Daily Archives: July 30, 2021

Solar Charging

It has been several days since ¬†charged up my Bluetti solar charger and I’ve used it a lot to keep the laptop, tablet, and phone topped off and I’ve run my USB fan all night long for three nights in a row. That doesn’t use hardly any power and shows little drainage of the unit. But today it was showing just a 10% charge. It’s a hot, sunny day here in VA so I pulled out the 160-watt, flexible solar panel and hooked it into the Bluetti for the first time. Well, actually the first time to use it for charging. I’d hooked it up when I was in the swamp to see if it worked. Right now, just before noon, it’s showing the panel pumping 11.8 watts into the Bluetti battery. I’m happy with it.

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Broke Down Again

Well, more bad luck on the road. Stuck at Shenandoah Auto Service Center in Harrisonburg, VA.

After a pleasant visit with friends in New Gretna, NJ, I was headed south towards Florida and decided to take the scenic Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway. With the iffy tranny I wanted to take a slow route. I’d done that on the two days I’d traveled away from NJ. Slow and enjoyable. Headed to the Parkway I was routed through some neat places. Under a covered bridge and over a small, single-lane bridge in the woods. No, I wasn’t lost, just following the map with the instructions to avoid highways and tolls.¬†

After stopping for a lunch I headed to the Parkway. When I turned off into the first scenic outlook it felt like I’d fallen into a deep pothole. After taking a couple of pic I returned to the car and it wouldn’t start. After a little bit it did start and I continued on my not knowing why the car wouldn’t start. A few miles down the road the engine started displaying the symptoms it had when the alternator died in South Carolina. Fortunately there was another scenic overview location nearby and I swung into it. Once again when I turned the key I got the clicking sound on hears with a dead battery. I called AAA.

In less than an hour the tow truck arrived. He looked under the hood and a connection at the back of the alternator had come undone. He plugged it back in but nothing. He then towed me nearly 40 miles to the Shenandoah Auto Service Center 15 minutes after they’d shut their doors for the day. I managed to sleep fairly well in the SUV despite it not being parked on the level. This is a good-size operation with lots of cars waiting to be serviced. A little before the office opened at 8 am I saw a girl going through the lot with a notebook and pen. I talked to her briefly. She was not encouraging. Certainly not going to get back on the road today like I did with Lugnutt’s in South Carolina. Since they don’t work on the weekend it will be AT LEAST Monday before they can work on it. SIGH!

So I’ve booked a room at a local motel for the next four days.

The girl at the desk here at the repair yard said they confirmed that the alternator isn’t charging. She’s going to give Lugnutt’s a call for information on the warranty from O’Reilly’s on the alternator. I explained to her that I did NOT see it as a mechanic’s issue. It was brought on by that horrible drop at the turnoff. An equipment failure. 

I’ll just have to look at the motel stay as being a “vacation” within a vacation. Hey! I’m retired. It’s ALL a vacation. 

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