Nov 4-5, 2021 Our RV is DEAD!

Holly was tired and wanted to spend the day working on her travel video so Olivia and I went out by ourselves.  We went to the National Art Gallery where we saw many fine works of art including Picasso’s Self Portrait.  I was kind of amazed that everything was just hung up on the wall and people could get right up close to look at the famous and undoubtedly very valuable paintings. 

Normally an art gallery would not hold an eight-year-old child’s attention very long but I made up a game for us to play.  As we entered a room one of us would choose a painting on the far wall and the other person would try to guess the painting’s name.  Then we would go to the painting and see the actual name.  Most of the painting had commonsense names such as “Woman with Hat” or “Jesus being lowered from the Cross” or “Vase with Flowers on a Table” but it is actually quite difficult to guess the exact name since we would guess “Flowers on a Table” or “Flowers with Vase” instead of “Vase with Flowers on a Table”. After dozens guesses neither one of us were able to guess the correct actual name of any of the paintings.  It was fun way to explore the Art Gallery though.

We named this painting, “Bearded Guy in Blue”

We were quite hungry when from all the walking and guessing when lunchtime rolled around so we left the Art Gallery to find some lunch.  As we exited the museum we encountered a march protesting the war in Tigray.  Concepts such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes are a bit heavy for a young child so we passed up the protest. 

We had lunch at Fogo De Chao Brazilian restaurant.  This is a rather expensive ($46 per adult for lunch) all you can eat Brazilian BBQ but it is quite good and we were quite hungry.  At the restaurant we practiced making a food video.  I regard making videos a fun way for Olivia to have practice describing things and using adjectives for more colorful language. 

We had a daddy/daughter lunch at the fancy Fogo de Chao and it was delicious!

Stuffed full we rented one of the Lime electric scooters to take us back to the Air and Space Museum.  This is a fun way to get around the relatively flat city and there were many scooters and electric bikes littered around the city.  The Air and Space museum proved to be a bit of a disappointment since most of the museum was closed for construction and only a very small portion of the building was open.  Still we saw some space ships and the original Wright Flyer.  We had seen several Wright Flyers in various museums around the country but they were all either modern copies or later built models built by the Wright Brothers.  The Smithsonian Air and Space though has the original Wright Flyer, which achieved the first flight at Kitty Hawk.

Holly joined us as we left the Museum and we all went the US Capital Building for a few pictures.  Once again it was closed to the public so there was not a whole lot to do before we headed back to the hotel for the evening.

We discussed the three branches of government in front of the US Capital building
The US Capital lit up at night was magica.

For our final day in Washington DC we checked out of the hotel and left our bags with the bell desk before heading out to get lunch from the many food trucks on the Capital Mall.  It was a lovely day, not nearly as cold as the last few days and as we ate lunch we spotted a rare albino squirrel.  The squirrel was completely white and attracted quite a lot of attention from passing people.  We later found out that the squirrel even made the evening news.

There were many food trucks on the National Mall
We saw this unusual white squirrel on the Capital Mall. We later saw on the evening news that the squirrel was famous!

After lunch on the green we headed to the National Museum of American History.  There we were able to see the actual Star Spangled Banner from the song.  This was very cool since we had visited Fort McHenry the previous week so Olivia knew the entire backstory of the flag already.  We continued to look at the many exhibits of American history including some cool vintage tech such as an Original Apple II computer and rotary phones. 

By the time we made it back to the area of the hotel it was dinnertime and we were tired from all the walking again so we had a long dinner at McDonalds before calling an Uber to take us back to Rover. The trip back proved to be quite a bit more expensive at $47 but I guess that is what happens on a Friday night.

Upon returning to Rover we discovered that we had no power.  The entire coach electrical system was dead.  OK, no big deal, Rover was parked in the shade for several days so batteries probably ran out of power and died.  I tried to start our generator but without any power at all the generator could not even start.  Still no problem, we have multiple ways to get electricity.  I started our vehicle engine which could recharge our batteries and power the house part.  After running the engine for 15 minutes everything was still dead.  Now I was starting to get worried.

We still had options.  We could plug Rover into an electrical plug and although the campsites did not have power the campground bathrooms had electrical outlets.  I drove us to one of the bathrooms verified the electric outlets were working and plugged our electrical cable in.  There were very few people at the campground so we didn’t have to worry about other people.  Once plugged in our built in power management protection system showed we had good power coming into the system. However our inverter which is the heart of our system and routes all of our electricity to our batteries and to the RV outlets remained stubbornly dead.

Now we were in trouble.  The inverter cost over $3000 alone and is not something we can just pick up at a Walmart on a Friday night.  It is certainly not under warranty anymore and there isn’t anyone we can call for help on a Friday night.  I tried flipping switches and breakers, turning everything on and off.  Nothing, completely dead as a brick.  No response on anything I tried, no lights, no sound, nothing.

I tried searching the internet on my phone which had less than 20% power left and eventually came across a reference to deadlocking.  It seems that our Victron 3000 inverter can be connected to an exterior remote control panel, which our inverter was. This control panel can be used to control the inverter from inside the vehicle which is very convenient.  However, if power is completely drained the control panel has no power and cannot control or more importantly, turn on the inverter even when it is plugged into power.   The solution was to remove the cover plate and unplug the control panel from the inverter.  Then the inverter would revert to controlling itself and start when power is available.  I removed the cover plate and unplugged the controller which was just a standard computer network cable and poof the inverter started, began to charge the batteries and we instantly had power back in the coach. Whew.  Problem fixed we stayed plugged in to the electrical outlet for a while before returning to our campsite and running the generator for a while to ensure we had enough power to get through the night. It was a rather cold night since Rover had completely cooled but at least we had power and everything was working again.


2 responses to “Nov 4-5, 2021 Our RV is DEAD!”

  1. Craig Avatar

    Nice stories. I enjoyed them, especially your solution to the inverter problem.
    We lived in DC for 16 years and was able to enjoy all of the sights there. Now we’re in Cleveland, so if you travel here, be sure to contact me for insight and tips!
    Keep on writing. I’ll bet your daughter enjoys them, too,

    1. Hin Avatar

      Thank you! Any suggestions on how to improve?

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