Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mr. Dometic overheats!

Mr. Dometic overheats!
Last nite around 9pm, I went to get the cast iron skillet from the cabinet above Mr. Dometic. The skillet was pretty hot! At first I thought that the heat was residual from the Sun shining on the outside of MsTioga that afternoon. But the heat was much too hot for that. The heat must be coming from Mr. Dometic!

Opening the outside refrigerator cabinet, I felt the fridge condenser and coils. These were very, very hot. Much hotter than they ever were before. Immediately Mr. Dometic was shut down. I figured to keep him shut down for an hour to cool off. Then turn him on again to see what happens.

MsTioga is camped at almost 7,000 feet. Could the altitude have affected the propane pressure again? Checking the propane pressure found that it had risen from 10" of water to over 12" water! Wow! The altitude had again affected gas pressure. Could this be the reason that Mr. Dometic overheated?

12 Midnite - Move down the mountain.
It was decided to move MsTioga down the mountain to a lower altitude in order to see if this move would correct whatever is bothering Mr. Dometic. We drove passed Bernal, and continued down to where the land stopped descending. Checking our elevation, we are now at 6,400 feet.

1AM - Mr. Dometic running cool.
We made a Nite Camp at this lower elevation site. While driving here, Mr. Dometic was left off. Now Mr. Dometic was turned on again, and I went to sleep. A couple of hours later, I checked the fridge temp. It was down from 60°F to just a bit above 59°F.

If you have experience with these absorption type refrigerators, then you know that a tiny move down in the temperature is very significant. Mr. Dometic was cooling now, and his condenser and tubes were now only warm, not overheated as before.

6AM - Mr. Dometic doing better.

Mr. Dometic's temperature is now down to 46°F. Excellent! We do not know for sure what caused the overheating condition, but the elevation is our chief culprit.

If elevation is responsible, this throws a BIG crimp in our plans to travel in the high Sierras. We may often be above 8,000 feet, and sometimes above 9,000 feet.

Looking online for clues, we found a Norcold page which recommended switching to electricity from propane when at elevations above 5,500 feet. We switched to electric power by inverting 12 volts DC to 120 volts AC. This is no good. The inverted current used is around 27 amps at 12 volts. Our battery bank would go down like crazy using this amount of electric power. So, Mr. Dometic was immediately switched back to propane heat.

7AM - Moved Camp away from highway.
The traffic is loud here next to the highway. MsTioga moved down the road a bit to the Town of Ajuchitlán where we found a quiet residential street to get some more sleep.

Later on, we need to return to a higher elevation in order to learn if Mr. Dometic's overheat was actually caused by lower air pressure or not. We cannot just assume this to be the problem.

2PM - Camped in the desert Pueblo of Higuerillas.

This morning at around 11am, MsTioga headed easterly for higher elevations. We believe that the mountains and a pine forest are ahead, but we may not reach the forest today.

We have made a Camp at the edge of the little Pueblo of Higuerillas. Our GPS, Mr. DeLorme reports an altitude of 5,207 feet, so we have actually descended from our Camp of this morning.

Mr. Dometic, our hard working refrigerator has cooled off to a temp of 40°F. We are not surprised that Mr. Dometic has cooled off at this lower elevation. This goes along with our thinking that higher elevations and resulting lower air pressure adversely affect Mr. Dometic's operation.

5:30PM - Boondocking in Mexico?
We receive messages from readers wondering about boondocking in Mexico. We on the TiogaRV Team have only boondocked a few times in Mexico. We find it much better to make Dry Camps inside cities and small towns of Mexico.

When dry camping, we have a chance to visit with our neighbors. A very fun thing.
View just before sundown from MsTioga's roof.
Temperature at 5:30pm: 81°F - Elevation: 5,207 feet

My friend Weng.
I want to introduce you to my friend Weng. I first met Weng while living in the Pueblo of Aticama last winter. Weng is a vivacious young woman with a vibrant personality. Everybody likes Weng, and I immediately liked her too.

Weng is married to Francisco. They built their home in Aticama themselves. Their home overlooks Matanchen Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Weng and Francisco live half year in Aticama and return to Porland, Oregon for half year to earn money. They have been moving back and forth like this for many years.

When Weng learned that I was earning money from writing my blog, she wanted to write a blog too. Weng is a hard working gal, and is looking for ways to make income. I have encouraged Weng to tell her story. She has quite a story to tell!

Click [here] to begin to follow Weng's story. Please read from the beginning. Weng starts her story on Tuesday, May 26, 2009.
My friend Weng.