Water Heater Indicator Light

I have always thought that the switch for the Suburban water heater should have an indicator light to provide a clear signal whether the heater is on or not. What I find adds to this confusion is the massive red light that is right beside the switch. I imagine the first assumption that ones mind makes when seeing that light, and it is not illuminated, the heater is off. Wrong. That light, for the most part, is an ignition cycle lockout indicator, and rarely illuminated. It would have been far more informative to make the switch illuminated, and perhaps have a smaller led for an error condition. Perhaps I'm nit-picking.

Tired of needing to look closely at the switch to determine the status, I decided to add an led into the power circuit. When the heater is on, so will be the led. I'm not the only one to have these thoughts, as a quick Google found a number of people have already made this same mod.

My local electronic supply store had a variety of 12v led lights available, so I picked some up in a variety of colours. We ended up using an amber led, which seemed to provide the best visibility. The plate incorporates the Off/On switch, and the previously described error lamp. A small hole was drilled between the two components, to allow the led to be press fit into place. There is about 1/2 inch to work with here, so a variety of small led lights could be used.

The wiring is super simple. As always, confirm everything first with your voltmeter, as sometimes things may not be wired as you believe, based on a visual inspection. Attach the positive wire from the led to the output spade of the switch, and the negative wire to the negative spade of the error lamp. It is very easy to follow that negative wire all the way to a grounding point, just to confirm things.

When the switch is moved to On, the output spade is energized, providing power to the heater, and your new led indicator. Unlike the big lamp that is there, the new little guy will stay illuminated until you turn off the heater.

A small mod to make a big difference.

2017 Trip 5: a "cottage" weekend

Trip 5: Sharbot Lake PP - July 2017

A "cottage" weekend. Our term for a Friday & Saturday night away. Where some will hop in the car and head to the lake, we hitch up the cottage and head out. We went to Sharbot Lake, a close hour and a bit drive, and were soon set up on one of our favourite sites. We really like the sites that have direct access to the water, making a quick cooling dip or beer by the shore that much easier.

Full house this weekend, not surprising given the weather has been fabulous. We had an early evening swim, which was wonderfully refreshing. We sat out until the stars came out, then called it a day.

Our kayaks were not with us this weekend, but we had a desire to get on the water just the same. We planned to rent a canoe for a few hours, so we threw in our life jackets and I took along my old school wood paddle. That paddle has seen many a mile through Algonquin Park, and is very comfortable to use. Hard not to keep it around, even if now it only touches water a few times a decade!

Saturday was another great weather day, and once coffee and breakfast were taken care of, we headed to the Park Store to rent a canoe. Paperwork taken care of, we got the key and walked to the beach. The rental canoes are very scow like, but based on the abuse they need to take, there are generally no Kevlar models on offer. It did its job admirably, gliding us around the lake in a peaceful, relaxing manner. Just like riding a bike, the J stroke came back effortlessly, as did a few other little paddling tricks learned so many years ago. As nice as it was, it did not come near to equalling the enjoyment we both get from our kayaks. It was though, a rare treat.

Helen & Paul have a cottage close to the Park, so they came over in the afternoon for a visit and dinner. The bugs were cooperative, and allowed us to sit outside and enjoy the nice temps. We made chicken quesedilas on the Q, and they were quite tasty with some of Dale's guacamole on the side. A nice evening.

a comfy little set up

Around six in the morning we heard the pitter patter of raindrops on the roof. As much as we enjoy that sound, and it would have been very easy to just roll over and go back to sleep, the thought of packing up soaked chairs and a ground mat was not very appealing. I headed out and threw a few things in the back of the car, where they remained until we actually did pack up.

The rain was off and on, and never really that heavy. We gathered our gear up between showers, then when it got brighter, we hitched up and were on our way. Our "cottage" weekend was simply that...some time in and on the water, some visiting and a few cold ones, and some tasty food on the Q. Exactly as planned.


2017 Trip 4: another great rally adventure

2017 Trip 4: Vacation

It's finally Friday and that means it is time for the vacation to start. We are heading south, ending up at Cape Hatteras, with stops along the way in Raleigh N.C., and the 2017 edition of the Alto rally. This is an east coast year, and it is being held at Stone Mountain S.P., near Roaring Gap N.C.. As has become somewhat of a tradition, our Friday night head start gets us to the Walmart in Ogdensburg, where we camp overnight, do a little shopping, then get our groceries the next morning. This little routine works quite well, and saves us a few hours of time.

Bit of a mishap right out of the gate. We were almost at the border when our cellphone rang, and it was Conor, one of Chris & Tammy's boys. He told us that he just noticed that the window in the Mini was down, and thought he should call us. We talked options, and soon realized that it would be best to swing around and head back to close up that window. It was unfortunate we did not have a set of keys at home, but we sure will now! Fortunately it was still early in the evening, and we were able to get across the border and to the Walmart by about 8:30. Definitely a pain, but good to have resolved and off our mind.  Conor saved the day big time, no worry of us coming back to a drenched or ransacked car.

Chris & Jenn, and their 1743 Alto were already parked in the lot. They are trying the Walmart routine this year as well. It was nice to have their company, we all wandered the Walmart, then had a quick visit and a cold one before turning in. We were serenaded to sleep by a street sweeper cleaning the parking lot, and a guy with an angle grinder fixing a broken down truck just across the way, sparks flying out into the darkness. Made us feel right at home, as if we we in Canada at a Canadian Tire parking lot!