RVelectricity – A few of Mike’s favorite things…

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By Mike Sokol

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of Mike’s favorite things

Dear Readers,
If Oprah can do it, so can I. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things from the last year that would make a great Christmas (or any other holiday or birthday) present for your significant other camping buddy (or yourself). All you have to do is leave your web browser open to the appropriate page and they’ll get the hint (wink, wink – nod, nod…). So in no particular order except of my sometimes derailed train of thought, here are a few things I’ve recommended that have stood the test of time.

RocknRoller® Cart

I just reviewed this cart last week in my JAM Session, but I’ve used one of these on and off for more than 10 years and they’re simply the best hand cart you can get for moving gear around your campsite (or rock ‘n’ roll stage). The RocknRoller® cart comes in a variety of sizes and price points, and they fold up into a very compact form factor for ease of storage. Like the Ford Model T you can get it in any color you like as long as you like black, and that’s just fine by me. Get one of their many models on Amazon HERE or at many fine music retailers.

Southwire Meter Kit

This is exactly the same digital meter I use to teach my RVelectricity seminars, and it’s in my favorite go-to affordable kit. Yes, I have thousand dollar Fluke meters for the really detailed calibration work, but for less than $40 you get a great meter kit that will certainly measure your campground power to any degree of accuracy you’ll ever require. I like that this kit has a manual ranging digital Volt/Ohm meter, a Non-Contact Voltage Tester in the appropriate voltage range for general hot-skin and outlet polarity testing, plus a 3-light outlet tester for quick checking of polarity and grounds. Get it at Lowe’s or from Amazon for less than $30 HERE.

Kill-O-Watt Power Meter

I use this so much in my general testing that I just ordered a second one for my test bench. Want to know how much wattage your residential refrigerator is using? Or how much that electric space heater is costing you to run? Well, don’t just guess about it, meter it like I do and know for sure. This is as simple as it gets since you just plug the Kill-O-Watt meter into your standard 15-amp outlet, then plug your appliance into the face of the meter. Now you can instantly see the outlet voltage, current draw, wattage usage, and even monitor the amount of kWh of power you’ll soon be paying for. It’s a great tool for $20 or so. Get it on Amazon HERE.

Klipsch Groove

I simply hated Bluetooth speakers until I got one of these cute little guys. Built like a brick with a battery that will last for days, and a surprising amount of bass response for such a tiny 3″ driver, I love the clarity of this small yet powerful speaker cabinet. I use it nearly every day if I take an afternoon siesta and don’t want to be disturbed by the traffic on the street. And it would work great in your RV or on your picnic table for background (or even foreground) music streamed from your phone or any other Bluetooth source. Klipsch has been making speakers for nearly 75 years, so they know a thing or two about what sounds good, and this little powerhouse won’t disappoint. Get it on Amazon HERE.

DeoxIT contact cleaner

As we’ve discussed many times, the biggest cause of shore power plug meltdowns is probably oxidized contacts, and here’s the spray cleaner I use on some of the largest (and most expensive) pieces of sound gear in the world. Did you know a mixing console can cost as much as a house or Class A diesel pusher ($500,000+)? But even for more modest gear like your $100 shore power cord, this is a great product. Just a little spritz every month or so not only removes oxidation, it coats the contacts to retard future corrosion as well as lubricates it for easier plugging and unplugging into the pedestal outlet. For general use you’ll want the D5 version, but there’s also a G5 for gold plated contacts, and an F5 for faders on a mixing console or pots on your Marshall guitar amp. Yes, I know that some of you are guitar players, so don’t be shy about it. Here’s the latest version with the “Perfect Straw” for spritzing inside of receptacles. Get it on Amazon HERE.

LED Fuses

I’ve received a lot of emails saying how cool this gadget is, and it certainly helps you find which 12-volt fuse has blown in your RV, as well as troubleshoot the cause of the short circuit. This fuse has a built-in LED light that stays off as long as everything is working properly. But blow the fuse from an overload, and that LED comes on showing you the way to the blown fuse. You can even use it to monitor for the short circuit by flexing wires to see if the light goes out (you’ve opened up the short). At only around $1 each, these fuses are a great investment in your sanity. Get a pack of them HERE in assorted colors and amperage ratings.

Silicon Microwave Multi-Mat

Finally, here’s what my wife, Linda, offered last Christmas, and it became a huge hit, both with the six family members she gave one to as a gift (seriously, six of them), as well as hundreds of them bought by our extended RVtravel family here. This cool silicon pad can be used as a turntable mat in your microwave, or a heat-resistant grabber to remove a hot pot from an oven, or even as a quickie trivet for setting hot things down on your table. Spilled something on it or did your marinara sauce boil over? Just dunk it in soapy water and it’s clean and ready to go in seconds. We use ours every day and it’s survived many hundreds of hot food events and is still in perfect shape. (Remember, my wife was a catering manager until she retired, so she has little use for kitchen gadgets that fall apart in a few months. This one is built to last.) Get at least one (plus a few extras for extended family presents) HERE.  

Let’s gift safely out there….

 

 

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

##RVT926

 

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Anthony tulino

Hello to all.

May I humblely ask for a solution to a issue with solar panel to supply sun power to charge battety pack.
I travel the USA in my perminate home on wheels.
Boondocking lifestyle.

My limited knowlege of my solar powered system that was added to the orginal shasta motorhome that was a single secondary battery.

Addition.

400 watt solar panel to 3 AMG deep cycle battery pack.
650 watt hours capacity.

Inverter sine wave.
Solar controller.

Issue is weather.

I have been traveling in poor conditions, rain,cloudy days, snow.

I understand solar panels collect power even with these condition.

Simply much much less.

I wish to recieve guidance , if I may use the truck battery and alternator to charge battery pack when solar panels can not do this function.

Most inportant how, what product, or parts, supplies to accomplish this. Bsck up ,

I have a 2000 watt gasoline generator.
How can this be used to charge the added battery pack, and the orginal single secondary battery.

The boondocking , has no power source to plug in.
Solar power or generator.

Basic electrical needed.

Terminstate for furnace
Portable fan
Portable heater.
Electric reftigerator.
Phone charger and booster
TV
DVD.
Sound speaker.
Water pump,
Micowave.
Small laptop
Interior cabin lights
Outlets.
Led information guages.

Hot water heater.

The 1988 shasta model revere

All is manual start
All is outside motorhome.

Propain fuel 10gallon:
To operate:
Stove top and over.
Furnace
Hot water heater.

I use shore power tooperate compressor of A C.

Only the fan motor is useing battery power to operate.

I appreciate any knowlegible constructive advice and guidance.

Be well stay well.

Larry H Lee

Unfortunately, your link for the Deoxit D5 goes to a Radio Shack connection which is defunct. Must then search amazon for Deoxit

Wolfe

I have no idea what Mike is talking about with the LED fuses used to diagnose a short… Once it’s blown the LED stays on permanently since these are blow-once fuses. Correcting a short won’t repair the burnt shunt. Also at a dollar a fuse you can buy auto reset fuses for less money.

Harry

The LED fuses say standard, what size is standard.
Is my LTV rv standard? House and rv same size fuses?

Willie

The silicone multimat…we sit our single serving Kurig on top of the honeycombed side of the mat. The honeycombs catch any spilled water or coffee. And we use when placing hot pots on the plastic counter top. And to open stuck jars, the grip is fantastic. When not in use, it sits between two pans and keeps them from rattling when we’re on the road. So many uses for this crazy thing.

Nathan Gilpin

I see mention of surge protectors and I’d like to know what to buy. What’s reasonable in price that is effective protection. Thank you