RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 885

RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 885

Issue 885 • April 18, 2018
This newsletter is brought to you Monday through Thursday by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!


RVing Tip of the Day

What does a battery disconnect switch do?
 
A comment recently came in asking what a battery disconnect switch on an RV does. Here are the basics.
A battery disconnect switch is used to isolate your RV’s house batteries from the rest of the electrical system when it won’t be used for an extended period of time, say a week or more. You can do the same thing by disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery, but a disconnect switch is a lot quicker and cleaner.
 
This disconnect is done to limit the parasitic power draw from all your gadgets and appliances on the 12-volt house battery. For instance, even if you shut off your inverter it’s probably still drawing a few watts to keep the CPU up and running. Same goes for your 12-volt DC TV on the wall. Even when you shut it off with the remote, its internal computer is still running, waiting for your command to turn it fully ON. These sleeping gadgets and appliances add up to a pretty substantial parasitic current that can drain an otherwise healthy battery in a month or so, and few things are harder on a battery than leaving it flat for an extended period of time (except for letting the water get low).
 
To know exactly how much residual current your electrical system is drawing you’ll need to meter it. Yes, I’ll make a video on how to do that soon. So if you won’t be using your RV this month or so and certainly at the end of the camping season,  disconnect the battery and it will hold its charge much longer.
 
And yes, you should probably hook up a battery tender directly to your house batteries if it’s going into storage, but that’s another story…
 
Another really cool use of these battery disconnect switches is on race cars. That’s because if you have a crash and are sitting in a puddle of high octane fuel,  you don’t want any sparks from the electrical system setting the whole works on fire. So the first thing the emergency crew does when they get to a race car wreck is disconnect the battery.
 
Of course, this type of battery disconnect switch on a race car is clearly marked for the emergency crew to shut off the battery power in a few seconds. But you can take your time.
 

 

Read yesterday’s tipAin’t misbehavin’,” he barked.

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RV Mods Wanted:
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T-9 is the RV technician’s choice for attacking corrosion, loosening rusty parts & flushing out old lubricants. It permeates metal crevices & seeps deep inside assembled components to leave a durable protective coating, lubricating without dismantling equipment. It won’t wash off in rain or mud. T-9 will not harm paint, plastic, rubber, fiberglass or vinyl. It can be used on engines, wiring, belts & is safe on electronics. Boeshield T-9 was developed by Boeing for lubrication and protection of aircraft components. Learn more or order.


QUICK TIPS

Faucet water pressure low? Try this!
“I was de-winterizing my rig and started to sanitize my fresh water holding tank. I noticed while on either city water hookup or the pump, the water coming out of the kitchen and bathroom faucets was not as strong as it was last season. When I checked the aerators, they were full of debris/plastic parts. I turned on each faucet while the aerator was off to flush each line, cleaned the aerators and reinstalled them. Lo and behold — the full pressure was back!” Thanks, Chris M.!

Portable generators
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol
Not all portable generators are created equal. While relatively expensive, Honda inverter generators really are the best in terms of long lifespan, quiet noise levels and low fuel consumption. With simple maintenance, they’ll likely outlast the rest of your RV. Nobody ever complained about buying a Honda generator after they got over the initial sticker shock. Well, they are pretty heavy, so that’s the one thing we all complain about a bit.

Simple way to sanitize the fresh water hose
Sanitize your fresh water hose? Sure – coil it up, pour in a solution of one cup water and one cup household bleach. Connect the ends of the hose together and “roll” the coiled hose around to distribute the solution. Repeat a few times. Disconnect the fittings, dump the solution and run plenty of fresh water through the hose to clear the sanitizer.

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
For a good sleep – don’t camp here!


Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. View the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.


WEBSITES OF THE DAY

Natural Atlas
This site isn’t just for hikers, which is what we like about it. Type in your location and see every park/natural wonder around you. You can even type in things like “waterfalls near ____” and it’ll show you all the waterfalls nearby. 

Petfinder
If you’re looking for a new Fido in your life, look no further than Petfinder. If you know you’ll be near, say, Dallas, TX, in a couple weeks, you can type in the zip code and see what pups are available for adoption at every shelter in that area. 

Food52
We’ll just let you get lost in this food paradise of a website. 

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.


slideout-seal656Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order


VIDEO OF THE DAY

How to make a fitted sheet fit an RV mattress
The RV Geeks have observed that not all RV mattresses that claim to be King- or Queen-sized are the same size as their counterparts in a stick home. So how do you make your traditional fitted sheets fit your RV bed? Here’s how the Geeks do it.

CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE THE TIP.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System RVtravel.com uses!
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user-friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven days per week sales & technical support & over 14 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Important first steps with a new motorhome or tow vehicle
Got a new motorhome or tow vehicle? First rule: Read the manuals! They’ll answer a lot of your questions with what the manufacturer recommends – not necessarily what other guys around the campfire recommend. Next: Take out your camera and take pictures of the engine compartment. Later, if something goes wrong (like a broken belt) you’ll have a guide to help you put it back together. Brand new rig? Write down what your “normal” operating temperatures are, put them in your owner’s manual, and you’ll have them to compare to a couple of years down the road, which might help you diagnose a problem.

Always drive with your “lights on for safety”
“RVers do well to drive with their lights on at all times, especially in ‘low visibility’ situations. A gray vehicle on a gray day is tough to see — and headlights make a huge difference. If you don’t have DRLs (daytime running lights) reach down and pop on the headlight switch. Of course, don’t forget to turn ’em off later!” Thanks to Mel Goddard!
 
Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com

Summer is coming! Protect your tires
Tires are expensive. So get as much life as you can from them. One guaranteed way to shorten their life is to keep them exposed to the sun. So here’s the no-brainer advice of the day: Cover them. The price you pay for the covers will save you far more in the long run. Learn more or order.

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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
A man and his wife were driving their RV across Florida and were nearing a town spelled “Kissimmee.” They noted the strange spelling and tried to figure out how to pronounce it — KISS-a-me, kis-A-me, kis-a-ME. They grew more perplexed as they drove into the town. Since they were hungry, they pulled into a place to get something to eat. At the counter the man said to the waitress, “My wife and I can’t figure out how to pronounce this place. Will you tell me where we are and say it very slowly so that I can understand?” The waitress looked at him and said, “Buuurrrgerrr Kiiinnnnng.”

Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.



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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

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Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

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Related

11 thoughts on “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 885

  1. Sherry

    The RV Geeks sheet suspender suggestion is WAY too difficult! Simply buy the suspenders made for sheets–get the kind with the metal clips. Put one on each corner of the sheet, slip that corner on, lift the mattress corner slightly to pull the suspender in place, and you’re done! No hefting that heavy mattress, only one person is needed, and no one gets hurt!

    This works to make flat sheets work like fitted sheets also.

    Here’s the type I use: https://www.walmart.com/ip/4PCS-Adjustable-Bed-Sheet-Gripper-Corner-Straps-Clips-Fastener-Suspenders-Band-Holder/944198016

  2. John

    Say, Mike, while the Honda inverter generator maybe “the best in terms of long lifespan, quiet noise levels and low fuel consumption,” if it’s not RV-ready,* than I’m immediately not interested at all. (mho)
    (and, just curious, why would any RV-er be interested in it?)
    * meaning, it has no 30 amp plug.

    1. Mike Sokol

      Actually my EU3000is has a twist-lock plug with a 27-amp output, and you can get a simple adapter plug for a TT-30. I think the reason that Honda doesn’t offer a TT-30 is that’s an American-only plug, which is not a great connector compared to all the twist-lock options we could have instead. The rest of the world uses completely different plugs than we do, and Honda does cover the “Edison” NEMA 5-20 style receptacle simply because it’s the most popular here. But the travel trailer market is so small compared to their contractor markets that I don’t think the retooling is affordable. Just my 2 cents as a design engineer.

  3. Ron

    In many motorhomes, the inverter is connected directly to the house battery(s). Turning off the disconnect switch will not disconnect the inverter and if it is left on, will indeed continue to draw amperage from the battery(s). For long term storage without connection to shore power, disconnecting the negative cable, from the battery(s), is the only true way to keep them from discharging.

    1. Wolfe

      Yes the inverter goes straight to the batteries because the cutoff switch could not handle the 400 amps / 3500 Watts that many inverters can pull. That said, maybe it depends on the type of remote you have but mine (with simple 4 wire for 2 LEDs and power) *seems* fully off when off.

      Good point that folks should check though!

    2. Rory

      Many RV’s have two (2) battery disconnect switches. One for the House Batteries, and One for the Chasis Batteries. Now I did say some, and I have found that with my Rig, when I turn off both there is no drawdown on either the house or Chasis batteries…….

  4. Tom Becher

    How noisy is your cheap genny? Maybe I don’t want to listen to it but my Honda IS very quiet
    Old saying that still holds true
    You get what you pay for

    1. Wolfe

      My 3.5KW inverter generator claims 57db but I swear it’s actually quieter since the air conditioner sounds louder to me. You can tell when it’s on but it is certainly not noisy.

      As far as others hearing it, the only time anyone else would be close enough to hear it is in a campground where there is usually shorepower and I wouldn’t be using it anyway.

  5. Wolfe

    “This newsletter brought to you by Honda…”

    Although it is a very nice generator, at four times the cost against competing inverter generators and 8 times the cost against traditional generators, “after they got over the initial sticker shock” is a rather large caveat. My $1600 savings buys gas to run my reasonably priced inverter genny for the next 10 years…

    1. Ken

      And I’m sure your neighbors love you in the camp ground.

    2. Mike Sokol

      Wolfe: With all due respect, no this is not brought to you by Honda. I’m a professional engineer who uses professional products. All my computers and phones are Apple, because they won’t let me down on a gig, so I don’t care what they cost. I use Neumann microphones because they’re the best in the world and that’s what I do for a living. And my portable generators are Honda because they’re quiet and last forever, and won’t let me down on a gig. Plus I can place them right behind my stage and not have the noise bleed into the microphones. Now I realize there’s a big difference between someone who uses expensive gear professionally and a consumer user looking for an inexpensive deal, but the engineering benefits of the more expensive gear is hard to deny. For example, my dad gave me his Honda EX-1000 after it sat unused for 10 years without draining the fuel. I took the carb apart and cleaned the jets and float, put in fresh gas, choked it, and the darn thing started on the second pull. I still use it for little gigs like when I need to power the kiddie duck pond at a festival. My pro-sound colleagues all say “Buy once, cry once” and I believe it’s true. I put Honda generators in the same class as my Apple computers and Neumann microphones.

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