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RV Daily Tips Newsletter 940

Issue 940 • July 24, 2018

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Campground pedestal: Turn off, plug in, turn on!
With electricity expert Mike Sokol
Remember to turn the circuit breakers OFF on the campground pedestal BEFORE you plug in your shore power cordset. Then turn it ON to power up your RV. Then, remember to turn the circuit breakers OFF before you unplug your shore power cordset. This stops those sparks that happen when you plug and unplug under load. Those pretty sparks aren’t electrons flying around, they’re bits of super-heated brass that’s flying off your expensive shore power plug. Making sure you plug and unplug into shore power without an electrical load ensures the longest life of your connectors.

Reefer madness resolved
Boondockers use LP gas to run their refrigerator, and sometimes this creates a problem. If your RV refrigerator “acts up” and doesn’t seem to be cooling, don’t immediately condemn parts. Check the cooling system “burner” first. Scale can develop in the refrigerator chimney, that can come loose and drop down onto the burner, causing it to operate less efficiently or go out altogether. Our next door neighbor pulled in and immediately had refrigerator problems. We checked the burner, and sure enough, scale had dropped onto it, which we immediately blew off. Problem resolved – for a few days – when the same thing happened all over again. Sometimes it takes a couple of attempts.

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Carefree of Colorado Wireless Control for 12V Awnings
Enjoy full control of your 12V awning from as far away as 50 feet with the Carefree Connects™ Awning App. This 
Bluetooth® enabled system operates via mobile app or remote fob. Functionality includes extension, retraction, LED power and motion sensitivity. Pair with CarefreeMotion™ for maximum peace of mind. Click here for information.

Answer to today’s email alert brain teaser: A sponge


Good sense on the RV roof
Safety first! Be extremely careful whenever you are working on your RV roof. You can be seriously injured from a fall. You have to get on the roof of your RV to properly clean and inspect it for any damage or potential water leaks. The first step is the ladder you use to get up on the roof. If your RV does not have a ladder on the back to access the roof, it probably is not designed to be walked on. In this situation it may be necessary to use a couple pieces of plywood or particle board to help distribute your weight on the roof. Even if the RV is equipped with a ladder to access the roof, you need to walk lightly when you’re on the roof and be careful. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

Leaky gutters?
If your rig is parked and leveled, but condensation or light rains oozes over the top of the gutters and down the side of your rig, don’t immediately condemn the manufacturer. Time to get out the ladder and check the gutters – they may have debris in them that prevents the water from running where it needs to. Or you may find a gap between two pieces of gutter that needs to be filled in. Now, go ahead and condemn the manufacturer.

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

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American Fun Facts
Reader’s Digest has a great list of American fun facts you may not know! Plus, each fun fact links to another interesting article, so click here when you’re feeling curious and have some time to kill. 

We’re sure you know about YouTube (and you’d better know about our RVtravel YouTube channel) but have you heard of Vimeo? Vimeo is for the true film lover. Watch beautifully filmed shorts, documentaries, and even some feature-length movies all filmed and edited by, well, maybe the guy in the RV across from you!

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

Double refrigerator bars ensure nothing moves while driving
I know it’s happened to me many times – I’ve opened the fridge (even slowly) after driving down the road and a heavy jar has fallen on my toe – “OW!” – because it shifted in the fridge. Never have that happen again with these easy-to-install double refrigerator bars. These spring-loaded bars can also be placed in cupboards or in closets. Order for a good price here.

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A man asks a farmer, “Sorry sir, would you mind if I crossed your field instead of going around it? You see, I have to catch the 4:23 train.” The farmer says, “Sure, go right ahead. If my bull sees you, you’ll catch the 4:11 one.”

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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.

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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Tony King
4 years ago

I don’t trust those flimsy ladder RV ladders anymore. I bought a collapsible ladder rated for my weight and I put it along the side of the flimsy ladder and use it to hang onto as I climb up. When I get head high to the roof I stop and twist a piece of Romex copper wiring around both ladders before I proceed up on the roof. Knowing ladder can’t shift sideways going up or down makes all the difference in the world. I spent a whole career building Freeway bridges working on laddders but at my age now I feel I can’t afford to have a accident as it would surely interrupt my RV fun/travels !

4 years ago

Regarding Mark Polk’s advice on roof walking, virtually all Jayco travel trailers have walkable roofs, even those without a built-in ladder.

4 years ago
Reply to  Marmot

When I asked my local dealer, his response was that “All RV roofs should be walkable, with or without an attached ladder, because someone will need to do maintenance up there eventually.”

This would be the same dealer who said a K1500 can tow a 10-12,000lb trailer, so weigh their expertise accordingly — considering most REAL construction ladders bounce and weave under my… er… less than svelt frame, and peeking inside my roof looks like it’s made of toothpicks and saran wrap, I wouldn’t attempt roofwork without thick plywood, spread out on my belly, moving very carefully.

I had a skylight vent explode this past weekend, so I’ll let y’all know next week if even plywood wasn’t enough anymore. :-S

4 years ago

I agree with Eric Meslin as changing the shirt daily is a must for sure as I wear darker shorts or pants while in the campground as the table are usually in need of cleaning but a clean shirt starts my day for sure..

4 years ago
Reply to  Jake

I change shirt, underwear and socks daily. Pants can go a few days depending on what I’ve gotten into.

Tommy B
4 years ago

Although it makes good sense to turn off and on the circuit breakers when plugging in your rv, most breakers were not meant to be turned on/off under load. Breakers are made to do so and are marked SWD but you will not know that because the mark is inside the box. That is why the breaker trips prematurely, the mechanism is worn out. They cost more so the chances of having them are small.

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Tommy B

Yes, but in theory all manufacturer-built campground pedestals are supposed to utilize Switch-Duty rated (SWD) breakers. But I agree that in an older campground that may not be the case.

Eric Meslin
4 years ago

Change shirt daily, but may wear jeans/shorts for not more than two days (unless I do any nasty work in them).

Henry S Bunting
4 years ago

Mike Sokol am reading your book and found it a real help. But {bleeped} you, I’ve found out that at 74, I’m just a beginner at electrical stuff. Your suggestion getting and using a multi meter was great and all the other “must have” testing equipment is great for home and RVing.

Thanks for make it so easy to understand.

Mike Sokol
4 years ago

Henry, glad you’re learning about electricity. But don’t fear, because I’ve been able to get my 89-year-old father to use a meter successfully to test batteries, so anyone who wants to learn – can learn. I try to learn new things every day and get really excited when I’m wrong about something since that’s an opportunity to RELEARN a bunch of new stuff I thought I already knew. But that’s just me…

D 'n C
4 years ago

I would suggest something less abrasive than “coarse emery cloth”. Unless corrosion is severe, something like a scotch brite pad will work really well, without removing more material than necessary. If corrosion is severe, it’s probably past time for getting a new connector!

Phil Atterbery
4 years ago

Mike Sokol might like to hear this. Recently checked in to a large, popular campground in Western Central IN. In the welcome package given to me at the entry gate was a 3″ x 1″ strip of coarse emery cloth abrasive. A little note of instructions stapled to it. They ask you to remove any corrosion from the blades of your electrical plug before you plug in to the post. Must be a seasonal thing. Lots of long term “destination” coaches here. Still a good idea to check the plug if it doesn’t get connected to often.

4 years ago
Reply to  Phil Atterbery

I would bet they have a lot of bad connectors in their park and this is the workaround they have come up with.

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Phil Atterbery

Ugh…. Someone else here suggested a much finer abrasive than standard emery cloth, and they’re right. For gold contacts on circuit boards we use pencil erasers. And I’ve used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser blocks for cleanup chores when I want to remove the crud, but not the metal beneath it. When you do need to resurface the metal, then 400-grit sandpaper is what I use.

4 years ago

We have a permanently parked camper. Yesterday I needed to unplug it–the first time in 18 months. It was a struggle and the blades on the 50 amp plug were corroded. I cleaned them up, sprayed with contact cleaner and then reassemble making a note on the calendar to repeat that process next spring. My pedestal is pretty low to the ground making it susceptible to splash from rain. I also used duct tape to create a sort of umbrella around the plug.

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob

My kids just bought an original 1963 Williams Three Coins pinball machine, and every contact in the thing was corroded. They simply took every connector apart and sprayed it with DeoxIT D5 contact spray, even the steel balls. Works great now. The DeoxIT is a little pricey, but it’s my go-to contact cleaner of choice.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

And where did you hear about DeOxit?

Mike Sokol
4 years ago
Reply to  Booneyrat

I’ve used it for decades on my pro-sound gear. We use it on speaker connectors, power connectors such as cam-lok and twist-lock plugs (just like RV power), volume controls, gold plated circuit boards (like in RV refrigerator control boards), etc… There’s several different versions of DeoxIT depending on if you want built-in lubricant for potentiometers, or gold contact refurbishing or simply oxidation removal.

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