Issue 41 • December 2, 2021
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By Mike Sokol
Welcome to my monthly RVelectricity™/NoShockZone™ Newsletter published the first Thursday of the month.
Lots to review in this issue. First of all, I’m announcing a new Ask the Expert Interview next Thursday evening, December 9, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
This interview will feature Mike Zimmerman, one of the admins at my RVelectricity Facebook Group. Read his qualifications below and be sure to sign up for a reminder. This is going to be a spirited discussion about troubleshooting RV electrical problems.
Since the media blackout on the new Rockwood Geo Pro trailers with the Power Package has been lifted, I can now openly discuss this really cool boondocking upgrade that includes a 400 amp-hr lithium battery, 3,000-watt hybrid inverter, and 580 watts of rooftop solar panels.
I’ve had the first prototype in my hot little hands since this summer, and I find that it’s a very well integrated package that will allow you to have longer camping trips without campground power or supplemental generator. Read more below.
And while these gadgets are still pretty expensive, the latest generation of portable battery power stations is quite capable of powering things like your coffee maker, slow cooker, or even a rooftop air conditioner for an hour or so.
Read about my beginning tests below, where I’m experimenting with a Jackery 1500 with 400 watts of solar panels. As the price comes down on these units and the battery storage goes up, this could be a real game changer for your off-grid adventures.
My RVelectricity Forum is now up and running, so you can ask me technical questions there as well as read comments and questions from other RVers. Don’t worry, it’s not Facebook, but it should eventually grow to thousands of members.
You can use this forum to ask me questions directly instead of posting them in a comment or emailing them to me. Please note that if you do add a comment there’s no automatic ping telling me there’s a new question. And I don’t have time to troll though the 600+ articles I currently have published on RVtravel.com looking for comments.
Also, I get hundreds of emails every day to parse through, so it’s hard for me to keep up with your questions. But the new forum should provide a better way to get in contact with me. You can join my RVelectricity forum HERE and read a few of the threads below.
Finally, my dozen on-site RVelectricity Seminars for the public I’m allocating in 2022 are filling up. There are still a few openings left, so please contact me by emailing mike (at) NoShockZone (dot) org with the subject “Seminars”.
Plus, I’m getting the curriculum together for my Level-3 RV Technician classes that will be certified by RVTI as Continuing Education Units. In addition to live on-site classes, I’ll also be offering these as private Zoom sessions for certified technicians.
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.
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Ask the Expert Webcast on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. EST
I’m announcing a new Ask the Expert Interview next Thursday evening, December 9, 2021, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST. This interview will feature Mike Zimmerman, one of the admins at my RVelectricity Facebook Group.
Mike Z is not only an electricity expert and instructor on the National Electrical Code, he’s been an Electrical Engineer and Master Electrician for more than 40 years. Plus, as any of you know who have been on this RVelectricity Facebook Group, Mike Z is also great at troubleshooting electrical problems. In fact, he and I consult on various electrical problems on a weekly basis.
If you don’t do Facebook, not to worry…. This is a Live YouTube Webcast that anyone can watch live or as a video later. And if you have a YouTube login account you’ll be able to text questions live to Mike Z and myself during the webcast. Sign up for an Ask the Expert reminder HERE.
2022 RVelectricity Seminars Announced
(now with Certified RVTI Technician Training)
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.
GoGreenRV™ (Future Shock)
Now it can be told…
I’ve had a prototype Forest River Geo Pro G19-FBTH toy hauler trailer at my home lab since the summer. And while I’ve been doing towing experiments with it, up until now I was under NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) not to disclose too much about its Power Package electrical system upgrade.
But now that the NDA and Media blackouts have been lifted, I can tell you some of what I know right now. And yes, the Geo Pro with the Power Package is really something.
- Power its rooftop air conditioner for up to 4 hours while using the 400 amp-hr lithium battery alone?
- Limit the amount of current pulled from the TT-30 shore power plug with any number you set in 1 amp increments down into the single digits?
- Supply more amperage to your RV than you’ve allowed the outlet to use by having the 3,000-watt hybrid inverter make up for the extra amps from the battery…?
- Run for days while boondocking using the 580 watts of solar panels on the roof?
- Carry your toys in the back? (Yes, it’s a Toy Hauler.)
- Be towed by a half-ton pickup truck?
I’ve asked RVtravel.com contributor (RV reviews and more) and industry insider Tony Barthel to do a remote walk-thru of my prototype Rockwood Geo Pro G-19FBTH with the Power Package in two weeks, and he’s agreed to come to the party.
So, stay tuned while we unwrap this puppy… Watch for a video announcement in two weeks.
SoftStartRV makes the perfect gift for RVers!
Run two air conditioners on 30 amps* – Wow!
When the temperature really gets sizzling and your 50-amp rig is stuck with a 30-amp hookup, you’re out of luck if you want to run two air conditioners. That is, unless you have a state-of-the-art SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and works just as promised. Don’t miss watching the short video by RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. Learn more or order.
*Requires two SoftStartRVs.
Q&A’s from my new RVelectricity™ Forum: Lithium batteries; Bad campground pedestals
No~Shock~Zone articles 1 thru 12
Here’s NSZ Part 4, on preventing hot skin condition, which was originally published back in 2010. 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 4
Preventing hot skin condition
If you recall the survey we did July 2010 in RVtravel.com, you know that 21 percent of RVers who responded had been shocked by their RV. What follows is the fourth segment of a 12-part series about basic electricity for RV users and how to protect yourself and your family from shocks and possible electrocution. Continue reading.
The Jackery 1500 with 400 watts of solar panels
Now, I don’t often wax poetic about a new piece of gear, but the latest generation of portable power stations (please don’t call them solar generators) are getting quite good. I’ve had the Jackery 1500 for a month now, and have used it for a variety of remote power tests.
Read more HERE.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Last Month’s RVtravel.com Posts
• A deadly “RV hot-skin condition” can spread to other RVs
• Dear Santa, I really want/need a surge protector…
• Do “solar generators” really work?
• What’s missing from this pedestal? Campground pedestal safety
Last Month’s JAM (Just Ask Mike) Session posts:
• My most memorable Thanksgiving meal, in 1971
• Solar battery packs: The best way to use cell phone in emergency; plus Jackery update
• Baby, it’s cold inside! Monitoring RV temps
• Can I power a pellet grill from a solar generator?
Advanced Diagnostic Quiz
Here’s prep reading for the Ask the Expert webcast I’ll be doing with Mike Zimmerman next Thursday evening (Dec. 9) at 7:00 p.m. EST. See if you can figure out what all these hints suggest. Sign up for an Ask the Expert webcast reminder HERE.
- When the RV was plugged into a campground pedestal, this RV and all the other RVs plugged into the same area had 120 volts on their chassis and skin.
- When the RV was plugged into a portable generator it didn’t have a hot-skin voltage, but the three light tester said it had reversed polarity.
- When this RV was plugged into a pedestal at the next campground it instantly tripped the 30-amp breaker in the pedestal, even when the master breaker in the RV was OFF.
- When the EGC ground and neutral wires were disconnected inside of the RV, a meter test showed no continuity between the RV chassis and the ground or neutral conductors.
- A meter showed continuity between the hot and EGC ground conductors inside of the RV showed continuity even with the circuit breaker off and the EGC ground wire was unbonded from the RV chassis.Can you guess what caused this strange failure? Think about it and ask Mike Zimmerman how he found it in my Ask the Expert interview this Thursday, Dec. 9th at 7:00 p.m.
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.
Road Signs: This Little Light (a Christmas Story)
In case you missed them the first time around, here’s one of my 36 previously published Road Sign articles. No it’s really not about actual signs (but sometimes it is). These are just my observations of things while I’m traveling, gigging, or simply working on some project around the house.
To get you in the mood for Christmas, here’s one of my favorite Road Signs with a reading from the master storyteller of them all, Paul Harvey. Listen to his radio broadcast about “This Little Light”, the Christmas Tree Bulb that wouldn’t give up.
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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