Issue 29 • March 29, 2019
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By Mike Sokol
These are the times that try men’s and women’s souls.
Indeed they are. But I’m not going to focus on all of the horrible things that are happening across the globe right now, bad as they are. Instead I’m going to fill you in on some of the small things I’m doing to help locally, as well as nationally and even internationally.
You see, while I can’t teach you face-to-face in seminars right now, and my university classrooms have been closed down until August, I can still reach each of you (and many thousands more) through electronic communication, specifically written articles and videos, but most importantly, through live Webinars. Read below for my new RVelectricity Live Streams that are beginning as a 20-minute Webinar this Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern time, with the 2nd and 3rd modules live streaming at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. the same day. This is completely free on YouTube, and you can watch anytime you want.
I’ll be doing this every week. The first Webinar will be my basic RV Electricity seminar broken down into three 20-minute segments. After that, I’ll begin tackling a different topic each week until I run out of things to teach about electricity (which is never). So read below how you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and keep up to date with my latest videos and webinars.
Also, I’ll show you a few ways to stay safe in a time when safety is on all of our minds. These are just simple ideas, really. But they can help keep you safe in these complicated times. Let’s all hope and pray this is over soon, but I’m planning for the long haul – like I always do.
P.S. If you missed my Guest Essay in yesterday’s RV Travel newsletter, “During this crisis, ask what you can do for your neighbor,” you can read it here.
P.P.S. And just a quick note that this newsletter is made possible by the voluntary pledges of the readers of RVtravel.com. We could not bring this to you without their support. If you deem what we provide to you here and at RVtravel.com to be of special value and would like to be a part of our effort, please consider pledging a voluntary subscription. More information is here. We will include you in special emails, articles and videos exclusively for our supporters.
Virtual Rallies (in a time of social distancing)
Owners Groups could be live streaming their own Virtual Rallies right now. Could this be the future of RV Rallies and Trade Shows?
While many of us are out of work or lost much of our income (I’m down by at least 50% from last month since I can’t go out on sites), think about what’s happened to our beloved RV Rallies and Trade Shows. I’m supposed to be in Tucson for the FMCA rally this weekend, which was cancelled (of course). And while I’m stepping up and offering my seminar content as free Webinar streams this week, what about the rallies themselves? How are they going to cope with the lack of member interaction and educational seminars?
I have a suggestion and maybe can help. Let’s start by doing some Virtual Rallies. That’s right, instead of everyone meeting at a campground to interact and listen to presenters speak about some aspect of RVing, everyone just needs to log into a free Zoom account and connect to their Virtual Rally Group. Read more.
Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.
Watch Mike’s new RVelectricityTM Webcasts starting this Thursday, April 2, at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
All you have to do is subscribe to my channel at YouTube.com/RVelectricity. While the big launch is on Thursday, I’ll be doing a soft opening starting this weekend just to test out all my gear. And yes, you can expect to see the same sort of hands-on electrical demonstrations I’ve done in front of you at rallies and shows. But in this case, it’s from my “penthouse” studio in lovely Funkstown, Maryland.
I’ve just started promoting this channel last week and it’s already up to 600+ subscribers, but I need at least 1,000 of you to subscribe so that YouTube will turn on my Analytics and give me a real name on this channel, and not a random number. But I promise this will be painless and quick, so subscribe and send an invite to all of your friends. While I can’t promise to make you a better cook or teach you yoga, like on other social groups and channels, I can promise to exercise your brain and make you much smarter (and safer) about RV electricity than you ever imagined.
Be like Mike! Use this 3-light and digital voltage tester!
Mike Sokol says: “I found this nifty tester online and have been using it in a variety of voltage checking situations. It performs all of the 3-light tests for outlet polarity, open ground, open neutral, etc., as well as being a 3-digit digital voltage indicator. In addition, it performs a standard 5 mA GFCI safety test – which you should be performing on all of your GFCI outlets once a month (or at least once a camping season).” Read more about it here.
SnapPad, SmartPlug, Southwire, CarGenerator and Xantrex are now sponsors of my RVelectricity™ publications and Webinars.
Why is this industry news? Well, I’ve been trying for the last 5 years to get any RV parts manufacturer to step in with financial support for my RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles and videos. But while their engineering departments were my best friends (seriously, engineers are my biggest fans) their marketing departments were slow to convince, wanting me to calculate their Page Views, ROI (Return on Investments), Market Reach, and all kinds of other things that I can’t possibly know about their own business models.
But now, every single one of them called me back when I left a message about live streaming my RVelectricity seminars, some within minutes of my email or voicemail. It’s like they’re sitting at home with not much to do (which may in fact be the case). So the companies listed above (plus a few additional ones as we speak) are stepping up with some monetary support for my productions. Now, it’s not a lot of money, but it’s a step in the right direction, and it allows me to focus on what I do best, which is teach.
Last Month’s Survey Results:
How often do you read this RVelectricity monthly newsletter?
So that’s a big WOW! Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) of you read this newsletter every month, and 1 out of 10 (9%) read it if the teaser paragraph piques your interest. That tells me that you’re really interested in learning this stuff. Note that this survey was a month ago when COVID-19 was not directly impacting our daily lives.
What technology level would you like me to cover in this RVelectricity Newsletter?
Interestingly, only 2% of you want only basic RVelectricity articles, while 20% want intermediate and another 19% want advanced content. But a whopping 59% of you want a mix of all of the above, which is what I’ve been doing. So for now I’m going to stay the course and keep doing a mix of basic, intermediate and advanced articles. This also gives me direction as to content for my new RVelectricity Webinars, so stay tuned.
Tools and Other Devices
Don’t touch those grubby screens with your bare fingers – get a pen
I had a touchscreen stylus in my pencil box for the last two years that I never used, but I just pulled it out and tested it on the touch screen for my bank’s ATM and the convenience store’s gas pump. Now I don’t have to scrub my hands after touching those filthy touch screens. I found these in stock on Amazon as a 3-pack, which I think would make great gifts for your significant others. So keep one for yourself and give the other two away. We all need to help each other in these trying times. Learn more or order here.
It’s not just for poo anymore…
Yes, it’s a double-header this issue. I found this on another Facebook group and thought it was too great not to pass along. You know those little poo bags we carry for our dog walks so we can pick up the little gems they leave behind. (Seriously, pick up the little gems.)
Well, they also make great “gloves” for when you have to pump gasoline or pick up grocery products in a store that all kinds of other people might have touched. Just slip them over your hands and do whatever it is you need to do. Then slip them off inside-out, tie them up, and trash them. Save the nitrile gloves for the first responders and medical staff who so desperately need them. I got these on Chewy.com, but you can probably find them on Amazon as well. However, Amazon shipping is overloaded so it might take longer to get them there. Here’s what I got, although shipping may be delayed from there, also.
Last Month’s RVtravel.com Posts
These articles are rated Moderate to understand for most RVers.
• Live Webinars coming soon from Funkstown, Maryland.
• Is presenting RV electricity seminars online a good idea?
• Guide to RV surge protectors.
• Is there anybody out there? Part 1.
Last Month’s JAM (Just Ask Mike) Session posts:
These articles are rated Easy to understand for beginners.
• Do I have an electrical leak? A concerned reader asks Mike why, with the battery selector in the “off” position, he was still getting a reading of 1.4 volts at the disconnected battery cable ends.
• Getting ready for the road. A soon-to-be RVer is attending Mike’s seminars, purchasing recommended equipment, and getting an RV education as he searches for an RV. Mike offers helpful tips on getting prepared for RVing.
• Is there anybody out there? Part 3. Mike needs your help to receive sponsorship support and keep his invaluable articles coming. Please complete these two quick polls to help guide his future articles.
• Is my power inverter dying? A reader wants to know how to test if his power inverter is dying.
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 50+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order
Road Signs: Music Therapy
By Mike Sokol
What were you listening to the year you graduated from high school? This is more important than you realize…
A number of years ago I remember hearing an NPR interview about a scientist who was studying how memory works. And one of the areas of this discussion that interested me most was how many songs we know, and why we seem to remember “the good old days” with songs from our teenage years (whatever that was for each of you) being the songs that we remembered the best as well as having the most emotional impact.
His theory was that songs that we heard during our musical formative years have the deepest connection to our emotional memories. Turns out these formative years cluster right around high school and college. Yup, what you listen to when you’re, say, 14 to 24 years old, sticks with you for the rest of your life. Continue reading.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com.
Editor: Mike Sokol. RVtravel.com publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we may occasionally get something wrong. So always double check with your own technician, electrician or other professional first before undertaking projects that could involve danger if not done properly. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com..
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I had a 50 amp service installed at my house for my RV. While explaining what I wanted I showed the electrician the diagram you use and he thanked me and said he now understood what I needed. When he was done he showed me thexradings on his multimeter (saved me from doing it myself).
My sister just got into RVing and I bought her a non-contact voltage tester and a receptacle tester, based again on your information. I showed her how to use them and explained the hot skin concept. I also led her to this website and RV travel.
Thank you for what you are doing for us.
Thank you Mike and RVtravel for providing valuable and life-saving instruction on electricity related to RVing. I am looking forward to your basic RV electricity webinar.
Your webcasts will be great for those who have true unlimited home based internet service, but us fulltime rvers who have the typical 15-20GB limited service per month & are already using most of it each month, will not be able to watch any or most of your webcasts.
i go to Harbor Freight and get 100 nitrile gloves for about $6 – these are not sterile so not taking anything away from the emergency people (HF has a million boxes generally anyway). I’ve used them for years to keep diesel off my hands and around the garage and now in public places. they’re cheap (i suspect cheaper than poo bags) and readily available.
With all the comments I see about battery disconnects, it might be good to remind people that the Emergency trailer brake should remain directly connected to the battery. Just a suggestion.
An alternative to gloves of any kind are simple sandwich bags. I used them for years to clean-up after my Dalmatian. Just slip them on and pull them off inside out and trash can. Low cost, available and they work!
Great idea as well….
Turn them inside out first then you can seal them when you are done.
The article on the ‘Poo’ bags forgot to list Walmart. PetSmart (or any other pet store), or basically any store that carries pert supplies, and there is no shipping if you’re at the store…
My local Walmart and PetSmart store are out of them. If you can find them, they’re great for emergency gloves as well as their original purpose.
Personally, I don’t understand why everyone wouldn’t keep a pair of gloves in the car so when you get to the fuel pump you just slip them on. Poo bags not needed and much simpler. IMHO
That doesn’t work as well when shopping in a store.
And unless you get gloves that are conductive, won’t work on a touch screen. And you’ll need to decontaminate them after touching any suspect surface. But my nitrile gloves do work, and I tried it with the poo gloves and it works as well. One use, turn them inside out, and throw them away. Seems wasteful, I know. But better safe than sorry. My point is, don’t be afraid to improvise.
I need to get some sort of charger to build some batteries that have sat for a year. Thinking some sort of charger/maintainer/desulfinator. What would you recommend?