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RE: Measuring battery condition

best SOC indicator is measuring specific gravity with a calibrated hydrometer with temperature compensation. Look for a Frease (sp?) brand hydrometer. The cheap ones in the auto parts store are hit and miss If you want to know battery condition then after fully charging the battery to a load test.
ktmrfs 07/19/20 09:34am Tech Issues
RE: Ham radios

We are looking at the Garmin Inreach. We camp and Jeep enough during the year to warrant getting one. Service options including a month by month basis which works for us. We often don't invite family to come boondocking because we always head out ahead of them and with no reception in those areas, communicating our location is near impossible. With an Inreach, we can send them our coordinates and they can see where we are. We Jeep often on the backroads and never have reception. The Inreach will help us keep in touch as to our whereabouts and a line of communication should we break down or are injured. We have the inreach. Bought it when it came out to replace the spot. We've used it in Europe, all over south america, the U.S. out in the ocean on cruises. We love it. Easy to text anyone who can get text messages, has the ability to store about 20 preprogrammed messages, a long list of contacts. Easy for people to text you as well. And if you go with GEOS and/or SARS worldwide rescue and return as well. Since I race off road and we travel all over the world GEOS family plan makes sense for us to emergency rescue or return to home in case of medical emergency if needed. Inreach uses iridium sat's, so it's as good as a sat phone for communication. (well text only, no voice). The only downside is that like any Sat phone, they do NOT work well inside a building, even a trailer can be marginal. you want to be outside, tree's etc. aren't an issue but enclosed buildings are. Thanks for the feedback. We began really thinking of it on a recent trip to an area that has been having earthquakes. Before leaving town I told my boss that if I don't return as planned it's because an earthquake caused a landslide to block the only road out and with no reception, I'll have no way of alerting anyone. Well, that's when he suggested this device, but we've thought of one to have on the many backroad Jeep trips we take overnight. like the landslide with boulders on 95 near Riggs? Instead of a sign saying "loose gravel" it should have said " caution boulders crossing roadway" https://www.eastidahonews.com/2020/07/u-s-95-closed-indefinitely-after-more-boulders-crash-onto-highway/
ktmrfs 07/18/20 11:07pm General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

We are looking at the Garmin Inreach. We camp and Jeep enough during the year to warrant getting one. Service options including a month by month basis which works for us. We often don't invite family to come boondocking because we always head out ahead of them and with no reception in those areas, communicating our location is near impossible. With an Inreach, we can send them our coordinates and they can see where we are. We Jeep often on the backroads and never have reception. The Inreach will help us keep in touch as to our whereabouts and a line of communication should we break down or are injured. We have the inreach. Bought it when it came out to replace the spot. We've used it in Europe, all over south america, the U.S. out in the ocean on cruises. We love it. Easy to text anyone who can get text messages, has the ability to store about 20 preprogrammed messages, a long list of contacts. Easy for people to text you as well. And if you go with GEOS and/or SARS worldwide rescue and return as well. Since I race off road and we travel all over the world GEOS family plan makes sense for us to emergency rescue or return to home in case of medical emergency if needed. Inreach uses iridium sat's, so it's as good as a sat phone for communication. (well text only, no voice). The only downside is that like any Sat phone, they do NOT work well inside a building, even a trailer can be marginal. you want to be outside, tree's etc. aren't an issue but enclosed buildings are.
ktmrfs 07/18/20 04:43pm General RVing Issues
RE: Big truck dealer in Idaho?

several times I and some others I know have checked with dave smith over the years. Every time a local dealer either beat his price or was close enough it wasn't worth the drive. In fact my current truck was purchased from a local dealer. I had specific items on my list including a color that was in short supply at the time. Local dealer beat dave smiths price. The truck came from Dave Smith. The paperwork in the glovebox showed initial delivery to Dave smith. Truck had 15 miles on it so it had been trucked from Dave smith to the local dealer. When we drive by Dave smith on our way to Montana he has a huge inventory spread over several miles. Or at least did a year ago during our last trip
ktmrfs 07/18/20 04:35pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Ham radios

If you want the ability to communicate with emergency services ASAP and/or communicate with family or friends that have the ability to text then something like the garmin inreach may be a good choice for you. We have the inreach explorer. The advantage over spot is (a) the ability to have two way communication with whomever you are contacting, including the emergency services. and (b) better chance of quickly getting a signal out. Garmin uses iridium sats, which are not geosyncronous so you don't need a view of the southern sky. Before the inreach I had spot, I never completely trusted it. Often in wooded areas it would take an hour or more to get a text out since it needs a view of the southern sky to get to a sat. and since is one way only I never knew for sure the text got out. And then I had two of them completely fail on me, replaced under warranty, but didn't give me much peace of mind. We've used the inreach in europe, north/south america in the ocean and always been able to communicate via text to whomever we could text to. And it never has taken more than a minute or two to get the message out to a sat. The inreach is less expensive than a sat phone, with similar capability. The inreach (and spot) also allow real time tracking that you can allow others to see. We do this so our kids and contacts can see where we are and the tracking includes GPS co ordinants. Viewers can also use google earth with the tracking to see terrain maps, roadmaps or geographic maps to see your location.
ktmrfs 07/18/20 10:20am General RVing Issues
RE: where 2 get water for RV before you reach your destination?

fill at home: 1) when we get to the campground I then have at least several days before I need to hook up water. No rush to get water hooked up. 2) more than once I've been at a campground where either they had plumbing problems or power problems and no water for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. worrying about the extra weight is like worring about the weight of an extra bag of groceries in the car. Seriously 50 gallons of water =400 lbs. out of somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 total pounds. it's insignficant.
ktmrfs 07/17/20 09:28pm General RVing Issues
RE: Life of AC?

One MachIII in my small trailer is 16 years old and still working fine. One Mach III in my big trailer is now 10 years old and doing fine. I would expect 20 years of life or more.
ktmrfs 07/10/20 09:51pm Travel Trailers
RE: What's up with the DEF Delete?

It's not clear to me at all why deleting DEF would improve mileage or HP. And my duramax with DEF and more HP gets better highway mpg unloaded by several mpg than the one I had w/o DEF. DEF just injects urea into the exhaust stream to change NOx into N2 and O2. It's a process that has been used for decades with little problem in stationary power plants to clean up exhaust. I'll keep mine intact.
ktmrfs 07/10/20 09:49pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Propane Regulation

on my blackstone, there was an accessory to use with a regulated propane as well as the standard attachment for use with a 1lb bottle or unregulated propane. When I got mine, blackstone sold the low pressure accessory.
ktmrfs 07/09/20 09:59pm Tech Issues
RE: Locked out of RV

I recall this being a problem on on brand of locks, and there was a recall on the locks. Just before the recall, I had mine fail, luckily it was on a cargo trailer with a drop down rear door.
ktmrfs 07/09/20 09:56pm Tech Issues
RE: Who do you use for Insurance?

I am I wrong or is everyone else. The insurance on your trailer is not in effect when it is hooked to your truck! Your auto policy covers it. The insurance on your camper covers it when parked or stored. The trailer policy covers in storage or use. Theft fire trees fallin hail,pretty much anything that occurs when it stand alone. Am I wrong, This was always my assumption! may depend on the insurance company. In my case when hooked to the TV the TV insurance covers property damange, liability etc that may be caused by the trailer or towing combo. I'm not sure if damage to the trailer is covered when connected or if that relys on a trailer specific policy. When unhooked that insurance goes away and you rely on a trailer policy to cover damage liability etc. But again, check with your insurance company to determine exact coverage.
ktmrfs 07/03/20 11:32am Beginning RVing
RE: Any Trailers for Tall Adults and Tall Kids?

We’re trying to get back in the travel trailer game, and it’s just not working out. My wife and I need a queen with 80” length, or a clear walkway at the end of the bed. I’m 6’-5” and need the length or room. My son is a big boy at 6’-4”, and my daughter is 6’-0”. No bunks seem to fit, and although laying crosswise on a 74” bunk may help, they all seem to have the ceiling or bed above right at your face making you feel like you’re in a coffin with no air. Then, every trailer with a big dinette has only a useless jackknife sofa. Does any RV manufacturer think that maybe by some chance four adults would like to camp together? Even if my kids bail in a few years, we still have friends that would like to go. Is everyone supposed to buy an F-550 and a toyhauler just to camp? Someone ou't there has got to have found a way without adding a tent. Any wizards out there? I’d appreciate the input. you think you have trouble. Some friends that have camped with us have: Dad 6'6", Son 1 6'11" mom 6'4", several daughters over 6'5", 5th grade boy is pushing 5' 6" even cars are a problem. They use a tent, and don't come in the trailer unless they have to. A 5th wheel is likely the only option. many have 8' or so ceilings.
ktmrfs 07/02/20 10:15pm Travel Trailers
RE: Mach 15 a/c not cooling well

we have a 33ft double slide trailer with a MachIII 13.5K BTU AC. really should have two AC units. As it came from the factory cooling was definitely sub optimal. However with a few fixes it now will keep the trailer in the mid 70's with outside temps in the 90's as long as the AC comes on when temps inside hit 72/74. No way it will cool down the trailer with those outside temps. My mods: 1) took off the inside AC cover and closed up all the leaks in air gaps with metal tape. 2) removed all the ducted vent outlets and again, sealed up the gaps with metal tape. 3) they put a minimal number of air vents, but typically run the plenum to the end of the trailer. So, I added a second vent in the bedroom, a vent to the bathroom on the same run, and 3 more on the living area plenum. 4) replaced all the factory celing vents with an areo vent which is much easier to adjust and blows the air horizontally in a circle rather than straight down. All these changes made a huge improvement. Still is marginal but as long as the AC comes on at 72-74 it will keep the temps in that range with daytime highs in the mid 90's. Now we are in western oregon so we don't get high temps till afternoon. If I was somewhere that had temps in the 90's by mid morning, not sure it could keep up.
ktmrfs 07/01/20 10:30pm Travel Trailers
RE: Who do you use for Insurance?

State Farm, the same people that insure everything else I have. Bill x2 on State Farm. IMHO the best choice is to use ONE insurance company for all your insurance needs. that way no overlap or gap's in coverage or arguements on who covers. Yes it is. Unfortunately, State Farm, nor Farmers Insurance wont cover my Farm. Ironic, eh? Very few insurance companies have insurance for properties with a barn and equipment riders. All my autos are under Gieco which made a huge difference in prices. It would have cost more to insure the one trailer than 2 trucks and a car combined. my trailer insured with state farm (along with my other vehicles) costs $102/yr for liability, comp, collision, etc. with a $1,000 deductible. my cargo trailer with same coverage is $29/yr.
ktmrfs 07/01/20 10:21pm Beginning RVing
RE: Who do you use for Insurance?

State Farm, the same people that insure everything else I have. Bill x2 on State Farm. IMHO the best choice is to use ONE insurance company for all your insurance needs. that way no overlap or gap's in coverage or arguements on who covers.
ktmrfs 07/01/20 07:07pm Beginning RVing
RE: Suburban oven pilot will not stay lit

there should be a rod that sits in the pilot flame. that rod is a thermoelectric pile. when it gets hot it is a electric source. the output of the thermoelectric pile keeps the gas valve open. So. 1) make sure the thermopile is in the flame. 2) make sure the pilot is burning well. these have a small orifice so any dust, dirt, spider webs, rust can result in a low flame pilot. 3) those thermopiles do fail, not often but the do. usually the failure mode is reduced voltage output which will result in the pilot extenquising. if it fails with no output, you can't keep the pilot buring w/o holding in the pilot switch.
ktmrfs 07/01/20 07:03pm Tech Issues
RE: Fighting zoning ordinances that hurt RV owners

I guess I'm the "odd man out", but we purposely chose a neighborhood with an HOA that prohibits RV, MH, boat, trailer etc. parking visible from the street, along with comercial vehicles. The HOA has a huge lot gated, locked, and barbed wire fencing for RV, boat, MH trailer storage with a storage cost/year of $35. No reason to not use the RV lot and neighborhood is lots nicer than some around and house values reflect that. When looking to buy why some people don't bother to read the CC&R's and county parking regulations and then complain is strange.
ktmrfs 06/27/20 11:07pm Beginning RVing
RE: RV fridge not getting cold on propane, but freezer works?

I've had occasional problems like the OP mentioned with freezer cooling, but fridge not or little. In each case a quick look showed a flame that was yellow or very small. A blast of air in the tube to the flame and taking the propane orifice off and cleaning fixed everything. The flame for a fridge is very small, and a very small orifice, so it doesn't take much debris, rust, spider web, etc. to plug it up. My "spring cleaning" each year is to take the orifice off, clean it out, and use compressed air to clean out the tube for the flame.
ktmrfs 06/27/20 10:09am Tech Issues
RE: Eye Opening Solar Cell Efficiency Numbers

This is about double what current solar cell efficiency is. Definitely a big improvement. Now for the downside. The thin film technologies rely on some rather exotic, rare, and non eco friendly III-V materials, such as GaAs, InGaP, etc. Most of these are toxic and all of them are "rare"/expensive. And the technology to mfg them is not as widespread and as understood as Silcon. The good thing with multi-junction cells is that the different layers can each be optimized to capture different parts of the spectrum. Since Si is completely transparent in the infrared, you can add backing to reflect the light back through the wafer and a Si3N4 layer to try to trap the photons. So for many applications it may be what is more important, cost/Watt or space/watt? In the case of space exploration, space/watt wins. For large scale use??? This technology does seem to offer a 2x improvement in space/watt, which is good. A friend of mine has spent decades in the solar cell development/mfg with several large solar companies. There has been lots of research on efficiency improvements, but in most cases big improvements came at the cost of mfg efficiency, use of rare/expensive/toxic materials etc. that didn't come to fruition based on available mfg technologies, processes, and material issues. So improvement in large volume applications so far have been incremental, and the high efficiency cells religated to space exploration and a few other cases where cost isn't an issue but weight and size are extremely important. it will be interesting to watch and see how this technique plays out.
ktmrfs 06/21/20 04:58pm Tech Issues
RE: inverter to AC outlet!!

A transfer switch will work. But consider using it with a sub panel so that the fridge, water heater, and converter are not going to be powered. I think that I'd want a larger inverter than 700 watts if I went with the sub panel and transfer switch. The "work around" is to manually switch these items. If the batteries are hungry and the converter is left on, the fuse for the inverter will blow. Similarly for the water heater. That is why I prefer the idea of dedicated outlets when the choice is a small wattage inverter. I deliberately added a dedicated inverter outlet in the kitchen area. As I have a large inverter, it gives me extra power when on shore power and means I can tun the induction cooker, and another high wattage device. With just the 700 watts, my coffee maker could be run. we are on the same page. I'd rather rely on my sub panel to control what is powered than my absent minded brain.! In my case the microwave and two 120V outlet circuits are on the subpanel from the inverter, keeps me from trying to run AC, have the fridge on AC accidentally, HWH etc. etc.
ktmrfs 06/14/20 10:16pm Travel Trailers
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