Trips, Vehicle

Quarantine in Argentina, electrical problems, and more!

Hello dear friends of Sin Rumbo,

It’s been about a month and a half since my last post, and because of the quarantine the truck has been sitting in its parking spot, unused. I have been going every couple of weeks to run the engine for 10 minutes, to maintain the battery charged and the fluids moving. This past Saturday for the first time I was able to take it for a 25-minute drive close to home. We are finally allowed to go out in a 5-kilometre radius from home. The truck ran fine, and I’m sure it was glad for the “exercise”. Those last few weeks stuck at home haven’t been a loss since we did some work in the apartment, like washing the wallpaper, painting the ceilings, etc. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since we’ve moved to Mendoza.

To come back to the truck, as you might know, I’ve been experiencing non-stop intermittent electrical problems almost from the beginning. The main cable from the engine battery was originally installed by a shop. Everything else I did myself. So when things started to misbehave I questioned my work. I changed, modified, and “improved” the electrical system a few times, without really being able to resolve the problems. While driving sometimes the fridge would run fine but the camper battery would not charge, or the reverse: the battery would appear to have charged but the fridge had stopped. After a long and frustrating time I realized that there were bad connections in the main cable, close to the engine battery. So I tightened the screws only to find them loose again a few weeks later. So I applied a threadloc compound to the screws. But then discovered bad connections at the back where that cable enters the camper. And then on our trip to Cordoba in January we almost had a fire at the back. Again bad connections in the main cable. The screws were pressing against the insulation, not the wire. The cable ran hot, the insulation partially melted, and by chance we avoided a potential fire. Because that sort of things happens slowly over a period of time the fuses didn’t blow. We ended the trip with the fridge off. Once back in Mendoza I redid all the connections on the main cable. I crimped them, soldered them, and bolted them to the terminal blocks with threadloc compound. Since then the electrical system has been running fine but it was still a lousy job overall, a fix of something poorly done.

So I ordered all the supplies online and finally changed that cable completely. I changed the fuse boxes as well for a more reliable type. It took me a day to pull out the old cable, feed through the new one, crimp all the lugs and solder them in place. Instead of electrical tape protecting the connections I used heat-shrink tubing, so everything looks professional now. I made a video of the process. You can watch it here.

As far as travel plans, I have a couple of trips in mind but, with winter coming soon here in the southern hemisphere, I’m not sure what will happen. We are still unable to drive out of town and I don’t know when that’s going to change. We have a couple of major overseas trips planned and paid for, but no guarantee that they will happen. One thing for sure is that I am itching to go away camping for a few days, even just close by! I have been working quite a bit on my youtube channel lately. I enjoy combining the two passions: overland and photography/video. I am getting new video gear to hopefully help make better videos. So I’m not lacking motivation to go out. I hope you’ve managed to stay sane during the quarantine yourself. I appreciate your support, here on the blog or on youtube. Thank you for your interest in my adventures and my ramblings.

3 thoughts on “Quarantine in Argentina, electrical problems, and more!”

  1. Hi! I saw your post about hummingbirds on your other blog. Do you still have the feeders, and visitors? What time of day do they come? I’m in Mendoza city and put out some feeders in my backyard a couple of weeks ago, but we haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet. I hope you are doing well and managing to get out on adventures now that the restrictions are not as tough.

    1. Hi Emily. Yes we still have the feeders and visitors. They come as soon as the sun is up until sunset. They seem to prefer the cheap plastic feeders with bright red and yellow colours. We originally had a fancy copper feeder and never attracted any hummingbirds with it! The sugar water is 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of white sugar. The water should be changed every 3 days at the most. The sugar develops bacteria that will harm the hummingbirds. At this time of year you should get some within a few days. Good luck!

      1. Thanks! Not five minutes after I left my comment, two little green hummingbirds came down, checked out the feeders, and left. At least now I know they’re around, and maybe feeding when I’m not paying attention. Nice to know that they appear throughout the day. Enjoy the gorgeous spring!

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