Friday, June 16, 2023

A Simple Request

We were sitting by the pool on a sweltering afternoon when the RV park owner walked over. His simple request: If you're not in your trailer, please don't run your air conditioning. 

I was running my air conditioning at the time to cool the trailer, after spending the day exploring. It takes a couple hours before it's tolerable inside. This is what you do, at least in the US. The problem with these Mexican RV parks is they don't have enough power for everyone to run their air conditioner, so on hot afternoons they have brown outs, because everyone is coming back from their activities is doing exactly what I'm doing. Brown outs occur when the power falls dangerously low and creates a low voltage condition.

Low voltage conditions can kill RV appliances, including air conditioning units. Anything less than around 108 volts is considered dangerous. For most campers, they have no idea what's going on. Those with better surge protectors will likely see them trip, which is probably what was happening. This becomes a collective problem in need of addressing. My RV is designed for this and just skips along happily, sending me notifications that shenanigans are afoot.

I had heard about parks in Mexico asking guests not to run their AC units at all in the summer, which I found infuriating, since the main reason you're at an RV park is you need power to run your air conditioner. I could park in a field if I didn't need power for my AC. This seemed kind of close to that and my mental outrage had been pre-loaded, which was dumb.

I was a bit miffed, but I pushed a button on my phone and turned my AC off. I later learned, someone was snooping around my RV to report me to The Man. I was then miffed that I had become miffed and had to think on that.

I thought about why I was miffed for a couple days. It wasn't that I didn't want to share, I didn't want to do my collective duty. My rig is different. Or maybe it was more than that? I'll explain how my RV handles this low voltage condition before getting into that.

First, when my trailer detects a low voltage condition, which you can see with the screen shot on the right from this park (69.6 volts rather than 120), it disconnects power (Amps is now 0.0). At this point I'm safe and also no longer part of the problem of pulling power from an overloaded park. 

My system checks every 90 seconds and allows power back in when the voltage has increased. During this time I'm running on batteries. I considered disconnecting my power cable from the RV park in the afternoons to prove I wasn't part of the problem. My AC would continue to inexplicably whirr.

Second, my system is set up to use 15 amps of power, even when connected to a 30 amp circuit, using batteries to make up the difference when necessary. I am sipping 15 amps of power even though my trailer could pull 50 amps (the park is limited to 30). I think weeks of getting by with my 15 amps and worrying about running down the batteries is where some of my irritation came from. 

That said, I talk about sipping power, but I do use a LOT of it in my self contained habitat. Being miffed also comes from being called out on my profligate electrical ways. This comes from living in the trailer rather than living out of the trailer. When the RV park manager stopped by, my buddy had all his windows open in his school bus RV. I'm really miffed because I'm being asked to change my behavior. Ahh, now we're getting to it.

There is no way to explain my rig to the RV park owner, so I'll just make sure we're complying with his simple request.

No comments:

Post a Comment