 6v batteries because they are designed to be discharged and recharged multiple times with less damage then their 12v deep cycle counterparts. There is also the belief that the 6v batteries will not deplete as quickly and my hope is to be able to get through the night boondocking while using the furnace if needed. Last time we boondocked the temps were in the 30's and the battery pooped out about 4am and Rudee woke up cold. Not good! You know the old saying, "when Mama aint happy, nobody is happy" :-)
I turned the battery off to the coach using the battery disconnect switch installed by the manufacturer and removed the existing battery. I then lifted both batteries into the front compartment. Since the coach is a 12 volt system you have to wire the two 6v batteries in series to achieve the needed 12 volts (6v +6v = 12 volts). I hooked the ground wire from the coach to the negative terminal of battery #1. Then, using the purchased battery cable I wired the positive post from battery #1 to the negative post of battery #2. The last thing to hook up was the power wire to the coach which hooks to the positive terminal of battery #2.

Before buttoning everything back up I changed the 50 amp relay for the slide motor. The relay is the small metal box with the 3 wires attached to it mounted on the back wall of the front compartment in the photo above. There is one for the slides and one for the landing legs. The slide relay had been tripping when closing the slides. Once it trips it resets in about 20-30 seconds and then works fine. I did some research and found this to be a common problem in our model of 5th wheel and the relay tends to "weaken" with a lot of use and needs replaced occasionally.
Once I got everything done I remembered to turn the battery switch back on and decided to flush the black tank. I emptied the tank and hooked a hose to the flush inlet. Our 5er has a built in "flusher" inside the black tank and I usually do a good flush about every 3rd dump or so. In our prior toy hauler I installed a flush system that I purchased at Camping World and it worked much the same way as the factory installed system. I leave the black tank valve open and let the flusher run for quite awhile to make sure the tank is cleaned. One helpful item I have is a clear elbow on the 3" sewer "slinky" that allows me to see when the water is running clear through the discharge pipe so I know when the tank is clean :-).

With those projects done I am already planning for the next one and will be checking out what supplies I need to accomplish it so stay tuned. I'll keep you posted.


  1. You said you needed to hook up the batteries in parallel when it should be series. Fortunately you described a series hookup. Where are those proof readers when you need them? (grin)


  2. You are absolutly right JC!! Thanks for pointing that out. I corrected the post to avoid causing anymore confusion. Electrical stuff is confusing enough, at least it is for me! :-)


  3. Thanks for explaining the battery project details. I may do it when I replace my existing battery.