Comments

  • 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
  • Prescott National Forest Closures
    The area being closed is apparently not in the Sedona area but rather the stretch along Hwy 260, predominantly between Camp Verde and Cottonwood. Here is a local county interview done with two of the PNF Rangers describing the circumstances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzl4tZ6OwJE

    The dates of the closure are from this past January until Jan 7th, 2021 as detailed here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/prescott/alerts-notices/?aid=50683 Still...lots of camping options remain in the PNF: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/prescott/recreation/camping-cabins
  • Stop slide room topper flapping
    Steve (Colibabas), thanks for posting this! We intentionally ordered our Lance without a slide topper for just that (flapping) reason, only to have it arrive with one (but no solar panel we ordered, so there you go!) I've heard the 'flapping' report from others and was hoping to avoid it...so your clever dodge at least mitigates things for a while. Full-timing can be the ultimate test of these things, so for many of us these tweaks (which we tend to hear more about from full-timers, I notice) are probably not 'essential'. OTOH you're helping me anticipate what is down the same alley you've already traveled, so I surely do appreciate the post. (Seems like a wee bit of bunny cord in the tie-down line would be helpful).

    Best wishes,

    Jack in Bozeman MT, which is taking F-A-R too long to turn into a true 'Spring' this year!
  • Northern Alberta
    RVsolar that is more motivating than 10 ‘RV Travel’ YouTube videos. Simply extraordinary. Where in N AB? Many thanks.
  • DC compressor refrigerator
    Gordy, we've had experience with several 12V refrigeration systems in past "RV's" (sailboats which we lived on for years at a time), including a component system made by NovaKool. Offering summary comments about the practicality of 12V refrigeration for an RV is difficult as a unit's performance is dependent on many variables including box size, whether you're trying to include a freezer section (which usually requires a holding plate), amount of insulation, ventilation of the compressor unit and, not the least important factor, whether the unit offers a water cooling option using a loop to/from the water tank. I can assure you the more battery charging sources you have, the better. A careful energy management study, with multiple 'what ifs' considered, would I think be essential. Personally, I think having the absorption refrigeration option is liberating in that it makes refrigeration available with a lesser penalty of 12V energy management and avoids the weight & expense of the additional electrical support a 12V system requires. But there are advantages with a 12V system, as well. It should be less trouble prone mechanically, and it doesn't care how level your RV is. Another advantage is that small, well engineered 12V units are available off the shelf with a well balanced blend of box size, cooling capacity and insulation. But we're talking shoe box refrigeration choices when compared to the typical RV refrigerator in most travel trailers and campers. As for the 'dorm refrigerator' products (like one shown in the NK webpage you linked), they will be energy hogs and ill-suited for an RV unless it is permanently connected to 120V AC.

    So if your refrigeration needs are modest (and exclude a freezer section), you are adept at designing and building up ayour own top-loading box (which I had success with after some research) that fits the space your RV has to offer, and your RV has more than the typical 2 x 12V 100AH batteries plus multiple charging methods, then it could be a viable (if somewhat expensive) option. OTOH I don't think the effort and expense is remotely warranted if you're just trying to avoid turning the LPG on & off when driving.

    Hope that's of some help. Good luck with the research and best wishes,

    Jack
    Bozeman MT
  • Micro-Air Easy Start
    Nicely done, Greg. Thank you.

    I've now seen many reports on the Micro-Air product and I notice almost all of them tend to talk about the device making it possible to start an A/C unit with a generator when it was not previously possible, as tho' a single test tells the tale. It's not very common to read an acknowledgment that the generator engine's power is a function of where it's used, which turns out to be pretty relevant as we all travel around the country. An example: We're making a reservation in Idaho Falls right now for this coming August. It will most likely be in the 80's at that time of year (or ~30C) when the A/C is desired, and the campground's elevation is ~5700'. For those of you familiar with flying, you'll quickly recognize the problem here: a density altitude, due to that altitude and temperature, that will subtract substantial horsepower from the generator's engine. Given an approximate horsepower loss of 3% per 1000' DA, that Idaho Falls location will have an elevation the generator's engine see of ~8600' DA which will remove about 25% of the generator engine's 'oomph'. That's a lot!

    Just thought I'd toss this into the discussion so we all remember this important if inconvenient detail.