Sunday, November 7, 2010

Boondocking in Cold Weather

The temperature here has been plunging near freezing point in the middle of the night. This morning I woke up in a -4 Celsius temp! I'm told it is highly unusual and I do recall that last year, at this time of the year, it never got as cold as it has so far this year. At night, I couldn't use the forced air furnace in the rig since the electric fan blowing out the hot air drew a lot of power, dangerously discharging the batteries with the thermostat kicking in throughout the night. This was compounded by my solar panels laying flat on the roof. So yesterday I took things into my own hands...

Ismael has been coming a couple of times a month to help out with chores that are beyond my ken or power. Yesterday, he got on the roof of the RV to elevate the solar panels to about 20 degrees of arc to orient them towards the south according to our degree of latitude. Bingo! Immediately, the regulator showing the array current jumped from 7.4 to 10.1. Recharging the batteries now takes no time at all. In fact, using my PC hardly makes a dent in the voltage. Sweet!

The day before I finally convinced Emilio, the mechanic-machinist from Ezequiel Montes, to come to my rescue and attend to the generator. Actually, it was a cry for help since all I had to heat the rig was a small propane heater with only two ceramic plates. The cold had been so intense that it failed to provide enough heat for the bedroom area and the bathroom, way at the back of the rig.
So Emilio came, disconnected the carburetor and it was a shock to see that it was no larger than an orange. He dismantled it and thoroughly cleaned it. He then adjusted the air/gasoline ratio and voilĂ ! That was all that it took to make it run perfectly. So now, for a quick warm-up I can use the furnace when I need to heat the whole house (especially including the bedroom and bathroom...) then switch to the propane heater for the night.

Next week, I'll have to skirt the rig to cut down as much as possible the outside areas exposed to the wind and cold. A fifth-wheel or regular trailer would make the job a little easier with a flat level bottom. Actually, mine rises towards the back of the rig and is thus on a slant. This allows for more cold to seep through the floor where the bedroom and bathroom are located. No worry. Ismael will land a hand. Or better, two.


Unknown said...

I'd love to see some pictures of your rig! Good work getting the heating going!

Anonymous said...

I am glad the rough edges of everyday life are being smoothed a little for you. I would also love to see more pictures.

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