Thursday, April 25, 2013

RV Fire Safety. W/H Boom and Soot. Stove-top Toasters. Electrical Problems? Losing Keys. “My House” Song. Hubble Telescope.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day:

Fire Safety, In Case You Missed It

“In an RV of any type, safety is paramount; both personal safety and the safe operation of your recreation vehicle. In an earlier RV Doctor Newsletter, we posted 34 fire facts that can save your life while traveling in an RV. In case you missed it, here it is again.”


Water Heater Mini Explosion

“I have a motorhome with a water heater problem. When I turn on the igniter it explodes when igniting the propane, when it finally does. A loud boom! I can hear the igniter clicking before it does light. Can you give me some suggestions? It seems to be the worst when it is a little cold outside.” Dan, (Tucson, AZ)

RV Doctor: “Dan, it’s my hunch your unit may have a partial blockage in the curved mixing tube. Plus, I would venture your water heater is in need of what is commonly referred to as a "clean and service."”  More at:


Sooty Sidewall

images[6] “I have an Atwood water heater in my 1989 rig and I am getting large amounts of soot on the side of the rig above the exhaust vent. I have checked and cleaned the tube for obstructions and I adjusted the air gas ratio to a blue flame. I cannot figure why I am getting incomplete combustion. No changes or maintenance had been done to the heater just prior to the onset of this problem and the heater had been used several times a month prior to the problem. Any ideas?” Garth, (Saratoga, CA)

RV Doctor: “Garth, cleaning the mixing tube and adjusting the air shutter is a good start, but there are a couple of other factors that, in combination, ensure complete combustion. As you know, adjusting the air intake affects the burner flame size and intensity. The delivery pressure of the incoming LP is what draws in that primary air. It must be set to 11.0 inches of water column with the regulator at about a 50% load. A manometer is used to measure LP pressure, so if you don’t have one, make an appointment at your local service center.”  More at:


Want toast? Stove-top toasters save the day

“If you camp mostly hooked-up, you probably have an electric toaster which meets your needs. But there are many camp situations where an electric toaster just isn't a viable choice. Maybe you're not hooked up, and perhaps it's quiet-time and you can't run your generator (or maybe you just don't want to listen to it).

Personally, I love a slice of toast in the morning, but I hate starting the day listening to the rumble and roar of my generator. Inverter power is a possible option, but an electric toaster at 900W will draw 80A from an inverter — four slices of toast can use up three to four percent of battery capacity. It's always possible to pan-fry bread, but let's face it, that's fried bread, not toast. Besides, it's just another dirty pan to wash.

Enter a delightful little product, the stove-burner toaster. These inexpensive, compact little tools can cook up a slice of toast in about a minute or so, with no battery impact and only a miniscule consumption of propane. There are multi-slice models from camp-equipment vendors like Coghlan and Coleman, but the best-working unit I've found is the single-slice device (models available from Primus, GSI, Chinook). These take longer to make multiple slices, but the results are very controllable and uniform. Besides, who's in a hurry when camping?

To use one of these, un-fold it and place it over a stove burner. Light the burner, and adjust the flame and toaster position to produce an even dull-red-hot heat in the lower layer of the toaster. Using tongs, place a slice of bread on top of the toaster and count to 30 (maybe more or less, depending on your stove and personal preferences). Flip the slice over, repeat, done.

The one-slice units fold up as thin as a slice of bread, and come with a tidy little storage bag to be cleanly tucked away in the tiniest of RV rigs. And, at $10-$15, they don't dent a wallet. Here's a link to Amazon where you can look for yourself.” By Greg Illes


From me: I have had different versions of the stove-top toaster for over 40 years, but this one looks better.


Electrical problems? This tip may save you an RV service call.

“On close to a third of our service calls we find nothing wrong with the RV. The problem is not so much the RV as it is the owner who has either forgotten how to operate something or simply forgotten to turn something on.

Here's one simple check you can make that can save you a costly (and needless) service call. If you find your interior lights, refrigerator, water heater and the furnace aren't working and you're not connected to shore power, think battery. The loss of "house" battery power will generally kill all of these systems. All appliances that have computer boards require 12-volt power that comes either from your batteries or the power converter in your RV.

LOOK AROUND. You'll always find a fuse located within 18 inches of your batteries. This is an industry code, so all manufacturers do it. An RV's power converter is fused to protect it in the event your batteries are hooked up incorrectly. Check the fuse first — if it's blown, try replacing it. Check your RV house batteries, too. If they're dead, you can "work around" the problem by hooking up a battery charger to them. If you need to charge your batteries and your power converter has died you can always hook a battery charger to your batteries. Batteries do not care where the power to charge them comes from.

Save your money, and save your technician from having to making an unnecessary call.”   By Steve Savage, Master Certified RV Technician


Be careful about losing keys in a parking lot

“Chuck Woodbury of has a tip about something to avoid in parking lots where, if you are not careful, you could lose something very important.”


Kacey Musgraves, 'My House' (On Wheels)


On This Day:

Space telescope in orbit, Apr 25, 1990:

“The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope, a long-term space-based observatory, into a low orbit around Earth.

The space telescope, conceived in the 1940s, designed in the 1970s, and built in the 1980s, was designed to give astronomers an unparalleled view of the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. Initially, Hubble's operators suffered a setback when a lens aberration was discovered, but a repair mission by space-walking astronauts in December 1993 successfully fixed the problem, and Hubble began sending back its first breathtaking images of the universe.

Free of atmospheric distortions, Hubble has a resolution 10 times that of ground-based observatories. About the size of a bus, the telescope is solar-powered and orbits Earth once every 97 minutes. Among its many astronomical achievements, Hubble has been used to record a comet's collision with Jupiter, provide a direct look at the surface of Pluto, view distant galaxies, gas clouds, and black holes, and see billions of years into the universe's past.”



Gumdrop has her own special ways.  She likes to tip over waste paper baskets, pull flowers out of vases, and rearrange the bathroom floor rugs. I found out that her litter brother looked very Siamese, so she has the Siamese traits, too. They are a breed on their own, and more active than some cats. If I could just keep her off the top of the fridge.

After Misty had eaten her breakfast she went back to her bed under my bed.  When I called her to go ‘Walkies”, she didn’t want to get out of her cozy bed.  She stuck her nose out of the front door and came back in again.  When I went in to the hall coat closet to get her a coat, the oval beveled mirror fell down and shattered into many splintery pieces.   I cut myself picking up the big pieces, and it took the shop vac to get up the rest.  It was really chilly, and we both had to wear padded coats, whereas the day before I had been in tank-top and shorts!  Finally, we did get our walk down at Jay’s when we went to pick him up. 

Upon peering inside my roof and looking at the rafters, we had to go to another plan.  The contractors had nailed odd bits of wood crossways in there, and we couldn’t remove them.  They weren’t anything important, like cross braces, so we wondered what they were doing there.  Our hopes of doing a conventional cantilever addition to the roof were dashed.

We tried putting a 2” x 6” x 15’ long board up by ourselves, but I just didn’t feel safe on top of a step ladder with the cold wind blowing the heavy board around.  We drove to another part of the subdivision to get a tall strong guy, and it was easy for him.  One board up, that’s about all we accomplished yesterday.

No comments: