Sunday, September 05, 2010

Getting the Beast on the Road

My attempt to leave town in the bus was aborted when the bastard broke down electrically in Calistoga. AAA was able to get it started but with considerable difficulty. I hot-footed it back to the storage yard in American Canyon.

Having just parted with over a grand to a large RV repair shop in Vacaville and gotten stranded anyway, I decided to try to figure this out on my own.

I had heard of multi-meters and even seen them. I decided to get one. It turns out they are relatively cheap and are available in auto parts stores. And one can do a surprising amount of testing of various things with them. There are a number of helpful tutorials online showing how to do automotive diagnostics with a multi-meter.

One can measure the condition of a battery by checking its voltage. The voltage will show whether the battery is charged or discharged and also whether it is rechargeable at all. Voltage across the battery with the engine running will show whether the alternator is working satisfactorily or not to keep the battery charged.

One can test for electrical leaks, called "draws" or "parasitic draws" by measuring the current flow between the positive post of the battery and its battery connector which one has disconnected from the post.

One can also check whether the battery trickle charger is working correctly. If the battery starts out with a modest voltage and then rises to a higher one after trickle charging, the charger is working.

These are all valuable things to know that one cannot learn without a multi-meter. Without one, one is just inferring, a fancy expression for guessing.

I have spent the past week testing out various wrong theories. I am much more confident of my current wrong theory than of its predecessors. Today I am going to try a longish drive around the industrial section of American Canyon and back to the storage yard. If it starts after that, which it did not do in Calistoga, then I will conclude that my current wrong theory is less wrong than the ones before it. The proof, as the French say, is in the creme brulee.


  1. Would it not be cheaper and less frustrating to sell the beast and rent a nice,clean, new RV on the few occasions you need one? Or even burn it.

  2. Au contraire. How else would I have learned about multi-meters?

  3. I think I prefer to live in a world where I do not need to know about multi-meters.

    PS I used them when I was in the Navy, in Electronic Technician School. Big heavy things with vacuum tubes that you plug into the wall.

  4. So, do you have creme brulee or mere glop?

    Is it time for Willie Nelson?

  5. Harvey you need to keep your eye on Jack.

    Jack take Harvey's suggestion.

    Fly to a nice hotel and stay there a month and explore and write and then don't worry about having to cook and clean. I love it. I guess that is my idea of a vacation.

  6. Anonymous7:55 PM

    You said you were going to tour North America, not the american canyon.
    I will turn out the porch light until you manage to get out of California.


  7. In the world of flying machines and horseless carriages that has arisen since Harvey was in the Navy, multi-meters are now handheld and digital.

    I do not need to know about penguins but I am glad to know what little I do, and would like to know more. Multi-meters are about as interesting as penguins and come in the same colors.

  8. The answer to Tootsie's question is that after running for twenty miles it started again on its own. Which it did not do in Calistoga last week. I count that a success.

  9. Elaine, I already have a place to stay and I don't cook or clean here either. What would be the point of going to a hotel? :o)

  10. Not that it matters but American Canyon is in North America and has as fine a collection of rusting abandoned cars as anyplace.

    But actually, I am in the last stages of getting out of here. I expect to be chez Harvey et Lisa for Rosh Hashonah tomorrow Whereupon you can turn the porch light back on. :o)

  11. We will be expecting you. Will you be here in time for dinner? We eat a 5:00, services start at 7:00.

  12. The point is someone should be doing the cleaining! And the cooking! Oy...Just think of all the women you could meet in the hotel bar. :)

  13. What is the point of cleaning? It's all just going to get dirty again. :o)

    But hotel bars sound like a good idea.... :o)

  14. Ah Jack, you old dog you.

    Happy Rosh Hashanah.

  15. Please post something new. I hate that picture of the demon. Scary...

  16. Jasmin3:26 PM

    Yeah, I'd also like something new. Perhaps something about the disgraceful acts of evil from your bible friends who have desecrated the holy Qu'ran, or the racist dog that spat on me today because of my religion. America is falling into the hands of evil further by the day thanks to people like you. Only through Allah can we all be saved from the evil which is destroying the world today. I grow more sympathetic to the cause of the Jihad each day I spend in this disgusting country.

  17. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Jazzman, what are you babbling about?? No one desecrated your holy book, although in Afghanistan they burned bibles and American flags. Does that upset your sensitive soul? As for betting spit on you, he wasn't a racist, he was just a fireman trying to put out a flaming bitch. And if this country disgusts you, leave it and go live in Gaza. You'll raise the average IQ of both places.

  18. Then leave Jasmin. No one is keeping you here.

  19. There is a specific reason Jasmine does not respond to Elaine's quite sensible question. The reason Jasmine does not leave is the money. She or somebody she gets money from is making more money, probably lots more money, than they could make in her precious Muslim country of origin.

    She doesn't want to admit that the reason she stays in a country she dislikes is greed, that she and her family live for money.Which would not be so bad if she wasn't constantly going about how America is shallow and materialistic. Compared to whom, Jasmine? You?

    If you are to be a person entitled even to self-respect you should either shut the hell up about how much you dislike America or get the hell out. I personally would prefer the latter.

    Jasmine reminds me of the mainly Muslim rioters who burned whatever they could in the suburbs of Paris for weeks in the summer of 2005. They were angry and despised France they said.

    But when then-Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy announced that any non-citizen convicted of a crime against public order would be deported back to his country of origin, the rioting stopped instantly. They were willing to burn France to the ground but not to leave it.

    Apparently being a violent, greedy hypocrite is just part of the Muslim Way....