Comments

  • Cellular internet service, what do you use?
    Appreciate Ray following up on my Q. The problem isn’t the US carrier having a Canada/Mexico vacation plan, it’s the Canadian carriers surcharge that’s put on top of it that makes data expensive. Keeping all devices shut off before crossing the border gives one control of Verizon day charges...but the C surcharge was very poor value. Wish there was a better option...
  • Cellular internet service, what do you use?
    Lisa, the info resource I hear most often recommended to learn about both voice and data access on the road is the Mobile Internet Resource Center. If you aren't familiar with them, their Youtube Channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC95x5NprjuvBuIHfuVo6W4Q.

    Ray, I'm sure you'll be seeing these posts. In viewing many of your videos, I don't think I've seen you tackle the subject of the best approach for non-Canadians to have mobile data access while in Canada. With plan details - and even the plans themselves - changing regularly, I realize it's a dynamic topic that's hard to address in detail. But I can't help but think you will have some generic commentary on this challenge that might prove helpful to those of us who (hopefully, once again) can wander north of the border. Our last visit to Alberta and BC included a rude awakening to this issue, and Tim Horton wasn't by itself much of a solution. ;)

    Jack
  • TireMinder TPMS i10
    Or 'changing/adjusting apps' may be a good reason for the cop to stop us in any case.

    You described my last GA cockpit, Ray. No integrated display, so careful thought given and some kind of logic developed for arranging multiple displays despite the fact that ongoing Job One is to monitor what's outside the windshield. However, I will confess that my analogy only goes so far and things become very different once your aircraft enters the goo and outside visibility disappears. The closest car/truck driving to this is in dense fog or very heavy rain, where real serious concentration - non-stop, if you please - is needed to track the centerline and keep a wary eye out for slower traffic just outside the visual range. That can be very challenging driving if it also occurring at a critical point in the vehicle's navigation or if you get a TPMS alarm. In flying, hands-on IFR flying is an uninterrupted scan, in a structured sequence, of 6 instruments non-stop while hoping to find a little residual brainpower to handle comms with ATC and anticipate the weather ahead, traffic and GPS nav. I think it's why pilots usually feel great fulfillment in instrument flying (after a successful landing of course) and I've felt something similar when towing our Lance through tough weather and safely arriving at our destination.

    Jack
  • TireMinder TPMS i10
    Just an only somewhat related thought: I find it a bit fascinating how the last 10 years of new technologies has had the same ripple effect in tow vehicle 'cockpits' and the cockpits of small aircraft. It used to be that both vehicles displayed what a manufacturer chose to put in front of you, and ancillary indicators were either few in number (perhaps a transmission temp gauge for the tow vehicle) or non-existent. Then came GPS-everything, several ubiquitous, inexpensive wireless technologies, the iPhone and iPad, inexpensive video cameras (both facing forward and behind) and much more. Quite rapidly, multiple displays got hung right and left for the driver/pilot to be monitoring, cable runs (or regimented battery charging schemes) became the norm, and one wonders how the driver/pilot can find time to scan what's in front of him or her and control the vehicle.

    In aviation, the next iteration of all this technology became the integrated flight display. One screen now offers the same aeronautical instruments (bank angle, airspeed, heading and so forth) along with the navigational picture and all its relevant details AND all the engine instrumentation that allowed one to estimate whether the plane would stay in the air all the way to its destination. Something similar has now taken shape with new trucks, but the degree of integration is less. I like Jared's approach - one phone, with all the nav/entertainment/TPMS/whatever data being centralized in one location and not encumbering the view of the road - but such an arrangement works better for me if it's on the iPad rather than the smaller phone. If only hanging something bigger off the dash and solidly placing it near to hand in our TV was as easy as it was to do in the smaller aircraft cockpit.

    Jack
  • TireMinder TPMS i10
    Good morning, Ray. Jared Gillis did what I think is a very good review of the TireMinder Smart TPMS and it's available on his YT channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXBzXAGkBnY In part, I liked the review because he points out what a TPMS can and can not do for on-road safety. Jared goes into some detail about why they chose that brand - very helpful, I thought.

    Jack
    Prescott AZ
  • New Generator Not just for home backup anymore.
    Ray's raising the question of load sharing & shedding, which is worth adding to the discussion. For our 2200W Honda and 10K BTU A/C. I make sure the microwave breaker is off, don't worry about the converter/charger's load, and give a thought to what if anything significant is being powered by the outlets. (Hair dryer? Coffee maker? If so, I would wait for those to be done). If you have something like a Progressive Industries AC surge & current protecter, you'll actually be able to see the ramp up of the electrical draw as the A/C compressor starts up, and then you'll see it settle into a lower, continuous draw. From memory I seem to recall that our 10K BTU steady A/C draw is somewhere in the 7-8 amps of AC, or about half the 1800W continuous rating of the Honda. So it definitely has more to give.

    Ray, I don't know what they do when 'fogging' your wife's outboard but, if a long spell of no use worries you, you can always add an anti-corrosion additive to the oil, let it run at full operating temp long enough to get that additive fully dispersed, and then spray a non-corrosion product thru the spark plug hole and cycle the piston with the pull cord. For a typical GA piston aircraft, that's typically what's recommended when putting the plane to bed for a spell.
  • New Generator Not just for home backup anymore.
    Good grief! I should have said add the Micro-Air to your AC unit, not the Wen. Where's my coffee...
  • New Generator Not just for home backup anymore.
    Hi, Alan. Lots of good thoughts here and here are several I would add. First, a fuel shut off feature doesn't mean the carb totally empties itself of fuel. In all the portable generators I've used, including my 2200 watt Honda now, there's always been some fuel residue remains which can gum up over time. And that's especially so for us folks who live in seasonal climates and only run the snowblower, lawn mower, etc. for a portion of the year. In fact, lME the RV generators in most RVs see even less action than that. So...I feel it's always good practice to add fuel stabilizer when filling the gas jug I carry with me. I also probably don't need to add that you should use 'real' gasoline and not the E10 blend that's now the national default choice. The E10 stuff is lousy for small engine operations.

    Another suggestion - I think Ray has a video on this - is to install an easy start feature on your Wen unit. Micro Air seems to be the popular choice (http://www.micro-air.com). Depending on the size of your AC unit, this just might make it possible for your Wen to power your AC. And finally, keep elevation in mind when thinking you'll boondock somewhere and want to depend on the Wen. The density altitude (elevation + effect of temperature) e.g. in the Rockies where we've been camping can reach 7K' or 8K' easily in the summer, even tho' you might be parked at a lower elevation. Before installing the Micro-Air unit, I found about 6500' density altitude was the point at which my Honda 2200 couldn't support AC operation. The Micro-Air changed that.

    Best wishes on a good season!

    Jack
  • My first long trip
    Steve, we're with you in spirit...and soon in practice, as we too are about to escape a long (Montana) winter. We'll leave in a few days for Prescott, Arizona, wandering by way of an Indian RV park in Ft. Hall ID, a stop in a tiny town with a big park the pooch loves in Fillmore UT, and a BLM camping site outside Page, AZ. Nothing glamorous or particularly adventurous in any of those miles, and yet we'll see high mountain passes, grand vistas and meet interesting people. What's not to like?!
  • Charge Controller/Inverter-Charger/Monitor Brands
    P.S. I should have offered this fresh video from Jared Gillis, as he discusses in some detail the discharge and charge temp limits for Battleborn batteries. Jared has a number of videos on monitors, RV electrical systems and such. He's also a professional installer of these systems.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfyFXrpwfrk

    Jack
  • Charge Controller/Inverter-Charger/Monitor Brands
    Ed, let me first praise Logan's observations. Many YT channels are being monetized by full-timers who support high computer use and, for them, perhaps a big investment is warranted. Even our good buddy and mentor here, Ray, falls into that category. But do appraise your own needs thoughtfully as what appears to be 'the best' or a 'norm' is simply not needed by most of us. And as one example, we lived for most of 11 years on the hook and off the grid while cruising our sailboat, and while we had a more sophisticated monitor/charger/inverter system than one sees today in RV's, the *only* source of our electricity - just as with all RVs who are away from RV parks - was a house bank, specifically as group of simple wet cell Trojan T-105's. So far we have camped down to single digit (F) temps with our wet cells (note the temp charging limits on Lithium batteries), rarely use our EU2200 because of 290W of solar (small by YT channel standards) and have yet to dip below 85%. Almost every RV has a vented battery compartment (and so exposed to outside temps), so "just" swapping out the batteries can become a "relocating" the batteries and wiring. Never going to be in cold country? If you're buying an RV, it would be a shame to exclude the wanderlust that comes with it. ;)

    Greg is spot-on about the depth and cleverness of the Victron product line. I installed their 712 bluetooth monitor and a Victron controller for the portable panel(s), and really appreciate using the iPhone to observe all the panels' performance. (With this capability, you can ignore how to run the data wire and where to mount the display, which can be an install hassle). However, I don't find Victron (the company) all that easy to work with when seeking info beyond the manuals (which are excellent) so a knowledgeable U.S. reseller might be a good idea vs. Amazon et al.. I also viewed a YT video just a few days ago that featured a very disappointed Victron controller owner who, when switching to Lithium batteries, found them incompatible, so double check that.

    Good luck to you. Just remember that, when it comes to electrical systems, it isn't about a 'best' choice but rather a 'most suitable' one.
  • My new to me home
    Steve, congratulations...on not just the Montana but also the decision in favor of transition & travel. Buying the boat or RV for adventure travel is always much easier than making the leap. How about sharing a few of your improvement projects with us, once they've been completed. I'm sure a lot of us would appreciate hearing how you decided on the details of the mods you will have made. Best wishes!
    Jack Tyler, Bozeman MT
  • Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ
    Appreciate the comments about not having an advance reservation, Ray. Hope to stop there in late March while visiting friends in Mesa, but won't know that timing until a day or three before. Have been told it's a great stop, so here's hoping we won't end up in the parking lot (aka: overflow). Have a great holiday together and best wishes to Ann for a fulfilling 2020.
  • Snow Day! Wind Turbines, Mojave, CA
    That scene struck us a especially stunning when we passed thru this area in October. The U.S. could use many more of these, as well.
  • Exterior Protectorant on New Trailer
    Tim, we too just got a new trailer this year (January....Brrrr!) and my main motivation was not just keeping it clean (lots of blowing dirt here in Montana) but also making it easier to 'de-bug' after a trip. I tried 303 (recommended on the Lance forum) with the same ho-hum results I got when using it sailing. One of my favorite 'RV coaches' is Jared Gillis, who has the All About RV youtube channel. He recommend a new'ish product from Turtlewax - Ice - because of comments he'd been getting about it. Sounded too good to be true but I bought a spray bottle to give it a try. I applied it to the entire carcass of the trailer (only took ~30 mins). We just got back from 2 weeks and 2200 miles around the Southwest and the trailer came back a mess. Some Dawn in a bucket, a soft bristle brush, about 45 mins of squirting, scrubbing and rinsing and the whole trailer was spotless. A total of 4 bugs had to be removed with a doughboy as all the rest of them were released by the Ice and some easy scrubbing. So FWIW I think it's a winner. (If you want to hear Jared's experience, you can find it at about the 4 min. mark here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPZXba-Q8B8 )

    Jack
    Bozeman MT
    Lance 1995
  • Getting Inexpensive Data while visiting Canada
    My thanks to everyone for continuing to beat the bushes on this topic.

    I was coming to the conclusion that, since our stays in Canada would only be a few weeks each time and no more than once or twice per year, the best option is t just suffer with the high data charges that are tacked onto our USA Verizon plan. BUT...we then downloaded a very few web pages the first day we had cell service after crossing the border and were immediately hit with a warning from Verizon we'd racked up $50 in additional charges. Hard to imagine how that happened given the tiny use we made of the internet, but it was a taste of reality. Off to Tim Horton's and wifi!

    InReach is a great service - we pilots love it for "what if" reasons - but it meets other needs. Looked at Google Fi and need to better understand how that would fit for our interim and occasional needs. Very much appreciate the dialogue!

    Jack
  • Getting Inexpensive Data while visiting Canada
    Someone on another forum just sent me this reply to my Q. Perhaps some of you might be able to comment on it?

    "We just signed up for the amazing AT&T pre-paid deal which gives you unlimited texts, unlimited phone calls and 8 GB per month per phone for $25 a month per phone, if you pay a year in advance. Data coverage is for both Mexico and Canada. You can get the same deal paying monthly for $40 with Autopay set up. Otherwise it's $50. Oh, and hot-spots (tethering) are permitted for all of the data."

    Jack
  • How to back up a trailer MADE SIMPLE
    A slight modification to Loraine's description - favoring the road side with the open space to be backed into - is referred to by some as the Scoop. Here's a simple video on using the Scoop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLtfrBWzNCw We're new to towing and we've found the Scoop very helpful. As for 'stress', as I look at it that's a choice and not a preordained consequence. But I gained that understanding only after struggling for a year when maneuvering our 42' ketch in small marina fairways usually with wind and some current, while cruising. I'm not yet proficient in backing our 24' trailer but that hardly means I have to get worked up about it. The old saying: 'Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.'

    Jack
  • Shunt Location
    Travis, looks like you're getting lots of good advice. Here's one other (different) suggestion: Be sure to consider possible future DC loads and charging sources - where they might be located and the negative wire run needed to reach the 'load' side of the shunt - before you finalize the location of the shunt. E.g. if you plan to enclose the shunt, allow for 'growth' at a later date. If a later added solar panel will be coming into the front bay from the passenger's side or you want to add an externally accessed connector e.g. to run a water pump on the driver's side, consider how that might affect the orientation of the shunt. Ray's block diagram is indeed a helpful (and for most of us, coveted) reference to have on hand. But I've found that it's when you start wrangling with wire, breakers, fuses and gaining the access you need to work them all - both now and in the future - that DC wiring can become a lot more challenging that one would think. Good luck with the project!

    Jack
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
    Goodson, I don't know how much panel 'real estate' you have up front, and so how helpful it would be to use one of the systems with a well-developed app that can display everything on your cell phone. I know that would be my preference. If you haven't already viewed it, I'd suggest you watch Jared Gillis' new All About RVs video on the product choice he made (a Tire Minder system).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXBzXAGkBnY
    Good luck on your decision and install.

    Jack