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RE: Setting Amp Hours In Battery Monitor

Assuming your battery monitor STOPS going down (percentage-wise) when it gets to 0% on the monitor (regardless of what the true state of charge is) and STOPS going up when it hits 100%, you MUST program your controller with the full amount of AH of your battery bank. Reason: If you only put 170AH as your battery bank (when you really have 340AH) you could easily have a problem knowing your actual state of charge. Consider the following situation.... Let's say you program your battery monitor telling it your battery bank is 170AH. Now lets assume you start with fully charged batteries and you start using/draining your battery while camping. Let's assume you actually use 340AH worth of battery power over a couple of days. As soon as you use 170AH your monitor will say "0% full" on your battery monitor. BUT, let's say you don't notice and you actually use 170AH more. Your battery monitor will still just say "0% full". You will incorrectly think that means your batteries are "actually at 50% state of charge". But in reality they are closer to 0% true state of charge (almost dead). Now assume you start charging and you charge your batteries 170AH worth of charge. Your batteries will ONLY be half charged (50% state of charge), but your battery monitor will now say they are fully charged up to 100% (when in fact they are not). Understand? So program your monitor to 340AH and simply realize that when it is at 170AH (50%) you should think about getting them charged. Note: It's been debated for years, but (my opinion) if ONCE IN A WHILE your batteries discharge 60, 70, 80% they will be just fine as long as you don't let them sit there for days/weeks/months at a time. Perhaps you will only get 400 "cycles" of your batteries instead of 500 (...or choose whatever numbers you want...). But ask yourself this: Will you be dry camping enough so that you will EVER cycle your batteries 300, 400, 500 times? For most casual RV users, they will never cycle their batteries this many times. Hope that all helps! Chris PS: If you don't have solar yet, throw up 200-500w of cheap solar and you will have yet another power source. There are some cheap ways to do it. Feel free to send me a PM
SJ-Chris 01/04/22 01:17am Tech Issues
RE: Michelin Cross Climate C Metric Tires

I'm a big fan of putting on Commercial (C) rated tires on my 30' Class C RVs. The 121 load rating provides for an extra 500lbs per tire to provide for a MUCH better weight buffer compared to the LT 115 rated tires (2000lbs more on the rear axle). I'm surprised how little the weight buffer is on a 14500lb RV on the rear axle with what the factory recommends (115 rated tires). Having the 121s on the rear also helps a LOT in the event that your tire pressure isn't up where it should be (close to 80psi). Safety first! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/28/21 11:30pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) --- Great add-on

I bought an inexpensive one on Amazon during a sale this fall. On our way back from a trip, I intentionally pulled over and let out 15 lbs of air a couple miles from home. The TPMS immediately recognized the lower pressure, giving me some confidence. My next RV will have a more expensive system with the internal style TPMS. We're going to take that cross country for a long trip, I want the peace of mind. Lots of people like to poo-poo TPMS systems and say they are worthless, but I disagree. I've seen plenty of stories of people that had a tire fail and they didn't know for a while. The tire kept deteriorating as it was driven down the road and damaged the trailer too. I have 2 people that we camp with that this happened to. Tire failure and they didn't know until chunks started flying and people starting honking at them and frantically pointing to the trailer. Even if my TPMS does nothing but alert me before additional damage is done, it is money well spent. We do several longer trips a year. I'll check tire pressure in the morning before we leave, then I don't check again until I get to a fuel station or the next destination. Plenty of time and miles for a road hazard to cause a slow leak that develops into a big problem if left unchecked. Good to hear. I too have had multiple times when my inner rear dually was flat and I only noticed after the fact. Once, when the vehicle seemed to be pulling to one side while driving down the freeway (!!!), and twice it looked like the outer tire was low on pressure (which it wasn't...it was just carrying all the load so it was getting squished down). In all of these cases, having a TPMS would have alerted me and helped me to avoid a potential catastrophe (or at least some extra damage). Inexpensive piece of mind...less than $100 and 5 minutes to install yourself. If you don't have one, I highly recommend you get one. What is it worth to you to possibly avoid a serious accident while driving your RV with your family/etc?? Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/28/21 07:42pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) --- Great add-on

Some RV companies advertise that there products come equipped with TPMS. I just bought a new fifth wheel with that advertisement. The TPMS system consisted of 4 valve caps that showed green when good and red when low. The dealer when walking through said that as long as there's 80 lbs, the caps will show green. WRONG. I got it home and installed my TST system. They all four went into alarm reading 67 lbs. Moral to the story, don't trust the cheap caps. The one I have (mentioned above) seems pretty accurate compared to my pressure gauge. So far, so good (~6 months). Having caps that change color would be better than nothing, but being able to constantly see what the pressure is WHILE driving is very important. It will also alarm if the tire pressure drops below a certain level. For me, it is a no-brainer safety add-on for less than $100. Safe travels, and happy camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/28/21 01:07pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) --- Great add-on

With the seriousness of proper tire pressure, load capacities, etc, I'm surprised that RVs don't come standard with a Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS). After having multiple RVs for the last 4 years, I have learned the importance of proper tires and tire pressure. I have also had multiple times when tire pressure went low (due to a nail) and also multiple times when the rear inner dually tire was flat and very hard to notice (before installing a TPMS). Thankfully, I haven't had a blowout that resulted in steel belts of the failing tire thrashed underneath the RV doing lots of damage (which I hear is not uncommon). I wanted to share with all of you just how easy and inexpensive it can be to add this feature to your RV. Here's the one I choose and installed in each of my 3 RVs... https://i.imgur.com/6AxG1zil.jpg (...looks like I need to adjust a couple of tires and their pressure) You can find it on Amazon for less than $80 and it takes less than 5 minutes to install: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HMZZFRF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (Plenty of others to choose from, this is just the one I selected) It has a small solar panel on the top of it, so when it sits on your dashboard it stays charged. It only turns on when it feels vibration/movement (or you manually turn it on). To install, you simply screw each cap on your 6 tires (in proper order). I didn't bother with the locking mechanism as I don't believe people are looking to steal these items. Gives me great comfort being able to know my tire pressure at a quick glance. There is an alarm that beeps to warn you if the tire pressure drops below a preset amount. Safety first! If you don't have such a monitor on your RV I highly recommend it. Happy (and safe) Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/24/21 03:32pm Do It Yourself Modifications and Upgrades (DIY)
RE: Amp draw vs battery bank & solar array = totally confused!

A more modest solar and battery package that meets most of your needs on a "most of the time" basis, with a portable generator to supplement charging during bad weather, or high use periods as a backup is very common. ^^^This My opinion: The BEST way to see how much power each of your items will ACTUALLY drain from your batteries is to purchase a Battery Monitor. They have real fancy ones available. But I have used the $45 Aili (from Amazon...or try google) battery monitors and have been VERY happy with them. Pretty easy to set up and once you do it will take ALL guesswork out of your equations. I'm not sure if you are planning on living in your RV full time and having the ability to run 100% off batteries for multiple (even cloudy) days is something that is critical for you or not. If you're just someone who uses their RV for occasional trips for a few days or a couple weeks, and you have a generator as a backup charging, or perhaps you drive (which charges your batteries) a bit every couple of days to a new destination. Most casual (not-fulltimers) RV users can probably get by with 200-400AH of cheap lead acid batteries and 300-500w of solar power (assuming you are boondocking). It would help to know HOW you plan on using your RV. How long will your trips be? Will you be boondocking for extended periods of time? I'm sure you are aware that every time you plug in at a campsite for a day, or drive for 4-5hrs, your batteries will generally get a good charging. Before you overdue it on adding way too much batteries, and/or very expensive Lithium batteries, and/or a huge solar system....Start small and go on a trip and see how your battery needs work out. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/24/21 03:16pm Tech Issues
RE: New cooling unit or refurbish?

I was faced with the same decision. Here's how that played out... https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30167880.cfm
SJ-Chris 12/10/21 08:29pm Tech Issues
RE: Wobbly loose mirror arm

How easy/hard is it to replace the entire arm and mirror? I have one that bends in when the RV is going 65mph and there is some headwind. Thanks! Chris
SJ-Chris 12/09/21 12:22pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: roof replace or coat?

If you can paint a room, you can probably do this.... https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30201452.cfm Total cost for me was probably less than $300. No leaks and still looks great. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 10/30/21 04:22pm Tech Issues
RE: Boondocking and working with no electricity

A simple, yet powerful, unmounted solar system can be had for probably less than $150. Components: - 200-500w (depending on how much you need) USED solar panels: $50-120. (you can find great used panels on craigslist, FB marketplace, etc) - Charge controller: $20-$80 (depending on a few things) - Wires and connectors: $20 - Inline fuse: $10 Total cost: $100-$200. When you park, hook up your portable panels and point them towards the sun. Free electricity from that day forward. You should also have a battery monitor. I use this one for ~$45 and it tells me everything I need to know... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FGFFHC6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 If you only have 1 coach battery, you definitely need to add a 2nd. With that and solar, you will probably never need your generator (but you'll have it just in case you do). Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 10/24/21 08:47pm Tech Issues
RE: Heavy Class C Tire thoughts

"With E rated tires (which is what the manufacturer recommends), if the rear axle is at max load there is very little extra weight margin and my opinion is that the tires are being stressed" Wait a sec. Are you saying the actual rear axle weight on the scales is enough to max out the Es? Or are you saying the Es are not enough to meet the rear GAWR of the C? What is the rear scale weight for that C as loaded for camping and what PSI do they want on the door label ? Yes! I will have to dig up the actual numbers (or someone else will and post them here...), but if you are at the max weight rating of the rear axle and the E load rated tires are at their proper inflation (80psi max), there is very little weight buffer. Yes, I understand that you should not be above your Max axle weight limit to begin with. But most people don't routinely (or ever) weigh their RVs fully loaded (ie. full tank of gas, full water tank, full grey/black tanks, full gear, full number of passengers, tow tongue weight if towing something, etc). Then, what happens when you hit bumps, dips, potholes, etc on the road? I don't want to risk it. The Commercial 121/120 rated tires gives an extra ~500lbs per tire weight carrying capacity. x4 gives you 2000lbs of extra buffer. Like I said...I sleep better at night knowing it is there. Side note: A few months ago, I had an inner rear tire go out (stem broke). So just ONE E rated tire was holding the entire weight of that side. I drove about 10 miles without knowing, including about 3 miles on the freeway. Thankfully, it didn't blow. I guess they are pretty tough. But still...I'll go with the Commercial 121/120 load tires just to be safe. Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/30/21 03:58pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Solar install so far

PS: Isn't solar addictive?? YES! I had read and even commented on your post while I was planning for solar. It was very helpful. Thanks. I finally finished my mounting system and wiring and camped last weekend in a very quiet campground. We were not the only ones not using a generator! It was sweet to use the inverter for morning coffee and toast bread for lunch sandwiches. I experimented running the refrigerator on the inverter before we left and I only got 8 hours overnight so we used gas for that. At most we used about 25% of our 200 amps overnight before the sun was charging them again. https://i.imgur.com/wNQQDgvl.jpg I mounted the panels behind the air conditioner bonnet. I didn’t really have enough room further forward. We backed into a north-south facing site. The trees didn’t shade the panels. I’m thrilled that they work so well. How long is your Minnie EMD? From the roof and back, it looks like a 2013 23' Coachman Leprechaun I just picked up recently. I'm in the process of adding all the improvements I want/need. I did just reseal/paint (Dicor) the entire roof (needed it especially around the vents/etc) getting it ready for another SOLAR project...I can't help myself...lol. I love starting with a blank, white, clean canvas on the rooftop. I haven't measured it out yet, but I believe I can get 3 or 4 100w panels up there. That will be plenty for the 200-300AH lead acid batteries. I will use a similar mounting strategy (3M VHB tape plus screws) as my previous installs which seem to be rock solid after 1 year. I'll also add a 1000-2000w inverter, USB charging ports galore, LED lights, new TV/DVD, etc. I just installed today an Aili battery monitor....I think a good and detailed battery monitor is critical (...and fun) to have in the RV. It constantly lets you know the status of your batteries, and what charge/discharge is happening at all times. Enjoy the free power! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/30/21 12:21am Tech Issues
RE: Refer died

My Dometic RM2852 needs to be replaced. Does anyone know what I have to order to replace it that will fit in the same opening? Thanks for your help. I had the same refrigerator on one of my 2015 RVs stop cooling. Here is a great post you definitely should read in it's entirety. It should save you some $$$ and illustrate that it is fairly easy to replace your cooling unit if it is bad. https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30167880/srt/pa/pging/1/page/1.cfm Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/29/21 01:50pm Tech Issues
RE: Heavy Class C Tire thoughts

On my 30' Class C RVs, I have made the choice to go away from the E rated tires and instead go with Commercial tires with a 121/120 weight rating. I buy my tires from Big-O tires and they don't seem to be any more expensive (~$20 more per tire). With E rated tires (which is what the manufacturer recommends), if the rear axle is at max load there is very little extra weight margin and my opinion is that the tires are being stressed (...especially if they ever end up not being properly inflated). Tires at their max load MUST have a higher chance of a blowout, right? With Commercial 121/120 load rated tires, they give you an extra ~2000lbs of carrying capacity (compared to E rated tires) on your rear axle and I sleep better at night knowing this. I just bought 7 new Commercial rated tires last week for one of my 30' RVs. The tires were $135 each. Personally, I haven't noticed any difference in terms of handling or noise. -Chris
SJ-Chris 09/28/21 06:26pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Solar install so far

PS: Isn't solar addictive?? YES! I had read and even commented on your post while I was planning for solar. It was very helpful. Thanks. I finally finished my mounting system and wiring and camped last weekend in a very quiet campground. We were not the only ones not using a generator! It was sweet to use the inverter for morning coffee and toast bread for lunch sandwiches. I experimented running the refrigerator on the inverter before we left and I only got 8 hours overnight so we used gas for that. At most we used about 25% of our 200 amps overnight before the sun was charging them again. https://i.imgur.com/wNQQDgvl.jpg I mounted the panels behind the air conditioner bonnet. I didn’t really have enough room further forward. We backed into a north-south facing site. The trees didn’t shade the panels. I’m thrilled that they work so well. Glad to know my post was helpful! I've learned so much from these forums that I try to take every opportunity to help others with what I know/do. I recently picked up a 3rd RV...I've already got the solar components to put four 100w panels on the roof. Should be more than enough for the 200-300AH lead acid battery bank and inverter. I'm never looking to get into a huge battery bank with the focus of being 100% off the grid 100% of the time. I mostly use my RV 2-7 days at a time and just want to have the ability to do some modest boondocking whenever necessary. The alternator and/or generator can always charge the batteries if I'm ever in need. Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/28/21 01:28pm Tech Issues
RE: Solar install so far

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SJ-Chris 09/27/21 06:02pm Tech Issues
RE: Solar install so far

I was faced with a similar thought/feeling/fear regarding the lack of thickness on my RV roof when drilling/screwing down solar panels. It seemed really thin. Here's a link to what I did and how my install went: https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/30217540.cfm Summary: Instead of 4 brackets per panel, I ended up with 8. I also used 3M double sided tape in between the bracket and the roof to give them extra grip/holding power. They seem 100% unmovable still one year later. If you are like me, you probably had a little fun coming up with your solution. I applaud your ingenuity. The adjustable furniture feet to give your panels extra support across the span are crucial. You might consider using 3M double sided tape to hold them down to your roof so the panels don't bounce while driving down the road. Enjoy your sunshine power! Chris PS: Isn't solar addictive??
SJ-Chris 09/27/21 05:59pm Tech Issues
RE: House battery recommendations.............

(In fact lithiums pose a conundrum -> they are outstanding because their terminal voltage holds up well right close to the point where they are empty, but they are problematic because you can't hardly tell how close they are getting to empty by monitoring their terminal voltage!) A simple battery monitor will keep you informed all the time. Plus, they are educational (...and fun in a nerdy kind of way...) to be able to see exactly how many amps/etc each item is using. I installed these and am happy with them... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FGFFHC6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Happy Camping! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/06/21 03:25pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Batteries won't hold charge - need help

If you need a quick solution (which your post states), you can consider adding one of these to each battery and disconnecting them each time when you leave them. Simple to install. That will guarantee nothing is being drawn from the batteries while you are away. That will give you time to fix the problem later once you get settled in. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SBFKM5Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Good luck! Chris
SJ-Chris 09/06/21 03:20pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Cruise America Towng

I can tell you that when you buy one of their previous rental 28a RVs, the hitch says 5000lbs (2015 model). The 2500lbs in the rental paperwork is because they don't want people towing much of anything with their RVs. -Chris
SJ-Chris 08/31/21 08:56pm Class C Motorhomes
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