Issue 1045 • February 5, 2019
Welcome to another fabulous edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here, you’ll find helpful RV-related, and small-space living, tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your readership.
If you shop at Amazon, would you use one of the links below to do your shopping? The link in the blue bar above also works. Thanks.
U.S. shoppers: Shop at Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers: Shop at Amazon.ca
Don’t call this a cheater plug!
With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
If you have a portable inverter generator from big red, big blue or big yellow, and try to power your RV from it while using your Intelligent/EMS Surge Protector from Southwire or Progressive Industries, you’ll probably get an open ground error. This shuts off the power to your RV because it thinks you’re plugged into shore power without a proper ground connection.
I figured this out years ago and designed a simple Neutral-Ground bonding plug you just plug into one of the 15/20-amp outlets on your generator, which provides a local Neutral-Ground bond connection, allowing your surge protector to operate normally. Please don’t call this a cheater plug, because there’s nothing “cheating” about it. If you have a built-in generator on your RV, it has this exact Neutral-Ground bond connection via your onboard transfer switch. You used to have to wire this N-G bonding plug yourself, but now Southwire has one available online. It’s Southwire Part #44400 and you can purchase one here. *Please Note: The photo on Amazon is incorrect. Don’t worry though, it is the correct product, just an incorrect photo of a clutch and pressure plate for a truck (hah!).
Here’s a recent article I wrote about what a generator N-G bonding plug is, and why you need one for an inverter generator.
Eating healthy despite limited food storage space
One common reason that RVers especially have trouble staying healthy on the road is the lack of storage. Find recipes with fewer ingredients and that use fewer pots. You can search Google for “one-pot recipes” or “5-ingredient meals,” for example. Or, use an Instant Pot! You throw everything in one pot and can have dinner ready in under 30 minutes, which is especially great on long travel days! As for not having enough food storage space, we recommend only buying enough groceries for three to four days at a time. Yes, no one likes to go to the grocery store more than once a week, but our meal planning spreadsheet will make grocery shopping a breeze and it won’t be as big of a deal! Again, finding recipes with few ingredients will help, too. From followyourdetour.com.
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” —Lao Tzu
What do you call a group of bats? What about a group of sharks? Zebras? Jellyfish? Porcupines? Owls?
MORE QUICK TIPS
Questions for fulltime wannabes – Part 2 of 2
Kenny and Sabrina Phillips are fulltime RVers and have posted some questions to consider for those who are wondering about getting into the lifestyle. We published the first of them in our last issue, and here is the last set of questions to ponder.
“Can you say goodbye to friends and family? When you pack up and hit the road you will most likely be leaving many people behind. This will not only affect you, but them as well. You will no longer be able to text your best friend and say, ‘Hey let’s meet up!’ or tell a family member, ‘Stop by Sunday for the game!’ Luckily, with today’s technology and social media, you will be able to do video chats with loved ones and keep in touch daily. They will even be able to follow your adventures and live vicariously through you. When it comes to a holiday or big family event, you’ll be able to pick everything up and roll on over to them. Additionally, you will now be meeting and making new friends with every new place you go.
“How will you handle maintenance and day-to-day upkeep? It does not matter if you purchase a new RV or a used one, there is always maintenance that needs to be done. If your RV is new, you may need warranty work. Or if it is used and you do not feel comfortable doing work yourself, you will have to bring your RV to a dealer to have work done. This will involve scheduling appointments and bringing the RV to a shop where they could have it for hours or even days and you will have to find alternative living arrangements during those time periods. If you are a little handy, you may be able to save money and continue to work on your RV yourself while you live in it, but this still means you might have to change your plans to allow for the extra time to make repairs.” Check out their full post here.
One thing NOT to do to your tires
Don’t put the stuff on your tires that makes them shine. Most of these contain petroleum products and these will cause the tires to dry out. Considering the price of tires, you sure don’t want to do anything that will shorten the life of your tires. Just keep the tires clean with soap and water.
From RVing: Less Hassle—More Joy: Secrets of Having More Fun with Your RV—Even on a Limited Budget
Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com
WEBSITE OF THE DAY
Prepare to be amazed! Radio Garden allows you to listen to any radio station around the world live. When entering the site, click the “play” button and use your mouse to move around the globe. Click any green dot to listen to the broadcasting station live. Pretty neat, eh? Thanks to George Bliss for tuning us in (and turning us on?) to this great site!
Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.
Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000 square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square-foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order
Bats: A camp
Sharks: A shiver
Zebras: A zeal
Jellyfish: A smack
Porcupines: A prickle
Owls: A parliament
LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
During his final air test, a young pilot flew through a rainbow. He passed with flying colors.
Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.
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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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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Pillsbury on line has a some really to die for one pot recipes. The one that is our favorite is beef stroganoff. I ended up having to reduce the water but all in all yum. I used turkey sausage instead of ground beef. We try to limit what people call the footprints. Check it out You might find a new favorite.
Oh forgot…definately tire covers from the sun, but they also get too hot.
Travel trailer is on a slab in my back yard. Can’t build a cover. Hurricanes will blow it away. Tied cover on the trailer will be too hot in Miami.
Once again, the survey constructor failed to include all choices. Today’s would be “I don’t store my RV.”
plan to built a car port over camper to stop hail damage a real problem in Montana!
Tried radio garden. What a site. It will be a favorite
a raft of turkeys
I leave my Class B uncovered while it is stored in my driveway. I sometimes use it for short trips during “storage”. I also take it on a short run (about 30 miles) once a month just to keep things loosened up. I do have tire covers.
I answered covered since it is under an ADCO cover, but not sure that is what you meant.
Add A murder of crows to your list.
Our class 24′ C motorhome is wintered outside (NW Minnesota) and covered with an ADCO full cover. After snow falls, I pull snow off the roof/cover.
Radio Garden is amazing!
Not only should southwire proof read their ads but you should also, the picture above is a clutch/flywheel assembly.
Hi, Bob. In the tip it clearly states: “It’s Southwire Part #44400 and you can purchase one here. *Please Note: The photo on Amazon is incorrect. Don’t worry though, it is the correct product, just an incorrect photo.” Mike has spent a couple of hours on the phone with Amazon trying to get them to update their incorrect photo. Is that the picture you’re talking about? —Diane at RVtravel.com
Bob, I spent 2 hours on the phone with Amazon customer service (no kidding) trying to get them to change the picture, but to no avail. And yes you are correct that it’s a picture of a clutch and pressure plate, but you forgot the centering tool. (hah) And yes, I know exactly how to change out a clutch and what to do with the centering tool. And I know that while you’re at it you should always replace the clutch release bearing. Seriously, I checked and the link does go to the correct Southwire Part, but just a random picture of the clutch. Crazy….
Again, the survey did not take into account other ‘real’ options. Mine is covered but just with a RV ‘topper’ cover that covers the whole RV top and 2 feet down the sides and 4 ft back and front. I wasted too much money on a full cover that tore, zippers broke, etc. almost immediately. The option I have is perfect for my situation.
My RV is “stored” in whatever campsite I’m occupying at the time since we’re full timers. ?
A crash of Rhinos and my favourite- a committee of buzzards!
That sounds like our government
Your pole today should have a line for fulltime people. We don’t store our RVs.
So you do not answer or answer exposed since it always is?
When using an external generator, people who own the Progressive Industries EMS-HW-50C with remote display can simply flick the By-Pass switch on the remote which turns OFF the EMS functions disabling all electrical protections for the Surge protection. No need for a N-G Bonding Plug.
Key phrase “disabling all electrical protections”.
Use the plug! A portable generator can still cause problems.
True, as I’ve seen a few generators go way over-voltage, upwards of 180 volts from something that’s supposed to make 120 volts. Yikes!!!
You are totally correct! What was I thinking anyway. My Onan generator has fail safe systems built into it such that it will shut itself down when out of specs. But there are many other external generators available on the market that can run out of control. it’s best to use the N-G plug AND have the EMS protection.
Some RV refrigerators and furnace controllers won’t run with a floating neutral, so in that case you have to bond the neutral/ground. Same for modern home furnaces that won’t run from a floating neutral portable generator unless you bond it. And your RV’s GFCIs won’t work without a generator Neutral/Ground bond. I got interested in this topic after getting a bunch of seemingly unrelated questions that had this one common issue, a portable generator with a floating neutral. The Progressive EMS bypass switch doesn’t bond the neutral, just ignores it.
GFCIs do NOT require a neutral/ground bond. In fact, they don’t require the circuit to be grounded at all. They trip when they detect that the currents in the hot and neutral wires are not equal. That difference in current is leaking out somewhere, potentially through a person.
John, I know all this and have published many articles about how GFCI’s work (See https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electricity-understanding-gfci-part-i/ ). But if the generator doesn’t have a Neutral-Ground bond, then the entire electrical system is floating, so accidental contact between the hot wire and chassis won’t cause a GFCI to trip. That’s because there’s no unbalanced fault current for it to detect. Now, it could be argued that since there’s no fault current, there’s no actual danger of electrocution. And that’s a valid point. However, when we hook up generators for shows they MUST have a N-G bond to pass inspection. At the very least the N-G bond (even without a grounding rod) allows you to test outlets for basic polarity and EGC ground continuity with a 3-light tester. Without an N-G bond a lot of these measurements aren’t possible. This is also why all RV on-board generators with a transfer are N-G bonded by the switch when in Generator position, and maintain separating of the Neutral and Ground when on shore power position. The RV’s electrical system really expects something external to bond the Neutral and Ground, either the shore power service panel, the on-board generator via its transfer switch, or a bond in the portable generator feeding the shore power cordset. While most of the time you can get along with a floating neutral on a portable generator, not everything will work properly without a bonded neutral-ground. And remember, no grounding rod is required unless you’re going to distribute power to multiple locations, such as another RV, etc…