Thursday, September 8, 2011

12v Power. Inverter. 12v. Drain? Engine Life. Expensive Repairs. Mountains. Mice. LP. Salmon. TX Wildfires.

Here are some articles for RV Day.


Powering your tech devices on the road

"We may still call them cigarette lighters, but we know they’re not used to light cigarettes. I’ve never smoked cigarettes, yet I want as many lighters in the car as I can get! Why? Because they’re power sources for our many electronic devices that we use while traveling down the road.
The problem is that each device (GPS, MP3 player, cellphone etc.) needs its own adapter and we soon run out of cigarette lighters.

We’ve found a simple and cheap way to make one cigarette lighter power two cellphones with this handy little USB car adapter.

Many small electronic devices these days can get their power from a USB port. Simply plug this device into a lighter, and you now have two USB ports for the standard cables that come with cellphones today. We don’t even remember where we got ours, but you can google for ‘USB car charger’ and find dozens of options, all for under $10."  By Chris Guld

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger. Members can view all of the videos in the Learning Library.


For a limited time, 600 Watt Inverter.

List price $99.99
Now only $39.95
600 Watt Power Inverter
1200 watt peak surge
A power inverter converts DC power into conventional AC power allowing you to use your favorite devices when an AC outlet is not available.

"Simply connect an inverter to a battery source, plug your appliance into the inverter and you're set! There's a built in cooling fan for durability. It can run continuously at 600W and has a peak load capacity up to 1200W. Power inverters are often used in cars & RVs, however this inverter allows users to power items from a TV and a VCR to Xbox or a laptop."  Learn more or order.



RV Battery Drain, by Mark Polk

"There are numerous electronic devices and equipment in your RV that can drain the coach battery when you’re not using the RV.  Some examples are; the TV antenna booster if left on, LP gas leak detectors, clocks in radios, or just leaving a 12-volt light on by accident, if your RV is not equipped with a battery disconnect switch.  

You can purchase a battery disconnect from an RV dealer that can be installed directly on the battery post.  When you aren’t using the RV, or have no requirement for the coach battery, you simply raise a lever and disconnect the battery.  If there is a voltage draw on the chassis battery and you can’t locate the problem a battery disconnect can be installed on the chassis battery too."


Tips to Increase Engine Life

"Today we’re going to talk about some easy ways to increase the life of your tow vehicle or motorhome’s engine. Actually there are many ways to to increase engine life in a vehicle, but I want to narrow the list to what I consider the most important. When all you hear every day is how poorly the economy is doing, it only makes sense to buckle down and take better care of what you already own.

A little bit of preventive maintenance (PM) now can pay big dividends in the long run. What’s that old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! So, what can we do to extend the life of your tow vehicle, motorhome, or your automobile engine? Let’s take a look."

Read the rest at:



It Costs How Much? How To Prevent The Top Five Most Expensive Repairs

This applies to RVs, as well as cars:


"Here is one of your worst nightmares if you are an average American working hard to gut out the Recession with one car: You rely on your car or truck for your livelihood, either as a working vehicle or your only option to get to your job. You are just getting by, and can't afford new wheels if the current car or truck dies.
Then, like a punch to the gut, the mechanic tells you your master cylinder is shot, the transmission is a goner, or worse. The bill? It's in the thousands.

There are times when such calamities are going to happen. But there are measures we can take, and should take, that can help avoid the worst case scenario.

Last month CarMD Corp conducted a study and compiled the findings into what they called their Vehicle Health Index. CarMD is a device that plugs into your vehicle's under-dash OBDII data connector, and then downloads vehicle repair data, letting you know what's wrong with your car. Among the findings of the study were the top fifteen most expensive vehicle fixes in the US. Here at AOL Autos we decided to explore the top five most expensive repairs in depth in an effort to give you a tips on how to avoid these common pitfalls:" 

Read the list at:


RV Driving On Extreme Mountain Grades


"Extreme mountain grade driving is something most RVers prefer to do in their towed vehicle rather than with their motor home or truck trailer combination.  Steep climbs and drop- off downhill grades can turn a pleasant days run into a white knuckle survival experience.  So what exactly is considered extreme mountain grades?……."

This is a long article.  If you will be going over any steep passes, it will give you some valuable information.


Keep Mice Out

"Peppermint oil or high quality peppermint extract are suppose to work at deterring unwanted critters from making themselves at home. I haven't tried it, so I don't know if it works or not. When shopping for peppermint extract, you'll find it with the baking flavorings, such as vanilla.

Bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and cloves are also supposed to repel or keep out critters. Again, I haven't tried it, so can't say for sure. Somehow, the idea of putting food out for them seems counterproductive to me.

Fabric softener dryer sheets are another thing that is supposed to do the trick. And, again, no personal experience with that here.

Okay, so what does work for sure?
The best way to keep mice out is to block any entry holes. Give your trailer a good going over and look for small holes. Mice can come in from holes much smaller than you might think.
During the daylight, look behind drawers and into the deep dark cabinets and cupboards. Look for light. If you see light coming in, you have a space where critters can enter.

At night, shine around with a flashlight. This works best if you have two people. Have one be outside and shining the light in and around the trailer. Have someone inside, looking for that light. Again, seeing light means seeing a problem area.
We've found various mouse entry points on our RVs. One was in the area that houses the propane tanks. Another was behind a drawer, where the manufacturer didn't have something lined up quite right.

How you cover or plug the holes depends on where they are and how much access you have to them. Aesthetics can also play a part. Metal plate, wood, or another solid surface non-chewable overlay or patch is ideal. Hardware cloth or screen can be a big help. Aluminum foil and steel wool are good for plugging holes because mice don't like to chew on them. Silicone can also do the job. I feel best when we use two barriers.

Prevention -- keeping the mice out -- is obviously the best choice. However, I suggest that you keep a few old fashioned mouse traps set in some of the out of the way cabinets just in case. I'm also a believer in having a box of D-con available for them in an out of the way spot, such as far back corner of the cabinet under the kitchen sink. "


RV Buzz Quick Tip:

"If you want to test your RV for LP gas leaks but don’t have a manometer you can use an approved LP gas leak detector solution.* Just turn the gas on and spray the solution on all LP gas fittings and connections. If there is a leak you will see bubbles forming around the area where the leak is. Always remember to use a back up wrench whenever you tighten an LP gas fitting and double check it for leaks after tightening."


NOTE: You should take your RV to an authorized service center to have a complete LP gas check-up.


RVing Tips

We screwed cup hooks into the wall of the RV galley. I hang our four most frequently used mugs on them. It opens up cupboard space, keeps them handy, and keeps them from being set on the limited counter space. They travel just fine that way, with no breakage.

Tomato Sauce making you pucker? Toss in a large, peeled carrot during cooking. It will sweeten it without sugar and remove acidity. Yum!

Fishy odor?  Put a tablespoon of peanut butter in the pan as you fry the fish; it will absorb the sti... nk.  Sweet smell of success!

Short shelf-life? Add a pinch of table salt to 1/2 gallon of milk to keep it fresher longer. Delicious!




I had been asked to groom Jay's sister's dog, Pepper, but she had never got back to me as to how she wanted him groomed.  When I groomed him in July 2010, she wanted him in a "Lion Cut", but I could see that he hadn't been clipped that way the last time he was groomed.  Pepper is staying with Claudia and Jay while she is evacuated from the wildfires around her house in Magnolia.


As the buyer of my Suburban water heater door with frame, had sent the payment through PayPal, shipping it was the most important thing to do.  Jay wanted to work, but there wasn't much for him to do in the limited time available.   I knew I had to get to the Post Office, and he wanted to go with me.    He put the wheel back on the cargo trailer, and then we left, leaving Ray to run some caulking down the edge of the new piece of trim we put on the right side of the trailer's back door.

After sending the package at the Post Office, Jay wanted to return a gas filter he had bought for his 3-wheel ATV, then discovered he didn't have the receipt in his wallet.  I paid our water bills, and then we went to the new big Kroger's as Jay wanted to buy some deli ham.  He didn't buy any!  But I needed to go to the bank there anyway.

The only thing I bought were some salmon steaks at half price.  When I got home, I decided on this recipe:

Broiled Salmon with Onion, Tomato and Lemon

yield: Serves 4

Wrapping the fish in foil enhances its flavor and keeps it extremely moist. In summer, it can be cooked outdoors on the grill.


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 16-ounce salmon fillet with skin
  • 4 thin onion slices
  • 4 thin tomato slices
  • 4 thin lemon slices


Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Add parsley, garlic and lemon juice and simmer 2 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Place salmon on large piece of heavy-duty foil; season with salt and pepper. Brush salmon with half of butter mixture. Arrange onion, tomato and lemon slices over. Drizzle remaining butter mixture over. Fold foil over salmon and crimp edges tightly to seal. Place salmon package in broiler pan. Broil 5 inches from heat source until salmon is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Read More

The reviews said to cook it longer. I used orange slices, and orange juice, instead of lemon, less butter and added Dill.  I never could follow a recipe!  Left-overs can be made into salmon patties.


The wildfires here in TX are still raging.  Horses are being moved to sanctuaries.


The lack of rain has caused the grass to be brown everywhere. Dry pine needles have blown on the ground by the winds of TS Lee, and the leaves on the trees are withering, it wouldn't take much to make this area burst into flames, too.

You’re watching See how fast wildfire spreads - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official].


I went up the attic stairs and brought  all 5 pet carriers down and lined them up in the grooming room.  We might have to suddenly evacuate if anything happens here.  I even thought about backing the motor home out of the RV port and parking it in the front yard, for a quick escape.  It is scary how fast those flames will travel.


The AC was turned off and the cats were on the screen porch in the morning and afternoon, as the temperature was cooler.    That's a first for many a day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

I unlocked and opened my gate just in case we needed to get the motor-home out fast. Trying to get some stuff loaded in it, just in case. If no problem arrises, we can then just go for a short trip and it will be already to go.

About power converters, remember when you pull power from 12 volts to 120 volts it takes a lot more amps in 12 volts to equal the same power (wattage) P=IE Wattage equals amps times voltage. So to keep the same wattage, you need more amps in 12 volt systems and it doesn't take long to draw down your battery bank.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

We bought one of those USB car adatptors. Beware of the amps needed per item you are plugging in! The adaptor has two slots, one which will power lower consumption items like phones and the other slot for higher items like Ipads... Ours has designations for both on the face of it.

Ours also glows LED green at night, so I leave it plugged in the bathroom outlet in our rig, and it doubles as a nightlight for finding our way in the dark!

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

An English Shepherd said...

That wildfire is fast!!!