Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, 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) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. Today I discuss monitoring RV temperatures and humidity with a Govee thermometer.
We’re full-timing in a northern state and now that it’s getting colder we worry about freezing pipes under the floor of the RV. There’s access to this compartment via an outside door, and I’m thinking about hanging a 100-watt light bulb there to keep it warm (as you’ve suggested in the past). But is there an easy way to monitor the actual temperature without running wires or opening up the door and sticking a thermometer in the compartment to check the temp. Any ideas? —Chilly Cathy
I just so happen to know of a great solution that’s cheap and easy. While I’ve not used it in an RV for your application, this is what I used to monitor the freezer and refrigerator temperatures during my Dometic 12-volt compressor tests, as well as my wife’s new greenhouse. So it works in those situations, I’m sure it will do a good job of monitoring the temp in your RV living space as well as the underworld.
I discovered Govee thermometers/hygrmeters a few years ago and regularly use one in my lab to monitor temperature and humidity. But last summer I found they made a version with a remote sensor for the outside temps as well.
There are also Govee thermometer versions that include multiple remote sensors as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. But today I’m going to focus on the basic In/Out version with Bluetooth connection to your smartphone app.
Simple operation without an app
Click to enlarge.In its simplest form there’s an inside control unit with its own temp and humidity sensors, plus an outside sensor that’s connected to the controller via its own Bluetooth connection. And if you want to only monitor the current inside/outside temps and humidity, you don’t even have to connect this to your phone with the Govee app. The controller can also let you see what the minimum and max temps were.
But what about the Govee app?
Once you install the GoVee app on your smartphone, here’s what the basic control screen looks like. It is great as a way to look at the temps in your RV living space and basement without getting out of bed.
Also, the app provides a veritable plethora of additional features and data. First of all, you can see the temp and humidity of each sensor as well as the battery life (takes 2 AAA batteries for each unit), all without walking over the main controller.
That’s great as it is, but there’s much more power under the hood once you take a look.
When you scroll to the next page of the phone app the data logger kicks in. All that time you’ve been lounging in your bed the main controller has been logging the temp and humidity of all sensors every minute. So you can not only see the current temp and humidity, it includes a data log showing the temp and humidity of the last hour, day, week, month, and year. Holy data, batman… this thing is great!
The data logger function lets you monitor how low the temperature in your RV basement dropped to during night, as well as any increased humidity that could be a hint that there’s a water leak somewhere.
And there’s even more!
On the Govee site you can get versions that will monitor multiple temperature zones at the same time as well as allow you to set high and low temperature alarms. This seems like a great monitoring system for your RV, whether it’s sitting in your backyard, or you’re camping in it full-time.
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s keep warm 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. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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