Thursday, October 4, 2012

RV: Generators - Less is More. Gas Struts. Water. Oil Pan. Buffalo Roundup 2013. Tiny Scanner. Cabinet Corrals. Reboot the Toilet. Mount Rushmore. Shell Shock. Sputnik.

For “tRaVersing or TV Day”

Generators - Less is More

“When it comes to boondocking I subscribe to the “less is more” philosophy,  let’s look at how this mind set applies to generators.
The majority of boondockers own a generator for one reason; to keep their 12 volt batteries charged. Unfortunately many don’t understand that bigger is not better when it comes to generators and battery charging. Most converter chargers in a RV can operate on 1,000 watts or less of 120 volt electricity (aka shore power). Owning and operating a larger generator can be a waste of space and fuel.

The advantages of a smaller generator:
- Less fuel consumption means less fuel used and less spare fuel you need to carry
- Takes up less space in your rig
- Weighs less  (Less weight for you to carry around, less weight to haul down the road)

Quiet is Golden in the Tranquil of the Boondocks

- Less noise while running than a larger generator
- Fewer exhaust fumes
- Easier to pull start than a larger portable generator

Now, a 1,000 watt generator won’t power this or that, consider these potential statements and solutions:
- 1,000 watts won’t run my electric coffee pot. Use the stove like your grandparents did.
- 1,000 watts won’t run the wife’s hair dryer on high. No, but it will on the styling (low) setting.
- 1,000 watts won’t power my refrigerator and converter at the same time. Manually switch your refrigerator to LP gas.
- When my large battery bank is really low, the amp draw via my 3 or 4 stage charger blows the circuit breaker on my 1,000 watt generator. Try taking one or two batteries out of your bank (via a battery switch) for awhile and then bring them back online after the generator has had a chance to put some amps in the other batteries.
- 1,000 watts won’t power my microwave oven. No it won’t, but an inexpensive 2,000 watt inverter will. For the short time most people run their microwave (warming coffee, zapping a plate of nachos, etc) having an inverter is more convenient than starting and running a generator for a minute or two. 
- 1,000 watts won’t operate my air conditioner. No it won’t, but RVers boondock by choice. If it is too hot to enjoy where you are camping, move to somewhere cooler.
Other helpful tips:
- Make sure the electric element on your water heater is turned off before starting your generator.
- For items that need long term charging from a 120 volt AC source (cordless drills, lap tops, etc) consider a small inverter for your tow vehicle or dinghy that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Charge these items up while you run into town for groceries, sightseeing, etc.

Running a Dry Washer From the Truck Mounted Generator

- I mounted my 1,000 watt generator in the back of my tow vehicle. It serves as a back up power source away from the RV. If my tow vehicle battery were to run low in the middle of nowhere (aka the boondocks) I can use it to charge up my starting battery. I can also use it to power my dry washer when prospecting away from the RV. Also, since it is bolted and locked in place I don’t have to worry about it being stolen.” From: RV Boondocking News

More security for RV bed-lifting gas struts.

Many RV beds double as storage units: Pull the mattress board up and down inside, under the mattress is an open space for hiding stuff. Most of these utilize gas struts or "gas springs" as they're sometimes called. Originally popular for keeping hatchbacks open on cars, these clever devices soon found their way into the RV industry. The problem is that if you have just a bit too much weight on the mattress -- say a big stack of blankets -- or the spring begins to lose it's strength life can get a bit complicated. Read more.


"Should I travel with my water tank full?"
It's a good question: In light of the high price of motor fuel, is it wise to carry full fresh water tanks, particularly when heading over mountain passes? Is there any advantage either way -- full or empty? Here are some thoughts.


 "How long can I keep fresh water in the tank?"
Having your RV sitting in the driveway, "ready to roll" on a spur-of-the-moment trip is one of the gifts of our lifestyle. Got propane and gas in the tanks? Holding tanks empty? If you keep a few clothes in the rig, some non-perishable food items, and grab whatever else from your house' fridge, your RV is up to an "instant getaway." Ah, but what about the fresh water tank? How long can you safely keep water in it before worrying about "bugs"? Read more.


Inspect your diesel engine oil pan for rust

It has recently come to my attention that some Dodge 5.9 & Ford 7.3 (and possibly other) diesel engine oil pans are experiencing premature rust through. If unnoticed, this holds the potential for sudden engine oil loss and catastrophic damage to a $10,000 engine. Estimates to replace my 2006 Dodge 5.9 oil pan range from $1800-$2300. If you Google "oil pan rust" you will notice the 7.3 problem is so common that Damien Diesel has developed a repair kit!


Buffalo Roundup 2013

Custer State Park in South Dakota will hold its popular Buffalo Roundup on Friday, September 27 next year. Previously the roundup was held on the last Monday of September but organizers feel more folks will be able to come on a Friday.



Digital scanning system replaces paper, frees up space in your RV
Life on the RV road should be about simplicity. Don't like the scenery? Then move. But for those who mix the RV lifestyle with business, it isn't always so simple. Where do you put all the dratted paperwork? Enter the Neat Company. Nope, they won't send out an office assistant to organize your filing cabinet. Wait a minute -- they do! Actually with NeatReceipts it's almost like having an office assistant along with you! Read more.


Protect your noggin with RV cabinet corrals

An odd-ball friend of ours is full of quirky expressions. One of his favorites when surprised is, "Great jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" On opening an RV cabinet door after a jolting road ride, he let out a rather more colorful expression when the jumping was done by canned and jarred goods onto his head. Yep, those kind of surprises can be painful--but avoidable.

Here's a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to keep all sorts of goods corralled in those upper galley cabinets. Take for yourself a stock of empty and clean gallon plastic milk (or water) jugs. Using a sharp utility knife (my wife doesn't allow me to play with her kitchen tools), whack the top half off the jug and toss it out. Now use the bottom half to "compartmentalize" all those little jugs of ketchup, mustard, olive oil, hot cocoa--well, you get the picture.
Held in by the constriction of the former moo-tainer, your condiments won't be as ready to bring out colorful comments.


Bill Gates wants to reboot the toilet

SEATTLE — “These aren’t your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal.

They are part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to modern sanitation.

To pass the foundation’s threshold for the world’s next toilet, it must operate without running water, electricity or a septic system, not discharge pollutants, preferably capture energy or other resources, and operate at a cost of 5 cents a day.

The United Nations estimates disease caused by unsafe sanitation results in about half the hospitalizations in the developing world. About 1.5 million children die each year from diarrheal disease.  Scientists believe most of these deaths could be prevented with proper sanitation, along with safe drinking water and improved hygiene.”

More at:

The winning Caltech toilet breaks down water and human waste material into fertilizer and ...

The winning Caltech toilet breaks down water and human waste material into fertilizer and hydrogen gas.


On This Day:

Work begins on Mount Rushmore, Oct 4, 1927:

“On this day in 1927, sculpting begins on the face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. It would take another 12 years for the impressive granite images of four of America's most revered and beloved presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt--to be completed.”


Ike warns of the risk of "shell shock", Oct 4, 1944:

“On this day in 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower distributes to his combat units a report by the U.S. Surgeon General that reveals the hazards of prolonged exposure to combat. "[T]he danger of being killed or maimed imposes a strain so great that it causes men to break down. One look at the shrunken, apathetic faces of psychiatric patients...sobbing, trembling, referring shudderingly to 'them shells' and to buddies mutilated or dead, is enough to convince most observers of this fact."

On the basis of this evaluation, as well as firsthand experience, American commanders judged that the average soldier could last about 200 days in combat before suffering serious psychiatric damage. British commanders used a rotation method, pulling soldiers out of combat every 12 days for a four-day rest period. This enabled British soldiers to put in 400 days of combat before being deleteriously affected. The Surgeon General's report went on to lament the fact that a "wound or injury is regarded, not as a misfortune, but a blessing." The war was clearly taking a toll on more than just men's bodies.”


Sputnik launched, Oct 4, 1957:

“The Soviet Union inaugurates the "Space Age" with its launch of Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite. The spacecraft, named Sputnik after the Russian word for "satellite," was launched at 10:29 p.m. Moscow time from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. Sputnik had a diameter of 22 inches and weighed 184 pounds and circled Earth once every hour and 36 minutes. Traveling at 18,000 miles an hour, its elliptical orbit had an apogee (farthest point from Earth) of 584 miles and a perigee (nearest point) of 143 miles. Visible with binoculars before sunrise or after sunset, Sputnik transmitted radio signals back to Earth strong enough to be picked up by amateur radio operators. Those in the United States with access to such equipment tuned in and listened in awe as the beeping Soviet spacecraft passed over America several times a day. In January 1958, Sputnik's orbit deteriorated, as expected, and the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere.”



It was cooler, but the sun soon warmed everything up for shopping day, and Jay wanted to go with me.  We went to a couple of thrift shops, and I donated, while he bought some things.  He was very subdued and hardly talked at all, whereas his mouth is usually running nineteen to a dozen.  Claudia was glad that I had taken him with me, as it gave her some peace for part of the day.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Regarding that article on generators, I run mine when going down the road so that I can use both over heard air conditioners. Keeps the whole place cool. Works for me.