Wednesday, October 5, 2022


RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): CarGenerator, Jackery, and chocolate updates…

Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Valentine’s Edition, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) with the subject line – JAM. This week I discuss CarGenerator, Jackery, and chocolate.


Dear Readers,
It’s Valentine’s Day, so I have a triple-dipped chocolate treat for you. This is actually three JAM Sessions in one. I’ll be visiting past, present and future articles, so hold onto your cocoa beans….

Future: CarGenerator emergency home power

This coming Saturday I’ll be covering how you can install a generator transfer switch in your home so that you can use CarGenerator (or any portable generator, for that matter) to provide home emergency power from your car.

No, it won’t make 240 volts with enough current to power your stove or electric water heater. But you’ll certainly be able to power your lights, computers and mobile device chargers.

And if you have a natural gas furnace, like I do, it will power the control circuits so you can stay toasty warm in the winter. So watch for the full article in my RVelectricity column next Saturday, Feb. 19th.

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Present: Video review of the Jackery Explorer Power Station

I just did a video review of the Jackery 1500 and 300 Explorer Power Stations with Tony Barthel (from Stressless Camping and

I’ve had both of these units for a few months, and have done a lot of experiments with them. I tried fun and practical applications including starting my snow blower, making chicken wings on my pellet smoker grill, and even powering my stage piano and sound system.

Plus, Tony has been experimenting with his own Jackery 1500, using it to power his classic trailer and even power the air conditioner for an hour.

Want to find out more? Then watch our Zoom interview where we compare notes (and geek out on technology). To watch just click my picture above or HERE.

Past: Dipped in Chocolate podcast with Alan Sokol

About 15 years ago my son Alan had a podcast he called Alan’s Yak, where he would yak about all kinds of things. One of his best interviews was with the owner of The Chocolate Shoppe in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Sadly, that shop went out of business a few years ago when the owner, Debra Gorman, retired. But I’m presenting her 12-minute interview with Alan on the history of chocolate, why it tastes so good, and how it became associated with Valentine’s Day. I’ve pasted some of the text below, and you can listen to the entire audio podcast by clicking below:

This is Alan Sokol and welcome to Alan’s Yak, where we explore the innermost workings of the teenage mind. This week’s podcast is about chocolate and Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s right around the corner, but don’t worry because we’ve got you covered… in chocolate.

There seems to be something about chocolate that drives adults crazy. Yes, I personally like chocolate and can remember eating a whole pan of fudge out of the refrigerator when I was about 4 years old. But adults seem to obsess about it, a lot.… So, because Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, I decided to get to the bottom of the chocolate question.

And I found someone that likes chocolate so much that she opened up her own confectionery store that sells, guess what, chocolate. I would like to introduce Debra Gorman, owner of The Chocolate Shoppe in Perrysburg, Ohio. Ms. Gorman selects and sends the best chocolates in the world all over the country, and if anyone knows about this subject it’s her. Welcome to Alan’s Yak, Ms. Gorman.

Debra: Thank you.

Alan: Well, I guess the name says it all. The Chocolate Shoppe seems like a pretty tempting place to work. So, Ms. Gorman, why do we seem to be almost addicted to chocolate.

Debra: Well, first of all, in my opinion, it is just the best thing out there. Especially when you start eating really fine chocolate. It’s silky and creamy and full of flavor, and you just can’t get enough of it.

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Alan: So just how much chocolate does America consume compared to the rest of the world?

Debra: You know, we actually do not consume as much as Europe. Europeans consume a lot more chocolate than what we do on a per-person basis. But in the U.S., there has been an increase in chocolate consumption and there has been a definite increase in the finer chocolates.

Here in the U.S., we’re used to eating more of the chocolate bars that you grab at the grocery store or at the convenience store. Those generally have very, very low contents of cocoa, with more sugar and fillers in them. But, recently we are starting to see this interest in the quality of these treats. And we want more of the chocolate itself, not in the sugar. So we’re finding more of the fine chocolates, something that has a high cocoa content. And we’ve been experimenting with them in all kinds of recipes. All chocolate beans have different flavoring to them, and so there’s a lot of different tastes out there that people are interested in trying.

Alan: And when exactly did chocolate and its present form start in America?

Debra: The chocolate that we find here actually came from the Europeans, back in the 16th and 17th century. But the Aztecs were the first ones to actually realize how wonderful the cocoa bean was and they actually started drinking unsweetened cocoa. They would take the cocoa bean nibs and made like a porridge or drink out of it back when Cortez, the Spanish conquer, went to what is now Mexico.

He brought the cocoa beans back to Spain, and the Spaniards were the first people to add sugar to the chocolate, which is when it became palatable enough for most people to drink or eat it. Then the Belgians got in on the act and they started making these beautiful and wonderful tasting chocolates. And that’s kind of the history in a nutshell of how we got from the cocoa bean to what we know today.

To hear the entire podcast, please click the audio link above.

OK, everyone. Remember that electricity (and chocolate) is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using (eating) it.

Let’s play safe out there….

Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

You don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his YouTube channel.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign



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Jeff Craig
7 months ago

I hope you will be doing a YouTube video with your transfer switch article. I plan on installing one of these, but a guide from an expert would really be helpful!

Mike Sokol
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Will do…

Leonard Rempel
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

I installed one and YouTube was helpful! I used the RV with the Tanners channel and it was explained very well. No doubt not as good as Mike could do, but if you need a good video before he can post one, check it out.

Leonard Rempel
7 months ago

You may want to review the DC/DC chargers available from REDARC out of Australia. I have a 50 amp unit and it works amazing! No need for a separate generator anymore, just hook up my truck and let the alternator do the work.
Although this unit probably conflicts with one of this website’s advertisers.

Mike Sokol
7 months ago
Reply to  Leonard Rempel

I already have a REDARC DC/DC charger with the solar panel input, but I haven’t had time to write a review of it yet. But sometime this spring, I think…

Leonard Rempel
7 months ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Great! I think you will love it!