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RE: 50 AMP Tents

Are the 50A sites more spacious than the others?
DrewE 08/14/20 12:29am General RVing Issues
RE: STL > SD > WY Route

Do you have one or two drivers? How do the kids do cooped up in the truck for many hours at a time? 600 miles is probably about 12 hours of travel time. I try to avoid driving any more than ten hours in a day because I find my driving ability (and hence safety) drops precipitously not long thereafter due to fatigue, etc. With two drivers to share the work, it's safer, even if the driving isn't split 50/50. Needless to say, different people have different levels of stamina, and driving conditions greatly affect the amount of fatigue, so ten hours is not a universal rule by any stretch. Pushing your own limits is hardly wise in any case. Many three year olds (and indeed ten year olds) wouldn't be very happy being strapped into a truck for twelve hours in a day. Doing it a couple days in a row is harder. I would suggest scaling back the trip and maybe only doing things in the black hills area. One day is nowhere near enough time to get more than a quick glimpse of Yellowstone, and it's a fascinating and beautiful area that desreves far more if possible. I'd save that area for another trip. Bear in mind that this is DrewE's opinion, and worth every cent you paid to get it...but maybe not much more than that.
DrewE 08/13/20 09:34am Roads and Routes
RE: Propane tank

It should be approximately accurate, or at least repeatable in where it changes from full to 2/3 to 1/3 to empty, but clearly not very precise at all. There is a gauge on the tank itself that is more useful but often not the easiest to see, in as much as there's usually a sender module for the control panel's gauge covering the middle of the tank gauge's dial. The tank gauge itself is based on a simple float arrangement inside the tank. Note that there must be some headspace in the tank, so the 80% level on the tank gauge is full. Whether the inside gauge is calibrated in terms of usable capacity or tank capacity (or indeed is calibrated in any practical sense of the word) is anyone's guess without making some tests. I find mine is handy as a general guide for when I should start thinking about getting more propane. A full tank lasts a good long time if you don't use the furnace (or generator, if you have a propane fueled generator), a number of weeks in my case.
DrewE 08/13/20 09:16am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Private property parking

You're already set up to receive private messages, though there's some filtering on who can send them (and it appears to be enabled by default). Towards the top right of the screen you can see "Welcome, CaptnCook!" and a few links underneath it. "My Forums" is the link to get to your preferences and signature information and so forth; and next to it is a "Private Messages" link to read any PMs you may have. Under "My Formus", the "Preferences" tab has a section that sets whether or not anyone and everyone can send you a private message, and a couple other options.
DrewE 08/12/20 09:27am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Diesel vs Gas

In terms of the engine type itself taken in isolation, there isn't a vast difference overall. A diesel engine will get somewhat better mileage per gallon, in no small part because diesel fuel has a greater energy density (and, not coincidentally, density in the ordinary sense of mass per unit volume). However, for class A motorhomes, there are many other differences that also almost always come along with the engine type, even though they are not inherently related. Gas motorhomes are practically always front engine units, usually built on the Ford F-53 chassis, with a leaf spring suspension. Diesel class A motorhomes are practically always rear engine pusher designs, usually with air suspension, and often larger and heavier and more upscale than gas models. The rear engine makes for a quieter cockpit area when on the road, and the air suspension a smoother ride. The lack of the engine in front can also make for a roomier or more open cockpit area, depending on the specific design. On the other hand, some gas motorhomes have a large storage compartment in the back that cannot exist with a rear engine. Maintenance costs are probably a little higher for the diesel units, often because they're bigger and heavier and may have more complex systems. Larger tires, for example, are significantly expensive than smaller ones. The diesel engines typically have longer scheduled maintenance intervals, but when required the maintenance tends to be more costly, so the expenses end up being more "lumpy" over time.
DrewE 08/10/20 09:40am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Solar fusing question

The purpose of the fuse is primarily to prevent the wire from overheating due to excess current. The battery is capable of putting out a whole lot of current; the solar panels are by nature basically self-limiting (i.e. their short circuit current is comparatively modest), so provided the wire is sufficiently sized there's no safety need for a fuse in that part of the circuit. It looks like the short circuit current for 24V 300W panels is typically around 10A, or 20A total; the wiring you have could carry that all day without problems. It can sometimes be convenient to put a fuse or switch or other ready way of disconnecting the solar panels for maintenance, etc., since many solar controllers should not have the panels active with no battery connected. It saves having to go up and cover the panels with something opaque or waiting until night to do stuff. The fuse should go as close to the power source as possible, and be sized according to the wire size and connected equipment. If the wire is only for the solar charge controller connection, a 30A fuse and sufficiently heavy wire would be a reasonable starting point. A bit larger would also be okay, in my estimation, assuming the wire between the battery and the charge controller is heavy enough for that to be safe. If the fuse is also for the connections to the rest of the RV, there's no way to even guess at an appropriate size without more information.
DrewE 08/08/20 11:41pm Tech Issues
RE: New to Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking

Thanks for the chart Vintage 465! Very helpful Much appreciated. Yeah, if I was just starting out, I'd go get a couple rounds crack and cook biscuits. They're about $5.00 a round and a 12" D/O will just about swallow one round of crack and cook biscuits. That way you're not really out a lot if you toast em too much.............. At $5.00 a tube for biscuits, you're either getting ripped off or purchasing ultra-gourmet, all-natural, free-range, organic biscuits. Basic store-brand ones run about $.50 around these parts. One useful "secret" to keep in mind for dutch oven (and other) cooking is that very often oven temperatures are not at all critical for the success of a dish. If it's a little cooler, it'll just take a little longer to cook; and if it's a little warmer, it'll merely be done sooner. Keep an eye on things and adjust the heat according to what you see and you should have no great trouble. It does, of course, help to cook things, at least at the start, that you know are not too sensitive in that regard. For that matter, charcoal briquets behave a bit differently than coals from a campfire, and it's about impossible to count the latter accurately, but both work fine.
DrewE 08/08/20 02:20pm Camp Cooks and Connoisseurs
RE: Back to the '70s!!!!

Many states (and counties and municipalities) have different rates for nonresident campers or visitors using their parks. I don't mind that in the slightest; it's only fair that the residents who collectively own the parks should get a better deal in using them. Indeed, I'm rather surprised that Oregon apparently did not have an out-of-state surcharge already. I think I've only encountered a few places in my travels where there was no non-resident surcharge for such parks. National parks tend to be a little different, and of course private parks rarely have better rates for locals.
DrewE 08/08/20 09:56am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: DeWalt vs Milwaukee

I wouldn't think the extra torque and battery life would make much difference for a homeowner. Having two small batteries is sometimes a better idea than one big battery: the smaller ones are lighter and more compact, and you can use one while the other recharges. 1400 in-lbs is a bit under 120 ft-lbs; if you need more than that for putting together a deck, you apparently aren't pre-drilling sufficiently or screwing into steel beams or some such. There are perhaps other differences internally besides just the motor, given the price differential. I wouldn't be surprised if the more expensive one had a beefier gear train, etc.; but it's not likely you'd wear either one out anytime soon.
DrewE 08/06/20 08:09pm Around the Campfire
RE: For all you carpenters

I'm not a carpenter, just a reasonably handy person who occasionally does some woodworking and carpentry, and I've certainly cut plenty of things too short for any number of reasons. (I've also cut some things too long, but it's a lot easier to take more off than it is to put some back on!) Where it's possible to do so, it's usually less error-prone to take the piece of material you're going to cut over to where it will be fit in, and mark its length directly without the intermediate step of measuring. For bonus points, also mark which end you're keeping and which end is scrap (and put the saw kerf on the proper side).
DrewE 08/05/20 05:52pm Around the Campfire
RE: Television - 12 volt or 120?

Modern TVs don't use a lot of power. A small inverter would be a perfectly fine way to go; it won't run down your battery overly quickly. That also makes it easier to hook up e.g. a blu-ray player or game system or satellite receiver if you wish to do so in the future. (It's perhaps worth mentioning that many of the newer game consoles use more power than you might at first suspect, often roughly around 100 watts, more than many television sets.) Of course, if your television happens to have an external 12V power brick, it does make a lot of sense to power it directly.
DrewE 08/04/20 08:54am Tech Issues
RE: Battery question

As this is the "Class A Motorhomes" forum, I think it's pretty safe to assume without further information that the question is in relation to a motorhome. Yes, in motorhomes the engine alternator charges the house battery while en route. If that's not happening, then something is broken. On some (comparatively rare) units, there might be a switch to disable this charging, though I can't really see much of any point in doing so.
DrewE 08/04/20 08:49am Class A Motorhomes
RE: Steering stabilizer

Do you have an E450 chassis or an E350 (or something else)? I certainly agree with the recommendations of making sure the alignment is correct and the tires are properly inflated. It would also be well to verify that the tie rod ends and ball joints are tight, which I think they ought to be checking when doing the alignment. I think the E450s all come with a steering damper from Ford: basically a horizontally mounted shock absorber for the tie rod. If it's worn, replacing it with an equivalent or OEM part (not necessarily a full-fledged steering stabilizer with spring centering) can make a noticeable difference. It's an easy part to replace: readily accessible, with just a couple of bolts to hold it in. On my motorhome, when I bought it from the previous owner, the damper was definitely shot and had leaked some of the oil charge out over the years. When I replaced it, I discovered that the old one would act like a spring for small displacements (due to the air bubble compressing) and like a damper for larger displacements (with the remaining oil circulating as designed). Needless to say, that caused a bit of odd steering feel. One other suggestion: when driving, keep your focus as far down the road as practical. It's easy to overcorrect when driving a motorhome or other long-wheelbase vehicle if you aren't particularly used to them. Steering corrections take longer to have an effect, and the result--doubly so if you're focusing on the spot right in front of you--is a tendency to overdo them and end up overshooting towards the opposite direction. Making small adjustments and looking far down the road are the solution. (Looking farther down the road is likewise advisable to give yourself plenty of time and room to brake when that's needed.)
DrewE 08/03/20 09:05am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Smoke alarm

The wires attached to the smoke detector are (almost certainly) short, maybe 6", pigtails, and are joined to the RV wiring in the wall or ceiling. You should be able to pull them enough to access the joints and detach there. In my RV they used wire nuts, taped to prevent them from working loose, for all those sorts of connections; but there are a few possible methods that could be done. (I know some will say that wire nuts are no good for RVs, but so far all the wire nut connections in mine have been trouble-free.) As BB alludes to, make sure you insulate the loose wires somehow or another so they can't short out.
DrewE 08/02/20 08:11pm Tech Issues
RE: DeWalt vs Milwaukee

Lithium batteries are a substantial improvement over NiCd's for these sorts of cordless tools.
DrewE 08/02/20 07:58pm Around the Campfire
RE: DeWalt vs Milwaukee

As a homeowner-level user, I've been sastisfied with a fair few different Ryobi cordless tools, and it's not hard to get their batteries on quite good sales from time to time. (It's the same parent company as Milwaukee, though of course the tools are presumably built to somewhat different specs and price points.) I doubt you'd have any complaints about any of the major brands in practice, in general. There probably are one or two tools with questionable design details or significant weaknesses from most any brand, but they're the exception rather than the rule.
DrewE 08/02/20 03:17pm Around the Campfire
RE: Pulling more than 50 amps ?

is a semi truck with dual trailers, traveling at 50 mph, really a 100 mph truck because there are two trailers of 50 mph each?) Incorrect analogy. The correct analogy is "is a semi truck with dual 50,000 pound trailers a 50,000 pound load or a 100,000 pound load?" Trailer "L1" has 50,000 pounds, trailer "L2" has 50,000 pounds. The receiving destination (the RV) gets 100,000 pounds delivered. Pounds of load moved in the trailers would be more nearly to watts, I believe, rather than amperes. A 240V 50A circuit (split phase or not) certainly delivers twice the power as a 120V 50A circuit, but it does not deliver twice the current. In both cases, you're getting your 50 Coulombs per second. Similarly, the dual trailer truck is doing twice the work per unit time as a single trailer truck, and so delivering twice the power to moving the load; but, of course, it is not going twice as fast.
DrewE 08/02/20 12:30am Tech Issues
RE: Travel into Canada

How do you travel into Canada if you have a handgun in your RV You'd be doing so illegally, at least in the vast majority of cases. It's not worth trying. Either leave the handgun behind, when visiting Canada; or if that is not acceptable, keep out and miss out on their wonderful country.
DrewE 08/01/20 03:44pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Losing home & need to immediately relocate to truck camper

If you're traveling enough that gas mileage is a significant concern (i.e. a significant part of your budget), you probably would save money by using an efficient car and staying in motels, many of which have internet access available that's at least as good as what is found at most campgrounds...and often a good bit better. Anyhow, some advantages of a truck camper: one less thing to register (in nearly every state), you can get into more out-of-the-way places particularly if your truck is four wheel drive, easier maneuvering in tight places generally. Some disadvantages: they're tight, and due to the limited space have limited capacities for water, propane, etc. Storage for stuff for full-time living is quite limited. Some advantages of a trailer: more space, in some cases much much more space; you can easily leave the trailer at a camp site and take the tow vehicle to town or wherever you need to go; easier to climb in and out. Some disadvantages: you have a trailer to maintain; if it's not a fifth wheel, or if you're on the east or west coast, you cannot legally tow a second trailer; somewhat more effort to set up or break camp, in general. Some advantages of a motorhome: Very easy to set up and break camp; you have ready access to the kitchen, bathroom, etc. while en route; you can usually tow something else if the need comes up. Disadvantages: chassis maintenance costs (tires, for instance--not too bad for most class C's, significant for a large diesel pusher motorhome); not great fuel mileage; you have to take your RV with you when driving into town or whatever, even if you aren't otherwise breaking camp, unless you tow a second vehicle. For $15K, you might be able to get a (well) used but basically sound and fully functioning, probably class C, motorhome with a bit of shopping around; or a trailer in reasonable shape and a suitable tow vehicle. For the latter, it might be worth looking into full-size vans for the tow vehicle; many are (or can be) equipped to tow a pretty good sized trailer, and have adequate payload capacity to handle the tongue weight and also carry a useful load inside at the same time. A fair few pickup trucks and SUVs, especially the smaller ones, tend to have limited payload such that you can tow a trailer or carry some stuff, but not much of both at the same time. As a general observation, pretty much any vehicle that can serve as one's house, with kitchen and bathroom facilities and so forth, is going to be pretty big and heavy, and hence neither inconspicuous nor fuel efficient.
DrewE 08/01/20 03:34pm Beginning RVing
RE: How do I get a colder freezer?

Have you checked the condition of the door seals for the freezer compartment? I'd imagine an imperfect seal would cause a warm freezer (and more rapid frost build-up).
DrewE 08/01/20 10:30am Tech Issues
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