the OTHER dread red light

Yesterday was Fridge changeover day. Aside from waiting around for spare hands to show up the changeover went smoothly and it was also a good father-in-law / son-in-law bonding time. I like Mike a lot, and I’m pretty sure he likes me too rather than tolerating me.

During the day I had the genset running — it had been a little longer than my usual 30 days for it’s ‘exercise’ so I was running the heat pump and a couple space heaters just to put some load on the generator.  It was warm enough outside that we didn’t really need heat, but the generator needs a load for the exercise period to do what it’s supposed to do — which is get all the bits and bobs lubricated and seals resealed, and fluids moved around.

Thus, when we pulled up jacks and retracted slides I didn’t think much about moving — just went through our normal checklist and go…


A typical GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit detector). Note the little red LED in the upper corner, and the TEST and RESET buttons at the center.

When we arrived back at the State Fair RV Park I went through my usual arrival routine and when I went to deploy the satellite dish nothing happened. I checked the usual culprits when there’s a power problem and nothing helped.  We had no power in any of the outlets in the coach.  Yet, we had power to the heating system, to the refrigerator — basically to all the areas that had their own circuit breakers.

What gives?

Our usual checklist for power problems goes like this:

  1. Check circuit breakers
  2. Check battery disconnect at the front door.
  3. Check power at the power post
  4. Check power at the inverter

In the past that’s as far as we have gone.

There are also disconnect switches in the battery and inverter bays but I would never turn them off except for servicing the batteries or the inverter so they exist but aren’t something I’d normally think about.

What we never think about is the single Ground Fault Circuit Detector installed in the bathroom!   And low and behold, when we looked at that we saw it:  the other dreaded red light!  For whatever reason in all the messing about in the coach yesterday we had done something to trip the detector (or perhaps we inadvertently pushed the test button)  — at any rate the detector did it’s job — if shorted out the circuit so that none of the outlets had power to them.

All we had to do was push in on the reset button and all our outlets came live again and the problem was no more.

So, now we have a new checklist for power problems:

  1. Check circuit breakers
  2. Check battery disconnect at the front door.
  3. Check power at the power post
  4. Check power at the inverter
  5. Check power at the GCFI

It is recommended that you test your GCFI monthly.  To be honest I don’t know anyone who does that.  That kind of negligence may not be good, but I dare say it’s not uncommon.  If I had been doing the monthly checks I might have thought about the possibility sooner.  As it was the sun had gone down, it was dark outside and I had decided to ignore the problem until the morning when I could see what I was doing outside.  We went to one of our favorite pizza joints and it was after we returned home satiated and relaxed that the CGFI came to mind.

Tanino's PIzza

Tannin’s Restaurant and Bar — a nice selection of Italian specialties and pizza in a neighborhood bar atmosphere. There is a separate dining room — so you don’t have to eat in the bar.

I supposed the lesson behind that is, when in doubt or in trouble, the best thing to do is to go get a pizza. Our new ‘favorite’ pizza in town is Tanino’s on 76th Street in West Allis.  I hate to admit that they have edged out Balestrieri’s on 68th which was our staple for 30 years.  The reason for the change is — primarily — changes at Balestrieri’s.  The crust isn’t quite the same, and the deep fried eggplant strips often arrive too soggy — having been fried at temps too low for the item.
rules of customer satisfaction

Having said that, I have to comment that change and consistency are two of the things we have noticed most during this longer than usual return to Milwaukee.  In our lifetime we have never been the sort to go to the same restos all that frequently.  When we were living in town we might revisit the same place only 2 or 3 times in a year if it was one that we liked.  bad customer serviceThis visit we returned so some places that many times or more because we have come to appreciate that they have stuck with their formula and still offer what we had come to expect from them over the years.  And what we have (sadly) discovered is that it’s hard to find places that do maintain what made them popular or famous in the first place.  I don’t say this with sadness or disappointment — it’s merely a fact of life.  A fact that will alter our plans on successive returns.  I say that because once a place disappoints us more than once we tend not to return — end of story.

There you have it, the tale of the Other Dread Red Light…

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.



4 thoughts on “the OTHER dread red light

  1. Peter,
    This summer I found another thing to check. We lost part of our 110 volt devices and after checking all of the things that you check I found out that one of the contacts in the 50 amp shore power cord reel had burned up. Of course the company had been bought out and the parts were no longer available. The new company sells both a manual crank one (like our old one) and a push the button to retract electric model. Oddly enough, the electric one was priced much cheaper. I now have the electric one and took the cord off of the old one, put a $15.00 female receptacle on the cut off end and I have a 40 foot 50 amp extension cord.


    1. Hey Bob! Interesting! Things like that do happen. And there is NO END TO THE LEARNING CURVE for those of us who are full time RV’ers! That’s why I write a lot of the stuff that I blog about — so many people think that RV’ing is just a bundle of fun, but there’s a lot of ‘other stuff’ thrown in there with all that fun! Interesting about the electric one being cheaper. We are going to have to have our main door lock looked at — that is mis behaving — I blog about it in a couple days. And when we pulled in here I see that with all the winds we’ve been having that we have a tear in our Lounge slide topper — so that’s something else to deal with when we get to Ocala. It’s always something, isn’t it! Good idea about the extension cord! At the cost of 50amp cable you never throw those things away!

      > >


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