Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from RVtravel.com. The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.
What is a deep cycle battery?
Also called a house battery, it’s used exclusively for the living area of an RV, and not to start the vehicle. The engine battery is designed only for short, high-current use to start the engine. The house battery, on the other hand, is designed for long, low-current use, and it prefers to be charged slowly and carefully. Most RVs have more than one deep cycle battery. The more batteries, the longer your onboard power will last before you need to recharge it. The batteries are charged in several ways: as you drive, when you are hooked up to 120-volt power, by a generator and/or by solar power.
Speaking of draining a deep cycle battery, what if I do, somehow, drain my deep cycle batteries? How will I start the engine of my motorhome?
The motorhome’s engine has a separate battery that is only used for its automotive functions, including starting the engine. So even if you totally drain your “house” batteries, the engine will start normally and will then begin charging the drained deep cycle batteries. If you have a generator, you can charge the deep cycle batteries using it, too. But be sure to carry battery cables with you just in case you somehow drain the battery of the motorhome’s engine, or if it suddenly goes bad. The RVer in the next campsite will usually be happy to provide his or her battery for a jump. And some motorized RVs include a cross-switch switch which will temporarily jump your RV’s house batteries to your engine battery, allowing you to start up the engine without jumper cables.
What is shore power?
The word “shore power” comes from the marine industry where a boat was plugged into an outlet on the dock. But for RVs it’s a power cord that plugs into an electrical outlet at a campground (the pedestal) or home (your garage or exterior outlet). So you can be running on 20-, 30- or 50-amp shore power or your house batteries (which could also be charged from solar panels), or a built-in or portable generator.
Downhill driving advice from a pro
• A little hill country driving in your RV future? Here’s a thought from John: “Being a professional truck driver for more than 40 years, as a rule of thumb, we go down a hill in the same gear we would go up a hill in. It has always worked for me — 44 years and accident-free.” Thanks, John!
• And here’s more on the topic from Bob P.: “The correct way to use your brakes on a downhill grade used in the trucking industry: Put your truck in the lower gear before you start down using the same gear you would normally use to climb the hill. As you start gaining speed, step on the brake pedal hard enough to slow you back to a comfortable speed, then let off the brakes allowing them to cool. Repeat this process until you’ve made it to the bottom. Do not ride the brake pedal as that will hold light pressure on the brake pads and discs, keeping them hot.” Thank you, Bob!
Extra drawers for your RV
Use lids from copy paper boxes to organize and store canned goods in cabinets. The lids are available at any print or copy shop and usually free. Slide the lids into a cabinet shelf. Put canned goods in the lids to buffer them as you are driving. Grasp the lid and pull it toward you like a drawer. This makes it easy to check your inventory. Use the lids to carry your canned goods when packing and unpacking. If you don’t like the looks of the box, put some decorative contact paper on it. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.
Blow mosquitoes away!
A tip from John Kiblin about dealing with pesky mosquitoes: “When relaxing outdoors we run an electric fan. It provides cooling for us and keeps the critters from landing.” Thanks, John!
No grip for screws in wallboard? Try this
“I had a wall-mounted bracket in my RV get knocked loose. Since there wasn’t any wood backing behind the wallboard and the screws were completely pulled loose, I was in a pickle. A quick trip to the hardware store got me hollow door anchors, and since they’re designed for thin-skinned doors they worked out great. No need to drill new holes — just popped the anchors through the existing holes and reset the bracket. Lowe’s and Home Depot both carry these.” Thanks to John Cook. (Editor: Hollow door and drywall anchors are available at Amazon, if there’s no big box store nearby.)
If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?
From the editors: We asked our readers this question. Here is one response:
“There are so many things, that I would say you need to read everything you can about buying and living the life. Pick out all the things that you think will help you and then try to remember the ones you didn’t think you would use because somewhere along the line you probably will. Knowing where to find the information you need is very important. You can’t imagine how many things you will have questions about, you could never think of everything. There are a lot of lists out there about buying, selling, maintaining, traveling and anything you can think of. USE THEM!” — James Fellows
The handiest lights you’ll ever have
This 6-pack of tiny, battery-powered LED “Button Lamps” is just what you need for your RV’s closets and storage spaces. The tiny lamp is ultra-bright and has all the power of a normal-sized lamp. Backed with a strong adhesive, these little lamps will stick to any surface. They’re waterproof and good to have in case of an emergency. Learn more or order.
Random RV Thought
It’s hard to know for sure if you’re in an earthquake when camped in an RV. A few wind gusts can create pretty much the same effect.
Editor: Emily Woodbury
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Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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