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Town & Country Sport
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Town & Country Sport Features and Benefits

Get ready for lots of on-the-road fun with R-Vision's Town & Country Sport B-Plus. This snappy B-plus motorhome is handsomely equipped with all the essentials and more than a few extras for a great value in a fun, compact size and price!

Innovative design makes the most of interior space that's furnished for comfort and convenience with a fully functional galley complete with appliances, dinette, and lounge sofa that converts into sleeping space for efficient living quarters.

My RV:

Have most of the options. Both couches fold out to make a king sized bed. Have a microwave instead of cupboard. Notice how bright the light fixtures are, those are LED lights, two per fixture with each fixture using only .1 amps.
Pics: 1 2 3 4

Things Learned:

12v Power:

RVs are designed to use 12v power from batteries to power propane sensor/alarm, carbon monoxide/smoke detector, roof vent, batroom vent, water pump, lights, refridgerator electronics, TV, radio, room slides, macerators, tank heaters and etc.. RVs also provide 12v power to 12v outlets/ports. My RV has five 12v power ports. Three are powered by coach/RV battery and two by the engine battery.

Unless RV batteries are disconnected, the 12v powered devices will draw power 24/7, this is called parasitic draw and can drain your batteries in a short time In my RV this is a 4.4 amp/hr draw each day (two percent of 220 amp/hrs).

You can charge your laptop, tablets and phones from the coach/RV batteries. Better to charge them from 12v ports powered by the engine while you are driving.

AC Power:

Most RVs have AC outlets (just like in your house) installed to provide AC power when the RV is plugged into an AC outlet, the generator is running or an inverter is used. Newest RVs have an AC inverter built-in (1000watt or larger), wired directly to the battery. I use a small 150watt inverter to power the satellite antenna/receiver, WDTV streaming media box and WiFi router. Another 150watt inverter is used to power a laptop as needed.

When powering your RV from an AC outlet (shore power), NEVER use a wimpy extension cord, use a 12/10 guage (30 amp) cord. Do NOT run your air conditioner on a 15/20amp household AC circuit, the risk is brown-out damage to your system. Remember the 80 percent rule, electrical circuits are designed to carry 80 percent continuous load.

Batteries:

Batteries are devices that store power/energy using a chemical process (lead plates and sulfuric acid) and provide 12v power when the RV is NOT connected to an AC outlet/generator.

Temperature effects battery performance and lifespan. Batteries kept in the human temperature comfort range have a longer lifespan, charge faster and provide more power. Cold batteries take much longer to charge and loose capacity. Never let batteries freeze, it will kill them. To prevent freezing, keep battery charged and on a charger/maintainer.

At higher temperatures (above 80F (27C)) battery capacity generally increases, usually at the cost of battery life. Higher temperatures also increase the self-discharge characteristic (storage). Colder temperatures (below 80F (27C)) lower battery capacity and prolong battery life. Cooler temperatures will slow self-discharge. Therefore, operating batteries at temperatures at or slightly below 80 F (27 C) will optimize both performance and life.

Battery capacity and temperature is basically a linear relationship. A good rule of thumb is that for every 15F (9C) above 80F (27 C), capacity is increased by 10% and for every 15F (9C) below 80F (27C), capacity is reduced by 10%. Batteries should not be charged or operated in temperatures greater than 120F due to fire danger.

RV (coach/house) battery power usage is very demanding and only deep cycle batteries should be used. Deep cycle batteries have thicker lead plates allowing them to hold more power, hold their discharge voltage (12v) longer and go through the cycles of charge/discharge without damage. A battery that has been deep cycled will read 12.1v. Deep cycle batteries should not be discharged below 50 percent to maintain lifespan. Deep cycle batteries are rated in the number hours they can provide 20 amps and is referred to as amp/hrs. Some manufacturers call this reserve capacity (RC). Bob Wells excellent Tutorial provides a very understandable anology of how battery power works, read it.

I recommend a minimum of 220 amp/hrs for most RV applications which would provide 110 usable amp/hrs. If a battery has a CCA (cold cranking amps) rating it is NOT a deep cycle battery regardless of the label on the battery. It seems that most RV manufacturers/dealers use the cheapest (car) batteries so your first expense will probably be to put in a real deep cycle battery.

IF you have room, most RV full-timers recommend using 6v Golf Cart (GC) batteries instead of 12v as they have even thicker lead plates providing more capacity. Since you need 12volts, you have to connect two 6v batteries in series to get 12volts.

Flooded cell (lead acid) batteries are the least expensive. A 220 amp/hr 6volt battery can be found for less than $100.00. A quality battery is about $120.00. Takes two 6volt batteries connected in series to provide 12volts. Flooded cell batteries require regular maintenance meaning battery cells need to be checked at least once per month when in use, adding distilled water when cell fluid is below cell chamber top and batteries need to be "equalized" regularly to remove sulfer from cell plates to prolong battery life. Never add water to a battery that is not fully charged.

Common Mistakes for Flooded Batteriers

Undercharging: Continually operating the battery in a partial state of charge, or storing the battery in a discharged state results in the formation of lead sulfate compounds on the plates. This condition is known as sulfation. Both of these conditions reduce battery performance and may cause premature battery failure. Undercharging will also cause stratification where battery acid concentrates in the lower half of a the cell (bad).

Overcharging: Continuous charging causes accelerated corrosion of the positive plates, excessive water consumption, and in some cases, damaging temperatures within a lead acid battery. Did you know that a loose battery cable between two batteries can cause just this to happen?

Under watering: In flooded batteries water is lost during the charging process. If the electrolyte level drops below the tops of the plates, irreparable damage may occur. Water levels should be checked and maintained routinely.

Over-watering: Excessive watering of a battery results in additional dilution of the electrolyte, resulting in reduced battery performance. Additionally, watering the battery before charging may result in electrolyte overflow and unnecessary additional maintenance.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battiers are more expensive (about a thrid more of flooded cell cost) but require no maintenance. Regardless of claims, AGM's should be vented same as Flooded cell batteries. AGM batteries have better charge/discharge performance (charge faster, discharge faster) than flooded cell batteries but most AGM deep cell batteries are actually marine type which means shorter lifespan and less capacity. An exception are the new Trojan Reliant 6v AGM batteries which are true deep cycle batteries. Make sure the charge controller can be set to AGM battery type to properly maintain them or you will kill them quickly.

                      Battery Charge Chart
                          Flooded             AGM
          Charge    6v     12v      SG         12v
          =========================================
           100%   6.37v   12.73v  1.265      13.00v
            90%   6.31v   12.62v  1.249      12.75v
            80%   6.25v   12.50v  1.233      12.50v
            70%   6.19v   12.37v  1.218      12.15v
            60%   6.12v   12.24v  1.204      12.30v
            50%   6.05v   12.10v  1.190      12.05v
            40%   5.98v   11.96v  1.176      11.95v
            30%   5.91v   11.81v  1.162      11.81v
            20%   5.83v   11.66v  1.148      11.66v
            10%   5.75v   11.51v  1.134      11.51v
         

Battery Brands, there are many and just as many recommendations.

         Brand      Model        Volts    Capacity      Type     Cost     Warranty
         =========================================================================
         Crown      CR-220        6v      220 amp/hr    Flooded  $129.00   3 Years
         Crown      CRV-220       6v      220 amp/hr    AGM      $229.00   3 Years
         Crown      CR-215       12v      215 amp/hr    Flooded  $339.00   3 Years
         Crown      CRV-110      12v      110 amp/hr    AGM      $235.00   3 Years

         Duracell   GC125         6v      235 amp/hr    Flooded  $150.00   1 Year
         Duracell   GC2AGM        6v      190 amp/hr    AGM      $189.00   1 Yeart

         Exide                    6v                    Flooded

         Fullriver  DC-160-12    12v      160 amp/hr    AGM      $365.00   7 Years
         Fullriver  DC-210-12    12v      210 amp/hr    AGM      $485.00   7 Years

         Interstate GC2-XHD       6v      232 amp/hr    Flooded  $149.00

         Lifeline                 6v      220 amp/hr    AGM      $288.00   5 Years
         Lifeline                12v      220 amp/hr    AGM                5 Years

         Surrett    S550          6v      428 amp/hr    Flooded  $365.00   7 Years
         Surrett    S6-460        6v      415 amp/hr    AGM      $575.00   5 Years

         Trojan     T-105         6v      225 amp/hr    Flooded  $144.00
         Trojan     RT-105        6v      200 amp/hr    AGM      $242.00
         

Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries hold promise as they can be discharged to a lower level and recharge significantly faster than flooded cell and AGM types. Unfortunately, this type of battery requires a very specialized($$$) charge controller with a 220amp/hr setup costing upwards of $6k. Bleeding edge expensive technology in 2017 for RVs. Lithium batteries are damaged when charged at temps below freezing. Note that Lithium batteries have a bad reputation of causing fires due to being charged or discharged too fast. This problem does not seem to be true for Lithium IRON Phosphate batteries used in RV applications.

Batteries must be all of one type (Flooded, AGM, Lithium) and of the same amp/hr rating. The weakest battery will drag the others down and ruin them.

Battery Monitor

A device that tells you how much charge is left in your batteries, the current voltage, how many amps are being taken out or are being put into the battery. Without a battery monitor you have no clue as to what your power needs are or how healthy your batteries are. The best battery monitor, made by Bogart Engineering, the Trimetric keeps track of what goes into and out of the batteries and is solar ready. Typical Trimetric setup will run about $200 with shunt/wiring harness and is well worth the price. Bogart Engineering also makes an excellent PWM charge controller.

With the Trimetric you can do a real-time energy audit.

         1. Disconnect from shore power.
         2. After a few minutes, record amps displayed on trimetric (phantom load).
         3. Turn on one 12v device. Wait a minute.
         4. Subtract phantom load value from trimetric reading and record.
         5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each 12v device.
         6. To determine watts, multiply amps by 12 (Amps X Volts = Watts).
         

Here is what my RV audit showed:

                          Amps    Watts
                          -----   -----
         Phantom Loads     .180    2.16      (TV on circuit, propane detector, Parallax Converter)
             Bath Vent    1.240   14.88      (12v fan)
                Fridge     .530    6.36      (7CF Norcold in Propane Cooling mode)
               Furnace    5.980   71.76      (Furnace on and heating)
              Inverter     .200    2.40      (150 watt)
         Light Fixture     .050     .60      (2 LED Bulbs)
         Roof Vent Low     .180    2.16      (Maxx Air)
        Roof Vent High    2.950   35.40      (Maxx on highest setting)
             Satellite     .950   11.40      (Dish 211z Reciever, Tailgater 3 Antenna)
                    TV    2.880   34.56      (12v Jensen LCD)
                 WD TV     .720    8.64      (Player with Portable USB Harddrive)
                  WiFi     .350    4.20      (Engenius)
            Water Pump    4.930   59.16      (Shurflow)
         

All items powered by the battery either directly or through the inverter. In my RV vent fans, lights, fridge, furnace, water pump and TV always run off the battery whether the RV is plugged in to shore power or not.

Charge Controller

A charge controller is used to control how your battery is charged.

Most RV's have a factory installed charge controller, powered by AC (plugged in or generator) that is a 3 stage (bulk, absorption, finish) type. A modern 4 stage will not only charge and maintain your batteries better, but should also have settings for different battery types (usually flooded, AGM and Gel). If you have an older factory charge conroller you can upgrade to a 4 or 5 stage conroller with temperature compensation by replacing the charger section.

A solar charge controller is designed to constantly monitor solar panel output, determine battery charge state and adjust charging voltage/current for best deep cycle battery charge. NEVER connect a solar panel directly to a battery.

Generators

Generators are loud (Honda/Yamaha not so much), run on expensive fuel and produce fumes that can harm your health. When not used regularly, a generator needs to be exercised once a month running for 30 minutes at half load or about 12.5amps (use air conditioner or electric heater) Change oil regularly to keep generator running smoothly.

Generators are good at bulk charging batteries but waste a tremendous amount of fuel when finish charging last 20% which can take several hours if not a day or so of continuous charging. AC heating and cooling devices such as Air Conditioner, Microwave, Induction Stove Top, Electric Heater typically use about 1500 watts which is about 12.5amps AC or 125amps DC which means a generator is the most practical way to power these devices, unless you have lots money to spend on a very very large battery bank. Modern generators are very quiet so the noise problem has been reduced somewhat but is still there with Honda and Yamaha brands using very little fuel. A built-in generator run overnite would probably use about 10 gallons of gasoline (have done so when stuck overnite in blizzards and darned glad to have a generator to power electric heaters when furnace quit working).

When using a generator to recharge your battieries, run it for about one hour to bulk charge batteries and then let them rest for an hour before resuming charging.

When starting your generator in cold weather, use the pre-heat to warm/circulate oil before engaging generator starter, it will help lubircate generator engine and improve its lifespan.

Solar Panels

Solar systems, panels and associated charge controller, are much better at charging and maintaining deep cycle batteries (as a rule) than the factory installed charge controller connected to AC or powered by a generator assuming the solar system is properly sized and installed (a complicated subject) as there is no noise, no fuel, no fumes and no maintenace other than wiping down the glass to remove dirt.

As to the cost, how many times would you not stay in an RV park if your batteries were fully charged each day? If an RV park costs $35 a day and a solar system costs $842 (2 150 watt panels ($400 - Renogy), SC3020 charge controller ($129), T2 Temperature Sensor ($13), Trimetric Battery Monitor with shunt and wiring harness ($200), Misc parts and shipping ($100)) it would take less than 25 RV park days to pay for the solar system. This is just an example. Costs can be more or less. Solar power makes boondocking/dry camping practical.

RV (12v) rated solar panels should produce 19-22v Voltage open circuit (Voc) and can be used with the more cost effective Pulse Width Modulation(PWM) charge controller ($120 - Trimetric). Higher voltage solar panels (38-44Voc), so called grid panels, require use of a Mulitple Power Point Tracking(MPPT) controller ($240). Grid panels are cheaper per watt compared to RV panels but MPPT controller is more expensive. Do not buy a cheap charge controller.

As with batteries and tires, solar panels should be sized the same and perform best when wired in parallel. At a minimum, figure 1watt per battery amp/hr. A 220amp/hr battery system paried with a 300watt solar panel system should work well for the full timer. Always buy a little larger than you need as solar panels rarely produce rated amount of power due to shading, clouds, roof temperature, dirt and angle to sun. Flat panel technology is NOT ready for RV usage yet as rarely do the panels last longer than five years AND they take up quite a bit more space when compared to traditional glass panels. Shame as Flat panels can be glued to the roof and weigh considerably less. Make sure the solar charge controller, PWM or MPPT, can be set for the battery type in your RV.

If you do not want to mount solar panels on your roof, there are various "suitcase" kits that you can connect to your batteries.

Inverter

An inverter changes 12vdc to 120vac. A small inverter (150 watts) can be used to power a satellite receiver, streaming media box, portable USB hard drive all at once or can power 90 watt powered laptop. If you need more AC power for your device, you must install a larger inverter with a direct connection to the batteries as a 12v power port will not provide more than 200 watts of power (about 20 amps) to the inverter.

Converter

Changes 120vac to 12vdc.

Off-Road:

Non-paved roads and 4Wheeling do-able with a small RV (22Ft Max). Go Slow, washboard roads can rattle your cabinets right off the wall. If trail is deeply rutted, high side the side that houses the generator exhust and dump connector. Do attempt to take a bus type class A on a rutted trail, you can tear the basment doors and compartments off.

Dash AC/Heater:

Heats and cools entire coach which works great while driving. Doesn't take long for the cool or warm air to go the other way when stopped but having warmed or cooled the coach means it takes less energy for the 12v/propane systems to maintain that temperature. Turn off dash heating/cooling system and close dash vents when done traveling to reduce hot/cold air drafts through them.

Bed:

When solo camping, prefer to sleep on one couch, roll out sleeping bag. When grandkids are with us we fold both couches down to make a king sized bed, put a sheet on the bed, add pillows/slips (regular sized for adults, Walmart craft pillows for each child) and sleeping bags.

When stowing sleeping gear, roll sleeping bags tight as possible, stuff in cinch sacks. Place pillows in kitchen trash bags (32gal works well), sit on each to squeese out air, twist and knot top of bag closed. Compressed pillows take up a lot less space. We are able to get five sleeping bags, five pillows, two king sized bottom sheets, and four blankets into the cupboard above the driver's side couch.

In summer, a battery powered fan usually suffices to make sleeping pleasant, at least until the temperature is above 80F.

In winter, wrap blankets aroound sleeping bag foot with a couple on top. A twin sized foam pad (doubled over) on couch dramitcally increases comfort ($24 at walmart in blanket section). The pad can be rolled pretty tight for storage (use straps - walmart camping section - to keep tightly rolled). Place blanket edges under foam pad to keep blankets from uncovering you during the night.

Television:

Modern 12v LCD televisions are worth having as they do not require an inverter. I have a Jensen 20 inch, 12v LCD TV that works great, uses 3amps vdc. Newer simular sized TVs use much less power but this one fits and still works great. Grandkids love watching cartoons as we go down the road.

WD TV Player:

This is a media streaming box, about the size of portable USB hard drive that plays video files (in various formats), from internet streaming servics such as netflix and music (mp3) files. Files can be on a portable USB hard drive or flash drive. Comes with an AC adaptor but will run plugged into 12v power port (have get your own adaptor - power plug on back of WD box is size O as in oh - be sure get the polarity right on the plug the first time, you will not get a second chance).

WD box is connected to a WiFi router allowing the grandkids to each watch something different should they wish to do so on their tablets with headphones (yea). Now days you can put your DVD/CDs on a USB Flash memory stick and save on physical storage space (ask high school kids).

TV Antenna:

Wend bent the Winegard batwing TV antenna into uselessness. Replaced it with a King Controls Jack digital head which works pretty well but I do not watch air TV very much any more.

Satellite:

Rewired TV cabling to allow RV park cable and satellite feeds. Reinforced rear closet wall with 1/2 inch stained birch plywood and aluminum diamond plate panel for support of bracket and VuQube 1000 satellite (now a Dish Tailgater) antenna on rear of motorhome.
Pics: 1 2 3 4   Replaced Dish network 311 receiver with a 211z. The 211z is not as easy to use for pointing the satellite antenna as the 311 but the 211z has HD capability and produces a great picture. 211z also does not have a coax connection for the TV, just RCA and HDMI which is no problem with my setup.

Do not like loosing network televison channels when outside home area (150mile circle). Calling Dish to change service area has never worked for me plus anyone at home looses the so called local channels (no channel is a local channel at home base). Better method would be to enter zip code into reciever and determine which spot beam to use. I would be happier with a set of national network channels but since money is involved, Dish will never be allowed to provide such. Sucks for the consumer.

TV Sound:

Sometimes just can't hear the TV (getting old) and don't want to turn up volume as do not want to share the TV with world. Have a small FM stereo tranmitter, Sorsche (Walmart $9.00), attached to video switch. Works pretty well, good enough to keep the grandkids happy when going down the road as can play TV on dash stereo. However when the movie gets really busy/loud, sound through headphones or radio sounds pretty staticy, a limitation on sound bandwidth.

Solution: use computer speakers just behind head (think about it). Bought a battery (2 AA) powered computer speaker set from Walmart ($9.95) which has a headphone jack. Ran headphone wires from video switch to each couch through wire raceway on each side of the RV. Can now use headphones or connect to/through powered speakers. When using headphones/speakers the sound is NOT stacticy when sound is busy proving once again that wires are better than wireless :)

Video:

Added a GE composite video switch (Walmart - $9.95) to allow multiple video inputs into single TV input and as a bonus provides sound output.

Dinnet/Tables:

RV came with two poles and table tops that go between couches but prefer using light wooden TV tray tables (Walmart $10 each) as they are much easier to setup/store. Tables work great to feed five, hold laptops and become craft tables as needed.

Plumbing:

Water pump is at times very loud. Have put in loops, accumulator, insulating foam to no avail.

Winterize plumbing pumping the system dry as possible, add antifreeze in through gravity fill port and pump through system until you see the pink stuff come out of faucets and into toilet. Pump a little into water heater then turn the bypass valves to prevent all the anti-freeze from going into the water heater. Can use antifreeze to flush toilet in subzero temps (I dry camp a lot in the winter and it is often below zero degrees F).

Always use a water filter when putting water in your fresh tank or city water port. Water filters are cheap compared to stinky/sandy water problems. Always use a water pressure regulator at the water spigot when connecting to city water.

Proper order of water connection should be Spigot, Pressure Regulator, Water Filter, Drinking Water Quality Hose, RV water Inlet.

Diluted bleach can be used to sanitize the water (through gravity port) and gray tanks. Thoroughly flush the plumbing before using it to shower as bleach can terribly iritate your skin.

Strongly recommend using bottled water for drinking and cooking instead of your water tank. Use the tank water for flushing, showers and cleaning.

Ptraps dry out in warm weather and while you are driving. Pour water down the drain to keep the tank gases (smells) out of the coach. Better yet, replace ptraps with a Hepvo valve and you will never have tank smells in the RV again. Some RV bathroom sinks (small RVs) drain into the black tank, keep drain stoppered to prevent black tank smells from entering coach.

Most RV plumbing roof vents will push smells from the gray and black tanks into the coach as you drive or when wind is strong. The 360Siphon not only prevents your tanks from being over pressured (thus pushing tank gases into the coach) by outside air as you drive down the road but catches the smallest of breezes when parked to suck fumes out of the tanks, it really works.

Toilet:

Do NOT put stuff like wipes, diapers, pads into toilet as it may stay in your black tank forever. If the worst happens and the toilet is clogged (happend on a boy scout outing in subzero temps and not enough water in bowl prior to flush), use a cheap wooden cooking spoon to dislodge the stuff. Do not let the spoon fall into the tank. When done with spoon, wrap in plastic bag and dispose.

Hygene:

RV shower does the job, water heater only needs a few minutes to warm water not an hour. With the water warm, you don't need to mix shower water (reducing waste). Wipe shower down with towel after use to prevent soap build-up. When hooked up at RV park, keep gray and black tanks closed to keep out sewer flies and other vermin. Tanks should be full when dumping to ensure a good gravity dump. Thoroughly flush black tank when dumping to prevent paper/crud build-up.

After winterizing, put extra RV anti-freeze into water tank to use when flushing the toilet (no frozen black tank). Keep bottle of water at sink for washing hands (dont like sanitizer) as well as anti-bacterial wipes.

Dry Camp Shower - warm water on stove, about 1/3 gallon or so then:

For hair, partially fill a 16oz cup with warmed water and while leaning over sink, invert cup over hair pressing lightly against hair moving from back to front to wet hair, use a few drops of shampoo, then rinse same as you wet hair. I keep my hair short so this works quite well for me.

For body, use antibacterial wipes on arm pits, feet and private areas, and using a small bowl of water from pot, rinse with wet wash cloth. Using lightly soaped (a few drops) water from pot in bowl, clean rest of body, then go over with rinsed wet wash cloth to remove soap (don't forget your back). It works though not as enjoyable as a full hot shower. Any remaining water can be used for shaving or collected for flushing.

In winter pour a little anti-freeze down drains to keep traps and gray tank from freezing.

Hot/Cold:

Parking in the shade greatly reduces interrior temperatures in summer.

Summer: use relfective sun screen between windshield and curtain as it really reduces inside temps. Small 12v or battery powered fans improve sleeping comfort when temperatures are moderate.

Winter: use plastic window cover film on windows and screen door which will help reduce cold air drafts and allow light in. Use large blanket to create air damm between cab (class b/c) and rest of RV as automotive doors let in a lot of cold air. Don't forget microwave and ceiling vent. Close dash vents to help reduce drafts.

Forced air furnace will heat RV faster than electric heater. Some use propane heaters (Buddy etc.) but remember you must have some air comming in from the cold outside or it could sufficate you. Propane heaters produce moisture so you may wake up to frost/ice on inside of windows. Turn heat down when sleeping to save energy. Be carefull with electric and propane heaters, they can easily start a fire should bedding/furniture/carpet get too hot.

Refridgerator:

RV fridges are pretty lousy, being terribly under-powered cooling wise. In moderate temperatures (less than 75 degrees F) an RV fridge will work reasonably well but never expect it to keep drinks ice cold. Temperatures above 75 will make it struggle. If you have a large RV with tons of Batteries and a large inverter you can use a house type compressor type fridge but small RVs are stuck with the absorption type with fire (very real risk) and spoiled food risks. Hard to believe Dometic and Norcold can not engineer a safer/better product than the system invented in 1858(greatly refined in 1926, Einstein-Szilard). There are RV fridges with Engle/Foss compressor cooling systems which use about 60amps per day. I have yet to meet anyone that likes their absorption fridge.

Keep fridge side of RV in shade (at an angle facing away from sun in parking lots, awning, trees) to help keep it cooling. One hour of direct sunlight in the summer is enough to raise fridge temperature by 10 to 20 degrees which will take the fridge 10 hours to cool down from. Keep a thermometer in the freezer and fridge. Use a battery powered fridge fan to circulate the cool air. If you can, put a 12v/solar powered fan at the top of the fridge vent to help move heat generated by the coolant coil heater out of the back of the fridge. Keeping interior of RV cool in summer will help the fridge a lot.

Start-up fridge at least 24 hours (longer if hot) before use. Pre-freeze frozen and pre-cool cold items before putting in fridge especially water/soda. Warm and hot items will increase fridge temperature in minutes taking the fridge hours to cool down again.

Keep RV level when using fridge as when it is not level, cumulative damage occurs shortening fridge lifespan.

Generally, I keep cheese/other dairy in the lowest part of fridge and use the rest for water and soda. Remember to pre-cool water and soda.

Dry ice in a cooler can be used to pre-cool/freeze items when purchasing on the road. Dry ice can usually be found in a store meat deparment. Do not handle dry ice directly as it will freeze instantly to your skin. Dry ice is not recommended in the fridge. Dry ice produces carbon dioxide which can sufficate you, be careful.

Door of freezer/fridge will be warmer than back of fridge/freezer. On hot summer days items in the door will be much warmer. Fridge door seals do wear and leak over time. Keep the seals clean and check for leaks if having problems keeping an empty fridge cool.

Use frozen blue ice bricks to improve cooling in the fridge. Freeze them over night in the freezer, put a couple in the fridge in the morning. In the winter, put blue ice bricks outside RV in bag to freeze over night, put into fridge in morning which keeps stuff cool enough without using electric/propane.

Ice on cooling fins in fridge will prevent cooling and could trigger (depending on brand) a defrost cycle to melt the ice and ruin your food. Keep doors closed. Use damp-rid to reduce humidity in the fridge. Once ice forms on the fins you have to defrost it or it will not keep food cold. If the fridge stops cooling, sometimes you just have to turn it off for 30 minutes or so to let it reset.

When not using fridge, keep doors open to prevent moldy smell from developing.

Keep small/light hammer around to break-up ice cubes kept in freezer, don't pound ice bag on counter/floor or with your hands :)

Lights:

LED light bulbs use much less power than incandecent/halogen/flourescent bulbs. Replaced all (16) coach light bulbs (#921) with LED bulbs. Old bulbs used 1.5 amps each (two per fixture) with lots of heat. New LED bulbs use .050 amps each with no heat. All light fixtures can be turned on and not use the power of 1 old incandecent 921 bulb. LED bulbs were a direct replacement for incandecent bulbs. LED bulbs are at at some Walmarts and internet. LED bulbs produce light at various frequencies, higher number is whiter, lower is yellower. When replacing outside marker lights with LED's make sure bulb will fit and produce at least the same number of lumens as incandecent bulb.

Replacing turn signal and brake incandencant bulbls with LED bulbs can cause problems, consult your dealer first.

LED flashlights are cheap and use very little battery power. Keep one around for outside night work/emergencies.

Radio:

Replaced Jensen in-dash radio with a Kenwood touch screen with USB mp3 ability. Sounds Great!

Kitchen Sink Drain:

Replaced p-trap under kitchen sink, emilinating 50% of the piping, with drainmaster HepvO valve. Before After. Gained a ton of stroage space. No smells from the gray tank. Reinforced shelf with 1/4 plywood.

Linens:

Built shelves in closet to hold towels and wash rags.

External Storage Area:

Added ridged insultation in compartment to eliminate entryway for bugs in summer and prevent cold air from entering coach.

Shoes:

Use small, rough kitchen rug at bottom of steps to wipe shoes off to help keep coach clean. Keep slippers or flip-flops next to door and take shoes off at door.

Coach Battery:

Replaced single battery tray with tray that can hold three batteries. Replaced wimpy 12v battery with two 220amp hour 6v batteries.

WiFi:

Use an Engenius WiFi router, very small, low power, 802.11 b/g compatible and it can run directly on 12v. Just changed router to a Cradlepont Point CTR-35 router as it can automatically (once setup - WiFi as WAN) connect to the Verizon Jetpack for internet. This way those using the WD player via WiFi can watch videos and use internet by signing onto the router only. This router pushes video at 75ft with no problem.

Another benefit of a WiFi router in the RV is that grandkids can play multi-player DOS games on laptops(sweet).

Wanted to add external WiFi antenna such as WiFi Ranger etc. for connected to WiFi when available. However, after thinking about it decided that using an omidirectional antenna was a bad idea as it would interfere with my neighbors, would not have very good range and requires the solution to be travel/waterproof and with limited roof space difficult to do.

Have a directional anttenna, pointing the anttenna at the WiFi signal source at RV park, house, Starbucks, McDonald's, etc.. Selected the Ubiquiti Nanostation Loco M2. Mounted antenna on a wooden paper towel holder which allows placement anywhere in the coach or outside through window or door. Antenna is powered via POE (power over ethernet) adaptor which is located in the video cabinet. Two cat5 (ethenet) cables are used, both connected to the POE; one between the antenna and one to the router. Can have WiFi anywhere I can lock the Nanostation onto a signal and can use laptop, tablets and phones without having to login to the WiFi at the park with each device. Ubiquiti is easy to setup and use. If a password is required, just enter it on the Ubiquiti signal lock screen. If a login web page displays, login as directed. Not as eligant as having an antenna on the roof but is easy to setup, works well, uses very little power and is portable. Worked well when there was WiFi to connect to which means most of the time where I camped it did not work. Also, this antenna is VERY picky about its power meaning it will not work with a non-sine wave inverter.

Internet:

Today, I use a Verizon prepaid Jetpack from Walmart. Works very well, does not cost very much and ends the how am I going to get on the internet securely question when I need to pay bills, research the next travel route and get tourist info. It works with phones, tablets and laptops. It appears that you can be up to 75ft from the device and still have a fast connection (4G). One caution though, watching netflix works but will sure eat up all the Gbytes fast. I have my cradleponit WiFi router setup to connect to the jetpack automatically so I only have to be connected to the WiFi router with any device to use the internet. Turn it on, use the internet, turn it off when done. No fiddling with the WiFi router to make it work.

Wishes:

AC: Replace air conditioner with unit having much lower profile.

Cameras: Dash, backup and right side cameras. Motor home fits into a standard parking stall. Unfortunately backing out of stall is risky given the way people drive in parking lots. Like the rear view mirror type. Wish I had a camera that could take pictures while I drive that sees what I see.

Coach Steps: Replace step arrangement with an arraingment like some of the truck campers I have seen.

Curtain: Replace Cab curtain with better setup with at least some insulating value.

Heater: Replace forced air heater with catalytic type. While current heater does the job, it is loud, uses a lot of 12v power and uses a lot of propane.

Lights: Replace all external lights with LED lights. Love that look.

Outdoor Room: Have an outdoor room made that will go from coach rear door and around awning.

Refridgerator: Figure out how to make it run better. Not a fan of the current absorption systems. Norcold box is really wimpy when outside temps are above 70.

Sink/Stove: Replace double kitchen sinks with a single sink and rotate stove 90 degrees.

Solar: Add solar panels, associated controler and montioring electronics to allow longer boondocking. Wish the thin film technology would work longer than three years and was more efficient.

Vacuum: Add vacuum system or more likely, find a very long hose extension for the small shopvac so I don't just move the dust around.

Water Pump: Replace with one that absolutely does not make any noise.