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Home 2011, The First Season Testing all of the RV sub-systems
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Many of the systems in our new RV were not totally unfamiliar, as I had done an extensive bit of research on various systems, but even with that, some of the pieces of equipment needed some night time reading of the maintenance guides. At times, I felt like I was back at work, trying to troubleshoot and resolve IT systems problems. You have a undesirable result that is a symptom of a problem, and the task is to trace the problem back to a failed component.

The most interesting of the new systems was of the ‘high-tech’ variety, the Wifi Ranger intelligent router, a combination wired/wireless router with the ability to use multiple connection points, either the RV Park wifi, LAN or Air Card. With its WFRBoost roof mounted booster antenna, I can get RV Park wifi when others cannot. Some aspects of the Wifi Ranger could not be tested until we got to an actual RV Park with wifi. The Verizon Air Card was working fine when plugged in to the laptop, but would not work with the Wifi Ranger. Based on calls with support, I would have to wait until we were in an RV park with wifi, to download some new firmware to the ranger as well as some configuration software onto the PC virtual machine.

The RV has 3 water tanks, a fresh water, grey water (kitchen sink, shower) and black water (toilet) tanks. On our boat, one of the ongoing problems was determining how much each tank contained. Some tank monitor systems are available where you have to drill holes in the tank to insert probes that tell you the level in the tank. Tank monitors are a nice accessory, but you have to remember that they are estimates only. The See Level system sensors are actually mounted on the outside of the tank, so there are no holes and potential leaks in the tank. Even with this marvelous technology, you have to consider:

  • the fresh water tank is truly full when water starts to come out of the overflow spout on the tank, behind the wheels. From there, you can monitor the level as you use the water, but don’t expect that you will run out of water just when the monitor shows ‘zero’.
  • the grey water system is a closed system and when water stops draining out of the ‘lowest’ sitting sink or shower, the tank is really, really full. I would rather drain the tank sooner than I really need to, then let it fill up. It was a fun experiment letting the grey tank fill up to ‘100%’ and then empty the tank 5 gallons at a time to measure exactly what ‘100%’ represented. There was still 5-10 gallons of capacity left, a good safety factor.
  • the black water system is a closed system. When you flush the toilet and nothing drains out of the bowl, the tank is really, really, really full. Again, I would rather drain the tank sooner than I really need to, then let it fill up, so 85-90% means that it is time to drain.
  • The black tank flush system forces water into the black tank through a hose/wand mounted in the tank near the top. It is designed to spray water all through the tank to help clean it out. If you connect a hose to the flush system and forget about it, you will end up with ‘crap’ shooting out of the roof vent all over your rig. The tank is a closed system so when forcing water into the tank under pressure, then the only release is through the vent cap on the roof, unless of course you pick that very inopportune time to flush the toilet, in which case water will shoot up from the toilet rather than draining down into the tank. When draining the black tank, I always make sure that stuff is flowing out of the drain valve before I turn on the water to the flush system. An ounce of prevention as opposed to a really dirty clean up job.

Another piece of technology new to me was the Tire Pressure Monitoring System that I had bought. Each tire, 6 on the truck and 6 on the RV, had a small pressure sensing device that replaces the cap on the valve stem. A monitor in the truck cab reads the signals from the sensors and alarms when a tire pressure is too low or too high.

The system was actually partially installed while we were still in Massachusetts, but this was the first time I had the chance to get everything working. I have to admit that I cheated. When the truck was in the shop at Utility Bodywerks getting taken apart, I had asked them to install valve extenders on the inner rear duallies, as I could not get my hands in between the wheels. That way, it was really easy to install the transmitters on the rear tires.

The hot water heater was only working sporadically.. I hate problems that are not consistent. Lots of troubleshooting of the water heater controls indicated that there was a water flow problem (it requires a minimum flow of .5 gallons per minute to activate). This problem was going to require a bit more troubleshooting.

One of the options we had chosen was a quick connect propane fitting at the front of the rig, connected to the tanks. The idea was that we could connect our Weber BBQ to the quick connect as opposed to carrying around an additional portable propane tank or the disposable 1lb tanks. As they say, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men….”. It seems that the issue was have 2 pressure regulators in the line, one regulator on the 40lb tanks and then a second regulator on the BBQ itself. It worked, but not as well as it should have. I ordered a new fitting from the local propane supply store, and it would be in next week.

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  It’s Off to Kansas We Go  
  New Horizons RV Factory, Junction City, Kansas  
  Un-Packing the U-haul and packing the RV  
  Learning about Our New Home  
  Testing all of the RV sub-systems  
  First Trip-10 Miles  
  South Dakota and Business  
  Camp New Horizons  
  Kansas to Florida  
  NHOG Rally 2011  
  Florida to Texas  
  New Orleans - The Big Easy  
  San Antonio  
  Home  
  Currently  
  Introduction  
  From Research to Leaving Home  
  2011, The First Season  
  Winters  
  2012, The Second Season  
  Our Triple D Adventures  
  Natashas Excellent Adventure  
  2013, The Third Season  
  2014, The Fourth Season