Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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What is making those lights flicker????

Thursday and Friday May 22 & May 23, 2014
Brandywine Creek Campground
Glenmoore, Pennsylvania



It’s a short night after our attempts to discover clues for what is wrong.  We don’t sleep so well.  David calls Greg in the morning to make sure he has gotten the information we uncovered in our late night investigations.


We’re moving.



  Greg says that we should come over to the campground where he is parked, about 17 miles from us, and he will take care of the fees for us to stay as long as necessary to figure this out.  We think this is a very responsible business practice.  He is trying very hard to make the customer happy. 

We arrive about 11:00 and Greg and a Master Electrician he has called in to help with this electrical mystery show up and start trying to trace the problem.

Speaking of problems, Greg has two other installs today and it looks like his parade is going to get rained on.  That’s a problem.  Panels are put on the roof with an airplane adhesive which requires 4 days of 50 degree + weather to seal. And probably no rain.

Looking on the bright side, that’s one way we were lucky. We had 4 of the 7 days this install has taken so far rain free. Not sure how that happened since rain has followed us all the way up the east coast and it looks like it’s going to hound us for the next week. Wonder what an Ohio National Park will be like in the rain?

For now, we have a lovely water front view of Brandywine Creek.




Problem found.


As you can know doubt intuit, I have run out of steam for all of this and take no pictures of the two of them trying to find the problem.    It takes a few hours hours but they find a problem in one of the grounds.  Of course it was the one in the back of the batteries that is only accessible from under the coach.  Once fixed, everything stops flickering and things are looking up.

Everything is fine for the rest of the day.  We go to bed very relieved.



Friday May 23

We’re ready for blast off – FINALLY!

We sure hope the two installs beginning tomorrow are pieces of cake for Greg. I know he must be very glad to see us hitting the road. Smile



We decide to take our chances with the Pennsylvania Turnpike since it shaves 25 miles off of the trip.

We are really pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually much much better than we remember it to be and far superior to most of the other roads we drove on in Pennsylvania.   Worth the $37.15 it cost us to go 176 miles.

We go through 3 amazing tunnels through the mountains and wonder how long ago these were blasted out.







We arrive at Shawnee State Park in Bedford Pennsylvania to find no one at the campground office.  Just go on in and find your spot I guess.  Thank goodness I made reservations back in March.  These crowds are something we are not used to.

First we have to take on water since all they have here is electric, also Thank Goodness.   This turns out to be the slowest water take on we have found.  45 minutes to put that many gallons into our water tank for the 3 nights we will be here.





Finally, we back into our site and get things leveled up.  The park is full, rigs on top of trailers on top of tents on top of 5th wheels.  It’s Memorial Day week-end and we’re just glad to have a site anywhere.  We’ll  lay low for the week-end and continue on toward that Federal Park in Ohio on Monday.  The duckies have a very busy view.




It’s later than we planned due to the long water fill,  putting the dolly in over flow parking and getting all set up.   More than ready to get started making dinner, we turn on the lights. 




The inverter monitor isn’t coming on AGAIN and the lights are flickering AGAIN and the refrigerator is complaining about low voltage AGAIN.    We are just ….well……back to where we were 3 days ago and so tired of this.

David fiddles with the magnum monitor, goes out and looks at the inverter, turns it off, turns it on and a hundred other things.  Finally he opens up the battery compartment and sees one of the brass bolts – brass?? really?? -  has broken off from securing one of the leads going to the shunt.  Was it tightened down too tightly??  The lead is hanging loose creating an open circuit. 

We call Greg.  He says just by pass the shunt.  David does as instructed but no dice, the flickering continues.  Seems like another ground problem.  But where this time? 

We make a trip to the hardware store 12 miles away looking for another brass bolt.  No dice.  Does it really have to be brass?  We call AM Solar who supplied this (what I now consider to be horrible) Magnum inverter/charger.  They are in Oregon.  It’s now after 6pm but that’s ok since in Oregon it’s only 3:00 PDT.   BUT, of course, on Friday they close at 1:00 PDT and they don’t work week-ends.   Hmmmmm  I sure never had a job that worked those hours.

We’re out of luck until Tuesday on the ‘does it have to be brass’ question.  We call Greg back.

Greg says he’ll send us another shunt.  Will that really fix a low voltage problem I wonder?  But if we can’t find a brass bolt we do have to fix the shunt problem and this is the only way.   It’s labor day week-end.  We can’t have anything delivered until Tuesday.  We won’t be here Tuesday.  We leave on Monday or should we again cancel our plans and stay here?  Or move on to a bigger metropolitan area in Ohio.

We are without lights again, with refrig problems again.  Until Tuesday.   

Nobody even gave me a hint putting solar on my rig was going to be SO difficult.   We are up until 1am testing everything we can think of and taking notes on what we find.    It just wasn’t supposed to work out this way. 


  1. You may like the guys that did the installation, but I wonder if they know what they're doing. How frustrating!

  2. Oh Sherry, I am soooo sorry to hear this. It sounded like you had finally gotten things fixed. Can you plug into electric or do you not have electric hookups? What a hassle this has turned out to be for you. I am feeling your pain. Too bad you don't drink....now might be the time to start!

  3. Feeling really bad for you guys...wow....makes me
    wonder if I ever want Solar...in spite of it all..hope
    you have a nice weekend...

  4. Oh you guys, we're so sorry to hear that the troubles with your solar install are continuing. And just when you thought you were free to continue on your journey! Sending you another hug -- we're thinking of you and hoping that this will be resolved sooner than later.

  5. You are making me like my plug go a great deal...hope you get to the bottom of it soon. : (

    1. That should be plug and go Portable solar....I hate auto correct!!!

    2. Right now I liked my little portable solar a great deal too and am wishing I'd never ever started this mess. I keep trying to imagine it actually working right without one thing after another that has to be "fixed".

  6. Yikes. I'm starting to agree with Judith. It is NOT supposed to be this difficult. I can understand getting a defective piece of the system, but even that is starting to make me wonder.

    And no...it does not have to be brass! You should try and get stainless steel, but in an emergency you can use any steel bolt!

  7. So sorry you are having such a terrible time. I sure wish that Bryan were close to you. He could probably have you straightened out in no time. All your problems can take the joy out of Solar.....Like Judy said, I just don't think these guys know what they are doing.

  8. What a horrid mess this is turning into!!! From he blogs I read, no one has had these problems, such as u have had!! yesterday I was coming to Redmond from Bend and oh my goodness, the traffic was awful, SO much!! LOTS of travel trailers and RV's.. people trying to get to 'their place' for the 1st LONG week end..... Don't see how that is fun.... hope things go well for you both and this 'issue' is taken care of soon!!!

  9. Ugh! After all that and then you still have problems. Looks like it is a very complex procedure. Hope everything is resolved quickly and working properly. Hang in there! xxxooo

  10. I am so sorry to hear about your experience in trying to get solar installed. I sure hope it can be fixed properly, and soon.

  11. I do hope you have the fridge in LP mode. It will then run off 12vdc for control and ignition and propane for heat to make fridge cold. If in the AC mode it draws a lot of amps to heat the ammonia and that is an unnecessary load on the inverter. Brass is used, but for temp fix steel or cadmium plated will work. Try puting the fridge on propane first.

  12. Sherry and David,
    Thought of you today .... This morning went by Small Batch Bakery and had a great cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin ... Know David would have relished that !!!
    The whole solar saga is stressful just hearing about it ..... Feel for the two of you trying to TROUBLESHOOT and not exactly knowing what you are looking for .... HOPEFULLY and I do mean HOPEFULLY , you will be able to get this nailed down and working at 100 percent ...... I am sure like everything else , repairmen don't want to pick up the pieces on someone else's install .....
    I am with Karen, this may bring you to start tipping the wine bottle !!!! If you two ever needed an excuse this sure qualifies !!!
    Thinking of you and hoping for the best ..... Keep the faith !!!

  13. Oh, hate to hear things are still not right. You guys are due for a break!

  14. I sure thought when you headed down the turnpike that you were home-free on the solar install. What a fiasco. I am hoping there is a quick fix that will resolve the problem.

    This too shall pass. . . .

  15. Ugh! Sorry this is going so badly for you two. Good to blog about it for the other RVers that might want to tackle solar. Best to know the good and bad of the whole thing.

  16. We've been talking about solar in a few years, now you're making me rethink it. Hope you can get things figured out before too long.

  17. Hmmm. Was this their first install? I'm with Kevin - from an electrical perspective, steel, aluminum, copper and brass all do the same thing with electricity (although efficiencies are slightly different). so you can use steel temporarily. They probably used brass to avoid the effects of corrosion. Hope you can fix the problem and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.

  18. No; it really doesn't have to be this difficult. As I noted before, we didn't have any of the problems you've had. Tested the system yesterday by disconnecting from the pedestal yesterday to make sure all's working well after being in a 'salty' environment for so long ... batteries got charged beautifully even with the drain of our residential fridge on them. I'm thinking Greg's inexperience may be playing into your problems ... nice guy and he's trying hard to get it done right, but ... Anyway, hope it all gets worked out soon.

  19. I don't even know what to say Sherry. Sending positive thoughts your way in the hopes this will be resolved soon.

  20. Wow...sometimes risks can be risky. This one was...the saga continues :( How incredibly frustrating! I really hope Tuesday is the last of it! Sounds like a mess. AM Solar would get a very low rating from me. No one should have to through all this...ever.

  21. :-( I hope that you can salvage the weekend and this won't ruin your time there. Hang in.

  22. I have nothing to add except another wish that this all gets straightened out quickly.

  23. Thanks so much for all your comments. So often people who read the blog say they don't comment because "everything has already been said" or "I have nothing to add". It means a great deal to me that you are willing just to say what you think or feel even if it is a repeat so I know you are out there and with us in this and other more normal days. You guys are the best!! I count you all among my many blessings.

  24. Although they are trying their inexperience is probably the heart of the matter. I hope they get things straightened out and that your main systems will be ok.

  25. Well darn! The only thing worse than having power or plumbing issues is having to wait for the solution. Tuesday must seem like foreeeever! I hope the comments about not needing brass provide a temporary fix and you aren't cooking by strobe light all weekend! Hang in there and let the crowds entertain you.

  26. I can't even imagine going through all that. You have my complete sympathy. I do know that you and David are strong people and you'll get through this. It'll certainly be a campfire horror story for years! Hang in there.
    I agree that it's most likely inexperience that caused the issue. Greg should probably admit defeat and call in the experts.

  27. Yea...that's not how this works!!! But I know you will get to root cause and move on to better days. Just a shame for everybody:o((( David and you, as well as Greg, went into this with the best intentions. We are sending nothing but positive thoughts that the solution will come by Tuesday and you will be on to a wonderful summer of travel:o)) Hugs to you both!!!

  28. well good grief. . .electrical issues are SUCH an annoyance. . .hope it gets resolved soon. . .very soon!

  29. I hate electrical;l problems, maybe because I am so bad at fixing them. From your title, I was thinking you have picked up a ghost or other spiritual problem:(

  30. Not sure that it is fair to badmouth AM Solar for this problem. We had them install our solar system in 2009, and have never had a moment's trouble with it. There are a lot of places that things could have gone wrong.

    Virtual hugs,


  31. What a flippin' nightmare. Not fun when on the road, especially over a holiday weekend. Maybe should have gone to Solar Mike at the Slabs for this solar job. I don't hear any complaints about his work.


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