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90 Minutes

Our new Magnum inverter arrived Wednesday afternoon, but it was way too hot (high 90s) to install it.

Footprint and functionally (both are 2000W inverters) the Magnum MS2000 and the Freedom inverter/charger are nearly identical:

MS2000 vs Freedom Inverter/Charger


However, the MS2000 is pure sine wave while the Freedom is modified sine wave.

So . . . we scheduled the inverter swap for early Thursday morning when the heat is not so intense.

The morning replace and install went like clockwork . . . 90 minutes total . . .

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By the way, this is the 5th time I’ve done this on our Newmar:

  1. Removed original Freedom. Installed first Magnum MS2000. (2011)
  2. Removed MS2000 because it failed. Re-installed Freedom. (2012)
  3. Re-installed refurbished MS2000 after warranty repair. (2012)
  4. Removed refurbished MS2000 after it failed again. Re-installed Freedom again. (2018)
  5. Installed the new, second MS2000. (2018)

Fifth time is the charm, eh?



Old is the New New

Our old inverter is now our new inverter

So it’s early afternoon. We’re chillin’ in the RV . . . I’m computing, Jan’s reading one of The Expanse books.

Then we hear a very loud noise that sounds as if one of our air conditioners fell off the roof. (BTW, that’s not what happened.)

It was the sound of our generator starting up. This happens when the voltage in our batteries drops precipitously. And that’s just what happened.

Our inverter/charger failed — well, the battery charger half crapped out.

So for maybe an hour or so we were running off our batteries and drawing them down, down, down until our AGS (Automatic Generator Starter) kicked in and fired up the generator. Voila!

Thank god I kept our old inverter . . . a venerable and dependable Heart Freedom circa 2001.

Two hours later I had pulled out the Magnum MS2000 and installed the Freedom. For the nerds, I also had the swap out Magnum’s high-tech ME-ARC control panel with the Freedom’s basic remote control. Easy peasy as both remotes are the same size and connect to the inverter via a phone line.

A new Magnum is on order because it’s a Pure Sine Wave (PSW) inverter while the Freedom is a Modified Sine Wave (MSW). Basically, the difference between a PSW and MSW inverters is that a PSW is gentler on electronics.

New Magnum will be here in a few days. Oh joy.

This is the 3rd time I’ve done this inverter swap


Hot Springs, Hot RV

But first, the Photo of the Week . . .

Dog Shoes. Wear ’em when it’s hot!



We took a road trip the last week of May to a geothermal site near Mammoth Lakes . . . just up Highway 395 from Bishop.

Hot Springs Trip (click on photo to enlarge)

We learned about the hot springs from a recent edition of the Escapees magazine. Just Jan and I went because we didn’t want our Golden Retriever around really really hot water.

Anyway, some photos from our day trip . . .

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And a short movie . . .




Why do air conditioners always break in Summer and not in Winter? Riddle me that.

A few days ago while the Bishop temperatures hovered in the mid-90s, our front 6-year-old Dometic Penguin II AC started behaving badly. Its compressor would stay on for 6 minutes, then go off for 4 minutes . . . over and over like clockwork. Although the AC fan stayed on, for 6 minutes we’d have cold air, but then warm air for 4 minutes. That made for not-so-good cooling, and the temperature inside our RV started climbing.

I looked for help on a couple of online RV forums, and received a promising solution from someone I was familiar with. He said to disable the “freeze thermistor” — essentially, cutting the “blue wire”.

So I schlepped onto our RV roof, removed the front RV shroud and cut the blue wire . . .

Naked AC


Which Wire Did He Say?


After putting everything back together again, I climbed off the roof and went inside to fire up the AC again. However, this message appeared on our thermostat:

Quick! Run!

From the Dometic Penguin II manual:

Open circuit or out of range Freeze Sensor. Air conditioner and dehumidification operation will be locked out. Heat pump, furnace, heat strip and fan operation can continue to operate but displays the last temperature set-point.

In Ordinary Speak, it’s broke. While the rear (bedroom) AC works fine, the front AC is now completely dead.

Super. It’s late afternoon now and the heat of the day is peaking. Inside, our RV is hot as hell now because I’ve had both ACs off for some time. We need coolness . . . fast!

Solution: a “swamp cooler” . . .

Our Swamp Cooler


We picked up the only one left at a nearby hardware store. For those of you not familiar with evaporative (or “swamp”) coolers, they’re basically a desert thing. These coolers only work in hot, dry environments because they operate by evaporating water from a porous material by blowing air over that material. Simple and relatively cheap. Swamp coolers are not as “cooling” as ACs, but in a pinch, they’ll do.

So . . . we now had AC in our bedroom and a swamp cooler up front.

We spent the rest of the day calling RV repair places to find out AC replacement and installation costs . . . between $1500 and $2100. Ouch!

Finally, as a last ditch effort, I went back up on the roof and reconnected the “blue wire” I had cut previously.

Eureka! Front AC is back on again . . . no error messages . . . and it’s been running continuously (no 6 on, 4 off nonsense) since I “fixed” it.

Fingers crossed.