Tuesday, October 3, 2023


RVelectricity: On the road again – to the Lebanon FMCA Rally

Dear Readers,
I literally (and I do mean that in the truest definition of the word) just finished teaching three 90-minute RVelectricity MasterClass Seminars at the FMCA Rally in Lebanon, TN. And now I’m currently driving 600 miles back to home base in Funkstown, MD (home of my Funkworks Lab).

On the Road Again

Willie Nelson said it best. After a 2+ year hiatus of teaching live seminars due to COVID, it’s good to be back on the road again. For the last two years I’ve been doing an occasional Zoom version of my RVelectricity seminars.

And while it was certainly interesting to teach online in Zoom sessions, I really do like getting out on the road and teaching face-to-face. I learn a lot about what your electrical questions and challenges are by the hundreds of questions I typically get asked during this MasterClass series.

Packing for the trip…

Well, I do drag out a fair amount of gear. These are hands-on, show-and-tell seminars. So I’ve built all kinds of one-off demonstration tools that show various electrical principles that apply to your camping experience.

I pack it all up in a bunch of Pelican road cases (along with my Rack-N-Roll cart) and drive it up to 900 miles solo for a 2-day seminar stay on the East Coast. Any further than that and I’ll fly. But that requires that I scale down everything to fit into two 50-pound road cases that can be checked on an airline flight. And, yes, that’s a real challenge since I typically bring around 400 pounds of demonstration gear to the party.

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Here’s my training setup for my RVelectricity seminars

As you can see, I have a campground pedestal sitting on my demo desk with a VariAC transformer. That allows me to demonstrate voltage measurements in a campground as well as how various surge protectors operate.

And I hook up an overhead camera with a light over the top of my demonstrations so that you can see it all on big video screens. This makes it easy for you to see exactly what I’m doing while using a meter or whatever.

How are the crowds?

Here’s a pic from the recent FMCA Rally. While not as full as they used to be prior to COVID, rallies are definitely beginning to return. That’s a great sign that the RV industry has weathered the pandemic successfully.

While it is true that there are serious supply chain challenges for parts, and RV builders are having a hard time finding enough labor to keep up with the demand, it appears that you really want to travel and camp. And that’s a good thing.

My favorite gift

And here’s what I was presented with during my final class at the FMCA rally – a burned-up 50-amp plug and receptacle. Yes!

While most of you would think this is junk to be thrown away, to me it’s like gold since I can use it in future demonstrations of why plugs burn up. This one appears to have failed under a moderate load of perhaps 10 amperes of current.

I suspect that this meltdown might have been caused by a combination of oxidized contacts and a loose terminating screw inside of the yellow plug. But there’s so much heat damage I may never know. However, this suggests that I’ll soon be adding a section on checking the terminating screws on shore power plugs, as well as methods to clean up oxidation on the contacts.

How many seminars will I teach this year?

While I used to present upwards of 50 seminars a year back in the early 2000s (on advanced audio/video production), that entailed driving up to 50,000 miles and making dozens of flights across the country every season. One year I ended up staying 90 nights in hotel rooms (yuck) to make this happen.

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While I’m not doing that crazy tour schedule anymore, I will present up to a dozen on-site seminars per season for the public. Plus, I’ve now been contracted to begin teaching a number of RV technician seminars this fall and winter.

I’m hoping to increase the number of technician seminars in the future since I really feel that’s the biggest challenge in getting your RV repaired. Many service technicians lack the basic principles of electricity needed to troubleshoot electrical problems in RVs. And that leads to long waits for repairs (and huge repair bills).

Next stop… FROG Rally

And, yes, I will be at the FROG Rally this August with my GeoPro toy hauler. Hopefully, I’ll be parked right next to Tony Barthel’s spot for some serious cooking fun. I’ll be doing my chillin’ and grillin’ demonstrations with various cooking methods that use solar/electric power. That’s in addition to teaching my 3-part RVelectricity MasterClass there.

So if you like brisket and wings and beer, stop on by and say hello. Plus, Tony and I will be doing some live StressLess Camping webcasts from the show just for fun. So stay tuned for my updates as they become available.

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 Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

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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Joe Allen
1 year ago

I got the chance to attend Mike’s seminar at the INTO Rally this past week and was among many lucky folks. You think that after 9 years of full time living, selling RV’s, etc. there would be nothing else you could learn. No, there is always something to take away from each and every time you hear an expert. Thank you Mike, enjoyed your seminar and look forward to many more over the next years of full time living! Wishing you the best life has to offer!

Mike Sokol
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Joe, thank you for the kind words. I really enjoy teaching about electricity, and blowing up things in my lab. 😁

Last edited 1 year ago by Mike Sokol
RV Staff
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Can you all imagine what Mike’s mom endured when, as a little tyke, he was building bombs in his closet? 😆 Thank goodness he is one of the really good guys, otherwise he could probably take over the world. Just sayin’. Oh…Hi, Mike! 😀 –Diane

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