Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ANATOMY OF A TRIP Part 4



TRIP DAY 2 Wednesday:

When we got up this morning it was raining. By the time we were dressed and out it had stopped. Since Meryl can be more tactful than me, I asked her to go to the office to ask about our banner. About ten minutes later she returned banner in hand. Someone saw it there when we were leaving for the day yesterday and thought we had forgotten it and brought it to the office. Fine. I don't really get it but the important thing is that we had it back. I staked it back into the ground.

We unhooked the electric cord and the cable and went through our departure checklist which is done every time we are getting ready to drive each morning. All that had to be was disconnected and put away. All that had to be secured was. We were off for the day.

We headed out for our Lancaster "go-tos" (the places in Lancaster that we like to go to) which include Bird-In-Hand Farmers Market, Kitchen Kettle Village, and a craft gallery and fabric/quilt shop in the town of Intercourse. We had lunch at Stolfus Meats in Intercourse which is a meat market and cafe. They make their own sausage on their farm and it is sold and served here. It is very good and a place to try when visiting this area. It is located across Route 23 from the entrance of Kitchen Kettle Village.

The parking lot for Stolfus Meats which shares a small strip of businesses with the Intercourse Post Office and a local court (very small post office and very, very small court - at least from the looks outside) is small and tight. there are a few places that the Roadtrek can park without sticking too far out into the lane but none of those spaces were empty today. We drove around the back to find the very few spaces there were also full. We pulled around the back and through a small access road through a corn field to the large parking lot that we park in for Kitchen Kettle which is across the road. There was plenty of parking there and we went to an empty section and parked. We don't mind walking and we walked back the way we drove on the road through the corn field to go and have lunch and just left the Roadtrek parked there while we walked across Route 340 to go to Kitchen Kettle.

The refrigerator was still inconsistent in maintaining its temperature. Meryl kept an eye on the remote thermometer which is kept up front at the dash and again several times when we stopped made adjustments to the thermostat in the fridge.

As the afternoon moved along we headed into the countryside toward a fabric outlet that we know that sells discounted fabrics and is a good resource for linen for 18th Century reenacting clothing. Despite the holiday week, there were horse and buggies on almost every farm road. I always seem to come up behind them coming up to the top of a hill.Slow down, wait, watch until you can see the oncoming lane over the hill, and then pass - fast without spooking the horse.

Lancaster is all rolling hill farmland once you get off the main roads which take its toll on local gas mileage here, and today we were not getting good mileage driving up so many hills. Fourteen miles per gallon is a lot less than usual for our 190.

On the radio news we heard about the 150th Anniversary of the three days of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg which took place about an hour or so from where we were. This was the last and final day of the battle and the main reenactment of the battle.  While it would have been nice, it also was very crowded, and as we were hearing, difficult to get to and near the town. We had not planned on going though we have known about the event for a year. It is not our period of history though we know a great deal about the 19th Century in American history along with our reenacting period of the latter half of the 18th Century.

At the end of the afternoon we went to a store that we know that is a place to go when you are looking for things that you don't find in the usual and regular stores. Good's Store is in East Earle (there are other locations though not as large as this one) and Meryl had some things she has been looking for. Parking was easy in their large enough parking lot - the Roadtrek just takes two spaces back to front and there were plenty of spaces. Getting out, I turned up to a lane that had been divided with traffic cones right at the point that I had to turn the Roadtrek into the divided lane. There was no way the large van was going to make the turn without hitting the cone or a parked car. We turned the other way and went the long way around to exit. While a Roadtrek can go many places, it is sometimes necessary to make sure you can make a wide turn - and sometimes you can't do that without risking damage. It is really not a problem but does take some thinking ahead rather than just keeping driving.

It had been pretty much dry for the day except for the rain we woke up to in the morning. This was great. At night we did drive through an area where it must have rained heavily - it had not rained at all where we had just been. The roads were wet and flooded along the sides.

We got back to the campground and settled in for the night. Again, tonight when I flushed the toilet sediment was coming out with the water. It seemed heavier this time but again stopped after several flushes. Then the water seemed to be coming out with a little more pressure and was clear.  This is the water in the tanks from home.  Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. The weather reports are scattered but it looks like it will be more dry than wet though every report agrees that it will be hot and humid. The plan for the day is the Kutztown Folklife Festival.

As a late night snack we decided on the popcorn that we had brought from home to make in the microwave. Long ago someone at work showed me a way to make popcorn with no oil and no need for an air popper. Kernel popcorn and nothing else is placed into a brown paper lunch bag, the top is folded over, and cooked in the microwave popping all of the corn. This is about one tenth the cost of store sold microwave popcorn and it is made without the seasonings and the oil that is generally added to those. We have been doing this at home for years but we have not done it in the Roadtrek yet. Meryl made pre-sealed little bags of popcorn of two and a half tablespoons each. That makes enough for a large snack for one person and when popped fills the paper bag. At home I set the microwave on three to three and a half minutes to pop this much popcorn. Thinking the Roadtrek microwave was about the same as the one in our house, I had Meryl set this microwave for the same time. In less than two minutes we could smell burning and we stopped the microwave and pulled out the bag that had started to char on the outside. The popcorn inside the bag was incinerated. I took it outside to the campground trash pail quickly as it started to fill the inside of the Roadtrek with the odor of burnt popcorn. We then went one minute at a time to pop the corn and I figured out that about a minute and a half will do it. We could smell burnt popcorn for the rest of the night and even with washing the bottom plate in the microwave we could still smell it. I am sure we will smell burnt popcorn in the Roadtrek for awhile. Lesson learned: the Roadtrek microwave is powerful. 

END OF PART 4. PART 5 NEXT WEEK.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ANATOMY OF A TRIP Part 3



TRIP DAY 1 Tuesday:

Before we left this morning we turned on the coach batteries and started the refrigerator. All of the last minute items were brought out and packed away. Meryl went through the inside of the Roadtrek making sure everything was closed and secured for travel. Using the walkie-talkies Meryl guided me down the driveway and into the 4 lane avenue in front of our house. She got in and we were on our way. We were leaving around 10 am to avoid the rush hour traffic earlier that would have detained us until now anyway.

Getting off Long Island takes longer and longer with construction on all of the main exit roads off the Island. In Queens NY on a limited access road we heard a noise behind us and Meryl looked back into the rear of the Roadtrek and saw that the refrigerator door had swung open. She had been sure that everything was closed and secured inside before we left. Evidently the fridge door latch had not been set. There was no where and no way to pull over on this road and ahead traffic was stopped. We saw an exit and knew that up ahead on the streets there was a shopping center that we have seen along this road in the past. We got off and tried to make our way through New York City borough traffic to get to the parking lot of the shopping center that we could see up ahead. This was not a place one wants to drive anything large that one cares about.  We got to the entrance of the shopping center and pulled in. I have rarely seen a Home Depot parking lot so busy on a Tuesday morning. The lanes were tight and there were cars moving everywhere. We made our way through to an empty corner of the parking lot and pulled over. Meryl got out of her sent, went back into the Roadtrek, and closed and latched the fridge. We were back on our way.

 The weather when we left the house was unexpectedly dry but heavily overcast.  As we moved from traveling west to south the rain started - but not heavy. We were making fairly good time despite pulling right into the traffic that had been stopped when we got back on route. The rain came and went and came back again.  We actually saw sun break  through the clouds as we got into Pennsylvania. We arrived at the campground in 4 and a half hours as expected with a half hour stop for lunch at a rest area on the PA Turnpike.

When we checked in at the desk in the campground office the lady (who seems to know us now) told me that the people who had reserved our original space for this day had left early and we could have the space that we reserved for the rest of the week today rather than tomorrow. Wonderful! This is our preferred site in this campground. It is easy to get into. It is right across from the restrooms and showers. It is even easier to get out of and quickly be on our way each morning. While we were at the desk we reserved the site for next year's Fourth of July week to be sure we would have it.

We pulled into the site and checked the electric box. Even though we have been in this site before we always check the electric box - first for polarity and then for voltage. Both were perfect. I then put out our banner and stand on the site (the one from my tale about our not so nice visit with Yogi Bear). I staked the stand in the grass on the corner of the site. With that, we were off for to enjoy the remainder of the day.

The refrigerator started to cool down quickly. It usually takes only about two hours to get cold but today it was inconsistent. It was not going down below 40 F and below 40 F and above 32 F is where my insulin has to be kept. Several times Meryl made adjustments to the thermostat up and down during the day.

One of the reasons why I wanted to add Tuesday to this trip was to go back to Root'sMarket. That was where we were headed. At Roots we found that they were having a garden plant auction. There were hundreds of garden plants being auctioned way below retail prices and you were bidding on as many as you wanted - even just one. This was so tempting as the plants looked so much fuller and nicer than anything we had at home. The problem is that there was no way that we could fit three large flower pots over-bursting with flowers in the Roadtrek. Finding large things to take home is often a problem with a Class B RV - there is just so much storage space to carry things - and these plants were not going to fit under the bed (nor did we want to be sleeping over them). 

We had a nice time at Roots and then it was then off to dinner. Dinner was on the other side of Lancaster County and we had a pleasant drive to a very nice meal at which I over-indulged. The first PA Dutch meal of a trip tends to make me make up for what I have missed since the last trip. I very likely over did the carbs and I hesitate to test my blood glucose later and see what I did to myself with my very nice meal.

After dinner we got gas for the second time today. Gas prices in New Jersey and here in Pennsylvania are 30 to 40 cents a gallon less than they are in New York. I don't wait for the tank to go below half as I don't like to see the price that results on the pump  - and even though spread out it is the same thing, it is easier to take (psychologically, at least) a little at a time. Today I filled up when the tank went below three-quarters. I would rather stop for gas when I have nothing else to do, than stop on my way to someplace I want to get to.  Because of the length of the Roadtrek and the location of the gas pipe in the rear corner it is necessary to pull all the way through at the gas pump and this usually means sticking out into the lane that vehicles use to exit from the pumps. At some small gas stations this can cause a problem.

When we returned to the campground, Meryl guided me - again with the walkie-talkies - into the site and close to the electric box. I stopped and the spot was perfectly level in all directions. That is another reason I love this site. (This is not the case in all of the sites at this campground- though they are not far off from level.)  As I was getting out of the Roadtrek so that together we could hook up the electric and cable, Meryl asked if I had moved the banner and stand before we left. No, I had not. I had placed it and left it. Well, it was gone! Again! There is something about this banner that it disappears when we leave and come back. This happened in Maryland! We decided one of three things had happened. Someone from the office, knowing the last people on the site had left early had forgotten their banner and took it into the office. A friend of the people still here thought that those people had forgotten a banner and took it to hold for them. OR Someone stole it. I hope not. In the morning we will go to the office and find out. Before we went inside the Roadtrek for the night, we put our level markers down on the gravel next to the front and rear driver's side tires.

After hooking up, we went into the Roadtrek to settle in for the night and we have a routine each night. The curtains are closed around the windows, the front seats are turned to face the back, and a fabric popup waste basket that holds a plastic shopping bag is set between the seats in front of the van’s glove compartment where it fits perfectly. All of the straps that we use to indicate what must be secured in the morning go onto the steering wheel. Each small leather strap has a name stamped on it – electric, water pump, cable, cabinets, etc.   Then the TV gets unsecured and scanned for channels. Since the last time we were here we had trouble getting antenna channels, I tried out a new device that we have that I will write about in its own article in the near future. With the antenna pointed in the direction of the strongest signal, I scanned the antenna channels on the TV and got two channels. This could not be. I then set the TV to turn off scanning for "additional" channels which would clear any channels previously stored from past scans and scanned again. Now 14 digital channels came in nice and clear. There were some channels on the antenna that we enjoy at home and are not on the cable feed here. We left the antenna up and with a switch of the A/B switch and the TV channel input setting on the TV menu we could watch back and forth between the antenna and the cable. I know many do not care about TV while they are traveling. We do.

I also turned on the A/C to find the noise that we had repaired at dealer/service in March is back again -  right from the  start of running.  Another trip to service at some point will be necessary and hopefully since the problem was reported and "repaired” while under the A/C's warranty just a few months ago, this will still be covered now that the A/C warranty has passed its two years. We shall see...

Another thing that I found was that when I flushed the toilet, sediment came shooting out with the water - as it had a year ago. The water ran, but in the water it looked like dark gravel coming out with it. This had not happened a month ago during our last trip. It seemed to stop about three flushes later.

I did not turn on the propane. There is no need for it. The water in the tanks has been in the outside heat now for a few days and is plenty warm on its own. There is no need for hotter water. In fact, it would be nice to have colder water – but that is in the fridge.

The routine will be the same every night and does not take very long. The inside of the Roadtrek has been transformed from a vehicle into a comfortable room with all of the amenities of a fine hotel room.

With that all set we settled in and I started writing this. Meryl took some time to get out the last minute bag and move what was inside to the cabinets. She then settled down with her laptop using the campgrounds fairly good wifi signal. The local weather report on the TV news says that it will may rain tomorrow - there is a chance, but there is less of a chance of rain on Thursday, the Fourth of July.


 END OF PART 3. PART 4 NEXT WEEK

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ANATOMY OF A TRIP Part 2



TRIP DAY minus 3 Saturday:

Since the sun was shining despite the weather report - still good - I decided to fill the fresh water tanks. Meryl had suggested this but I had thought not be have the water in the tanks for so long, but we might as well take advantage of the weather. The water will stay good in the tanks for a very long time. We a set of fresh water hoses at the house. Our outside spigot is in the yard and we need about 30 feet of hose to reach the Roadtrek. One 10 foot hose and one 25 foot hose does it The hoses are connected with an RV water filter in between. Filling the two fresh tanks went easy with the hose fill tube on the end. I fill the tanks through the holes in the door frames, front tank first. I turned the water on to run very slowly. I think now that this is the secret to get no back flow and pockets of air in the tanks. I turned the water spigot less than one eighth of a turn. It may take er to fill but it saves the time it was taking to clean the water that spilled out before'

It took 40 minutes to fill the tanks including getting out the hoses setting them up, filling the tanks, turning on the water pump to make sure all works , and putting it all away.
I also pulled out the USB flash drive that I keep in the Roadtrek with manuals on it to update it.

TRIP DAY minus 2 Sunday:

Today was spent doing local non-Roadtrek errands and shopping for a few food items to bring on the trip. Tonight Meryl packaged dry foods we will take with us in airtight sealed plastic containers. All food placed into the cabinets are sealed this way so as to not attract insects or other unwanted critters.

TRIP DAY minus l Monday:


Clothing for the trip was put together today and packed into the laundry bags that we will have with us for the trip. They clothes are taken out to the Roadtrek in these bags. Of course it is actually raining today. In the Roadtrek the clothes were put on the hanging shelves that we have in the wardrobe closet. Extra shoes for the trip were brought out and put in the rear overhead cabinet.

The Garmin GPS from our car was moved into the Roadtrek. The Tom Tom in the dash does not show traffic ahead. Cameras were brought out and put in a safe location. We discovered while we were out there that the remote thermometer's batteries had died. This was a reminder to check the batteries in the walkie-talkies that we use if Meryl has to go out and guide me backing up.

I then left Meryl so that she could bring out the non-perishable food items and pack them in the upper kitchen cabinets. She also brought out items for the fridge that can keep in it until we turn it on just as we are leaving. Must keep cold things will be put in the fridge at the last minute before we leave. For us, this is primarily my insulin pens. If we need groceries along the way we will just buy them then.

Inside the house a bag is kept out to put all of the things needed for this night and the morning. This comes out to the Roadtrek as we are ready to leave. 



END OF PART 2. PART 3 NEXT WEEK.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ANATOMY OF A TRIP Part 1



This article is an exercise in presenting a trip in the Roadtrek in a different way and it is also being written in a different way which I will not reveal until the end. We are about to undertake a road trek in our Roadtrek. I am going to take you though this trip with us day by day from preparation to departure to return. I will present the mundane and not always interesting things involved in a trip in the Roadtrek. You will get rather the things that happen on some and all trips day by day. Bear with me and you will learn about what you may also need to do when traveling in your Roadtrek.  As I write this at this moment the trip has not yet taken place. Each day after it occurs will be noted. Look upon this as a “Captain’s Log”.

Reservations were made for this trip one year ago - yes, one year ago as this trip takes place over the week of Fourth of July. When we were at this campground a year ago we were advised that if we wanted the same site or any reservation at all for the following year then we better make it right then. I did decide about a month before the trip to increase the trip by a day at the beginning. The campground did have a site but not the site that we had reserved for the rest of the trip. This was not a problem. We would just move the next day into the other site. I made the reservation. The destination for this trip is Lancaster, PA where I have spent the Fourth of July for almost every year for the last 50 or so years. Lancaster is a home away from home for me and the Roadtrek makes it even more so. The trip will last four nights and five days.

Many look at the Roadtrek and feel that you can just take off at any time- and for some this is true, but we don't keep it ready to go at a moment’s notice. There are things in the house that we need with us that we cannot keep duplicated in the Roadtrek. There are many things that we do have that are always kept in it. It does take us a bit of time to prepare for a trip.

TRIP DAY minus 5 Thursday:

The weather reports for the trip week are not good. As it was this week every day, next week is to be scattered thunderstorms. So far this week we only saw brief showers on Monday. Perhaps next week will be the same. In anticipation of possible rain, Meryl decided to bring some of the bedding items that we had moved into the house after the last trip into the Roadtrek to avoid having wet pillows. These were taken out so that they would not be in the way when we did some work inside the Roadtrek during the month.
 

We store the pillows and blankets in large laundry bags between trips. These bags usually sit on the seat cushions in the back. 
We also stopped the mail and newspaper for next week. Meryl printed out her check lists for preparing for a trip. This is a list with all the do not forgets on it and it includes all of the things that need to be done when we return. She crosses each item off after it is done and before we leave the house for the trip it must be all crossed off except for the return section that is set off on the page. The list is left home and does not come with us. If as we walk out the door to leave, there is something not crossed off, we better go and get it.

TRIP DAY minus 4 Friday:

I checked the tire pressure using the dash tire monitor. Front tires are both 60 psi . This is where I like them to be. Rear tires are both 81 psi. The rear tires should be 80 but the dash monitor can be off by 2 psi so it is close enough. The tires are good to go.

We plugged into shore power at the house so that we could turn on the air conditioner so that Meryl could go inside an make the beds in the heat. It is better to make the beds before we leave as it takes awhile and it is easier to do this when you are not tired after a day of travel. Many with the power sofa bed just set up the bed each night and if using sleep sacks this is easy to do. We make the king bed with full sets of sheets.   The bed gets made up and stay made up for the entire trip.

The weather reports have not changed, but they not having gotten worse is a good thing. This is reminding me of our main vacation trip last summer where the weather reports were similar. 

END OF PART 1. PART 2 NEXT WEEK.
 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Installing a Replacement CO Detector

The CO Detector that came with my Roadtrek had an expiration date printed on the front of it of June 2013. This surprised me as I understood from various research that I did on its replacement that a CO Detector made for an RV should last five years and my Roadtrek now is only two years old. This is a piece of equipment not to be fooled around with so I set out to replace it and install the replacement myself.

The first thing to know when looking for a replacement is that you want the "Surface Mount" model. They also make a model that fits into a hole cut into the wall,but this is not what is used in the Roadtrek. Next - the model number of the CO Detector made by MTI Safe-T-Alert that was in my Roadtrek was model 65-540-WT. I learned from the company's website that the WT is for white as it also comes in cream color and that while this model is still listed on the website's sales page as available the model number that I was finding to match the description of this RV CO Detector was different. The model number was showing up on Amazon and at other sites selling these was MTI Safe-T-Alert 65-541- WT. I called Safe-T-Alert to ask. The 65-540 model is discontinued and the replacement for it is the 65-541. This is an upgraded model with an end of life alarm that will alert you to when it needs to be replaced - in five years. The specs and size of this newer model is exactly the same as the older model. Here is a link to the manual.

Before undertaking this job I wanted to see how this unit was installed. There are two screws holding this to the wooden panel below the rear passenger side cabinet in the Roadtrek. I removed those screws and the unit came down with two wires attached and disappearing into the inside of the unit through a small hole in the upper middle of the back. The black and red wire went into a hole in between two cushioned fabric panels in the Roadtrek.

Here is the unit attached to the bottom of the cabinet. Below it you see the A/C thermostat and temperature controls.

Here is that unit hanging down by the wires.


You will see in the photo that the manufacture date is stamped on the back of the unit. This unit original to my 2011 Roadtrek was manufactured in July 2009 - so, yes, it was five years old and needed to be replaced.

I was hoping that the case of the unit came apart and that inside there were terminals to take off  and reattach the black and red wires. That would have been too easy a design. My thoughts of a quick an easy installation requiring just a screw driver were gone. No, the connections to the 12 volt power source that this CO Detector must be connected to is inside that small parting of the cushions forming that little hole. I looked to see if there was access behind where the wires go and it did not look like there was. I put the screws back in the holes and put the unit back up.



I started asking on the Roadtrek Facebook page and had a quick answer from Jim Hammill, President of Roadtrek, telling me that as my Roadtrek is wired differently from most because a different wiring harness was installed at the factory for my DC/AC refrigerator (instead of the standard propane/DC/AC Roadtrek refrigerator) access was not going to be easy and my choices were removing the floor of the cabinet or just removing some screws to make the opening that the wires pass through temporarily larger by releasing one of the cushioned panels - but I would not be able to access where the actual connections were made. The plan no matter what was to cut the wires on the old unit and splice in the new unit which I will get to as we go along here in this article. Others told me this is how they did the job as well - cut the wires and join the new wires to the old. How different this area in my Roadtrek is from others, I don't know, but others that have done the job tell me that they wound up doing just the same as I will describe to you here that I did.

I ordered the replacement CO Detector from Amazon.com. The price was the lowest that I found - $54.95 plus $7.50 shipping. There was a rebate coupon good until September 2013 that came with the unit to mail in with part of the package to get back $10.  Be aware that I found various prices for this same unit that went from here to over a hundred dollars. Shop around for it. The unit arrived in less than one week. This is what the package looks like removed from the shipping carton. If you look in an RV shop for this, this is what you will see.


I next went shopping for connections. The connections suggested to me were crimp on snap connectors (sometimes called "bullet connectors" and they are available at Radio Shack stores for $2.49 for a pack of ten (five male and five female). They come in red and blue. Here is a photo -

To attach these you need a pair of wiring crimp pliers which cost only a few dollars and I already had a pair. With these you avoid soldering and all you do to attach the wires together with these connectors is push one end into the other and it snaps tightly and stays connected. To disconnect, all you do is pull the connectors apart.

I unscrewed the old unit from the bottom of the cabinet starting to do the installation of the new unit. Someone had said to me that when he did this job he blew the fuse to the CO Detector in the Roadtrek fuse box when he cut the wires and should have removed the fuse first. Good idea so I went to the fuse box to pull the fuse. I quickly found that my fingers would not grab the top of the fuse and Meryl's little fingers were also not getting it out. I knew what I would need - a fuse puller - which is a simple small, tweezer like, plastic device that will not break the fuse but will grab it and pull it out. I did not have one. I thought that I did, but I did not. It was now late in the afternoon with most of the earlier part taken up with the trip to Radio Shack. We locked the Roadtrek and drove to Walmart where the only fuse puller they sold came in an assortment package of fuses. Fine. I bought that and headed home. Now it was getting too late to continue working. No problem. I decided to stop and do this on the next day. I did not want to leave the CO Detector hanging by the wires so I went to put it back up on the ceiling. It was not staying up. One screw was just turning and never tightening. The hole had stripped. Again, not a problem of more than just another delay. I am a old woodworker and to fix a stripped screw hole in wood all you need is a match stick and some wood glue. I patched the hole but the glue needed 24 hours to fully set, so now the next time to continue the job given the time I was stopping would be in two days. Fine. (If this should happen to you - take a wooden match stick and cut off the match end. Cover the wood of the matchstick with wood glue to match the length of the screw that came out so that you have an approximate length of the hole. Don't put so much glue that it will just drip down. Put the matchstick with the glue end into the hole and push up until it stops. Leave it until the glue dries. When the glue is dry cut off the end of the matchstick sticking beyond the surface of the wood.) So I left the CO Detector hanging which turned out to be OK. 

When I finally got back to work on the install two days later the glue was dry. I trimmed the matchstick down and went back to the install. MAKE SURE THE BATTERY SWITCH IS OFF. I pulled the fuse with the fuse puller (so easy). The fuse is labeled on the chart in the fuse box door as CO Detector. I then looked to see where I would cut the wire on the original to get it down. I decided to cut the wire halfway - which I regretted later. I actually should have cut it closer to the unit and left more wire to push back into the hole between the cushions. 



I then cut the wires on the new unit so that there would not be so much wire left over - as any wire coming to the new unit after the snap connectors were not going to fit in the hole between the cushions and even though I was told how to open that hole up more I decided that I wanted the connectors outside of the wall where I could get at them easily if I needed to. I did not want to have to unscrew the bottom panel in the cabinet the next time I would have to change the CO Detector - which is done every five years. To have it so that the connectors would remain easily accessible and outside the small gap between the cushions, I cut the wires on the new unit leaving about 2/3 of the wire on the unit. This too turned out to be too much wire left on (but it is better to have to deal with too much wire than to discover that you cut the wire too short and ruined the new CO Detector. Anyway, the wires were cut on both units and it was time to crimp on the snap connectors. Simply a male connector goes on the red wire attached to the unit and a female connector goes on the red wire attached to the unit.

I put the connectors on the wires attached to the Roadtrek first. This is simple. You strip 3/8" of insulation off the end of the wire and twist the wire strands together so that they stay solidly together. Next push the twisted end of the wire into the snap (bullet) connector as far as it will go and with the crimp tool using the proper crimp size marked on the tool, squeeze the connector around the wire - in two places - near the top of the connector's insulation and also near the bottom. Go around the crimp to get a good seal on the wire. Hold the wire and give a little tug on the connector and make sure the wire stays in the connector. Done. Do this on the Roadtrek's black wire and the red wire. I put a MALE connector on the Roadtrek's RED wire and a FEMALE connector on the Roadtrek's BLACK wire. And then move on to doing the same thing on the wires connected to the CO Detector. MAKE DOUBLE SURE THAT YOU ARE MATCHING MALE TO FEMALE CONNECTORS on the wires or you will be cutting connectors off and starting again. Push and snap all of the connections together and you have wired the new CO Detector in! Simple. And at this point for me it was just that simple. 


The next thing to do is check that it works. Put the fuse back into the fuse box and again using the fuse puller as a fuse pusher this is easy and it will not damage the fuse. Turn on the Roadtrek's battery switch. You will see the CO Detector's green power light start to flash IF IT IS CONNECTED CORRECTLY. If there is no green light on at all you have a problem. Shut off the battery switch immediately and go back and look for what you did wrong. But it should go on if all is well and it does flash for ten minutes which means it is testing its sensors and after ten minutes the green LED on the CO Detector will glow steady green.  Once I saw that all was well and the connections worked, I wrapped each of the joined connectors with electric tape just as an added precaution that they could not pull apart. The CO Detector is there to save your life and you want to be sure these connections are secure.


Now it was time to put the new detector back up on the bottom of the cabinet and screw it in. First, there is now additional wiring to deal with that was not there before and you have wires that need to get tucked behind the detector and wires with connectors between the detector and the wall. Wires on the original between the back of the detector with most going into the hole between the cushions. There was now a lot less wire now to go back into the wall until the connectors stopped the wires from going further and there is more wire to fit between the back of the detector and the cabinet and get the connectors tucked away out of sight. It did not go easily and in the process the same screw hole stripped again - this time more than a quick fix would repair. I decided to use a thicker screw. Since the front hole is out in the open, it is easier to see. The back hole is almost up against the wall and hard to locate from below. Be cautious when dealing with screws in the wood.  With some swearing and time, it all went together and the new CO Detector went snug up to the bottom of the cabinet.

If you want to see what it looks like now, just look at the first photo above of the original CO Detector because it looks exactly the same now. The connectors are tucked neatly against the wall and are not seen unless you look for them and they could be taken down to disconnect should the need ever arise, which will not be until five years from now when the CO Detector needs to be replaced again. This new unit does not have a replace by date on the front but was marked with a manufacture date of March 2013 on the back so in March 2018 an alarm will sound and tell us to replace it. We are putting our own label on the side that says replace in February 2018 so that we will order one and have it as soon as it is needed.  

The new CO Detector is in my Roadtrek and works perfectly!