my weird, jerry-rigged electrical system

Heater went out, so I bought a little space heater and headed to a campground. That’s where I learned that my weird, jerry-rigged electrical system does not work the way I thought.

My inverter is old, and could not serve as a charger for lithium iron phosphate batteries. So I bought a separate, 15A battery charger with a 120v house plug. But this means I can’t just “pass through” power when plugged in to shore power. It has to go from 120V down to 12V, then from there to the inverter where it goes back up to 120V. And that system could not keep up with my little space heater running at its low-power setting of 750W.

So now I’m looking at a new, modern inverter. Fuck Renogy, going Victron. Shit’s expensive, but I want that backup option. I could just spend Winters in campgrounds, plugged in. Maybe throw some heat mats on the floor with a rug over em.

As for the heater, I replaced the filter at the little fuel pump, and the wire mesh that surrounds the heating element, to no avail. Still billowing white smoke (diesel vapor) and not starting. Took the bugger out and disassembled it, and the combustion chamber was naaaaasty with black stuff.

In that second image, you can also see that the internal gasket is falling apart. That’s going to end up being the sticky wicket…nobody has them on the shelves around Bend OR, surprisingly, and Ham-a-zon is gonna take a week. So I’ll be in this motel for awhile.

It’s been about 13 months of full-time usage that got the heater to this condition. I suspect the biodiesel I’ve used occasionally was part of the problem. Time to start running some preventative maintenance on this piece of kit each Autumn.

My current income is more than twice what it’s ever been in the past, but I’m still not putting as much back as I’d like. I’ve paid off something like 25k in debt accrued while between careers, but I’d feel much better with a fat emergency fund.