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Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm so glad I bought a generator.

I've never had a generator before. This spring - OK, it was still winter - I bought a Honda portable generator. Right now I'm Really Really glad I did. It's been kind of nice to be able to have AC power during the week when I want, use the computer more, not worry about the fans wearing down the batteries, that sort of thing. Definitely a luxury item, though, as I've been doing fine without one since 1995.
Then I had some work done on the engine. The kind of work that involved removing the motor. Apparently, when everything was put back together, someone missed the extra wire coming from the alternator to charge the house system. Not that I blame them. My mechanic's not an RV'er. Most people are TOTALLY unfamiliar with such things as coach batteries, battery isolators, converter boxes.

I have 3 good house batteries, so I can run unplugged for a pretty long time. Using the generator occasionally and plugging in on weekends, I did not even notice until last week that my batteries didn't seem to be holding up so well. But I spent 2 weekends in a row visiting my daughter and not plugged in. The second weekend, when I parked, my lights seemed dimmer. My battery gage read Fair, not Good as I would have expected. I'd just driven quite a ways. What's going on?

In the morning I used the generator to charge the batteries directly. After the weekend, I drove back to Greensboro for work. Soon, the gage was reading Poor. I ran the generator whenever I was home. Wednesday I went to AutoZone and removed my batteries for charging and checking. They were fine. They should be, they were less than a year old. I then checked what I should have checked earlier - hindsight is great, yes? I checked the gage with the engine running. Normally it would show charging. It didn't.

OK, now I know what the problem is, but it will be a while before I am back where the mechanic is. Having someone else fix it at $80/hour or so? I don't think so. I'll wait. But I'm really glad I had a generator, and I'll be using it a lot in the next few weeks.

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