Welcome to another edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here you’ll find helpful RV-related and living tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, tips on our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you. Please tell your friends about us.
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“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ―
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Tip of the Day
RV Education 101: How to tell when your RV battery needs charging
With Mark Polk
RV EDUCATION 101®
A 12-volt battery that is fully charged should read 12.7 volts. Readings less than 12.5 volts indicate the battery state-of-charge is below 80 percent, and the battery needs charged. A fully charged 6-volt battery should read 6.37 volts. Readings below 6.25 volts indicate the battery state of charge is below 80 percent, and the battery needs charged. You can use a multi-meter to check the battery state-of-charge.
ONLINE TRAINING COURSES BY MARK POLK
• RV Battery Care & Maintenance e-book
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Is RVer stuck with sticky black water valve?
Chris Dougherty, Certified RV Technician, received this question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor: “Pulling the black water handle on my 2012 Entegra is getting more difficult compared to the gray water side. Is there any way to ease this or prevent it from getting even more difficult?“ Read Chris’ answer.
Yesterday’s featured article: Full-time RVing – Will your rig haul the weight?
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• NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION.
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• CURRENT WILDFIRE REPORT.
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• DIRECTORY OF RV PARKS WITH STORM SHELTERS.
Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.
Run your RV air conditioner on a 20-amp hookup. Learn more.
Watch your step (literally) at night
For just a few bucks at your local Walmart you can by a “spotlight” style solar-charged patio light. Pound a short length of rebar into the ground near your RV and slap the spotlight over the rebar stake and you’ve got a no-batteries night light to guide your feet. Also, staked solar spotlights as well as staked solar walkway lights (cute and practical!) are available at Amazon.
Random RV Thought
The RV windshield can be a tremendous waste of heat or AC. To help insulate it, have a windshield screen made with a solid panel that snaps on them. The screens are held up using suction cups, and the windshield curtains are pulled inside that. It’ll save you money and keep your body temperatures happy!
RV parts and accessories at Amazon.com. Everything you would ever need at excellent prices. Free shipping with Prime.
Website of the day
Simple ways to improve fuel economy
RVing expert Mark J. Polk, owner of RV Education 101, explains many different ways to improve on RV fuel economy on KOA’s website.
You must keep road flares in the RV for emergency
You should always have road flares in your RV! This pack of three bright, waterproof and shatterproof LED disks are perfect to keep tucked away. These bright lights can be seen from a mile away and can be used for traffic control, as a warning light or as a rescue beacon, and they can also be used for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here.
Popular articles you may have missed at RVtravel.com
• Wild Video: Big truck nearly loses it after RVs flip in Colorado winds.
• Stopping full-time RVing like a “hot potato”? (asked of editor Chuck Woodbury)
• Another Very Wild Video: Don’t stand under a tree during lightning! Here’s why. Oh my!
Instead of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, you could’ve been eating Ben & Jerry’s bagels, which is what the two initially wanted to make. When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first started Ben & Jerry’s in the late 1970s, they wanted it to be a bagel company, but the equipment was too expensive so they threw that plan out the door. On a whim, they took a $5 ice cream course at Penn State, and the rest is history (delicious history, that is).
*If you were to write out every number (one, two, three, etc.), which letter would you not reach for a very (verrrrry) long time? We told you yesterday.
Leave here with a laugh
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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editor: Diane McGovern. Advertising director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. 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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Surprised by Mark Polk’s “Tip of the Day” on battery state of charge. Way too brief, and not necessarily applicable to many RVers. This is because he did not specify the battery type he was referring to. One cannot assume anything these day, especially with RV batteries where many now have Lithium Ion batteries.
Yes – he may have been referring to Lead-Acid batteries – but that was not defined, and it should have been. Since this is an important element for almost all RVers much more detail should have been provided. Such as –
(1) the voltage reading of Lead Acid batteries should only be done when they are resting and not being used. As soon as a load is placed on them the voltage drops.
(2) if one has Lithium-Ion batteries not only is the voltage reading normally much higher, but is a much less precise method to determine their state of charge since their base voltage is normally much more consistent.
(3) The most accurate way to determine the real state of charge for any battery system is with a Battery Monitor – such as the Victron BMV-712.
I realize that Mark’s linked course on battery care probably provides all this information, and a lot more, but just thought that the brief paragraph printed here was not really helpful. Unspecific and much too little detail about even the basics.
Although never being a big fan of the Beatles (I enjoy them more now than in the 60’s) I liked John Lennon’s quote under “Today’s Thought”.
If you really want to reduce seasonal interior temperature, protect your windshield from hail and save some seasonal heat – make WS covers with 3/4″ foam with one side reflective silver. Cut in half for each side tape together with duct tape for easy handling and storage. Hold in place with plastic screening material (not window screen!) attached with snaps or magnets on the outside. For curved ends of WS I used aluminized bubble wrap taped to the 3/4 foam board as the foam doesn’t bend easily wo breaking. Might save you a repair ticket and a major insurance claim for glass! Reduces interior temps about 20 deg F.
I also remove my windshield wiper blades when in storage. When installed I keep them covered with foam noodle or insulating pipe wrap when not moving. I get 7 or 8 years use out of the wiper blades.
I bought a couple small motion activated AA battery powered lites and mounted one over my entry door lock and the other behind a valance over the interior steps. For the exterior one. I covered the battery compartment with elec. tape. (EBay – about $3.00), and no stakes, bottles, boxes or buckets!
I appreciate Mark Polk’s tips about saving fuel, but there’s a lot of fluff in that article.
1) Tune-ups are getting farther and farther apart (like 100,000 miles).
2) Emissions/sensor/tune-up problems immediately throw a check engine light, and hopefully most of you have a simple tool to pull diagnostic codes.
That really leaves:
a) Tire PRESSURE. Keep at recommended pressure to prevent tire failure and get improved mileage.
b) Change your air filter yearly (more if you spent months in dusty area). Don’t cheap out.
c) Speed. You can drive the maximum speed, but why go the maximum? It’s hard on fuel and it’s hard on the driver. You’re probably retired, so take it easy.
See, that was simple!
PS Change those wiper blades every year. They just disintegrate.
PPS If you have a Mercedes diesel, change the oil every 3 months, if you plan on keeping for years. Else the EGR and then Turbo will fail, and fail (not always in that order), and you will pay Mercedes for that and other expen$$$$ive repairs.
Better Random RV Thought…RV windshield can be a tremendous waste of heat or AC. To help insulate it, have a windshield screen made with a solid panel that snaps on them.
Don’t have them made, buy them.
Class A windshield is a different animal, but for Class B and C, buy the truck sized folding reflecting windshield sun blockers when they go on sale. They are much more rigid than reflectix by itself and you just cut to fit your (windshield and) windows. They fold like accordions for easy storage. Get the ones with the suction cups where it makes sense.
In my case, I just slip in place, then pull the blind closed. Works great in Texas sun. Works great in Iowa cold.
I have always heard that you recharge your batteries before they get to 50%. Never heard of the 80% rule. Would like more feedback about that.
Depends on the type of battery. Deep cycle, Lithium, Gel or standard lead acid.
What you do to your cell phone or computer battery (run until 5%) would kill conventional lead battery.
Running your house batteries below 10% can damage electrical appliances. It’s not a given but it can happen. Are you feeling lucky?
Fill a milk jug with water or sand. Insert a 1″ piece of PVC pipe into the jug (any length you choose). Mount a solar charged walk light on the top. Beg your neighbor’s forgiveness.
So your daily tips has become an advertising for Mark Polk. This daily tip leaves much to be desired as far as determining battery condition with voltage. What is skipped makes this not even true as it stands.
But there is a chance you will spend $19 for the ‘book’ and $19 is $19!
I looked at Polk’s website and was interested in their newsletter and moreso because it stated “Your email address will only be used for distributing this newsletter and will never be sold or given to another entity.”
Driving a piece of Rebar in the ground at a Campground isn’t a smart thing to do not knowing what utilities are underground and secondly trying to get that Rebar out of the ground when you are done can be quite the job. Maybe a little lightweight wood box that would hide a Milk Jug full of water and hold the light…Much easier, lighter & safer !
Short rebar like… a tent stake length should not be a problem.
Tent Stakes can be really hard to get out too ! Ever notice people give up and leave them stuck in the ground ?
Had a friend at CG in Key West used tent nail, 4″ to hold patio rug. Nail went through water main. Depth of bury of utilities must be considered
Driving stakes into the ground is against many campground rules.
They worry about water, electric ,sewer and sprinkler system lines.
How do people with tents camp?
Solar night lights?! N O! what happened to darkness? remember most of us have solar or battery flashlights (or other ways) to light up the ground, when we get out and need it. Otherwise, respect your neighbors, and enjoy the stars!!
Ever look at the photos of earth from the space station? At night, the US (especially) glows like it was daytime. WHY?
Use less. Leave a planet for the next generations. Don’t give me the line “solar, it doesn’t use electricity”. It was built and a lot of plastic and wire bushes died to make it.
The walkway lights have two problems I have experienced. first, they do not stay lit til you need to take a stroll at four am. Second, they use rechargeable batteries, some the battery costs more than the entire unit. I use the Luci solar light usually nearby, to produce just enough light, but not annoying my neighbors.