November 4, 2021
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By Mike Sokol
Welcome to my monthly RVelectricity™/ NoShockZone™ Newsletter, published the first Thursday of the month. In this edition we celebrate 40 issues of this newsletter with a look back of some of the most-read articles, a look forward at the future of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging, and a look at the present state of the art of portable battery power.
So strap in, and let’s have some fun with RV technology.
P.S. And just a quick note that this newsletter is made possible by the voluntary pledges of the readers of RVtravel.com. We could not bring this to you without their support. If you deem what we provide to you here and at RVtravel.com to be of special value and would like to be a part of our effort, please consider pledging a voluntary subscription. More information is here. We will include you in special emails, articles and videos exclusively for our supporters.
We made it to 40 (issues)…
Yes, the RVelectricity newsletter is now 40 issues old
What started out more than 3 years ago as a compilation of my monthly articles survived a brief shutdown during the pandemic to be recently relaunched just a few months ago. Now it includes new information on topics such as portable lithium battery generators, Level-2 chargers for your Electric Vehicle, and even my upcoming RVTI Level-3 classes for RV technicians who can earn their CEUs (Continuing Education Units). So, things be happening….
2022 RVelectricity Seminars Announced
(now with Certified RVTI Technician Training)
With a special thanks to Gary Bunzer
Well, it’s been a long hiatus of my RVelectricity seminars for RV owners. Just as things were getting rolling two years ago, just about every 2020 RV Show and Rally I was planning to teach at cancelled due to COVID-19.
But the good news is that now the RV shows and rallies are happening for 2022, and I’ve already been invited to attend a bunch of them. And since my 3-part RVelectricity MasterClass has been so popular, that’s what I’m going to present in every venue possible.
But the really big news is that I’m now officially certified by RVTI (RV Technical Institute) to teach Level-3 RV Electricity seminars with CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for RV technicians who need to take yearly technology classes to maintain their certification.
It appears that one of the last things Gary Bunzer did before his untimely death was to present my ideas and credentials to the education coordinators at RVTI. So, when I contacted RVTI last month about what it would take for me to become an instructor, they already knew my credentials and said I was certified to teach RV technicians.
So, my plan is to teach a 3-part RVelectricity MasterClass (for the public) at perhaps a dozen venues around the country during the day, then each evening teach a 3-hour RVTI-certified class for technicians focusing on RV electrical troubleshooting and maintenance.
It’s a win/win, since the technicians can get the CEUs they need to maintain their RVTI certification, and I’ll help educate even more RV technicians on troubleshooting RV electrical systems.
In addition to on-site training seminars for technicians, I’ll also be offering monthly Zoom training classes for those who can’t attend in person. And those Zoom meetings will become a library of training resources for RV technicians moving forward. Thank you, Gary, for helping make this happen.
Places to go, people to see…
Here’s a partial list of where I’ll be teaching RVelectricity seminars in 2022. I’m going to cap this at a dozen venues next year, but there are still a few slots available. So, if your RV show or rally might be interested in having me teach an on-site or Zoom RVelectricity seminar for your event, best to contact me now since my available dates are quickly filling up.
2022 RVelectricity Seminars (Confirmed)
- Boston RV & Camping Expo – Jan 14-17, 2022
- Seattle, WA, RV Show – Feb 17-20, 2022
- RVillage Rally, Live Oak, FL – Mar 9-13, 2022
- Puyallup, WA, RV Show – May 5-8, 2022
- Airstream International Rally, Fryeburg, ME – July, 23-28
- Enumclaw, WA, RV Show – July 28-31, 2022
- FROG Rally, Goshen, IN – Aug 14-20, 2022
- Hershey, PA, RV Show – Sept 14-18, 2022
Plus, I have several more rallies and shows in the works that have not yet been confirmed. Please contact me ASAP if you would like me to present an RVelectricity MasterClass or Zoom seminar for your event.
Thinking about joining AllStays? Your membership includes a massive online directory of campgrounds (including free ones) with rankings. It also includes interactive maps where you can pinpoint public lands, state and federal parks. Find RV-friendly truck stops, RV-friendly Walmarts, rest areas, dump stations, fraternal lodge parking, propane sellers, weigh stations, road hazards, motels with RV parking, RV washes and much more! Click here.
GoGreenRV™ (Future Shock)
Tesla announces a Level-2 home EV charger that works with everything – except a Tesla…
Yes, hot off the press… Love him or hate him. Nobody can deny that Elon Musk jumps into a project with both feet and up to his neck.
And here I was worried that Elon’s Tesla-only superchargers were going to interfere with the universal adoption of the J-1772 EV charging standard (which includes everything else other than Tesla vehicles).
But Tesla just released a new residential Level-2 EV charging station for everything else except a Tesla. Yup, it’s a Tesla-brand home-charging station that won’t charge a Tesla vehicle. And there are hints of a universal Tesla adapter that would allow you to charge your non-Tesla vehicle at full speed at any Tesla Supercharger station. Yippie!
If this is all true, then it would quickly increase the possibility of driving an EV Recreational Vehicle around the country without worrying about where you’re going to get your next charge from.
Go, Elon, go… (my favorite contemporary “Mad Scientist”).
Read more about the Tesla Residential Level-2 charger HERE
Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.
Some of Mike’s best RVelectricity articles from the last 40 issues
- From Issue 22: Generator Automatic Transfer Switches 101
- From Issue 18: What is an RV Hot-Skin voltage – Part II
- From Issue 21: Electric Residential Clothes Dryers in an RV
No~Shock~Zone articles 1 thru 12
Here’s NSZ Part 3, on 3-phase campground power and improved shore power connections, which was originally published back in 2010 but has since been updated. Each month I’ll republish the next Part on a different RV electricity topic until you’ve read all 12 sections. Want to read ahead? Then you can buy my RV Electrical Safety book online, which already sells thousands of copies every year. I wrote it specifically for RV consumers that want to know more about how their electrical systems work. So don’t worry, this will be painless.
RVelectricity™ – Electrical safety for RVers – Part 3
If you read the survey we did way back in July 2010 at RVtravel.com, you know that 21 percent of RVers who answered the poll have been shocked by their RV. What follows is Part 3 of my 12-part series about basic electricity for RV users and how to protect yourself and your family from shocks and possible electrocution. Last time we learned how to read a basic digital volt meter and test a 15- or 20-amp standard outlet such as you might find in your living room or RV interior. Now it’s time to move up the ladder to testing 30- and 50-amp campsite outlets. Read more.
Water, water, everywhere. Or … Why I hate drinking water – I really do
Six months ago my wife, Linda, started a water bottle “diet” that included drinking a 32 oz. bottle of water every day. After a month or two she pronounced it a success, since she was not only losing weight, she also felt better and had more energy.
I really liked the HydroMate 32 oz. bottle with the recommended times on the side. Plus, it has a valve that stops it from leaking out water if the cat knocks it over. Really cool engineering, if I must say so myself.
I’m now part of the experiment!
So, in an effort to wean me from my steady diet of caffeinated sodas, Linda suggested I get one of those HydroMate water bottles myself. But while the theory was sound, I just couldn’t bring myself to drinking plain water all day long…
Last Month’s RVtravel.com Posts
• Important 30-amp outlet voltage reminder
• Everything you know is wrong (about circuit breakers)
• Should you upgrade to lithium batteries immediately?
• Dangerous, even deadly, RV hot-skin causes: Part 2
Last Month’s JAM (Just Ask Mike) Session posts:
• Can I charge my electric (EV) toad at a campground?
• Don’t burn up your water heater element
• Should I buy an AED?
• CPAP machine power usage
I’m getting a Jackery 1500 for electrical cooking and baking experiments
Yes, I really am…
I do live to eat, so I’m working on an experiment/demonstration to see if a Jackery 1500 can power a variety of electrical cooking appliances while camping off-grid.
With any luck, I’ll try using it to power a pellet smoker grill, an induction hotplate, and even a Anova Precision Sous-Vide/Convection/Air-Fryer/Steam-Baking Oven. If this works as advertised, then it’s a possible replacement for your existing propane-powered cooktop and oven.
As I’ve mentioned before, my wife is not only a retired catering manager and fabulous cook, my son Kevin has a degree in baking and pastry from the Culinary Institute of America and makes $1,000 wedding cakes (not pictured). Both of them have offered to do an electric bake-off demonstration comparing the quality of electric versus propane cooking of various meals and desserts.
All I have to do is put electrical logging meters on everything and compare how much power is being used when cooking with gas or electric. Oh, yes. I’m also one of the tasting judges.
Where will the electric power come from?
Well, the Jackery 1500 has 400 watts of solar panels, so that’s a good start. But I’m also under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with a fuel cell manufacturer and should soon start experimenting with a prototype propane fuel cell this winter that could replace your RV gas or propane generator. The bottom line is that this fuel cell has 3 to 5 times the efficiency of a conventional propane-powered internal combustion engine. This could be a real gamechanger if it works as predicted.
Plus, I’ll get to eat the products of my experiments, so it’s a win/win/win situation. Stand by for electric cooking and baking experiments coming this winter and spring.
Best book on RV electricity, hands down!
Mike has taken his 50+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that should be essential reading for all RVers. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. Learn more or order.
My dad’s time machine
By Mike Sokol
Why do so many of us like vintage/retro things? I recently found my 92-year-old dad’s Seiko Alarm Chronograph watch that he received as a retirement present after 37 years of teaching. My wife and I discovered it in a drawer of other stuff while moving my dad from the house he lived in for nearly 60 years to a townhouse less than a mile away from us so we could help out more.
I don’t think he wore it much, since it’s in perfect shape. And a trip to the local watch store for a new battery was all it took to get it working again. I really like the retro ’80s stainless-steel style and digital look. It’s a great retro watch, if you’re into such things.
But why do I get the warm and fuzzies when I strap it on and check the time? That’s the subject of today’s Road Signs.
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.
Editor: Mike Sokol. RVtravel.com publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we may occasionally get something wrong. So always double check with your own technician, electrician or other professional first before undertaking projects that could involve danger if not done properly. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com..
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Hey Mike, I have 2 X 12V batteries on my 2018 Cedar creek 5th wheel. The dealer is telling me i should replace them with 24V AGM batteries. I heard that my Ram pick up truck would not be able to charge the 24V batteries while driving. Is this true ? Are there any other concerns i should be aware of going from 12V to 24V batteries ?
No, that’s a very bad idea. Your existing 2 x 12 volt batteries are connected in parallel, and provides 12-volt DC to your RV’s electrical system. To convert your RV to 24 volts would require a lot of changes to your inverter, lighting and any slideout motors, etc…
And yes, your tow vehicle would not be able to charge the RV without a lot of extra technology such as a DC to DC charger. There is simply no good reason to change your RV from a 12-volt battery system to a 24-volt battery system, and lots of reasons not to.
Thanks for getting back to John with this very important information, Mike! Have a good evening/night. 😀 –Diane
John, I wonder if you meant to say Group 24M, which is a 12-volt Battery. Read my JAM Session on Monday for more details.
Hey Mike, would you point me in the right direction concerning information about Gel cell batteries in reference to RV house batteries? Any past articles I can refer to?
Your father’s “retro/vintage” seiko watch is exactly like mine…that I still wear every day. Over thirty years of service, but no more than four batteries. That’s when seikos were giving bulovas and rolex a real run for their money at a fraction of the price. Take care of it well!!!
I do take care of it, and this watch has been a great conversation starter for watch-snob friends.
I’m making a custom 50a to 30a shore cord for the rv. I’m tired of using the dog bone adapter. My question is- which hot is commonly used to go from the 50 side of the dog bone to the 30 side? I’m inclined to think it’s the black. So I would use that phase to connect the only hot in my 50a male plug- to make everything uniform. So to illustrate- I’d spice a 50a. male plug to my 30 shore cord.
I’ll measure a few of my adapters, but I’m pretty sure it’s a 50/50 guess as to which leg each manufacturer uses.