Saturday, September 23, 2023


RV Daily Tips Newsletter 1057

Issue 1057 • February 26, 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.

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Here’s an easy voltage meter (plus nightlight)!

With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol

I just bought one of these little outlet voltage testers for my test bench, and think it would be really handy as a general voltage monitor in your RV. Simply plug it into any wall outlet and it will show the voltage from 80 to 250 volts. Plus it makes a nice nightlight. You can buy one on Amazon for a great price.

RVing Pack Rat country? Keep the hood up!

When I first started boondocking in the U.S. southwest desert regions, I would sometimes see other campers with their vehicle hood left open. I didn’t pay much attention to it figuring they were using the truck or motorhome battery for camping. It wasn’t until I first visited Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument that I learned about the Pack Rat (aka Wood Rat) and how much damage they can cause. They emerge from their burrows at night to forage, looking for food and nesting materials. Unfortunately, they sometimes will crawl up into the engine compartment and chew on things like insulation and wiring. On a modern truck or motorhome, this can quickly cause thousands in damage and may render it inoperable. By leaving the hood open enough moon and starlight comes inside to help keep the Pack Rats at bay. So, if you come across a place where campers have their vehicle hoods up and have night lighting set up around the RV, take heed. From


One of the biggest myths in the animal kingdom is that camels store water in their humps. Not true! While camels can go seven days without drinking water, it’s not because they’ve got it stored in those humps. Camels have oval-shaped red blood cells (instead of circular) which allows them to not get dehydrated as quickly as they normally would. The humps, which are actually just large mounds of fat, store the same amount of energy as three weeks of food. A camel’s kidneys and intestines are so efficient that their urine comes out as thick as syrup, and you could start a campfire with their feces because it’s so dry. Gasp!

Stay free on private property across America
Boondockers Welcome is a great alternative to expensive, crowded RV parks or even Walmart parking lots. With a membership, you can stay for free at more than 1,000 private property locations across America. And, wow, will you meet some great people! Learn more or sign up.


What to use to wash the RV – or not!

elliemcc11 on

As spring gets closer, it’s time to think of spiffing up the old RV. Got a bucket, a brush, a hose, but not sure what to wash with? doityourselfrv says, “Don’t use dish soap. Frugal RVers are often tempted to use dish soap for washing your RV, but before you reach for that bottle of lemon-scented goo, stop! Dish soap is harsh and strips away the gel-coat. It also leaves a film. The longer that film sticks to the gel-coat, the faster the gel coat deteriorates.” So what’s to do? “Wash with baby shampoo and vinegar. RV owners have all sorts of favorite products to wash RVs. Some, including many dealers, recommend RV washing with simple baby shampoo, with small amounts of distilled vinegar added to the water.” More tips, look here.

Neglected emissions control is more $ at pump

Poor emissions and/or a faulty oxygen sensor can cause a 40% reduction in fuel economy. Can you believe that? A 40% REDUCTION! Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at)


Flying Lessons

Bird and banjo-lovin’ Airstream travelers Anders and Beverly share their joy of birdwatching with their readers as they travel the country. With backgrounds in journalism, these writers share what they learn from their feathered friends.

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from

Photo by cdamian, Flickr

Need something for your RV? 
Vent covers, roof sealant tapes, back-up cameras, generators, water pressure regulators, windshield covers, water filters, leveling blocks, a new memory foam mattress cover, wi-fi extenders, you name it, you can find everything you’ll ever need for your RV here and have it delivered straight to your door.


John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.
John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by constantly being polite, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to calm the bird.
One day, John was fed up. He yelled at the parrot, and the parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot, and the parrot got angrier and angrier. In desperation, John grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked at the door, but then suddenly there was total silence. Not a peep could be heard.
Fearing that he hurt the bird, John opened the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped onto John’s arm and said, “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I intend to do everything I can to correct this behavior.”
John was stunned by the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask what had made the bird make such a dramatic change, the parrot continued, “Now may I please ask what the turkey did?”

Today’s Daily Deals at
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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.

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at) .

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 or this newsletter.

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  1. I’ve been using Dishsoap washing all of my vehicles including all my RV’s for 50 some years. Dishwashing Soap won’t strip the finish or wax off and it’s made to rinse well or it would leave a film on your dishes. My Motorhome shines and beads water for months and months between yearly wax jobs washing with Dishwashing Soap. I say it’s a rumor that won’t go away that it’s bad for your finish no matter what it is.

  2. Hummm… I would think that VINEGAR would begin to etch an RVs clearcoat worse than dish soap would?! (Guess that’s what I get for thinkin’!)

  3. Tiny house eh? Yes they are adorable, but….. People who don’t know think that hauling a tiny house is a piece of cake. They will find out fast. I was watching the Tiny House channel. I was shocked that a salesman was trying to sell one of those tiny houses to a woman who never even drove a pick up truck. She knew absolutely nothing about hauling a rig. He told her that it was so easy and that any truck will pull these tiny houses.
    Oh really? Over10,000 pounds?? with any truck? What was he smoking? This lady was totally clueless of the safety factors involved hauling anything. Can you imagine her buying this thing and taking off on the road! I wonder how she would feel applying the brake for the first time. This is insane. This is the typical thing that gives salespeople a bad wrap….and so deserving.
    I do go to the RV shows mainly to get more educated and to keep up with the new stuff. I know the limits of my truck and my comfort zone of safety. Listening to some of these salespeople makes me nuts. Some of the BS is dangerous. The example with the lady and the cutsie tiny house is another one of those deadly hazards with salespeople trying to keep up their month’s quota. I feel so strongly about having the laws be stronger for our safety.

  4. The article about washing your RV has one error: using a squirt of dish soap in a gallon of water will not remove or harm your gel coat. It will remove wax, so it’s better to use a good car wash soap, such as Meguiars, which cleans well and removes black streaks easily. Follow up with an application of ProtectAll, which will leave a shiny protective finish and will not harm your decals like most car waxes will. For much less work, use Meguiars Ultimate QuickWax. It goes on and shines up 3 times faster that ProtectAll, but probably does not last as long. It will not harm your decals. It leaves a gorgeous finish on surfaces which are in good condition. Careful: the directions on the bottle say to not breathe the vapors, mist, or spray, and to use in a well ventilated area.

  5. Hi Mike, I was looking at the volt meter/night light in todays tips. WOW you’ve got 214 volts on your test bench! I do have a question, how much current does the meter draw, I’m sure its only a small amount! Looks like it would be better than the night light I’m currently using & a KOOOOL blue light.

    • i’m not sure, but that would be an easy test for me to do tomorrow. I’m guessing maybe 1 or 2 watts.

      And I can make up to 3-phase/480 volts on my bench, but I usually have it set up for only 208/240-volts in 3-phase WYE.

    • Dave, I did a quick current draw test on the volt-meter/nightlight and found that it uses less than 10mA (milliamperes) of current at 120 volts. As we all should remember from reading my articles on wattage, Amps times Volts equals Watts (I X E = P). That works out to 0.010 amperes X 120 volts = 1.2 watts. As I had guessed, it uses maybe 1 to 2 watts of power, closer to 1 watt. So it’s a nice low-wattage nightlight as well as an outlet voltmeter that’s accurate to within 1 volt of what my more expensive Southwire and Fluke meters measure. I think it’s a great choice for less than $10.

    • These little plug-in voltmeters are super-simple, and infinitely more accurate than the goofy Camco mechanical meters. That said, for $8 and some reasonably easy wiring, you can have a 6-way digital panel meter showing V/A/W/PF/Freq/Ah of your shore feed… Knowing your total amp/wattage draw is a pretty important thing since it’s pretty easy to overload the shore cord.

  6. Hi to all, I’m new to this site so please bear with me. Our German made Dometic 6 cubic ft refrigerator/ freezer is freezing everything. We had it at the shop where they replaced the thermaster ( sp) and it still freezes in the refrigerator even when on the warmest setting. It is a 3 way and it’s the same regardless of electric or gas. Any thoughts or ideas? Our rig is an Escape 5.0 TA built in Chilliwack BC.

    • My first thought was a electric heater on all the time. A bad relay in the control board or. miswired. Check to see if power is going to the heater element . A three way may have 2 electric elements 120 volt and 1 12 volt ?

    • The thermistor connects to the cooling fins inside the refrigerator compartment via a plastic/vinyl clip. The clip slides up and down to further control the temperature. Try sliding it up for a warmer temp. You can also add circulation fans inside the fridge compartment which also help keep a more uniform temperature throughout.


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