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RE: Firman W02981- Any feedback?

@OpenSpaces, We had this talk. I explained what they can - and can't run with a generator. Right now, it's just AC - and they are going camping in lower elevations (not CA) - which is where they need the AC. If possible, they'll find full hookups, but for some of the places they've talked about going, they are looking for some AC @TUCQUALA - thanks for the feedback - that's what I was looking for. It's at a price point that makes financial sense - and gives them something they can't get with a 2000watt unit.
jodeb720 07/04/20 12:41pm Tech Issues
Firman W02981- Any feedback?

Howdy all - Some friends of mine here in denver are borrowing their parents 5er. As with all novices, they are just starting out - and looking at a generator, and trying to do it on the cheap. They were looking at an open frame generator - and I've been a good RV friend, and told them that if they got one, I wouldn't be next to them! They started to look at Honda and Yamaha, and they are out of their price range. I know that many of us have Champions - but again, that seems to be out of their price range. They are now looking at the Firman W02981 from Costco. Does anybody have any history with this brand and in particular this model? At least buying from Costco - if it goes south, they can return it - but in a perfect world, it's a decent brand. Any thoughts or history would be greatly appreciated! thanks Josh
jodeb720 07/04/20 10:20am Tech Issues
RE: Which Code Reader to Buy ?

OBDII codes can be read at obdcodes.com. I used my cheapy harbor freight unit to read the codes, then go online to figure out what the codes mean. The ODBII Bluetooth adapter is another way to go. I have a buddy who runs it, with TORQUE on his iphone and is very happy with all the live info he gets from it.
jodeb720 06/28/20 10:22pm Tech Issues
RE: One jack not working

Cowboy, A few years ago, I had a shear pin on my 5er snap off. Shortly after I replaced the pin with a solid screw, the jack was making a squealing noise. In the end, I connected the truck to the 5er, and remove the front jacks, one at a time. What I found was all the grease they had used when it was assembled was dry and it wasn't almost impossible to run the screw part of the jack through the nut. A bit of elbow grease, some brake cleaner and a high temp bearing grease assembly and I've never looked back. I also had to grease the gears in the drive head as well - the grease had gotten dry. More than likely, a shear pin due to lack of lubrication snapped and that's the culprit. Take your time, use your phone and take lots of pictures when you disassemble - and you'll be golden in a couple of hours. Josh
jodeb720 06/28/20 10:17pm Tech Issues
RE: Internet

Many years ago, when WEP was all the rage, my company disabled our wireless adapters to insure that the connection within our home network couldn't be 'sniffed' and then viewed. Move forward with the advent of the modern VPN's and encryption on the workstations and the need to work off an ethernet cable for security reasons has been mitigated. With Covid, the whole working on an ethernet cable has come full circle. We moved our entire workforce from office based to home based in less than 3 weeks; However, what we couldn't control was connectivity in the home environment. We had issues with apps that were not designed to operate over a VPN connection. One of the first things we had to do was start shipping ethernet cables to the homes of our employees - to rule out the problem of wireless intereference in the home. For about 30% of the Work From Home (WFH) employees, the problems were resolved - but they complained about the cables on the floors, etc. You never know why a company makes decisions by people who sit in a cubicle somewhere in the bowels of the building without applying common sense to the problem. In Lexinator's situation - he may have been forced for either Security or just general connectivity issues as a result of what their internal support folks have encountered. I don't agree with the with their recommendation - but we can recommend some solid solutions from either PBeverly or 1492. Thank you both for replying to his request for a solution. Josh
jodeb720 06/28/20 09:58am Technology Corner
RE: replace RV entrance door hinges?

I did this last fall. The kids used the screen door as a hand rail and after pulling it enough times, the pot metal failed. I found the replacement on the Lippert website, and got it a week or so later. As others have said, I punched the center of each rivet, drilled it out with a very small drill bit - as a pilot hole, and then increase the bits until I could see the entire rivet. Then took a punch an pushed it into the frame and it was done. When I reinstalled, I used Pop Rivets and found some of the holes didn't line up. Drilled new holes in the door and the hinge. If you have a 4-1/2" grinder, I would grind off the heads instead of drilling them out. You're less apt to make a mistake and it comes off much faster. I did it at my RV storage place with my drill and rivet gun. It took me about 90 minutes for the hinges on frame and door. Take your time and it's not difficult. josh
jodeb720 06/19/20 10:23pm Tech Issues
RE: Retrofitting Roof AC with residential Parts?

Thanks for all the replies - I was wondering if I could get a quieter AC unit in the same footprint as a coleman/dometic. It's clear to me that this isn't a project I wanted to undertake - but if I was going full time in the 5er, I would do a Mini split. That would be worth the effort. For my weekends, i'll stick with my existing units. Oh - if I even thought there was a problem with my existing unit (other than it can't keep up when temps are over 100), I'd replace it long before I thought I needed to replace it. josh
jodeb720 06/14/20 08:39am Tech Issues
RE: Lightweight Generator From Israel

For those of us who have been looking for power generation without much noise, this is very similar to a linear Generator that NASA has developed for power on remote bodies (E.g. Moon/Mars). They have coupled the power production to a Stirling Engine cycle. Heat is derived from decaying plutonium (which, if memory serves, about 700F degrees. I went down this path trying to use the water heater on propane to drive the Stirling cycle, and use the water heater tank as a heat sink - as well as to heat the RV. I eventually gave up because the BTU to watts conversion was too poor compared to a standard generator. Also the prototype was noisy - as noisy as a inverter generator. It was an interesting exercise though and I learned a lot in terms of mechanical engineering and thermodynamics. if you Google NASA Linear alternator or NASA Stirling power you'll find the link to the NASA site where they discuss at great lengths power production on remote bodies. None of the linear generators need oil - they use a spring and diaphragm design on linear bearings. josh
jodeb720 06/13/20 08:51am Tech Issues
Retrofitting Roof AC with residential Parts?

For those of us who have been around a long while, many of us will remember Professo95. At one point, I think he took the shell of dometic AC unit (because it was taller if memory serves) and then Macgyvered a residential window AC unit into the footprint of the dometic unit. I know he did the work - but what was the long term lifspan of the unit? Has anyone else gone down this path? I see lots of posts using mini split units with their evaporators inside the RV, but nothing about using either a Mini split and the body of a standard RV unit or a full residential window unit that was retro fit to a RV unit. My goal is to replace the unit I have now with something that is comparable and more efficient. Mine hasn't failed yet, but after 10 years one wonders how long the unit will last? Thanks! josh
jodeb720 06/13/20 08:39am Tech Issues
RE: Projector and IR audio?

there is another solution. An FM Broadcaster on an unused frequency. That way, any cheap set of fm headsets can tune into your frequency and listen in a 1 to many relationship unlike the Bluetooth solution you're trying to work. Personally, I like the Bluetooth idea better but they are generally a 1:1 ratio not a 1 to Many. FM Will work - especially for the cheap FM headphones you can get at biglots/dollar store, etc.
jodeb720 05/31/20 10:16pm Technology Corner
RE: 2004 F250 Diesel 6.0 trailer relay wiring diagram

Bedlam, Thanks for the reply. You hit the nail on the head. The factory Trailer Relay box is located under the hood - and when I opened the box, there's four (4) relay's and one 10 amp fuse - which I tested and it's good; However there are also two (2) additional fuse locations. I went through the manual, twice, and I can't find any documentation for it. Mitch gave me the online version and I went through them as well, and I can't seem to find any docs. I've found the wiring diagram - which I can go through (eventually) but it would be much easier if the manual had notes on the fuses. It could be something as simple as missing the two fuses - but at what amperage? What about the relays? I could test them as well - Thanks! Josh FactoryTrailerRelayLocation
jodeb720 05/02/20 07:31pm Tow Vehicles
RE: 2004 F250 Diesel 6.0 trailer relay wiring diagram

Thanks Mitch! Hopefully this will have something that the OE manual didn't have in it.
jodeb720 05/02/20 02:31pm Tow Vehicles
2004 F250 Diesel 6.0 trailer relay wiring diagram

Evening gents, my buddy has a 2004 f250. He bought it used and never towed with it. His father recently purchased a 5th wheel and has told him he's able to borrow it. Fast forward, and I put my 7 pin tester in the hitch and there's no turn signals or brakes (flashers) coming out of it. I'm getting 12volts for the battery connection and the clearance lites only. I've not tested the trailer brake controller - yet. At least I wanted to get the turn signals and brake lights working. I've chased the wiring to the fuse block under the dash, and the fuses are good. I put a phone toner on one of the wires and found there's a trailer relay box under the hood. In it there are 4 relays and one 10 amp fuse - but there are three spots for fuses. The manual doesn't say anything about the wiring in the trailer fuse relay box. Does anybody know anything about the wiring in this fuse box? It may be the relays in the fuse box are shot, but without being able to chase the signals from the fuse box inside to the relays, I'm shooting in the dark. Any help would be very greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! Josh
jodeb720 05/01/20 07:56pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Bent Kingpin?

Lyle, it's a good suggestion! I just don't have the clearance to fool around.
jodeb720 04/30/20 10:26pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Bent Kingpin?

Lyle, I've got about 1-1/2" clearance from the bottom of the 5er to the top of the bed. I'm looking into finding a way to get another few inches between the bed and the truck - possibly replacing the king pin assembly in the damaged pinbox. I may have to go that route, but if I do that, I'll probably haul it up to denver (where is where I live). I've met a few guys who know welding and they can 'hook' me up. in a perfect world I find a guy who knows what he's doing and he's in santa fe - but if that doesn't pan out, I'll be looking into a replacement King Pin assembly and dragging it up to denver.
jodeb720 04/29/20 10:47pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Bent Kingpin?

My brother in law (who works for an insurance company) told me I'd have been better off if the trailer come down on bed of the truck and damaged it. Then the Tow Vehicle Insurance would have covered the repairs of the truck and trailer. Unfortunately, I saw the problem and stopped driving before it did any real damage. I was hoping someone had a welder that they could recommend - but it's looking like I need to start looking online for a welder - and go from there. Once I have that, then I can figure out the logistics of getting it fixed. Hopefully it's not more than the 5er is worth.
jodeb720 04/25/20 11:03pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Bent Kingpin?

Sorry for the long lapse between updates, but between the weather between Denver and Santa Fe, NM and covad, it's been a challenge getting back. I went back the beginning of March, and peeled back the front and found the damage. It's pretty extensive. The pictures I took are not very good. On another board, I found a similar failure so I'll be reaching out to the 800 number that Aboatrguy posted above. As best I can figure it out, on highway 40 where the road goes up and down (whipping) it must have caused the pinbox area welds to fail. I think the perimeter welds in the corners (drivers and passenger) failed first (I think they were the weakest welds) and then everying else just collapsed in. What I didn't see was the welds internally fail - just the perimeter welds. The welds close to the pinbox were solid and it was metal failure not poor welding that was the root cause. I'm now starting to look for a welder in Santa Fe - so if anybody can recommend one, that would be very helpful. I know i'm going to have to peel everying back outside, but what's not clear is how much I need to remove on the inside to give the welder access from above to really weld this correctly so it doesn't fail, again. If I was going to try and place blame, I would think the following combination: 1. My new truck (F350) has a stiffer suspension than my 2003 chevy 250. 2. there was more weight than we've had in teh past on the pin - meaning, we had a bunch of pictures and other breakables around the bed over the pin. In the past, we just have the normal clothing and blankets but not 'extras'. 3. The highway had serious drop outs or as we call them on dirt bikes Whoops that you really can't see until you feel them. I'm thinking one of them in NM somewhere before santa fe was the one that did it in. the good news is once I do this, it'll be better than OEM. Now to find the welder. Suggestions? Thanks Josh
jodeb720 04/24/20 10:21pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Help Me Understand

Mex is correct. I had a 2003 silverado 6.0L - and charged, the voltage was just above 13 on my gauge (13.2 to be exact on my multimeter). A couple of times, the battery got run pretty far down and the voltage was above 14 on my gauge - and I believe it was 14.4 to 14.6 during the initial charge - but never anywhere near 15. GM's alternators are one wire - meaning the voltage regulator is built into the alternator. It sounds to me like the voltage regulator is going out. Last Summer, My alternator went out on my chevy - due to not charging - and I replaced it on a depleted battery. It was at 14.5 or so on my gauge. I drove it for about 30 minutes and it was just a tad over 14. josh
jodeb720 03/09/20 09:35pm Tech Issues
RE: internet

I'm not sure how the Canadian phone companies work - but if your phone is unlocked, you could purchase a sim card from a US company, put it in your phone and you're all set. Then you've got unlimited talk, text and data. Personally I'd recommend Visible - which is what my wife and son have. It runs on the Verizon network - which has good coverage. ATT (or one of the resellers of ATT) also has good coverage. Straightalk is available through walmart I believe. Once the sim is in your phone, you're all set. Last - on some of the newer iphones, you can put in a 'virtual sim' - which I don't know how to do that first hand, but it supposed to allow you to have two phone numbers in one iphone. I'm sure someone smarter than me will provide you with info on how to do that so you get the best of both worlds.
jodeb720 03/06/20 10:46pm Technology Corner
RE: Win 7 Question

having been through this nightmare, myself, I would advocate the following. I'd get a hard drive of the same size - and ghost the master to slave (there are lots of products on the market that replicate drives at the bit level). Once copied, replace the existing drive with the duplicate drive and then install windows 10 (professional or enterprise) on the duplicated drive and let it run it's course. It may not find the drivers it needs but many times it'll use the older windows 7 drivers to communicate with you hardware. If it works, you've got a backup in time of the original drive. If it fails, well, you've got a spare drive to backup to locally within the machine after you figure out how to upgrade it. 9 out of 10 times, it works fairly well - but you really won't know until you try it. If all else fails, you put the old drive back in the box and you've lost some time while you figure it all out - but you've not lost your original configuration or drive. The other alternative you have is to remove all connectivity apps on the windows 7 machine (e.g. Internet explorer, firefox, chrome), modify the firewall to shut down all network ports (TCP/UDP) except what your software requires to communicate with and put the box in a corner so it's not used except for recording. If it's never on the internet, and it's not used as a desktop for anything else, that should "sandbox" the device safely until you find a way to upgrade or change it. Josh
jodeb720 03/06/20 10:24am Technology Corner
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