Our 28th Anniversary
August 6, 2023 was moving day and also our 28th wedding anniversary. Our plan was to drive to Hammonassett State Park in Connecticut, get checked in and set up before doing anything else. As it turned out, Sunday was a full day and neither of us had the energy to celebrate so we postponed our special dinner out for a day or two. On reflection, this chapter of our life is special every day. We are spending more time together than any other time in our marriage and so our anniversary isn't just one day set aside to spend together. We are celebrating our marriage 7 days a week, 12 months out of the year right now which is pretty amazing. What I can't believe is how fast the 28 years has gone! We're spending all this time together and we still like each other! We are having the time of our life living the adventure traveling our great country and meeting many people who make it great.
Monday was a stormy day. We had some trailer issues to deal with after setting up on Sunday. First of all, the self-leveling system wasn't working and needed to be reset. I was able to manually level so it wasn't a big priority for me. The issue that was getting my attention was our power usage and lack of solar. Our campsite in the partial shade limits our solar input to the later afternoon hours IF we have sun. During the first two days at Hammonassett we were using more power than we were generating. So after a year and a half of only using our solar system for power, I had to resort to employing the Honda EU2000 inverter/generator from the back of the truck.
After sitting idle for over a year, the generator fired up just fine and ran like a champ. I plugged in the 50A cable with the 110V adapter and voila, no power! What?! I checked the Power Watchdog Surge Protector and, low and behold, there was an E7 error message which translates to the power coming to the EPS device was ungrounded. OK, now it was time to go to YouTube to solve this mystery.
Here's what I learned. When plugging your RV into power from a building (your garage outlet) or a campground (pedestal outlet), your RV has its Ground and Neutral buses “bonded” (connected) together externally as part of the service panel’s earthed safety ground system. There are lots of reasons for this, but the fact is you can only have a single G-N bonding point according to the National Electrical Code and RVIA building codes.
However, many portable inverter generators from companies such as Yamaha and Honda have floated Neutrals (no internal Neutral-Ground bond) since they expect an external N-G bond to happen somewhere else. And while RV-approved generators may have an internal N-G bond, it seems that many of the most popular portable inverter generators from Honda and Yamaha have floating neutrals.
Inverter generators have floated Neutrals so the generator isn’t providing the Ground-Neutral bond that my RV requires to think it’s getting properly grounded power. The solution is simple, get a "Neutral-Ground bond" jumper plug. The most expedient solution was to go to Ace Hardware and buy the parts to make my own.
It’s pretty simple to wire a special “Neutral-Ground bond” jumper plug for your Honda or Yamaha generator which will allow you to power your RV through its voltage protection device. You can obtain or make a dummy 15-amp “Edison” plug with the Neutral (white) and Ground (green) screws jumped together with a piece of 12- or 14-gauge wire. This G-N jumper plug can be plugged into one of the generator’s unused 15- or 20-amp outlets, and the entire generator’s electrical system will then be N-G bonded.
After some minor modifications to an orange 15 amp grounded plug, I plugged it into the Honda's second 110 plug. With the generator running, the Watch Dog EPS device was very happy and we were getting 13.8 Amps (1490 W) coming into the electrical system recharging the battery bank back to 100%. Eureka! Looks like we will keep the generator as our backup power supply for the future.
Tuesday, August 8 we took a road trip to New London and Groton traveling on Highway 1 most of the way. While in New London we stopped at the United States Coast Guard Academy to see the museum and pick up some souvenirs. I was hoping to see the Barque USCGC EAGLE, but she was out on a training cruise with cadets.
The United States Coast Guard Academy is a top military college granting Bachelor of Science degrees in one of nine engineering or professional majors. Graduates earn a commission as an Ensign in the Coast Guard to serve their nation. The 295-foot Barque EAGLE is the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard. She serves as a training vessel for cadets at the Coast Guard Academy and candidates from the Officer Candidate School. The EAGLE is the only active-duty sailing vessel in America’s military, and one of only two commissioned sailing vessels, along with the USS Constitution.
So, why train Coast Guard cadets on a tall ship when most will spend their careers on state-of-the-art ships and aircraft? Because the ways of old still have much to teach. The conditions and situations that you face under sail can’t be replicated either in a classroom or aboard today’s modern ships.
On board EAGLE, cadets find themselves suddenly out of their element. Totally dependent on wind, waves and currents, they quickly learn how these forces of nature affect a vessel. They become skilled in ship-handling, decision-making and meeting unexpected challenges. They learn the importance of crew members working together to handle the ship safely.
After our self-guided tour of the academy we drove along the Connecticut coast looking for a anniversary dinner venue. We found Luigi's in Old Saybrook, Connecticut right on the highway back to the campground. We had another wonderful and delicious dinner together celebrating God's goodness and faithfulness to us!