Issue 984 • October 9, 2018
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Fix for stripped screws
Got some screws that have stripped out in wood? Russ Saputo makes this suggestion: “Put superglue on a toothpick, push it in screw hole and cut toothpick off with sharp serrated knife and tap into hole until flush. When dried reinstall screw.” Thanks, Russ.
Small solar panel battery trickle charger
With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
Everyone keeps bugging me to write about solar panels, so I’m going to start out small. I’ve sometimes needed to leave my tow vehicle parked unattended in a parking lot for a week or more, and once came back to a nearly dead starter battery. Why? Well, a modern car or truck is never really “off” and draws a fair amount of current from the battery just to keep all the various clocks and computers running. If you think you’re going to outsmart it by adding a battery disconnect that’s not a good idea since smart transmissions “learn” your driving habits and update their shift points to fit you. Disconnect the battery and you may notice erratic behavior until it learns your driving habits once again. You need to keep modern vehicles powered up all the time for best performance. I just added a small solar panel trickle charger on my dashboard and plugged it into the “always on” 12-volt lighter plug whenever I was going to be away from my truck for a week. My battery always had a full charge when I got back to my truck and it was ready to go. I’ve not tried this exact model yet, but it’s very similar to what I used.
Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.
The EASY way to buy window shades
Carefree‘s Simply Shade Window Awning is the first cash and carry complete window awning system that can be bought off of dealer shelves and installed the same day! Simply Shade Awnings fit windows up to 36″ tall. Click here to learn more.
Today’s brain teaser (answer below): Sometimes I am liked, by most schoolkids I am hated. I am old, and I am dated. What am I?
CAMP FOR FREE AT FARMS AND WINERIES Learn more.
MORE QUICK TIPS
Five-fingered hitch ball cover
Tom Molnar says he read in all different RV sites and blogs about how to cover your hitch ball when not towing: plastic thingies with magnets inside, tennis balls slit to fit, even the ones you buy at RV supply places (that you can’t get on or off in the cold). Tom says, “Well, you know those boxes of ‘rubber’ gloves you buy at Costco? I keep several boxes around all the time — in my shop, in the garage and in our tow vehicle. I use them for everything to keep my hands from getting dirty, greasy or wet. I always put one over my hitch ball as soon as we unhitch. I can even get more than one use out of one. But even if I only use it once, it’s SO cheap it doesn’t matter. However, it doesn’t keep me from banging my knee from time to time. It just keeps me clean, and the ball, too, if I happen to drive somewhere on a gravel road.” A high-five to Tom for this tip!
Make that low-end RV bed more comfortable
Anti-fatigue mats are great for insulation and added comfort when used on the bottom of sleeping bunks. —From “RV Living Full Time: 100+ Amazing Tips, Secrets, Hacks & Resources to Motorhome Living.” Available on Amazon.com.
Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com
AND MAKE MORE ROOM UNDER YOUR SINKS
WEBSITES OF THE DAY
The USA’s prettiest libraries
It’s the time of year we all want to cozy up with a book. Visit these beautiful libraries across the country and find yourself a good new book!
First Aid kits
Here’s everything you need to make a great first aid kit for your RV. It’s important to have one on hand, especially during winter when driving may be limited.
Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.
JOIN THE NEW FACEBOOK GROUP: RV Horror Stories (A place to share your story about a new RV you recently bought that is riddled with defects that your dealer or manufacturer can’t or won’t repair.)
Keep road flares in the RV for emergency
You should always have road flares in your RV in case of an emergency. 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, as a rescue beacon, and they can also be used for recreational activities such as camping and hiking. Learn more or order here.
Answer to today’s brain teaser: History
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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
Two religious skunks observed a deer hunter sneaking through the woods with a rifle. “I hope he’s not going to shoot at us,” said one skunk. The second skunk bowed his head and said, “Let us spray.”
Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.
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 RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com .
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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Do you think a 2.4W solar panel outputs enough “juice” to keep a battery in a vehicle from discharging, based on maintaining all the vehicles electronics on “standby” for an indefinite amount of time? Say, at least several weeks?
The starter battery in my Sprinter-based MH is over 10 years old. I credit that longevity to two reasons. One is the fact that the battery sits in its own compartment below the floorboard under the drivers feet so it doesn’t see the temperature and weather extremes that starter batteries usually see. The second is I place a 15W amorphous Si solar panel between the windshield and the sunscreen, plugged into a 12V socket that goes directly to the battery. Luckily, the cab faces south while in the storage lot so it gets a fairly good dose of sun most days.
For a stripped out hole I prefer gorilla glue over super glue if you have the time to wait. It expands as it dries and fills the hole. Then as mentioned pre-drill before reinstalling the screw.
I installed a bolt on receiver on the tongue of the trailer. The type designed to bolt on to the rear bumper. After we unhitch the hitch is removed from the truck and put into the receiver on the tongue. Then I do not have to worry about banging my leg into it and we are not carrying around and extra 50 lbs.
The tongue mounted receiver also serves double duty as a place for the bike rack to ride when we are underway. The bike rides in the trailer while we tow and then we have the rack to make day trips with using the truck.
This is to Russ. You omitted one step for the “stripped hole” repair. After the glue dries, redrill the screw hole for the screw. Remove the debris then hand tighten the screw. This will prevent readout of the hole.
Still like the split tennis ball. Keeps bouncing around. I hope you know I am talking about the hitch cover.
Re: hitch cover, although we want to keep dirt and water off the greasy ball, it’s equally desirable to keep grease ON the ball, so I wouldn’t constantly change my cover by using gloves or plastic bags. A proper cover fits snug and helps distribute the grease evenly.
Re: solar trickle charging, does Mike have guidelines on what vampire draws most rigs exhibit (for those who don’t bother putting a logging ammeter on their battery)? I see $18 3W single and $20 1.5W pairs of panels on NT all the time, and wonder what is “enough,” especially once you put the panel behind windows glass? Absolute full charge seems critical to keep batteries from freezing here, so i’d love to save keeping a wall charger running.
About the trailer ball- most of the time you’ll have a plastic bag around somewhere. If you’re prepared maybe even a rubber band, and if not, maybe your wife/girl friend has an extra hair tie.