Thursday, November 7, 2013

2-Way RV Fridge To 3-Way? Who Makes The Best RV? Hiking Staff Gripping. Stink Bug Trap. Magic Johnson.


For "tRaVersing Thursday", or RV Day:

Can I convert a two-way RV refrigerator to three-way?

Dear Gary,
"We just replaced our Dometic refrigerator with a new one. On our old refrigerator we had an after-market three-way switch put in (AC, DC, propane). That way we could run our fridge on DC while we drove. Now I am told I can only use propane or electric and the fridge is off during travel. I can't believe stuff stays cold enough. We often travel for several hours at a time. What is the problem with using DC while driving? The batteries charge while driving. Is it possible to put in an inverter?" —Edie T. (Kent, WA)

Gary's Response:

"Edie, indeed, the two major manufacturers of RV refrigerators produce both 2-way (120-volts AC and propane) and 3-way models, which includes a 12-volt heater for operation while the vehicle is in motion. The 12-volt DC mode of operation, however, is considered a “maintenance mode” only. Realistically, the refrigerator’s interior compartments must already be cooled down and the food chilled prior to setting the unit to the 12-volt mode. It would take too much out of a typical battery system to cool a warm refrigerator down from scratch on battery power alone. In other words, the drain on the system would be a greater load than most battery systems could provide before becoming depleted. By the way, I’m not aware of an approved aftermarket kit for adding a 12-volt DC heating element to a standard 2-way refrigerator and would be quite hesitant about using one anyway. For correct absorption cooling operation, the sockets for the heating elements must be properly welded to the cooling core and this can only take place during manufacture.

Yes, you could add a dedicated inverter to power the refrigerator on 120-volt AC while driving, but that too, would require proper sizing of the battery bank. In my experience, simply getting the refrigerator (and the properly stowed food), as cold as possible on propane or shoreline power before heading out, and then avoiding opening the doors during the day, will usually keep everything cold enough until you can fire up one of the other modes once you stop for the night. The frozen T-bones and lobster tails should not defrost during that time.

Of course, even a 2-way refrigerator is designed to be operated on propane while driving down the road if you are in that camp, (check out this related question).
If you really must have the refrigerator on while driving, but aren’t confident using propane while going down the road, then the addition of an inverter and a healthier battery bank might be the most economical option; certainly less than swapping out the refrigerator again for a 3-way unit. I'm curious as to why the dealer simply didn't sell you a 3-way model to begin with..."   by RV Doctor


Who makes the best RV?

"Given that I spend a good deal of time working on RVs, I'm often asked who makes the best of "whatever category RV a person might be seeking." Not an easy question to answer as I do not believe there is a single answer. There are, however, some things to consider — the most important of which is price.

Simply put, you never get the same things in an entry-level RV you find in a high-end one. There really is a reason some things cost more than others, and an entry-level product, regardless of manufacturer, is intended to be sold based on price, not quality. In my experience, it may look good when new but the "new" is short-lived.

For example, the shine quickly fades on the exterior as the gel coat is very thin. The carpet quickly looks matted down, and the cushions in the furniture sag and look worn out almost overnight. The reason, of course, is because they are made as cheaply as possible in order to meet an impossibly low price point. The same things hold true of axles, frames, sidewall construction, and all the things folks either cannot see or do not know how to assess. Manufacturers, by the way, acknowledge in private that their more expensive products wear much better and require much less maintenance than their entry-level models for these exact reasons.

For occasional seasonal use, entry-level products do just fine. They also are not a bad choice if the owner is willing to perform regular maintenance. For serious campers, however, I question the wisdom of buying at the lowest price points.

How do you tell quality? You start off by doing plenty of shopping so you know what you are seeing. With some practice you'll be able to tell thick versus thin gel coat and the quality of slide seals, and know the difference between photographed vinyl finish on woodwork versus real wood.

In the end, you'll quickly discover there are real differences between manufacturers and product lines. When you are able to tell the difference, you are ready to buy. Until then, getting taken in by an inferior product is never far away. By the way, you really are much better off buying a high-end pre-owned product than an entry-level model off the dealer’s lot. If you can, try to stay within five years of the current date to be up-to-date with technology.  Happy Hunting!"   by Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service


Hiking Staff Gripping

"Learning to hold a walking stick properly was a major improvement in my hiking ability. For those who disagree with what is about to be explained, please feel free to use whatever style you like. During my working time in Washington state a lot of hiking was done. My arthritic fingers always gave me trouble during a hike. Gripping the walking stick tight enough to keep my hand from sliding caused a lot of pain as the day wore on.

On night at the local REI store they were having a beginning hiking class. The instructor was as big a fan of using a hiking staff (walking stick to me) as I was. He started this session with the question “Does everyone know how to hold a walking stick?” Naturally a lot of snickers from the audience including me. WOW was I about to get a lesson. We will omit the embarrassing portion that happened next. When his point was proven that yes there is technique to holding a walking stick, my attention was riveted to his lesson.

Your stick needs a lanyard of some type attached at the top of the stick. A thick line will do, but you will soon see that a flat wide strap is a lot better. The one on my choice of sticks is shown in the next picture.
Your grip is only to control where the ground contact point of the walking stick goes. You never support your weight with your hand.
To hold the stick properly, insert your hand through the loop like you are going to shake hands with the stick. Your grip on the stick will always be very light to relieve your fingers and palm of strain.

The strap will lay under your palm toward your wrist as shown in the above picture. The exact position will vary slightly from person to person and during the day. All the weight of lifting your body goes into the strap. NONE of the weight goes into your grip. The strap is adjusted to give you some slack to wiggle the stick for choosing the placement of the point and position your grip at the chosen spot on the stick.
The reason many sticks are adjustable in height is so your forearm will be parallel to the ground when on flat ground. On mine the height is adjusted by sliding a portion of the stick in and out and locking it. When you head uphill, it is shortened some. When you are going down hill it is lengthened some.

Once you learn this technique, it will make walking or hiking a lot better for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM."  From: Barney of Old Fat Man Adventures:


2 Best Stink Bug traps



On This Day:

Magic Johnson announces he has HIV, Nov 7, 1991:

"On November 7, 1991, basketball legend Magic Johnson holds a press conference to announce that he has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and is retiring from the L.A. Lakers. From then on, he said, he would focus on staying healthy and on helping people—especially young people—understand the importance of practicing safe sex. "You think it can never happen to you," he said, "that it happens only to other people." But "if it can happen to Magic Johnson, it can happen to anybody."

In 1991, many people didn’t understand the difference between HIV and AIDS, and they thought that either one was a certain death sentence.

In 1997 Johnson was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Five years after that, he was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is still HIV-positive, of course, but he remains healthy and strong."



Ray came over to help me get the cabinets out of the van.  The only safe, dry place to keep them was in the Grooming Room.  We moved the kennel cages out from the wall, and some beads of cat litter were vacuumed from behind there.  We got one countertop behind them, when it started to pour down rain. 

Jay called from Onalaska, TX, and he said that he isn't going back to work there after the weekend.  We all knew he wouldn't stick it out.  There is even a pot going on in the subdivision about when he will return.

Later in the afternoon it had dried up, so we tried again.  The other countertop was put behind there, with the two cabinet doors and the extra side panels.  The three cabinets were put on top of the cages on their sides, openings out.  We pushed the kennel cages back against the countertops.  The drawers were put back in place, and we put cat beds in the rest of the spaces. 

It didn't take long for the cats to find their new hidey holes.  Through the glass door, I saw them curled up so cutely together in one bed inside a cabinet, but when I opened the door to take a picture, they moved. 

Now, we just need the time to remake the three cabinets into the two cabinets that we need, on another day.

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