The epic 2021 Texas cold front swept down to us in South Padre Island. With the power suddenly going out we thought, no problem, we will fire up the generator to keep warm. Well the generator wouldn’t start because the cold temperature had apparently killed our batteries. The realization came we were going to have to endure a cold night since it didn’t look like the power would be turned back on anytime soon.
The next morning we woke up to a VERY cold interior so we hopped in the car to get warm and to make a mad dash over to Harlingen Texas to purchase the last two Duracell 12 volt batteries for our coach’s chassis along with 2 Duracell 6 volt golf cart batteries to replace our house batteries.
With temperatures now in the upper 20’s outside and the winds blowing around 30 miles per hour South Texas no longer resembled the warm and cozy winter retreat we had envisioned. We hurried back to the RV park and I went outside to install the new batteries. I could only attempt a little work before my hands and face got numb so I would have to jump back into the car with Sharon to warm up by getting out of the wind.
While installing the batteries I did get a hefty spark when a negative cable inadvertently touched a positive terminal. Startling to say the least. After about thirty minutes the batteries were installed and I came back inside to see if we were had power now. As I checked out our inverter I noticed we were unable to invert DC power into AC, Crap…
It appeared the inverter was not charging or inverting. We now had batteries but no inverter to assist our power needs. At least the house batteries were new so we would be able to turn on a little propane heat before they discharged. Finding some good winter clothes and all the blankets we own, we managed to live through another night with no power.
We were getting a little trickle of solar power on the following cloudy days to provide us a little heat before the batteries would get so low I would turn it off. With not enough power to start the generator we had yet ANOTHER cold night. The next morning the inside of the RV was 41 degrees. We had now been without power for 48 hours.
Things couldn’t be worse… Could they? Well, you might be wondering why we simply didn’t start the RV motor and use it to charge the batteries. Well, guess what? Even with the new batteries the RV wouldn’t start. I would turn the key and got nothing… not a click, not a grunt…. not anything. It simply would not start.
As I said in our part one blog about this bitter cold event, it would be many days before the power would be restored. On a freezing cold day after 72 hours with no power I called Xantrex and troubleshot our inverter only to discover that the inverter was toast. We obviously would need a replacement. No problem as I assumed I would be able to overnight one and install it the next day.
In the meantime I found a Freightliner Mechanic who would come to our dead RV and try to figure out what was wrong with it. So here we are with no power, no water, a dead inverter and an RV that won’t start. Are we having fun yet?
NOTE: We are currently in South Padre Island in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas until March 8th…