Comments

  • 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.
  • Back home now the work begins
    RV, your 'status report' reminds me of the definition we used when long-distance sailing: Cruising is fixing a boat in exotic locations.
  • Recent upgrades
    Logan, we are kindred souls. We also are new RV'ers...and like you, have taken a brand new Lance trailer we supposedly liked enough to purchase and then began modifying it from Day 1! EMS install? Check. Anderson 'levelers'? Check. Endurance tires? Fortunately in our case, they were standard. And due primarily to boondocking aspirations, it went further. A cell booster with a 'roaming' interior antenna. A not big/not small inverter that makes the electric mixer available for blueberry muffins. Shelving where big open lockers yearned to hold lots of individual items. We 'newbies' really have to contain ourselves!

    The challenge of course - for those of us new to RV'ing - is which purchasing decisions to make from the infinite number of choices beckoning to us. Similarly, another puzzle is how to install each new 'system' so it's operationally functional...even tho' we lack 'operational' experience. To say there is a wide mix of opinion out there in Internet Land about each of these decisions is an understatement. Fortunately, there are two antidotes to being overwhelmed by all this. The first is the monetized internet which allows needy souls like us to find savvy, helpful tutors like Ray and others. Blogs, newsletters, websites, YouTube channels, special subscriptions - we certainly don't lack for advice! And the second is access to each other (such as here), since stumbling down the same trail together makes the journey, at the least, more entertaining. So here's hoping your first year is fulfilling, that the lessons learned aren't too severe, and that we share a campfire at some point down the trail to share our experiences.

    Jack
    Bozeman MT
  • RV Extended Warranty Pros and Cons
    I can understand someone having a personal preference to generally avoid extended warranty offers, as obviously each policy's carrier makes a profit over that combined policy holder group. Still, an RV is a unique product - a 'system of systems', some of which new owners know little about, assembled in part or in whole by manual labor in high-paced production facilities. It isn't a Toyota or a new air conditioner. IMO Greg's suggestion to look at your own skills and tools, comparing them to the RV you are considering, should be a major consideration. Also, like Ray, our lack of RV experience means we're not sure if we'll keep the trailer for a long period, so we thought a transferable policy would be an incentive to a buyer if we chose not to keep the trailer.

    We opted for the extended warranty when buying a new trailer simply because it had no cancellation penalty for the first 60 days, we hadn't researched them prior to the purchase (so good for you to be doing so!) and thus there was no downside to buying the 'new trailer' policy. (Our policy cost was $2,100 for Years 2 thru 7). The main positive for our policy was that it was a 'full coverage minus exclusions' policy, meaning the policy language had to specify what was NOT covered and, otherwise, everything was presumed by the policy language to be covered. This is the preferred language as, except for those stated exclusions, you aren't arguing at a later date doubt coverage you *thought* you had purchased.

    FWIW in the end, I requested and received the refund. This is our first RV but not our first rodeo, if you know what I mean. There already have been two minor issues that were simply easier for me to fix than to haul the trailer to the dealer and leave it for two weeks. And I'm already adding systems on my own, which I'm willing to assume responsibility for. And also relevant: We're willing to research a problem when possible as we hate to be hostage to unexpected circumstances and vendor backlogs, even if we won't be able to fix everything that eventually fails. So did we make the right decision for us? We'll have to wait and see. Good luck on your own research and let us know what you ended up deciding and why.

    Jack
  • Plumbing a Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater into your RV propane system
    Completely agree, Randy. It's about the utility of feeding the heater off the main RV supply. Selling the idea because it's "safer" isn't IMO a compelling argument.
  • Plumbing a Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater into your RV propane system
    Ray has a video on this project that's worth watching, if this idea appeals. Sorry, but I fail to accept that keeping the heater in the trailer with a green propane bottle attached is dangerous while adding multiple connectors and terminating the hose to a heater fitting is safe. In fact, the heater can be removed and stored when not in use or moving the rig, while the new hose and its fittings remain in place indefinitely.

    Also a suggestion: I used these tools when adding a kerosene tank, tubing and bulkhead mounted furnace to our sailboat for European cruising. I found it very helpful to get some initial instruction on how to get a good flare and air-tight connections, and recommend the same thing for this project. There is a bit of technique involved. But I do like the idea, being based in Montana where a heater is often used a good deal.
  • Ladder + Antenna = PITA?
    That seems to be the general theme among the RV Youtuber community I hear as well, Ray. But...we will mostly be hanging out among the Rocks (MT/WY/ID/UT/SD & BC) where the mountain goats outnumber the people. It's not uncommon in these parts for the highways to have pull-offs with signs announcing a cell connection, as the signal squirts between two distant bluffs. So "a little bit better" is definitely...well, "better". ;)
  • Ladder + Antenna = PITA?
    Richard, at the moment I'm thinking 'back wall' after a drip curve for the penetration. The cable run, for our Lance 1995, would then come down inside a tall closet, run thru an existing wire chase and the tread for the exterior door, and then to the vicinity of the power center. But the Lance community has a lot of clever chaps posting on the owner's forum, so I'm mining that source first. I'm sure you know the old refrain: "Steal with Pride".
  • Ladder + Antenna = PITA?
    Thanks, Richard...and no, we're not using the mag-mount antenna but rather the one that's shown in Brian's pic just above your post. Applause to Ray for mentioning Brian, who does some great video projects (or is that 'project videos'?) In fact, Brian is how I came to be gifted a Weboost antenna. However, I'm trying to get the mounting choice to also satisfy the cable routing challenge. In Brian's case, he just added the Weboost cable to his other umpteen cables, headed for his junction box. I confess: I find Installing this booster system a bit of a challenge. Three components to position, two cables to run, co-location of the booster near 12V (for us) power, an internal antenna location that some advance testing mandates given its attenuation and so limited range...AND a preference not to penetrate the roof. I'm probably over-analyzing!
  • Ladder + Antenna = PITA?
    Thanks, Ray. And yup, that's just what my antenna install would look like, if that's where I decide it should live. Maybe I wear baggy pants... ;)

    Anyone want to offer some location alternatives you found more appealing? I was going to mount the unit directly to the top, aft side wall of the trailer...but that would interfere with a rain gutter, which I'm pleased to say works very well.

    Jack
  • Let's put Ray's solder iron away...
    FWIW I posted these Wago lever nuts primarily to tease Ray about having something else in his electronics tool box...and to thank him again for his many helpful videos. But I do think more options are better than fewer options, generally. So even tho' I nursed a sailboat to 53 different countries without a single electrical/electronic issue - can't say that about the other boat systems! - and know my way around a ratcheting crimper tool, I really appreciate having an option that takes no tools beyond a wire stripper when jumping in a lead. Glad to hear they are being included in fixture kits these days.