’Tis the season for mosquito spray, sunscreen, and summer heat. As you’re making travel plans, don’t forget to double-check that your A/C and fridge are working properly. And while you’re at it, it can’t hurt to check your batteries, too, as mentioned in Steve Froese’s Tech Topic. In the meantime, the RVideo in this edition shows new RVers how to set up a travel trailer at a campsite; the New Tech products are sure to help you prepare for future travels; and Our Picks can give you guidance about solar panels and fridge cooling — perfect for a summer vacation.
The FMCA Team
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By Steve Froese, F276276
I would like to introduce a reader email for discussion:
“I have a 2014 Fleetwood Bounder 34B with a parasitic drain on the coach batteries. I last drove it and charged them a week ago, and now they are reading down around 11 volts again on the dash voltmeter. On my rig, the coach batteries consist of two 6-volt batteries wired in series. They are both new — replaced right after winter. Please help. Thank you!”
Let’s walk through this issue to identify some tips. The type of batteries that provide starting current for motorhome engines are referred to as chassis batteries, while the batteries that power RV features such as lights, the water pump, and control boards are called the house or coach batteries.
Several things can cause parasitic drains on the house battery. The most common culprits are the propane detector, fridge humidity switch (if so equipped), and various electronics such as microwaves, clocks, digital radios, and televisions, to name a few. All these have electronic boards that consume power even when they are turned off. I have solar panels on my coach to prevent leak-down, but I always activate my battery disconnect if the RV will be parked for more than a few weeks.
How To Set Up A Travel Trailer At A Campground
For seasoned RVers, setting up once you reach the campground is a seamless operation. But if you’re new to RVing, this process can seem intimidating and confusing. Go RVing’s YouTube channel, OfficialGoRVing, walks new travel trailer owners through the various steps involved in setting up at camp, including leveling and unhooking; attaching the electrical cord to the campground pedestal; connecting to city water or filling the fresh-water tank; and the basics related to gray-water and black-water tanks; as well as other recommendations to consider. Check out their video here.
A discussion of new products on the market to enhance your RV lifestyle.
Designed for RVs, cars, and boats, the GB70 from NOCO is a portable lithium-ion battery jump-starter pack that delivers 2,000 amps for jump-starting dead batteries. It is recommended for gas engines up to 8 liters and diesel engines up to 6 liters. The jump-starter can boost a dead battery in seconds, and it works up to 40 times on a single charge. Its patented safety technology provides spark-proof connections and reverse polarity protection. When the device is not jumping a battery, it can be used as a powerful 400-lumen LED flashlight with seven light modes, including SOS and emergency strobe. In addition, it can recharge personal devices such as smartphones or tablets, and it can power 12-volt devices anywhere. The price is $249.95.
Hughes Autoformers’ PWD30-EPO model is a portable 30-amp Bluetooth surge protector that offers 3,000 joules of protection. It features advanced circuit analysis to automatically shut off power if voltage drops below 104 or exceeds 132 volts, if the unit detects an open ground or open neutral, and more. Once power conditions are stable for at least 90 seconds, the unit will turn back on. You can monitor voltage, amperage, and wattage on your smartphone in real time using the free mobile app. If the device gets hit by a large spike, you can simply order a new surge module instead of having to replace the entire unit. The price is $319. A hardwired 30-amp version is available for $359.
www.hughesautoformers.com • (888) 540-1504
Staying properly hydrated can be difficult during the summer, especially if you’re out and about, and a cooler is a must-have if you don’t like lukewarm drinks. The GE Profile Electric Cooler has an extra-large storage capacity of 33 liters in the left area and 42 liters in the right. The two zones can have their own individual temperatures, ranging from minus 6 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler can be charged from 120-volt-AC or 12-volt-DC power sources, making it great for RVs and cars. When fully charged, it can operate for up to 8 hours. The cooler weighs 61 pounds; measures 19.5 inches high, 33.4 inches wide, and 19.5 inches deep; and includes four integrated anchor points for securing it during travel. It comes in black with concrete-gray lids. The price is $1,399.
www.geappliances.com • (800) 430-1757
FMCA's picks for tips you need now.
How To Clean RV Solar Panels
With solar panels becoming more popular and available for RVs, learning how to clean them is important for regular maintenance — especially if you want them to work properly, as gunked-up panels can’t absorb sunlight efficiently. The RV Geeks address a few questions folks may have about how to properly clean these environmentally friendly devices. Is rain enough to clean solar panels? Do you need special products? How do you actually clean them? The RV Geeks explain in detail various takes on how solar panels should be cleaned and describe how they do it themselves.
Have you heard of the Inflation Reduction Act? It incentivizes the use of renewable energy sources, and solar in particular. Battle Born Batteries recently created a blog post about the Inflation Reduction Act, explaining what the act is, how RV owners can claim tax credits, and other things to consider. For example, according to the post, RV owners can receive a 22 percent federal income tax deduction on the cost of an energy storage system. The Battle Born post goes into detail on how this works, including the specific benefits RV owners potentially can claim.
Improve RV Fridge Cooling
RVs can have all sorts of refrigerators, and like any appliance, they all must be maintained and can have some issues down the line. There are different ways to upgrade your fridge, and for RVers with a propane/electric absorption-style unit, that includes installing fans to improve cold air circulation. This blog post by Mortons On The Move delves into RV refrigerator fans, their uses, what kinds are available, where to place a fan, and some tips for keeping your fridge cool during hot weather.
It’s difficult to put a price on peace of mind, but signing up for the FMCA Roadside Rescue® program certainly can be a step in the right direction. Powered by SafeRide RV Motor Club, this roadside assistance plan includes towing to the nearest qualified repair center, lockout assistance, trip routing, and more.
Most of us know from firsthand experience that things don’t always go as we planned when we travel. Having a roadside assistance program at the ready can help to eliminate some of the stressors related to a breakdown or other unexpected occurrences. The FMCA Roadside Rescue® plan is available to FMCA members in the United States and Canada at a group rate of $129 per year for a towable RV and $159 per year for a motorhome. Not only does the plan cover the RV, but it also covers other passenger vehicles, as well as additional family members living in your household. Other plan features include tire change, fuel delivery, battery boost, trip interruption (up to $1,500), tech assistance, and concierge services.
To learn more, visit www.fmca.com/fmca-rv-roadside-assistance.
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