Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The "Smoke Test" Campout

Martha and I went camping Monday of this week to test the modifications, repairs, replacement and additions we've made since last December.

Our campsite this week was Withrow Springs State Park, Arkansas.  We really enjoyed this place. There are only 30 campsites in this park so, should you want to go, book early after school is out and on holidays.

The Trip Wasn't All Roses

In fact the coach is still at the park because the living room slide out once again refuses to close. I have a repair guy that is going to come out to the park with me and look at it and I have printed a .pdf of the repair procedure in case he is clueless. This slide room problem stuff is eating our lunch. It is however, why we decided to smoke test the fixes. Now we just got to get it repaired correctly so that we don't worry about it again.

Here are some photos of our RV, the park and of the woods and hiking trails.  The trails are just gorgeous in the spring.

How did the testing go?  Well.....

Progressive Industries Surge Protector

I was really worried about this one. I'm color blind so wiring has been the bane of my existence since forever.  Originally I wired the SP and found as I went that the colors (as they look to me) didn't seem to be quite right.  According to the wiring diagram there was a red and a green wire (yes, I'm red/green color blind). After I wire the device in line I got to looking and those particular wires were not as prominent as I thought they might be. So, I asked a bystander to verify which was red and which was green. Sure enough, I had them reversed.  So, I rewired again and hoped for the best.  And you know what?  It works as it should.  Phew!!!!

Black and Grey Water Blade Valves

Since we brought our coach home last year I had valve leakage into the clear 90* pipe that our sewage line connects to.  The previous owner kept the cap on the bottom and each time you would hook up the sewer line about a quart of nasty liquid would pour out.  As a result I replaced both blade valves with new ones. No more worries, they close tight.

Black Water Sprayer Supply Line Vacuum Breaker

Three times I tried to make the black water sprayer operate and three times the inside of the bathroom lavatory sink base got cleaned instead of the black water tank.  I did a lot of research and found that this line has a vacuum breaker that prevents siphoning of contaminated water back into the parks water supply system.  Our vacuum breaker was not functioning and water would come out of the vents in the vacuum breaker instead of flowing on into the black tank sprayer.  I replaced the vacuum breaker and I am happy to say all works well again.

Ubiquiti High Power Antenna and WIFI

In order to optimize our possibilities for internet I purchased, set up and installed a Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2 and Ubiquiti Air Gateway in our coach. These two pieces of equipment let me used a high powered antenna to located and amplify RV Park WIFI systems to optimize the use of WIFI so that we can enhance our possibility of staying connected in a crowded park. The best part is that the entire system is less than $100 in cost.  I used this tutorial to set up my coaches personal WIFI:

Cell Phone Signal Booster

Withrow Springs proved to us that communications is needed. We had no cell signal what so ever. This screwed us over because of the slide room problem. We had to travel to the nearest Ozark Mountain top to get a signal to call the repair guy for help.  It might have been more palatable to call from the coach to arrange him coming to help.  Maybe after we pay for another slide room repair we can afford the booster. 

That's all for now, I have a few more photos from Withrow to post but Martha needs to download them before I place them on the blog. 


  1. Really sorry to hear about your LR slide problems again. As you know we had the same problem with the kitchen slide when we bought the rig but so far the repairs have been successful and no more slide problems. Our problem though was failure to open. Very interested in your repair solution. I hope its not a character flaw in the Northern Star.

  2. Harry,

    I called the guy that repaired if the first time and he agreed to come out and try to repair it again. In the mean time I called the Newmar Service Center and talked with a technician. He gave me three things to try to get the room activated.

    First, I was to try to adjust the amperage potentiometer on the control panel by increasing the amperage in small increments (he said view the potentiometer as you would a clock and adjust in 5 minute increment). He also said that this is to be done with the generator or shore power not on battery to insure enough voltage and amperage into the inverter system.

    I passed on this option because my back and neck are so messed up I cannot contort myself into the position required to do this, so that wasn't an option)

    The second was to remove and try a control board from one of the other rooms and hope that it that the affected room comes in. (I passed on this for the same reason as number one)

    And the third, remove the control wiring from the motor, connect a pair of jumper cables from a vehicle directly to the leads of the motor bypassing the control panel. He said you could run a room in or out by simply swapping the positive and negative leads from one motor wire to the other. I waited on the tech to get there for 4 hours and he didn't show. As I was about to do this two neighboring campers offered their help. We tried a lot of things that didn't work. We ended up with the three of us pushing on the room while Martha operated the switch to activate the motor. This got the room in.

    My conclusion? The motor either needs more amperage, we have a bad ground, the control board is bad, the amperage potentiometer is bad, the motor is screwed up or the ramp that room climbs has an obstruction of some kind interfering with extension and retraction of the room. It goes into the shop today after it's unloaded. Time and money will tell the tale.

    Thanks for looking in Harry. Thanks for the comments.

    1. Charlie, Newmar did have three good suggestions. Is your controller the original where it has the voice and delay before activating? They changed my controller to one that has no voice and you must hold the switch down untill the slide out is fully in or fully out. That solved one problem. The second was the failure of the lock arms to retract which would not allow the room to extend. That was fixed via a broken proximity switch for the lock arms.

      Adjusting the potentiometer is also a good option to try as well as checking for a bqd ground. I have heard several who found that to be the answer when the motor would not operate correctly. Just making sure to adjust in very small increments until it operates as it should. Hopefully its not some kind of obstruction or failure in the slide mechanism itself. Although that would not be likely.

      Hopefully the easy fix is your cure. Let me know how it all turns out and good luck!


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