News from FMCA's technical experts
News from FMCA's technical experts
Attention FMCA Members 

Beginning October 2, 2020, FMCA will be migrating to a new internal database.  During this time we will not be able to process any transactions or update any member records.  Should you need information or have questions about member benefits, the website will still be available, along with FMCA representatives if you prefer to call.  The system could be down until October 15, 2020, but we are hopeful we will be back up and running sooner.  We thank you for your patience and will continue to provide updates as best we can during this time.

It's Fall, Y'all!
Can you believe that fall is upon us?  Summer simultaneously flew by and dragged on as we continued to live in the shadow of COVID-19.  Many RVers resumed their travels this summer with caution, of course — while others stayed close to home.  New RVers joined the ranks, as some dealers reported sales unlike anything they'd seen before, fueled in part by folks in the United States and Canada looking for safe, alternative vacation plans.  By the way, if you know any of these new recruits or encounter them during your travels, be sure to let them know about FMCA and what a great resource it is for all things RVing.
This month's Tech Talk e-newsletter is a fine example of that.  Read on for information about roof maintenance, mobile internet, solar energy, and more!
Happy fall!
The FMCA Team
By Steve Froese, F276276

Roof Maintenance

No matter what age or type of RV you have, regular maintenance is a must. Arguably, one of the most important jobs is roof maintenance, as failure to look after your roof seals can lead to catastrophic results from a financial perspective.  While this article focuses on roof maintenance, any mention of sealant inspection should be extended to other areas of the RV as well.
Voids or cracks in sealant can allow water to penetrate the framework of the RV, which eventually causes delamination, wood rot, mold, and other nasty problems. Because most of these issues occur between the outer and inner walls of the RV, they can be hard to detect and expensive to fix. On several occasions I have provided structural repair quotes that exceeded the value of the RV itself. It is important to note that with work like this, the damage may extend beyond what is first perceived, which can quickly drive the cost up well past any initial quote or inspection. The moral of this story is that a little proactive and inexpensive labor can prevent serious damage and an enormous repair bill down the road.
RV Video

Internet On The Go

Mike and Jennifer Wendland of have been testing Nomad Internet. The service is designed to provide truly unlimited high-speed cellular internet via Wi-Fi for every connected device in your RV: laptops, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and smart watches. The system incorporates a Nighthawk modem/router/hotspot, manufactured by Netgear. It uses either the Sprint/T-Mobile or AT&T cellular network for service (Verizon is not an option at this time). The service is truly unlimited. It costs $129 per month; plus $349 (one-time fee) for the Nighthawk device. The plan might be of special interest to full-time RVers, or those who work remotely from their RV. Learn more about this system from Mike here.

Don’t forget that FMCA also offers mobile hotspot options via the Connect-on-the-Go (Verizon) and Tech Connect+ (Sprint) plans.
Tech Tip
By John Richards, F365753
West Richland, Washington

RV Handrail Cleaning Warning
I have some urgent information to share with owners of RVs that have clear plastic handrails, especially illuminated ones. This is particularly relevant in view of increased sanitation related to the COVID-19 situation. DO NOT clean these with hand sanitizer or wipes that contain alcohol. This can cause them to crack and craze because of a phenomenon called environmental stress corrosion in plastics. Use only plain or antimicrobial soap and water, or wipes that do NOT contain alcohol or other hydrocarbon solvents.
New Tech

A discussion of new products on the market to enhance your RV lifestyle. 

Charge Controllers
Xantrex has introduced two charge controllers designed to charge lithium-ion batteries, including lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) types: a 30-amp MPPT (maximum power point tracking) model and a 30-amp PWM (pulse width modulation) module.

The MPPT Charge Controller 30A, which is designed for medium to large solar systems, includes a dual-bank output to charge and maintain house batteries and chassis batteries; the batteries can be of different chemistries (AGM, gel, flooded, LiFePO4) as long as they have the same nominal voltage.  Other features: 98 percent charging efficiency; 30 percent more power compared to PWM charge controllers; and a built-in LCD display.  Optional accessories include a remote battery temperature sensor and a remote panel.  The price of the Xantrex MPPT Charge Controller 30A is $299.
The PWM Charge Controller 30A is designed for small to medium solar systems.  It features a flush-mount industrial design and a built-in LCD display.  A remote battery temperature sensor is optional.  The price of the Xantrex PWM Charge Controller 30A is $159.
Satellite Communicator
Being out in the boonies and outside of cellular coverage doesn't have to mean you're out of luck.  A Zoleo satellite communicator device connects with a free app on your smartphone or tablet and allows you to send and receive messages from anywhere on Earth via the Iridium global satellite network.  When within range of cellular and Wi-Fi, you can message that way as well.  Options for staying connected include global two-way texts, email, and app-to-app messaging.

Zoleo's safety features include an SOS button that sends your GPS coordinates to a monitoring/dispatch center, and a check-in button that lets others know you're okay.  The device's rechargeable internal lithium-ion battery has a life of 200-plus hours.  The price of the Zoleo device is $199 (U.S.); $269 (Canadian).  Monthly service plans range from $20 to $50 a month; after three months, plans can be suspended, changed, or cancelled.
Our Picks

FMCA's picks for tips you need now.

Power From Old Sol 
As Tom and Caitlin Morton of Mortons On The Move point out, free energy falls on your RV roof every day.  To tap into that resource and turn it into usable electricity, the couple installed what they refer to as the ultimate off-grid RV solar power system.  The Mortons tell how they started with a 1,100-watt system they tested for a while and then upgraded in a big way.  They take you step by step through their process in this blog post, which includes an overview video and a second video that provides a more detailed look at the build.
Have A Seat — A Nicer Seat 
Wishing you could upgrade the coverings on the cockpit seats in your RV?  While this probably isn't a project you'll want to tackle yourself, it could provide you the inspiration you need to seek a professional shop that can perform the transformation for you.  Check out this post from James Adinaro of as he adds leather to the cockpit seats in his RV built on the Ram ProMaster chassis. 
Awful Awning? 
Has your patio awning fabric seen better days?  If your awning is cracked, tattered, or torn, a YouTube video from the RV Geeks also known as Peter Knize and John Sullivan may well convince you that this should be your next DIY project.  It could save you money and leave you with a sense of accomplishment.  This video involves replacement of the fabric on a Carefree of Colorado power awning, a model that does not have a metal guard surrounding it when it's closed.  The RV Geeks, who have replaced the fabric on a variety of awnings and slide toppers, note that this popular model is one of the easiest replacements.  You ready?
Benefits Spotlight

Keep Rollin' With The FMCA Tire Program

Tires are vital safety components on vehicles and can help to prevent property damage and even loss of life.  On recreation vehicles, tires often age out before they wear out.  So, it's important to keep an eye on them.  RVers need to keep tires properly inflated and to visibly inspect them for issues on a regular basis.  Once tires are about 5 years old, experts recommend having them inspected by a tire professional on an annual basis.  The DOT stamp on the sidewall of the tire indicates the manufacture date of each tire.  Ultimately, tires need to be replaced.
Once you are ready for new tires on your RV or passenger vehicles, you'll want to investigate FMCA's tire program.  Members have reported saving hundreds of dollars on Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and Hankook tires for their RVs and passenger vehicles.  Information about the program and how to use it is available at
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